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Q:Since Prime Minister Thatcher came to power in 1979, her three governments have changed the agenda for political debate in Britain. Has Conservative rule also altered the agenda for science policy? Do you believe that the difficulties now facing U.K. science are simply the outcome of an attempt to save money, or are they the result of a coherent plan? BODMER: Definitely not the latter. Our problems are largely to do with cash and with a monetary policy which says that government expenditure

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The Dangers of Expanding HIV's Host Range

By | November 30, 1987

Scientists attending the Asilomar conference at Pacific Grove, Calif., in February 1975, made history by expressing public concern about the then newly recognized opportunities for splicing DNA artificially from one organism to another. Some possibilities—such as the introduction into the ubiquitous Escherichia coli of genes coding for botulinum toxin—were seen as so risky that they would never even be attempted. But many other fears ventilated at that time have proved to be un-fou

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NEW YORK—Some 20 eminent scientists and a similar number of television news executives will meet to try to bridge the distance between the scientists who make the news and the journalists who broadcast it. The December 12-13 meeting in Tarrytown, N.Y., is the first step in a long-term project made possible by a $876,225 grant to the Scientists Institute for Public Information (SIPI) from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago. “I used to call it a gap. Now it

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U. K. Revises Rules on Gene Engineering

By | November 30, 1987

LONDON—British scientists would be required to seek permission for experiments involving genetic manipulation under new regulations proposed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Advisory Committee on Genetic Manipulation (ACGM). The new rules would modify those adopted in 1978, which dealt exclusively with laboratory work. The proposal would also widen the definition of genetic manipulation to include the direct introduction of recombinant nucleic acid into a cell or organi

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U.K. Backing Lets Celltech Expand Base

By | November 30, 1987

LONDON—For the past 10 years Britain’s Medical Research Council (MRC) has fostered efforts to speed up the transfer of key inventions from academia to industry. Already hard at work on a new collaborative center to open next spring, MRC officials last month were pleased to learn that one of their most promising offspring is ready to grow up. Celitech, founded in 1980 largely with government money, has become the country’s leading inde pendent biotechnology company. The key

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U.S. Toughens Stance On Japan Science Pact

By | November 30, 1987

WASHINGTON—The Reagan administration is asking Japan to participate in a major U.S.-led research project as part of what it hopes will be a tougher bilateral agreement on scientific cooperation. The U.S. proposal has, not been made public, but it is thought to seek Japan’s participation in a large-scale project such as the space station or the Superconducting Supercollider. According to Charles T. Owens, the National Science Foundation’s member of the negotiating team, R

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Where to Shop for New and Used Research Equipment

By | November 30, 1987

In the normal course of research administration, requests for instruments are submitted annually when budget estimates are prepared, as part of the organization’s capital budget. Depending on the type of laboratory and its place in the hierarchy, the laboratory head may have little or no control over the annual amount allocated for capital equipment. Justifications submitted with budget requests may be sound and persuasive, but if the approving authorities send it back with the total s

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'Part of My Life Since Childhood'

By | November 16, 1987

CRC HANDBOOK OF CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS 68th edition. Robert C. Weast, ed. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 1987. 2,464 pp. $69.95. (Price will increase to $74.95 in December.) The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics has been part of my life since childhood. My father’s copy was pressed into service for a junior high school crystal-growing project and I have been using it ever since. Calcium nitrate is still cubic, colorless and hygroscopic, in case you wondered. Over the years, the handboo

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2 Germanys Reach Out In Sci-Tech

By | November 16, 1987

WEST BERLIN—East Berlin’s Humboldt University and West Berlin’s Technical University are less than three miles apart. But the Wall makes scientific communication almost impossible. What applies to the two Berlins is equally true for the two (Germanys. “Just inviting people to give a talk at a seminar simply did not work out,” said Dietrich Dörner a professor of psychology who studies machine intelligence. His attempt last summer to invite a colleague faile

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A Capitalist Seeks High-Tech Ideas

By | November 16, 1987

NEW YORK—Venture capitalist William J. Kane remembers “Flex Infusion Inc.” all too well. He spent nearly 40 hours investigating the nascent company’s product, people and plans—and then didn’t invest a dime. “We liked what we saw, got good feedback on the attractiveness of their technology and the potential of the applications,” said Kane, 31, a senior associate at Harvest Ventures Inc. here. "But we were still uncomfortable with the rate of gr

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