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Spring 2005 Vol. 5 No. 1



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BRIEF TAKES



Journal Celebrates 90 Years of Publication

Photo courtesy Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesThis year Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) celebrates its 90th anniversary -- with more than 1,500 issues by over 35,000 authors published since its inception in 1914. PNAS is one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific journals, covering the biological, physical, and social sciences in cutting-edge research reports, commentaries, perspectives, biographies, colloquium papers, and actions of the Academy. PNAS is published weekly in print, and daily online in the form of PNAS Early Edition. PNAS Online is made freely available to more than 140 developing countries worldwide.

In celebration of its 90th anniversary, PNAS is presenting its online "Classics of Scientific Literature" section, which recognizes and highlights landmark scientific papers published in the journal. This special section is available at <www.pnas.org/misc/classics.shtml>.

"We are pleased to celebrate our ninth decade," says Nicholas Cozzarelli, editor in chief of PNAS. "We owe a special thanks to the authors and readers who have contributed so much."
  -- Maureen O'Leary


'The Agile Gene' Wins Best Book Award

Each year the National Academies present three $20,000 awards for excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public. The 2004 winners were author Matt Ridley for "The Agile Gene: How Nature Turns on Nurture." The judges called his work "an insightful synthesis of the issues surrounding the debate over the influence nature and nurture have on individuals." The other 2004 winners were Robert Lee Hotz, a reporter for the The Los Angeles Times , "for his compelling reporting on the space shuttle Columbia accident," and producers Sue Norton and David Clark "for presenting stunning imagery and showing the importance of engineering in scientific exploration" in The Science Channel's "Science of the Deep: Mid-Water Mysteries."

"It is an honor to recognize not only the achievements of these individuals, but also the vital role they play in increasing the public's understanding of science, engineering, and medicine," said Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences. "We hope that these awards inspire many others to report clearly and creatively about the world we live in."   -- Maureen O'Leary


NAS Elects President, VP, and Council Members

Photo courtesy University of California, IrvineThe National Academy of Sciences will add six new faces to its leadership in July. At the helm will be Ralph J. Cicerone, chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, as the next NAS president.

An atmospheric chemist, Cicerone's work has helped shape policy on climate change and pollution. He has conducted research on the plasma physics of Earth's ionosphere, the chemistry of the ozone layer, and radiative forcing of climate change. Cicerone also helped identify the roles nitrous oxide and methane play in climate change and global warming.

Cicerone succeeds Bruce Alberts, who is completing his second term as president, the maximum allowed by the Academy's bylaws. Alberts and his wife, Betty, plan to return to California.

"NAS members have elected a strong team to lead our efforts to advise the nation on important issues," said Bruce Alberts. "The Academies will be in good hands for years to come."

Other election results are:

Vice President

    Barbara A. Schaal, Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts and Sciences, department of biology, Washington University, St. Louis

Council Members

    Claude R. Canizares, Bruno Rossi Professor of Experimental Physics and associate provost, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

    Gerald D. Fischbach, executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences, and dean, faculty of medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City

    Jerry P. Gollub, JBB Professor in the Natural Sciences, Haverford College, Haverford, Pa., and adjunct professor of physics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

    Joyce Marcus, Elman R. Service Professor of Cultural Evolution and curator of Latin American archaeology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

  -- Maureen O'Leary


Foege to Receive Public Welfare Medal

Photo courtesy National Academy of SciencesWilliam H. Foege has been selected by the National Academy of Sciences to receive its most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal. Established in 1914, the medal is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. The Academy chose Foege for his dedication to eradicating global disease and his leadership in redefining the scope of public health policy in the United States.

"Dr. Foege's impact on the world's health has been extraordinary," said John Brauman, NAS home secretary and chair of the selection committee. "In terms of lives saved and freed from disease, he has changed the world as we know it."

An epidemiologist, Foege is perhaps best known for his contributions to the successful global effort to eliminate smallpox. Early in his career, he traveled to Nigeria, where he worked to inoculate local populations against the disease. When faced with a critical vaccine shortage, Foege and his colleagues made the difficult decision to vaccinate only those they determined to be at greatest risk of infection -- people in close contact with known victims. Later, as director of CDC's Smallpox Eradication Program, Foege demonstrated the effectiveness of this "ring vaccination" approach, which made it possible to vanquish smallpox from many countries in which as little as one-half of the population had been immunized.

Shifting his focus from the global to national, Foege was appointed director of CDC in 1977. Under his leadership, the agency first addressed the emerging problem of HIV/AIDS, implemented a childhood vaccination initiative that resulted in unprecedented immunization levels in school-aged children, and discovered the link between aspirin and Reye's syndrome. Foege now serves as an emeritus professor at Emory University and a fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.   -- Lauren Morello



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Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences