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Private Labs' Plight

By Alfred Zernik | October 3, 1988

I found the statistics presented in your article "Where Does Basic Research Money Go?" (June 27, page 21) most interesting. The role played by nonprofit independent research institutes is not fully appreciated in the federal legislative process, in spite of these figures. There are 63 nonprofit independent research institutes in the Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI). Very high approval rates by the peer-review system (exceeding 90%) of competitive research project grant ap


Science Grants

October 3, 1988

Below Is a list of notable grants recently awarded In the sciences—large federal grants as well as awards of a different sizes from private foundations. The individual cited with each entry is the project’s principal Investigator. ENVIRONMENT/ RESOURCES: Water sources. Two grants from the Ford Foundation: $300,000 over three years to the University of Colorado for research on improved western water allocation and management, and $500,000 over two years to the Environmental Defens


Science Literacy Is Futile; Try Science Appreciation

By Morris Shamos | October 3, 1988

Testifying at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee in November 1957, soon after Sputnik was launched, Edward Teller likened the need for public support of science to that of the arts. “Good drama,” he said, “can develop only in a country where there is a good audience. In a democracy, particularly if the real sovereign, the people, expresses lack of interest in a subject, then that subject cannot flourish.” Later in the hearing, giving his views on educatio


Shootout At The K/T Boundary

By Bruce Fellman | October 3, 1988

Several years ago, paleontologist Dewey M. McLean stepped to the podium at a conference on the climatological effects of volcanoes. The silver-haired professor from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute looked out over the packed house like a pastor surveying his flock. He was about to deliver a sermon— well, a paper actually—that would take on one of the exalted among his priesthood—the redoubtable Nobel laureate Luis W. Alvarez. Specifically, McLean was about to challenge Alva


Software Lacks Style

By Stayros Macrakis | October 3, 1988

Grammar checkers (The Scientist, June 27, 1988, page 25) don't check grammar. Some users may find them useful, but like "idea processors" (outline editors) and "desktop publishing systems" (personal typesetting systems), the name is far more ambitious than the product. Grammar checkers are far from being able to worry about the subtleties of "Time flies like an arrow"; even simple errors like "You knows" or "He has going" or "I want to sheep" (two sheep? to sleep?) are beyond them. They do c


Space University completes Its First Semester At MIT

By Liz Marshall | October 3, 1988

Boldly venturing where no dean went before, graduate students open an international college to study the universe The topic was the best design for a manned lunar base, and in the small room at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology the discussion was heated. Building the base in space and landing the completed structure on the moon just won’t work, argued the transportation experts. “We’re talking about a quantum leap in technology here,” warned Bill Unger, a Cana


After 23 years at the helm of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), Verner E. Suomi has stepped down. Replacing him as the center’s director is meteorologist Francis P. Bretherton, former director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.. Space scientist and meteorologist Suomi cofounded the center in 1965 with the late Robert Parent, a University of Wisconsin electrical engineer. As an emeritus professor, Suom


Terrascope Could Shake Up Future Earthquake Science

By Don Anderson | October 3, 1988

On October 1, 1987, the Los Angeles region experienced a strong and damaging earthquake of magnitude 6, followed four days later by an aftershock of magnitude 5.5 that caused further damage. The usual fears and uncertainties about earthquakes were heightened by a disturbing lack of sound, scientifically based information about the event in the minutes, hours, and days following the main shock. This lack of information was especially disturbing to seismologists, who realize that the technolo


The Abused Foreign Postdoc: A Seamy Side Of Science

By Eugene Garfield | October 3, 1988

Not long ago I received an anonymous letter from a foreign-born scientist who has been working in the United States as a postdoctoral feilow for the past two years. He claims to have worked very hard, night and day, and has, he says, performed to the standards of his fellow postdocs. But his situation was not good. The professor in charge of the lab, he writes, abused his power and was dishonest. He is said to have routinely stolen ideas from the grant proposals of others and directed his g


Too Many White Males

By Eve Patton | October 3, 1988

In your June 27 edition, you published over 25 photographs of white males. No women, no blacks, and only one Asian (H.T. Kung). In future, please try to be on your guard against such perpetuations of racism and sexism in science. A cover article lamented the "insufficient interest by students in pursuing careers in science." Active encouragement and modeling of women and minority scientists could eliminate the problem. EVE PATTON 116 W. University Pkwy #315 Baltimore, Md. 21210


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