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When Hutton Talks, Do Scientists Listen?

By | September 7, 1987

The three-day meeting on the origin of the granites that opens in Edinburgh on September 14 is billed as a symposium celebrating the bicentenary of the work of James Hutton. But who is this James Hutton? Could it possibly be that same James Hutton whose name was invoked at another conference but a decade or so ago, the Hutton often referred to as “the father of geology”? Well, yes and no—or rather, yes, yes and no—and thereby hangs a (tragic?) tale. The James Hutton o

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Africans Form Science Union

August 10, 1987

BRAZZAVILLE, CONGO—The continent’s leading scientists and technology experts have agreed to form a Pan-African Union of Science and Technology to apply their knowledge to the enormous economic problems facing their developing countries. The decision was made at the end of an unprecedented week-long meeting here coordinated by the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The First Congress of African Scientists was funded in part by UNESCO, the United Nations Development Program and th

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Albert Einstein Looks for a Job

By | August 10, 1987

You’ve promised yourself you’ll begin looking for a job just as soon as summer’s over. Fortify yourself with the tribulations of young Albert Einstein; things got so bad that his father even wrote on his behalf. It took Einstein almost two years to land his entry-level appointment at the Swiss Patent Office But the rest, of course, is history We hope you fare as well. From The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 1: The Early Years, 1879-1902 (Princeton University Press,

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Basic Work To Get Boost In Canada

By | August 10, 1987

OTTAWA—The National Research Council of Canada, seeking ways to buffer government pressure to support more applied work, has taken several small steps to bolster basic research. Its latest effort is a $1 million fund from which to finance petitive grants for “curiosity-driven projects” in a variety .of disciplines. In a recent letter to NRC staff, President Larkin Kerwin noted that grants for basic research comprised only 15 percent of the council’s awards but that he

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Bills Seek to Strengthen U.S. Information Policy

By | August 10, 1987

WASHINGTON—The government’s management of scientific and technical information came under heavy fire last month at a congressional hearing. Witnesses charged that the Reagan administration has failed to develop a coherent national policy, and attacked its plans to broaden security restrictions on such information and sell off the National Technical Information Services (NTIS), the nation’s largest repository of technical material. The hearing before the Science, Research a

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Chernobyl Still in the Limelight, on Stage

By | August 10, 1987

SARCOPHAGUS Vladimir Gubaryev. Translated by Michael Glenny. On stage at The Pit in London April through June. At the Mermaid Theatre in London October through December. Available from Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1987. 81 pp. £3.50. A funny thing happened in the London theater this summer with the production of a Russian play called Sarcophagus at The Pit, an intimate little “off-Broadway" type playhouse in the city, far from the West End theaters. Sarcophagus, produced by the Royal

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D

By | August 10, 1987

LONDON—Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will take the lead in discussions of the country’s science and technology priorities as part of a shake-up in Britain’s approach to research. And one of the first items on her agenda is a request from scientists to create a network of interdisciplinary, university-based research centers. These are two of the features detailed in a series of documents released last month before the end of the British parliamentary session. On July 20

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D Plan At Last

August 10, 1987

BRUSSELS—The European Economic Community’s R&D program of collaborative work on telecommunications and other advanced technologies is now poised to go ahead following a budgetary compromise between the British government and the rest of the EEC. Variously heralded in the British press as a retreat by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher or a vindication of her demands for restraint, a 5.2 billion ECU ($6 billion), the Framework program for the next five years has been set by the EC

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Donald Kennedy On Fund Raising, Federal Aid and Scientific Fraud

By | August 10, 1987

Donald Kennedy’s career as biologist, educator and administrator reflects his belief that scientists and other academics should speak out on public policy issues and conskier devoting some time to public service. As a result, his views on science, education, federal regulation and related topics have received wide circulation, whether he was speaking as a White House consultant, U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner or in his current position as president of Stanford University.

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Dueling Selectively With Darwin

By | August 10, 1987

Turning points in my intellectual life have never been welcome; I always seem to resist them until forced to do otherwise. One such passage occurred some 10 years ago, as I was walking one spring morning in the Downs of southern England with the evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith and his biologist wife Sheila. John, remarking on our proximity to Charles Darwin’s home, chided me gently: “You really must think about natural selection, Stuart.” How his comment shocked me

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