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Panel Refines NSF Centers

By | July 13, 1987

WASHINGTON—NSF's proposed science and technology centers should not be required to obtain industry support nor to encompass more than one discipline, according to a new report by the National Academy of Sciences. Funding should be ended after nine years, the report suggested, and the pro gram should not be supported at the expense of grants to individual investigators if NSF's budget fails to grow as quickly as the administration has proposed. The 11-member panel, chaired by chemist Richa

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Polish Scientists Dealing with Decline

By | July 13, 1987

Poland, where Nicholas Copernicus was born in 1473, was one of the "people's democracies" singled out for particular praise in J.D. Bernal's Science in History, published in 1954. Having visited the country many times during the postwar years, Bernal wrote of the "new burst of activity in the scientific field" that ho had witnessed. "The physics laboratories of Warsaw University, for instance, are better equipped than any in Britain, and only yield place to those in the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R"

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Public, Industry Agree on Biotech

By | July 13, 1987

The most important message for biotechnology in the new Office of Technology Assessment's study of public perceptions of the biotechnology industry is that knowledge dispels concern. Based on a nationwide probability sampling conducted last fall by Lou Harris & Associates, the study finds that nearly half of American adults describe themselves as very interested, concerned and/or knowledgeable about science and technology. It also reveals that fully 80 per cent of the American public expects tha

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LONDON—An international review of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva has dealt a double blow to the laboratory's administration. Severely critical of CERN's management, accounting and personnel policies, it nevertheless has not identified cash savings that would persuade Britain to remain a member of Europe's premier high-energy physics center. The review panel, set up at Britain's instigation, presented its interim findings to CERN's council in early June. It

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Shroud Splits Scientists

By | July 13, 1987

SANTA FE, N.M.—No project in modern times has brought science and religion into closer contact than efforts to assess the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. And the debate about the role of scientists in the project has been every bit as heated as the religious discussions. At the center of the controversy is a group of scientists that make up the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP). Formed here in 1976, the 30 or so volunteers rely on private donations to conduct their work. Robe

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So They Say

July 13, 1987

Verbatim excerpts from the media on the conduct of science. The Mystique of Modern Science The popularization of science is commonplace. We expect radio and television, newspapers and films to present suitably digested accounts of scientific ideas and practices. Sometimes historical reconstruction is the preferred method, at others it is careful exposition, using models, analogies and visual aids. One result of this is that there exists a vocabulary and a set of images through which modem scienc

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Some Tips On Effective Lecturing

By | July 13, 1987

Like most scientists, I have had to strain to understand some speakers at conferences. When a speaker fails to hold me, my mind drifts to thoughts about how he should be speaking. Here are some of those thoughts—from a frustrated listener rather than a professor of rhetoric. Mobilizing Your Ideas Careful preparation is so obvious a necessity that it should not need mentioning, yet it does. Although spontaneous speech is less stilted than over-rehearsed speech, poor preparation may result

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Survival of the Fittedest

By | July 13, 1987

An unacceptable level of teleology crept into Lewis Thomas' article on viruses (The Scientist, April 6, 1987, p. 13). They do not have functions, they just have properties. The small and simpler viruses are just chemical structures, perpetuated because they delude pre-existing synthetic mechanisms into copying them. They can do that effectively only if they survive in the hostile environment of a host cell. It is hostile more because of scavenging enzymes than because of directed host activities

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Taking a Measure of MacArthur Prize

By | July 13, 1987

WASHINGTON—When Robert Coleman took the phone call, the University of California at Berkeley mathematician thought the official-sounding voice was a sales man. When he heard the words "MacArthur Foundation," he expected to be asked for a donation. But when program director Kenneth Hope told Coleman that he was one of 32 new MacArthur fellows and that he would receive $215,000 over the next five years, the message finally got through. By at least one measure, how ever, the 32-year-old Cole

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The Arrogance of 'Pop Science'

By | July 13, 1987

Now that Time Inc. has sold Discover, its prize-winning popular science magazine, no major magazine or commercial television show started during the popular science "boom" of the last decade has succeeded. What happened? And, more important to science professionals, what's going to happen? The Rise and Fall Between 1977 and 1986 nearly 20 new magazines, 17 new television shows, and more than 60 newspaper sections devoted to popular science appeared. Several of these new ventures breached the wal

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