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Private Institute Briefs

July 25, 1988

It’s not often that spiders are a gift of fellowship. It’s perhaps even less often that they are received with enthusiasm. Yet the unlikely occurred in May when the Smithsonian Institution and the Republic of Madagascar signed a protocol to strengthen cooperation in natural science and conservation. The protocol is another step in Madagascar’s recognition of its large number of unique species and habitats. In honor of the new alliance, Madame Lala Rakotovao, director of the C

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Product Options Increase In DNA Sequencing Arena

By | July 25, 1988

DNA sequence analysis is one of the pivotal methods of modern molecular biology. It plays a central role in virtually every project that involves the cloning, characterization, and manipulation of RNA or DNA. Since the development of rapid sequencing techniques in the early 1970s, more than 20 million bases have been sequenced by manual techniques. This DNA sequencing has all been accomplished with either of two techniques: the enzymatic method of sequencing, developed by Sanger and Coulson,

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How three Harvard grads formed an aerospace startup in a bedroom and six years later control a $45 million company FAIRFAX, VA.—David Thompson, Bruce Ferguson, and Scott Webster have boarded a rocket to success. The three young founders of Orbital’ Sciences Corp.—none older than 36—have created an aerospace firm that is playing David to the Goliaths of the rocket industry. After just six years they already have one viable product—a system for launching satellite

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Science Grants

July 25, 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: New devices in international cardiology; $100,000 from Rich Foundation, Atlanta, Ga., to Emory University’s Dr. Andreas Grundawit Research Center, Atlanta; G. Rueben The Lucille P Markey Charitable Trust, Miami, Fla., awarded the following fou

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Setting A Science Agenda For The Presidential Candidates

By | July 25, 1988

Are science and technology being shortchanged in the current presidential race? So far, the campaign has focused on past policies and mistakes, not future directions. The talk about tomorrow has been nothing more than stirring rhetoric about making the United States great again, bringing it back, and other equally vague promises. Missing is any specific debate about science and technology (see The Scientist, June 27, 1988, page 1). Both George Bush and Michael Dukakis are “for” t

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NEUROCOMPUTING: Foundations Of Research James A. Anderson and Edward Rosenfeld, editors MIT Press; Cambridge; 729 pages; $55 Brain science, neural computation and traditional artificial intelligence, perhaps more than most fields, seem to lack definitive textbooks. Instead they give rise to classic papers or multiauthored compendia such as this volume, which fits in squarely with other such important multiauthored landmark works as Principles of Neural Science, Handbook of Artificial Intelli

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At every level of decision making in the federal government, scientific and technological factors have become increasingly important. This is true in fields ranging from educational policy to basic and applied research strategy, from trade negotiations to arms control policy, and from defense to health related issues. Therefore, it is in the interest of the nation to have a cadre of scientists and engineers helping to make key decisions. Yet, we have a dearth of scientists and engineers in im

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University Briefs

July 25, 1988

Wbrried that gene-splicers will create killer potatoes or rampaging soybeans? Rest easy, says a new report from the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell. The report concludes that field tests of crop plants that have been genetically altered to resist insects or disease pose little risk to the environment. It also chides the government for imposing generous restrictions for the testing and use of gene-spliced plants, but not of new varieties produced by traditional techniques

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Chemical language has great asthetic beauty and links the physical sciences to the biological sciences. Unfortunately, the full use of this language to understand life processes is hindered by a gulf that separates chemistry from biology. This gulf is not nearly as wide as that between the humanities and and sciences, on which C.P. Snow focused attention. Yet, chemistry and biology are two distinctive cultures and the rift between them Is serious, generally unappreciated, and counterproductive.

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Why Do Scientists Travel? For Applause, Of Course

By | July 25, 1988

An ecological study of scientists conducted in the pre-jet plane era concluded that the likeliest place to find a scientist was at O’Hare airport in Chicago. Now, a similar statement can be made about important international airports, such as Heathrow in London and Orly in Paris. Every terminal seems to be populated with scientists on the move. Why do scientists travel? Hans Selye, the father of the concept of stress, wrote that scientists are not motivated by fortune, but by fame. The

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