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PASADENA. CALIF.--Materials scientists from several NASA-supported centers and commercial firms have developed plans to conduct research aboard the proposed industrial space facility. In February President Reagan endorsed the concept of an orbiting facility, built with private funds, that could be launched years earlier than the space station. The space lab would offer opportunities for continuous processing and testing, with experiments tended every four to six months by astronauts arriving

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Our Nuclear Future: Paris or Hiroshima?

By | May 2, 1988

Nuclear energy has always engendered both hope and fear in people. Depending on one’s viewpoint, the power of the atom is the key to either Utopia or Armageddon. In Nuclear Fear: A History of Images (Harvard University Press, 1988) physicist-historian Spencer Weart examines the images that have influenced discussion of nuclear energy since the latter part of the 19th century. In this excerpt from the book, Weart offers his views on the next steps in the debate over nuclear power plants a

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Polar Politics of The Ice: Two New Volumes

By | May 2, 1988

NEXT DECADE Report of a Study Group Chaired by Sir Anthony Parsons. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1987. 164 pp. $44.50. THE ANTARCTIC TREATY REGIME Law, Environment and Resources. Gillian D. Tnggs, ed. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1987. 239 pp. $54.50. The Antarctic Treaty, a pioneering political milestone, successfully resolved international territorial disputes to guarantee a free environment for scientific research: Negotiated nearly 30 years ago, the treaty has achieved

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Recognizing the Role of Chance

By | May 2, 1988

Las Vegas is perhaps not the first city that comes to mind when one thinks of a meeting place for scientists. Yet that is where the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is holding its annual convention this week. Upon reflection, however, it seemed more appropriate than I had first thought for scientists to gather in a city that epitomizes chance and the good fortune it sometimes brings. The vision I held of gaming tables, roulette wheels and one-armed bandits put

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So They Say

May 2, 1988

History Policies dominated by overreaction threaten to build walls around sick people and victimize them, and even the most robust democracy may not be strong enough to withstand such divisive forces. But knowledge brings with it the power to escape from the crippling stance of past generations, who were condemned to cower in ignorance be- fore the Black Plague or the invisible menace of yellow fever. The challenge is not merely to learn from history, but especially to cull the pertinent messa

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Some LEAP at Chance to Forge Teams

By | May 2, 1988

SANTA FE, N.M--Jumping from a 165-foot cliff wasn’t in their job descriptions. So there was some grumbling when Hewlett-Packard lab director Frank Carrubba asked 20 of his scientists to attend an “adventure-learning” program in the wilds of New Mexico. One year later, the Palo Alto, Calif., researchers talk fondly about their four days at LEAP (Leaders Experiential Adventure Program). The experience brought people from different areas together "in a bonding way,"Carrubba sa

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The Rehabilitation of N.I. Bukharin

By | May 2, 1988

Science in the Soviet Union, which inherited the Academy of Sciences founded by Peter the Great, is a difficult subject of study. Many war memorials in the Soviet Union carry the proud words, "Nobody forgets; nobody is forgotten." That is, nobody forgets those-who died in defense of the ideals of communism and the territory of the U.S.S.R. But, in light of others who perished, it might be added "Nobody remembers; those who do remember do not say."A number of major, but inconvenient, figures ha

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Use the Media for Your Message

By | May 2, 1988

You and Your Friendly Science Journalist Have a Lot in Common. You have to take pity on journalists. Only politicians and lawyers are more universally despised. Scientists in particular have long avoided the press, for reasons that have ranged from an admirable reluctance to toot their own horns, to a less-admirable fondness for stereotyping. "Reporters always get things wrong,"scientists mutter."They take information out of context, they sensationalize our results, and they make us look like f

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Who Owns What Biotech Staffs Know?

By | May 2, 1988

Switching jobs is a wrenching experience for anyone. But biotech scientists who move to a competitor face the added strain of a possible suit if they can take their knowledge with them. The problem is highlighted in a case brought by Genentech, the San Francisco biotechnology company. The suit, filed February 8, accuses five former employees of misappropriating trade secrets relating to TPA, the company’s blockbuster, new drug to dissolve blood clots, and other recombinant proteins after

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A Common Ground For rDNA Adversaries

By | April 4, 1988

It’s not easy, at first sight, to discern signs of ideological harmony between biologists who are working toward the environmental dissemination of genetically altered organisms and “activists” who are deeply apprehensive about the idea. Look more closely, however, and one argument appears as a possible basis for unity: the need for far greater investment in the ecological research necessary for prudent development of this novel range of technologies. As reflected in the ag

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