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WEST BERLIN—Two scientific societies here have announced their opposition to proposed federal legislation that would contain criminal penalties for scientists engaged in most types of work involving in vitro fertilization. The German Research Society (DFG) and the Max Planck Society (MPG) have warned that "embryo experimentation in the Federal Republic would come to an end if the creation of embryos for research purposes is prohibited unconditionally." Tight constraints, the DFG said, woul

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Handy Guidebook for Authors

By | June 15, 1987

Chicago Guide To Preparing Electronic Manuscripts: For Authors and Publishers. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1987. 156 pp. $25 HB. $9.95 PB Any scientist who is writing a book should be aware of this nifty guide on how to format a manuscript using a word processor or computer. The conventional publishing process requires a typesetting house to re-key all of the manuscript. Clearly, if the author's keystrokes can be captured in some way, there should be savings of time and cost. In pract

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Happenings

June 15, 1987

Don K. Gentry, associate dean of Purdue University's School of Technology and director of the Statewide Technology Program for Purdue since 1983, will take on a new post July 1 as dean of Purdue's School of Technology, the third largest school at the university. He succeeds George W. McNelly, who will return to teaching after 21 years as dean. S. Allen Heininger, vice president of resource planning at Monsanto Co. in St. Louis, has been elected to a one-year term as president of the Industrial

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IEEE Struggles to Engineer a Consensus

By | June 15, 1987

This is the second in a series of occasional articles on scientists' professional societies. The first, on the American Association for the Advancement of Science, appeared in the February 9 issue. NEW YORK—The planners of Session 17 had envisioned the usual dull lecture—dimmed lights, a slide projector, burnt coffee wafting from silver urns at the back of the room. What they got were undercover police in the audience, and lawyers arguing in court. The events surrounding Electro '87

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In Pursuit of Life's Beginnings

By | June 15, 1987

Search fro the Universal Ancestors: The Origins of Life. H. Hartman, J.G. Lawless and R Momson, eds. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Boston, 1987. 142 pp. $14.95 PB. The purpose of this excellent book, originally prepared as a NASA report, is twofold. First, it is to summarize the major converging lines of experimental inquiry into the earliest phases of the evolution of life on Earth. Second, it is to look ahead, with recommendations for future research. With 27 contributors, including seve

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Letters

June 15, 1987

In her article "NIH Must Meet the Hughes Challenge" (THE SCIENTIST, April 6, 1987, p. 13), Sandra Panem noted the recent Internal Revenue Service ruling that will permit the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to extend funding to an increased number of scientists. Panem expressed fear that the cream of researchers might join Hughes, be tapped to advise Hughes grant-makers, and lose their loyalty to NIH, thus affecting adversely the quality of NIH pro-grams. The challenge to NIH, in her view,

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Neural Net Scientists Take Long View

By | June 15, 1987

PASADENA, CALIF.—A new approach to pattern recognition and similarly difficult problems, called neural-net computing, is stirring increasing interest among computer scientists. Despite recent reports in the media, however, the approach is far from ready for large-scale applications. "There's a lot of hype in the field," declared Yaser AbuMostafa, a researcher at California Institute of Technology. "The problem is how to achieve generalizable learning, to extend a computer's experience to n

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NSF Queries Need for New Facilities

By | June 15, 1987

WASHINGTON—In the midst of a growing chorus lamenting the physical condition of the nation's research facilities, the National Science Foundation has been singing a different—and somewhat dissonant—tune. The battle, not surprisingly, concerns money: in particular, whether the federal government should undertake a multibillion dollar program to upgrade laboratories in hundreds of colleges and universities. A host of educational organizations think it should, and are backing a bi

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Nurturing the Embryo Research Debate

By | June 15, 1987

Human Embryo Research—Yes or No? The CIBA Foundation.Published by Tavistock Publications in association with Methuen, New York, 1987. 232 pp. $39.95 HB. $14.95 PB. The sanctity of human life has been the intellectual province of philosophers and theologians since time immemorial. Rapid strides in medical technology have placed the medical scientists and the specialist physician at the center of controversy, as lawmakers and ethicists scramble to keep up with current events. July 1978 mark

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Physics Should Get Its Act Together

By | June 15, 1987

George Keyworth, the Washington businessman who once served as science adviser to the President, was fond of calling on the scientific community to "get its act together" and start setting priorities. The words have the sound of reason. Surely not all science is equally important and, if scientists don't set the priorities, someone else will. But, of course, as Keyworth must have realized, it's not that simple. It was, for example, possible for nuclear physicists to reach a consensus of sorts th

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