Focus: Research

Gerhardt Stroink (Department Of Physics, Dalhousie University, Halifax and member of the SfP Board) replaces Kenneth Dunn (now on sabbatical at UBC) as Associate Research Director for the Halifax area.

I heard recently at a review of the scientific programs of the Bedford Institute that there had already been a plutonium spill in the Arctic, near Thule, Greenland. John Smith,in the Ocean Chemistry Division at the Institute, had been studying this case. We should all remain alert to news on progress of the US-Japan nuclear collaboration and overflight of Canada — plans.

“The comments of Ontario’s minister of industry, trade and technology when he visited Kingston recently show he has not had a close look at the way that the US military R & D functions. He appears to share the common perception that military support of science and technology has helped the development of high technology in the US. He speaks of ‘a steady flow of spinoff technology for civilian markets (that) gives the US a major technological advantage over Canada’.

“In fact, in spite of its massive investment in R & D, the US appears to be falling behind in high technology. High-technology Products are being imported into the US at increasing rates and the US trade deficit is growing. Many scientists believe that military funding has had a deleterious effect on technology development in the US.”

- David Lorge Parnas

From the Whig Standard, Dec. 10. The complete article is available from the Bulletin.

Math Funding

This month, by mail ballot, members of the American Math Society will decide on a policy position vis-a-vis military funding of mathematics research. A complete bibliography of members’ comments since the lengthy discussion began in March, 1986, appears in the January Notices, along with a final section of commentary.

From Thomas Love, Daemen College:

“Dr. Glimm listed several areas where mathematics could be used to help improve life on this planet: models of the spread of disease, food distribution, etc….But there are limited funds available for research and limited numbers of mathematicians to work on them. If the Star Wars program draws the funds and mathematicians, these other programs will not receive the funds or attention they should.”

Daniel Szyld, Duke University:

“It also calls for the AMS to state unequivocally that science is much broader than ‘shock, blast and penetration’, and that efforts should concentrate on funding a broader and more universal concept of scientific inquiry.”

If you do not have access to the AMS Notices, the Bulletin can provide background papers by Chandler Davis and some reprints from the discussion.

Conflict study

In his study of ANZUS and the New Zealand ban on nuclear war ship visits, James W. Lamare (Political Science / Canterbury) found that each side was deeply angered by the actions and words of the other. The US could not understand how an ANZUS partner could meet its treaty commitments and, at the same time, close its ports to the very weapons that (the US contends) guarantee the peace and security of the southwest Pacific. On its part, NZ was dismayed that the US failed to see that nuclear weapons, not treaty obligations, was the issue, and chose to make threats and invoke sanctions against an old and trusted friend. In NZ most of the public rallied behind the government and this approval flowed on to a critical view of the role of the US in its handling of the controversy. The study underscored the point that pressure brought to bear on domestic public opinion from external sources is likely to integrate a people — perhaps at the expense of the interests of the outside party.

From the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Sage, Sept. 1987 Vol 31, #3.

Landmarks: Dec. 11, Moscow….

The signing of the joint US-USSR agreement on cooperation in space research. Envisaged: joint manned and unmanned flights to Mars, and astro-physical and bio-medical studies.

Nouveau Cours à l’Université de Montréal

À l’Université de Montréal le Département de Physique offre depuis cette année un cours intitulé “Science et Guerre a l’Ère nucleaire”. Ce cours est destiné aux non-scientifiques et fait partie du programme du baccalaureat en science politique. Le professeur du cours est Michael Pearson, membre de Science et Paix.

Without whose help

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hsu, St. Clair Copy & Printing, 558 St.Clair Ave. W. Toronto M6C 1A5, Phone: 656-6031, have worked, often day and night, to print the envelopes in which it is mailed, the labels for the envelopes, and the Bulletin itself in order to meet the first-of-the-month deadline we have maintained for the past several years. Science for Peace printing takes precedence for the Hsus and they have always been willing to undertake the often unusual jobs asked of them, turning out a quality product at a moment’s notice.

Maria Nawrocki, Postmistress at Wychwood Park Substation, helps with the complicated mailings to the chapters each month, helps get not just the proper postage on publication mailings, but the minimum postage thereon.

The Bulletin comes to you first-class because willing members fold and stuff the almost 1000 copies that go out each month, stick on labels and stamp and seal the envelopes. Rita Pytka and Marjorie Wilton will be joined in the new year by Gwen Maunsell and Alison MacLeod, all SfP members.

It is the member publications which you supply that make the Bulletin unique. Your manuscripts are ordered from (and mailed to) all parts of the globe at nominal cost.

Thanks and Happy New Years

- The Editors

David Suzuki

Reprinted from The Globe and Mail Dec. 26, David Suzuki, “The Planet: Taking a Step Back from the Abyss”

“What will we remember of 1987?” asks Suzuki. “For me, four events were especially noteworthy:

  1. The historic agreement to destroy intermediate-range nuclear missiles signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
  2. The human population on the planet reached five billion.
  3. The World Commisssion on Environment and Development published its three-year study of the state of the planet.
  4. The South Moresby region of the Queen Charlotte Islands was set aside as a national park.”

Full text is available from the Bulletin.

Metamorphosis, David Suzuki’s autobiography, is just out, If you can’t find it in your bookstore, write for help.