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November 16, 1987

ANTHROPOLOGY Culture and Human Nature: Theoretical Papers of Melford E. Spiro. Benjamin Kilborne, L.L. Langness, eds. University of Chicago Press: November, 344 pp $17.95 PB, $48 HB. A collection of Spiro’s major theoretical writings, focusing on his theories of culture and human nature, functional analysis and religion. BIOGRAPHY Memoir of the Life and Labours of the Late Charles Babbage, Esq. F.R.S. H.W. Buxton. M.I.T. Press: November, 425 pp, $50. Profile of Charles Babbage, the fou

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Freedom Leads to Fame For IBM's Lab in Zurich

By | November 16, 1987

ZURICH—With two Nobel prizes in as many years, something good has to be going on at IBM’s research laboratory in Rüschlikon on the outskirts of this city. But apart from an environment that offers fine wines, Swiss cheeses and, on a clear day, a postcard view of the Alps, is there a lesson for other industrial research labs? The IBM lab’s achievements are by now familiar. Last year’s Nobel Prize in physics went to IBM researchers Gerd Binning and Heinrich Rohrer

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Editor’s note: In late October the congressional Office of Technology Assessment issued a report, Starpower The U.S. and the International Quest for Fusion Energy (for a related story, seep. 8). The report, excerpted here, outlines four funding approaches for fusion research over the next few years. The Department of Energy (DOE) manages the U.S. fusion program, and its goal is to evaluate fusion’s technological feasibility— to determine whether or not a fusion reactor can be

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Happenings

November 16, 1987

PEOPLE Melvin N.A. Peterson, former director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s international deep sea drilling project at the University of California, San Diego, was nominated first chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Peterson will be one of NOAA’s chief policy advisers on environmental issues and will serve as its principal spokesman on science and technology. The International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry voted French inorgan

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House Science Panel Pledges Review of Research Priorities

By | November 16, 1987

WASHINGTON—Members of Congress debating funding for the Superconducting Supercollider have elicited a promise from the chairman of the House science committee for “a full review” of the cost of various large-scale science projects being contemplated by federal officials. Rep. Robert Roe (D-N.J.) made that pledge during debate last month on his bill to authorize $1.1 billion in the next three years for construction of the SSC. But anticipated across-the-board spending cuts

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Ideal Resource for Ready Use

By | November 16, 1987

HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS DESK REFERENCE N. Irving Sax and Richard J. Lewis Sr. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1987.1,096 pp. $69.95. Hazardous materials reference works generally fall into two categories—limited or intricately detailed, say the authors of the new Hazardous Chemicals Desk Reference. They claim to have alleviated the problem by producing a moderately sized resource that is ideal for ready use by those working with or evaluating the hazards of chemicals. After close ex

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International Team Plans Fusion Test

By | November 16, 1987

LONDON—A team of 40 scientists from the United States, Western Europe, Japan and the Soviet Union plans to begin work next spring on a three-year, $180 million effort to design the next large thermonuclear fusion experiment. If the participants accept the design, construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) could begin as early as 1993. Meeting last month in Vienna, officials from each of the participants also agreed on a European site for the project. It

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Invaluable Tool That's Fun to Use

By | November 16, 1987

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL BOOKS AND SERIALS IN PRINT 1987. R.R. Bowker Co., New York, 1987. 3 vols., 4,203 pp. $159.94. I started this assignment with misgivings and uncertainty; how does one review an endless list of book titles? But I quickly became fascinated and couldn’t put the volumes down. I could hardly pick them up either they weigh in at some 5 pounds each. Books are listed by author, title and subject. The diversity is intriguing. The subject index goes from “Abacus&#

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Letters

By | November 16, 1987

I read with great interest the review of my play "Sarcophagus" (August 10, p. 24). Twentieth-century science has every right to be proud of its achievements. Just have a look around and you will find a million proofs of this. However, we cannot ignore the other side of science because scientists have devised quite a number of advanced means of exterminating human beings and destroying the planet. Quite naturally, the average person poses a question: are the achievements of contemporary scienc

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More Than Just a Top Textbook

By | November 16, 1987

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE GENE Fourth edition. Vol. 1. James D. Watson, Nancy H. Hopkins, Jeffrey W. Roberts, Joan A. Steitz and Alan M. Weiner. Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA, 1987. 816 pp. $39.95. Instructors of introductory courses in molecular biology probably will not find a better textbook than the fourth edition of Molecular Biology of the Gene. As a reference source, the book is a formidable accomplishment that presents the extraordinary achievements in molecular bio

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