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U.K. Defense Jobs Unfilled

November 16, 1987

LONDON—Higher salaries at private companies have left Britain’s Ministry of Defense with hundreds of vacancies in its $12 billion procurement office. Ten percent of the 9,200 specialist posts are now unfilled. The problem is particularly acute among electrical and electronics engineers who assess, order and monitor the performance of sophisticated weapons systems. “We face a diabolical situation in defense procurement,” said Jenny Thurston, assistant general secretar

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U.S. Groups Help Chileans Oust Rector

By | November 16, 1987

WASHINGTON—In what one observer called “its strongest international response in years,” the U.S. scientific community played a role in the ouster late last month of the unpopular government-appointed head of the University of Chile in Santiago. The National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Medicine and the American Association of University Professors sent letters to Chilean President Gen. Augusto Pino- chet and

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WEST BERLIN—The chief funding agency for West German university scientists has proposed an ambitious expansion of its budget for the next three years. “The 1990s could become a time of blossoming for the German universities,” said Hubert Markl, president of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).” The DFG, the German counterpart to the US. National Science Foundation, administered a budget of $600 million last year. That figure represents about 5 percent of the mo

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Waste Not, Want Not: The Fate of a New Industry

By | November 16, 1987

TECHNOLOGY IN THE 1990s Utilization of Lignocellulistic Wastes. B.S. Hartley, P.M.A. Broda and R.J. Senior, eds. The Royal Society, London, 1987. 568 pp. £30. It’s rare, on the opening morning of a conference, to hear the chairman ruminating that the chosen subject is no longer strictly relevant, and indicating that we may as well repack our bags and go back home. But that is exactly what happened at the Royal Society’s meeting last year on the possibility of securing both e

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What Tonegawa' s Nobel Doesn't Mean

By | November 16, 1987

In the wake of the news that Susumu Tonegawa of MIT had been chosen as the 1987 Nobel laureate in medicine (See THE SCIENTIST, November 2, 1987, P. 4), an article by Stephen Kreider Yoder appeared in the Wall Street Journal (October 14, 1987, p. 30) under the headline “Native Son’s Nobel Award Is Japan’s Loss: Scientist’s Prize Points Up Research System’s Failings.” The writer asserted that Tonegawa’s prize is “as much an embarrassment as a victo

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36 States Bid for Sematech Center

By | November 2, 1987

WASHINGTON—Thirty-Six states would like to be home to the central research facility for a proposed $250 million-a-year program aimed at developing cheaper and better semiconductors. Congress, spurred by concern over declining U.S. competitiveness, is preparing to pour up to $100 million a year into the joint government-industry venture. An industry panel assigned the task of picking a site for the semiconductor technology program—known as Sematech—has been “overwhelme

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ACS Seeks To Restore Lost Luster

By | November 2, 1987

WASHINGTON—On November 6 the American Chemical Society will celebrate National Chemistry Day. The posters proclaiming that "chemistry is everywhere” are part of the society's campaign to blunt the impact of such environmental disasters as Bhopal and Love Canal and, at the same time, gain crdit for some of the recent advances in medicine and biotechnology. Even as ACS is looking outward, however, it is also trying to harmonize its dual roles as a professional society and as an advi

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Australian Budget Squeezes Science

By | November 2, 1987

SYDNEY—Australian scientists are bracing for an era of tighter government funding for basic research following release of the federal budget. Although the country’s fiscal year began July 1, the new budget was not announced until mid-September because of elections held July 11. The delay was unsettling for Australia’s research community, which in one way or another derives about 80 percent of its support from the government. Government minister John Dawkins has bluntly to

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Building African Science Upon Folk Traditions

By | November 2, 1987

Q:Must traditional folk practices in Africa be abandoned for the scientific culture to flourish? ODHIAMBO: I don’t think so. In fact, if you analyze folklore, particularly storytelling, there’s a tremendous amount of natural history in it. All one has to do is translate what is being stated into more modern language—simply make those stories current. I don’t see a conflict at all between the traditional knowledge base and the modem technology base. I think we can use th

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Canadian Consortium Formed

November 2, 1987

OTTAWA—The Canadian Institute of Advanced Studies, which has lured home a number of Canadian scientists through its network of university research fellows (see THE SCIENTIST, April 20, p.1), has now sparked the formation of an industry consortium to put their findings to practical use. Precarn Associates Inc. is a nonprofit association of 22 corporations that, according to its prospectus, “will sponsor, manage and disseminate the results of longterm pre-competitive research projec

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