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May 18, 1987

Regarding Jeffrey Mervis' article "Many Questions, Few Answers on New NSF Science Centers" (THE SCIENTIST, March 23, 1987, p. 1), I'd like to ask a question or two myself. Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing? Why are we overlooking the fact that the NSF's Industry-University Co operative Research Center Program (IUCR) is an excellent model for the Science and Technology Centers? Why is Mervis raising concerns that have been answered in the course of the 10 years or so that the

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Making a Molehill Out of Mount Everest

By | May 18, 1987

When I was growing up, there were perhaps only three facts of geography I knew for sure: the equator was exactly 25,000 miles long, heaven was located just above the Van Allen radiation belt, and Mount Everest was the highest mountain in the world. These were scientific facts of the first order, known to all parochial school children, and inculcated through repetition and regular use of the chart and pointer by Sister Mary Geography. It is a sign of the faithless age in which we live that no o

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Manipulating Genetic Research

By | May 18, 1987

The Politics of Uncertainty: Regulating Recombinant DNA Research in Britain. David Bennett, Peter Glasner and David Travis. Routledge & Kegan Paul, Boston, 1986. 218 pp. $35. The history of science and technology should give us perspective on the context of scientific and technological development and provide us with lessons for the future when, as is usually the case, we again face similar questions. In this volume three authors—David Bennett, a molecular biologist/sociologist and Peter G

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More Than a History of the Bomb

By | May 18, 1987

The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Rlchard Rhodes. Simon and Shuster, New York, 1986. 788 pp. $22.95. This book is much more than a history of the atomic bomb. It is the story of the scientists who discovered that atoms consisted of nuclei and electrons, that atomic phenomena are quantized, and eventually that energy could be derived by splitting the heaviest nuclei. The author presents the scientists as real people with curiosity, imagination and fears in the turbulent years from the turn of the c

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Needed: Information on Technology's Impact

By | May 18, 1987

The watchword in Washington and the rest of the United States is competitiveness. There have been more discussions by more people about America's ability (or inability) to compete internationally than perhaps about any other topic this year. And with each announcement of further erosion in the U.S. balance of payments, the intensity of that discussion escalates. The problem has been at least two decades in the making. American industry did not modernize its manufacturing processes soon enough.

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New Blood for Soviet Academy

By | May 18, 1987

LONDON—Younger directors will soon be appointed to about one-half of the 260 institutions directed by the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. This follows the recent announcement by the new president of the academy, Guri Marchuk, that directors must retire at age 70 rather than holding their appointments for life, as is now the case. In addition to directors now being "prematurely" retired, many other senior scientists who enjoyed lifelong tenure will have to leave their posts when they re

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New Research Chief Sees Foreign Cooperation on SSC

By | May 18, 1987

WASHINGTON—The Superconducting Supercollider will have international partners in its construction, promises the new acting director of the Office of Energy Research within the Department of Energy. On April 27 James Decker took over as head of the $1.8 billion research program when Alvin Trivelpiece became executive director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The 46-year-old Decker, who was hired by Trivelpiece in 1973 after working as a plasma physicist at AT&T B

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Paving New Pathways in Physiology

By | May 18, 1987

Walter B. Cannon:The Life and Times of a Young Scientist. Saul Benison, A. Clifford Barger and Elin L. Wolfe. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1987. 506 pp. $30.00. This biographical history is as interesting to read as a suspense novel, containing elements of personal and institutional conflict and intrigue, local and national politics, international conflict and cooperation, and scientific, educational and administrative creativity. A foreword by Howard E. Morgan, former president of

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Physicists Question SDI Weapons

By | May 18, 1987

CRYSTAL CITY, VA.—The American Physical Society's report on the science and technology of directed energy weapons, released here at the society's spring meeting last month, is a scientific document with inescapable implications for defense policy. Its reception indicates that every action connected with such a report can be, and almost inevitably is, interpreted in a political light. Specifically, the report suggests that several of the fundamental assumptions of the Strategic Defense Ini

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Release Also Frees Scientist

By | May 18, 1987

BERKELEY, CALIF.—On April 29 Steven E. Lindow drove seven hours to the remote Tulelake area of northern California to begin open-air tests of bacteria genetically altered to combat frost formation on potato plants. For the University of California at Berkeley plant pathologist, however, the trip marked the end of a five-year journey. In 1982 Lindow discovered that the removal of a specific gene from the ubiquitous bacterium Pseudomonas syringae could shut down production of a chemical res

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