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How to Review Science Books

By | March 23, 1987

To be a scientist is, among other things, to be a reviewer, for without the review process science would have no greater claim to truth than any other way of knowing. While peer review does not ensure that science's grasp of reality will always be firm, it does at least serve as a sort of collective feedback mechanism, minimizing spasms of error or prejudice that can lead isolated researchers astray. Realizing this, most scientists accept the task of reviewing proposals and manuscripts for publi

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Keep Informed Judgment in Funding

By | March 23, 1987

The most controversial subject in academic science policy recently is the dispute over the effects of the growing practice by which institutions seek and receive from Congress specially earmarked appropriations for research facilities. To a remarkable degree, decisions about who should be funded to do science have been made on an essentially nonpolitical basis, even though government has been the main patron. There has never been the slightest doubt that Congress has had the power and the right

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Keeping Track Of The Women In Science

By | March 23, 1987

I appreciate Margaret Rossiter's comments about my book Women in Science: Antiquity Through the Nineteenth Century (The Scientist, February 9, 1987, p. 18). Rossiter recognized the difficulties involved in collecting scattered data and rendering it into a useful reference volume. She made a point that I think is important, that "once left out of a biographical dictionary, persons tend to be omitted from subsequent history and memory of their accomplishments essentially vanishes from sight and ho

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David T Kingsbury, assistant director for biological, behavioral and social sciences at the National Science Foundation, has been described as the Reagan administration's point man on biotechnology. As chairman of the Biotechnology Science Coordinating Committee formed under the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Kingsbury was the principal architect of the Coordinated Framework for Biotechnology, which President Reagan signed last June. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1971, Kings

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Let's Not Create A New Pseudoscience

By | March 23, 1987

It is obvious from the four statements in the November 17 issue of The Scientist (pp. 11-12) that definitions for science and religion are critical for defusing the evolution/creation wars. As an evolutionist who is religious, I would like to evaluate the problem a little further. By definition, science limits itself to those phenomena that can be explained by the invariant laws of nature. Creation science is indeed an oxymoron because it brings unprovable assumptions as explanations into the pr

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Living With Today's Technology...

By | March 23, 1987

Tradeoffs: Imperatives of Choice in a High-Tech World. Edward Wenk Jr. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1986. 272 pp. $19.95. There are many aspects of the interactions between technical advances and society. The average consumer is aware of the products and services available today. Corporations include technical change in strategic business planning, or are forced to adopt new strategies to accommodate it. The conduct of research and development is affected by economic and politi

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Many Questions, Few Answers On New NSF Science Centers

By | March 23, 1987

WASHINGTON—A National Science Foundation proposal to spend $50 million next year on up to 20 science and technology centers, touted by Director Erich Bloch as a partial solution to the country's economic problems, is actually an untested idea that has raised numerous questions among the scientific community. NSF is supporting three separate efforts, one in-house, to help it decide how to create, operate and evaluate such basic research facilities. Congress has already heard Xestimony from

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Minnesota Center Loses NSF Funds

By | March 23, 1987

MINNEAPOLIS—Officials at the Minnesota Supercomputer Center are providing 334 scientists with free computer time until the end of the month while the state's congressional delegation wages an uphill battle to restore the center's recent loss of funding from the National Science Foundation. The free time on the center's Cray II and Cyber 205 supercomputers was made available after NSF gave center president John Sell two days' notice in mid-February that his facility would receive no more fu

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SYDNEY—The Education Department of New South Wales is exploring ways to encourage more girls to take up science and technology. The initiative by the state's Technology Strategy committee follows a widely publicized case in which a 15-year-old girl at Canterbury Girls' High School was not permitted to take courses in computer studies and graphics that were available to her twin brother at the nearby Boys' High School. Alleging sexual discrimination, the girl won her case before the state's

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My Daughter Beatrice

By | March 23, 1987

I would like to comment on the review of my book, My Daughter Beatrice about my daughter Beatrice Tinsley (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, pp. 24-25). At the time of her death, I was overwhelmed to find how greatly my dear daughter was appreciated as a friend as well as a cosmologist by those brilliant people among whom she worked. As stated in my foreword, I had only a limited selection of readers in mind when I wrote the memoir, but I am very happy to think that someone as experienced as Vir

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