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Royal Society's New Annual Journal

By | December 15, 1986

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS Number 1, 1986. Sir Alec Merrison, ed. The Royal Society, London, 1986. With this new journal, the Royal Society is entering the lists of organizations determined to contribute to public understanding of science and of the consequences of science. The journal, to appear once a year, is intended to contribute to the Society's “responsibility . . . to scientists and the public . . . as expositor of the one to the other.” It has a practical objective as wel

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Science Lobby Seeks Funds

By | December 15, 1986

WASHINGTON—A clearer focus and greater financial support from private industry hold the key to the survival of the National Coalition for Science and Technology. The Coalition, formed in 1981, has struggled to persuade the scientific community that it needs an overtly political organization to advocate greater resources for science. Its new slogan, “NCST—The Science Lobby,” is meant to highlight its broad focus and set it apart from the hundreds of associations and orga

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Search for Animal Alternatives Faces Rough Road

By | December 15, 1986

NEW YORK—Revlon has decided to end its support of a major university research effort into in vitro alternatives to the use of animals in product testing and research. Its action is the latest obstacle to progress in a field hampered by inadequate funding and differing approaches to the problem. The Laboratory for In Vitro Toxicologic Assay Development at The Rockefeller University was created six years ago by Revlon after intense pressure by animal rights activists to find an alternative

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Select Scientists Get Long-Term NIH Grants

By | December 15, 1986

WASHINGTON-Her scientific challenge is daunting: to understand better how the AIDS virus is transmitted among heterosexuals. But an even bigger problem facing Margaret Fischl was her prolonged absence from the task to prepare her application for renewed support from the National Cancer Institute. An associate professor of internal medicine and director of the AIDS Clinical Research Program at the University of Miami Medical Center, Fischl knew the renewal process also would mean a new round of r

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Small Business Grants: A Program That Works

By | December 15, 1986

WASHINGTON—A small Salt Lake City horticultural firm thought it had a marketable idea when it found strains of a fungus that significantly improves the ability of plants to absorb water and nutrients. But Native Plants Inc. didn't have enough money to conduct the necessary research, and venture capital companies weren't interested in an unknown company. Enter the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, an attempt to share a small part of the federal R&D budget with small, high-

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The Human Face of Science

By | December 15, 1986

Why do we wait until the death of our colleagues to commemorate the achievements of their lives? Among scientists, the first biographical account is too often the obituary notice. And even when written by a well-informed associate, the biography or obituary, being essentially a view from the outside, cannot substitute for the rich personal details and revealing statements found in first-person accounts. There are many kinds of records that we and later generations require for a substantial under

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The Revenge of the Soft Scientists

By | December 15, 1986

I have nothing against the hard sciences, mathematics, physics or chemistry. Sadly, however, some philosophers take physics as the measure of what science is all about: you measure and count and weigh and perform experiments, which you can do over and over again. Biology hovers uncomfortably between the two worlds—the hard and the woolly. Hard biology tends to be molecular, physiological, experimental, while at the other extreme is woolly natural history— bug collecting and such like

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The Rise of Theoretical Physics

By | December 15, 1986

INTELLECTUAL MASTERY OF NATURE Theoretical Physics from Ohm to Einstein Christa Junnickel and Russell McCommach. University of Chicago, 1986, Vol. 1 The torch of Mathematics, 1800-1870. 378 pp. Bibliography, Index. $55. Vol 2 The Now Mighty Theoretical Physics. 1870-1925. 455 pp. Plates, Bobliography, Index. $65. At center stage in the current theater of history of science is the interaction of science with the societies that support it. The most promising and popular locus for study of this int

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U.K. View Is 'Sobering'

By | December 15, 1986

BRISTOL, ENGLAND—A survey of adults in Britain has found that: Three-quarters believe astrology is scientific, but only a bare majority believe ecology is; 33 percent of the population believe that penicillin attacks viruses; 20 percent see carbon dioxide as the chief cause of acid rain; 37 percent believe proteins “provide most of the energy needs of the human body,” and 19 percent chose vitamins. Only 36 percent chose carbohydrates. Those sobering findings are pa

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We Know What Lab Animals Need

By | December 15, 1986

Behavioral researchers have criticized the recent mandate to provide for the "psycho logical well-being" of captive primates as nebulous and premature given the state of objective knowledge of well-being. Their professed ignorance is not surprising since much behavioral research on primates has involved deliberately damaging well-being. This is ironic since most of these studies have been undertaken in an attempt to provide animal models of human problems, presumably with the long-term goal of p

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