- News Home
12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
- About Us
Austria Reverses Course, Stays in CERN
19 May 2009 12:15 pm
Austria will remain a member of CERN. Yesterday, Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann overruled his science minister, Johannes Hahn, and said that Austria would not pull out of the European particle physics center near Geneva at the end of 2010, as Hahn had asserted on 7 May. Faymann said he didn't want to damage Austria's reputation as a reliable partner in international collaborations, but there appear to be other factors involved in the U-turn.
The government of Lower Austria is understood to have kicked up a fuss because CERN scientists are helping it build a particle-beam cancer therapy center called MedAustron. Lower Austria officials were concerned that a severing of ties with CERN would delay the project. The announced withdrawal also prompted a public debate about the value of such fundamental research. Austria's scientific community rallied very rapidly, and an online petition garnered more than 32,000 signatures within days.
The governing coalition's internal politics may have played a role as well, as Faymann is a Social Democrat and Hahn a Conservative. A few weeks ago, some high school reforms proposed by the Social Democrat education minister were quashed after a public outcry, and Hahn's shaming may have an element of scores being settled.
Whatever the internal squabbles, Hahn was widely criticized for failing to consult first with the scientific community, CERN, or the Austrian chancellor. "It was not very well handled," says Christian Fabjan, director of the Institute for High Energy Physics in the Austrian Academy of Sciences. "There were very many arguments against withdrawal, and very few for it."