Atomic anniversary

Energy is likely to be high in the headlines this week. It’s half-year results time for many major companies, but BP and Shell’s results are reliable indicators of the health of the petrochemicals sector. Is it bucking the recessionary trend, and will its executives be accused of profiteering? With petrol prices going up again, there is certain to be controversy.


Other companies reporting results include many of the major car manufacturers, who are almost certain to post disappointing figures. Some indicators show that new car orders are beginning to grow, however; those who believe the recession has bottomed out will be looking keenly for evidence of recovery.


In Norway, meanwhile, this week sees the World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology meeting, a raft of conferences covering computing, fluid mechanics, automotive and mechanical engineering and a whole range of meetings related to the interfaces between medicine and engineering.


Space scientists, meanwhile, will have their attention split: the Space Shuttle Endeavour is due to land after its mission to the International Space Station, while in San Francisco, experts will be meeting to discuss adaptive hardware and systems, such as the ExoMars Rover and other devices designed to adapt to off-world conditions.


Nuclear power is, arguably, 70 years old this week, with the anniversary of Albert Einstein’s letter to President Roosevelt recommending the use of use of the Manhattan Project’s research for peaceful purposes. As for the effects of Einstein’s acts, as someone once said of the French Revolution in the 1960s: it’s too early to tell.



Stuart Nathan
Special Projects Editor