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Solitary Fusion Effort Too Costly, U.S. Told

By | November 16, 1987

WASHINGTON—The U.S. fusion program must accept “an unprecedented degree of collaboration” with Western Europe, Japan and the Soviet Union if it is to achieve its current goals, according to government officials and the authors of a new report to Congress. Going it alone is too expensive and, besides, the money isn’t available. That was the clear message from the Department of Energy and the congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) at a hearing last month b

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Soviet Scientist Raps Secrecy

November 16, 1987

LONDON—secrecy and the deliberate exclusion of information from the West are hadly damaging Soviet science, according to Academician Vitali Goldanski. In a strongly worded article in the general circulation monthly magazine Ogonyok (Little Flame), Goldanski recalled the harm caused by the misguided biological theories of Lysenko and drew attention to the problems faced by his colleagues in keeping abreast of outside developments. “In higher technical colleges everywhere,”

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Squibb to Fund Oxford Neuroscience

By | November 16, 1987

LONDON—Squibb Corporation, the U.S. pharmaceutical company, plans to spend $32 million over the next seven years at Oxford University on basic neuroscience research. The agreement is one of the biggest between industry and academia since Hoechst announced its $50 million, 10-year investment in molecular biology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1982. Squibb is the first company to respond with cash to a workshop, organized jointly by the university and Britain’s Medical R

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Swaminathan on Sowing Science

By | November 16, 1987

Agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathah, often called the architect of India’s green revolution, has helped to transform his native country from a net food importer to one that today exports and stores its surplus grain. In addition to shaping agricultural development in the Third World, Swaminathan has taken an active interest in rekited issues involving environmental conservation and women’s roles in effecting and adapting to technological change. After receiving his Ph.D. from

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Texas Prof Wins Math Shootout at Pecos

By | November 16, 1987

AUSTIN, TEXAS—The Wild West has a new hero. Abraham Charnes, the founder of the Center of Cybernetic Studies at the University of Texas, has unhoistered mathematical equations to help Texas farmers win a long court battle over water rights from the Pecos River. The headwaters of the Pecos lie in central New Mexico. Flowing southward into West Texas to join the Rio Grande, the river runs through some of the most arid country in the United States. Texas and New Mexico have argued over

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A couple of years ago two eminent scientists performed an experiment. Nothing unusual in that, you might think. Think again; when did the eminent scientists of your acquaintance last perform an experiment personally? Come to that, when did you? These eccentrics proceeded in an odd way. They do not seem to have debated whether what they were proposing to do was respectable in Popperian terms, or only those of Feyerabend. No—they just did the experiment. They cannot have spent hours

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Does a scientist reach a peak in productivity at age 35? My experience indicates that’s not true for chemists, and it probably isn’t true for other disciplines in science. I am 75 years old. I reached retirement age (66) in 1978. The university held a grand retirement party. Many of my former coworkers, both graduate students and postdocs, numbering about 300 at that time, came to the festivities. I might easily have retired to a life of comfort and vegetation. But my wife urged m

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The APS Report: The Flaws Remain

By | November 16, 1987

I would like to respond to the adverse comments made in these pages by Robert L. Park of the American Physical Society (APS) concerning my testimony before a committee of congressmen in May 1987 (September 7, 1987, P. 13). I believe the merits of the Strategic Defense Initiative program inevitably will emerge as its development proceeds—if it receives adequate funding as well as the technical and administrative support it deserves. The SDI organization (SDIO) does have a need, as do

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The Case Against Gene Sequencing

By | November 16, 1987

T he debate over complete sequencing of the human genome continues at a fever pitch. Indeed, this sequencing has become the biologists’ cause celebre for the waning years of this decade. While many have spoken forcefully in favor of this sequencing, the voices of opposition, at least in public, have been more muted. Many think it foolhardy and retrogressive to argue against a project that promises to yield a mountain of new data. With the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Inst

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The Chicken and the Egg, Revisited

By | November 16, 1987

French Biology in the Decades Before Darwin. Toby A. Appel. Oxford University Press, New York, 1987. 305 pp. $35. Did the egg determine the chicken or did the chicken determine the egg? In organisms, does form determine function or does function determine form? These two questions make equal sense or nonsense, but by centering her presentation on a particular debate regarding relationships between form and function, Toby Appel has illuminated brilliantly the French intellectual scene in the

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