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When research is mobilized around combating a virulent infectious agent, risk-taking is inevitable. That has been true in the pursuit of a polio vaccine and a cure for smallpox, in the study of cancer-causing viruses, and most recently, in AIDS research. While the responsible course of action is to limit as much as possible the risks to investigators and laboratory technicians, those goals can only be accomplished within certain limits. Infectious organisms are opportunistic, always seeking n

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Rockefeller U. Scientists Write, And Others Cite

By | May 16, 1988

When it comes to peer recognition, papers published by Rockefeller University scientists get more than their share of attention. A lot more. In fact, the average journal article by a Rockefeller scientist was cited nearly three times more often than the average scientific paper tracked over a 12-year period (1973 to 1984) by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Also cited far more than the average were papers published by faculty at Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, and the Univ

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Roland Schmitt Talks Science

By | May 16, 1988

When Roland W. Schmitt retired from his job as a senior vice president of General Electric Co. and director of GE’S Research and Development Center on January 31, he had little time to spend in leisure activities. On March 1, the 64-year-old physicist became the 16th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY He takes over an academic institution that is unique in its links with industry RPI has centers dedicated to interactive computer graphics, manufacturing productivit

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Ruckus Over NSF Grant Reversal

By | May 16, 1988

It Pulled The Plug On Two Engineering Centers, Provoking Debate Over Its Program Goals The National Science Foundation’s announcement in 1985 that it hoped to set up a network of up to 25 university-based engineering research centers set off a frantic scramble to snare a center—and a roiling debate about the value of the idea. After all, Director Erich Bloch’s vision to spend a half-billion dollars over the next decade on projects intended to improve both U.S. industrial co

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Back in 1985, chemist Peter Schultz drew considerable attention when, at the young age of 29 and after only two years on the job as assistant professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, he was promoted to associate professor with tenure, one of the quickest such promotions in the institution’s history. Today, the young Schultz’s fast-rising career has soared once again. At the age of 31, he has been named this year’s winner of the National Science Foun

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The Ecology of Computation

By | May 16, 1988

A new form of computation is emerging. Propelled by advances in software design and increasing connectivity, networks of enormous complexity known as distributed computational systems are spreading throughout offices and laboratories, across countries and continents. Unlike standalone computers, these growing networks seldom offer centralized scheduling and resource allocation. Instead, computational processes (the active execution of programs) migrate from workstations to printers, servers,

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The Thrills Of Science Under Startup Stress

By | May 16, 1988

Life In The Fast Lane At Nova Pharmaceuticals, And The Not-So-Sweet Smell Of Success To hear pharmacologist Bill Kinnier tell it, life at Nova Pharmaceutical Corp. has finally settled down. He’s back to being a full-time scientist He gets to go home at a normal hour. He even has a new secretary all to himself. The only problem is: Kinnier misses the old days. Take the summer of 1984. Nova, a hot pharmaceutical startup, had been born of a dream that renowned Johns Hopkins University neu

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New Rules Seen As Serious Threats To Academic Freedom LONDON--Gerald Draper is a worried man. Head of the Childhood Cancer Research Group at Oxford University, he often speaks at meetings of parents who live near nuclear installations, helping them understand why the risk of radiation-induced leukemia in their children is small. It is a daunting task, because the question of whether leukemia rates rise around nuclear power plants is one of the most contentious scientific issues in Britain.

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University Briefs

May 16, 1988

Hewlett-Packard Co. founder David Packard has just given $2 billion to the trust he and his late wife established in 1964 and young researchers will be among the beneficiaries. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation plans to dole out 20 $500,000 awards this year and has already asked 50 top research universities to nominate two junior professors each. But only natural scientists and engineers need apply; research projects in medicine, space activity, and high-energy physics are ineligible. Th

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Why I Walked Away From Star Wars--And A Good Job

By | May 16, 1988

Opinion Why I Walked Away From Star Wars--And A Good Job AUTHOR: RICHARD RUQUIST Date: May 16, 1988 Years before the term Strategic Defense Initiative had been coined, no one was more enthusiastic about a defensive missile shield than Richard Ruquist. The questions seemed purely technical back then, and Ruquist was an engineering bloodhound on a hot trail. But after scores of analyses, the scientist concluded that it was a terrible mistake—that a defensive system in space would be vulne

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