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National Lab Briefs

August 8, 1988

Brookhaven National Lab’s High Flux Beam Reactor got a major boost last month when a Department of Energy committee recommended that a proposed $20 million upgrade of the reactor be included in next year’s budget. A DOE official says that the project “has a good shot” of making it into the president’s 1990 budget request, which will be submitted next January. The upgrade will allow the 23-year-old reactor to remain the nation’s primary neutron source for th

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NIH Peers At Its Own Peer-Review Process

By | August 8, 1988

At least six experiments are aimed at improving the odds for innovative, cross disciplinary, and high-risk proposals WASHINGTON—The National Institutes of Health is changing the way that it does business with the research community. More than a half-dozen experiments are underway to improve the peer-review system—the tool NIH uses to weed out nearly two-thirds of the proposals it examines from those it will find. Most researchers consider peer review to be a pillar of science, ran

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Private Institute Briefs

August 8, 1988

No one believes that science is always objective. But how much are the ideas, experiments, and even conclusions of science shaped by the surrounding culture? Social scientist Kalim Siddiqui, director of the Muslim Institute in London, wants to know. So he has invited Islamic scientists working outside the Muslim world— he estimates there are 500,000 of them—to attend a conference in London this winter to examine the question. Siddiquis own opinion is that modern science is ‘l

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Reagan Aides Question His Pact With Japan

By | August 8, 1988

Some advisers doubt the Japanese will comply with the terms of the science treaty signed in Canada last June WASHINGTON—The ink had hardly dried on the agreement signed by Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita to foster United States-Japan cooperation in science when the sniping began. But the snipers weren’t Democrats running for office, nor were they diplomats representing Japan’s commercial rivals. The criticism was coming from hardliners in the White House

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The highest salaries for young physicists in the U.K. are paid for jobs associated with the electricity-generation industry, according to a recent survey conducted by the London-based Institute of Physics. The survey, based on 1988 salary data supplied by 5,430 respondents, revealed that physicists between 25 and 29 earn a median salary of £15,380 ($26,146) in that industry, compared to £14,700 ($24,990) in communications technology, and £14,500 ($24,650) in computer science.

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Science Grants

August 8, 1988

Below is a list of notable grants recently awarded in the sciences—large federal grants as well as awards of all sizes from private foundations. The individual cited with each entry is the project’s principal investigator. BIOMEDICINE: The Bristol-Myers Company, New York City, awarded unrestricted grants for cancer research to two institutions: $500,000 over five years to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.; J.V. Simone $500,000 over five years to the Yale

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A trio of relatively small Western European nations heads a recently published list of countries that produce high-quality basic research. The study, undertaken by the Information Science and Scientometrics Research Unit (ISSRU) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, found that the scientists of Switzerland, Sweden, and Denmark produced papers having significantly greater impact than expected, based on the average citation rates of the journals in which each paper was published. By t

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Taking Time Out To Think

By | August 8, 1988

Max Perutz observes in this issue that “many young scientists work too much and read and think too little” (page 11). And I agree. It’s not just a matter of spending too much time at the lab bench; it is also too much time taken to write grant proposals, review those of others, serve on committees, and perform many other activities. While these tasks, taken individually, may be necessary and even worthwhile, too many can dramatically cut into the time spent thinking about o

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The 4 Most Cited Papers: Magic In These Methods

By | August 8, 1988

It will surprise few that methods papers lead the list of the most cited scientific articles ever—at least those tracked in the Institute for Scientific Information’s Science Citation Index, 1955 to 1987. “The lowry paper,” as it is known, stands head-and-shoulders above all others. This 1951 article by Oliver H. Lowry Nira J. Rosenbrough, A. Lewis Farr, and R.J. Randall, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, 193,265-75, reported an improved procedure for

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[Ed. note: Max Perutz shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in chemistiy with John Kendrew for developing the X-ray diffraction techniques that revealed the structures of macromolecules and, thereby launched the science of molecular biology. But more recently, he has been lauded for his spectacular success as a manager of scientists. In particular, the accolades single out his tenure as head of the Medical Research Council’s molecular biology laboratory in Cambridge, from 1947 to 1979. What makes

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