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Exiles in Pursuit of Beauty

By | March 23, 1987

The uncle I knew best was a noted mathematician, who reached the top of the French academia when he was 38 and I was 13. His example showed that science was not fully recorded in dusty tomes but was a flourishing enterprise, and becoming myself a scientist was always a familiar option. This might have set me now on the usual pattern of fond reminiscences of teachers and postdoctorate mentors. But, in fact, I seem to have fled from teachers, mentors and existing disciplines. As a result, no one i

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Happenings

March 23, 1987

Peter Day, director of the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge, U.K., has been named director of the new Center for Biomolecular Research in the Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at Rutgers University's Cook College. Day, a leading authority in agricultural biotechnology, will take on his new position this summer. The new $30 million center is expected to open later this year. Frederick P. Brooks Jr., professor of computer science at the University of North Carolina for the past 22 ye

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HHMI to Boost, Broaden Spending on Research

By | March 23, 1987

WASHINGTON—The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has promised to increase its spending by $500 million during the next decade as part of an agreement this month that ends its longstanding dispute with the Internal Revenue Service. Researchers, science students, and teachers at U.S. schools and universities may eventually be among the beneficiaries of the settlement, which requires HHMI to spend an additional $50 million a year above the $200 million it now devotes to medical research. The ag

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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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