News

Takeover Is Rx For tPA Blues At Genentech
Takeover Is Rx For tPA Blues At Genentech
Analysts say the Roche deal blunts the impact of a report in which the firm's top product fares poorly against its competition Genentech took it on the chin last month when a massive study by Italian scientists found that tPA, tissue plasminogen activator, was no more effective in treating heart attacks than streptokinase, a bacterial enzyme that costs one tenth as much. But the stock price of the South San Francisco, Calif., company, which manufactures the drug, hardly budged. Although tPA i
When There's Not Enough Money To Go Around, States Urge Expansion Of NSF Program To Share Funds More Evenly
When There's Not Enough Money To Go Around, States Urge Expansion Of NSF Program To Share Funds More Evenly
WASHINGTON -- The South shall rise again - along with states from the Midwest, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, and Great Plains. At least, that's the hope of supporters of a National Science Foundation program to help states whose scientists receive dispropor-tionately little federal support. They are trying to use that program as a model for a government-wide effort at geographic self-help. "We have a common problem - poverty and bad politics," says biochemist Kenneth Pruitt, a
When There's Not Enough Money To Go Around, NIH Institute's Plan Will Favor Researchers Dependent On Single Grants
When There's Not Enough Money To Go Around, NIH Institute's Plan Will Favor Researchers Dependent On Single Grants
WASHINGTON -- Last month 10 scientists got to keep their labs open, thanks to a new policy at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The policy lets NIGMS edge further away from scientific merit in funding decisions and ration support so smaller laboratories can survive the increased competition for NIH funds. The beneficiaries are those scientists - like the 10 who didn't make the initial cutoff - who have no other sources of support or who are first-time applicants. The potential
Earth Day: Scientists Reflect On 20 Years Of Activism
Earth Day: Scientists Reflect On 20 Years Of Activism
As this week's rallies approach, four tell how their concern for the environment has changed their lives and careers Chemical physicist Michael Oppenheimer remembers staring for hours at the poster in his bedroom. The vertical cliffs of granite that had once been Colorado's Glen Canyon shimmered down pink and orange from the wall of his Cambridge, Mass., apartment. Several years earlier, in 1967, a dam had been built and the canyon flooded, its beauty lost forever. "It blew me away," says the
Institutions Respond In Large Numbers To Tiny Facilities Program At NIH, NSF
Institutions Respond In Large Numbers To Tiny Facilities Program At NIH, NSF
A flood of applications for small amounts of money reflects the problem of financing needed repairs to academic laboratories WASHINGTON -- New programs at the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation offer overwhelming evidence that the demand for federal funds to replace crumbling academic research facilities is substantial. Defying odds that would scare off any self-respecting bettor, university administrators are expected to shower NIH with more than 100 requests f
PCAST Begins Its Work By Focusing On Industry
PCAST Begins Its Work By Focusing On Industry
WASHINGTON -- On March 22 the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology rolled up its sleeves and got down to business, namely, the task of getting United States industry to play a larger role in strengthening science. The council has a mandate to provide the president with all manner of scientific and technological advice on pressing issues of the day. And its 12 members, who were sworn in February 2 (The Scientist, March 5, 1990, page 3), represent a diverse elite, from billi
Nuclear Scientists At Oak Ridge Learn Realities Of Reactor Safety
Nuclear Scientists At Oak Ridge Learn Realities Of Reactor Safety
Temporary shutdown of research reactor turns into three-year hiatus as managers try to understand the world after Chernobyl OAK RIDGE, TENN. -- Though it may be impolite, it's hardly news when a scientist avoids a meeting to carry out an experiment. But for Oak Ridge National Laboratory nuclear physicist George Wignall, showing up late for an interview with a reporter was cause for celebration. "We've been waiting three and a half years for this machine," he explained to a reporter, exulting
Strong Biotech Focus To Mark Next Week's ACS Meeting
Strong Biotech Focus To Mark Next Week's ACS Meeting
More than 11,000 scientists from 30 countries are expected to attend the 199th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston next week. The six-day-long gathering (April 22 through April 27) at the Hynes Convention Center will feature more than 4,400 papers presented during 604 technical sessions. The presidential plenary, which kicks off the week-long gathering Sunday, April 22, at 4:30 P.M., will focus on a problem that the field of chemistry shares with other disciplines: the
University Briefs
University Briefs
Sharing Science "Kids are natural scientists," says Yale biology senior Geoffrey Laff. "We're trying to capture them at a point when they think that learning is still a cool thing to do." Laff is founder of DEMOS, a volunteer student group that shares the magic and excitement of science with third, fourth, and fifth graders in New Haven, Conn., elementary schools. Every week, the 35 members of DEMOS (the acronym doesn't really stand for anything: "I like to let people use their imaginations," s
Catalog Offers Laboratories One-Of-A-Kind Biologicals
Catalog Offers Laboratories One-Of-A-Kind Biologicals
An immunologist who has turned entrepreneur builds a one-man publishing business around a 30,000-item directory It is one of those small yet irksome inconveniences that dog immunologists and those working with biological reagents. No matter how generous one's funding or how proficient one's technicians, there are certain nettlesome tasks that threaten to halt one's research. What to do, for example, when an experiment requires a highly specific monoclonal antibody? If it can't be found in a ca

Briefs

Government Briefs
Government Briefs
Soviets Bump Up Against NIH Ceiling The Fogarty International Center's exchange program with the Soviet Union is oversubscribed for the first time in its 18-year history. "In the past, we didn't have a ceiling on the program because we could always count on the Soviets to limit themselves," says Gray Handley, director of international coordination and liaison for the NIH-based exchanges. But perestroika has increased demand for the short-term visits, in which the Soviets pay for the flight over
Laboratory Briefs
Laboratory Briefs
They're Having A Blast At Livermore An external panel will search for causes in three recent "highly unusual" accidents at Lawrence Livermore National Lab's high-explosive test facilities. The panel's main task will be to discover whether the three incidents, which occurred within a six-week period, "were just bad luck, or whether a pattern emerges," says a lab spokesman. "One of our very best records is in high-explosive safety," he adds. Two accidental detonations occurred at Site 300, a high
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Recombinant DNA Biodegradable Pesticide Mycogen Corp. has begun the first large-scale field trials in the U.S. of a pesticide developed through recombinant DNA techniques. The pesticide, called MVP, is a protein produced by a strain of the Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) bacterium. The San Diego firm inserts the gene that produces the B.t. toxin into another bacterium called Pseudomonas fluorescens. Then the new bacteria are killed, and a "biocapsule" forms around the toxin, which is fatal to lea
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
Wellcome Welcomes Visiting Professors Universities interested in hosting leading research scientists can tap the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Each year, Wellcome Visiting Professorships in the Basic Medical Sciences are presented to 21 scientists - three each in physiology, biochemistry/molecular biology, pharmacology, pathology, nutrition, immunology, and cell biology - for visits of two to five days at U.S. institutions. The Wellcome Visiting Professors teach, confer with students and faculty,
People Briefs
People Briefs
Don L. Anderson, professor of geophysics at the California Institute of Technology, has been named the first Eleanor and John R. McMillan Professor of Geophysics. The professorship in Caltech's Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences was endowed by Caltech alumnus John R. McMillan to honor the memory of his wife, Eleanor McMillan, who died in 1988. Anderson's research has focused on the study of planetary interiors, seismology, the structure of the earth, and the origin and evolution of o

Opinion

More Scientists Are Needed To Run For Elective Office
More Scientists Are Needed To Run For Elective Office
While scientists contribute much to society through professional research, study, and teaching, most scientists have been trained in a professional culture that considers going outside of one's discipline - and certainly outside of scientific research and study - as being unprofessional. Getting involved in politics, of all things, is something like educational prostitution. This tendency toward compartmentalization is one factor contributing to the gulf of mutual ignorance that exists between
Who's To Blame When The Public Misunderstands Science?
Who's To Blame When The Public Misunderstands Science?
Repeatedly over the past few years, the American public has been subjected to a litany of catastrophe - to predictions of impending disaster that are claimed to be unique to modern civilization. The oceans are dying, the atmosphere is poisoned, the earth itself is losing its capacity to support life. The reported "hole" in the ozone layer is the most recent scare. Cancer, generally blamed on man-made chemicals, is rampant - so the doomsayers say. Warnings that in the past came from the pulpit a

Letter

Letter: Pension Policies
Letter: Pension Policies
You are to be commended for the timely article "New Policies Offer Pension Choices To Academic Scientists" (The Scientist, March 5, 1990, page 25). Julia King correctly pointed out that there is the catch that some of the more flexible policies ". . . must first be adopted by the university where the professors are employed." She went on to suggest that employees can lobby for their employers to adopt the new policies. Despite the fact that TIAA-CREF insists that contracts are with individuals
Letter: Perestroika and Science
Letter: Perestroika and Science
Your recent coverage of perestroika and science (The Scientist, Feb. 19, 1990) was excellent, with many articles of interest to the international scientific community. I applaud your thorough coverage of a timely and important topic. The Fogarty International Center, the international arm of the National Institutes of Health, is keenly interested in promoting scientific collaboration with East European and Soviet scientists and institutions, and we already have several exchange programs in pl
Letter: Science In The USSR
Letter: Science In The USSR
A few days ago I received a recent issue of your newspaper. While I would like to express my pleasure at finding my name on a list appearing in the article "Physicists Dominate List Of Most-Cited Soviet Scientists" (The Scientist, Feb. 19, 1990, page 23), I am also happy to inform you that I am not dead, as indicated in the article, but quite alive - and in rather good shape! I was very surprised by this erroneous information. Such an announcement could do great damage to my career, as I am st
Letter: Warm Waters At USDA
Letter: Warm Waters At USDA
I believe I was misquoted in the recent article "Biotech Panel Wrestles With Oversight Role" (The Scientist, Feb. 19, 1990, page 1), which was about government review of biotechnology research as it moves out of the laboratory and into the field. The misquotation has gotten me into some warm water with my superiors and colleagues in other agencies. The sentence I refer to is: "So people doing outdoor research don't know when their experiments are covered by NIH and when they enter the general e

Commentary

Commentary: A Call To Bring Back The Lasker Awards
Commentary: A Call To Bring Back The Lasker Awards
Perhaps more surprising than the news that this year's Lasker awards have been suspended (The Scientist, March 19, 1990, page 7) was the way the news was announced - or not announced: More than a month after reports of the suspension, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation still had not officially announced or explained its action or the prospects for a resumption of the highly respected awards. In a recent conversation, Alice Fordyce, Mary Lasker's sister and the foundation's executive vice pr

Research

Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The Scientist has asked a group of experts to comment periodically upon recent articles that they have found noteworthy. Their selections, presented herein every issue, are neither endorsements of content nor the result of systematic searching. Rather, the list represents personal choices of articles the columnists believe the scientific community as a whole may also find interesting. Reprints of any articles cited here may be ordered through The Genuine Article, 3501 Market St., Philadelphia,
Bioconjugate Chemistry Links A Number Of Fields
Bioconjugate Chemistry Links A Number Of Fields
Landmark Papers Although the term "bioconjugate chemistry" was coined relatively recently, researchers increasingly have been exploring the techniques and applications of this field, particularly during the past 10 years. Simply put, bioconjugate chemistry involves the joining through chemical or biological means of two molecules that exhibit different biological activities to form a new compound with specific biochemical properties. As scientists learn more and more about the roles of specific
Landmark Bioconjugate Chemistry Papers*
Landmark Bioconjugate Chemistry Papers*
Paper No. of Citations J.M. Prober, G.L. Trainor, R.J. Dam, F.W. Hobbs, et al., "A system for rapid DNA sequencing with fluorescent chain-terminating dideoxynucelotides," Science, 238:336-41, 198755 J.D. Rodwell, V.L. Alvarez, C. Lee, A.D. Lopes, et al., "Site-specific covalent modification of monoclonal antibodies: in vitro and in vivo evaluations," PNAS, 83:2632-6, 198627 J.P. Sluka, S.J. Horvath, M.F. Bruist, M.I. Simon, P.B. Dervan, "Synthesis of a sequence-specific DNA-cleaving Peptide,

Hot Paper

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
D.J. Selkoe, M.B. Podlisny, C.L. Joachim, E.A. Vickers, et al., "ß-amyloid precursor protein of Alzheimer disease occurs as 110- to 135-kilodalton membrane- associated proteins in neural and nonneural tissues," PNAS, 85, 7341-45, October 1988. Dennis J. Selkoe (Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston): "During the past three years, there has been a rapidly growing interest in the normal biology and pathobiology of the ß-amyloid precursor protein (APP). APP is
Hot Papers
Hot Papers
H. Charbonneau, N.K. Tonks, K.A. Walsh, E.H. Fischer, "The leukocyte common antigen (CD45): a putative receptor-linked protein tyrosine phosphatase," PNAS, 85, 7182-86, October 1988. Harry Charbonneau (University of Washington, Seattle): "The role of protein tyrosine kinases in the control of normal and neoplastic cell growth is widely accepted; however, protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPases) that oppose the action of these kinases by dephosphorylating tyrosyl residues are also potentially im
Citation Superstars
Citation Superstars
PERIODS 1965-78 AND 1973-84   NAME FIELDCITATIONS 1965-78 101. SCHLEYER P.v.R. Physical Chemistry 5,736 102. MASON D.T. Cardiology 5,700 103. McCONNELL H.M. Biophysics 5,697 104. LARAGH J.H. Cardiology 5,681 105. KIPNIS D.M. Cell Biology 5,676 106. SHERLOCK S. Gastroenterology 5,670 107. BRODIE B.B. Pharmacology 5,668 108.HABER E. Immunology 5,650 109. SINGER S.J. Cell Biology 5,647 110. WALLACH D.F.H. Oncology 5,623 111. STEWART R.F. Physics 5,611 112. MAIZEL J.V.

Profession

Researchers Cope With The Increasing Cost Of Convening
Researchers Cope With The Increasing Cost Of Convening
While working toward his doctorate in 1973, plant geneticist Peter Gresshoff received an invitation to attend one of the meetings sponsored every summer by the Gordon Research Conferences. For Gresshoff, the mere fact that he was tapped to join the select group of 100 scientists participating in the conference constituted an honor in itself. Substantially more exciting, though, was the prospect of spending a week in close quarters with some of the top researchers in his field. The invitation c
Shaw Foundation Surprises Universities With Support For Asian Graduate Students
Shaw Foundation Surprises Universities With Support For Asian Graduate Students
Last year, administrators at the California Institute of Technology received a pleasant surprise: a letter from a Hong Kong foundation asking if they would be interested in having the foundation support Asian graduate students at Caltech, particularly students from the People's Republic of China. The letter came from the Shaw Foundation, a private charitable enterprise established in 1973 by Sir Run Run Shaw, an 82-year-old native of Shanghai. Sir Run Run heads the Shaw Brothers Organisation,
Chemists Report Higher Salaries In 1989 ACS Membership Study
Chemists Report Higher Salaries In 1989 ACS Membership Study
The approximately 11,000 chemists gathering in Boston for the American Chemical Society meeting next week will undoubtedly be glad to hear that in today's job market, it appears they have the right chemistry for obtaining employment. In many cases, chemists are commanding increasing salaries and finding new opportunities, thanks to a favorable imbalance in the age-old relationship between demand and supply. For instance, veteran chemists with Ph.D.'s can expect to see annual pay increase highe
UC-Davis Biochemist Gets Cal Aggie Prize For Teaching And Scholarly Achievement
UC-Davis Biochemist Gets Cal Aggie Prize For Teaching And Scholarly Achievement
For Eric E. Conn, teaching certainly has its rewards. The University of California, Davis, professor of biochemistry has been awarded the 1990 UC-Davis Prize for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement. Established by the Cal Aggie Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports UC-Davis, the $25,000 prize pays tribute to faculty members on campus who demonstrate throughout their academic careers a dedication to teaching undergraduates as well as to the achievement of personal scholarly goals. T
MIT Artificial Intelligence Pioneer Wins Japan Prize For Science And Technology
MIT Artificial Intelligence Pioneer Wins Japan Prize For Science And Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology artificial intelligence expert Marvin Minsky has reason to feel a bit like singer Paul McCart-ney these days. Like the former Beatle, the computer scientist recently attracted a crowd of teenagers while on a trip to Japan. Minsky says that after being recognized by a group of Japanese students on an airplane, he concluded that they, in general, "are as excited about a scientist as [United States students] are about a rock 'n' roll star." The reason for Min
17-Year-Old Chicago High Schooler Wins Westinghouse Science Talent Search
17-Year-Old Chicago High Schooler Wins Westinghouse Science Talent Search
Matthew Headrick has won first place in the 49th annual Westinghouse Science Talent Search for high school students, joining a list of previous winners that includes five Nobelists, two winners of Fields Medals, and eight winners of MacArthur Foundation Fellowships. What will the 17-year-old do for an encore? "I'm keeping my options open," says Headrick, a senior at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools High School. But he says he has narrowed his choice to studying math or physics at e

Technology

Curve-Fitting Packages Suit A Wide Range Of Science Needs
Curve-Fitting Packages Suit A Wide Range Of Science Needs
Scientific computing as a whole is something of a hybrid field. Applications - as well as software - range from highly specialized operations used in only a narrow field of research to those with a broad appeal that cross disciplinary lines. All researchers, for example, use statistics, no matter what area of science they work in, and, of course, everyone uses word processing. A third broadly applicable genre is curve-fitting software - packages that help the researcher to organize (or fit) a

Clarification

Clarification
Clarification
On page 28 of the March 19, 1990, issue of The Scientist, the photo of University of Oregon Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Brian Matthews and that of M. Brian Maple, Bernd T. Matthias Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego, were transposed. Also on page 28 of the same issue, the photo of James S. Langer, director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and that of Joseph J. Tufariello, chairman of the depar