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Taking Evolutionary Responsibility

By | August 10, 1987

ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION Conserving the Diversity of Life. Woridwatch Paper 78. Edward C. Wolf. Woridwatch Institute, Washington. DC, 1987. 54 pp. $4. Considerable attention has been focused recently on the potential for degrading and destroying ecosystems (particularly tropical ecosystems) and the accompanying loss of species as a result of increased human activities. The controversy over the magnitude of projected species loss has caught the public’s attention. For those interested

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The Dos and Don'ts of Fume Hood Safety

By | August 10, 1987

Chances are excellent that if you ask laboratory workers to describe the ventilation system for their laboratories, they will not include themselves as part of the system. Yet they are as much a part of the successful operation of the system as the fume hood itself. All the engineering in the world is not going to do any good if the systems designed and installed are not properly used. Yet how many lab workers have ever received on-the-job training in the proper use of a fume hood and its ass

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The Master Program of the Human Mind

By | August 10, 1987

MENTAL PROCESSES Studies in Cognitive Science. H. Christopher Longuet-Higgins. The MIT Press in cooperation with The British Psychological Society, Cambridge, MA, 1987. 424 pp. $35. In the late 1960s, H. Christopher Longuet-Higgins said goodbye to theoretical chemistry and began his study of the- workings of the mind. Since then he has conducted innovative research at the University of Edinburgh and the Centre for Research in Perception and Cognition at Sussex. His work encompasses nearly e

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BRISTOL—Three British universities have agreed to form a science research center, with an R&D staff of 150, that will be the centerpiece for the largest science park in the country. The 500-acre project at Emerson’s Green, Kingswood, will be linked closely to the nearby universities of Bristol and Bath and Bristol Polytechnic. The project, to be built at a cost of $375 million over 10 years, was initiated by the Emerson’s Green Development Company. “We will provide the

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When the Scientific Community Turned Pro

By | August 10, 1987

THE LAUNCHING OF MODERN AMERICAN SCIENCE 1846-1876. Robert V. Bruce. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1987. 446 pp. $30. In this long-awaited book, Robert Bruce discusses the major scientific events of mid-l9th century America, including Joseph Henry’s discovery of electromagnetic induction, the debate over Darwinism led by Ass Gray and Louis Agassiz, and J. Willard Gibbs’ development of statistical thermodynamics, among others. Like most who have written on the topic, Bruce focuses on

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'What Ifs' for America's Research Consortia

By | July 27, 1987

Perhaps at no time since the Second World War has there been such an emphasis on the rapid transfer of research findings to development. The 1980s have seen the birth of dozens of research consortia designed to quicken the pace of technological development in the United States. Coming from a wide array of businesses and varied academic institutions, these R&D consortia are seen by many as the answer to the United States' regaining the lead it has lost in technological competitiveness. In The New

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A Few Questions About Frostban

By | July 27, 1987

Thomas Jukes' article "The Nonsense About Frostban" (The Scientist, May 18, 1987, p. 13) brings to mind many of the arguments that were used to promote pesticides and nuclear power. Indeed, it would not surprise me if Jukes was a supporter of those technologies. I would like to ask a few questions, and ask Jukes to reply. 1) Can one be anti-technology and not anti-science? 2) If Frostban is perfectly safe, why the test? 3)Why is the guy in the picture wearing the funny suit? Frostban is perfectl

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A Liberating Aerial Bombardment

By | July 27, 1987

In November 1939, shortly after the outbreak of World War II, I was solving trematode life cycles in the Marine Biological Station at Plymouth. Before the fighting began I had received an impressive-looking form from the Royal Society asking for details of my qualifications, and announcing that as a scientist I was placed in a reserved occupation and could not volunteer for any form of national service should hostilities commence. I therefore continued with my work (I had already qualified as a

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A Study for Sovietologists, Not Scientists

By | July 27, 1987

The Communist Party and Soviet Science. Steven Fortesque. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1987. 234 pp. $28.50. Now when Gorbachev's perestroyha (restructuring) is presented to the public as a necessity brought upon the Soviet Union by scientific and technological progress outside the country, it is natural to ask why Soviet science, which has the world's largest infrastructure and personnel, performed so poorly that it became nearly irrelevant, particularly in many highly sophist

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Animal Testing Dispute Splits NAS Panel

By | July 27, 1987

WASHINGTON—Nearly two years after it was convened, a National Academy of Sciences panel is searching desperately for the middle ground in a bitter debate about the use and treatment of laboratory animals. A minority report, rare in an NAS study, seems likely to emerge from the 15-member panel, which has heard scientific discussion give way to personal attacks in the course of its nine meetings. The latest spark stems from a Wall Street Journal editorial relating an account of an alleged co

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