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National Science Week Is Up, Up and Away

By | April 6, 1987

WASHINGTON—At 1:30 p.m. today, around the corner from the White House, high school students plan to set loose one thousand balloons with self-addressed information cards. They will join 224,000 balloons launched simultaneously around the country by students from 600 schools, in one of the more visible displays of National Science and Technology Week '87. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation and funded largely by corporate donors, Science Week is observing its third year. Its messag

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NIH Must Meet the Hughes Challenge

By | April 6, 1987

For the past 30 years the forefront of biomedical research has been synonymous with the efforts of the U.S. research community, shaped and financed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Now NIH's pre-eminence is at risk, challenged by the emergence of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) as a leader in the field. Since 1985, HHMI—with assets of $45.2 billion—has spent the better part of $485.4 million at 48 academic centers. Hughes researchers, many of them former stars o

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LONDON—Researchers around the world foresee few practical repercussions from last month's Papal instruction that bans in vitro fertilization and other procreative procedures not involving sexual intercourse. An informal worldwide survey by The Scientist found some concern that politicians might seek to obey the Vatican's injunction to embody the new Catholic doctrine in civil law, but most political commentators consider this very unlikely. In Ireland, Tony Walsh, who runs the IVF and GIFT

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Sakharov and SDI

By | April 6, 1987

The comments in your January 26 issue by Medvedev and Ziman about the motives behind the release of Andrei Sakharoy are necessarily speculative, but not exhaustive. Let me add by way of an alternative speculation, based on the fact that Sakharov has expressed criticisms of the feasibility of the Strategic Defense Initiative, that his view on SDI may have contributed to the decision by Gorbachev to release Sakharov at this time. Gorbachev repeatedly has shown his eagerness to discourage our plans

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Scientists in Philippines Predict Gains

By | April 6, 1987

MANILA—A new national Constitution does more for the Philippines than endorse the political reforms of President Corazon Aquino. Scientists hope it will also stem the emigration of doctors and researchers, encourage research to improve the country's economy, and promote involvement in R&D by the private sector. More than 12,000 Filipino scientists and engineers emigrated between 1966 and 1978, according to Fernando Sanchez, past president of the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges.

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"Most fortunately, Kendrew made a favorable impression on Luria: like Kalckar, he was civilized and in addition supported the Labor Party." That is how James Watson introduces us to John Kendrew, toward the beginning of The Double Helix. Later in his highly individualistic memoir, Watson recounts how he accepted what looked like "an open invitation to tuberculosis" when he arrived in England in 1951. After having difficulty finding digs in Cambridge, he recalls how "John and Elizabeth Kendrew re

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So They Say

April 6, 1987

Something looks very wrong with the management of the President's Star Wars missile defense program. Instead of clear and steady progress toward establishing its technological feasibility, the program's managers seem to shift emphasis every few months from one vaunted breakthrough to another. Last year the free-electron laser was hot stuff; now attention veers to crash development of space-based rockets. The primary goal seems political: getting production lines running before President Reagan l

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Superconductivity Surge Mobilizes Lab Chiefs

By | April 6, 1987

NEW YORK—A surge of new research in superconductivity that began late last year is posing as much of a challenge to research managers and administrators as to solid-state physicists. Their problem: How best to allocate scarce people, funds and equipment to take advantage of the new fervor in this sector of science, in which the maximum temperature at which resistance-free transmission of electric current occurs has soared. Although physicists warn that several technical hurdles remain, com

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Testing Firm's Warning About Ferries Unheeded

By | April 6, 1987

LONDON—Last month's sinking of the English Channel ferry the Herald of Free Enterprise has focused attention on a group of scientists and engineers whose unique expertise has been neglected in the rash of recent privatizations in Britain. Companies operating similar "roll-on, roll-off" (or Ro-Ro) ferries have not responded to efforts by the managers of the now privately owned company British Maritime Technology (BMT) to point out the design weaknesses of such craft. One consequence is that

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The Moral Costs of IVF Research

By | April 6, 1987

The Vatican's March 10 condemnation of artificial methods of reproduction, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), is certain to be the cause of considerable controversy both within and without the scientific community, and among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The pronouncement by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says that "uncontrollable application of such techniques could lead to unforeseeable and damaging consequences for civil society." In addition to outlawing artificial

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