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The Astrophysicist Who 'Hijacked' A Queen

By | June 27, 1988

What’s a scientist to do when an eclipse is best seen at sea? Commandeer an ocean liner On a dark night last March, the Queen Elizabeth II was sprinting across the Java Sea, tossing aside waves like an impatient leviathan. Nine mighty engines throbbed at full throttle, and the crew navigated through poorly charted waters with all the urgency and care of wartime maneuvers. But the ocean liner wasn’t rushing to deliver troops—as it had during the Falklands conflict--nor even

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The First Steps Toward Unity-- My Harvard Days

By | June 27, 1988

[Ed. note: In 1979, Sheldon Glashow received the Nobel Prize for physics. But in 1954, he was still a brash and irreverant new graduate student at Harvard. Here, he remembers those heady early days.] To be perfectly honest, I went to Harvard for graduate school largely because Harvard had admitted me—Princeton University had been more choosy. (Since then, I have rarely had occasion to visit Princeton.) What I knew of the place was simply this: 1) It had a snotty reputation. 2) The under

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Tulane Tests New Instrument Center

By | June 27, 1988

Professor Schmitt, who has been grumbling about his chemistry department’s antique, demon-ridden gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, discovers that the biology department installed a new one six months before. But when he wanders into their lab to have a look at it, the biology people aren’t all that happy to see him. If he uses it, they’ll have to let everyone use it. And who’s going to train them? Gene D’Amour, associate provost at Tulane University, says th

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U.K.Science Slips, While Other Nations Move Ahead

By | June 27, 1988

  Volume 2, #12 The Scientist June 27, 1988 Research   U.K.Science Slips, While Other Nations Move Ahead Author:DAVID PENDLEBURY Date: June 27, 1988 Over the 12-year period of 1976 to 1987, the United States, West Germany, France, and Japan increased their share of citations on a per paper basis, while the United Kingdom dipped slightly, according to new data compiled by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Quantitative studies of British science issu

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During the last two decades, space officials assumed that there would be a smooth and continuous transition from numerous, extended-duration space shuffle flights in the late 1980s to a large orbiting space station by 1992. We know now that this logical evolution in our capabilities will not occur; a large gap has been created by the Challenger loss and the delay in the availability of the space station. In order to keep the United States and U.S. industry competitive, we need to fill this

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University Briefs

June 27, 1988

I’d Like You To Know Me Better H. T. Kung, professor of computer science at Carnegie-Mellon, had a good thing going. Instead of asking industry for money to fund his research, he would brashly invite companies to bid for the privilege. In the past, this tactic snared top dollars from General Electric, Honeywell, and Intel. But when Kung recently invited 12 major high-tech firms to join him on his latest project, a computer network, he only received sub-par offers. “We were too opti

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Why Scientists Need To Repent

By | June 27, 1988

Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine’ just persons, which need no repentance. New Testament, Luke, XV, 7 Heaven, as well as his scientific colleagues, greet with joy the scientist who is willing to amend previously published observations. No one I consistently correct; even a Noble laureate may end up with egg on his face. Yet regretfully, there is already procedure for altering one's earlier communications on the scientific literature. At

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'On/Off' Science Careers Are Gaining Favor

By | June 13, 1988

There is a growing market out there for part-time and/or temporary work in the sciences. Employers have long seen the advantages—savings in overhead and benefits plus greater flexibility in many activities—but now the practice of research is changing, moving toward almost interchangeable scientists performing routine, clearly divided tasks. At the same time, based on our work in the professional relations office of the American Chemical Society I see an increasing interest in this

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A Star Dies, And A Cottage Industry Is Born

By | June 13, 1988

Research A Star Dies, And A Cottage Industry Is Born Author: DAVID PENDLEBURY Date: June 13, 1988 It took 160 thousand years for light from an exploding star in the Large Magellanic Cloud to reach Earth, but only one year for astronomers and physicists to emit their own burst of energy in the form of journal articles on this once-in-a-lifetime event. Since February 23, 1987, when the first light from the explosion was seen, the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) has recorded some 180 ar

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Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department revolutionizes psychology CAMBRIDGE, MASS--Daniel Osherson works with equations on paper. He is interested in the abstract and arcane topic of "inductive inference”" in particular, the theory of how evidence can support a hypothesis. William Quinn toils over collections of fruit flies in a biology lab, trying to discern how small genetic differences can cause subtle changes in memory and learning among populations of Drosophila. As unlikely as it m

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