science diplomacy

It was the other guy’s fault, no question. That’s pretty much the explanation for why a major science conference scheduled for December came close to being torpedoed. Astronomers from all over the world were planning to gather at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in Mountain View, California, to talk about new results coming from the planet-hunting Kepler mission.

The Obama Administration has embraced the concept of science diplomacy as a way to bridge cultural and economic gaps between the United States and the rest of the world. The director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, John P Holdren, regularly meets with his science policy counterparts from Brazil, China, India, Japan, Korea and Russia. The US State Department has sent a series of American scientists abroad as "Science Envoys" in hopes of using scientific relationships as an olive branch to the Muslim world

When I was referred to a documentary film on India’s scientific greats by its maker Raja Choudhury this week, I was wondering if there’d be anything beyond what I already know about them in the hour-long film. To find this out, it also meant dedicating an hour to watch the film on YouTube with its infamous buffering time. But I was ready to endure that, partly because the title of the film was inviting — The Quantum Indians — and partly because I had not been able to take up Raja’s earlier offer to feature in this film as an ‘expert’ on India’s science.

Colombia doesn’t have a space program, but as of Friday, it does have an elite aerospace engineering team. RoboCol, a group of 15 assorted engineering students and two designers from the Bogota-based Andes University, finished fourth place out of 50 international participants in the Lunabotics Mining Competition held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for its work on “Intensity”, a robot designed to traverse lunar terrain.

Ethiopia's decision to begin diverting the course of the Blue Nile (the largest of the Nile river’s branches), as a prelude to the construction of the Renaissance Dam, put Egyptian diplomacy in a difficult position and stirred fears over Cairo’s declining share in the Nile waters, but the Egyptian presidency managed to tame these fears.

Case studies on public diplomacy with adversarial states.