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WASHINGTON—A large black bust of Thomas Edison greets visitors to the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) here. Established in 1923 at the famous inventor’s urging, the lab was for more than 20 years the federal govemment’s sole facility for fundamental research in the physical sciences. NRL remains the Pentagon’s flagship research facility, conducting work in such fields as space, new materials, microelectronics and artificial intelligence. Some 700 of its 1,600 scienti

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An Evening Visit to the Sakharovs

By | October 19, 1987

If someone had told me last December that I would meet Andrel Sakharov six months later in Moscow, I—a notorious optimist—would have considered that person a fool. But in June, after unsuccessfully trying to call Sakharov shortly after my arrival in Moscow en route to a conference in Novosibirsk, I asked a friend to drive me to 48B Chkalov Street at around 9 p.m. I rang at the shabby door, which was opened by Yelena Bonner, Sakharov’s wife. She is used to late visitors, to

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Apartheid Splits Session On Archeology

By | October 19, 1987

MAINZ, WEST GERMANY—An international scientific society is once again embroiled in a debate on apartheid in the form of a proposal to change its constitution to permit the exclusion from meetings of scientists from South Africa and Namibia. The 11th Congress of the International Union of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences (IUPPS) met here in August amid protesters who demanded that the organization exclude scientists who work in countries that practice apartheid. The lines of the

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Barriers to Technology Transfer Don't Work

By | October 19, 1987

Q: The U.S. government is concerned about high technology links with the Eastern bloc. Does that concern you? SEIBOLD: I am a scientist, and this is a European science foundation. It doesn’t matter to me, if a man is a good geologist, whether he is a communist or a Jesuit. If he cooperates and brings good ideas and is a good scientist, fine. Q: But isn’t science becoming more closely linked with technology? Isn’t it becoming more difficult to draw a sharp line between what

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BRUSSELS—The European Commission has approved the next round of projects under the BRITE (Basic Research in Industrial Technologies for Europe) program. Some 112 projects will receive 105 million ECU ($120 million) for work in such fields as laser welding, corrosion-resistant alloys for turbines and robot-controlled knitting plants. About 45 percent of the money will be released immediately to a collection of large and small industrial companies, research institutes and universities in

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Buck Trust to Finance Aging Center

By | October 19, 1987

SAN FRANCISCO—A California court has awarded a $65 million en- dowment from the Buck Trust to begin a multidisciplinary research institute on aging. The Buck Center on Aging, to be built in Main County, will be affiliated with the Berkeley, San Francisco and Davis campuses of the University of California system. The center expects to open in 1992 with a research staff of 60, including 15 senior researchers, and an annual operating budget of $4.5 million. The staff is expected to grow to

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Congress Asked To Amend Act on Orphan Drugs

By | October 19, 1987

WASHINGTON—The Orphan Drug Act, passed in 1983, has been effective in bringing to market new drugs tsrgeted at rare diseases, but more research funds are needed to complete the task and expand it to cover medical foods and devices, federal lawmakers were told this month. In testimony before a House subcommittee on health and the environment, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Frank Young reported that nearly 160 drugs have been designated as orphans, of which 18 have been approv

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D Projects Unblocked

By | October 19, 1987

DUBLIN—The European Commission is expected to agree later this fall to divert at least $462 million over the next five years from the EEC’s Regional Fund into helping the science infrastructure of its less favored regions. The proposal is based on work done for the EEC by Ireland’s science agency, the National Board for Science and Technology. The NBST was hired in 1985 to determine how Regional Fund monies— traditionally used for road, sewer and drainage projects&#

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Defense Labs Yield Ideas For U.K. Firms

By | October 19, 1987

LONDON—Britain is using “ferrets” to transfer technology from its national defense research laboratories into the civil sector. These two-legged ferrets, all of whom have good technical qualifications, are employed by a technology broker to spot promising ideas and obtain licenses for them. The broker is a private company called Defence Technology Enterprises based at Milton Keynes. Owned by eight British financial institutions, it so far has signed up more than 200 associa

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Detecting Radar's Development

By | October 19, 1987

RADAR IN WORLD WAR II Vol. I and II Henry E. Guerlac. Tomash/American Institute of Physics, New York, 1987.1,255 pp. $110. The American Institute of Physics and Tomash Publishers have performed a great service by publishing, after 40 years, Henry Guerlac’s outstanding history of the development of microwave radar in World War II. Until now, this unique document has been available only on the shelves of a few libraries as a collection of loose pages. Its intended publication after the war

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