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Association Briefs

May 16, 1988

Forget pH meters. Forget electrolysis cells. The new exhibit sponsored by the American Chemical Society at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History is going to be state-of-the-art. Early ideas include: computer games inspired by the interactions of molecules, a working lab open to students, and hands-on experiments. (Real crowd-pleasers typically burn, explode or light up, according to R. Eric Leber, former staff director of public policy and communication atACS, who

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Best Bet: A Real-Time Display

By | May 16, 1988

I’m convinced that real-time display is a must in data acquisition. I think I reached that conclusion one day after setting up an experiment during which I wired a dog to certain appropriate instruments and administered a drug to the animal. My data acquisition system allowed the data to go directly to the computer, although the screen display lagged considerably behind the sampling. Thus it was well into the process that I realized the data had stopped making sense, a wire had wiggled l

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Can Chemists Save The World From Chemists?

By | May 16, 1988

The Race Is On To Replace Ozone-Eating CFCs. The Entrants: Corporate Giants And Upstart Startups Catalyzed by an international agreement to freeze, and eventually to reduce usage of damaging cholorflourocarbons (CFCs)—and by DuPont Co.’s recent decision to voluntarily comply with the guidelines-the once-cool CFC research arena has transformed into a very hot race. Scientist Michael Hayes, for example, works on the boundaries of matter, studying the reactions that occur between o

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Professor X glares at his workstation computer screen in Michigan, abandons a struggling sentence, and begins to rough-sketch a diagram, shifting back and forth between text and graphics without leaving the system. As he sits back to consider his handiwork, the diagram’s axes flop, the labels change, and a new curve snakes up from the 0. These instantaneous changes come from Professor Y, who is refining the diagram on her own terminal, although she’s in her California of- fice and

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Entrepreneur Briefs

May 16, 1988

Going it alone may seem appealing, but it isn't always possible. Take BioPolymers, a Farmington, Conn., start-up that employs 18 scientists. Its three founders, marine biologist J. Herbert Waite, microbiologist Christine V. Benedict, and businessman Thomas M. Benedict, had an idea that venture capitalists couldn’t resist: to synthesize the potent protein that mussels use to cling to rocks. The sticky substance, would be invaluable for medical applications such as eye surgery where suture

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Frustrations Of A Ceramicist

By | May 16, 1988

While nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) equipment represents the biggest market for superconductivity technology, more than 60% of the current technology is applied there, the flurry of activity in the new high-temperature superconductors has not yet translated to state-of-the art changes in NMR. In fact, researchers face three major hurdles in the race to realize the potential of these promising ceramics. For most of the past 15 months, attention has centered on YBa2Cu3O7 usually referred

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Government Briefs

May 16, 1988

The rancor of the White House cost David T. Kingsbury, National Science Foundation assistant director for behavioral and biological sciences, a trip to Paris last month. It seems that officials of the Administrations’s Office of Science and Technology Policy are trying to punish him because of allegations that he advised a California biotechnology firm while a government official (see The Scientist, November 2, 1987, p. 3). So they forced Kingsbury’s superiors at NSF to withdraw hi

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Hot Papers

May 16, 1988

HOT PAPERS Date: May 16, 1988 The articles listed below  - all less than a year old -  have received a substantially greater number of citations than those in the same subject area and of the same vintage. A citation-trackihg algorithm of the Institute for Scientific Information has identified these articles.  EW Anderson, G.Baskaran, Z. Zou, T. Hsu, "Resonating-valence-bond theory of phase transitions and superconductivity in La2CuO4-based compounds," Physical Review Letters,

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THE PAPERCLIP CONSPIRACY: The Hunt for the Nazi Scientists Tom Bower Little, Brown Boston; 309 pages; $17.95 An air of secrecy and jealousy permeates the small room set aside for visiting researchers on the 13th floor of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. There, in the archive’s Modern Military Branch, with its newly declassified files, historians and journalists sit elbow to elbow, hunched over documents, rarely speaking to one another. Exposés are in the making. Som

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Independent Lab Briefs

May 16, 1988

If Georgia were a sovereign nation, it would rank sixth in the world in pulp and paper production. Now, fittingly, the state is also the future home of the Institute of Paper Chemistry, an independent research facility and graduate school currently located in Appleton, Wis. The institute has trained more than 25% of the engineers and scientists in the paper and pulp industry. And the move, scheduled to be completed in 1990 and backed by $15 million from the Georgia legislature, will permit Geo

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