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The Marshall W. Nirenberg Papers

Letter from William E. Gordon to Marshall W. Nirenberg pdf (452,833 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from William E. Gordon to Marshall W. Nirenberg
Gordon, Foreign Secretary for the National Academy of Sciences, alerts Nirenberg to the opportunity for him to participate in three aspects of the NAS program of cooperation with the Academy of Sciences of the USSR: first, to visit the USSR as an Academy Scholar; second, to participate in annual scientific workshops; and third to facilitate a program of exchange of postdoctoral scientists. Supplemental information in each area is provided and Nirenberg's input is requested.
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6 (452,833 Bytes)
1988-05-31 (May 31, 1988)
Gordon, William E.
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
Nirenberg, Marshall W.
Reproduced with permission of William E. Gordon.
Exhibit Category:
Beyond the Laboratory: Professional, Personal, and Political Life, 1967-2002
Box Number: 17
Folder Number: 29
Unique Identifier:
Accession Number:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Series III: Laboratory Administration, [1959]-1993
SubSeries: Daily Books, 1968-1996
Folder: #361 - #400, 1987 Aug-1988 Oct
May 31, 1988
Members of the Academy
Dear Colleagues:
As you probably know, during the past several years we have been gradually expanding our program of scientific cooperation with the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In January of this year all of the NAS officers and several other NAS members met in Moscow with the leadership of the Soviet Academy to discuss future opportunities for scientific cooperation. The Presidents of the two Academies signed a new five-year agreement for cooperation and developed an ambitious program of joint activities for the next several years.
Within the Soviet Academy, a new generation of scientists, well attuned to the international aspects of science and technology, is emerging. For the first time, we have begun exchanging ideas with these new scientific leaders on the reform of their economic and scientific systems. Also, we have had frank exchanges on human rights in the USSR, on free circulation of scientists, and on other topics of great importance to the international scientific community. The willingness of the Soviet scientific leadership to candidly and openly confront key issues that retard their scientific progress and impede international cooperation has greatly encouraged us as to the possibilities for highly productive collaboration between the scientific communities in the United States and the USSR.
The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention opportunities for your participation in three aspects of our program of cooperation with the Soviet Academy. First, each year we nominate six NAS members to visit the USSR for two to four weeks as Academy Scholars; we invite interested members to apply for the program. Secondly, we sponsor with the Soviet Academy four scientific workshops annually; we seek proposals for workshops from our membership. Finally, we are initiating a program of exchange of postdoctoral scientists; we request your assistance in identifying potential opportunities for placement of Soviet scientists in the United States. Also, as noted in the enclosure, we encourage NAS members to work with Soviet colleagues outside interacademy channels.
I am enclosing details about each of these activities. I hope that you will find one or more of them of interest. We are also sponsoring other types of activities such as longer-term visits to the USSR to conduct research. Should you be interested in learning more about our collaborative activities with the Soviet Academy, I suggest that you call Glenn Schweitzer of our staff (202/334-2644) or write to me directly.
William E. Gordon
Foreign Secretary
Exchange Visits by NAS Members to USSR
The interacademy agreement signed on January 12, 1988, by the Presidents of the NAS and Academy of Sciences of the USSR continues the Academy Scholars Program begun in 1986. Under this program, each Academy makes arrangements to exchange six Academy members for visits of two to four weeks for the purpose of presenting scientific and public lectures and for scientific consultations.
The NAS and the Soviet Academy make all administrative arrangements for the visits. For NAS members who are selected, the NAS provides APEX tickets to Moscow while the Soviet Academy covers living and travel expenses in the USSR. Academy Scholars may be accompanied by a scientific colleague, spouse, or family member, for whom the Soviet Academy will also cover in-country expenses.
The NAS members who have participated in the Academy Scholars program during 1987 and 1988 were generally very pleased with the experiences. The NAS members who have completed such exchanges are
Gilbert White (University of Colorado), Norman Ness (University of Delaware), Irving Segal (MIT), Saunders Mac Lane (University of Chicago), Michel Boudart (Stanford University), Vernon Hughes (Yale University), Ray Davis, Jr. (University of Pennsylvania), Melvin Green (University of California - Davis), George Herbig (University of California - Santa Cruz), Robert Gomer (University of Chicago), Anton Lang (Michigan State University), Robert Perry (Fox Chase Cancer Center).
The NAS is currently soliciting applications from NAS members to participate in the Academy Scholars program during 1989 and 1990. The NAS selection process will be completed by December 1988, with the officers of the NAS making the final selection.
Applications should be submitted in the form of a letter of approximately two pages and should include the following information:
Name and current affiliation of applicant; a brief description of applicant's current research activities and relevance to the proposed visit; scientific rationale for visiting the USSR and anticipated benefits to be derived from the visit by both the Soviet and US scientific communities; the proposed program in the USSR, including the names of proposed Soviet hosts and Soviet institutions of particular interest; the timing of the proposed visit.
Applications should reach the following address no later than August 15, 1988:
William E. Gordon
Foreign Secretary
National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Ave.
Washington, DC 20418
Attn: Soviet and East European Affairs - Academy Scholars
Further inquiries about the details of the program should be directed to Ms. Cassandra Turczak (202/334-3652).
Interested NAS members who have previously applied for the program but did not participate are requested to update their applications with the information described above. The Academy officers will be fully informed about previous applications which, due to administrative constraints within the Soviet Academy of Sciences, did not result in visits.
In view of the very limited number of NAS members who can participate in the Academy Scholars Program, members interested in visiting the USSR may wish to arrange such visits on a personal basis directly with Soviet colleagues and Soviet institutions outside interacademy channels. In the recent past, a number of NAS members have visited or have been visited by Soviet colleagues in response to private invitations, and this method of cooperation is likely to increase substantially.
Scientific Workshops Sponsored by the NAS and the Soviet Academy
The NAS and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR co-sponsor four scientific workshops per year, with one-half held in the United States and one-half in the USSR. Workshops that have been held in 1987 and 1988 (*) or are scheduled in 1988 and 1989 are:
1987: *Condensed Matter Theory, in US
1988: *Use of Lasers in Linear and Nonlinear Photochemistry, in US
*Creation of New Vaccines, in USSR
*Nonlinear Processes in Dense Plasmas, in US
Earthquake Prediction, in USSR
Planetary Exploration, in USSR
1989: Dynamical Symmetries & Supersymmetries, in US
Biotechnology and Its Applications to Agriculture, in US
Structure of Eucaryotic Genome & Regulation of Its Expression, in USSR
High Energy Astrophysics, in USSR
We currently are soliciting proposals for workshop topics that might be considered for the latter half of 1989 and 1990. Selection of workshop topics will be made at the meeting of Officers of the NAS and Soviet Academy in December 1988. It is therefore necessary that all proposals by NAS members be received at the following address by August 15, 1988:
William E. Gordon
Foreign Secretary
National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Ave.
Washington, DC 20418
Attn: Soviet and East European Affairs - Scientific Workshops
Each workshop lasts three to four days with an additional ten days devoted to visits to research facilities in the host country. About ten American and ten Soviet scientists participate in each workshop together with additional observers from the host country. The participants, agenda, and technical aspects of the workshops are determined jointly by the American and Soviet co-chairs who are selected by the respective Academies. The NAS and the Soviet Academy assume responsibility for the direct costs associated with the workshops, but the American co-chairs are expected to work with the NAS staff in raising the required funding from Government and private sources. NAS staff will also assume considerable responsibility for the administrative aspects of the workshops and will provide advice to the American co-chairs on the substantive aspects.
Each proposal should include the theme for the proposed workshop, subthemes which might be considered as specific agenda topics, a discussion of the scientific importance of the theme and subthemes, and an assessment of the particular strengths of the Soviet scientific community in the field. The proposal should include the name and affiliation of the American co-chair and the possible co-chair from the Soviet side. Names and affiliations of appropriate American and Soviet participants should also be included. Themes that are closely tied to military applications should be avoided.
The proposal should be in the form of a letter of about two pages in length. Questions concerning the proposal or other aspects of the workshop program can be directed to Ms. Virginia Martin on 202/334-3655.
Topics that have already been covered in previous workshops will not be repeated for workshops in 1989 or 1990. Proposals previously submitted to the NAS for themes that have not yet been adopted by the two Academies should be updated in accordance with the above suggestions.
Postdoctoral Opportunities for Soviet Scientists
In an effort to encourage greater interactions between young scientists in the United States and the USSR, the NAS and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR have agreed to exchange information about opportunities for postdoctoral scientists from each country to spend one or more years at appropriate laboratories in the other country. We are asking for your help in identifying opportunities for Soviet postdoctoral scientists to work in laboratories in the United States in fields that would not be considered sensitive from the point of view of military applications of research results.
Specifically, we would appreciate your consulting with possibly interested colleagues about such opportunities. If you or your colleagues can identify postdoctoral positions for which highly talented Soviet scientists might compete during the next several years, we would greatly appreciate receiving such information.
NAS is acting only as an expediter of information for this program. Therefore, we plan simply to forward to the Soviet Academy of Sciences the names and addresses of US scientists and institutions which would consider Soviet nominees in specific fields, presumably in competition with nominees from the United States and from other countries. The Soviet scientists will then deal directly with the US institutions on all administrative, financial, and other aspects of such arrangements.
If you can assist us, we would greatly appreciate your sending information on postdoctoral positions which might be of interest to Soviet scientists to the following address by August 15, 1988:
William E. Gordon
Foreign Secretary
National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Ave.
Washington, DC 20418
Attn: Soviet and East European Affairs - Postdoctoral Positions
The information should include as much detail as possible on the documentation required from the Soviet scientists and the time table for postdoctoral appointments beginning in 1989. Any questions may be directed to Ms. Kathleen Trivers on 202/334-3654.
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