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Case One: The Molecular biologist who refuses to believe that AIDS is caused by a virus BERKELEY, CALIF.—On a Saturday early in April, as Washington’s famous cherry trees began to blossom, eight of the nation’s top AIDS researchers gathered at George Washington University for a special meeting. But they weren’t there to discuss their latest findings, or to devise new strategies for fighting the deadly disease, or even to enjoy the Washington spring. Instead, says Berke

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Government Briefs

July 25, 1988

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is supposed to coordinate federal policy on science. But low-profile science adviser William Graham, even after 20 months on the job, occasionally still finds himself on the outside looking in. The latest snub is a new report from the Office of Technology Assessment on ways to improve U.S. efforts to commercialize high-temperature superconductivity [to get the report, call (202) 783-3238 and ask for GPO 052-003-01112-3; the price is $8].

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Grants amounts are in the thousands.

By | July 25, 1988

DOD dollars have been stripped from California and Massachusetts in behalf of heartland science. WASHINGTON—Last fall, Caltech mechanical engineer Frank Marble was due to receive $500,000 from the Department of Defense to study the fuel dynamics of the hypersonic aerospace plane. It was to be the second installment in a three-year, $1.75 million award under the Defense Department’s new University Research Initiative—a program designed to support on campus. research with pote

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Hot Papers

July 25, 1988

The articles listed below—all less than a year old—have received a substantially greater number of citations than others of the same type and vintage. A citation-tracking algorithm of the Institute for Scientific Information has identified these articles. M. Akam, “The molecular basis for metameric pattern in Drosophila embryo,” Development, 101 (1), 1-22, September 1987. M. Hong, S.H. Liou, J. Kwo, B.A. Davidson, “Superconducting Y-Ba-Cu-O oxide films by sputt

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How Do We Deal With Our Endangered Ecosystem?

By | July 25, 1988

THE STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT: A View Toward The Nineties The Conservation Foundation staff The Conservation Foundation; Washington; 614 pages; $19.95 This comprehensive report presents an excellent outline of environmental concerns in the table of contents; it adds focus, intent, and narrative in the executive summary, and it challenges a new generation of environmentalists in the overview. While this volume is called a report, it could readily be adopted as a text for a senior interdiscipli

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To determine and compare scientific performance of nations, states, institutions, and individuals, researchers can reach for a variety of measures. One can measure number of articles or total citations or citations per paper—the latter adding a qualitative component to the analysis. There are other methods, too, such as calculating changes in percentage share of articles in a journal set. The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) has just completed such an analysis focusing on scien

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Industry Briefs

July 25, 1988

TPA could just as well stand for Target of Patent Attack. Tissue plasminogen activator, a drug that dissolves blood clots in heart attack victims, has ignited another dispute. On June 14, Monsanto was granted a narrow patent for its naturally derived version of TPA. Meanwhile, back in South San Francisco, Genentech received broad patent protection for TPA—one that covers the drug regardless of how it is derived—on June 21. The company then immediately filed suit against Wellcome Fo

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Letters

By | July 25, 1988

"Radiation Questions," by F.M. BUTTERWORTH "Achieving World Peace," by LOUIS A.P. BALAZS "Physics Collapse," by LAWRENCE CRANBERG "Publishing Alternatives," by THOMAS D. BROCK "We Hope So Too," by ANDREW N. ROWAN Rosalyn S. Yalow’s opinion essay (The Scientist, June 13, 1988, page 11) is interesting but avoids the real threat of radiation: mutation. She describes a variety of inconclusive studies about low levels of radiation and cancer but misses the main point. Radiation ca

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National Lab Briefs

July 25, 1988

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is supposed to be one of the government’s most secure weapons facilities, but when an in-house investigator wanted to test the sobriety of its support personnel, all he had to do was sign on as a truck driver for a firm that delivers supplies to the lab. He found he had instant access to much of the lab, and within a week he had made his first drug buy. The implications of his easy access to a high security facility may have been lost on the press.

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It’s hard enough for most scientists to organize their thoughts and present them logically on paper. But when a group gets together to create a document—a departmental grant application, for example, or a jointly authored research paper—the complications tend to increase geometrically. Typically, one member of a group drafts a document. Then the other participants circulate the work in progress, scribbling notes in the margins and throughout the text. By the time the annota

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