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Setting A Science Agenda For The Presidential Candidates

By | July 25, 1988

Are science and technology being shortchanged in the current presidential race? So far, the campaign has focused on past policies and mistakes, not future directions. The talk about tomorrow has been nothing more than stirring rhetoric about making the United States great again, bringing it back, and other equally vague promises. Missing is any specific debate about science and technology (see The Scientist, June 27, 1988, page 1). Both George Bush and Michael Dukakis are “for” t

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NEUROCOMPUTING: Foundations Of Research James A. Anderson and Edward Rosenfeld, editors MIT Press; Cambridge; 729 pages; $55 Brain science, neural computation and traditional artificial intelligence, perhaps more than most fields, seem to lack definitive textbooks. Instead they give rise to classic papers or multiauthored compendia such as this volume, which fits in squarely with other such important multiauthored landmark works as Principles of Neural Science, Handbook of Artificial Intelli

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At every level of decision making in the federal government, scientific and technological factors have become increasingly important. This is true in fields ranging from educational policy to basic and applied research strategy, from trade negotiations to arms control policy, and from defense to health related issues. Therefore, it is in the interest of the nation to have a cadre of scientists and engineers helping to make key decisions. Yet, we have a dearth of scientists and engineers in im

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University Briefs

July 25, 1988

Wbrried that gene-splicers will create killer potatoes or rampaging soybeans? Rest easy, says a new report from the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell. The report concludes that field tests of crop plants that have been genetically altered to resist insects or disease pose little risk to the environment. It also chides the government for imposing generous restrictions for the testing and use of gene-spliced plants, but not of new varieties produced by traditional techniques

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Chemical language has great asthetic beauty and links the physical sciences to the biological sciences. Unfortunately, the full use of this language to understand life processes is hindered by a gulf that separates chemistry from biology. This gulf is not nearly as wide as that between the humanities and and sciences, on which C.P. Snow focused attention. Yet, chemistry and biology are two distinctive cultures and the rift between them Is serious, generally unappreciated, and counterproductive.

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Why Do Scientists Travel? For Applause, Of Course

By | July 25, 1988

An ecological study of scientists conducted in the pre-jet plane era concluded that the likeliest place to find a scientist was at O’Hare airport in Chicago. Now, a similar statement can be made about important international airports, such as Heathrow in London and Orly in Paris. Every terminal seems to be populated with scientists on the move. Why do scientists travel? Hans Selye, the father of the concept of stress, wrote that scientists are not motivated by fortune, but by fame. The

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Why The Scientist Welcomes Corrections

By | July 25, 1988

A certain amount of error in science is inevitable; in fact, the correction of errors and the retraction of incorrect or premature conclusions is expected as part of the normal process and progress of science. Errors come in many varieties. Scientists, like everyone can be careless or inattentive. Such errors are preventable. But there are other errors that scientists make that are almost unavoidable, as when a conclusion, based on accurate experiments and current knowledge, is later shown to

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For almost 10 years, I’ve been looking for a truly portable computer to take into the field. But at 28 pounds, the first portables—the Osborne and the Kaypro—deserved the term “luggables;” it took a sumo wrestler or a defensive lineman to really feel comfortable car- rying them. The same was true for the first 32-pound Compaq “portable.” The problem was the CRT. It was heavy—even Osborne’s 9-inch version—and together with the associ

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'Designer Genes' Perk Up British Biotechnology

By | July 11, 1988

A veterinary pathologist’s odyssey out of academia to become CEO of one of Europe’s hottest startups On the wall of Keith McCullagh’s office hangs a framed picture showing one of his company’s advertisements. “British biotechnology has come a long way since 1953,” says the legend above a picture of Francis Crick and James Watson, the discoverers of the double helix structure of DNA. For McCullagh, the snappy slogan has a double meaning. As it happens, Br

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IDEALS AND REALITIES: Selected Essays of Abdus Salam Abdus Salam; C.H. Lai, editor World Scientific, Singapore; 379 pages; $44 (hardback), $28 (paperback) In this wide-ranging and delightful collection of essays, Nobel laureate Abdus Salam reflects on three of his major preoccupations: the Third World, Islam, and physics. Salam draws on his own experiences to present the plight of scientists in developing countries “When I returned to Pakistan in 1951 after working at Cambridge. and

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