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Applied sciences and engineering/Systems theory

by Julia Marton-Lefèvre

The author is Executive Director of Leadership for Environment and Development International Inc., and the recipient of the 1999 AAAS International Scientific Cooperation Award. Presented at the CAIP Annual Luncheon Meeting on Sunday, January 24, 1999, AAAS Annual Meeting, Anaheim, CA

Hello, I am Melissa Hagemann, Program Officer of the Science Journals Donation Program of the Open Society Institute/Soros Foundations. Thank you for inviting me to participate in this meeting.

When scientists participate in international collaborations, they must contend with a set of challenges that can be far more daunting than those posed by the research itself, according to a new report prepared by the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the FBI, and AAAS.

When Ken Hess was in ninth grade, he was lucky. His teacher wanted him to do a science project, and he knew exactly what it would be. He talked his dentist into letting him come to the dental office on Saturdays, when it was closed, so Hess could use the X-ray machine to bombard various objects with radiation, observing the results with a “cloud chamber” he had built. The young Hess’s research involved observing the trails made by radioactive particles traveling through the chamber.

No new nuclear power plants have been built in the United States since the 1970s, and yet, in that span of time, reactor technology has made considerable strides. For nuclear engineer Eric Loewen, the progress is embodied in a reactor design called PRISM, short for Power Reactor Innovative Small Module. The reactor would be compact and easy to mass-produce, and where the problem of radioactive waste has long weighed against new reactor construction, PRISM would actually run on nuclear waste.

Bruce M. Alberts, editor-in-chief of the journal Science and recently named United States science envoy, has been selected by the National Science Foundation’s National Science Board to receive the prestigious Vannevar Bush Award for public service in science and technology.

The scientific community can help lay the foundation for future nuclear arms control, including the use of proposed disarmament laboratories to spur global cooperation on some of the technical and policy issues involved, says a briefing paper prepared jointly by AAAS and the United Kingdom’s Royal Society.