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A Study for Sovietologists, Not Scientists

By | July 27, 1987

The Communist Party and Soviet Science. Steven Fortesque. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1987. 234 pp. $28.50. Now when Gorbachev's perestroyha (restructuring) is presented to the public as a necessity brought upon the Soviet Union by scientific and technological progress outside the country, it is natural to ask why Soviet science, which has the world's largest infrastructure and personnel, performed so poorly that it became nearly irrelevant, particularly in many highly sophist

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Animal Testing Dispute Splits NAS Panel

By | July 27, 1987

WASHINGTON—Nearly two years after it was convened, a National Academy of Sciences panel is searching desperately for the middle ground in a bitter debate about the use and treatment of laboratory animals. A minority report, rare in an NAS study, seems likely to emerge from the 15-member panel, which has heard scientific discussion give way to personal attacks in the course of its nine meetings. The latest spark stems from a Wall Street Journal editorial relating an account of an alleged co

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Army Labs Cut Back Basic Research

By | July 27, 1987

Editor's note: The U.S. armed services operate a network of in-house laboratories to pursue basic research that fits the mission of each service. In the months to come The Scientist will offer a glimpse of these little-known but well-respected facilities and the challenges they face. The first two articles in the series deal with the Army's labs. ADELPHI, MD.—"As Bell Labs is to AT&T, the laboratory command is to the Army Materiel Command," says Ira Marcus, associate director for engineer

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Blazing the Trail to CERN, 1949-54

By | July 27, 1987

History of CERN: Vol. 1. Launching the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Armin Hermann, John Knge, Ulnke Mersits and Dominique Pestre. North-Holland, The Netherlands, 1987. Distributed in the United States and Canada by Elsevier Science Publishers, New York. 600 pp. $110. Since World War II, large laboratories have played an increasingly important role in hosting the world's largest and most expensive basic research projects. For example, the mammoth projects in large laboratories ha

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Canadian Chemical Blueprint Condemned

By | July 27, 1987

QUEBEC CITY—A proposed blueprint for Canadian chemical research has been condemned by two of the organizations that commissioned it. The committee that wrote the report said Canadian academic research compared unfavorably with work done in the United States. It recommended a more selective funding structure that would bolster top-notch programs and allow them to compete internationally. It acknowledged that the policy would hurt smaller departments, whose faculty would receive fewer, small

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Democratizing Science Advice

By | July 27, 1987

Proposals to ensure that the president receives a diversity of expert science advice have proliferated in recent years. President Reagan's science advisers have served as advocates of the administration's science policies, rather than as objective conduits for communication between the president and the science community. Few would deny that the science adviser has a challenging assignment. He must brief the president on many varied expert opinions on science and technology matters (including th

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Director Out As Sigma Xi Ponders Role

By | July 27, 1987

BOSTON—The executive director of Sigma Xi, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious scientific societies, has been forced out in a bitter dispute over the proper role of the organization. C. Ian Jackson, hired in 1981 as an outsider with a new vision for the 101-year-old honorary society, was asked to leave June 19 by the organization's board of directors. The board was scheduled to meet last weekend to discuss plans for choosing his successor. "I am not leaving voluntarily," Jackso

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Dutch 'Lack Vision, Courage'

By | July 27, 1987

AMSTERDAM—The Dutch space program, once a leader in scientific research on many fronts, has been weakened to the point of ineffectiveness, according to scientists and aerospace industry officials. The chief cause, they say, is a reluctance by the government to adopt a long-range plan and commit the resources necessary to achieve it. "The Dutch government lacks vision and courage," said Karel Wakker, professor of space technology at the Technical University in Delft. "In most European count

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Astrophysicist Fang Lizhi, one of China's most outspoken advocates of democracy, was vice president of the University of Science and Technology in Hefei during the student demonstrations that started there last December and spread to other cities, including Beijing. In January, Fang was dismissed from his university post and shortly thereafter was expelled from the Communist Party. Accused of inspiring the student unrest and "attempting to depart from the socialist road, "Fang was sent back to B

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From Biology, Morality

By | July 27, 1987

The Biology of Moral Systems. Richard D. Alexander. Aldine Publishing Co., Hawthorne, NY, 1987. 301 pp. $34.95 HB, $16.95 PB. Richard Alexander, a distinguished sociobiologist with a substantial record of research accomplishments, believes that the foundations of human morality lie in evolutionary biology. In The Biology of Moral Systems, he takes issue with the moral philosophers and theologians who ignore it. Not only have our bodies been shaped by evolutionary forces; our minds and souls hav

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