Author: JEFF SEIKEN, p.19

This summer, when approximately 11,000 scientists from around the world gather in New England for the prestigious Gordon Research Conferences, they will be marking a special occasion: the conferences' 60th anniversary. In reaching this milestone, the conferences have managed to reverse the aging process, for, if anything, their vitality has increased with time. Over the decades, the Gordon conferences have evolved into the United States' premier scientific forum.

The format of the Gordon Research Conferences (GRC)-- limited-participation, free-form discussion in closed meetings and informal gatherings--has been freely imitated by other groups, with GRC's blessing. The symposium series currently administered by the New York-based Engineering Foundation, one of the meetings patterned after the Gordon blueprint, began in the 1960s as an offshoot of the conferences.

More recently, the Bethesda, Md.-based Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) turned to GRC director Alexander Cruickshank for assistance in...

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