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"We are creating a miniature star for a billionth of a second," says Robert L. McCrory,director of the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics. "It’s not something an individual scientist can do." Indeed, at McCrory’s upstate New York lab, it took 60 scientists to mimic Mother Nature in a project capped last March with a feat in fusion that no other research team had ever done. McCrory and his crew of colleagues used lasers to heat and compress a capsule

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A New Look...And A New Commitment

By | May 16, 1988

This issue of The Scientist is clearly different from those of the past. The newspaper is growing, both expanding its range of features and sharpening its focus. The new look, new coverage, and new features are a direct response to your suggestions. From its inception, The Scientist has kept you informed about important developments on the science policy scene. A glance at this issue will show that we are continuing our commitment to bring you incisive and timely reporting on policy decisi

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FLANAGAN’S VERSION: A Spectator’s Guide to Science on the Eve of the 21st Century Dennis Flanagan Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1988; 230 pages; $18.95 For 40 years and more, Dennis Flanagan has been struggling to popularize the scientific revolution that we are in. Now that is a long time. It’s about enough time, for example, for a northeastern maple to mature, be cut down with an amateur’s handsaw, sawn into lengths, split, stacked, dried, laid in the fireplace, and

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Scientists don’t spend years in graduate school to end up as accountants, but that’s sometimes how it seems. Writing proposals may consume more of. a researcher’s time than the research itself. And the paperwork only increases when the grant is awarded "salaries and fringe benefits have to be paid, capital expenses have to be encumbered, reports to the granting agency have to be made. If you’re sighing in agreement, take heart. At least three software packages now on

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Articles Alert

May 16, 1988

The Scientist has asked a group of experts to 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 mayalso find interesting. Reprints of any articles cited here may be ordered through: The Genuine Article, 3501 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19104./

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Association Briefs

May 16, 1988

Forget pH meters. Forget electrolysis cells. The new exhibit sponsored by the American Chemical Society at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History is going to be state-of-the-art. Early ideas include: computer games inspired by the interactions of molecules, a working lab open to students, and hands-on experiments. (Real crowd-pleasers typically burn, explode or light up, according to R. Eric Leber, former staff director of public policy and communication atACS, who

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Best Bet: A Real-Time Display

By | May 16, 1988

I’m convinced that real-time display is a must in data acquisition. I think I reached that conclusion one day after setting up an experiment during which I wired a dog to certain appropriate instruments and administered a drug to the animal. My data acquisition system allowed the data to go directly to the computer, although the screen display lagged considerably behind the sampling. Thus it was well into the process that I realized the data had stopped making sense, a wire had wiggled l

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Can Chemists Save The World From Chemists?

By | May 16, 1988

The Race Is On To Replace Ozone-Eating CFCs. The Entrants: Corporate Giants And Upstart Startups Catalyzed by an international agreement to freeze, and eventually to reduce usage of damaging cholorflourocarbons (CFCs)—and by DuPont Co.’s recent decision to voluntarily comply with the guidelines-the once-cool CFC research arena has transformed into a very hot race. Scientist Michael Hayes, for example, works on the boundaries of matter, studying the reactions that occur between o

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Professor X glares at his workstation computer screen in Michigan, abandons a struggling sentence, and begins to rough-sketch a diagram, shifting back and forth between text and graphics without leaving the system. As he sits back to consider his handiwork, the diagram’s axes flop, the labels change, and a new curve snakes up from the 0. These instantaneous changes come from Professor Y, who is refining the diagram on her own terminal, although she’s in her California of- fice and

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Entrepreneur Briefs

May 16, 1988

Going it alone may seem appealing, but it isn't always possible. Take BioPolymers, a Farmington, Conn., start-up that employs 18 scientists. Its three founders, marine biologist J. Herbert Waite, microbiologist Christine V. Benedict, and businessman Thomas M. Benedict, had an idea that venture capitalists couldn’t resist: to synthesize the potent protein that mussels use to cling to rocks. The sticky substance, would be invaluable for medical applications such as eye surgery where suture

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