News

Inside H-P's High-Powered Think Tank
Inside H-P's High-Powered Think Tank
PALO ALTO—In the first week of May, Nancy Kendzierski and a team of Hewlett-Packard Co. software engineers will arrive at the Computer HUman Interaction conference in Austin, Tex., armed not with the floppy disks of their trade but with a six-minute-long videotape containing their vision of tomorrow’s computers. The tape demonstrates a portion of what H-P calls its Cooperative Computing Environment (CCE). The project is based on the concept that teams of machines and people can
PNAS Publication Of AIDS Article Spurs Debate Over Peer Review
PNAS Publication Of AIDS Article Spurs Debate Over Peer Review
Some members of the National Academy of Sciences no doubt were shocked this past February when the latest edition of their thick, pale gray journal—Proceedings of the NAS— arrived in their mailboxes. Here was the National Academy—the most respected, and surely the most cautions, scientific body in the United States—publishing in its very own “house organ” the work of Peter Duesberg, the respected but controversial University of California, Berkeley, retrov
Wildlife Service Scientist/Sleuths
Wildlife Service Scientist/Sleuths
ASHLAND, OREG.—The pharoah in the biblical story of Joseph suffered through seven lean years; biochemist Ken Goddard’s dry spell lasted even longer. For nine years, this U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service scientist was a voice crying in the wilderness, trying to convince the powers-that-be that the nation desperately needs a forensic laboratory to combat the growing illegal trade in wildlife products. And for most of those nine years, Goddard found his efforts stymied by tight budgets
Defections Plague MCC's Superconductivity Venture
Defections Plague MCC's Superconductivity Venture
Two years ago officials at NCR Corp. scanned the high-technology horizon and saw the discovery of high-temperature superconductors as a once-rn-a-lifetime opportunity for the computer giant. But the Dayton, Ohio, company had a problem: it had never researched superconductivity, and it didn’t know the best way to enter this fast-moving field. To overcome its ignorance, NCR shelled out $100,000. to become a founding member of an industrial consortium on superconductivity being formed by the
Monsanto And Soviets Join In Biotech Pact
Monsanto And Soviets Join In Biotech Pact
Monsanto Co. and the Soviet Union have brought glasnost to the lab with a three-year agreement to establish a joint laboratory at the modem Shemyakin Institute of Bio-organic Chemistry in Moscow. The agreement marks the first time that a bio- technology company has launched a major collaboration with the Soviet Union. The laboratory will be staffed by 10 to 15 Soviet scientists now being recruited from other laboratories at Shemyakin, and supported by Monsanto with a contribution of $300,00
The Road To Pulsars: A Radioastronomer Gets His Start
The Road To Pulsars: A Radioastronomer Gets His Start
[Editor’s note: Born in Cornwall in 1924, the son of a bank manager and a farmer’s daughter, Antony Hewish always enjoyed doing things with his hands. As a boy, he made models, gunpowder, and fireworks; decades later, he put his skills to good use helping to build and maintain some of the early radiotelescopes. When Hewish first started listening for radio signals from space, radioastronomy was an unfashionable field. But it soon became glamorous—and Hewish’s pioneerin

Briefs

National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
Have Gear, Will Travel A major upgrade would normally be considered a sure sign of rowth at a national lab. But when the upgrade—in this case, a million dollar spectrometer—is specially designed to be transportable to other labs, there’s reason to wonder how long its creator will be around. That’s the word among scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s experimental accelerator facility, known as LAMPF. Last month, officials there decided to back a proposal b
Government Briefs
Government Briefs
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t FCCSET? In 1976 Congress created the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (FCCSET) to set overall federal policy in science. Known to insiders by its acronym, pronounced “fix-it,’ the 1 4-member council brings together the heads of all of the federal agencies that fund basic research. But the council, led by science adviser William Graham, has a major image problem: Its approach to tackling problems that range fro
Private Institute Briefs
Private Institute Briefs
Patent Protection For Worcester Discovery In an effort to speed the development of anti-AIDS drugs—and, perhaps, to profit in the process—the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology has patented a class of substances known as anti-sense DNA.” These are pieces of synthetic DNA that have the ability to enter cells and “lock on” to the genes of a virus. The patent, received Feb. 21, is for work conducted by institution scientists Paul C. Zamecnik and John Goodc
University Briefs
University Briefs
Different Takes On The Weather Forecast U.S. and Soviet scientists are studying the greenhouse effect using very different methods—and, as a result, are coming up with some vastly divergent predictions for the future. U.S. researchers, who are modeling future scenarios with the help of supercomputers, forecast rising temperatures accompanied by summer droughts. But Soviet climatologists, who lack access to powerful number-crunchers, rely upon analyses of past climates to predict future t
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Boosting Appreciation Of Science Your firm may want to take a page from the idea book of the Yale Council of Engineering: To celebrate February’s National Engineers Week, the council set its sights on increasing the number of books relating to science in area libraries. Realizing that the most successful effort would grow out of a strong community partnership, the council began by enlisting the help of local libraries and companies, it asked the Connecticut Library Association to make up
Entrepreneur Briefs
Entrepreneur Briefs
Transgenic Sciences Is Metamorphosing Transgenic Sciences lnc.—a startup that is banking on a future where chickens lay eggs that contain pharmaceutical proteins, pigs grow up with more meat and less fat than-they do now, and mice produce beneficial human proteins in their milk—is undergoing a few transformations itself this month. Led by new CEO James Sherblom, formerly of Genzyme Corp., the firm aims to raise $5 million and augment its scientific staff as a result of the initial
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
More Millions For Fellowships? Changes may be afoot in the handling of the Markey Trust. Ever since 1983, a year after Lucille P. Markey, owner of thorough-bred breeding stable Calumet Farms, died in Miami, the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust has been spending about $40 million a year on biomedical research. Markey’s goal was for her foundation to spend both the endowment ($300 million) and its income within 15 years, and quietly go out of business. So far, the foundation has funded b

Letter

Animal Rights
Animal Rights
Your article, “Improving The Lot Of The Laboratory Animal” (The Scientist, January 9, 1989, page 1), epitomizes the narrow-minded perspective of animal experimenters and their followers. Few of us today seek “blue boxes” to entertain caged primates, but a termination to the system that imprisons them to begin with, causing harm to humans from reliance on animal data. I speak from the vantage point of having worked in two animal labs, training under a protégé
Leonard Minsky Responds:
Leonard Minsky Responds:
Leonard Minsky Responds: Mr. Bernier is concerned about upholding the professional and personal reputation of scholars and scientists, and so am I. This is why NCUPI [the National Coalition for Universities in the Public Interest, of which Mr. Minsky is executive director) has come to the aid of Professor Cantekin in his defense against the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, which has been trying to fire him for blowing the whistle on scientific corruption. At the heart of the UPMS c
Peer Piques
Peer Piques
Peer Piques I am tired of my career hinging on whether or not a reviewer wakes up with a headache on the day that he picks up my grant proposal. ANONYMOUS Baltimore, Md.
Letters
Letters
The article depicting the improving lot of laboratory animals is a good example of how rhetoric and reality are running at opposite directions in this controversy. The author’s contention that the ACUC (animal care and use committee), with their lay members, have “in effect opened the laboratory door” is nonsense. Anyone doing animal studies for longer than the last few years knows perfectly well that the number of locked doors has increased dramatically between the animals an
False Charges
False Charges
False Charges Leonard Minsky’s article entitled “Fraud Is A Symptom Of A Deeper Raw” (The Scientist, December 12, 1988, page 9), is replete with inaccurate and misleading statements pertaining to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and one of its faculty members. As dean of the School of Medicine, I find it necessary to set the record straight. First, Mr. Minsky states that the principal investigator on an NIH-funded clinical study of the efficacy of amoxicillin
Defining ""Author""
Defining ""Author""
Defining "Author" In recent years, problems related to scientific fraud have occupied the attention of scientists and publishers and have been discussed in many issues of The Scientist. Not so often discussed is the question: What constitutes authorship of a scientific paper? This has become an issue because, to the regret of many, academic and other advancements often depend on the bulk of a scientist’s publications. Search and appointment committees all over the world base their estim

Commentary

'Channel One' Plan To Improve Education: Is It Short-Changing Our Youngsters?
'Channel One' Plan To Improve Education: Is It Short-Changing Our Youngsters?
Almost daily we hear or read about yet another survey documenting the woeful ignorance of American children in a variety of subjects—mathematics, science, geography, current events, and history. In science particularly, the apparent illiteracy of U.S. students raises serious questions about our nation’s ability to maintain its economic comppetitiveness and scientific preeminence in the future. These questions are compelling task forces and expert panels to develop and debate new

Opinion

Who Should Be The President's Science Adviser? Not A Physicist
Who Should Be The President's Science Adviser? Not A Physicist
The nation’s future well-being depends on its educational, scientific, and technological base. As the priorities and needs of the 1990s will differ from those of the 1970s and 1980s, so too should the president’s science adviser. The problems and opportunities of the next decade will lie with the life sciences. Because of this increased focus on biology, an environmental scientist should be the next science adviser instead of the traditional physicist. The issues of the next dec

Research

Articles Alert
Articles Alert
CHEMISTRY BY MARYE ANNE FOX Department of Chemistry University of Texas, Austin Austin, Tex. " Organolithiums exhibit a wide range of structures, in which interconversions are so fast as to obviate methods. This paper describes the structure of a chiral monomeric tridentately coordinated complex that is conformationally locked into one rotamer such that bond exchange is slow relative to the NMR time scale. G. Fraenkel, W.R. Winchester, “Chiral lithium: conformation and dynamic behavior
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
PHYSICS BY SOKRATES T. PANTELIDES IBM Research Division Thomas J. Watson Research Center Yorktown Heights, N.Y. " The dispersion front of a tracer fluid flowing in a porous medium has a fractal structure. Fractal geometry abounds in nature, but the principles that determine fractal dimension still remain a challenge. This entry appeared in the 6 February 1989 issue of The Scientist with an incorrect reference. [See correct reference below.] K.J. Måløy, J. Feder, F. Boger, T. Jøs
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
LIFE SCIENCES >BY BERNARD DIXON European Editorial Office The Scientist Uxbridge, U.K> " By depositing calf thymus DNA onto graphite, to serve as the conductive surface for electron tunneling, a Lawrence Livermore/Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory team has produced some astonishing pictures of the topography of this key macromolecule. Major and minor grooves can be distinguished, and some of the double-stranded DNA molecules appear as twisted ladders T.P. Beebe, T.E. Wilson, D.F. Ogletree, et al
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
PLANT AND ANIMAL SCIENCES BY FRANCISCO J. AYALA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of California, Irvine Irvine, Calif. " Infanticide has evolved in some animals as a behavior that increases the fitness of the killer. Killing of siblings occurs in birds, amphibians, fishes, and a number of invertebrates. Killing or abandonment of offspring occurs in many vertebrates (as well as humans). A special case of this is filial cannibalism. In the cortez damselflsh, Stegastes
Research Opens Door For New Applications Of Interferon
Research Opens Door For New Applications Of Interferon
The U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration’s recent approval of interferon—a 30-year-old drug—to treat certain patients with AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma—a disease first recognized some 10 years ago—no doubt surprised many, scientists and nonscientists alike. What’s new about interferon? And why have clinicians returned to it with such enthusiasm? Interferon did indeed hit the headlines 20 to 30 years ago. But then it proved a considerable disappointment
High-Tc Oldies Still Carry Citation Clout
High-Tc Oldies Still Carry Citation Clout
Three papers on high-temperature superconductivity, all published in 1987, are still being cited more frequently than all other high-Tc articles that have since appeared—with only one exception, according to data from the Science Citation Index of the Institute for Scientific Information, Philaderphia. In the first two months of 1989, the most cited superconductivity paper, by M.K. Wu and colleagues (Physical Review Letters, 58, 908-10, 2 March 1987), tallied 136 citations. Its cumulati

Profession

Going For The Gold: Some Dos And Don'ts For Grant Seekers
Going For The Gold: Some Dos And Don'ts For Grant Seekers
Sorry to say it, but if you are a scientist who has had a tough time obtain- ing federal funding to carry out your research, life is apt to become even more difficult in the next few years. In 1987, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded 6,446 competing grants. In 1990 the agency expects to fund only 4,719 grants. By cutting the number of grants it makes, NIH intends to boost the size of each grant. The move apparently stems from the agency’s feeling that too many scientists hav
Does DOD Funding Skew Computer Science Research?
Does DOD Funding Skew Computer Science Research?
For computer scientists, the role federal funding plays in shaping research in their field presents both good news and bad news, according to the preliminary report on a study by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Science Policy Committee of the Special Interest Group on Automata and Compatability Theory. The good news is the fact that no abatement is in sight for the dramatic rise in federal support of computer science research—an increase that has been clearly evident for m

New Products

Fluorescence Illumination Lights Up Living Cells
Fluorescence Illumination Lights Up Living Cells
A wide variety of cellular processes—including cell division, growth regulation, neural transmission, and ionic regulation—are regulated via transient shifts and/or steady-state shifts in the levels of molecules acting as signal transducers (for example, calcium flux, pH shift, and receptor binding). In order to investigate the mechanics of these complex multicomponent processes, bioscientists need to pinpoint and quantitate these event(s) in living cells and tissues. A variety