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Wall Street Is Bullish on the Right Ph.Ds

By | April 20, 1987

As science spawns a growing number of technically sophisticated industrial and consumer goods, some financial houses have been hiring scientists to help analyze the products and their markets. "Our approach is simple," said William Welty, managing director of research for Hambrecht & Quist, based in San Francisco. "We look for Ph.D.s to analyze those industries where rapid scientific advances will make a major difference to the success or failure of its companies. A classic case right now is bio

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X-ray Crystallographers Wooed by Drug Firms

By | April 20, 1987

CHICAGO—Pharmaceutical firms are raiding universities to recruit X-ray crystallographers with expertise in biological molecules at a rate that threatens to undercut academic research in the field. "This trend may weaken the university training of molecular biologists, and impair the development of protein engineering, which might remain limited to those projects targeted by industry," contended Daniel J. Goldstein of the University of Buenos Aires at the annual meeting of the American Asso

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'What is Life?' Fiction, Not Science

By | April 6, 1987

What is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell. Erwin Schrödinger. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1967. 96 pp. (Originally published in 1944.) Schrödinger's book is written is an engaging, lively, almost poetic style ("The probable lifetime of a radioactive atom is less predictable than that of a healthy sparrow.") Up to 1948 it drew 65 reviews and it has probably by now sold about 100,000 copies. It has become a classic that has provided a nourishing habitat for historia

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A Fluffy Frolic With Jeremy Bernstein

By | April 6, 1987

The Life it Brings: One Physicist's Beginnings. Jeremy Bernstein. Ticknor & Fields, New York, 1987. 192 pp. $16.95. Most of us, of course, know Jeremy Bernstein through his extensive New Yorker essays on the world of physics, essays that have included fascinating profiles of such great physicists as Hans Bethe and I.I. Rabi. In The Life It Brings, also based on a recent New Yorker series, Bernstein takes up his pen in the cause of autobiography. He travels from his childhood in Rochester and fo

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A Geologist Way Ahead of His Time

By | April 6, 1987

Alfred Wegener: The Father of Continental Drift. Martin Schwarzbach. Translated by Carla Love. Science Tech, Madison, WI, 1986. 241 pp. $35. German meteorologist Alfred Wegener, 1880-1930, was the most systematic and visible of the few early advocates of continental drift. Working in part with his father-in-law, renowned climatologist Wiadimir Koppen, Wegener recognized that various geologic and paleontologic features, including the distribution of indicators of paleoclimates, required very diff

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A New Agency for Science Historians?

By | April 6, 1987

In his piece on "Historians and Science Policy," J.L. Heilbron makes a timely point with his usual cogency and wit. The science of the twentieth century is distinctive in its scale, its specialization and its close coupling with economic and military concerns. An individual instrument such as the Superconducting Supercollider may cost billions of dollars. The payoffs on research in biotechnology can make or break long-established corporations. Plainly, the mechanisms by which science policy is a

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Bloch Fleshes Out Long-term NSF Budget

By | April 6, 1987

WASHINGTON—Director Erich Bloch, under congressional prodding last month, predicted that the National Science Foundation will come to grips in the next five years with many of the major problems facing American science. Bloch used the annual round of hearings on NSF's request for funding to flesh out the administration's wish to double the agency's budget, to $3.2 billion, by 1992. That financial goal is part of an attempt by Bloch, a former IBM vice president, to graft a corporate approac

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Britain's Research Circuit

By | April 6, 1987

The Politics of British Science. Martin Ince. Wheatsheaf Books, Brighton, Sussex, 1986. 227 pp. £18.95 HB, £8.95 PB. The British government spends about 4.5 billion pounds (about $7 billion) a year on R&D. This is a little more than 2 percent of GNP—not much different in percentage terms than most other advanced industrial countries. The difference, as Martin Ince and others point out, is that more than half of the British expenditure goes to military research; only the United St

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Changes in Math May Lead To Improved Instruction

By | April 6, 1987

WASHINGTON—The changing nature of the field of mathematics has spawned efforts to alter the way math is taught in elementary and secondary school classrooms. The National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, working with educators and policy-makers, have launched long-term projects to reform curricula, tests and textbooks. A key ingredient is expanded use of calculators and computers in the classroom. Last fall the National Science Foundation awa

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Citation Data Is Subtle Stuff

By | April 6, 1987

When starting to compile citation data from the scientific literature over 25 years ago, I aimed to create a new tool for information retrieval—the Science Citation Index (SCI). Out of this came a useful by-product: a large and ever increasing database containing indicators of intellectual connections among scientists and their publications. The SCI attracted the attention of historians and sociologists of science and served as a catalyst to the field of scientometrics, which uses quantita

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