Short items, November 2008

BPA conflict continues 

The chairman of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) subcommittee currently reviewing the safety of bisphenol A(BPA), Martin Philbert, has been criticised for not disclosing a $5 million donation to his University of Michigan Risk Science Center from Charles Gelman, a retired medical supply manufacturer who believes BPA is safe. Meanwhile, the Canadian government has announced it will limit sales of baby bottles made with BPA. 

Scottish chemistry boost

A ?1.8 million initiative creating 31 new PhD studentships in chemistry over three years has been launched by ScotCHEM (a collaboration of seven Scottish universities), the Scottish Funding Council and Chemical Sciences Scotland. The new scheme is a partnership between universities and the chemicals industry, and chemists on the course will split their time between the two. 

Royal Society promotes enterprise

The UK’s Royal Society (RS) has launched a ’venture philanthropy’ Enterprise fund which aims to raise a ?20 million endowment to finance high-tech spin-outs from scientific research, with any profits recycled for further investment.  The RS also announced a ?1 million annual investment for blue skies research in any field, with applications open from 10 November.  

Go Figure 

4.28 billion  The age, in years, of the oldest rocks in the world (from northern Quebec) as claimed by geologists publishing recently in  Science   (DOI: 10.1126/science.1161925). The team from McGill University, Canada, used neodymium-142 dating to back up their claim.