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Association Briefs

July 25, 1988

The Astronomy News Hotline, sponsored by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, has a new number: (415) 337-1244. The Hotline’s recorded message—which is available to callers around the clock and has been in continuous operation since 1976, relays new discoveries in astronomy, special celestial events, and other items of interest to stargazers and armchair astronomers. It is written and produced by astronomer Sherwood Harrington, staff member of the Astronomical Society of the Pa

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Biologist Hood Uses Loose Reins To Guide 'Gang of 70'

By | July 25, 1988

Around the California Institute of Technology, members of Leroy Hood’s lab occasionally call themselves the “Gang of 70.” In fact, the precise number working for one of the world’s top biologists changes constantly with the natural ebb and flow of graduate students, postdoctorates, and technical staff. But the spirit of the nickname remains constant: Hood’s team is big, anywhere from eight to 10 times bigger than the typical academic lab team. However, the group m

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Thanks to physicist Don Braben, the oil giant funds Nobeists and little-known scientists when no one will LONDON—Harvard chemist Dudley Herschbach was reading a copy of Physics Today one day in 1981 when he came across an article on quantum chromodynamics. It explained how physicists use dimensional contraction to calculate the energy levels of subatomic particles. Intrigued, the soon-to-be Nobel laureate thought this might make a good exercise for his chemistry students to apply to atom

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In the laboratory, chemicals are measured by the gram or kilogram rather than by the ton or kiloton as they are in industry. The cost involved with disposal of hazardous chemicals tends to be inversely proportional to the volume of waste, so the disposal cost per pound is usually much higher for laboratory waste than for industrial waste. As a result, laboratories should recognize not only the usual moral and legal reasons for minimizing their waste, but economic reasons as well. Five general

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Physics professors, on the average, are paid higher salaries than their biology, chemistry, and mathematics counterparts. And full professors in all scientific disciplines tend to earn more in private colleges and universities than those in state-supported institutions. However, the scientists in more than one-third of those state-supported schools—including the physicists—would be making a lot less money than they do now if it weren’t for collective bargaining. These are a

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Entrepreneur Briefs

July 25, 1988

Small Businesses: Advice And Money Dollars are available and deadlines are imminent for proposals to the Small Business Innovation Research program—plus, if you have already tried and failed, a couple of conferences might set you straight. SBIR, run by 11 participating federal agencies, funds research “of a high risk nature that may have excellent commercial potential.” Phase I SBIR awards—which range from $20,000 to $50,000 for a six-month effort—can be crucial so

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Funding Briefs

July 25, 1988

Wanted: Young Talent for $500,000 Prize The National Science Foundation is looking for promising young researchers in any field of science, mathematics, or engineering to consider for the 1989 Alan T. Waterman Award. Honoring NSF’s first director, the award encourages “further high quality research,” with a prize of up to $500,000 per year for three years of research or advanced study. The award grant is made to the institution of the recipient’s choice and is administer

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Case Two: Harold Hilman’s attack on electron microscopy may have cost the British neurophysiologist his job Neurophysiologist Harold Hillman has a serious career problem. He’s out of step with his peers, and now he’s out of a job as well. For 15 years Hillman has been leading a scientist’s version of a double life. On the one hand, he has done mainstream neurological research and been a respected teacher of physiology. On the other, he has been questioning, needling,

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Case One: The Molecular biologist who refuses to believe that AIDS is caused by a virus BERKELEY, CALIF.—On a Saturday early in April, as Washington’s famous cherry trees began to blossom, eight of the nation’s top AIDS researchers gathered at George Washington University for a special meeting. But they weren’t there to discuss their latest findings, or to devise new strategies for fighting the deadly disease, or even to enjoy the Washington spring. Instead, says Berke

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Government Briefs

July 25, 1988

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is supposed to coordinate federal policy on science. But low-profile science adviser William Graham, even after 20 months on the job, occasionally still finds himself on the outside looking in. The latest snub is a new report from the Office of Technology Assessment on ways to improve U.S. efforts to commercialize high-temperature superconductivity [to get the report, call (202) 783-3238 and ask for GPO 052-003-01112-3; the price is $8].

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