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Basic Science Budget Remains Flat at NASA

By | January 26, 1987

WASHINGTON—With the Space Station leading the way, NASA has requested a 16 percent increase in its research and development activities as part of a $9.5 billion budget for next year. R&D would rise from $3.1 billion this year to $3.6 billion under the proposal for fiscal year 1988. The fastest growing program within that category is the Space Station, projected to grow from $420 million this year to $767 million in the new budget. That increase, however, may draw fire from a Congress worri

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Biotechnology Industry's Movers and Shakers

By | January 26, 1987

Biotechnology: The University-Industrial Complex. Martin Kenney. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1986. 324 pp. $23.95. Divergent economic pressures on university scientists fueled the development of small biotechnology companies and thus the entire fledgling industry. Pressures came in one form as a need to gather support for research; in another, from the realization that molecular biology could make money. In this way, a new academic "industry" world was created. This concept is the thes

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LONDON—Strategic research in Britain should be funded by a new route that is independent of the support given to academic science through the University Grants Committee and research councils and the customer-contractor relationship used by government departments for applied research. This view is contained in a new report on civilian R&D from the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, a body of ten peers with considerable experience in science and engineering. The repo

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Budget Cuts NIH Grants Again

By | January 26, 1987

WASHINGTON—The administration has proposed that the National Institutes of Health fund 700 fewer new and competing research grants this year as part of a plan to reduce the overall NIH budget in fiscal 1988. But it is unlikely that researchers will feel the pinch anytime soon. The proposal is part of a request to Congress to transfer $334 million already appropriated for this fiscal year. The present budget of $6.18 billion would drop by a corresponding amount, and the budget for next year

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But What Will He Do In Moscow?

By | January 26, 1987

STOCKHOLM—The return of 65-year-old academician Andrei Sakharov has given rise to many questions. One important question for scientists is: To what extent will the former prodigy and the youngest person to be elected a full member of the prestigious Soviet' Academy of Sciences resume his scientific activities, after seven years of isolation in Gorky? Speculation about how he might apply his scientific energies ranges over a large area. His insights might be very useful to those who have st

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Choosing the Link Product

By | January 26, 1987

This is the third and final article In the series on microcomputer to mainframe links. The first article was "Linking Micros to Mainframes" (The Scientist, October 20, 1986, p. 14); the second was "How to Develop Link Networks" (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, p. 14). How do you develop an implementation plan for connecting micro-computers to mainframes? What are the important considerations? How do you select appropriate products? If you have only six personal computers in your organization,

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Computerized Creativity

By | January 26, 1987

Scientific Discovery: Computational Explorations of the Creative Processes. Pat Langley, Herbert A. Simon, Gary L. Bradshaw and Jan M. Zytkow. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1987. 346 pp. $25 HB, $9.95 PB. One of the most commonly heard objections to artificial intelligence (Al) runs: "Well, you may be able to get a computer to play chess or diagnose illnesses, but a computer will never do anything really creative like write a good play or discover the theory of relativity." Scientific discovery

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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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