Comments

Correspondence

The recent “birth” of research*eu has not passed unnoticed. Many readers of issue no. 52 reached for their keyboards to congratulate us on the new graphic style and the change of title. Others reacted to the content of certain articles, in particular to the feature article on climate.

“My one regret is not having discovered this magazine earlier” (Sri Lanka). “The way the magazine is conceived testifies to your concern to bring European citizens closer to science” (France). “Your magazine has become a valuable tool in helping me better understand the issues of science and society” (Algeria). “Thank you for disseminating knowledge and research in scientific and technical areas, and facilitating access to them, to making them attractive and motivating us to take pleasure in getting to know them” (Ireland). “I have never found such an informative and interesting magazine of such quality, even among commercial publications” (Croatia).

These are some of your reactions to the launch of research*eu. The new presentation has yielded a large postbag, telling us that readers are very attached to their printed version (“you can read it at different times of day, give it to other family members, share it with friends…” (Belgium).

Other messages expressed the interest the magazine presents for many organisations linked to the world of research and research promotion, who often receive several copies  Identical requests from schools, higher education institutes and teachers tell us that research*eu is a tool for information and discussion on research for the younger generations. “We use your magazine as a teaching tool. Its style, structure and linguistic consistency offer a precious model for our future French and English-speaking journalists and teachers”, one “teacher-user” writes.

Criticism and compliments

Many readers have offered suggestions – complimentary and critical – on the content. Our climate feature article “Too late to wait” attracted extensive comment. Bulgarian scientist Svetoslav Apostolov accuses research*eu of swallowing hook, line and sinker the thesis that global warming is due entirely to human activities, without mentioning the role of natural global climate change as it has existed throughout history. John Swingler (UK) shares the vision of philosopher Daniel Bourg, for whom a new global ethic needs to replace the contractualist model of “everyone can serve themselves in their own interests”, but asks whether it is only the threat – or advent – of a catastrophe that can bring this about.  Stéphane Fay’s text inaugurating the new Young Researchers heading (no. 53), also raised controversy, with the author being considered both unfair on French research and hailed for his courage and freedom of spirit.

Michael A. Fütterer (Netherlands) for his part submitted a detailed commentary on the article on energy appearing in the special 7FP edition.

For him, it is not enough to link the future of nuclear energy only to the natural resources of uranium currently available for exploitation. He also questions the principle of strengthening energy autonomy by using renewable resources in a world that is becoming increasingly populated, as well as the limits of the hydrogen vector.

Certain watchful readers gave us bad marks in geography by pointing out that we had located the Chilean VLT telescope at La Silla instead of Paranal, and, worse, Pinatubo in Indonesia instead of the Philippines.

The size of this postbag is encouraging, even though slightly frustrating in the context of a printed magazine, which is too limited to reflect the spontaneity and diversity of this correspondence.

But with the Internet site due to be totally restructured in 2008, a genuine interactive space will soon be dedicated to this dialogue.

We hope this news will encourage all those readers who wish to react.

The research*eu team

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