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Some Choice Words From Waksman

By | April 4, 1988

Since scientists operate in small worlds populated by people with common research interests, they repeatedly encounter one another in the literature as well as at conferences. The world I inhabited as a graduate student and for some years thereafter revolved around the study of antibiotics. I earned my doctorate in the department of microbiology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where antibiotics were the focus of interest. The chairman of the department was Selman A. Waksman. He

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Technology Transfer Is Harder Than It Looks

By | April 4, 1988

Washington--Limited oppotunities for proprietary research, an inability to copyright and license software and institutional red tape are major obstacles in transferring technology from federal laboratories to U.S. industry according to a new report from the General Accounting Office. The report examined 10 laboratories operated by six government agencies, raging from the Air Force’s Lincoln Laboratory to the National Institutes of Health. Interviews with lab officials found that a major

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TV Scientists Train to Put On Good Show

By | April 4, 1988

BOSTON—A growing number of scientific organizations are training researchers to appear on television and the other media. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has offered TV workshops since 1986. The University of Wisconsin gave its first one last fall. “Scientists are being increasingly called upon to provide information to the media, said Carol Rogers, head of the AAAS Office of Communications. “But they don’t really know how the media operate

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U.S. Officials Cool To High-TC Bill

By | April 4, 1988

LONDON—John Hamlyn’s laboratory walls at the University of Maryland are plastered with pictures of the English countryside of his youth. The 34-year-old physiologist says he would like to return there some day, “but not in the foreseeable future. ” Hamlyn received his Ph.D. in physiology from Glasgow University and planned to return to the United Kingdom after some training abroad. But during a 1981 visit home he “was appalled at the state of science” in hi

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U.S. Officials Cool To High-TC Bill

By | April 4, 1988

RICHARD STEVENSON LONDON—Stanford University wanted to create a program in organic geochemistry. Simon Brassell, a young research fellow at Bristol University, was looking for a better career opportunity. Unfortunately for Europe, it was a good watch: Brassell is now an associate professor of applied earth sciences and geology at Stanford. That combination of plentiful resources overseas and tight budgets at home has meant a continuing brain drain of the region’s scientific

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Want to Influence Policy? Get Elected!

By | April 4, 1988

Wisdom is truncated by the chemistry of the adviser and advisee. The president has available an awesome armament of potential sources of science advice if he feels the need for advice. Let’s see: there's the science adviser and his apparatus in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. There is President’s Science Advisor Council or the White House Science Council equivalent (roughly). There is the National Science Foundation Director and the entire NSF with its manifold infini

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Women Grad Students Need Encouragement, Too

By | April 4, 1988

In the annual Westinghouse Science Talent Search almost 40 years ago, the top girl and the top boy each received prizes. Although it is unclear which gender benefited most from the dual awards, the judges presumably wanted to recognize the abilities of both boys and girls. Despite the best attempts of the Talent Search and other efforts, women are still greatly underrepresented in the United States’ scientific and engineering workforce. This problem is suddenly achieving national atte

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Academic Couples Stymied By Attitudes in Workplace

By | March 21, 1988

ITHACA N.Y—In the late 1950s Mildred Dresselhaus was a post-doctoral associate at Cornell and her husband, Gene, was a junior faculty member there. But Cornell's rules barring nepotism prevented the couple from building physics careers there, and they packed their bags for MIT, which had an outstanding reputation for recruiting women faculty. Thirty years later, Mildred Dresselhaus is an institute professor of physics and electrical engineering and her husband is a senior scientist at

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Air Force's Basic Research Flies Off in New Directions

By | March 21, 1988

WASHINGTON—If Air Force pilots one day are able to use their brains’ internal chemistry to combat fatigue and stay alert during long periods of stress, the achievement will be the result of intensive research by military scientists. But it will also be due to a phone call that program manager Bill Berry made in the fall of 1982 to MIT neuroscientist Richard Wurtman. WASHINGTON--DC The National Institutes of Health has created an adminstrative structure for directing what could

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Congress Must Take the Lead in Biotech

By | March 21, 1988

In [the United States] biotechnology is still perceived primarily as a regulatory and legal problem, not an economic opportunity. A regulatory structure has been fashioned that is functioning quite well in assuring the public that the science of biotechnology is safe. Beyond the regulatory concerns, however, there is a political vacuum. Historically, I think, it is fair to say that our country rarely charts a long-term strategy for emerging technologies in order to assure they are properly rec

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