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In 1975, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) was remarkable more for its namesake, the legendary, ultra-reclusive billionaire, than for its $3 million research program. But Hughes' death in 1976, and the 1985 sale of the Hughes Aircraft Co. for $5 billion, have made the Institute remark-able to the tune of $200 million in biomedical grants last year alone. That figure is expected to climb to $300 million by 1990, making the Institute the largest private medical research organization in th

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Federal Judges v. Science

January 26, 1987

Katie Wells was born in 1981 with serious birth defects. Her parents attributed them to a contraceptive jelly and sued the maker, Ortho Pharmaceutical Judge Marvin Shoob of the U.S. District Court in Georgia ruled they had proved their case and assessed $5 million in damages against Ortho. The Court of Appeals declined to overturn the judgment and last month the Supreme Court refused to intervene. What is wrong with that? First, the facts. Scientific experts often differ and the courts generally

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Five NASA Scientists Reflect on a Year of Turmoil

By | January 26, 1987

To biochemist Nitza Cintron, a member of what she describes as "the NASA family," the Challenger accident brought with it a great sense of loss. As chief of the 75-person Biomedical Laboratories at Johnson Space Center, Cintron believes the accident has had a greater impact on operational responsibilities—supporting shuttle flights—than on basic research. But there are lots of projects that can only be done in space which have been temporarily suspended. Some of Cintron's own researc

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Gene Sequencing: No Easy Answers

By | January 26, 1987

The sequencing of the human genome was discussed by two of its proponents in the October 20, 1986 issue of The Scientist  (pp. 11-12). Their statements were sound and true, but incomplete in that there was no discussion of the social and ethical implications of this profound technological goal, and only good was seen to come from it. In the context of today's entrepreneurial science-technology adventures, this is at best simplistic. Science should learn from experience. That biology is trea

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Hopkins Official Responds To Animal Story

By | January 26, 1987

I hope that the article "Search for Animal Alternatives Faces Rough Road" by Tom Watkins (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, p. 6) does not portend that The Scientist will face a rough road through inaccurate reporting. In the article, Watkins states that I refused to respond to comments by Earle Brauer of Revlon. In fact, I gave Watkins a rather extended telephone interview. He called me back several weeks later with a series of questions, saying "Person A said this and person B said that, what

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Joint Research Centers Part of Increase for NSF

By | January 26, 1987

WASHINGTON—A request from Director Erich Bloch for $270 million in additional funds for the National Science Foundation in fiscal 1988 should get a sympathetic hearing on Capitol Hill, according to congressional committee staff. But whether that will translate into votes is not yet clear. Bloch won administration support for the 17 percent increase, from $1.62 billion to nearly $1.9 billion, by arguing that strengthening the university research base is one of the best ways to keep American

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Let's See More Long Book Reviews

By | January 26, 1987

John Beatty informed me that you had cut much of his review of my book Sewall Wright and Evolutionary Biology (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, pp. 23-24) without consultation. This was dismaying news for obvious minor personal reasons and also for the major reason that The Scientist apparently does not wish to publish substantive book reviews. This, I think, is a big mistake. If you are going to review science books at all, then review them well and in depth. The idea of your newspaper is grea

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SAN FRANCISCO—One year ago the U.S. space program came to an abrupt and shocking halt. As the remains of the Space Shuttle Challenger plummeted into the sea, an already tenuous and drifting Space and Earth Science Program reeled under the shock wave. While NASA says none of its 22,800 employees worldwide have been laid off, the scientific programs, both at NASA facilities and elsewhere, have unquestionably been affected severely. Previous decisions to stretch out and delay flight projects

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Panel To Rank U.K. Priorities

By | January 26, 1987

LONDON—Industrial, government and scientific leaders here are about to launch a new effort to decide how best to spend the U.K.'s research dollars. The tripartite forum—as yet unnamed—is expected to be announced shortly by the government, which hopes to attract a well-known industrialist as its chairman. The idea for such a group came from the government's Advisory Council for Applied Research and Development (ACARD). The Council, a group of senior industrial and government res

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Physicists Cite Gender Bias

January 26, 1987

LONDON—More than half of the U.K. Institute of Physics's female members believe they have been discriminated against when applying for jobs. According to a survey by the Institute, many have suffered "patronizing attitudes, lack of rapport with male colleagues and chauvinistic or sexist remarks" and feel that they need to perform twice as well if they are to be considered as able as men. Of the Institute's 11,733 members, only 672 are women—but 63 percent of them completed the questi

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Mettler Toledo
BD Biosciences
BD Biosciences