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Germans Redefine the Ranks

September 7, 1987

WEST BERLIN—A rose isa rose is a rose, according to Gertrude Stein. But a professor is not a Professor an einer Kunsthochschule (college of art), much less a Universitätsprofessor. So says the West German Bundestag, which voted to end rampant rank inflation in academic circles. A suit by hundreds of university professors forced the legislature to reestablish the hierarchical structure of academics that had eroded over the past two decades. The new law has no effect on salaries. &

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Happenings

September 7, 1987

Howard E. Morgan became the new president of the American Heart Association on June 22. M(frgan will continue at the Geisinger Clinic, Danville, PA, in his capacity as director of the Siegfried and Janet Weis Center for Research, as well as continuing to direct the development of a new program of basic investigation into cardiovascular disease. Peter Bond became the new Chairman of the Physics Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory in July. Bond sees relativistic heavy ion physics as th

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Is Quality a Casualty in the Race to Publish?

By | September 7, 1987

WASHINGTON—Last spring’s newspaper stories that described how IBM researchers had boosted the critical current density of a superconductive thin-film crystal by a factor of 100 were also bringing news of the discovery to most scientists. Not until six weeks later were the details published in Physical Review Letters. Increasingly, scientists in fast-paced fields are announcing breakthroughs at meetings or press conferences. Long before results appear in scientific journals, they

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Italy Expands Science Post

September 7, 1987

MILAN—In a surprise move never mentioned during Italy’s recent general election campaign, the new government is transferring supervision of the nation’s universities from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Scientific Research. The science ministry is also being elevated to cabinet level. The jurisdictional transfer of the university system, which comprises 50,000 people and has an annual budget of several billion dollars, may offer new opportunities for university

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Letters

By | September 7, 1987

I feel compelled to respond to Ann Brierly’s letter (THE SCIENTIST, June 1, 1987, P. 10) about my Opinion article “Should Journals Pay Referees?” (THE SCIENTIST, March 9, 1987, p. 13). I agree with Brierly’s statement that reviewing manuscripts for journals is our professional duty, but thinking that being paid for reviewing a paper is a bribe is quite unreasonable. One of the professional duties of a physician is occasionally to examine people before they are hired for

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Math Society to Vote on Military Funds

By | September 7, 1987

BOSTON—The American Mathematical Society (AMS) has agreed to ask its 20,000 members to set a policy on the role of the military in funding mathematics research. The vote, to be taken in January, will cover five motions touching on the nature of federal support for the discipline. The society’s decision to poll its membership comes after two controversial motions on the topic of military funding generated heated debate during the society’s meeting last January. One of these

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MIT Academics Market Discovery

By | September 7, 1987

BOSTON—Two MIT professors without business experience hope to turn a unique manufacturing process into a commercial success in the burgeoning field of high-temperature superconductivity. Gregory J. Yurek and John Vandersande, both of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, decided to launch the American Superconductor Corp. last spring after developing a proprietary process for fabricating superconductors through oxidation of metallic components. The program is sai

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Money Bills Favor NIH, Squeeze NSF

By | September 7, 1987

WASHINGTON—The status of research funding bills for 1988, as Congress returns from its month-long summer break, reflects the difference between word and deed in politics. In January President Reagan proposed a federal budget that called for a healthy increase for NSF, selective increases for R&D at NASA, and a sharp reduction in funding for NIH. Eight months later, as Congress approaches its October 1 deadline to appropriate money for the 1988 fiscal year, the opposite appears more like

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Museum's High Hopes

By | September 7, 1987

ITHACA, N.Y.—The new director of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., hopes to expand its research efforts and use its exhibits to further public understanding of science and technology. Cornell astronomer and astrophysicist Martin 0. Harwit last month took charge of one of the most-visited museums in the world, with an estimated 9 million visitors annually. It houses exhibits ranging from the Wright Brothers’ first aircraft to the Apollo 11 command module and

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NASA Official Hopeful

By | September 7, 1987

WASHINGTON—The pam of the present will eventually lead to longterm gains for space scientists if NASA’s budget continues to grow, says Lennard A. Fisk, the agency’s new associate administrator for space science and applications. “NASA has essentially been directed by the president to go back to its R&D roots, and that will do well for science and applications,” Fisk told THE SCIENTIST in one of his first interviews since taking the position in April. “If I

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