August 1992

News

Recession, Playing No Favorites, Takes Toll In All Sectors Of The Scientific Job Market
Recession, Playing No Favorites, Takes Toll In All Sectors Of The Scientific Job Market
Academic scientists, their futures uncertain because of budgetary woes in higher education, may be wondering if industrial research and development offers a safer haven. Meanwhile, bench researchers in industry, shaken by recent corporate downsizing and restructuring, may be looking for refuge in academia. The truth is, no scientific environment-not industry, government, or academia-has been spared the impact of the United States' long and deepening recession. The current job market in science
Survey: More Women Entering Chemistry, But Career Advancement Poses Problems
Survey: More Women Entering Chemistry, But Career Advancement Poses Problems
A recent work force survey by the Washington, D.C.-based American Chemical Society (ACS), building on data from a 1990 ACS salary survey, concludes that women in chemistry still face obstacles to advancement, despite an improved professional climate in recent years. Even so, conversations with women chemists working in the public and private sectors Lind many optimistic about their work and futures. But most also point to changes they would like to see in the profession of chemistry to lower the
Biotech, Pharmaceutical Hiring: A Bright Spot On Bleak Horizon
Biotech, Pharmaceutical Hiring: A Bright Spot On Bleak Horizon
While the job market for scientists is generally dismal these days, you'd never know it from listening to Jonathan Meulbroek. A microbiologist and mucosal immunologist, Meulbroek is finishing a two-year postdoctoral position in infectious disease research at Eli Lilly and Co. in Indianapolis. Recently, he has had more invitations for job interviews than he has had time to accept. After receiving three job offers, he opted for a position with a major pharmaceutical firm. “I'm very pleased
Top Scientists Send Nuclear Test Ban Plea To Bush, Yeltsin
Top Scientists Send Nuclear Test Ban Plea To Bush, Yeltsin
An international group of senior scientists has appealed to Presidents Bush and Yeltsin for a permanent ban on nuclear explosive testing by the United States and Russia. In June, nine members of the Executive Committee of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs—chaired by John Holdren, a professor of energy and resources at the University of California, Berkeley—sent a letter to the two leaders, who were coming together for a summit meeting. The letter implored them to
Bush Gives National Medals To Merck, 15 Researchers
Bush Gives National Medals To Merck, 15 Researchers
Alluding dramatically to the vast scope of their achievements, President Bush recently presented 15 researchers and inventors and one corporation with the United States govemment's highest scientific honors, the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology. The number of 1992 award recipients was significantly less this year than in previous years. The 1991 crop of both science and tecbnology medal winners, for example, totaled 33; the medals numbered 31 in 1990 and 22 in 1989

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Going For The Gold A team of four United States high school students placed fourth at the 24th International Chemistry Olympiad, held July 11-17 in Pittsburgh. Out of 33 countries, they were bested only by China, Hungary, and Poland. The annual competition was hosted by the U.S. for the first time since its inauguration in 1968 and was organized this year by the American Chemical Society. Medals were awarded at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., on July 21 . Swaine Chen, from

Opinion

Don't Underestimate The Usefulness Of 'Useless' Knowledge
Don't Underestimate The Usefulness Of 'Useless' Knowledge
Since World War II, scientific research in the United States has been sustained and driven largely by a vigorous System of public funding. This system has worked well in general and has brought the U.S. to its present position of scientific leadership. The majority of international prizes and awards consistently goes to scientists in the U.S., and by all accepted measures, U.S. science disproportionately produces important and innovative scientific papers. But American leadership is beset by a

Commentary

For Scientist-Entrepreneurs: You'll Need A Lot More Than Persistence To Survive
For Scientist-Entrepreneurs: You'll Need A Lot More Than Persistence To Survive
The entrepreneurial inventor involved in the start-up of a company would benefit from a careful reading of the article titled “Seed Money Blossoming Again For Entrepreneurs“ (The Scientist, June 22, 1992, page 1). There are a lot of good lessons in it. As a scientist and inventor (of a chemical calculator) I, like biotech entrepreneur Anthony Guiseppi-Elie, who was quoted in the article, have found that investors “no longer [have] an interest in funding a bright entrepreneur s

Letter

Physicians And Scientists
Physicians And Scientists
I was surprised that Ricki Lewis, the author of the article “A New Symbiosis For M.D.'s and Scientists“ (The Scientist, June 22, 1992, page 1), singled out molecular biology as a scientific discipline in which physicians are interested. Microbiology, biochemistry, and immunology—to name but a few disciplines—have had and continue to have considerable impact on the care of the sick and the health of weil persons. The list of scientists involved in medicine is long; the li
An 'Unfair Game'
An 'Unfair Game'
I am writing in regard to publication of research results. Many young scientists start out as postdocs in a university lab, hoping that their hard work there will lead to some publications, necessary for job opportumties and establishment of a reputation. Postdocs from poor foreign countries, like me, far away from their homes, suffer the most in the hopes of garnering publications. Since competition is so great now, the number of publications someone has (even though, in my opinion, this does
Incompatible FieIds?
Incompatible FieIds?
In a recent commentary (The Scientist, June 8, 1992, page 12), Bryan Farha questions whether, in light of the COBE findings, astronomers and others will be willing to work with religionists in a cooperative effort to explore further the origins of man, the world, and the universe. In a positive answer, Farha says he believes that “science and religion are in a prime position to act collectively—to combine forces in a great endeavor to address the greatest existential questions on th

Research

Taking A Microscopic View Of Biochemistry And DNA Sequencing
Taking A Microscopic View Of Biochemistry And DNA Sequencing
STM/AFM: A BROADENING ARRAY OF APPLICATIONS The scanning tunneling microscope (STM) was developed by physicists Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer in 1982 to investigate the surfaces of solids, such as silicon (Physical Review Letters 49:57, 1982). Binnig and Rohrer, who were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1986 for the invention of STM, were quick to recognize the great potential of their instrument in biology and chemistry. Imaging with STM can be done only on electrically conducting substrates, how

Hot Paper

Cell Biology
Cell Biology
William Boyle (Molecular and Cellular Biology, Amgen Center, Thousand Oaks, Calif.; formerly at Salk Institute, La Jolla, Calif.) “lt is now clear that cells contain the molecular apparatus to induce growth in response to environmental cues and do this by transmitting intracellular signals. Transduced signals are 'read,' then manifested as both short- and long-term changes in patterns of gene expression and, ultimately, as cellular phenotype. “At the time we initiated this study, mu
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
Osamu Chisaka (University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City): “This paper is the first report about mice with an inactivated Hox gene— mammalian homologues of fruit fly homeotic genes that define segmented structures of the body through the anterior-posterior axis. This paper has been 'hot' partly because there are 40 or so closely related Hox genes in the mammalian genome, and many researchers have been investigating their functions. In addition, this paper not only describ
Biochemistry
Biochemistry
Robert Powers (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.): “Recent advances in NMR and simulated annealing techniques have made it possible to solve structures of proteins in solution at a resolution comparable to a 2 Å crystal structure. The availability of 13C/15N-labeled proteins and the application of multidimensional heteronuclear NMR pulse sequences have enabled proteins of increasing size (20 KDa) and biological interest to be analyzed by NMR. These developments have increas
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
Rony Seger (University of Washington, Seattle): “Protein kinases were traditionally classified into two main subgroups: those that phosphorylate serine or threonine residues on their protein substrates and those that phosphorylate tyrosine residues. However, several protein kinases recently have been shown to phosphorylate both types of residues. Our paper was one of the firstto describe these 'dual-specificity kinases,' showing that the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases, ERK1 and ER

Technology

Used Equipment Market Thriving In Tough Economic Times
Used Equipment Market Thriving In Tough Economic Times
A SAMPLING OF SCIENTIFIC BUYERS' GUIDES Published buyers' guides offer comprehensive listings of manufacturers and suppliers of products under various headings, according to Mary Ann Zimmerman, a buyer for the University of Maryland, College Park. Many include used equipment headings, useful for locating dealers. The guides are also helpful in keeping up to date on scientific equipment companies that move, merge, change names, or drop and add products to their lines. American Biotechnology L

Profession

Video Technology Adds New Dimension To The Research Paper
Video Technology Adds New Dimension To The Research Paper
TWO FOR THE SHOW Here's how to obtain copies of the two videos mentioned in this article. "    Hydrogen Collision Dynamics on a Rough Nickel Surface,” based on research by University of Illinois nuclear engineering professor David Ruzic, is available from: The American Vacuum Society 335 E. 45th St. New York, N.Y. 10017 Phone: (212) 661-9404 Fax: (212) 983-6745 The video is in the University of Illinois library system and is “slowly working its way into other
Survey Finds That Medical Researchers' Median Salaries Increased Last Year
Survey Finds That Medical Researchers' Median Salaries Increased Last Year
Medical schools and hospitals paid their research scientists higher average salaries last year than during the previous two years, according to a recently released survey conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Annual actual salaries for medical research scientists reached an average of $36,485 in 1991, a 17.4 percent increase over the 1989 level and 26.8 percent more than the 1990 figure, according to the survey. The institution polled 33 hospitals, 11 medical scho
People: Woods Hole Oceanographer Is Awarded U.S. Navy's Most Prestigious Science Honor
People: Woods Hole Oceanographer Is Awarded U.S. Navy's Most Prestigious Science Honor
Robert D. Ballard, director of the Center for Marine Exploration and senior scientist at the Deep Submergence Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, received the Robert Dexter Conrad Award from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Navy's highest honor for scientific achievement. The 50-year-old oceanographer and marine geologist received the award on June 15. In the early 1970s, Ballard promoted using manned submersibles as a way to explore the mid-Atlantic ridg
People: Canadian Neurosurgeon Assumes Helm Of Animal Welfare Monitoring Group
People: Canadian Neurosurgeon Assumes Helm Of Animal Welfare Monitoring Group
Donald Boisvert, a research professor in the department of surgery at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, has left his research post in Alberta to become executive director of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), based in Ottawa. He began in the position August 4. CCAC is a peer-review organization that monitors the scientists who use animals for research, education, and testing. There are roughly 2 million animals in Canadian labs, and Boisvert says he hopes to make CCAC more accessi
Obituaries
Obituaries
Josef Warkany, known as the father of modern teratology—the study of birth defects—died June 22 at the age of 90 in Clifton, Ohio. Born in Vienna and a graduate of the University of Vienna, Warkany left his homeland in 1931. He settled in Cincinnati, and spent his entire career at the University of Cincinnati's Children's Hospital Research Foundation. Warkany was one of the first pediatricians to focus on the first nine months after conception. He identified the crippling disease of