News

Caltech Constructs A Center For 'Hare-Brained' Research
Caltech Constructs A Center For 'Hare-Brained' Research
PASADENA, CALIF.—Harry Gray can walk the 30 feet or so from his third-floor office at the California Institute of Technology and look out the window at a gigantic hole in the ground. Next to it is a huge mound of dirt covered with opaque plastic. The dirt, taken from the hole, will eventually be used for backfill, and the mound is affectionately called “Mount Beckman” after its benefactor, Arnold Beckman. Gray walks to the window frequently and happily; he is looking at the
Can An Engineer Run Bush's Team?
Can An Engineer Run Bush's Team?
WASHINGTON—Anyone who may be wondering why John Sununu wanted to become White House chief of staff need only dig out a speech the retiring New Hampshire governor and mechanical engineer gave five years ago. Addressing the 1983 winter meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Sununu said that good public policy depends on good technical information flowing into the government. But too often, he said, the quality of the information deteriorates as it moves up the chain of
One Colombian's Quest For A Malaria Vaccine
One Colombian's Quest For A Malaria Vaccine
In March of this year, Colombia heard some important news that had nothing to do with the country’s infamous drug trade. A Colombian scientist named Manuel E. Patarroyo published a study in Nature showing that an experimental vaccine he had developed was tantalizingly effective against malaria, a disease that threatens two-thirds of the world’s population. Until then, the parasite that causes malaria had stubbornly resisted the efforts of hundreds of researchers in the U.S. and Eur
Cray Opens New Markets For Supercomputers
Cray Opens New Markets For Supercomputers
Out of the Minneapolis suburbs they swarm in business suits, popping up at technical conferences and slowly picking the brains of the best scientists in a given field. Reconnaissance complete, they return home to sharpen their plans. A target is singled out for the kill—and if all goes well, Cray Research Inc. has sold another multimillion dollar supercomputer. This is the company’s newest sales hit team, comprising 60 of the company’s best salespeople, engineers, and scientis
Sununu Offers His Views On Science And Science Policy
Sununu Offers His Views On Science And Science Policy
[Ed. note: In the October 31 issue of The Scientist New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu was interviewed as a spokesman for the Bush campaign on science. Now, of course, Sununu has been named White House chief of staff, putting him into position to influence debate on many of the issues he discussed with The Scientist’s, Jeffrey Merivs. As a result, we have decided to print additional parts of the interview.] Q Do you think that some sort of national program is needed to bring about change
Biotherapeutics: Expensive Scam, Or Equal Opportunity?
Biotherapeutics: Expensive Scam, Or Equal Opportunity?
FRANKLIN, TENN.—Three years ago, when an oncologist named Robert Oldham created a company called Biotherapeutics, some called it genius; some called it downright unethical; still others called it capitalism in its most predatory form. But everyone acknowledged that the concept bad the potential to change the face of cancer therapy. Oldham, former head of the National Cancer Institute’s biological therapy program, proposed to offer experimental treatments to any cancer patient w
CRAY INVADES UNIVERSITIES TO TRAIN FUTURE SCIENTISTS
CRAY INVADES UNIVERSITIES TO TRAIN FUTURE SCIENTISTS
Vast untapped business markets mean little to Cray Research Inc. unless people in these markets un derstand what supercomputers can do. So along with its surge into industry, Cray has been developing university accounts, which it sees as a fertile training ground for future corporate scientists. Larry Swan, director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, explains just how important this strategy is to the development of future markets for Cray. "T
Four Scientists Win Bristol-Myers Achievement Prizes
Four Scientists Win Bristol-Myers Achievement Prizes
The pain research prize was given to Patrick D. Wall, a physician and professor of anatomy at University College, London, while the neuroscience award is shared by Tomas Hokfelt of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; Walle J.H. Nauta of MIT; and T.P.S. Powell of the University of Oxford. The pain award was presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Toronto last month, and the neuroscience award was presented at a New York City ceremony in October. Commenting on his capturing

Briefs

National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
More than six years after it was completed, Oak Ridge National Labs Holifield tandem accelerator has finally reached its design voltage of 25 million volts. The long-awaited event, which took place last month, marked the end of a troublesome startup for the experimental facility, which was designed to conduct experiments involving heavy ions. A sparking “acceleration tube,” which maintains a vacuum around the ion beam, proved the biggest problem for the $8 million machine. The tube
Government Briefs
Government Briefs
The National Academy of Sciences, including the Academy of. Engineering and the Institute of Medicine, has had a banner year in Congress. The 100th Congress, whose two-year life ended in October, asked the academies to conduct 20 separate studies, a record number that is double the average for the previous five Congresses. The planned studies, which will examine everything from AIDS to export controls, suggest both a growing faith by Congress in the ability of academy panels to deal comprehensi
Private Institute Briefs
Private Institute Briefs
After two years of trying, scientists at the Yerkes Regional Primate Center have managed to get a chimpanzee pregnant. And their success, accomplished with sperm that had been frozen, has made it possible for the center to create the world’s first chimpanzee sperm bank. Announced in October, the new bank will enable scientists to systematically preserve the gene pool of the U.S. chimp population—a population that has not received an infusion of new blood since the importation of chi
University Briefs
University Briefs
Court Keeps Lab Open University of California, San Francisco, officials got both good and bad news from the California Supreme Court on December 1. The court ordered the university to prepare a new environmental report for a controversial biomedical laboratory (The Scientist, November 28,1988, page 4), which will further delay its full development. But at the same time, the court rejected charges that the lab would endanger the public, and it allowed a small group of scientists to keep working
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Molecular biologists: mark your calendars for 1991. That’s the year BASE Corp. hopes to open a new, $45 million biotechnology lab and pilot plant in the Boston area. Plans for the lab were announced by the North American subsidiary of West Germany’s BASE Group last month. The R&D lab, which will be the chemical giant’s first effort in biotechnology in the U.S., will ultimately employ about 230 people, including 60 scientists. A majority of the staff will be new hires from the
Entrepreneur Briefs
Entrepreneur Briefs
In the new wave of neural network startups (see The Scientist, October 17, page 1), NeuralWare Inc. has distinguished itself from the pack. In October, the magazine Synapse Connection called the company “the sales leader in neural computing products.” And, with between $1 million and $3 million in 1988 sales of its software, the Sewickley, Pa-based firm expects to see a profit—just 21 months after mathematician Casey Klimasauskas and his wife Jane founded it with $90,000 of th
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
After a five-month hiatus, the biology journal Cell will begin filling new subscriptions next month. The influential publication found itself in the awkward position last summer of turning away potential readers. In its July 29 issue, the magazine ran a full-page ad declaring: “Cell is sold out for 1988!!’ Because a subscription to Cell begins in January and ends in December, mid-year subscribers typically receive months of back issues when they join up. But this year, according to
Science Grants
Science Grants
BIOMEDICINE: Nutrition research. $500,000 total over five years from Bristol-Myers Co. to Tufts University Schools of Medicine and Nutrition, Boston; I.H. Hospital, Mahidol University, Rosenburg, and Ramathibodi Bangkok, Thailand; V. I. Tanphaichitr Developing Investigator Award: investigation of basic mechanisms of the inimunopharmacology of allergic diseases. $300,000 over five years from the Burroughs Weilcome Fund [through the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology] to W.E. Serafin, Br
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
New Aid For AIDS In an effort to capture more data on the treatment of AIDS patients, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will make $6 million available to community-based physicians via a new project, called the Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS. The aim is to broaden the statistical basis for research on the disease by providing researchers, statisticians, and computer services to primary-care physicians who are now treating AIDS patients and othe

Opinion

Scientists, Face It! Science Is Compatible With Religion
Scientists, Face It! Science Is Compatible With Religion
EDITORS NOTE: In the issue of September 5. 1988, The Scientist published an editorial by Cornell biologist and historian William Provine, which argued that science and religion are incompatiable. We knew that the essay would be controversial, but we still were'nt quite prepared for the response. We received dozens of letters and phone calls, most of them attacking Provine's insistence that scientists must "check their brains at the church house door." We printed a selection of the letters in t
The Inherent Uncertainty Of Nature Is A Basis For Religion
The Inherent Uncertainty Of Nature Is A Basis For Religion
In his eloquent article, “Scientists, Face It! Science and Religion Are Incompatible,” William Provine raised points that have troubled many thoughtful scientists who find themselves unable to reconcile their views about science and religion in an intellectually honest way. He could have raised other compelling arguments against the meaningfulness of our lives, such as the prevalence of horrible human ills and suffering, shared even by innocent infants. In spite of these observati
When Science Meets Architecture, Strange Things Happen
When Science Meets Architecture, Strange Things Happen
Back in 1970, our College of Medicine at the University of Iowa was growing rapidly and space was desperately needed. But the dean (and the president) didn’t want just any ordinary science building, so they engaged a nationally known architectural firm in Chicago to design it. The Chicago architects were enthusiastic. Why wouldn’t they be? They’d designed some impressive structures, but they had never designed a science building before. Fortunately, we, the faculty, did not

Letter

ET Go Home!
ET Go Home!
As director of a departmental graduate program, I have found it increasingly difficult to recruit the best American college students for careers in scientific research. I believe that over the past five years, this has become the norm rather than the exception throughout American research universities. Many experts have predicted severe problems for America’s technological future if the trend is not reversed. The tremendous influx and reliance upon the brightest foreign students for grad
Critiquing ""Critique""
Critiquing ""Critique""
In the October 3 issue of The Scientist, you wrote: “Outside reviewers critique a proposal and send...” (page 18). According to my dictionaries there is no verb “to critique.” Hopefully at a future point in time you will eschew such usage! ARTHUR FORER York University Downsview, Ontario Canada M3J 1P3 Dr. Forer might want to peruse Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, which has the following entry: “critique vt critiqued; critiquing: criticize, revi
The Effect Of Prizes
The Effect Of Prizes
The anonymous author who argued against the current regime of science prizes (The Scientist, October 17, page 9) makes an interesting case against it, but it is seriously incomplete and thus unscientific. There is no discussion of possible benefits from such a prize system, and nothing in it to show that the costs discussed are so horrendous that no conceivable benefits could outweigh them. The very observation that “science isn’t going to eliminate major prizes” itself sugge

Commentary

Religion, Rebel Scientists, And Peer Review: Three Hot Topics
Religion, Rebel Scientists, And Peer Review: Three Hot Topics
Of some 69 letters from readers that have been published in The Scientist since our format and editorial changes of last May, over 40% deal with just three subjects: the difficulty of reconciling religion and science (prompted by William Provine’s provocative opinion piece published in our September 5 edition, page 10); the issue of whether to accept rebel or “heretic” scientists who espouse minority views; and the inadequacies of peer review. While this tabulation is admitt

Research

Soviets Sprinting To Apply Superconductivty Concepts
Soviets Sprinting To Apply Superconductivty Concepts
Throughout its entire history, physics seems to have never before experienced a boom similar to that brought on by the higher temperature discovery of Bednon and Müller in 1986. Thousands of researchers throughout the world are now striving to outreach one another, conducting hundreds of experiments, solving innumerable equations, and publishing thousands of papers. Alongside academies and universities, government agencies are also discussing superconductivity problems. What has happened o
1987's Top Research Focus: Superconductors
1987's Top Research Focus: Superconductors
Last time we looked at a list of a single year’s most-cited papers (The Scientist, June 27, 1988, page 19), the top 10 represented genetics, biochemistry, immunology, superconductivity, theoretical physics, and clinical medicine—and they were published in a variety of journals. That was for the year 1986. For the year 1987, however, one field and one journal dominated the top 10: Superconductivity and Physical Review Letters. The accompanying table lists the papers published in 19
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
CHEMISTRY BY MARYE ANNE FOX Department of Chemistry University of Texas, Austin Austin, Tex. " Effective planning of strategy represents the most important intellectual attainment of synthetic organic chemistry. One of the masters has provided an overview in a recently published Robert Robinson lecture. E.J. Corey, “Retrosynthetic thinking, Essentials and exam- pels," Chemical Society Reviews, 17 (2), 111-34, June 1988. " The ability to cleave DNA at will at a specific position is a m
Transplants Lead List Of Surgery's Hottest Topics
Transplants Lead List Of Surgery's Hottest Topics
ics The observation that “there’s more to surgery than just a skilled pair of hands” is more accurate now than ever before, given the steady stream of research advances in medical science. Indeed, today’s surgery increasingly requires practitioners to keep abreast of countless scientific developments ranging from new drug therapies used in conjunction with a procedure to new applications of high-tech instruments. Some of these innovative therapies and techniques turned
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCES BY BRUCE G. BUCHANAN Department of Computer Science University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pa. " Expert systems require substantial knowledge bases, yet the process of acquiring the requisite knowledge can be cumbersome. Automating the learning of new knowledge has been the topic of considerable research. A new study brings together in one framework the various approaches to knowledge acquisition and uses it to evaluate their applicability to building expert systems. V.L
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
LIFE SCIENCES BY WILLIAM P. LOOMIS Department of Biology University of California, San Diego La Jolla, Calif. " Bidirectional replication of circular chromosomes in Eseherichia coil stops at orientation-dependent sequences. A protein, tus, recognizes these 21-23 base pair terminators. T. Hill, A. Pelletier, M. Tecklenburg, P. Kuempel, “Identification of the DNA sequence from theE. coil terminus region that halts replication forks,” Cell, 55 (3), 459-66,4 November 1988. M. Hidaka
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
PLANT AND ANIMAL SCIENCES BY PETER D. MOORE Department of Biology King’s College London, U.K. " The measurement of large-scale gas exchange between the biosphere and the atmosphere is extremely necessary, but it is difficult in practice. The use of aircraft sampling with laser-based detection equipment has produced good data for carbon dioxide and ozone in stable conditions, and prospects are promising for carbon monoxide, methane, sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, and others. P.A. M

Hot Paper

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
LIFE SCIENCES C.A. Dinarello, “Biology of interleukin-1,” FASEB Journal, 2 (2), 108-15, February 1988. M.F. Good, D. Pombo, IA. Quakyi, E.M. Riley, et al., “Human T-cell recognition of the circumsporozoite protein of Plasmodium-fakiparum: Immunodominant T-cell domains map to the polymorphic regions of the molecule,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A., 65 (4), 1199- 1203, February 1988. J.W. Kappler, U. Staerz, J. White, PC. Marrack, “

Profession

Jobless Chemists' Brainchlid: A 'Rent-A-Scientist' Agency
Jobless Chemists' Brainchlid: A 'Rent-A-Scientist' Agency
Five years ago, Bruce Culver had what seemed like a good job. Trained as a chemist, he had worked his way up the corporate ladder to become vice president for Applied Research Laboratories in Valencia, Calif. He was tired of the revolving door at the top that had brought in four different company presidents in five years, but he felt pretty secure and had no plans to leave. Then in June 1983, everything changed. The company’s president became the leader of a leveraged buyout. Culver wa
Salaries On Rise For New Math Ph.D's
Salaries On Rise For New Math Ph.D's
Today’s starting salaries, however, have not yet returned to the far more robust levels of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The high point of salaries for new doctorates caine in 1970 for academia and industry ($30,800 and $47,600 as expressed in 1987 dollars) and in 1965 for government ($43,000). In discussing that era, mathematician Edward Connors, who tracks salaries for the AMS, cites a generally booming economy and an expansionist mood that swept universities, leading to new Ph.D. pr
Launching A Science Journal, And Living To Tell About It
Launching A Science Journal, And Living To Tell About It
The urge to start a science journal strikes often—often enough, if stretched out over the course of a year, for one to be launched every working day and most Saturdays as well. In 1987, according to the Institute for Scientific Information’s Current Contents selection staff, at least 302 new science publications first saw the light of day. The staff says “at least” on the presumption that there were some that they didn’t see. Many of these new ventures, of course,
States Boost Backing Of Technology Firms
States Boost Backing Of Technology Firms
State governments are still willing to pour millions into encouraging high-tech industry, but they’re spending that money somewhat differently from the way they did two years ago. That was the conclusion of the 1988 survey of state technology programs put out by the Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development. For evidence that states are increasingly serious about boosting technology, the survey stall’s acting director Gil Young points to the rising number of states cre
PC Multitasking: A Marvelous Concept, With Drawbacks
PC Multitasking: A Marvelous Concept, With Drawbacks
Imagine two scientists working on identical research projects—two astronomers, let’s say, who are both studying paired stars. Each has made a number of observations, and each is ready to do some number crunching. Astronomer Number One loads a statistical analysis program on his PC, and sets the calculations into motion. While this automatic process is going on, he’d like to type some notes, but he can’t—at least not on the same PC—because that machine will

Technology

New Instrument Boosts Capability Of Scanning Electron Microscopy
New Instrument Boosts Capability Of Scanning Electron Microscopy
With the scanning electron microscope (SEM), scientists in a range of fields—from biology to materials science to microelectronics—can analyze the surface of objects with a resolution approaching molecular dimensions. Although conceptually developed in the 1940s, the SEM was not put into practical use until the 1960s. Improvements in SEM technology continue with the introduction this year of a device that can image unprepared specimens without contaminating the microscope or charg

New Products

Unit Allows Molecule Measurement Via Capillary Electrophoresis
Unit Allows Molecule Measurement Via Capillary Electrophoresis
Applied Biosystems of Foster City, Calif. has introduced the first commercially available instrument that allows scientists—biochemists, for instance—studying biomolecules to take advantage of the innovative technique of capillary electrophoresis (CE). Basically, the Model 270A CE system is an analytical tool that can separate and identify molecules by differences in charge density. CE promises to complement and, in some cases, improve upon the three standard separation techniques: