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LONDON—Britain needs to spend $1.5 billion on information technology research and applications to extend the results of the Alvey program now underway, according to a new report from a committee of government, academic and university administrators. The so-called IT 86 committee, formed early last year, has recommended $800 million in further research and $700 million for applications programs over an unspecified five-year period. Of the total for research, $75 million would be allocated a


Who Decides What 'Rational' Means?

By Bj Luberoff | January 26, 1987

Herbert L. Meltzer displays a tendency toward either academic naiveté or neofascism when he suggests a "feasibility study" regarding "...neurochemical and environmental events that occur in the perinatal period and in the early years of life" that determine how "rational" a person is (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, p. 10). Dr. Meltzer is concerned that without "neurochemical and environmental" intervention, man may prove too irrational to survive in a nuclear age. Although I certainly sh


'Five Senses to the Rescue'

January 12, 1987

In troubleshooting one must never forget the portable laboratory equipment that one carries around—the senses of sight, sound, scent, taste and touch. There is also the common sense that stops one tasting things if there is any cyanide about. Long years ago the Deutsche Hydriewerke started marketing non-soapy detergents of the cetyl or oleyl sulfate variety. Prior to World War II, the British textile industry was as dependent on German supplies of these materials as it had been on German d


'Pork Barrel' Means More Labs, Jobs

By Bob Westgate | January 12, 1987

WASHINGTON—Seven universities and one hospital will receive $84.1 million this year in Energy Department funds to build research facilities. The congressional largesse, taken from funds initially budgeted for uranium enrichment programs, will mean hundreds of new jobs and more than one million additional square feet of laboratory, hospital and office space for American scientists. Critics see the appropriation as the latest example of "pork-barrel science"—a direct appeal to Congress


...and Taking It Seriously

By Jack Meadows | January 12, 1987

Suppose you were faced with the following examination question: Which of the following statements do you think is more applicable to science? (1) "History is more or less bunk" [Henry Ford]; (2) "If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us!" [S.T. Coleridge]. How would most scientists answer? Some—such as those involved in taxonomy—might opt for the second alternative, but I suspect a majority would prefer the first. Yet it is difficult to avoid all history in sci


A New Entry In Evolution Controversy

By Alexander Rosenberg | January 12, 1987

The Blind Watchmaker. Richard Dawkins. W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 1986. 332 pp., illus. $18.95. Well-informed, imaginative and stylistically pleasing introductions to evolution and the theory of natural selection have hitherto been the special preserve of Stephen J. Gould. Hitherto—but not hereafter. Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker bids fair to become at least as influential a guide to controversies in evolutionary theory as the best of Gould's wonderful books. This is probab


A Wake-Up Call for Technological Somnambulists

By Alvin Weinberg | January 12, 1987

The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology. Langdon Winner. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1986. 214 pp. $17.50. These 10 graceful essays, grouped under the headings A Philosophy of Technology; Technology: Reform and Revolution; and Excess and Limit, explore the intimate connection between technologies and the political structures in which they are embedded. Winner insists that since many of today's technologies threaten our ecological and social well-bein


Autobiographies and Public Understanding

By Nevill Mott | January 12, 1987

The review of my book A Life in Science (The Scientist, November 17, 1986, p. 23) leads me to remember other autobiographies I have enjoyed, including that of Max Born showing how little help he got in the German universities before 1914 and that of my friend Rudolf Peierls on the role he played in the Manhattan Project. I think that many of us in the scientific community, who know and respect our colleagues, are fascinated to know what they think about themselves. An important question, however


Bordeaux Welcomes Aerospace

By Jacques Richardson | January 12, 1987

BORDEAUX—Nearly 200 years after the French Revolution, this city may face another upheaval. More than 2,000 scientists, engineers and technicians at the core of France's military aerospace effort cast off their normal shyness about self-promotion and turned out in force for the Techno-Espace exhibit and conference held here in early December. This first-ever exposition was intended to offset the dominant position of the civil aerospace industry in the ToulouseMontpellier region to the sout


Co-Author Responsibility Issue Under Study

By Susan Walton | January 12, 1987

Recent incidents of scientific misconduct have made researchers and their institutions more aware that credit given on papers is not always credit due. But major research universities and journals in the life sciences have taken few steps to develop policies or guidelines on responsible co-authorship, according to an informal study by The Scientist. The School of Basic Health Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University adopted such a policy in August in response to national concern and because


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