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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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Biotech Plant Draws Fire In Germany

By | February 22, 1988

FRANKFURT—Environmental groups have managed to delay the construction here of a test plant to process genetically engineered human insulin. The argument over the facility, proposed by the giant chemical and pharmaceutical company Hoechst, has focused attention on the absence of binding legal regulations for biotechnology production facilities. Hoechst Chairman Wolfgang Hilger has called the latest setback “terrifying” and “ridiculous.” Last October Hoechst receiv

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Budget Agreement Could Doom Proposed Boost in Research

By | February 22, 1988

NEWS ANALYSIS WASHINGTON—Budget analysts refer to it as Account 302b. But scientists may want to use more colorful names once they realize it will almost certainly block the sizable R&D increases being proposed for 1989 by President Reagan. The budget process works well when spending is rising gradually each year,” observed John Hoimfeld, a staff member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee who later this year will complete a multi-volume report on science policy fo

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Contest Winner Sends An SOS to Congress

By | February 22, 1988

Ed Connors wants to send an SOS message to Congress: “Sorry, Out of Scientists.” That message makes Connors, a professor of mathematics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the winner of THE SCIENTIST’s slogan contest (see November 2, 1987, p. 2). Readers were invited to submit “the best phrase to describe the pending shortage of scientific manpower in the United States” in five words or less. Connors tried but failed to get a local slogan competition

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Essays of a Third World Scientist

By | February 22, 1988

ESSAYS OF A THIRD WORLD SCIENTIST OBRAS ESCOGIDAS Selected works by Oscar Varsavsky. Pedro Sánz, Alfredo Eric Calcagno, eds. Centro Editor de América Latina, Buenos Aires, 1983. 416 pp. I met Oscar Varsavsky in a cavernous classroom of the University of Buenos Aires engineering school in the mid-1950s. He was my recitation instructor for a mathematics class, and at the time I was not aware that he had a doctorate or that he was more qualified than the professor. Today I am well awa

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French Lament Decline of Mathematics

By | February 22, 1988

PALAISEAU, FRANCE—France takes great pride in its mathematical tradition. But its position has slipped since the days of Blaise Pascal, Pierre Fermat, Evariste Galois and the fictitious Bourbaki. Frenchman have collected five of 30 Fields medals awarded by the International Mathematicians' Congress since 1950, but only one has come in the past 20 years. And the number of mathematicians has declined precipitously since the 1970s, triggering a shortage that threatens the country’s p

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Happenings

February 22, 1988

PEOPLE DEATHS MEETINGS CORRECTION Avedis Donabedian, Professor of Public Health at the University of Michigan, will retire in May. Donabedian joined the university in 1961 as an associate professor of public health economics. He was born in Beirut and studied at the American University of Beirut and the Harvard School of Public Health. Klaus Fuchs, 76, the German-born nuclear physicist who was jailed in the 1950s for giving U.S. and British atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union, d

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How I Learned the Fine Art of Collaboration

By | February 22, 1988

Collaboration “to work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.” So says Mr. Webster. In practice, however, we all know that collaboration involves the art of getting credit for someone s work, an intellectual effort that can leap continents and disciplines in a single bound. I didn’t realize that during my first attempt at collaboration. Several years ago I spent some time using the Dodge procedure to produce ghosts from pig red blood cells. This entails lysing

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Letters

February 22, 1988

PETA Not Extremists UNESCO’S Vision A Friendlier TeX Elisabeth Carpenter’s informative article about animal liberation actions (December 14, 1987, P. 1) paints People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (rather typically I’m sorry to say) as an extremist group. Sadly, the major focus of our work seldom makes the papers or the six o’clock news. A mediawide tendency to link PETA with the Animal Liberation Front and similar groups is the result of PETA’s re

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