The science cavalry rides in at last

May 1, 2009

It’s good to see the NZ Association of Scientists declare (in a media statement released today):

NZ Association of Scientists concerned about freedom of speech

About time, too. The declaration of support for this principle was sparked by the sacking of NIWA scientist Jim Salinger, which happened a week ago.

Better late than never.

The media statement is nicley summed up in the final para, where two points are made: scientists must be free to speak out freely in their area of expertise; and the Government should take a hard look at the structure of our scientific institutions if we are to get the best from them and their staffs.
Read the rest of this entry »

Salinger’s sacking not a ministerial matter

April 29, 2009

Jeanette Fitzsimons is on the wrong tack, trying to embroil Wayne Mapp in the fuss over Jim Salinger’s sacking.

In Parliament yesterday she asked Mapp, our Minister of Research, Science and Technology, if he stood by his statement in the Dominion Post last Saturday that the dismissal of internationally renowned scientist Dr Jim Salinger from his position at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research is “an employment dispute, which must be handled by the chief executive and the board”?

Mapp stuck to his guns: “Yes, I do.”
Read the rest of this entry »

How to become a world-beater

April 16, 2009

Is becoming a world-beater simply a matter of money? Or is some other ingredient essential?

Alf poses those questions on learning that Massey University will fund three PhD scholarships “to ensure” that a newly appointed professor “can establish a world-leading research programme.”

“Ensure” is the magic word. It means “to make certain” or “guarantee”.

If this be so, pouring money into other professorships will ensure we establish world-leading research programmes in a raft of things.

We could set up a professorship of rugby and maybe the resultant world-leader rugby research will help us build a world-beating rugby team, for example.
Read the rest of this entry »