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This Is Not About Surrogate Mothers

By | May 4, 1987

The tale of the South African grandmother pregnant with her daughter's triplets surfaced in the middle of the Fifth World Congress on In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer. But it created hardly a ripple among the scientists and clinicians gathered last month in blossom-time Norfolk, Virginia. They included all the big names of IVF as well as many who nurse big-name dreams, and they were intent on taking stock of where they are and where they're going. So intent, in fact, that news from th

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PARIS—Two meetings this summer of African scientists will attempt to tackle the range of technological problems facing the developing nations of the continent. The First Congress of African Scientists (FCAS) will meet June 27-30 in Brazzaville, Congo. Sponsored by the United Nations Development Program, UNESCO and the Organization for African Unity, the meeting has three aims: to develop a continent-wide program to help the region cope with such problems as desertification, malnutrition a

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Weaker Dollar Squeezes U.S. Libraries

By | May 4, 1987

WASHINGTON—A weaker dollar is forcing American research libraries to pay much higher prices this year for books and journals published overseas—if they can afford them at all. As a result, U.S. scientists soon may find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the latest developments in their fields. In the past 18 months the dollar has slipped more than 40 percent against the Japanese yen and several major European currencies. The resulting price increases, on top of those owing to

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Who Will Create the New Contraceptives?

By | May 4, 1987

In his article "A New Look at Contraceptives" N.W. Pirie reviews his findings that antihyaluronidases blocked fertility in rabbits. He suggests that it might be time to refocus research on the use of antihyaluron idases as contraceptives. Pirie did his research in this area before the development of the combined oral contraceptive and the intrauterine device. At that time there was great interest in developing methods of family planning. Following the initial progress in the 1950s and 1960s, res

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Why So Few Women Bioscientists at the Podium?

By | May 4, 1987

If visual impact correctly represented the position and participation of women in the biosciences, we could all join the Hallelujah Chorus and say the battle for recognition of women has been won and that further efforts could be laid to rest. Yes, it is true that more women have obtained junior staff appointments and that a few have even obtained senior appointments, more so than would have happened 10 years ago. But can one really say that women are hired in proportion to their numbers and acc

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'84 Law Angers Defense Contractors

By | April 20, 1987

WASHINGTON—A 1984 law to encourage competition among defense contractors has forced federal agencies to become aware of the importance of evaluating all possible bidders for contracts, but also has slowed the procurement process and angered many industry officials. The Competition in Contracting Act was an attempt by Congress to end "sweetheart" deals between the Pentagon and individual defense contractors. Its requirement that agencies seek bids from a range of contractors has led some ag

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'Like Joining a Select Club'

By | April 20, 1987

John Keats has vividly described his excitement on seeing for the first time Chapman's translation of Homer. I had a somewhat similar experience in 1942. During my early surgical training in Australia, the only grafts I learned about, apart from blood transfusion, were autografts of skin, bone and fascia, and allografts (called homografts in those days) of cornea. I was iguorant of the numerous attempts by surgeons to use allografts of skin, and of the long controversy about whether these did or

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17th Century Fusion of Physics and Theology

By | April 20, 1987

Theology and the Scientific Imagination: From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Amos Funkenstein. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1986. 421 pp. $47.50. In the grand old tradition of Arthur Lovejoy's The Great Chain of Being—only rarely practiced today— Amos Funkenstein has given us a taste of what we've been missing. By tracing the intellectual vicissitudes of a set of theological/philosophical ideas from the 12th to the 18th centuries, he is able to make importa

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A Revised Science Trust Fund

By | April 20, 1987

The National Coalition for Science and Technology (NCST) has been advocating the establishment of a Science Trust Fund. In its current version, the Fund is expected to provide approximately $1 billion a year for civilian—sector technology. The Fund has evolved from the version outlined earlier (The Scientist, March 9, 1987, p. 10), and it will continue to evolve. As our chairman, Don Stein, has said, "Science legislation, like science, develops through the free and open discussion of ideas

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A Soul-Searching Scientist at 35

By | April 20, 1987

Like lawyers, doctors and other professionals, scientists spend long years educating and preparing themselves for their careers. But unlike other professionals, scientists seem to do their best work early in life, leaving their later years for administration, consultation and other tasks not necessarily connected to their primary task of solving nature's puzzles. In this excerpt from his new collection of essays, A Modern Day Yankee in a Connecticut Court (Viking Penguin, 1986), Alan Lightman, a

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