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Space Research Carries On

By | January 12, 1987

WASHINGTON—Smaller payloads, alternative boosters and suborbital flights are making it possible for space scientists to carry out their experiments in the aftermath of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger one year ago this month. NASA's billion-dollar budget for space science survived relatively unscathed for the current year, and officials are hopeful that the same will be true for fiscal 1988. But flight time, not money, is the biggest immediate problem for scientists, acknowled

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The ABCs of Abstract Science

By | January 12, 1987

For years, scientists and historians have wondered why the Chinese, who introduced technological innovations like gunpowder, paper, iron smelting, and the segmental arch bridge to the Western world, never developed abstract science. Robert K Logan, a physicist with a special interest in phonetics, postulates in his new book The Alphabet Effect (William Morrow & Company, 1986) that the rise of the phonetic alphabet in the West was a necessary precondition for the development of modern science. Th

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The Cost of Lab Remodeling

By | January 12, 1987

This Is the second in a series of three articles on lab design. The first article was "How to Plan a Lab BuildIng" (The Scientist, November 17, 1986, P. 15). An upcoming article will deal with furniture for laboratories. Sooner, or later, everyone working in a laboratory building must face the perplexing question of whether to build a new one or remodel the old one. The answer depends on many considerations. Let's look at some of the more obvious ones. Time. Are you under time constraints that w

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The Surfaces of Black Holes

By | January 12, 1987

Black Holes: The Membrane Paradigm. Kip S. Thome, Richard H. Price and Douglas A. Macdonald, eds. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1986. 367 pp., illus. $40 HB, $14.95 PB. Black holes have entered our everyday discourse, used as metaphors for entities like the U.S. federal budget that swallow up all the country's resources. Astrophysically, black holes are formed when a sufficiently large amount of matter occupies a sufficiently small space. Gravity becomes so strong that the matter collap

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Time to 'Interfere' in Science Ed

By | January 12, 1987

Nearly all recent surveys of science and mathematics curricula in our secondary schools paint a picture of gloom and doom. A cross section of high school curricula and faculty taken across the United States reveals a lack of consistency in both the number and quality of courses. The research-oriented colleges and universities that draw upon today's high school graduates to populate their freshman classes are, however, generally blasé about the situation. A great deal of the colleges' effort

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U.K. Toughens Animal Regulations

By | January 12, 1987

LONDON—A more restrictive law aimed at British biologists who use laboratory animals goes into effect this month. The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act of 1986 applies to anything done in the name of science that might cause "pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm" to animals. Routine tests, antiserum production and a host of small interferences occurring during behavioral or field studies are covered for the first time. The law replaces the grimly-named Cruelty to Animals Act, which

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'Gell-Mann Opened My Eyes'

By | December 15, 1986

Author: JOHN POLKINGHORNE Date: December 15, 1986 I am a subscriber to the “great man” theory of the history of science—the view that it is the insights of the men of genius that actually propel the subject. No doubt there is also a role for those of us who belong to the army of honest toilers, providing the background of expectation and exploitation, but the big ideas come from the big men. The first big man of theoretical physics that I knew was Paul Dirac, whose intellec

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...More Than an Evolutionary Theorist

By | December 15, 1986

SEWALL WRIGHT AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY William B. Provine. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1986. 561 pp., illus. $30. Sewall Wright has long despaired at being associated with an overly narrow view of the evolutionary process, one that attributes extreme importance to chance factors and neglects the role of natural se lection. His archrival, R.A. Fisher, contributed in no small way to this caricature. Even among those who get Wright's views on evolution straight there are those who minimi

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A Fly-By-Light Discovery

By | December 15, 1986

HUMOR Author: GREGORY BYRNE Date: December 15, 1986 What do you get when you cross a firefly and a tobacco plant? Tobacco that glows in the dark? Yes, word has come from the University of California, San Diego, of a remarkable new discovery that pushes scientific re search into the 21st century and beyond. It's not in the area of particle physics, laser technology or magnetic resonance imaging, but it's bound to be the biggest noise since the Big Bang. They've made tobacco plants that glow i

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A Personal Tribute To Tinsley

By | December 15, 1986

MY DAUGHTER BEATRICE A Personal Memoir of Dr. Beatrice Tinsley, Astronomer. Edward Hill. American Physical Society, New York, 1986. 138 pp., ilIus.$9.95. Beatrice Muriel Hill Tinsley was a wise, warm, and wonderful person. If you knew her in person or through her work, this book from the pen of her father will make you miss her all over again. If you never knew her, you will wish you had. In an astrophysics career that spanned less than 14 years, from her Ph.D. dissertation in 1967 to her dea

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