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The Pugwash Conference Turns 30

By | June 29, 1987

On July 7 the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs will be 30 years old. Most international institutions serve their original purpose well for 10-15 years and then decline, but continue to linger on. The more successful the institution, the longer it lingers, perhaps in the hopes that its past successes will be repeated. Pugwash seems to be a case in point. It has already begun to fade away, leaving its goal of complete nuclear disarmament still totally unfulfilled. During its lifetim

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The Research Enterprise of the 198Os

By | June 29, 1987

The New Alliance: America's R&D Consortia. Dan Dimancescu and James Botkin. Ballinger Publishing Co., Cambridge, MA, 1986. 232 pp. $29.95. In just over 200 pages, the authors of The New Alliance skillfully analyze the mechanics of a question of strategic importance to the future of the United States: can the technology-based consortia of the 1980s make the nation's economy competitive again? The strong and weak forces, as well as the changing nature of 14 representative industry-university-gov

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Tropical Biology: A Legacy of Neglect

By | June 29, 1987

Unlike most scientific fields, conservation biology rests on an explicit ethical principle: biological diversity is valuable in itself, irrespective of the economic or practical value particular species. A corollary is that untimely extinction of populations or species is bad. The highest priority of conservation biology is to design and establish viable parks in the tropics, where options for preserving biological diversity are quickly being fore closed. Some pioneering projects in conservatio

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U.S. Science Dept. Plan Reprised

By | June 29, 1987

WASHINGTON—The bandwagon on Capitol Hill to boost American competitiveness has breathed new life into proposals to place federal science agencies under one roof. In recent weeks, Rep. George E. Brown Jr. (D-Calif.) has reintroduced bills to create a federal Department of Science and Technology and a new agency, the National Policy and Technology Foundation, to coordinate research and efforts to translate knowledge into products. Brown has introduced similar measures in the past, without n

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UK Expeditionary Group Mixes Science and Sport

By | June 29, 1987

LONDON—Joe Bradwell and his party of 25 were due to leave England this week on the latest in a series of highly unusual scientffic excursions. Their destination this year is the Karakoram range of mountains in the Himalayas, where they will continue studies on altitude sickness that have im proved strategies for combating this condition—and earned them a considerable reputation for self-experimentation. It is 11 years since A.R. (Joe) Bradwell got together with fellow physicians John

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West Germans Debate Research Indicators

By | June 29, 1987

WEST BERLIN—With a rising pro portion of the budget going to re search, the West German government has become increasingly interested in finding a way to mea sure the quality of the work it is supporting. Its growing interest has triggered a reaction from academics, who argue that such indicators do not give a complete and accurate picture of the academic landscape and that, if used to determine funding, they could disrupt or reduce the current allocation to the nation's universities. The

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Who's That Whale Behind Those Foster Grants?

By | June 29, 1987

My friend Goodbeaker has had one of the more quilted scientific careers I know of, yet one that somehow always seems to follow the cutting edge of research. An academic biologist of no great repute, she thought her career was made last year when her department chairman fled the groves of academe for Turkey in search of Noah's Ark. Passed over for promotion, she languished teaching freshmen the difference between sperm and ova until eight weeks ago when she somehow jumped on the superconducter ba

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Why You Should Typeset Your Papers

By | June 29, 1987

Throughout our scientific careers we are continually judged by the way we present our ideas, methods and results. Although it is generally agreed that scientific work should be judged only on its scientific merits, we all know of excellent papers that were poorly presented at a national meeting, and further handicapped by unreadable slides that compromised some exciting ideas. Intuitively, it is almost trivial to assume that not only the content, but also the presentation governs the effect of o

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'A Profound Crisis of Purpose in Social Science'

By | June 15, 1987

Among the many social scientists who entered the discipline in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it is easy to observe a fundamental disenchantment with the profession. For many of these people, the attraction of social science lay in its potential relevance to the process of social transformation, whether they conceived of it in terms of radical political change or individual self-realization or "liberation." They looked back upon the 1950s and 1960s, when social scientists were engaged in conduc

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Another Outlet for Ethicists

By | June 15, 1987

Bioethics. Vol. 1, No. 1. Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer, eds. Basil Blackwell, New York, 1987. Subscription: $80 (L40) for institutions; $37.50 (L19.50) for individuals. Medical ethics is a growth industry. What better evidence than the appearance of yet another journal devoted to it. In addition to such wholly, dedicated publications as the Hastings Center Report, the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy and the Journal of Medical Ethics, a number of prestigious general journals frequently addres

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