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Why The Scientist Welcomes Corrections

By | July 25, 1988

A certain amount of error in science is inevitable; in fact, the correction of errors and the retraction of incorrect or premature conclusions is expected as part of the normal process and progress of science. Errors come in many varieties. Scientists, like everyone can be careless or inattentive. Such errors are preventable. But there are other errors that scientists make that are almost unavoidable, as when a conclusion, based on accurate experiments and current knowledge, is later shown to

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For almost 10 years, I’ve been looking for a truly portable computer to take into the field. But at 28 pounds, the first portables—the Osborne and the Kaypro—deserved the term “luggables;” it took a sumo wrestler or a defensive lineman to really feel comfortable car- rying them. The same was true for the first 32-pound Compaq “portable.” The problem was the CRT. It was heavy—even Osborne’s 9-inch version—and together with the associ

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'Designer Genes' Perk Up British Biotechnology

By | July 11, 1988

A veterinary pathologist’s odyssey out of academia to become CEO of one of Europe’s hottest startups On the wall of Keith McCullagh’s office hangs a framed picture showing one of his company’s advertisements. “British biotechnology has come a long way since 1953,” says the legend above a picture of Francis Crick and James Watson, the discoverers of the double helix structure of DNA. For McCullagh, the snappy slogan has a double meaning. As it happens, Br

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IDEALS AND REALITIES: Selected Essays of Abdus Salam Abdus Salam; C.H. Lai, editor World Scientific, Singapore; 379 pages; $44 (hardback), $28 (paperback) In this wide-ranging and delightful collection of essays, Nobel laureate Abdus Salam reflects on three of his major preoccupations: the Third World, Islam, and physics. Salam draws on his own experiences to present the plight of scientists in developing countries “When I returned to Pakistan in 1951 after working at Cambridge. and

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The ex-chairman of the nation’s Science Council forms a startup to spark government scientists OTTAWA—Stuart L Smith was fed up with his government’s inability to help Canadian scientists turn their knowledge into commercial products. So he formed his own company to do something about it. A psychiatrist turned liberal politician, Smith served from 1982 to 1987 as chairman of the Science Council of Canada. The council, Canada’s equivalent to the National Academy of S

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Astronomers are used to surprises, so they ought to be more than comfortable at the 20th General As- sembly of the International Astronomical Union in Baltimore next month: First, there is no pre-published program listing titles of talks to be given. Second, the main topic of conversation won’t be what anyone expected when the conference was planned. The intent had been to analyze —and celebrate—the latest findings from the Hubble Space Telescope. By midsummer 1988, the Hubb

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Jack E. Oliver took two major risks 17 years ago when he moved from Columbia University to Cornell University to rebuild the geology program. First he proposed a research project that relied on an untested scientific technique. Then he proposed an unusual strategy for carrying out the fieldwork. In his quest to probe the 25-mile-thick slab of rock that makes up the earth’s crust, Oliver wanted to use sound waves to describe subterranean structures. But he didn’t buy the fleet of

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IBM's New PC Line: What's In It For Scientists?

By | July 11, 1988

IBM PS/2 HANDBOOK Richard Dalton with Scott Mueller Que Corp.; Carmel md., 359 pages, $19.95 Like it or not, the PS/2 will be the standard personal computer of the future. Why? Because IBM says so. That’s the underlying premise of the IBM PS/2 Handbook, and since it’s my best guess too, that explains some of my enthusiasm for the book. And what are the implications of the new machine’s inevitable ubiquity as far as scientists are concerned? Well, although the PS/2 will be

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Industry Briefs

July 11, 1988

Is a genetically engineered tomato still a tomato? Biotech firms and major food companies are addressing questions such as this through the newly formed International Food Biotechnology Council. The Washington-based group has been charged with drawing up guidelines to evaluate the acceptability of food, food ingredients, and food processes arising from biotechnology. Co-organized by the International Life Sciences Institute and the Industrial Biotechnology Association, the council has 30 membe

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Job Opportunities On Rise For Geology Instructors

By | July 11, 1988

Job openings in college and university geology departments may increase in the next decade, suggest data from the American Geological Institute. An AGI survey of the ages of geologists shows that schools have few young faculty members but a bulge of older ones moving toward retirement, a good set-up for a hiring boom. In the total population of geologists, about 29% are 34 or under, says Nicholas Claudy from AGI. But inacademia, only 17% are that young. The upper end of the age scale is sk

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