Friday, 28 December 1990 Washington, DC
1. GERMAN PHYSICISTS UNITE TO OPPOSE THE MANNED SPACE PROGRAM!
Unlike their timid American colleagues, whose opposition to Space
Station Freedom has been largely confined to private grousing,
the German Physical Society (DPG) went public with its opposition
to manned space projects, including Columbus, the European
research module for Freedom, in which Germany has a major stake.
That, in turn, poses a threat to Hermes, a French-led project to
produce a space shuttle for Columbus. According to Nature, the
DPG issued a stinging memorandum opposing increased spending on
manned projects and urging politicians to stop claiming science
and industry would be the major beneficiaries. The memorandum
was backed by an overwhelming majority of the members of the DPG.
The Germans will be watching the reception given the Augustine
report on the future of NASA (WN 14 Dec 90).
Rep. George Brown,
the new chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee,
lost no time in calling a 3 Jan hearing for the Augustine panel.
2. HOW MANY PHYSICS ARTICLES WOULD NEVER BE MISSED?
a recent analysis of citations in leading science journals, 55%
of the papers published between 1981 and 1985 were not cited even
once in the five years following publication. If self-citations
had not been counted, the figure would have been much higher. The
study, reported in Science (7 Dec 90), makes the joke about the
need for write-only memories seem less farfetched. According to
the Science article, the problem is expected to be most severe in
the soft sciences, but an analysis of physics citations by Henry
Barschall (Physics Today, July 88) shows the lack of citations to
be pervasive in physics as well. The Barschall article, which
compared the "cost-effectiveness" of journals, used the average
number of citations per article as a measure of journal "impact."
3. SPRING APS MEETING IN WASHINGTON INCLUDES "CONGRESSIONAL DAY."
Plans are underway to bring physicists together with members of
Congress and their staffs during the April 22-25 meeting of the
Society in Washington. The responsibility for informing elected
representatives of the scientific implications of policy issues
lies with individual scientists, but many congressmen complain
that they rarely hear from scientists. The Congressional Day
activities are being arranged by the Physics Planning Committee.
Anyone who is interested in participating should contact Dr. Tina
Kaarsberg, APS Office of Public Affairs, at the number below.
4. THE PROBLEMS OF FUNDING AND MORALE AMONG ACADEMIC SCIENTISTS
will be discussed at a special meeting sponsored by the American
Association for the Advancement of Science. The meeting will be
held at the National Academy of Sciences on 7 Jan 91. The focus
of the meeting will be a report by the AAAS President-Elect, Leon
Lederman, entitled "Science: The End of the Frontier?" The report
is based on an informal survey of university faculty. Those wish-
ing to attend should contact Elizabeth Broughman (202) 326-6600.