EUGENE, Oreg.--Janis Weeks looks up and smiles as the sounds of young voices drift through an open window on the University of Oregon campus. The neurobiologist points out her young son, one of a half-dozen youngsters walking hand-in-hand across the quad to the day care center. Her belly bulging, Weeks is expecting her second child sometime this month.

Weeks is a proud mother and she is also the proud recipient of a 1989 Presidential Young Investigator (PYI) award, a prestigious honor bestowed on the nation's top young scientists by the National Science Foundation.

Down the hall, a teenager pushes a baby stroller past white-coated technicians measuring chemicals. Geraldine Richmond waves to her one-year-old son as he is wheeled to a fenced-off corner of her back office for a diaper change. We probably would not have had children if we had lived anyplace notes Richmond, an associate professor of chemistry, who...

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