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June 27, 1988

THE ROLE OF BEHAVIOR IN EVOLUTION H.C. Plothin, editor; MIT; Cambridge; 240 pages; $27.50 Navigating through what the editor, H.C. Plotkin, calls “conceptual minefields,” the six essays presented in this volume explore the role of phenotypic behavior in evolution. Topics include the relationship between learning and evolution, an alternative hierarchy of replicators-interactors-lineages, and the evolutionary role of social systems. Besides Plotkin, contributors include David L.

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THE STATUE WITHIN: An Autobiography Francois Jacob; translated by Franklin Philip Basic Books; New York; 326 pages; $22.95 Francois Jacob is the most illustrious of French scientists living today. His autobiography, La Statue Intérieure, has drawn wide attention in France. Now in its lucid English translation, The Statue Within should have an equally broad appeal in the U.S. As a work of literature, it evokes unmistakable overtones of Rousseau, Proust, and Sartre—it is hard to imag

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Articles Alert

By | June 27, 1988

The Scientist has asked a group of experts periodically comment upon recent articles that they have found noteworthy. Their selections, to be presented here in every issue, are neither endorsements of content nor the result of systematic searching. Rather, they are personal choices of articles they believe the scientific community as a whole may also find interesting. Reprints of any articles cited here may be ordered through The Genuine Article, 3501 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19104. PLAN

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Association Briefs

June 27, 1988

Public Interest In Science Surges The public’s interest in science has boomed in the last decade and science museums are proliferating in response. According to preliminary findings of an international study conducted by the Association of Science-Technology Centers, attendance at U.S. science centers grew 38% from 1979 to 1986. In addition, 16% of the 131 institutions responding said they had been founded within the past seven years. Even more indicative of the growth trend: four out o

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Boston Lab Small Scale, Grand Achievement

By | June 27, 1988

Geneticist Kunkel shows how breakthroughs can be made without big budgets, big staffs, or big bullies When it comes to tackling scientific problems of enormous difficulty, Louis M. Kunkel’s seven-member team at Boston’s Children’s Hospital proves that it isn’t always necessary to have a big staff or to have a big budget. And it’s not necessary to play rough, either. For five years, Kunkel and his crew have been doggedly pursuing the genetic basis of muscular d

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Does The U.S. Need The Private Space Station?

By | June 27, 1988

  Volume 2, #12 The Scientist June 27, 1988 Does The U.S. Need The Private Space Station?   U.S. competitiveness will suffer if we don't build it now, by Gregg R. Fawkes Let's find out who will use it before we waste a billion dollars, by John Pike Date: June 27, 1988 Two years ago, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger etched its searing images on minds of the U.S. public—and crippled the country’s space effort Experiments, satellites, and

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Entrepreneur Briefs

June 27, 1988

Perestroika Comes None Too Soon Mikhail Gorbachev’s push to improve health care in the Soviet Union has led the Soviets to the doorstep of a small firm in Falmouth, Mass. Called Associates on Cape Cod, the venture was founded in 1974 by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution microbiologist Stanley Watson and pioneered the commercial use of a substance derived from the blood of horseshoe crabs—limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL)—to test for pyrogens in drugs. The new procedure was c

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For Writer's Headache, Try A Grammar Checker

By | June 27, 1988

Spreadsheets and outliners are joining scientific word processors and number crunchers in scientists’ software libraries. While it would be nice to add to the nonscientific shelf a package that cleans up grammatical errors and stylistic blunders as well, I’m still in search of the perfect grammar checker. Grammar rules are not easy for scientists to learn and remember just consider how hard it is to create a set of simple rules to teach grammar to what is, after all, a dumb com

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Four Years In The Making: A Superstring Revolution

By | June 27, 1988

In August 1984, M. Green and J. Schwarz ushered in the latest revolution in particle physics with their discovery of mathematically consistent superstring theories. Since then, there has been a vast effort to understand string theory and to bring it to bear on the major unsolved problems of particle physics. Some have hailed it as the final unified theory of everything, while others have damned it as recreational mathematics, theology, or something worse. What is the theory that has caused thi

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Funding Briefs

June 27, 1988

A Noble Gesture Toward Plant Biology The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, long active in medical research and agriculture, is taking bids on building a laboratory and recruiting staff for a new division of plant biology. By September of this year, the foundation hopes to have a core of 20 of its own researchers, which will expand to 40 in the next four or five years. The division will fund in-house research as well as supporting labs at other institutions. Plant biologist Richard Dixon arrive

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