Stop me if you’ve heard this one: an academic novel, set at a fictional (but prestigious) American research university, portrays tenured faculty who are indolent but querulous; students whose main activities include protesting, avoiding classes, and popping pills; and an administration that’s disorganized, secretive, and ineffectual. Money and status are the primary concerns of professors and administrators alike; the community as a whole is characterized by lassitude and petty squabbling, while education is of minimal importance to anyone.
Ian Glynn is a physiologist with a passion for a concept not usually associated with his field: elegance. Specifically, its application and relevance across a wide range of scientific disciplines, from physiology to physics, astronomy to neurology.
With universities facing pressure to show the value of their research, to promote economic development and to find new sources of revenue, links between academic researchers and business are being encouraged and scrutinized intensely. The essays in a new book -- The Commodification of Academic Research: Science and the Modern University (University of Pittsburgh Press) -- explore these issues.
WASHINGTON -- Advances in medicine and biotechnology -- from the sequencing of the human genome to the development of small chips to detect cancer in the bloodstream -- were driven largely by scientists coming together from diverse disciplines to work on common problems. But a blue ribbon panel said here Tuesday that these advances also signify something larger: the creation of a new model -- dubbed "convergence" -- in which engineering and physical sciences, among other disciplines, join forces with the life sciences.
Hungarian-born physicist Edward Teller was among the great scientists of the 20th century, but his legacy is, at best, a checkered one. Made famous by his work on thermonuclear weapons -- Teller is known as the "father of the hydrogen bomb" -- Teller gained notoriety when he testified against his former colleague J. Robert Oppenheimer in the hearing that ultimately cost Oppenheimer his security clearance. Teller continued to embroil himself in controversy -- generally pertaining to thermonuclear weapons and other defense issues -- throughout his life.