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For Writer's Headache, Try A Grammar Checker

By | June 27, 1988

Spreadsheets and outliners are joining scientific word processors and number crunchers in scientists’ software libraries. While it would be nice to add to the nonscientific shelf a package that cleans up grammatical errors and stylistic blunders as well, I’m still in search of the perfect grammar checker. Grammar rules are not easy for scientists to learn and remember just consider how hard it is to create a set of simple rules to teach grammar to what is, after all, a dumb com

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Four Years In The Making: A Superstring Revolution

By | June 27, 1988

In August 1984, M. Green and J. Schwarz ushered in the latest revolution in particle physics with their discovery of mathematically consistent superstring theories. Since then, there has been a vast effort to understand string theory and to bring it to bear on the major unsolved problems of particle physics. Some have hailed it as the final unified theory of everything, while others have damned it as recreational mathematics, theology, or something worse. What is the theory that has caused thi

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Funding Briefs

June 27, 1988

A Noble Gesture Toward Plant Biology The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, long active in medical research and agriculture, is taking bids on building a laboratory and recruiting staff for a new division of plant biology. By September of this year, the foundation hopes to have a core of 20 of its own researchers, which will expand to 40 in the next four or five years. The division will fund in-house research as well as supporting labs at other institutions. Plant biologist Richard Dixon arrive

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Government Briefs

June 27, 1988

Hitting The Magic Billion-Dollar Mark The recent AIDS report by the Institute of Medicine got a lot of play in the press for its criticism of federal efforts on behalf of drug abusers and AIDS sufferers facing discrimination. But the report also contains an important message for researchers. Entitled Confronting AIDS: Update 1988” because it follows up on IOM’s landmark 1986 report, the study calls on the NIH director to evaluate how well the government is spending its money in a s

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Hot Papers

June 27, 1988

The articles listed below, all less than a year old, have received a substantially greater number of citations than those in the same subject area and of the same vintage. A citation-tracking algorithm of the Institute for Scientific Information has identified these articles. G. Baskaran, Z. Zou, E.W. Anderson, “The resonating valence bond state and high-Tc superconductivity. a mean field theory,” Solid State Communcations, 63 (11), 973-6, September 1987 P.J. Bjorkman, M.A. Saper, B.

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A new generation of dot-matrix printers has hit the market, and these devices are ideal for the scientist whose institution can’t af- ford to put a laser printer in every office. The new 24-pin units provide better print quality and more time-saving features than older 24-pin printers, yet they cost much less than laser printers. Now a small laboratory can get high-resolution text and graphics (180 X 360 dote per square inch) for what used to be a low-resolution-only price of aroun

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Industry Briefs

June 27, 1988

Pairing Youth And Experience By combining the long experience of SmithKline Beckman with the scientific expertise of Nova Pharmaceutical, the two drug companies hope to develop new therapies with which to treat central nervous system diseases. Under a partnership announced last month and awaiting stockholder approval, SmithKline Beckman would specifically target $49 million over the next seven years for central nervous system research performed by the Baltimore company (The Scientist, May 16,

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This year’s job market is the hottest yet for new Ph.D.’s in agricultural sciences specializing in engineering, economics, and biotechnology-related fields, according to the department chairmen polled by The Scientist. “The market has been very good for several years, and I don’t think we’ve seen the peak at all yet,” says Gerald Isaacs, chairman of agricultural engineering at the University of Florida. The same story comes from the West Coast. “As

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The tragic loss of the space shuttle Challenger has not only disrupted the U.S. space program, it has also disrupted the process for planning the program. The current debate over the manned space station and the commercially developed space facility, an unmanned platform that would be launched and serviced by the shuttle in the early 1990s, is symptomatic of the present disarray. NASA’s problem is that it continues to employ a supply-side policy of investing in space. This is true for b

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Letters

By | June 27, 1988

Illogical Pathways Eugene Garfield in his editorial on “Recognizing the Role of Chance” (May 2, page 10) touches upon a point of more realistically reporting the role of serendipity in the research process. This is only one aspect of the publication of scientific papers that needs more discussion and consensus among scientists. I have long felt that the gloss of a hypothetico-deductive style in a research paper may overstate the degree of support for an author’s claim, if

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