Research

Articles Alert
Articles Alert
GEOSCIENCES BY PETER J. SMITH Department of Earth Sciences Open University Milton Keynes, U.K. " A recent redetermination of solar composition showed that the Sun’s Fe abundance is 40% higher than previously thought and that Fe/Si and Ca/A1 atomic ratios are 30% to 40% higher than chrondritic values. These new data require a fundamental re-evaluation of the composition of the Earth’s mantle, which is likely to be chemically layered. The lower mantle, in particular, must be much r
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE BY BRUCE G. BUCHANAN Department of Computer Science University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pa. " When databases are distributed, the tradeoff between consistency of files and their availability is exacerbated. A new paper presents a variation of the voting algorithm that achieves greater availability than other algorithms and, moreover, that is proved to be correct. S. Jajodia, D. Mutchier, “A pessimistic consistency control a1gorithm for replicated tiles which achie
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
PLANT AND ANIMAL SCIENCES BY PETER D. MOORE Department of Biology King's College London, U.K. " Air pollution is known to affect the growth of many species of lichens; it also influences the genmnation of ascospores from the lichen fungal symbionts. Sulfurous acid and sodium fluoride reduced germination in all tested species, but had least effect on the pollution tolerant species Lecanora conizaeoides. The two pollutants were synergistic in effect, and they are evidently capable of restrictin
Disbelief Greeted Classics In Top U.K. Medical Journals
Disbelief Greeted Classics In Top U.K. Medical Journals
Truly innovative science is often— perhaps usually—accompanied by skepticism, dismissal, and/or disdane from the ranks of established expertise. That proposition receives surprisingly strong support from a study of the top-ranking papers from Britain’s premier medical journals. Data from the Institute for Scientific Information’s Science Citation Index (SCI) show that no less than four of the six papers most cited from The Lance: and the British Medical Journal during
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
BY SIMON SILVER Department of Microbiology & Immunology University of Illinois Chicago, Ill " Berkeley virologist Peter Duesberg has carried out a campaign questioning whether the HIV retrovirus is the etiological agent of AIDS. A previous expression of Duesberg’s views appeared in Science (241, 5 14-17, 29 July 1988); a recent article presents the latest version of his arguments against H1V as the agent of AIDS. P.H. Duesberg, “Human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodefic

News

Bitter Suit Over Research Work Asks 'Who Deserves The Credit?'
Bitter Suit Over Research Work Asks 'Who Deserves The Credit?'
First she was his student, a medical resident working under an internationally recognized expert in the field of nuclear medicine. Then she was his academic and clinical colleague, making her way as a re spected scientist. Finally, after 10 years m the lab, Heidi S. Weissmann became the plaintiff, and Leonard M. Freeman the defendant, in a bitter and costly legal dispute that touches on one of the pillars of the research enterprise: assigning credit for original work. In February, weissman
Harmon Craig: Stalking Excellence, Leaving Controversy In His Wake
Harmon Craig: Stalking Excellence, Leaving Controversy In His Wake
The search had been going on for four days. Crammed into the cockpit of the submersible Alvin—the research vessel used to survey the Titanic—geochemist Harmon Craig and a group of colleagues from Scripps Institution of Oceanography were scouring the Pacific Ocean floor off the island of Hawaii, looking for the crater of Loihi, an undersea hot spot thought to be the volcanic precursor of the next Hawaiian island. At a depth of 1,000 meters, with the darkness relieved only by the A
Cetus Modifies Rigid Stance On DNA Method
Cetus Modifies Rigid Stance On DNA Method
In a striking move, Emeryville, Calif.-based Cetus Corp. is clarifymg its position on the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the company’s proprietary DNA amplification technology. This action comes after several months of confusion, doubt, and outrage within the scientific community over the firm’s unusual licensing policy for PCR. Since bursting upon the scientific scene less than two years ago, PCR, the process by which scientists can rapidly duplicate strands of DNA in
Funding Shortfall Impedes Progress Of Stanford's Science
Funding Shortfall Impedes Progress Of Stanford's Science
PALO ALTO, CALIF.—Faced with an unexpected dearth of donations, Stanford University may be forced to slow down development of its Near West campus, the innovative, 41-acre science megacomplex designed to pave the way for decades of 21st-century research. As originally planned, a major part of the $350 million project was scheduled for completion in 1994. The slowdown could mean that some of Stanford’s science faculty will have to wait as much as four years longer than expected fo
PCR Spawns A New 'Copycat' Industry For Science
PCR Spawns A New 'Copycat' Industry For Science
The battle over the extent of Cetus Corp.’s right to claim royalties on products resulting from the use of the company’s patented DNA amplification technology hasn’t kept other entrepreneurial companies from pursuing their piece of the PCR profit pie. Indeed, the explosive demand for this technology—some analysts estimate that by the year 2000 the market for DNA amplification tools will be as high as $1.5 billion—has spawned science s newest copycat industry. Muc
Physicist Awarded Marconi International Fellowship
Physicist Awarded Marconi International Fellowship
The Marconi International Fellowship is awarded annually to an individual who has significantly contributed to the advancement of the technology of communications through scientific or engineering discoveries, inventions, or innovations. The 1989 Fellow is Robert N. Hall, a physicist who recently retired from the General Electric Research and Development Center, Schenec tady, N.Y Hall this week will be awarded $35,000 in recognition of his invention of the semiconductor injection laser in 1962,

Briefs

National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
W.Va. To NSF: Give Us The Telescope NSF’s idea to turn an astronomical disaster into a bonanza for astrophysicists has run into opposition from two influential West Virginia Democrats. NSF officials knew that Sen. Robert Byrd, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee that passes judgment on NSF’s budget, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who sits on the Senate Commerce and Science Committee that authorizes its programs, were eager for the state to recover from the unexpected collaps
Government Briefs
Government Briefs
The current round of appropriations hearings in Congress graphically illustrates the different politicalforces that shape the NIH and NSF budgets. NSF officials, grilled by new subcommittee chairman Rep. Bob Traxler (D-Mich.),were asked to submit an analysis of where they would cut if the foundation’s proposed $262 million increase (amounting to 14%) were to be trimmed-by $50 million, $100 million, or $200 million. Traxler said that it’s highly unlikely that his panel, which also fun
University Briefs
University Briefs
If scientific hurdles can be leaped and political pitfalls circumvented, then developing countries may one day benefit from a unique international effort to bring genetic engineenng to the Third World. In biologist Roger Beachy’s lab at Washington University in St. Louis, scientists from France’s Institute of Scientific Research for Development Through Cooperation (ORSTOM) are working to make cassava, a crop that feeds 800 million people in Africa and Latin America, resistant to dis
Entrepreneur Briefs
Entrepreneur Briefs
Biosphere Guests Bid Bye-Bye To Earth Can planet Earth be packaged into small, self-contained habitats? Space Biospheres Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Oracle, Ariz., is betting $30 million that it can be done—and that there is someone who wants to do it. Toward this goal, the firm last month sponsored marine biologist Abigail K. Ailing’s five-day stay in a glass module that was 20 feet high and 23 feet long on each side. Cut off from outside sources of air, water, and f
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
Animal Rights.Group Affiliates With AAAS That elusive middle ground in the bitterly polarized debate over the use of animals in research may finally be emerging. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, after a close vote at its recent annual meeting, agreed to admit the Scientists Center for Animal Welfare (SCAW) as an affiliate and give it a voice in the affairs of the association. Although there are nearly 300 science-related organizations that have such a relationship with
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
The nation’s second-largest foundation is doing some in-house spring cleaning—the second time in as many years. Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, a collective of seven funds established by Sun Oil Co. founder Joseph N. Pew and family, has decided to streamline its recently installed management hierarchy by replacing it with a “flat” structure, eliminating four vice presidential slots and installing. individual program directors to manage each of the trusts six pr

Opinion

As Funding Support For Research Wanes, Scientists Must Answer A Call To Arms
As Funding Support For Research Wanes, Scientists Must Answer A Call To Arms
Apart from fashionable new arrivals such as recombinant DNA work and high-temperature superconductivity, much of science throughout the world is feeling the cold winds of freezing funds and lack of public sympathy. In terms of government finance, the halcyon days of “anything goes” for science and its practitioners are over. Science now has the task of hying to survive in a climate that has ceased to be friendly. Moreover, whichever of the traditional disciplines we consider, it i
Research On The Unborn: What Is Our Ethical Stance
Research On The Unborn: What Is Our Ethical Stance
It is never an easy task to do science with human subjects, and I do not suggest that it should be. It is even harder to do science with unborn human subjects and, again, this is not legitimate cause for complaint. But it is occasion for complaint—and for remedial action—when science is hampered by public policy that is ambiguous quixotic, or even confused. And that is the case with research on unborn humans. In 1978 the theft Secretary of Health, Education, and Human Welfare re
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
CHEMISTRY BY RON MAGOLDA Medical Products Department E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co Wilmington, Del " A recent paper proposes DNA recombination to proceed via branched DNA molecules. The researchers used site-specific probes to understand the interactions. Q. Guo, N.C. Seeman, N.R. Kallenbach, “Site-specific interaction of intercalating drugs with a branched DNA molecule,”Biochemistry, 28, 2355-9, 21 March 1989. (New York University, New York) A structural analysis of the interact

Letter

Short Of The Mark
Short Of The Mark
Short Of The Mark What a peculiar article by Robert P. Crease on page 9 of the March 6, 1989, issue of The Scientist (Top Scientists Must Fight Astrology—Or All Of Us Will Face The Consequences”). Crease advises scientists to actively debunk astrology as “...the largest component of a larger phenomenon—the growing receptivity to irrational spiritual doctrines and practices, such as channeling and crystal-gazing.” This statement is misleading. In truth, the largest
Animal Rights
Animal Rights
As a scientist, animal rights activist, and friend of several incurably ill people, I would like to correct a misconception conveyed in your February 6, 1989, article, “Waging War On The Animal Rights Lobby” (page 1). The majority of animal rights activists realize that, at the present time and in many instances, there is no alternative to the use of animals in medical research. The majority of animal rights activists have but two objectives in this area: to promote viable alter
Genetic Disturbance
Genetic Disturbance
I would like to take exception to the views presented by Garland E. Allen in the February 6, 1989, issue of The Scientist (page 9). Allen sees a resurgence in both the scientific and the popular presses, of reports of new evidence suggesting genetic contributions to the development and expression of complex social behaviors, such as alcoholism, shyness, and manic depressive illness. Allen finds the appearance of these reports threatening to the public, in that historically such ideas were used
Keeping The Faith
Keeping The Faith
Keeping The Faith In a letter to the editor in the March 6, 1989, issue of The Scientist (page 10), John B. Howell paints a rather glum picture of science as a faithless-mathematical exercise using scepticism to quell any urges of the mind to stray beyond that which can be measured. His view of faith seems to be that of the small boy who says “faith is when you believe in something that you know ain’t really true.” A happier definition is “the ability to remain open to
Astrology Lives
Astrology Lives
Astrology Lives Apparently bewildered why anyone would believe in astrology Robert P. Crease wonders why more scientists do not rise to fight it. Perhaps I can explain why astrology thrives in spite of scientific refutation. There really is no profound conflict, only the superficial appearance of one. Science challenges what it sees as the underlying mechanism of astrology, namely that the stars/planets govern our lives. To advocates of astrology, such concerns are too ir relevant to have an

Commentary

Ignorance May Be A Virtue In The Age of Information Overload
Ignorance May Be A Virtue In The Age of Information Overload
Information overload is a frustrating problem that is all too familiar to those of us engaged in research. No matter how many articles, reports, and books we manage to plough through, the stack seems only to grow higher. Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Walt Disney’s Fantasia we wish for a magical com- mand to stop the bucket brigade of information before it drowns us. The problem of too much information and too little time to manage it is not a new phenome non. It is just much m

Profession

Rockefeller Science Funding: The Long And Short of It
Rockefeller Science Funding: The Long And Short of It
If you’ve got an idea for a research project that could save the world if only you could get a few million dollars of funding, don’t bother call. ing the Rockefeller Foundation. If they have an interest in such a grand-scale science effort, they’ll hand- pick the scientists they want to work on it. On the other hand, if you’re more modestly inclined investigator whose proposal requires less than $100,000, you might indeed do well to ring up the folks at Rockefeller, whi
Biotech Fuels Growth Of NSF Engineering Directorate
Biotech Fuels Growth Of NSF Engineering Directorate
Despite-a rocky start on Wall Street, the biotechnology industry is here to stay. The growing recognition that it will soon be possible to modify existing biological proteins or design new ones to create a new class of man-made products ranging from medicines to disease-resistant plants has created a booming market. Over 300 startup companies are now banking on the technology to revolutionize the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries, according to a 1988 Congressional Office Of Technol

New Products

New Computerized Densitometer Offers Many Advantages
New Computerized Densitometer Offers Many Advantages
Densitometers are used routinely in molecular biology and biochemistry to quantify nucleic acid or protein bands and spots on autoradiograms, stained gels, and transfer membranes. The performance of the densitometer can have a profound effect on the validity of such measurements. Molecular Dynamics, headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., introduced the Model 300A Computer Densitometer in May 1988: The device is fundamentally different from other densitometers in that it combines several distinc
Microchip Implant Advances Identification of Lab Animals
Microchip Implant Advances Identification of Lab Animals
A new electronic monitoring system from BioMedic Data Systems Inc., of Maywood, N.J., can make the identification of animals throughout the course of an experiment as easy as reading the bar codes on groceries at supermarket checkout counters. The key to this system—called the Electronic Laboratory Animal Monitoring System (ELAMS)—is an 1 1-mm microchip transponder that is encased in glass and implanted subcutaneously or intramuscularly via a disposable stainless steel needle. T