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April 20, 1987

Robert L. White, William E. Ayer Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University took office this month as director of San Francisco's Exploratorium, a science, perception and art center with more than 600 hands-on exhibits. White succeeds founder Frank Oppenheimer, who directed the center from 1969 until his death in February 1985. Donald J. Osterbrock has been elected to succeed Bernard Burke as president of the American Astronomical Society. Osterbrock, professor of astronomy arid

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How to Write a Good Science Text

By | April 20, 1987

Most established scientists based in universities have probably been approached by book publishers. Acquisitions editors are always searching for essential monographs, timely conference proceedings and outstanding textbooks. The quest for good authors is highly competitive. Most publishers now use subject specialists who are able to use their own judgment when they come across an interesting proposal. These editors visit campuses and attend conventions in order to drum up business. How should th

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Institute Calls Canadians Back Home

By | April 20, 1987

OTTAWA—In 1985 J. Richard Bond, then associate professor of physics at Stanford University, returned to his alma mater, the University of Toronto, to spend a year at its Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. Last June, despite the attractive climate and an offer of tenure from Stanford, the 36-year-old Canadian decided to stay in Toronto. The choice is unusual for citizens of a country that has traditionally lost its best scientists to its southern neighbor. The deciding factor

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Let's Sharpen Up Occam's Razor

By | April 20, 1987

In the otherwise interesting dialogue between Stephen Hawking and Renée Weber in "God as the Edge of the Universe" (The Scientist, February 23, 1987, p. 15), it is unfortunate that as good a scientist as Hawking should "invoke God" to fill the gaps in our cosmological knowledge. I thought Occam's razor had trimmed off such nonsense long ago. If Hawking feels that religious interpretations are really irrelevant, as he implies later in the interview, why did he feel compelled to muddy the wat

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Let's Stand Up for Global Science

By | April 20, 1987

UNESCO's science programs rank among its greatest successes. In fact, a 1984 U.S. interagency panel studying the consequences of a U.S. withdrawal stated that the excellence of UNESCO's science activities alone would warrant continued membership in the Organization. As the U.S. pullout on December 31, 1984 approached, scientists worldwide worried about the impact that a 25 percent reduction in the UNESCO budget—the U.S. contribution—would have on the international Organization's scie

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Make Science Really International

By | April 20, 1987

Internationalize science? Isn't it a!lready international? Not at all. Countries representing only one-quarter of the world's population produce 95 percent of the new science, while the remaining three-quarters contribute only 5 percent. We are, in effect, leaving three-quarters of human brain power unused. Science would progress much faster were this not so. Given the intimate connecbetween science, technology, production and standard of living, a universalization of science would also alleviat

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NASA Seeks Small, Quick Experiments

By | April 20, 1987

WASHINGTON—In an attempt to revive a disheartened space science community, NASA has teamed up with other federal research agencies to design a series of small, inexpensive experiments to be carried by the space shuttle during construction of the proposed space station in the first half of the next decade. The program is expected to run on a timetable more in harmony with the academic career of a typical graduate student than the extended period needed to launch a major scientific experimen

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LONDON—The deaths of four scientists involved in defense research, and the mysterious disappearance of a fifth, are causing considerable speculation here. Although the police initially treated the incidents as unrelated, opposition politicians have highlighted what could be a significant common factor—the men all were involved with advanced signal processing and software. Last August Vimal Dajibhal, 24, a computer programmer with Marconi Underwater Systems, was found underneath a bri

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Radiation Biology Needs Physicians

By | April 20, 1987

The world faces a growing deficiency in the number of medical scientists who are well informed about the delayed effects of ionizing radiation. This deficiency is growing because the physicians who entered the field in the early 1950s are now reaching retirement age. No one is following them because career opportunities in human radiation biology have become less appealing than those in other fields. The excitement about research in radiation biology has diminished over the years since the dropp

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Science, Technology and Superpowers

By | April 20, 1987

Cooperation in Science and Technology: An Evaluation of the U.S.-Soviet Agreement. Catherine P. AiIes and Arthur E. Pardee Jr. Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 1986. 368 pp. $28.50. After-the-fact appraisal of the 1972-82 intergovernmental agreement on scientific and technical exchanges between the superpowers turns out to present the old question of whether the glass was half full or half empty relative to what was hoped for. SRI International analyst Catherine Ailes and consultant Arthur Pardee Jr

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