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Experts Debate NSF Pre-College Program

By | January 12, 1987

WASHINGTON—A recommendation that Congress look into taking responsibility for pre-college education programs away from the National Science Foundation has caught the attention of the science community. But the suggestion from retiring Rep. Donald Fuqua (D-Fla.) that the Department of Education could better handle the job is viewed more as an attempt to stir up science educators than to take the Foundation out of the business of elementary and secondary school science. In a brief discussion

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Gene Expression: Complicated Molecules Made to Seem Simple

By | January 12, 1987

A Genetic Switch: Gene Control and Phage A. Mark Ptashne. Cell Press, Cambridge, MA, and Blackwell Scientific, Palo Alto, CA, 1986. 138 pp., illus. $16.95 PB. A small, easily digestible new textbook, A Genetic Switch, is destined to become an essential primer for novices in molecular biology and a rewarding recapitulation for old hands. The book builds from the basic relationship between promoters, operators and repressors that is at the heart of the decision between bacteriophage lambda's two

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Japan Slowly Permits Foreign Faculty

By | January 12, 1987

TOKYO—It was, admits American seismologist Robert Geller, a simple task: to complete a requisition to repair the departmental roof. But the fact that a nonnative member of the Tokyo University faculty was given this duty indicates the change in Japanese attitudes toward foreign scientists. A 1982 law allows foreign nationals to teach at public universities. The law changed an interpretation of the Japanese constitution that required faculty, as government employees, to be "persons of Japan

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Mathematics Has No Gender

By | January 12, 1987

Girls and Mathematics. A Report by the Joint Mathematical Education Committee of the Royal Society and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the Royal Society, London, 1986. 37 pp. £3. It is heartening that girls' needs have been accorded recognition and status through the publication of a report such as this by the Royal Society. Several important themes are brought to light: there is ample evidence of girls' and womens' underachievement and under-representation in mathematics

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New Law Allows Drug Export

January 12, 1987

WASHINGTON—President Reagan has signed a controversial health bill that allows U.S. firms to export drugs prior to approval by the Food and Drug Administration and provides a federal no-fault compensation system for children injured by vaccines. The drug export provision was strongly supported by pharmaceutical manufacturers who can now export prescription drugs to 21 foreign countries providing the drug has been approved for use in that country and the manufacturer is actively seeking app

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No Mea Culpas Here

By | January 12, 1987

The article by Gregory Byrne (The Scientist, November 17, p.2) contains the statement"… was the exception that proves the rule" (my emphasis). It is surprising that a newspaper for the science professional should use a phrase which is the antithesis of scientific thought. The original Latin expression exceptio probat regulam means "the exception probes the rule"—a principle that we would all agree should be basic to the thinking of the science professional. -Martin Freundlich Departm

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Planck: The Fight for Order

By | January 12, 1987

The Dilemmas of a Upright Man: Max Planck as Spokesman for German Science. J.L. Heilbron. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1986. 238 pp., illus. $16.95. The story of Max Planck goes far beyond his status as an eminent scientist and creator of the quantum. Planck, who was born in Germany in 1858 and remained there until his death in 1947, lived in an era that witnessed significant changes throughout the world. Heilbron's book seeks to understand Planck in his historical setting, and whil

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Researchers and Lab Security

By | January 12, 1987

Laboratory managers like to attend to positive subjects (such as the emergence of new products and processes) while their research colleagues tend to focus on the laboratory bench. But it is becoming clear that fraud, extortion and other crimes are with us on such a large scale that advance preparation is necessary; mere tactical responses are no longer sufficient. For this reason, scientists, engineers and laboratory managers alike must learn to adapt to a new age in which security is of paramo

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Sakharov's 'Happy Ending'

January 12, 1987

On December 19, 1986, the Soviet Foreign Ministry announced that Soviet physicist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov was being released from his five-year internal exile in Gorky. The Ministry said that the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize winner would be allowed to resume his work at the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow, and that his wife, the physician Elena Bonner, had been pardoned for her "anti-Soviet slander." During a visit to the United States last year to undergo multiple bypass surger

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Science Looms Large In German Elections

By | January 12, 1987

FRANKFURT—"If it weren't for all those chemical accidents, we'd have an easy time with this election," Helmut Kohl remarked in early December. The West German chancellor was responding to a poll that showed environmental issues had passed unemployment, the general economy, and other subjects as the principal issue in the January 25 election. But only 26 percent thought Kohl's party, the conservative, business-oriented Christian Democrats (CDU), was best equipped to deal with it, compared w

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