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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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Science Meetings' Five-Star Prices

By | January 12, 1987

The cost of participating in international scientific conferences steadily rises. Currently, registration fees range from $100 to $500 or more. While scientists may grumble among themselves about these high fees, they continue meekly to pay them. Are these high fees justified? It seems to depend, in part, on the kind of conference. Nonprofit groups like professional societies, research institutions and universities set a fee that covers the actual costs of the meeting. If an outside subsidy is a

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Science Needs Critics

By | January 12, 1987

The professions of science administrator and science writer have become well established in recent years. The first arose in response to the rapid growth of the scientific enterprise and the second in response to its increasing importance to society. And the growth of science has spawned other science-supporting or parascience professions such as the science publicist at research institutes (see "Good Science Needs Good Reporting," The Scientist, December 15, 1986, p. 13). Yet more are in prospe

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A war surplus searchlight was the unlikely piece of equipment which a young English chemist, George Porter, pressed into the service of science during the late 1940s. As a Cambridge researcher following five years in the Royal Navy, he was investigating chemical reactions thought until that time to be instantaneous in nature and, thus, unmeasurable in the laboratory. Porter's ingenuity paid off Barely 20 years later, he shared the 1967 Nobel Prize in chemistry (with Manfred Eigen and Ronald Norr

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So They Say

January 12, 1987

Verbatim excerpts from the media on the conduct of science. Underwriting Science "I think it's probably true that we've been living off the investments we made in technology years ago," says Sally Ride, the young astronaut who became highly visible in the agency's [NASA's] management after serving as a member of the Rogers Commission. "We've recognized this in the last year, and realized the need for NASA to start investing again in basic R&D…." Other observers wonder whether Star Wars wil

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So They Say

January 12, 1987

Robert K. Adair has been appointed associate director for high energy and nuclear physics at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Adair was previously associated with Brookhaven as a graduate student in 1949 and as a researcher for the department of physics from 1953 to 1959. Since that time, he has been a professor of physics at Yale University. Peter H. Quail of the University of Wisconsin will head the first research team appointed to the Plant Gene Expression Center in Albany, Calif. The new cent

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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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