Elsewhere in Science, 13 December 2013

Michael Neuberger

Michael Neuberger

CREDIT: Neil Grant, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Each week, Science publishes a few articles that are likely to be of interest to career-minded readers. But because those articles aren't featured on Science Careers, our readers could easily overlook them.

To remedy that, every Friday we're pointing readers toward articles appearing in Science—the print magazine as well as the other Science-family publications (ScienceInsider, ScienceNOW, Science Translational MedicineSci. TM—and Science Signaling)—that hold some relevance or nuggets of advice for readers interested in furthering their careers in science. (Please note that while articles appearing in ScienceInsider and ScienceNOW can be read by anyone, articles appearing in Sci. TM, Science Signaling, and Science may require AAAS membership/Science subscription or a site license.)

• Last Friday on ScienceInsider, Dennis Normile wrote about a new law fast-tracked through the Japanese Diet that threatens prison for those who divulge or publish information the government deems a state secret. Scientists, journalists, and others oppose the law, noting the restrictions on academic freedom and the public's right to know. An "ad hoc group of about 30 scholars," including two Nobel laureates, have signed a statement opposing the law. "Even in difficult times, protecting the freedom of the press, of thought and expression and of academic research is indispensable," they wrote in the statement.

• Earlier this week on Science Careers, Elisabeth Pain reviewed the key components of Horizon 2020, Europe's new framework for funding science and innovation, for early-career scientists. ScienceInsider covered the issue, too, presenting an interview with European research commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn on Tuesday and an item announcing the program's official launch on Wednesday.

• In last week's "Elsewhere in Science" we mentioned three lawsuits filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) seeking personhood for chimpanzees, which would have affected researchers who work with chimps. This week, oral arguments were allowed in two of the suits, but none of the three judges who heard the cases were willing to issue a writ of habeas corpus, as David Grimm wrote in ScienceInsider. NhRP will appeal.

• On Tuesday in ScienceInsider, David Malakoff wrote about an apparent budget agreement between the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that would prevent sequestration from extending into 2014 and 2015. The bill would increase budgets well above sequestration levels and grant lawmakers and administrators more discretion, allowing the funds to be distributed more thoughtfully. Analysts expect science to do especially well, but science lobbyists insist that more science funding is needed.

• In News & Analysis, Yudhijit Bhattacharjee wrote about troubles at the Lick Observatory near San Jose, and other California observatory facilities, after a decision by the University of California's  (UC's) Office of the President to cut off funding for the salaries of 11 faculty and staff members at the University of California Observatories system who are perceived by some to enjoy privileged status, with a lighter teaching load than other UC scientists and an 11-month contract instead of the 9-month contracts of other UC faculty. UC Santa Cruz is being asked to pick up the tab. "We are hemorrhaging good people right and left," says Steven Vogt, who has worked at Lick Observatory since 1978.

In a Retrospective, Julian E. Sale, Ketan J. Patel, and Facundo D. Batista remembered molecular biologist Michael Neuberger, who died on 26 October. The authors share this story about Neuberger:

In 1974, he undertook graduate work with Brian Hartley at Imperial College London, studying gene amplification in bacteria. During his thesis work, Michael visited the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) to collect bacterial strains from Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner. Michael made his way to Brenner's office, which he shared with fellow Nobel laureate Francis Crick. The door was closed, with loud animated voices emanating from behind it. Michael dared not interrupt and searched out the strains in the adjoining lab. Moments later, Brenner confronted the young intruder. The ensuing 2-hour discussion on Michael's Ph.D. left a deep impression on him scientifically and because of the generosity shown by Brenner in spending so much time with an unknown graduate student on a Saturday afternoon.

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