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Radical Science Isn't Stodgy

By | May 4, 1987

In his review of Radical Science Essays (The Scientist, February 23, 1987, p. 22), Laurence A. Marschall acknowledges that scientists often sidestep the issue of how closely they attain their ideal of absolute objectivity. He then expresses disappointment at the "conservative" approach of our book—at its supposed attempt to fit reality into preconceived schemes—at the same time that he praises certain essays as "provocative." Yet those essays he finds provocative ask precisely the so

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Research Temps Hired at a Premium

By | May 4, 1987

WASHINGTON—James Welty is a professor of mechanical engineering at Oregon State University. But for the past 16 months he has been living on the East Coast under a special program that brings academics temporarily into government service. Welty works at the Department of Energy, reviewing grant proposals, setting up engineering meetings, and advising other scientists. He is one of 970 researchers currently on detail to the federal government under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, whic

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Scientists Must Learn to Lobby

By | May 4, 1987

Mention lobbying to a scientist and until quite recently the typical response was disinterest or discomfort. Active involvement in the political fray over the public funding of research has simply not been within the experience of most scientists. Moreover, the pejorative connotations evoked by terms like "lobby" and "political action committee" only reinforce an innate distaste many hold for overt forms of influencing decision-makers in government. That distaste has been enormously strengthened

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SDI Threatens More Than Academic Freedom

By | May 4, 1987

I take exception to the article by Jack Ruina (The Scientist, February 23, 1987, p. 12), which contends that there should be no organized pressure within universities against accepting SDI research funding. He discusses the political nature of this pressure but neglects to add that there is political pressure from the other side bearing on funding allotments and the funding process. Funds for research do not come out of a vacuum, but are the result of political processes within an administration

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So They Say

May 4, 1987

Verbatlm excerpts from the media on the conduct of science. Keep Politics Out of the Workplace I find the recent infusion of ideological views, and calls for official ACS [American Chemical Society] support of those views, in your letters section to be extremely annoying. Issues such as binary chemical weapons, SDI, and weapons control are of course issues about which citizens should be concerned. But to allow one's personal philosophy to interfere with one's profession is, to me, extremely unp

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The Course of Evolutionary History

By | May 4, 1987

Life Pulse: Episodes from the Story of the Fossil Record. Niles Eldredge. Facts on File Publications, New York, 1987. 246 pp. $19.95. Reading Life Pulse has a certain element of déjà vu for me. A decade ago a committee of paleontologists from the National Museum of Natural History began the complete thematic reorganization of our four major paleontology halls. To avoid the traditional "Hall of Fossil Invertebrates," "Hall of..." approach, we developed a comprehensive theme statement

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The Joys of Collecting Rare Science Books

By | May 4, 1987

Some scientists are born collectors, others achieve their ambitions and create great collections, and some have great collections thrust on them. It all depends on what they collect. There is a great variety of what scientists can collect—for example, stars for a new catalog, insects or plants, exotic chemicals, reprints, interesting medical cases, statistics or old scientific books. I have collected old scientific books for most of my life, so I shall write about the why, how and what of

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The Lab Route to a Chemistry Degree

By | May 4, 1987

In his Up Front article "Promoting Undergraduate Science," Eugene Garfield rightly calls for greater participation in research by undergraduates. He points with favor to the British system in which it is common (certainly in chemistry courses) for students in the final year of their three-year degree programs to spend two terms (about 18 weeks) on a small research project. Frequently, when new British chemistry graduates are asked their opinions of the courses they have taken, their project work

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The Physician as Medical Researcher

By | May 4, 1987

Less than a decade ago in this period of flourishing biomedical science, the contribution of physician-scientists to research was progressively declining to the point where the species seemed endangered. Although recent data from the National Institutes of Health suggest a reversal of this trend, the fact that the decline occurred at all has prompted me to think about the singular and perhaps critical role of the physician in research. The very origin of biomedical science owes much to the cont

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This Is Not About Surrogate Mothers

By | May 4, 1987

The tale of the South African grandmother pregnant with her daughter's triplets surfaced in the middle of the Fifth World Congress on In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer. But it created hardly a ripple among the scientists and clinicians gathered last month in blossom-time Norfolk, Virginia. They included all the big names of IVF as well as many who nurse big-name dreams, and they were intent on taking stock of where they are and where they're going. So intent, in fact, that news from th

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