News

Tough Choices Face Next Head Of NSF
Tough Choices Face Next Head Of NSF
As six-year term ends, Bloch wins praise for raising NSF's profile, but questions remain on how to set priorities WASHINGTON -- You won't see this advertisement in the classified section of any newspaper or magazine. But it describes the type of person that the scientific community hopes will become the next director of the National Science Foundation. The six-year term of the current office holder, Erich Bloch, expires this coming August, and - although there has been no official announcemen
U.S. Military Laboratories Struggle To Preserve Status In Research
U.S. Military Laboratories Struggle To Preserve Status In Research
A brain drain, red tape, and pinched budgets could turn the $8 billion network of defense labs into a scientific backwater At the U.S. Army's Aviation Systems Command in St. Louis, helicopter designer Roger Smith was faced with an important career move. The Army was transferring its helicopter-design activities to San Francisco, a much more expensive place to live. But Smith's salary was set by federal law and couldn't be raised to reflect the higher cost of living on the West Coast. Looking
Two Firms Race To Derive Profits From Mussels' Glue
Two Firms Race To Derive Profits From Mussels' Glue
Despite gaps in their knowledge of how the mollusk produces the adhesive, scientists hope to re-create it GAITHERSBURG, MD. -- "Nature didn't make mussel glue for man's instant gratification," says Herbert Waite, the marine biochemist who first isolated adhesive protein from the foot of the common blue mussel. But man certainly intends to make use of and profit from this novel material. Last month, Genex Corp. - a Maryland biotechnology company - introduced its first glue based on the mussel
Maryland Biotechnology Facility Stimulates Protein Engineering
Maryland Biotechnology Facility Stimulates Protein Engineering
Consortium's technology for synthetic protein engineering offers access to one of the next hot fields in biotechnology WASHINGTON -- Proteins! That's what his elders would tell Dustin Hoffman to pursue instead of plastics if the 1960s movie The Graduate were set in the 1990s. That's where the next revolution in man-made materials will be. And that's why the federal government, the University of Maryland, and local politicians have invested $8 million to set up a protein engineering laboratory,
Plea For More Grants Dissolves Unity Of Joint Effort To Boost NIH Budget
Plea For More Grants Dissolves Unity Of Joint Effort To Boost NIH Budget
WASHINGTON -- The unity of a coalition that each year campaigns for a large increase in the NIH budget has been splintered by a group of bench scientists who say the agency should fund more grants to individual investigators. The disagreement reflects the growing strain on the scientific community from declining funding rates for such grants and the perception of some scientists that their work is being squeezed out by megaprojects like the war against AIDS and the effort to map and sequence t
Cancer Institute Turns To Cell Line Screening
Cancer Institute Turns To Cell Line Screening
Looking for compounds to kill tumors, Michael Boyd abandons leukemic mice and tries a radically new, unprecedentedly large assay In a sharp break from its past, the National Cancer Institute has abandoned a 30-year-old system for finding compounds that kill tumors and has replaced it with an elaborate but unproven factory-style operation. In the new program, unique in its scope, 20,000 compounds and extracts will be tested against a broad array of human tumor cells each year. The compounds wi
Gladstone Foundation Establishes Niche In Heart Research
Gladstone Foundation Establishes Niche In Heart Research
Bequest by developer turns into $118 million endowment to fund work on the molecular bases of heart disease SAN FRANCISCO -- When Southern California shopping center developer J. David Gladstone died while swimming in the pool of his Hollywood Hills home in 1971, his death got scant notice beyond local real estate circles. Yet today the memory of this obscure businessman lives on among biomedical scientists as the benefactor of the J. David Gladstone Foundation. The spectacular growth and sci
Judge Delays Construction of Arizona Observatory
Judge Delays Construction of Arizona Observatory
The endangered red squirrel gets a 120-day reprieve, while Congress reconsiders its support of Mount Graham complex TUCSON -- Two years ago, astronomers and their supporters climbed up Capitol Hill and won approval for a $200 million observatory on an Arizona mountaintop. Many people thought that was the end of a four-year struggle between astronomers and people who opposed observatory development (The Scientist, Nov. 28, 1988, page 5; and Jan. 22, 1990, page 4). But last month, a federal cour
New Medical Devices Challenge Scientists And Regulators Alike
New Medical Devices Challenge Scientists And Regulators Alike
WASHINGTON -- Medical devices have been the most trouble-free of biotechnology's products; they have sailed smoothly through U.S. Food and Drug Administration review. But that situation is changing. These genetically engineered materials and technologies for treating and diagnosing disease are getting more complex. At the same time, Congress and the public are increasingly concerned that FDA is not being tough enough and that technology is inflating health care costs. Last month, FDA and the S
Primer Offered For Scientists Bringing Drugs To Market
Primer Offered For Scientists Bringing Drugs To Market
FASEB speakers teach scientists about drug development and urge researchers to shape the regulatory process WASHINGTON--Biochemists isolating novel chemical compounds could use a bit more street smarts if they want to raise the profile - and budgets - of their research, according to university and industry scientists attending this month's annual meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Speaking at a symposium on the "Impact of Federal Agencies on Drug Develop

Briefs

Government Briefs
Government Briefs
Inside Out At NIH In their quest for the authority to pay higher salaries to attract top scientific talent, NIH officials are quick to claim that, since James Wyngaarden came from Duke University to become NIH director in 1982, they have been unable to fill any top administrative positions with outsiders. That streak came to an end in January with the appointment of James Snow, chairman of the department of otorhinolaryngology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, as the first d
National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
Science Teachers Want It Cheap And Real The number of projects aimed at improving science education in U.S. schools is growing so quickly that officials at Argonne National Laboratory say it wasn't easy "to offer something new and important." But Lou Harnisch thinks that he's found the answer. Harnisch, a Chicago high school teacher on a leave of absence at Argonne, has launched a program that relies on cheap-to-produce equipment and the glamour of real-life topics to excite youngsters in Chica
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
A Platform For Animal Cell Technology West European biotechnology companies are getting together to establish a mechanism to ensure that they reap the benefits of European Community-funded research on animal cell technology. The firms plan to establish in a Dublin meeting on June 6 an Animal Cell Technology Industry Platform, which will organize technology transfer from a three-year EC initiative. Brussels has earmarked about $4 million for the initiative, a sum to be matched by private enterpr
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
New Psychology Journal In 1988, the American Psychological Society split from the American Psychological Association because many APA members believed that their former association's interest in psychological science was diminishing. According to James L. McGaugh, APS president and professor of psychobiology at the University of California, Irvine, he and other members had fought APA's growing trend toward an "applied clinical interest," but could not win that battle and eventually decided to f
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
Stone Award Honors Southern Chemists The Carolina-Piedmont Section of the American Chemical Society will be accepting nominations through May 15 for the Charles H. Stone Award. Stone, who founded the Carolina-Piedmont Section in 1943, was a native North Carolinian and a pioneer in the chemical and dyestuff industry. Income from the Stone Trust Fund, provided in his will, supports administration of this award. Since Stone's death in 1969, this regional group has presented one annual prize, desi
People Briefs
People Briefs
Bradford H. Hager, professor of geophysics in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's department of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences, has been named the school's Cecil and Ida Green Professor in Earth Sciences. Hager is best known for his research on the physics of geologic processes. He has focused his work on applying geophysical observations and numerical modeling to the study of mantle convection, the coupling of mantle convection to crustal deformation, and precision geodesy.

Opinion

Pricing For Profit: The Dilemma Of Commercial Science Publishers
Pricing For Profit: The Dilemma Of Commercial Science Publishers
Over the past two to three years, commercial publishers have been called a lot of names: greedy, rapacious, price-gouging, and so forth. Usually these remarks are made when comparing commercial journal prices with the prices of journals published by those who have the advantage of the high moral ground: learned societies. Why, it is asked (or, worse, not asked), does an American Chemical Society journal cost perhaps 10 cents per page, while an ier journal costs 25 cents per page? Let me quickly
Scientists Should Just Say No To High-Cost, Low-Value Journals
Scientists Should Just Say No To High-Cost, Low-Value Journals
If you don't like the pricing of certain journals, the simple answer is don't support, either intellectually or financially, any journal that you think is overpriced. Many such individual decisions would add up to a statement by the community. Purchase is a value judgment. The value in dollars of a journal subscription is determined by what rational purchasers will pay. Thus, if you buy or recommend purchase of a journal, by definition it is not priced beyond its value. We make the decision. I
Coping With The Crisis At Science Libraries: Three Scenarios
Coping With The Crisis At Science Libraries: Three Scenarios
[Editor's note: Between 1986 and 1988, the median price of professional science journals increased 32 percent faster than the increase in the cost of publishing them, according to the Association of Research Libraries, an organization representing 119 of the largest North American research libraries. During the same period, journal expenditures increased by 43 percent, but the number of titles that libraries bought remained the same. This, ARL says, is because skyrocketing prices have forced m
Collections In The Future Will Be Electronic
Collections In The Future Will Be Electronic
Three weeks ago I sat in a small room with fellow faculty members at the University of North Carolina who serve with me on the administrative board of our library. At that meeting we voted to cancel 551 journal subscriptions. Over the previous 12 months we had canceled an additional 500 subscriptions as part of our ongoing serial review program. We had little choice. Already stagnant budgets coupled with dramatic increases in subscription prices had cut the number of books we could purchase in

Letter

Letter: Science In The USSR
Letter: Science In The USSR
Commendations for your coverage of science in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (The Scientist, Feb. 19, 1990). As both a historian and an observer of the contemporary Soviet situation, I find your articles invaluable. JONATHAN COOPERSMITH Texas A&M University College Station After reading your commentary "Will Perestroika Open Soviet Science's Doors To The English Language?" (The Scientist, March 5, 1990, page 18), I was disappointed not to see mention of Atmospheric Optics, a new Sovi
Letter: Khorana's Achievement
Letter: Khorana's Achievement
In describing the "Origins of DNA Synthesis" (The Scientist, March 19, 1990, page 30), Carole F. Gan writes: "In 1968, Har Goribind [sic] Khorana and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, were the first to succeed in chemically synthesizing a polynucleotide, the transfer RNA (tRNA) for alanine. Although this was indeed a historic achievement - one that won Khorana the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine - there were no known biological applications for the technique at the
Letter: `A Sorry Record'
Letter: `A Sorry Record'
Your People item on "yellow rain" researcher Matthew Meselson (The Scientist, March 5, 1990, page 27) correctly points out that Meselson was recently awarded the 1990 Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award by AAAS. I believe that Meselson is fortunate that the Cambodians were not voters for this award! Scientists as a group have had a sorry record in giving assistance to their Eastern European colleagues who have finally broken the Red Plague. The record of organized science in speaking ou

Commentary

Let's Not Erect Roadblocks On Our Scientific Data Highways
Let's Not Erect Roadblocks On Our Scientific Data Highways
Three Australians recently were arrested on charges of breaking into computers in the United States and other countries. The arrests heightened concerns about the security of the growing network of computers used by scientists. In November 1988, when a rogue program, or "worm," spread along America's network of research computers, 60,000 machines were connected. A year after the highly publicized incident, the number of interconnected scientific computers was 160,000 and heading upward. How f

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,
Southern States Gain Ground In Producing Science Papers
Southern States Gain Ground In Producing Science Papers
Of the four major regions of the United States, only the South boosted its share of scientific papers during the last decade. According to data for the period 1980-89 obtained from the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information's on-line database, the Science Citation Index, the South mustered a 3 percent increase from the first half to the second half of the 1980s. The Southern region of the U.S. upped its share of U.S. science papers from 34 percent in the period 1980-84 to 37 p
Loose Reins Let Chemists Explore The Road Less Traveled
Loose Reins Let Chemists Explore The Road Less Traveled
Dennis P. Curran apologizes for the crowded and windowless temporary room where he's stationed himself. His own office is also here on the 12th floor of the University of Pittsburgh's chemistry building - right next door, in fact - but it's being remodeled. An open door reveals vast expanses and new carpeting. Until it's ready, Curran must take shelter in a small, snug space surrounded by makeshift piles of papers and books. Yet, oddly enough, these quarters seem to suit him better than the plu

Hot Paper

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
L.A. Lasky, M.S. Singer, T.A. Yednock, D. Dowbenko, et al., "Cloning of a lymphocyte homing receptor reveals a lectin domain," Cell, 56, 1045-55, 24 March 1989. Lawrence A. Lasky (Genentech Inc., South San Francisco): "The trafficking of leukocytic cells to various regions of the vascular system during normal and inflammatory immune responses involves a number of cell surface adhesion molecules. One of the more interesting of these molecules is the homing receptor, so named because it allows w
Hot Papers
Hot Papers
D. Kim, D.L. Lewis, L. Graziadei, E.J. Neer, D. Bar-Sagi, D.E. Clapham, "G-protein áç-subunits activate the cardiac muscarinic K+-channel via phospholipase A2," Nature, 337, 557-60, 9 February 1989. David Clapham (Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.): "More than 70 (for example, à,á, muscarinic, and rhodopsin) receptor types are linked to their effectors via G proteins. These G proteins are composed of two functional subunits, known as Gà and Gáà. Although the e

Profession

Mastering The Fine Art Of Writing Reports For Nonscientists
Mastering The Fine Art Of Writing Reports For Nonscientists
Being a good scientist has always meant staying abreast of new technological advancements, keeping up with the literature in one's field, and knowing when to call on the expertise of others. These days, more than ever before, it also means doing a lot of writing: in peer-reviewed journals, a prerequisite for advancement in one's career; and in grant proposals, a necessity of research life for many scientists. In addition to writing scientific papers and applications for funding, today's resear
COMMUNICATION TIPS FOR THE SCIENTIST
COMMUNICATION TIPS FOR THE SCIENTIST
Nontechnical professionals who frequently read scientists' reports offer the following suggestions for researchers needing to get their messages across clearly: Know Your Audience The purpose of a paper should determine its style and organization. Nancy Thornton, who teaches writing effectiveness to word-weary scientists at some 20 institutions in upstate New York, suggests that researchers ponder their report's destination before sitting down to write. "Is it a progress report for a manager
Pew Charitable Trusts Program Supports Multifaceted Environmental Research
Pew Charitable Trusts Program Supports Multifaceted Environmental Research
With the 20th anniversary of Earth Day fresh in mind, Joshua S. Reichert recites a litany of environmental problems that he believes are the most pressing. Renewable energy, population explosion, widespread use of chemicals, disposal of toxic wastes, groundwater contamination, soil erosion, global warming, and ozone depletion are just a few of the many issues that he foresees environmental scientists and conservationists having to tackle in the years ahead. Reichert, who earned his doctorate i
People: American Cancer Society Awards Two Research Professorships For 1990
People: American Cancer Society Awards Two Research Professorships For 1990
John Carbon, professor of biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Leland Hartwell, professor of genetics at the University of Washington, have been named American Cancer Society Research Professors. The professorships, which were established in 1956, offer lifetime support and are usually awarded once a year. They generally pay one third of the researcher's salary up to a maximum of $50,000 annually, and are designed to relieve the researchers of administrative and tea
People: Memorial Lecture Instituted To Honor Nathan Shock, Father Of Gerontology
People: Memorial Lecture Instituted To Honor Nathan Shock, Father Of Gerontology
To honor the late Nathan W. Shock, known widely in the scientific community as the "father of gerontology," his colleagues at the National Institute on Aging's Gerontology Research Center have established a lasting tribute to him in the form of an annual scientific lecture bearing his name. The first Nathan W. Shock Memorial Lecture will take place June 8, at the NIA Gerontology Research Center in Baltimore. Shock - who died last November at the age of 82 - was head of the Gerontology Research
People: UC-Irvine Physics Professor Receives Case Western's Michelson-Morley Award
People: UC-Irvine Physics Professor Receives Case Western's Michelson-Morley Award
Despite holding the title of distinguished professor emeritus at the University of California, Irvine, physicist Frederick Reines is by no means retired. At 72, he still teaches freshman physics at Irvine, and he also continues his research. "I'm currently doing work on the stability of the proton," he says. Reines has recently been named the recipient of Case Western Reserve University's 1990 Michelson-Morley Award, which features three Nobel laureates among its previous winners (Subrahmanyan
People: UC-BERKELEY PHYSICIST DEAD AT 63
People: UC-BERKELEY PHYSICIST DEAD AT 63
Robert Karplus, professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and an international science educator, died last month in Moraga, Calif., at the age of 63. Karplus' early research centered on theoretical particle physics. He later became very active in developing new successful science teaching methods for grade school students. His "Science Curriculum Improvement Project" produced a series of teaching kits that has been used in thousands of classrooms in the United States and a

Technology

Nonradioactive Probes Protect Scientists And Environment
Nonradioactive Probes Protect Scientists And Environment
For many years, geneticists determined the genetic makeup of organisms by examining the physical characteristics of their offspring. But with the discovery of the structure of the DNA double helix, first published by James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick in 1953 (Nature, 171:964-7), the science of genetics was forever changed. Scientists soon developed techniques to study the genetic message found in all living cells at the molecular level. One of most important of these methods was the use of