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Itching to Study Lice and Mites

By | May 2, 1988

In 1939, when World War II broke out, I held the Royal Society's Sorby Research Fellowship and was working on problems of insect physiology at Sheffield University. As my name was on the Central Register of Reserved Occupations, I was debarred from military service so as to be available for scientific work of national importance. Unfortunately, the authorities had no suggestions for any such work. I felt I should temporarily abandon insect physiology and devote my talents to some problem more c

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Letters

By | May 2, 1988

Too Many Journals? Wheat from Chaff? Einstein's Office Regarding Eugene Garfield’s stalwart defense of the proliferation of scientific journals (March 7, 1988, p. 11): It would make as much sense for Garfield to argue otherwise as it would for the Pentagon to insist that its budget is overfed. Journals are meat and potatoes to scientific commerce, just as advertisements are to retail business and TV spots to politics. Quality control has nothing to do with it. William R. Hoffm

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Low Profile for SDI Work on Campus

By | May 2, 1988

WASHINGTON--For J.R. Shealy, an electrical engineer at Cornell University, the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) isn’t about shooting down missiles. Instead, it’s a way to fund his pioneering research on growing semiconductor crystals. WASHINGTON--James A. Ionson’s four-year tenure as director of SDI’s Innovative Science and Technology (IST) program was punctuated by controversy over the idea of a strategic defense and the role of the academic community in SDI resea

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Lower Ratings Shake Morale at NIH

By | May 2, 1988

WASHINGTON--One day last fall NIH lost one-half of its "outstanding" scientist administrators. Nobody left, and there was no immediate drop in the amount or quality of work being performed on the Bethesda campus. The change was strictly on paper, a result of a 1986 decision by the Reagan administration to reduce the number of “outstanding” performance ratings given to senior executives throughout the government. But NIH Director James Wyngaarden and others feel the policy delivers

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Math Society Votes Down Funding by SDI, Military

By | May 2, 1988

BOSTON--By significant margins, and in surprising numbers, members of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) have voted to oppose the administration’s SDI program and military funding of their discipline. About 7,000 members nearly twice the number that normally vote each year for the society’s officers, cast ballots on one or more of the five resolutions. The first resolution, passed by 57 percent of those who voted, expressed the society’s refusal to lend “a spuriou

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PASADENA. CALIF.--Materials scientists from several NASA-supported centers and commercial firms have developed plans to conduct research aboard the proposed industrial space facility. In February President Reagan endorsed the concept of an orbiting facility, built with private funds, that could be launched years earlier than the space station. The space lab would offer opportunities for continuous processing and testing, with experiments tended every four to six months by astronauts arriving

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Our Nuclear Future: Paris or Hiroshima?

By | May 2, 1988

Nuclear energy has always engendered both hope and fear in people. Depending on one’s viewpoint, the power of the atom is the key to either Utopia or Armageddon. In Nuclear Fear: A History of Images (Harvard University Press, 1988) physicist-historian Spencer Weart examines the images that have influenced discussion of nuclear energy since the latter part of the 19th century. In this excerpt from the book, Weart offers his views on the next steps in the debate over nuclear power plants a

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Polar Politics of The Ice: Two New Volumes

By | May 2, 1988

NEXT DECADE Report of a Study Group Chaired by Sir Anthony Parsons. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1987. 164 pp. $44.50. THE ANTARCTIC TREATY REGIME Law, Environment and Resources. Gillian D. Tnggs, ed. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1987. 239 pp. $54.50. The Antarctic Treaty, a pioneering political milestone, successfully resolved international territorial disputes to guarantee a free environment for scientific research: Negotiated nearly 30 years ago, the treaty has achieved

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Recognizing the Role of Chance

By | May 2, 1988

Las Vegas is perhaps not the first city that comes to mind when one thinks of a meeting place for scientists. Yet that is where the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is holding its annual convention this week. Upon reflection, however, it seemed more appropriate than I had first thought for scientists to gather in a city that epitomizes chance and the good fortune it sometimes brings. The vision I held of gaming tables, roulette wheels and one-armed bandits put

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So They Say

May 2, 1988

History Policies dominated by overreaction threaten to build walls around sick people and victimize them, and even the most robust democracy may not be strong enough to withstand such divisive forces. But knowledge brings with it the power to escape from the crippling stance of past generations, who were condemned to cower in ignorance be- fore the Black Plague or the invisible menace of yellow fever. The challenge is not merely to learn from history, but especially to cull the pertinent messa

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