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Sweden Seeks Aid Abroad

By | March 23, 1987

STOCKHOLM—The two largest biotechnology companies in Sweden have set up foreign research centers to compensate for a shortage of trained scientists at home. Pharmacia is developing a center for genetic engineering research in La Jolla, Calif., while Astra has recently opened a research facility in Bangalore, India. Both centers will be staffed by local scientists. "We cannot find the right people here in Sweden," said Sune Rosell, head of research and development for Astra. The company pla

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Taking a New Look At Contraceptives

By | March 23, 1987

The article by N.W. Pirie (The Scientist, January 26, 1987, p. 19) calls for a renewed search for novel methods of birth control. Pirie is right in highlighting this as a neglected area worth more attention than it currently receives. Spermicides are a logical choice to interrupt fertility, and the only major drawback of current products is a moderate failure rate. Pirie rightly points to the need to aggressively apply insights into sperm function to contraceptive development. As Pine suggests,

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The Costs of Export Controls

By | March 23, 1987

If there is a key word in the United States in the late 1980s, it is "competitiveness." It's a word that's used in many contexts to mean many things. In his new book The Technical Enterprise (Ballinger, 1986) Herbert Fusfeld discusses how social, economic and political pressures like the drive for competitiveness are at work in shaping the technical system today. In this adaptation from the book, he describes the practice of using export controls to keep technological advances from potential adv

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The Ripening Of Science In England

By | March 23, 1987

The Age of Science. David Knight. Basil Blackwell, New York, 1986. 240 pp. $24.95. This new book by David Knight, senior lecturer in history of science at the University of Durham, might plausibly be described as a popular survey of English science and its cultural role from 1789 to 1914. "Survey," however, scarcely does justice to Knight's program. Rather than scaling historical peaks for the perspectives they offer, Knight leads his reader on a brisk ramble through overgrown byways of Victoria

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The SSC Crowns 50 Years of Advances

By | March 23, 1987

The Superconducting Supercollider, the $6 billion particle accelerator whose construction was just endorsed by the President, is inevitable. The only serious questions surrounding it for the past half dozen years have been when and where. Why inevitable? Because the SSC is the unarguable means of answering the most fundamental scientific questions we can formulate: How are the forces of nature related, and what does that tell us about the underlying structure and behavior of matter? Progress in

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U.S. to Test New Pay Plan For Scientists

By | March 23, 1987

GAITHERSBURG, MD—The government could attract and retain a greater share of top-quality scientists and engineers if it could offer them more competitive salaries, hire them more quickly, and award raises and promotions on individual performance. That belief, held by research administrators both inside and outside government, is the driving force behind a five-year experiment at the National Bureau of Standards. Responding to a successful demonstration project begun in 1980 at two Navy work

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LONDON—The United States and its European partners remain far apart on how the planned space station should be managed after three days of talks late last month in Paris. "There was no evolution in the U.S. position," said Jean Arets, head of international programs for the 13-member European Space Agency. "It is difficult to know where we go from here." The original timetable for the manned station, which also involves Japan and Canada, called for all partners to agree by this summer on th

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Wall Street More Bullish On Biotechnology Firms

By | March 23, 1987

WASHINGTON—Biotechnology stocks, whose prices rose an average of 60 percent last year, should continue to do well this year as the industry expands, analysts predict, although individual companies may continue to have problems. Linda I. Miller, vice president for biotechnology research at Paine Webber Inc. in New York, last month told a seminar at The Brookings Institution here that the biotechnology industry has seen its risk factors decline and opportunities increase following the "turmo

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Was That Really A Reasonable Proposal?

By | March 23, 1987

Craig Svensson's view (The Scientist, January 26, p. 12) that one particular version of the sacred writings of one of the world's many religions is the sole arbiter of truth, and thus that the truth of any observation, logical deduction, or integrating hypothesis can be assessed only by comparison with those particular writings, must seem to most of us to be intellectually parochial. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that Svensson is sincere in believing himself to be reasonable and open-minded when

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What Creationists Really Seek

By | March 23, 1987

Craig K. Svensson, in his article "A Creationist Responds" (The Scientist, January 26, p. 12) mocks his religion as surely as he conceals his objective. Creationists regularly do both. The creationists' nominal objection to the teaching of evolutionary biology is a red herring. What they really seek is the abolition of all education in natural science. They cannot settle for less, because information that impeaches biblical literalism is conspicuous in a score of disciplines, from physics and as

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