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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
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...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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NASA Chief Irks Astronomers
8 June 1999 7:00 pm
One week after chiding particle physicists for being wedded to outdated technology (Science, 4 June, p. 1597), NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin has accused astronomers of lacking a vision of the nation's scientific future in space. But some think it's a cheap shot.
Speaking at an American Astronomical Society meeting in Chicago on 3 June, Goldin mocked astronomers who are enamored with existing technology, including the Hubble Space Telescope. He said facetiously that the agency could install the telescope in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and allocate "hug time" for astronomers unwilling to embrace newer technologies. He also complained that astronomers were ignoring such promising ideas as robotic explorers that can learn and adapt for themselves using neural networks and "genetic algorithms."
But some members of the audience think Goldin is confusing timidity with a healthy skepticism. Neural and genetic programs are not yet understood well enough to be used routinely on space missions, said one astronomer. And when Goldin shot back that "ignorance is not a place to be," another irritated astronomer stood up "in defense of 'ignorance' "--meaning the established body of scientific knowledge and expertise. No word on whom Goldin is planning to irritate next.