December 1990

News

Entrepreneur Opens Clinical Cancer Facility
Entrepreneur Opens Clinical Cancer Facility
Bioscientist Royston turns his attention to creating a center in San Diego's crowded research community Ivor Royston, who at the age of 33 founded Hybritech Inc., the first company in the United States to exploit monoclonal antibodies commercially, and who became a millionaire in the process, is taking his vision for enterprise to a new nonprofit venture. Among the palm trees, a handful of research institutes, and the 90 biotechnology companies that make San Diego an idyllic place for scient
NIH Inches Forward To Boost Ranks Of Black Scientists
NIH Inches Forward To Boost Ranks Of Black Scientists
Minorities at the agency work largely on their own to help their peers land high-level science jobs BETHESDA, Md.--Ron King wants to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease. But King, an intramural research fellow in the laboratory of molecular biology at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, thinks that it's even more important to encourage other blacks to enter science fields. That's why he takes precious time out from his work in the lab
Science Budget: A Zero-Sum Game
Science Budget: A Zero-Sum Game
Bioscientist Royston turns his attention to creating a center in San Diego's crowded research community WASHINGTON--The debate is over, says presidential science adviser Allan Bromley. The federal science budget is a question of priorities. And for members of the United States scientific community, this means that from now on they must persuade the politically powerful that their cause is more worthy of precious federal dollars than the other domestic needs facing the country. Throughout the
Profiles of Black Scientists
Profiles of Black Scientists
The Scientist 4[24]:0, Dec. 10, 1990 News Profiles of Black Scientists JOHN DIGGS Background: Raised in rural Tennessee. B.S. in biology, Lane College, Jackson, Tenn., 1956; Ph.D. in physiology, Howard University, 1972. Came to NIH extramural program in 1974, spent eight years as director of extramural activities, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Current position: NIH deputy director for extramural research. "When I first came to NIH, there were a
NSF Program Taps Young Scientists To Forge Link With Japan
NSF Program Taps Young Scientists To Forge Link With Japan
U.S. students found their summer in Japanese labs professionally as well as culturally productive, but not many plan to return WASHINGTON--A National Science Foundation program to forge closer ties with Japanese scientists is gaining popularity among the next generation of United States scientists, say NSF officials. The Summer Institute in Japan, which sent 25 U.S. graduate students in science and engineering to Japanese research facilities last summer, will support 50 such students this com
Biology/Biotechnology
Biology/Biotechnology
SIMON SILVER Department of Microbiology & Immunology University of Illinois Chicago The hype is out of proportion, but the 12 October issue of Science spotlights the Human Genome Project with an attractive cover montage, a removable centerfold of current human chromosome maps (intended for wall display), and a status report. Real progress is being made, however, as exemplified by the promising new approaches presented in the same issue. J.C. Stephens, M.L. Cavanaugh, M.I. Gradie, M.L. Mador,

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Pounding Out A Victory Walgren Dumped, Brown Survives Both Sides Now Carrying On A Tradition Full-Speed Ahead At OSTP The residents of California's San Diego County have voted by a 2-to-1 margin to continue to allow unclaimed pound animals to be used in medical research. More than 600,000 voters cast ballots November 6 in the largest-ever electoral rebuff of the animal rights movement's efforts to curb the use of pound animals in research. Supporters spent $130,000 to campaign for the r

Opinion

The Theory Of Everything--What's Knowable And What's Not
The Theory Of Everything--What's Knowable And What's Not
Editor's Note: By Julia King How convenient it would be for scientists if there existed a Theory of Everything, some ultimate explanation for all that goes on and doesn't go on in the universe around us. What would constitute such a theory? According to British astronomer and writer John D. Barrow, any comprehensive understanding of the world, and thus a Theory of Everything, would need to incorporate eight essential ingredients, which he explores, chapter by chapter, in a new book. These are:

Letter

Science In The Courts
Science In The Courts
Your opinion page features headlined "Disorder In The Court When Science Takes The Witness Stand" [The Scientist, Oct. 29, 1990, page 15] were timely and to the point. The writer, Edward J. Imwinkelried, argues persuasively [ in "Court Rules Work To Exclude Valid Scientific Testimony"] for allowing scientists to help set procedural ground rules for admissibility of scientific evidence rather than waiting for such science to pass the popularity poll implied in the so-called Frye, or general acce
NSF Policy
NSF Policy
I wish to amplify on issues and information contained in the article "Toughest Federal Science Jobs Elude Women" [The Scientist, Oct. 15, 1990, page 8] that your readers have raised to us. The article correctly points out that one barrier to women is their lack of participation in discussions of science policy, high-level science planning, and so forth. A major reason for this is the low visibility of women at the national level. To remedy this situation, women must become visible as the signif

Commentary

We Need To See And Teach Science's Historical Context
We Need To See And Teach Science's Historical Context
How can today's students enthusiastically claim science as their career choice when they keep seeing science and scientists negatively portrayed in the mass media? And how can we deny that science deserves some of its bad reputation? After all, it is science that has brought the world materials that now cause environmental pollution and made possible the engines of modern war. But if we are to rescue our world from a new Dark Ages of ignorance and chaos, then our profession must convince brigh

Research

Cell Cycle Studies In Full Spin During The Last Few Years
Cell Cycle Studies In Full Spin During The Last Few Years
While scientists have known for centuries that cells divide, only during the last couple of decades have researchers really begun to make progress in investigating the how's and why's of the division. Understanding the driving mechanisms involved--the chemical triggers-- will help scientists determine why this process sometimes goes wrong (as in the case of cancer cell growth) and, someday, may also spur the development of methods to prevent and reverse such malfunctions. Jonathon Pines, a visi
Hot Papers
Hot Papers
The following is a list of the 13 papers on cell cycle biology featured in The Scientist's "Hot Papers" column during the past year. Brief summaries of the papers are included. * G. Draetta, D. Beach, "Activation of cdc2 protein kinase during mitosis in human cells: cell cycle-dependent phosphorylation and subunit rearrangement," Cell, 54, 17-26, 1 July 1988. (128 citations*; Jan. 8, 1990**) In this paper, Beach and Draetta demonstrated the first evidence of the involvement in mitosis of the
New Applications Keep Friends' Past Research In Spotlight
New Applications Keep Friends' Past Research In Spotlight
When physicist Alan Heeger and chemist Alan MacDiarmid were launching their careers two decades ago at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, "conducting polymer" was an oxymoron. Metals conducted electricity, plastics were lightweight and pliable, and never the twain should meet. No longer. Today, the polymer polyace-tylene's conductivity equals that of copper. The potential commercial applications of conducting polymers, such as aircraft and missile coatings, antistatic fibers, and
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
FRANK A. WILCZEK School of Natural Sciences Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, N.J. Recently there have been dramatic developments in the theory of knots. Methods of statistical mechanics and quantum field theory have been discovered to yield new, practical ways of distinguishing knots. The new invariants have been used to resolve a number of long-standing mathematical problems. They also have been used in amazing analyses of knotted DNA and 2+1 dimensional gravity, among other cases. V.
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
PETER J. SMITH Department of Earth Sciences Open University Milton Keynes, U.K. Silt layers in lake sediments up to 2,300 years old have been interpreted as the result of earthquakes that caused landslides on tributary streams and the resuspension of sediment. If this view is valid, the recurrence interval of large earthquakes in eastern North America must have been very variable--120 years between 300 B.C. and 800 A.D., and 75 years from 1500 A.D. to the present. The prospect of estimating se
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
Progress toward attaining an accurate solution of the Schr”dinger equation has occurred in spurts, with fully convergent solutions of a number of systems having appeared recently. One approach that has made this achievement possible is described: the use of the generalized Newton variational principle in which the reactive amplitude density is expanded variationally in a basis set of integral functions. D.G. Truhlar, D.W. Schwenke, D.J. Kouri, "Quantum dynamics of chemical reactions by c
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
PETER D. MOORE Department of Biology King's College London, U.K. Intensive exploitation of fish stocks in the Amazon basin has exhausted the supply of large fish and has led to increasing pressure being placed on smaller fish, such as the jaraqui. But there is an urgent need for coordinated management if yields are to be sustainable. A closed spawning season and protection during the subsequent weeks when the fish feed in the flooded forests is vital together with further protection of these f

Hot Paper

Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
S. Hahn, S. Buratowski, P.A. Sharp, L. Guarente, "Isolation of the gene encoding the yeast TATA binding protein TFIID: a gene identical to the SPT15 suppressor of Ty element insertions," Cell, 58, 1173-81, 22 September 1989. Steven Hahn (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle): "TFIID is one of the essential components in the machinery necessary to initiate transcription by RNA polymerase II. For eight years after the discovery of TFIID in mammals, little was known about it because of
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
M. Horikoshi, C.K. Wang, H. Fujii, J.A. Cromlish, et al., "Cloning and structure of a yeast gene encoding a general transcription initiation factor TFIID that binds to the TATA box," Nature, 341, 299-303, 28 September 1989. Masami Horikoshi (Rockefeller University, New York): "This paper describes the cloning of the gene encoding the TATA box [a conserved sequence of bases]-binding factor TFIID [transcription factor IID], which we and others have shown to be a key factor in both basic promoter
Superconductivity
Superconductivity
E. Kaldis, P. Fischer, A.W. Hewat, E.A. Hewat, J. Karpinski, S. Rusiecki, "Low temperature anomalies and pressure: effects on the structure and Tc of the superconductor YBa2Cu4O8 (Tc = 80 K)," Physica C, 159, 668-80, 15 July 1989. Emanuel Kaldis (Laboratory of Solid State Physics ETH, Zurich, Switzerland): "With this experiment it became evident that the contraction of the apical bond (Cu2--O1) is correlated with the substantial increase of Tc under hydrostatic pressure, which we had found ear
Spectrometry
Spectrometry
J.L. Holmes, "The neutralization of organic cations," Mass Spectrometry Reviews, 8, 513-39, November 1989. John L. Holmes (University of Ottawa, Canada): "When writing this review, I was concerned that it not be just another catalog of results. It was intended to show the great promise that fast ion beam neutralization has for the generation of hitherto unknown small molecules and free radicals--but not without clearly emphasizing the pitfalls that can arise from the over-optimistic or incauti
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
M.C. Schmidt, C.C. Kao, R. Pei, A.J. Berk, "Yeast TATA-box transcription factor gene," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 86, 7785-9, October 1989. Arnold Berk (University of California, Los Angeles): "TFIID binding to a TATA box initiates the ordered assembly of multiple transcription factors (TFs) required for initiation on eukaryotic promoters. However, TFIID resisted purification from higher organisms, preventing detailed studies of the process. We were interested in TFIID be
Microbiology
Microbiology
C.S. Goodwin, J.A. Armstrong, T. Chilvers, M. Peters, et al., "Transfer of Campylobacter pylori and Campylobacter mustelae to Helicobacter gen. nov. as Helicobacter pylori comb. nov. and Helicobacter mustelae comb. nov., respectively," International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, 39, 397-405, October 1989. C. Stewart Goodwin (Tawan Hospital, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain): "In 1982 my team at the Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia, achieved the first culture of spiral bacte
Biophysics
Biophysics
E.F. Pai, W. Kabsch, U. Krengel, K.C. Holmes, et al., "Structure of the guanine-nucleotide-binding domain of the Ha-ras oncogene product p21 in the triphosphate conformation," Nature, 341, 209-14, 21 September 1989. Emil F. Pai (Max-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung, Heidelberg, Germany): "The best way to have one's paper featured in the `Hot Papers' section is to work in a `hot' field of research. At this moment, there is barely any `hotter' field than oncogenes in cancer resear

Profession

Switching Fields: The Key To Success For Some Scientists
Switching Fields: The Key To Success For Some Scientists
When Gilbert H. Nussbaum treats his cancer patients, he's well aware that they're running out of hope: They've already undergone chemotherapy or surgery, but their tumors have recurred. Nussbaum administers hyperthermia to these desperately ill patients, searing their tumors with intense heat. Yet Nussbaum is not a physician. He's a radiation physicist at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in St. Louis. He got his professional start as an atomic physicist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxvi
Fellowships Aim To Improve Relationship Between Scientists And The General Press
Fellowships Aim To Improve Relationship Between Scientists And The General Press
For journalists who are convinced that scientists are by nature tight-lipped, humorless, and obscurely esoteric, the prospect of interviewing an eminent molecular biologist or condensed-matter physicist is about as appealing as a trip to the orthodontist. On the other hand, deadline-driven reporters and editors aren't exactly appreciated in the science community for their patience in hearing out all of the crucial details about a researcher's experiments. Sometimes, it seems to scientists that
Science Grants
Science Grants
SCIENCE GRANTS (The Scientist, Vol:4, #24, pg. 25, December 10, 1990) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- Below is a list of notable grants recently awarded in the sciences-- federal grants as well as awards from private foundations. The individual cited is the project's principal investigator. BIOLOGY/BIOTECHNOLOGY For study of the role of antigen P120 in cell proliferation. $62,119 from NIH to University of Kentucky, Lexington; J.W. Freeman. For biological sciences
Survey Reports High Turnover Rates At Biotech Companies
Survey Reports High Turnover Rates At Biotech Companies
Turnover among scientists at biotechnology companies remains high as this budding industry continues to spawn new ventures that allow personnel to shift jobs easily, according to a recent study conducted by the Emlyn Group, a human-resources consulting firm. Last year, the San Diego-based Emlyn Group surveyed 250 biotechnology companies in the United States and Canada and received responses from 23 firms. The results of the study were released earlier this year. Of the companies responding to
Obituary
Obituary
Cyrus Levinthal, 68, a Columbia University biologist who made fundamental contributions to molecular biology and molecular modeling, died of lung cancer on November 4 at his home in New York City. Levinthal earned his Ph.D. in physics in 1951 at the University of California, Berkeley, but later in the decade turned his attention to the rapidly emerging field of molecular biology. After teaching physics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for seven years, he went to the Massachusetts Inst

Technology

Special Report: Cell Biologists Combine Old And New Tools
Special Report: Cell Biologists Combine Old And New Tools
In 1663, English physicist Robert Hooke viewed cork under a microscope and observed that "these pores, or cells, were not very deep, but consisted of a great many little boxes." Although Hooke's discovery, which involved only the outer boundaries of cells, is considered the beginning of cell biology, it was nearly 200 years before two Germans, botanist Matthias Jakob Schleiden and physiologist Theodor Schwann, focused attention on the microcosm of life in the cell. Hooke, Schleiden, Schwann, a
Powerful Programs Simplify Molecular Modeling
Powerful Programs Simplify Molecular Modeling
The first molecular modeling software, developed at Columbia University in the mid-1960s by the late Cyrus Levinthal (see page 28), was capable of displaying and manipulating complex molecules in two dimensions. By the mid-1970s, at the University of California, San Francisco, molecular modeling had been taken to a new level by Robert Langridge, Michael Connelly, and Peter Coleman, with more sophisticated, three-dimensional graphics and new manipulative capabilities, including the ability to po