Embed Size (px)
Editorial–New Science Publications
Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Webb
Editor Roger HighfieldAssociate Editors Liz Else, Stephanie Pain
News Editor Shaoni BhattacharyaEditors Helen Knight, Celeste Biever, Richard Fisher, Sumit Paul-Choudhury, Priya ShettyTel +44 (0) 20 7611 1206 Fax +44 (0) 20 7611 1250
ReportersLONDON Andy Coghlan, Paul Marks, Linda Geddes, David [email protected] US Bureau Chief Ivan SemeniukSAN FRANCISCO Bureau Chief Peter [email protected] [email protected] Alison MotlukBRUSSELS Debora MacKenzieMELBOURNEAustralasian Editor Rachel [email protected]
Features Editors Ben Crystall, Kate Douglas, Clare Wilson, David Cohen, Graham Lawton, Valerie Jamieson, Michael Le Page, Caroline Williams, Richard Webb Features ContactsTel +44 (0) 20 7611 1201 Fax +44 (0) 20 7611 [email protected]
Opinion Editor Jo MarchantEditors John Hoyland, Amanda Gefter, Alison George, Eleanor HarrisTel +44 (0) 20 7611 1240 Fax +44 (0) 20 7611 [email protected] Lucy DodwellEditorial Assistant Amy Galloway
Production Editor Mick O’Hare Asst Production Editor Melanie Green
Chief Sub John LiebmannSubeditors Vivienne Greig, Julia Brown, Sean O’Neill, Eleanor Parsons
Art Director Alison LawnDesign Craig Mackie, Ryan Wills Graphics Nigel Hawtin, Dave JohnstonPictures Adam Goff, Kirstin JenningsTel +44 (0) 20 7611 1268 Fax +44 (0) 20 7611 1250
Careers Editor Helen [email protected] +44 (0) 20 7611 1248 Fax +44 (0) 20 7611 1280
Consultants Alun Anderson, Anil Ananthaswamy, Stephen Battersby, Michael Bond, Michael Brooks, Marcus Chown, Rob Edwards, Richard Fifield, Barry Fox, Mick Hamer, Jeff Hecht, Bob Holmes, Justin Mullins, Fred Pearce, Helen Phillips, Ian Stewart, Gail Vines, Gabrielle Walker, Emma Young
Press Office and SyndicationUK Claire BowlesTel +44 (0) 20 7611 1210 Fax 7611 1250US OfficeTel +1 617 386 2190
NEWSCIENTIST.COMOnline Publisher John MacFarlaneOnline Editor Rowan HooperEditors Maggie McKee, Tom SimoniteReporters Catherine Brahic, Colin Barras,Sandrine Ceurstemont, Michael Marshall, Ewen Callaway, Rachel CourtlandOnline Subeditor Dan PalmerWeb team Neela Das, Cathy Tollet, Ruth Turner, Ken Wolf, Edin Hodzic,Vivienne Griffith, Rohan Creasey,Matteo Giaccone
ONCE upon a time, Angela Merkel was a green heroine. As Germany’s environment minister in the 1990s she chaired talks that led to the Kyoto protocol. Now she is chancellor and greens call her Darth Merkel for defending her coal and car industries and for watering down the climate change package at the European Union’s Brussels summit last week (see page 8). Europe has chickened out on climate change. Merkel is mainly responsible – and as a qualified chemist she should know better.
As a result, the politics of climate change has been turned on its head. The old villain, the US, is our best hope – and a good one, too, because Barack Obama is serious. Three cheers for his choice as energy secretary of Steven Chu, who has championed plans for a nationwide super-grid to bring solar electricity out of the west and wind power out of the plains (see page 6). The grid looks likely
to be the centrepiece of Obama’s grand plan for reviving the US economy with green jobs that will build a green infrastructure. Shame on Europe for not backing a similar proposal to tap into power from the Saharan sun, Scandinavian rivers, Icelandic hot rocks and North Sea winds.
An Obama administration could yet turn the world on to renewables. The UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, which ended last week, demonstrate how urgent a task that is. The one bright spot to emerge was the promise by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to convene a summit at which he will try to make heads of government see sense. We need a new treaty. But the lesson of these ever more tortuous negotiations is that treaties only work in combination with political will, technology and, inevitably, the pursuit of profit. ●
A MIDDLE-aged white male with unkempt facial hair who never has fun. Sounds familiar? This sorry stereotype of a typical scientist emerged back in 2000 when thousands of children were polled in the UK and Australia . Michael Brooks warns on page 16 in this week’s magazine of the damaging consequences of scientists being seen as Santas without the ho-ho-ho . If their work becomes ever more unapproachable, science is going to lose out in the battle for public funding.
This multi-faceted end-of-year issue of New Scientist is once again full of entertaining
articles that show just how appealing science can be. But never far away are the committees and bureaucrats, with their deadly instinct to enforce order and squeeze out all traces of humour and humanity. Names like Sonic hedgehog, Boojum and WIMP remind us that science is done by people, and happily there are more in a similar vein, as Richard Webb points out (see page 63). Purging each and every idiosyncratic name can only make the subject appear more remote and less relevant. That’s one more reason to make science more festive. ●
Let’s hear it for the WIMPs
New world orderThe politics of climate change has turned upside down
www.newscientist.com 20/27 December 2008 | NewScientist | 5
ON Christmas Day in 2003, many waited eagerly to hear if Beagle 2, the UK’s first Mars probe, had landed safely. The mission inspired art by Damian Hirst and even a Britpop call signal. But Beagle 2 never phoned home .
Why it failed has remained a puzzle – until now. As we report on page 24, an Australian
study has found that Beagle 2 was doomed because it was spinning too fast as it entered the Martian atmosphere.
If the study’s conclusion is proven correct, it does much more than lay the mystery to rest: it reiterates the foolhardiness of running space missions on the cheap. ●
The dangers of spin
Want to appear on the cover of New Scientist?
Find out how at www.newscientist.com/article/dn16269