Life scientists are increasingly adopting the belief that microorganisms are virtually everywhere and are responsible for just about everything. This, plus the maturation of molecular- level methods of working with these tiny creatures, is a source of considerable optimism for microbiologists as the 93rd general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) convenes in Atlanta this week.

What they see, in career terms, is that progress in their field is bound to yield an ever-widening world of research opportunities and a correspondingly bright employment future.

Gail Cassell, a professor of microbiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and president-elect of ASM, says she's "extremely optimistic" about job opportunities in the field and predicts the coming decade will be a "golden age" for microbiology.

From 27,000 members in 1981, ASM has grown to 42,000 members today and is the world's largest single membership organization in the biological sciences. It...

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