UNESCO Courier

Articles from May

A German Chemist's Double Life
Regina Reszka started out working in East Germany's research laboratories. After the Berlin wall came down, she took a crash course in capitalism For Regina Reszka of Berlin, the hardest part is juggling two careers: research and business. "There's...
A Global Snapshot of Scientific Trends
Data on the output of scientific publications show that the world's scientific hierarchy has remained remarkably stable over the past decade, with the continued domination of the U.S.-Japan-Europe triad The top twenty The table at fight ranks...
All Eyes on El Nino
A worldwide monitoring network has been set up to predict a destructive climatic event and soften its impact Peruvian fishermen have known about El Nino for hundreds of years, but until now they have never been able to predict when it would strike....
Antarctica's Tainted Horizons
The Antarctic was designated 'a continent for peace and science' in an international treaty signed 38 years ago. In the last decade a wide-ranging Protocol has been added to this to provide the continent with better environmental protection. But today...
Brazil: A Bridgehead to the Tropics
Both sides can benefit from a deal between universities and business Although Brazil is one of the world's ten biggest economies, it invests very little in R&D. World Bank figures show that in 1995, the South American giant earmarked only 0.6...
Child Labour: A Lesser Evil?
When there is no possibility of schooling, perhaps it's better for children to work in dignity than hang out in the streets. Some children's movements are contesting United Nations policy to abolish child labour For the media, child labour is a...
China: A Market-Minded Contender
Chinese science has lagged for centuries. But economic reforms have given science in the world's most populous nation a new life Centuries before Europe emerged from the Middle Ages, China's scientists began working in advanced mathematics and astronomy,...
Former USSR: Halting the Brain Drain
Low wages and a poor public image have forced more than half Russia's scientists to quit science in the last to years. International co-operation is trying to repair the damage When Alexei Perchuk joined Moscow's prestigious Institute of Geology,...
In the Shade of the Palaver Tree
The palaver is a traditional African institution of debate and consensus whose democratic potential has been overshadowed by modern political systems In the early 17th century, a Portuguese Catholic missionary, Father Mariano, made strenuous efforts...
Latin America: A Tough Transition
Governments, researchers and industry will have to join forces for science in Latin America to serve the region's needs Until now, more than 80 per cent of Latin American science has been funded by the public sector. But until now, states have actually...
Mali's Direct Democracy
Once a year all Malians get a chance to take their troubles straight to the government in an event built on tradition. Some call this forum a democratic pillar. Critics beg to differ The 144 employees of the Timbuktu airport wrote to complain about...
Mark Thomas: Method and Madness of a TV Comic
British TV comedian Mark Thomas uses pranks and stunts to expose questionable government and business practices. Thomas says this is democracy in action, but his victims don't always agree Like many or your generation, you trace your political awakening...
Nostalgia for Istanbul
The sounds and smells of the fish market, the cool of a cafe near a mosque, alleyways cascading down towards the sea plied by vessels large and small - the indelible memories of a leading Turkish writer Istanbul is present in most of my books. One...
Open House or Closed Shop?
As a result of hothouse pressure to patent scientific discoveries, the debate and sharing of experimental results that traditionally stimulated research are giving way to a culture of secrecy There was a time when basic scientific knowledge was...
Peru's Child Workers Stake Their Claims
Young Peruvians set up a pioneering movement for working children and teenagers They're called "Nats", the acronym of Ninos y Adolescentes Trabajadores - Child and Teenage Workers. The term mainly refers to needy children in towns and cities, although...
Schools for Eco-Citizens
From pollution to over-population, education has a key role to play in helping learners realize early on how they can influence the future - for the better Gone are the days when environmental education was simply about nature outings in primary...
Science for Citizens
The time has come to negotiate a new social contract between science and society. At its heart: the notion of science as a public good, especially in countries of the South. Hiroshima, Chernobyl, the Bhopal chemical plant disaster . . . the twentieth...
Science to What Purpose?
Are the welfare and interests of the public being served by the priorities of researchers, the thrust of their work, the ways in which they are organized, the funding they receive, and the circulation of their findings? Science reigns triumphant....
Soaps with a Latin Scent
Charged with suspense and fantasy, Latin American soap operas are pouring off the production lines into living rooms all over the world During Ramadan last January, some of the mosques in Abidjan decided to bring forward prayer time. This thoughtful...
Staying Ahead of the Pack
The American firm Monsanto's flagship product, Roundup, highlights a strongpoint of private-sector research - its capacity to create and market new products How does the giant chemical and biotechnology company Monsanto manage to keep control of...
The Big Three Get Together
UNESCO'S World Science Report describes three main models for conducting and funding scientific research. What's your thinking about this? There certainly are three major models. By and large, Japan invests very little in defence, and industry still...
The Science-Tech Convergence
Although conventional wisdom still sees basic science as distinct from industrial research, it is actually very hard to draw the line between the two Industrial managers are being asked today to solve two seemingly contradictory problems: on the...
The Symbiosis of Pure and Applied Science
Fibre optics and medical scanners are among the many offshoots of the give-and-take between applied and pure science Little in life fits into neat boxes dividing one set of objectives from another. And science is far from an exception. I have in...
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