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Videotapes Humanize the World of Chemistry

By | July 13, 1987

Eminent Chemists: Video programs featuring distinguished chemists discussing their achievements. The American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C. Personal encounters with some of the greatest contemporary American chemists are not everyday occurrences for today's students. This series of videotapes produced by the American Chemical Society, 'however, is designed to change that. For chemical educators who wish to open new dimensions to students, these tapes not only help combat the dehumanized vie

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Welch's Mark on Modern Medicine

By | July 13, 1987

William H. Welch and the Rise of Modern Medicine. Donald Fleming. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1987. 240 pp. $8.95 PB. This lively, brief biography of William Henry Welch also explores the transition of American medicine from craft-based skill to science-based profession. As a leading scientific "Influential," Welch was largely responsible for bringing Germany's laboratory ideal of "learning by doing" to the United States, introducing scientific methods to American medical sch

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What Do Viruses Do?

By | July 13, 1987

In his interesting essay "What Viruses Might Do for a Living", Lewis Thomas suggests that viruses may have speeded up the evolutionary processes by helping organisms exchange genetic information.' Related ideas have also been discussed by Benveniste and" Thdaro and much earlier by Ravin, who in his discussion of "heritable infections," called attention to certain similarities between viruses and genes. I would like to speculate on a slightly different version of this idea. The function of' the

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A Durable Discourse on Time

By | June 29, 1987

The Nature of Time: Raymond Flood and Michael Lockwood, eds. Basil Blackwell, New York, 1987. 187 pp. $19.95. In 1985 the Oxford University Department for External Studies sponsored a series of popular lectures on the nature of time by five physicists and three philosophers. The eight essays that make up this exceptionally well-edited book are based on these lectures. Although they span a wide range of topics and points of view, none presupposes a strong background in either physics or philosoph

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AIDS Commission Needs Gay Panelists

By | June 29, 1987

EDITOR'S NOTE: In late May, the White House announced that it would not appoint an openly gay person to the president's new commission on acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Gary L. Bauer, the president's domestic policy adviser, said the administration was opposed to naming a member to the commission—recommended last year by the National Academy of Sciences—solely because he or she was gay. June Osborn, dean of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, organized a group o

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An Adept and Amusing Analysis of Science

By | June 29, 1987

Science in Action. Bruno Latour. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1987. 274 pp. $25. Sacrebleu! This is science? Forget those preconceptions now comfortably a part of how you see science and the sociology of it, or how you see nature and society. Here instead we have sketches of Janus: on the left a graybeard tells us that "Nature is the cause that allowed controversies to be settled"; on the right, a more youthful half-face tells us that "Nature will be the consequence of settlement." A

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Chinese Explorations and Contributions

By | June 29, 1987

Science and Technology in Chinese Civilization Cheng-Yih Chen, ed. World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1987. 352 pp. £55.70. This beautifully produced book is a collection of edited papers originally prepared for one of two conferences held in the summer of 1985—the 17th International Congress of the History of Science, in Berkeley, and the San Diego Workshop on the History of Science and Technology in Chinese Civilization. The 14 papers, a fair sample of current research, ran

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Farm Crop Research Bill Draws Praise, Scorn

By | June 29, 1987

WASHINGTON—A new federal agricultural research program, funded at $75 million annually over the next 20 years, has been proposed to "develop and produce marketable products other than traditional food and fiber products." The research program would be administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with assistance from an independent New Products Research Board to be created. The law would require USDA to fund at least 15 research projects within two years of the act's passage; each pro

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Forthcoming Books

June 29, 1987

This list of forthcoming books has been complied from the latest information available from publishers Dates of publication, prices and numbers of pages are tentative, however, and are subject to change. Astronomy Galactic Dynamics. James Binney and Scott Tremaine. Princeton University Press: July, 640 pp, HB $75, PB $25. Reviews current theories of the dynamics and structure of stellar systems, such as galaxies and star clusters, and discusses how the observable properties of galaxies are chang

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Genentech's TPA Faced Tougher Test Before FDA

By | June 29, 1987

WASHINGTON—False assumptions, deficient data, lack of guidelines and a bureaucratic handoff all figured in a federal advisory panel's decision last month not to recommend approval of tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), widely touted as biotechnology's first "blockbuster" drug. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel's action stunned Genentech Inc., the South San Francisco company that had hoped to begin marketing the blood clot-dissolving drug this summer. The company said it hopes to

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