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By | May 18, 1987

A Guide to the New Chemical Age. Hugh D. Crone. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1986. 245 pp. $39.50 HB, $14.95 PB. There are roughly as many atoms on Earth now as there were 50 years ago. All the chemist can do is rearrange these to create new molecules and materials. Chemists have been synthesizing new substances at an exponential rate in the last half-century. The materials affect our lives in every conceivable way. From the vinyl floor in the kitchen (or the polyurethane varnish on the

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Stronger Links Between School, Industry Sought

By | May 18, 1987

ORLANDO, FLA.—Key industry and university research administrators are laboring over a model agreement meant to simplify and increase collaboration between the two groups. This unprecedented attempt to draft an agreement to govern various types of industrial sponsorship of university research is an outgrowth of a pilot project involving five federal research agencies and 10 Florida universities. That demonstration project, begun in April 1986, is aimed at freeing scientists from much of th

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The Dahlem Format Deserves Imitation

By | May 18, 1987

A conference at which no one reads a single paper may seem a contradiction in terms. In fact, Dahlem Konferenzen, which this month reach 50 in their unique series of highly successful gatherings in West Berlin, are of exactly that sort. Dahlem conferences generate their prestigious state-of-the-art reports through a sensitively structured five-day program of group discussions and feedback. They contrast starkly with the type of congress at which fragments of worth are lost among a phalanx of pre

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The Nonsense About Frostban

By | May 18, 1987

It sounded like an experiment that was all a molecular biologist could hope for. It had a noble purpose (the protection of nutritionally important fruits and vegetables), it was of great scientific elegance and theoretical interest, and it was perfectly safe. It went like this. Take a common saprophytic bacterium, present in food, water and soil, and remove one of its 200-odd genes. Grow the organism in pure culture, spread it on plants that are harboring the wild type, and PRESTO! the massive

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The Quest for Symmetry in Nature

By | May 18, 1987

Fearful Symmetry: The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics. Anthony Zee. Macmillan, New York, 1987. 384 pp. $25. For once I agree with the dust-jacket testimonials: this is an excellent book. Were a review not required I would let it go at that. Anthony Zee is a distinguished particle physicist who presently holds joint appointments at the University of California and the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Santa Barbara. In Fearful Symmetry he has written a sprightly, partisan history of 20th

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U.S. Disinvites Soviets From Ocean Research

By | May 18, 1987

WASHINGTON—The Reagan administration has barred the Soviet Union from participating in an international scientific program to which the Soviets had already accepted an invitation. The decision was made by President Reagan late last month on national security grounds, after the Defense Department objected to the Soviets' participation in the project, which will analyze the composition of the ocean floor. The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) is supported by the United States, the United Kingdom,

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Unorthodox Science Fuels Biosphere Space Trial

By | May 18, 1987

TUCSON. ARIZ.—Find a wealthy benefactor. Assemble a small group of hard-working people committed to a common goal, and let them teach themselves what they need to know. Enlist a few respected scientists who are kindred spirits. Discourage contact with the outside world. And shoot for the stars. That approach is not the usual way science is done in this country. But then Biosphere II is not run-of-the-mill science. Rather, it's an attempt to create a 2.5-acre, enclosed ecological system th

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A Co-Author Declines

By | May 4, 1987

I enjoyed very much reading the article "Opting Out of the Numbers Game" . I hope that some attention is paid to the sentiments expressed. I spent better than 20 years in academia. I do not mean to pat myself on the back, but I have declined to be co-author on more papers than I have been a co-author. Sometimes I felt I was added as a co-author because I walked through the lab and I was better known internationally than were the primary authors. A number of bitter arguments resulted when I decli

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A Controversial Christian Guide for Teachers

By | May 4, 1987

Editor's Note: Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy, published last October by the American Scientific Affiliation of Ipswich, Mass., a "fellowship of Christians in the sciences," has been distributed to more than 50,000 high school biology teachers in the United States. According to the organization, the 48-page booklet "represents a broad middle ground respecting both science and religion" and "shows how to untangle legitimate religious questions from scientific questions so that origi

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WASHINGTON—Although public attitudes toward the chemical industry have grown more negative during the past six years, more than 80 percent of Americans support the work chemists do and feel they have made important contributions to medicine and society. A survey of 1,448 adults, done last year for the American Chemical Society, found that 51 percent rated chemical companies unfavorably, compared with 41 percent in 1980. Frank Bigger, a spokesman for the ACS, said the change is due in part

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