February 1988

New Products

New Orleans Welcomes Pittcon
New Orleans Welcomes Pittcon
New Orleans Welcomes Pittcon Some 30,000 spectroscopists, analytical chemists and other interested scientists are gathering in New Orleans this week to attend Pittcon, the 39th annual Pittsburgh Conference & Exposition on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy. The five-day meeting, one of the longest on the U.S. convention calendar, will feature seminars and symposia on themes ranging from drug testing and cholesterol counts to scanning tunneling microscopes and artificial intelligenc
New Products At Pittcon
New Products At Pittcon
Editor’s note: The following products will be featured at the 39th Annual Pittsburgh Conference & Exposition on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy February 22-26 at the New Orleans Convention Center. The conference is sponsored by The Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh and The Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh. This 1988 Buyers Guide of specialty gases provides information on 59 pure gases and hydrocarbon liquids in up to seven purity grades, as well as more than

News

Budget Agreement Could Doom Proposed Boost in Research
Budget Agreement Could Doom Proposed Boost in Research
NEWS ANALYSIS WASHINGTON—Budget analysts refer to it as Account 302b. But scientists may want to use more colorful names once they realize it will almost certainly block the sizable R&D increases being proposed for 1989 by President Reagan. The budget process works well when spending is rising gradually each year,” observed John Hoimfeld, a staff member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee who later this year will complete a multi-volume report on science policy fo
Biotech Plant Draws Fire In Germany
Biotech Plant Draws Fire In Germany
FRANKFURT—Environmental groups have managed to delay the construction here of a test plant to process genetically engineered human insulin. The argument over the facility, proposed by the giant chemical and pharmaceutical company Hoechst, has focused attention on the absence of binding legal regulations for biotechnology production facilities. Hoechst Chairman Wolfgang Hilger has called the latest setback “terrifying” and “ridiculous.” Last October Hoechst receiv
Math Society Copes with Change at 100
Math Society Copes with Change at 100
BOSTON—For the 20,000 members of the American Mathematical Society, this year’s centennial is an occasion for both celebration and concern. American mathematics in many ways is at its zenith in terms of prestige and scope. Yet federal support for the “pure” mathematics represented by the AMS has failed to keep up with inflation, and there is little hope for a turnabout until the federal deficit is brought under control. There is turmoil as well inside the AMS. After a
Contest Winner Sends An SOS to Congress
Contest Winner Sends An SOS to Congress
Ed Connors wants to send an SOS message to Congress: “Sorry, Out of Scientists.” That message makes Connors, a professor of mathematics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the winner of THE SCIENTIST’s slogan contest (see November 2, 1987, p. 2). Readers were invited to submit “the best phrase to describe the pending shortage of scientific manpower in the United States” in five words or less. Connors tried but failed to get a local slogan competition
Academics Give Science Equipment Failing Grade
Academics Give Science Equipment Failing Grade
WASHINGTON—A newly released study by the National Science Foundation reveals what many academic researchers know only too well: The quality and amount of instrumentation available in the physical and computer sciences and engineering are not keeping pace with their needs. A survey of of the largest U.S. research universities, conducted in 1985, revealed that 51 percent of the engineering chairs felt that present equipment within their departments prevents faculty from pursuing major rese
French Lament Decline of Mathematics
French Lament Decline of Mathematics
PALAISEAU, FRANCE—France takes great pride in its mathematical tradition. But its position has slipped since the days of Blaise Pascal, Pierre Fermat, Evariste Galois and the fictitious Bourbaki. Frenchman have collected five of 30 Fields medals awarded by the International Mathematicians' Congress since 1950, but only one has come in the past 20 years. And the number of mathematicians has declined precipitously since the 1970s, triggering a shortage that threatens the country’s p
Biotech Companies Delay Going Public
Biotech Companies Delay Going Public
NEW YORK—Biotechnology companies that had been on the verge of going public are adjusting to the post-Black Monday shortage of public capital without the major layoffs and cutbacks that some analysts had predicted. Because such companies tend to be small, with heavy research investments and few proven products, some analysts saw them as particularly vulnerable to takeovers and restructurings in their search for cash. But for at least two firms that scuttled their plans for initial publi
A Handbook For Activist Scientists
A Handbook For Activist Scientists
Here is a book that belongs on the desk of every biomedical researcher in the United States: Building a Healthy America Conquering Disease and Disability Facts, Figures and Funding, edited by Terry L. Lierman. Lierman is president of Capitol Associates, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm specializing in health-related issues and funding. The volume, published last November, is the successor to a series of handbooks initiated by Mary Lasker, all entitled Killers and Cripple
Rx for M.D.-Researchers: Back to the Lab
Rx for M.D.-Researchers: Back to the Lab
Changing times have depleted the ranks of physicians who enter into careers as researchers. The shortage of physician-scientists has prompted the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and similar organizations to offer fellowships and other incentives to entice graduated M.D.s into research careers. But these inducements may come too late in the education of a physician. Scientists often choose their careers because they were exposed at some point to a laboratory.
Analytical Chemists in Demand
Analytical Chemists in Demand
Analytical chemists trekking to New Orleans for this month’s Pittsburgh conference might be forgiven a certain amount of hubris. Their services are in demand, by industry and academia, as never before. “I think it’s the tightest area in chemistry, with the possible exception of polymer chemistry,” declares Ted Logan, Manager of Ph.D. recruiting at Procter & Gamble Co. Actually, the U.S. supply of Ph.D.s in analytical chemistry is rising. The compound growth rate of 6.7

Letter

Letters
Letters
PETA Not Extremists UNESCO’S Vision A Friendlier TeX Elisabeth Carpenter’s informative article about animal liberation actions (December 14, 1987, P. 1) paints People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (rather typically I’m sorry to say) as an extremist group. Sadly, the major focus of our work seldom makes the papers or the six o’clock news. A mediawide tendency to link PETA with the Animal Liberation Front and similar groups is the result of PETA’s re

Opinion

How I Learned the Fine Art of Collaboration
How I Learned the Fine Art of Collaboration
Collaboration “to work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.” So says Mr. Webster. In practice, however, we all know that collaboration involves the art of getting credit for someone s work, an intellectual effort that can leap continents and disciplines in a single bound. I didn’t realize that during my first attempt at collaboration. Several years ago I spent some time using the Dodge procedure to produce ghosts from pig red blood cells. This entails lysing

Profession

War Stoked My Research Interests
War Stoked My Research Interests
World War II had a major impact on the scientific careers of many of my generation. Among the more striking effects were those that converted biologists into radar engineers and in some measure contributed to the post-war flourishing of biophysics. For me the influence was less dramatic, but nevertheless drew me into areas that have remained among my major scientific interests. A few days after war broke out I arrived in Oxford with a Ramsay Fellowship to work with R.P (Ronnie) Bell on acid-
Where Science and Theology Meet
Where Science and Theology Meet
In 1979, John Polkinghorne, a professor of mathematical physics and a fellow of the Royal Society, resigned his chair at Cambridge to train for the Anglican priesthood. In this excerpt from his book One World: The Interaction of Science and Theology (Princeton University Press, 1987), Polkinghorne—today the vicar of Blean, Kent (U.K.) —argues that the scientist and the theologian both examine the same world from different perspectives and that each can offer much to the other. My i

Technology

The Paperless Analytical Lab
The Paperless Analytical Lab
Today’s laboratories are besieged by demands for improved efficiency, increased productivity, improved data quality, immediate access to data and tighter cost control In addition, increasingly sophisticated laboratory instrumentation requires the day-to-day management of floods of analytical information. The traditional paper-intensive management systems found in today’s laboratories cannot address these demands or efficiently manage the volume of data produced. For today's analyti

Books etc.

Taking Philosophy a Bit Too Far
Taking Philosophy a Bit Too Far
THE PROBABILISTIC REVOLUTION Vol. 1: Ideas in History. Lorenz Kruger, Lorraine J. Daston and Michael Heidelberger, eds. The MIT Press. Cambridge, MA, 1987. 472 pp. $32.50. Vol. 2: Ideas in the Sciences. Lorenz Kruger, Gerd Gigerenzer and Mary S. Morgan, eds. 480 pp. $32.50. ($60 lbr set.) Eight historians, six philosophers, five historians of science, four social scientists, three psychologists, three biologists, one mathmetician and one mathematical statistician gathered in the academic year
Things They Didn't Teach You, But Should Have
Things They Didn't Teach You, But Should Have
HOW TO DO IT Vol 1. British Medical Association, London, 1985. 266 pp. £6.95. Vol 2. British Medical Association, London, 1987. 208 pp. £6.95. Distributed in the U.S. by Taylor & Francis, Philadelphia. $14.95 each. How to search the literature, use a word processor, write for money and run a pressure group to change the law—these are just four of the punchy, practical articles in a series that is now appearing regularly in the British Medical Journal. Published in its entiret
Essays of a Third World Scientist
Essays of a Third World Scientist
ESSAYS OF A THIRD WORLD SCIENTIST OBRAS ESCOGIDAS Selected works by Oscar Varsavsky. Pedro Sánz, Alfredo Eric Calcagno, eds. Centro Editor de América Latina, Buenos Aires, 1983. 416 pp. I met Oscar Varsavsky in a cavernous classroom of the University of Buenos Aires engineering school in the mid-1950s. He was my recitation instructor for a mathematics class, and at the time I was not aware that he had a doctorate or that he was more qualified than the professor. Today I am well awa

So They Say

So They Say
So They Say
"Building More Barriers" "Sen. Rockefeller on Japan" "Space Flight's New Law," "NSF Director on Physics Funding," by Erich Bloch "A Time To Publish, A Time To Recant," by Alex Weisskopf "Political Promises," by Bob Davis "Getting the Best Science," by Anthony S. Fauci "Science's Stamp Collectors," by Luis Alvarez No doubt about it; science can be tough to put across, and the areas furthest from everyday experience are the toughest, so one might suppose scientists would be anxio

Happenings

Happenings
Happenings
PEOPLE DEATHS MEETINGS CORRECTION Avedis Donabedian, Professor of Public Health at the University of Michigan, will retire in May. Donabedian joined the university in 1961 as an associate professor of public health economics. He was born in Beirut and studied at the American University of Beirut and the Harvard School of Public Health. Klaus Fuchs, 76, the German-born nuclear physicist who was jailed in the 1950s for giving U.S. and British atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union, d