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This year’s job market is the hottest yet for new Ph.D.’s in agricultural sciences specializing in engineering, economics, and biotechnology-related fields, according to the department chairmen polled by The Scientist. “The market has been very good for several years, and I don’t think we’ve seen the peak at all yet,” says Gerald Isaacs, chairman of agricultural engineering at the University of Florida. The same story comes from the West Coast. “As

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The tragic loss of the space shuttle Challenger has not only disrupted the U.S. space program, it has also disrupted the process for planning the program. The current debate over the manned space station and the commercially developed space facility, an unmanned platform that would be launched and serviced by the shuttle in the early 1990s, is symptomatic of the present disarray. NASA’s problem is that it continues to employ a supply-side policy of investing in space. This is true for b

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Letters

By | June 27, 1988

Illogical Pathways Eugene Garfield in his editorial on “Recognizing the Role of Chance” (May 2, page 10) touches upon a point of more realistically reporting the role of serendipity in the research process. This is only one aspect of the publication of scientific papers that needs more discussion and consensus among scientists. I have long felt that the gloss of a hypothetico-deductive style in a research paper may overstate the degree of support for an author’s claim, if

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Little Science, Big Science--And Global Science

By | June 27, 1988

The handwriting for the future of federal science funding is on the wall, and Frank Press has read it as well as anybody. In his April 26th speech, the National Academy of Sciences president uttered publicly what many have acknowledged privately. The United States cannot afford to pursue at full tilt its Big Science agenda—the superconducting supercoilider, the human genome project, the space station—without cutting into support for the legions of individual investigators represe

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Major Drug Firms Also See Potential

By | June 27, 1988

The promise of profit in neurobiology is exciting the neurons of venture capitalists all over the country (see accompanying story). It’s also stimulating gray matter at the stoic nerve centers of the pharmaceutical giants. Although they may be loathe to admit it, beneath the traditionally calm exterior at these companies, synapses—and scientists—are jumping. Some of the large companies, of course, have been searching for drugs that affect the central nervous system for years

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First ‘superchemist’ Ed Engler threw corporate hierarchy to the winds, then IBM promoted him for it None of his IBM colleagues would have ever guessed that Edward Engler was about to turn his career upside-down on that February day in 1987. But looking back on it, the signs were there. Everyone knew this about Engler: The 39-year-old chemist was moving smartly along Big Blue’s management track. Already a second-tier manager, he had four laboratory directors reporting to hi

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MIT Cooks Up A Recipe To Make Startups Percolate

By | June 27, 1988

Take one creative scientist-turned-entrepreneur hawking a hot new technology. Sit him next to a venture capitalist hungry for investment opportunities. And, just to mix things up a bit, toss in a corporate executive on the prowl for a new product to bring to market. What have you got? All the ingredients for a potent dish of startup success, says John T. Preston, director of technology licensing for MIT Preston should know. A recent study identified 404 MIT alumni-founded companies in Massac

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Networking U.S. Science By The Year 2000

By | June 27, 1988

Fits and starts in the drive to contruct an information age interstate highway system WASHINGTON—White House science policy analyst, Paul Huray wanted to send the latest draft of an upcoming report on advances in computer technology to members of his intergovernmental Committee on Computer Research and Applications. So he sought an electronic solution. But Huray found that the jumble of networks that now exist couldn’t do the job. Networks balked when ordered to talk to each o

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Neurobiology: Science Entrepreneurs' New Wave

By | June 27, 1988

New Wave Eager venture capitalists and the tools of genetic engineering are opening up medicine’s final frontier: the brain Survey the landscape of recent science startups, and you would notice a trend: Small neurobiology companies are sprouting up on both coasts—an estimated 15 companies have been founded in the past three years. Then stake out the nerve centers of the large pharmaceutical corporations, and you’d find that, one way or another, most of them are pumping big

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Climate Expert Wins Award For Achievement Professor of meteorology Bert Bolin, who helped focus international attention on the potential dangers to the world’s climate posed by “greenhouse” gases such as carbon dioxide, is the winner of the 1988 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. A University of Stockholm faculty member and director of the International Meteorological Institute in Stockholm, Bolin has been instrumental in determining how man’s activities have

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