It was gratifying to publish Franklin Hoke's article titled "History Of Science Societies Sprout Up Nationwide, With More Researchers Studying Lessons Of The Past" (The Scientist, Nov. 15, 1993, page 1). The dramatic proliferation of these societies is a very healthy trend.

Throughout my career--in fact, since my early adolescence--I have been fascinated by the history and sociology of science. Indeed, it's quite likely that a book my uncle gave to me at the end of my freshman year in high school--John D. Bernal's The Social Function of Science--was the spark that ignited my incipient interest in research and influenced my eventual decision to make a career for myself in the science community.

As a Columbia University undergraduate, I wrote a paper on biblical treatments of medical problems; later, as a young chemist at Johns Hopkins University--where my investigations of information retrieval were launched--I worked under Sanford V. Larkey, a...

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