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Superconductivity News: The Heat is On

By | March 7, 1988

The discovery of high-temperature (950K) superconductors has incited a stampede of activity in the last 18 months, not only in research labs, but also in newsrooms and editors' offices. According to the December 1, 1987 issue of High-Tc. Update, 12 new publications in press or planned are aimed at keeping scientists and industrialists up to date on the scientific, governmental and commercial activity involving the new superconducting ceramics. Add to this at least seven existing newsletters th

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The Legacy of the Nazi Lagers

By | March 7, 1988

On April 11, 1987, the Italian chemist and author Primo Levi was found dead in his apartment building in Turin. Reportedly depressed over worldwide violence, his deteriorating health, and a case of writer’s block, he apparently threw himself down the stairwell of his building. A survivor of Auschwitz, Levi had written a series of works, including The Periodic Table (Schochen Books, 1984), that intermingled stories of his captivity with metaphysical reflections (see THE SCIENTIST, May 18,

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Too Many Journals? Nonsense!

By | March 7, 1988

Every few weeks I read another journalist’s jab at the value and quantity of scientific journals. When discussing the ever-expanding literature, reporters of the popular press frequently indulge in superficial analyses that distort reality, whether through misunderstanding or exaggeration. Nancy Jeffrey revealed profound misunderstanding in “Mollusks, Semiotics and Dermatology: Narrow Scholarly Journals Are Spreading” (Wall Street Journal, August 27, 1987, p. 25). She invites

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Two Saved From Death In Somalia

By | March 7, 1988

WASHINGTON—The Somalia government has commuted the death sentences of two American-trained scientists whose brutal treatment in prison was the focus of an onsite visit by a delegation from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine. The two men, civil engineer Suleiman Nuh Ali and mathematician Abdi Ismail Yonis, have instead received 24-year prison sentences after having been convicted of treason during a trial last month. A spokesman for the Somalia government sa

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Two Tax Programs for the IBM PC

By | March 7, 1988

Nothing is certain but death and taxes, goes the old saw. And while there are programs that can help you write your will (and I suppose one could devise a far-fetched scenario involving medical databases) there really isn’t much that you and your PC can do about the former of these certainties. There is, however, a class of programs that can make filling out tax returns more pleasant and less time-consuming, if not outright fun. One of the leading IBM PC programs is TURBO TAX. The lead

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Vita Writing for Academic Scientists

By | March 7, 1988

Applying for an academic post is considerably different from seeking a job in industry. Hence, the advice given in "Resumé Writing for Scientists” (September 21, 1987) tells only part of the tale. That article may serve those seeking jobs in industry (the resumé writers), but for those applying for an academic position (the vita writers), I suggest the following: DO: List every dollar you have raised by grants, scholarships, gifts and endowments. Include teaching awards y

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A Handbook For Activist Scientists

By | February 22, 1988

Here is a book that belongs on the desk of every biomedical researcher in the United States: Building a Healthy America Conquering Disease and Disability Facts, Figures and Funding, edited by Terry L. Lierman. Lierman is president of Capitol Associates, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm specializing in health-related issues and funding. The volume, published last November, is the successor to a series of handbooks initiated by Mary Lasker, all entitled Killers and Cripple

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Academics Give Science Equipment Failing Grade

By | February 22, 1988

WASHINGTON—A newly released study by the National Science Foundation reveals what many academic researchers know only too well: The quality and amount of instrumentation available in the physical and computer sciences and engineering are not keeping pace with their needs. A survey of of the largest U.S. research universities, conducted in 1985, revealed that 51 percent of the engineering chairs felt that present equipment within their departments prevents faculty from pursuing major rese

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Analytical Chemists in Demand

By | February 22, 1988

Analytical chemists trekking to New Orleans for this month’s Pittsburgh conference might be forgiven a certain amount of hubris. Their services are in demand, by industry and academia, as never before. “I think it’s the tightest area in chemistry, with the possible exception of polymer chemistry,” declares Ted Logan, Manager of Ph.D. recruiting at Procter & Gamble Co. Actually, the U.S. supply of Ph.D.s in analytical chemistry is rising. The compound growth rate of 6.7

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Biotech Companies Delay Going Public

By | February 22, 1988

NEW YORK—Biotechnology companies that had been on the verge of going public are adjusting to the post-Black Monday shortage of public capital without the major layoffs and cutbacks that some analysts had predicted. Because such companies tend to be small, with heavy research investments and few proven products, some analysts saw them as particularly vulnerable to takeovers and restructurings in their search for cash. But for at least two firms that scuttled their plans for initial publi

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