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SSC: On Land, In Space

September 21, 1987

WASHINGTON—This month’s deadline for submitting proposals for the $44 billion Superconducting Supercoilider has left the Department of Energy with 43 places to put the world’s biggest scientific construction project. All of the states expected to be in the running (see THE SCIENTIST, March 9, p. 1) submitted their bids on time, although California’s arrived with only eight minutes to spare after a legislative fight on affirmative action hiring goals. Some states couldn

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Suicides in Science: A Search for Answers

By | September 21, 1987

SAN FRANCISCO—It’s not uncommon for one scientist to build on the work of another. But it’s rare for that research to spawn an organization dedicated to saving the lives of its subjects. For Molly Gleiser, a chemist at the University of California-Berke- ley, the idea for Suicide Prevention Among Scientists began with an 1984 article in Chemical and Engineering News that described a study of the causes of death among female chemists. One figure jumped out at her: the suici

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Teller on SDI, Competitiveness

By | September 21, 1987

One of the most eminent and controversial scientists of this century, nuclear physicist Edward Teller is perhaps best known for his role in the development of nuclear weapons at Los Alamos National Laboratory during World War II. Often called the “father of the hydrogen bomb,” he also played a controversial role in the loss of security clearance by J. Robert Oppenheimer, the former director of Los Alamos. More recently Teller has been an outspohen advocate of defensive weap- ons, in

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The Argument from Design

By | September 21, 1987

COSMIC JOY AND LOCAL PAIN Musings of a Mystic Scientist. Harold J. Morowitz. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1987. 321 pp. $18.95. Harold Morowitz is a distinguished Yale biophysicist and former master of Pierson College. He is also the author of two charming collections of essays: The Wine of Life and Mayonnaise and the Origin of Life. Morowitz spent his last sabbatical on a yacht docked off the West Maui mountains in Hawaii. In that yacht he produced a book that is wise, thoughtf

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The Ifs, Ands and Buts of Nuclear War

By | September 21, 1987

A WORLD BEYOND HEALING The Prologue and Aftermath of Nuclear War. Nicholas Wade. W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1987.190 pp. $15.95. The title suggests a description of the post-nuclear world, but this book has a much more ambitious purpose: . to present a concise and impartial account of nuclear war—how a nuclear war might start; what nuclear weapons do to people, cities, and the natural environment; and what the chances are of economic and ecological recovery in the aftermath of a nucl

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The Long Shadow of The Nazi Doctors

By | September 21, 1987

The “medicalization” of mass killing in Nazi Germany is one of the most horrible incidents in the history of science—a time that must never be forgotten. We owe that to those millions who did not survive—both the victims of the Holocaust and those who fought against it. In order to transform curing into killing it was necessary that many physicians become murderers or the helpers of murderers. All those who committed these crimes against humanity are responsible for

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U.K. Company Offers The BEST of Academia

By | September 21, 1987

BELFAST—The strengths and opportunities within British academic research are being offered to industry, government agencies and scientists as part of a national academic data base created last year. The information, known as British Expertise in Science and Technology (BEST), was developed by the publishing firm Longman Cartermill, at the University of St. Andrew’s. Set up in March 1986, BEST covers 180 institutions and contains 14,000 records of scientists and their work. Michae

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U.S.-Soviet Space Talks Open

By | September 21, 1987

WASHINGTON—Members of the first of five newly created U.S.-Soviet joint scientific working groups have reached a tentative agreement to exchange data on space life sciences and rekindled hope for longlasting coordination of overall research efforts in space. The joint group, which met for six days last month in Moscow, agreed to update a comprehensive space biology and medicine text published jointly in the 1970s and to form a subgroup to explore cooperative projects in extraterrestria

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When Scientists Think Like Accountants

By | September 21, 1987

Scientists and technologists in industry complain about being subjected to accountants, but, as Mark Twain would point out, they do nothing about it. In self-defense they learn to read balance sheets and to use the jargon of accountants, but they regard these as being trivial matters not worthy of serious thought. They therefore pay little or no attention to the assumptions that are buried deep below practice and of which accountants themselves seldom are conscious—assumptions that, to

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Where Are the Independent Critics?

By | September 21, 1987

"In The Politics of Food he [Geoffrey Cannon] shows that the Officially Secret decisions of a closed circle of little-known but powerful people in Whitehall and Westminster, meeting in committees with representatives of the giant food manufacturers, without reference to us or our MPs in Parliament, has [sic] resulted in a national food policy that could he the death of us all.” Hyperbole is an essential tool for the “writers” who compose those stirring constellations of wo

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