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Seven Chemistry Journals Carrying Lots Of Clout

By David Pendlebury | September 19, 1988

Calculating the influence and prestige of a given journal in chemistry (or any other field) isn't easy. Different chemists will give different opinions, depending upon their personal perspective and experience. But analyzing the collective judgment of the chemistry community, as reflected in the journals its members most frequently cite, allows for approximations of influence. Merely tabulating total citations, however, won't do. That would give undue advantage to fat journals, which have greate


Sheep Farm Serves As Lab For Molecular Biology Team

By Annie Simon Moffat | September 19, 1988

As much at home in a barn as behind a laboratory bench, a team of 30 young researchers in Scotland is remaking the image of the modern agricultural scientist as they go about their ground-breaking work in molecular biology. While some of their experimentation takes place in the heart of the city—at the 400-year-old University of Edinburgh's modern science complex—some of it is also happening in a far more rural setting. Situated in the foothills of the Scottish Pentlands, five miles


When writing computer programs in any language, scientists must solve problems that probably have been faced already by many other programmers. It is silly to "reinvent the wheel," as the saying goes, when a variety of routines (subprograms that scientists can plug into programs they're writing) are already available for the most popular computer languages. I spend most of my time programming in Turbo Pascal 4.0 (produced by Borland International), so I am most familiar with the three classes of


The Shuttle Has Hurt Space Science

By Burt Edelson | September 19, 1988

The upcoming flight of the space shuttle Discovery brings a glimmer of light in the dark tunnel of space science in the United States. For the first time in over two years, there is hope that some of the experiments and space probes gathering dust in laboratories will finally get off the ground. But any rejoicing will probably be muted. The fact is that the shuttle has hurt the space science program. It contributed very little while it was flying, and the Challenger accident disrupted the space


Their Own Fault

By Robert Joel Yates | September 19, 1988

If astronomers are furious at federal funding failures (The Scientist, August 8, page 1), they have only themselves to blame. It is the funding of such "major" facilities as the Very Large Array radiotelescope and the Hubble space telescope that have left little funding for everything else. Astronomers, like everyone else, will have to learn that you.can't have your cake and eat it too. Meanwhile particle physicists are actively lobbying for the superconducting supercollider. Undoubtedly, they t


Six years ago, neurologist J. William Langston stumbled onto an exciting discovery, a contaminated synthetic heroin that seemed to trigger symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Almost overnight, Langston was thrust into the limelight. Reporters flocked to his office. Foundations invited him to apply for grants. His lab began reporting steady progress in the long struggle toward a cure for Parkinson's, a degenerative disease that affects half a million people in the United States. But success brought


Tools Briefs

September 19, 1988

New electrically powered microscopic motors, no larger than the width of a human hair, have potential applications in the next few years in both medical and microsurgical equipment and scientific instruments. Bell Labs and the University of California, Berkeley, reported on the new process at the same time, but Berkeley holds a patent on the process, which uses the techniques and materials of semiconductor manufacturing. The rotor in the motor is about two-thousandths of an inch in diameter. Its


University Briefs

September 19, 1988

In their campaign against the use of animals in research, animal rights activists have been trying to gain access to universities' animal care and use committees. The activists, whose methods range from direct pressure to lawsuits, have been successful in a number of states, including Washington and Florida. But on August 18, animal rightists suffered defeat when a lawsuit against the University of California system was dismissed. An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled that the 10 animal c


What Went Wrong; What To Do About It

By Van Allen | September 19, 1988

The overall record of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the nearly 30 years of its existence has been a brilliantly successful one, in many different ways. NASA has provided the scientific and technical foundations for a wide array of direct human services, most notably in worldwide communications, in improved understanding of the physical and chemical conditions for all forms of life on Earth, and in the global survey of natural resources. It has sponsored a golden age of


When The Space Shuttle Flies Again, Let's Use It Better

By Anthony England | September 19, 1988

[Editor's note: If all had gone according to plan, the space shuttle Discovery would have already blasted into orbit to usher in a new, if more modest, era of manned space flight in the United States. It didn't happen; delays have pushed the expected launch date back to at least next month. To some space scientists, like James Van Allen (see below), Discovery's plight is just another sorry reminder of NASA's wrongheaded policies. By relying almost exclusively on the shuttle to launch payloads, V


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