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19 December 2013 12:36 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
After 20 years of trying, researchers have finally convicted massive volcanic eruptions in Siberia as the culprit in...
Five federally funded optical and radio telescopes in the United States could be forced to shut down over the next 3...
A 2-year budget agreement pushes back the threat of sequestration but leaves scientists still wondering how much money...
After a decade away from physics, Robert Laughlin, a Nobel laureate at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California,...
Computer scientists and others have teamed up to persuade the 117 state parties to the Convention on Certain...
The swine flu pandemic of late 2009 had a peculiar aftereffect in parts of Europe: a spike in children being diagnosed...
- 19 December 2013 12:36 pm , Vol. 342 , #6165
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Getting Down With NSF
16 May 2000 7:00 pm
Think peer review is tough? Try party review.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) hopes to stage a December gala to cap its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. But the National Science Board, which manages NSF's $4 billion portfolio and usually conducts its affairs in a sedate, secretive, and soporific fashion, is discovering that arranging fun is no picnic.
The presidentially appointed panel is trying to choose entertainment that would please everyone--and offend no one. Its travails became public on 4 May after an earlier closed meeting ended in what Carnegie Institution astronomer Vera Rubin, chair of the party committee, described as "a state of disorder."
"We considered the Capitol Steps," a local comedy group that does political satire, Rubin explained to the full board. "But we worried that they might say something embarrassing." The chief alternative--music--was equally contentious. Factions favoring ballroom dancing vied with supporters of a sit-down concert. Nor were people fired up by one member's proposal for a "science cabaret" featuring posters by winners of student science competitions. Another member hinted darkly that a mariachi band, which made a surprise appearance at a farewell dinner for former NSF director Neal Lane, could reappear as the default choice.
Beyond entertainment are two other potential land mines: location (the White House is a remote possibility) and the guest list. Any suggestions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org