News

NIH Flirts With Applied Research
NIH Flirts With Applied Research
New industry links profut researchers and their work, but critics fear ethics conflicts and damage to NIH's basic science mission. WASHINGTON--In 1983, Ira Pastan was chief of the molecular biology lab within the division of cancer biology and diagnosis at the National Cancer Institute. Like most of NIH's 3,100 intramural scientists, he had spent his career conducting basic research - in his case, probing gene regulation and hormone activity - in the hope of understanding how organisms funct
Can Optical Computing Bounce Back?
Can Optical Computing Bounce Back?
Spend money on optical computers? That would be like spending it on fusion-powered desk lamps. Even if the technology problems could be solved--which they can't--the final product won't do the job any better than what we've already got. For two decades this has been the prevailing attitude of research strategists at industrial corporations toward optical computing. But all that may begin to change next week at an Optical Society of America meeting in Salt Lake City. For almost 20 years, comput
The Greening Of An Emerald Isle Pharmacologist Par Excellence
The Greening Of An Emerald Isle Pharmacologist Par Excellence
Austin Darragh says he's a 'scientific auditor.' Indeed he's made a mint testing many of the drugs in your medicine cabinet. DUBLIN--Austin Darragh is a frequent flier, but only between April and September. Better weather conditions then mean fewer flight delays - and hunting isn't in season. So, during spring and summer he's often on night flights visiting his clients along the U.S. eastern seaboard. "It gives me a kick to see all the twinkling little lights on the streets below," says Dar
Dispatches From The AAAS
Dispatches From The AAAS
SAN FRANCISCO--Something new was happening at this year's edition of the AAAS annual meeting. In recent years, the paucity of attendees had turned it into something of an embarrassment. This year, scientists turned out in droves - 5,100 paid attendees showed up in San Francisco between Jan. 14 and 19, up from the 4,570 who attended the 1988 meeting in Boston. And there appeared to be more action in the meeting rooms and corridors of the mazelike, megasized Bay City Hilton. Perhaps it was the
Just Send Cash
Just Send Cash
The next time your graduate students complain of overwork, lack of direction, and inadequate funds, show them the study presented by UCLA's Patricia J. Gumport as part of a session on U.S. research universities. The professor of graduate education interviewed dozens of graduate students in physics and history at a "mid-level" university--and discovered that science is Fat City compared to the humanities. Several million dollars in grant money flow in to support physics students, while those in
Asteroid Is Named In Honor of Texas Astronomer
Asteroid Is Named In Honor of Texas Astronomer
Asteroid Is Named In Honor Of Texas Astronomer Michael A. Cusanovich Michael Riordan Merit Awards Edward C. Stone, Jr Philip D. Magnus Edward C. Stone, Jr After 40 years of devoting his life to astronomy, Harlan Smith has been given something in return: an asteroid. The announcement of the designation of "Minor Planet (3842) Harlansmith" was made during a banquet honoring Smith for his 25 years as director of the University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory. Smith, a member of
New Products
New Products
Analytical chemists are often faced with the task of separating complex chemical mixtures into pure chemical species that can then be precisely identified. To accomplish this task, scientists often use liquid chromatography (LC) or gas chromatography (GC) techniques followed by use of a variety of sophisticated spectroscopic detectors to analyze the purified compounds. At next month's Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, more than 800 companies will unveil a v

Briefs

Government Briefs
Government Briefs
A lack of commitment from industry is proving to be the Achilles heel of proposed national efforts to explore high-temperature superconductivity. Even as a White House Science Council report by the so-called Gormory committee was urging the creation of a half-dozen industrial, academic, and governmental consortia to spur long-term research that could lead to commercial applications of the poorly understood phenomenon, two existing consortia were already having trouble attracting company funds.
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Forget filling out grant applications or begging your department head for discretionary funds - your next research award may come courtesy of the daily papers. Last month, two of Canada's leading newspapers, The Globe and Mail and La Presse, ran full-page ads that shouted in end-of-the-world-size type: "ATTENTION SCIENTISTS. $1 MILLION GRANT AVAILABLE FOR DISCOVERY OF NON-INVASIVE MEANS TO DETECT GASTROINTESTINAL DAMAGE CAUSED BY ARTHRITIS MEDICATIONS." Placed by Searle Canada Inc., the ad was
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
Richard Nicholson, assistant director for mathematical and physical sciences at the National Science Foundation, has been named executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Nicholson will replace Alvin Trivelpiece, who left the association after only 20 months to become director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Nicholson, a chemist by training, has held a number of positions since leaving Michigan State University in 1970 to join NSF. "We wanted someone who ha
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
A task force of communications experts met in January to craft funding priorities for the new NIH arm, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. One goal for the institute, according to the task force, should be to increase the number of physicians doing research in this field. Noting that less than half of the nation's otolaryngologists are trained to do biomedical research, the task force called for substantially increased training opportunities for scientists and

Opinion

Fraud: Why Auditing Laboratory Records Is A Bad Idea
Fraud: Why Auditing Laboratory Records Is A Bad Idea
Fraud in research has recently aroused the interest of Congress because it wastes tax dollars. But scientists share this concern for even stronger reasons: We build our whole enterprise on a foundation of communal trust. Since the record of some of our academic instituiton has been a sorry one, we should be pleased that public criticism is leading to improved procedures. If the matter had stopped there, the outcome would have been very salutary. Unfortunately, the reaction has gone much farthe
We Are Publishing Too Many Conference Proceedings
We Are Publishing Too Many Conference Proceedings
As an editor, I find that book buyers dislike conference volumes more than any other category of book, and yet the partnership of scientists and publishers persists in producing them. How are we to explain the fact that scientists can be both disdainful and enthusiastic about these ephemeral publications? What is it that drives the community to support proceedings volumes at all? Can we afford to do without them? Last August, I attended the Twentieth General Assembly of the International Astro
Stanford's Donald Kennedy: The View From the University
Stanford's Donald Kennedy: The View From the University
For Stanford president Donald Kennedy, the last year has brought trying times. In the last 12 months, Stanford has investigated one of its professors for scientific misconduct, battled community groups opposed to the construction of two new research buildings (The Scientist, November 28, 1988, page 1), and suffered a mutiny by scientists in the Center for International Security and Arms Control over the control of academic appointments. Kennedy believes that some of these incidents are symptom

Letter

Draining Brains
Draining Brains
Your piece about the "brain drain" from NIH (November 14, 1988, page 1) illustrates how silly and ineffective bureaucracies can be in dealing with professional and creative people. My own brain drained from Australia in the mid-1960s because general conditions for academic and scientific work here offer so much more scope and freedom than in Australia; I was not at all dissatisfied with my salary or with our standard of living in general. So with most of the people who have come here in the la
Los Alamos Replies
Los Alamos Replies
The article "Cruel Wind From The North For Los Alamos" that appeared in the October 17 issue of The Scientist (page 2) probably provided a service to your readers in bringing a sensitive and interesting issue to their attention. The Canadian government has approached the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) seeking $75 million to assist in the construction of a "kaon factory" in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Canadians are also seeking financial support from o
Defending Consultants
Defending Consultants
Your article "Science for Sale" (November 28, 1988, page 1) suffered from the very symptoms that the author, Bruce Stutz, attributes to his subjects, "biostitutes." To begin with, my firm was incorrectly characterized as "also doing public relations work for the incinerator industry." We work for citizens advisory groups, public officials, and developers in evaluating or preparing environmental impact statements of projects of all kinds. Like the museum scientist quoted, our clients know we
Still In Business
Still In Business
I would like to correct an inaccurate statement that appeared in your journal on November 28, 1988, under the title "University Briefs" (page 5). The British University Grants Committee has recognized the distinguished contributions to sedimentology made by Reading University by asking it to form a postgraduate department devoted to research and advanced (postgraduate) teaching in that field. The Postgraduate Research Institute for Sedimentology that has resulted is in the process of a rapid
Radiation Revisited
Radiation Revisited
A response to Dr. [Rosalyn] Yalow's letter to the editor (The Scientist, October 17, 1988, page 10) is necessary. Her letter in no way refutes statements made in my letter (The Scientist, July 25, 1988, page 14), and she continues to miss the main point: Ionizing radiation causes mutations. In studies such as the Schull report (Science, 213:1220, 1981) on Japanese children of atomic bomb survivors, it is nearly impossible to uncover recessive mutations. Nevertheless, they did report significan

Commentary

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
In our last issue, chemist James Collman of Stanford University took us to task for listing a controversial paper on a new theory of superconductivity in our Hot Papers section (see his letter in The Scientist, February 6, 1989, page 11). The paper in question, by Yuejin Guo, Jean-Marc Langlois, and William A. Goddard of the California Institute of Technology ("Electronic structure and valence-bond band structure of cuprate superconducting materials," Science, volume 239, number 4842, pages 89

Research

A Rising Star In The Already Bright Firmament Of Neuroscience
A Rising Star In The Already Bright Firmament Of Neuroscience
Thanks to advances in molecular biology, genetics, imaging tools, and computer power, neuroscience research is growing ever more subtle in detail, as witness the increased attention being paid by researchers to various aspects of neurotoxicity - particularly the role of excitatory amino acid neurotransmitters in controlling the impact of signals on the brain. Some neuroscience researchers specializing in this area have been focusing their attention on the interaction of proteins such as NMDA (
Chemistry
Chemistry
Ron Magolida Medical Products Department E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. Wilmington, Del. The biosynthesis and inhibition of prostacyclin and thromboxane A2 has for almost two decades attracted tremendous interest in both the biological and chemical community. A recent paper presents evidence for the biosynthesis of these important biomolecules via a cage radical mechanism. M. Hecker, V. Ullrich, "On the mechanism of prostacyclin and thromboxane A2 biosynthesis," Journal of Biological Chemistr
Plant And Animal Sciences
Plant And Animal Sciences
Peter D. Moore Department of Biology King's College. London, U.K. " It has proved difficult to demonstrate in the field that acid precipitation has actually resulted in the lowering of the pH of a soil, but research in the peatlands of Scotland has now provided strong circumstantial evidence showing that peats with very high acidity (pH less than 3.0) are found only in regions subjected to intense acid deposition (in excess of 0.8 kg hydrogen ions per hectare per annum). U. Skiba, M.S. Cres
Life Sciences
Life Sciences
William F. Loomis Department of Biology University of California, San Diego La Jolla, Calif. " A mutation found in 1913 to affect the eyes of Drosophila has been shown to be an insertion of a transposable element into an intron of the rough gene. The product of this gene carries a homeodomain and appears to regulate genes in two cells in each ommatidium that are necessary for proper differentiation of adjacent cells. A. Tomlinson, B.E. Kimmel, G.M. Rubin, "rough, a Drosophila homeobox gene
Physics
Physics
Frank A. Wilckzek Institute for Theoretical Physics University of California, Santa Barbara, Calif. " Natural materials are often disordered. While one's first instinct might be to associate "disordered" with "messy" and "useless," an impressive body of coherent theory has developed to describe these systems, and the approaches have recently been applied successfully to an increasing variety of interesting cases. Physics Today devoted its entire December issue to the subject of disordered sol
Computational Science
Computational Science
Bruce G. Buchanan Department of Computer Science University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pa. " The state of the art of artificial intelligence is changing rapidly. In a recent article, one of the leading researchers surveys the major accomplishments of AI, encapsulates some of the major lessons learned, and proposes some grand challenges. R. Reddy, "Foundations and grand challenges of artificial intelligence: The 1988 AAAI presidential address," AI Magazine, 9 (4), 9-21, Winter 1988. " Many i

Hot Paper

Life Sciences
Life Sciences
The articles listed below - all less than a year old - have received a substantially greater number of citations than others of the same vintage and concerned with the same or an associated research area, according to a citation- tracking algorithm of the Institute for Scientific Information, Philadelphia. Why have these particular research reports become such standouts? A comment following each citation - supplied to The Scientist by one of the authors or by another recognized expert in the f
Physics
Physics
Y. Matsui, H. Maeda, Y. Tanaka, S. Horiuchi, "Possible model of the modulated structure in high-Tc superconductor in a Bi-Sr-Ca-Cu-O system revealed by high-resolution electron microscopy," Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, 27 (3), L372-L375, March 1988. Yoshio Matsui and Hiroshi Maeda (National Research Institute for Metals, Tsukuba Laboratory, Ibaraki, Japan): "We found, for the first time, an anomalously big (up to 20%) modulated layer structure in this high Tc superconducting compound.
Physics
Physics
PHYSICS M. Kato, Y. Maeno, T. Fujita, "Variation of temperature-linear specific heat with doping in (La1-xSrx)2 CuO4," Physica C, 152 (1), 116-120, 1 March 1988. T. Fujita (Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Hiroshima University): "We measured the specific heat coefficient of this material by changing the density of strontium. The specific heat coefficient is important to the study of the mechanism of superconductivity, so this is a hot subject. This paper also continues debate over a
Life Sciences
Life Sciences
R.J. Deshaies B.D. Koch, M. Werner-Washburne, E.A. Craig, R. Schekman, "A subfamily of stress proteins facilitates translocation of secretory and mitochondrial precursor polypeptides, Nature, 332 (6167), 800-805, 28 April 1988. Raymond Deshaies (Department of Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley): "A primary reason that this is an important paper is that much biochemical work had been done on hsp70s, but very little was known about what physiological role they might play in the ce

Profession

Two People Sharing One Job: Can It Work For Scientists?
Two People Sharing One Job: Can It Work For Scientists?
For geologist Anita Grunder, her career horizon looked bright indeed. After getting her Ph.D. from Stanford University, she had landed an assistant professorship at Oregon State University, a tenure-track position that promised to be both stimulating and rewarding. But for her husband John Dilles - also a Stanford Ph.D. in geology - his professional life seemed pretty close to rock bottom. Oregon State had hired him too, but only as an adjunct professor, a position guaranteeing him little more
Note Bene Word Processor: A Good Tool For Scientists
Note Bene Word Processor: A Good Tool For Scientists
Although the word-processing software package Note Bene is aimed primarily at nonscientific academic users, its impressive capabilities in such areas as bibliography creation and foreign language support make it valuable for scientists as well as those in the humanities and social sciences. The $495 package, developed by New York City-headquartered Dragonfly Software, runs on the IBM-PC and compatible computers. In many ways it takes after another word-processing program, XyWrite, a popular pa
At Brookhaven Lab: An Exercise In 'Scientific Collectivism'
At Brookhaven Lab: An Exercise In 'Scientific Collectivism'
While the Soviet Union and China seem to be warming up to capitalism's style of doing business, a group of U.S. scientists is, in a sense, going in the opposite direction - pioneering a new social environment for research that might best be described as "scientific collectivism." Indeed, the team of 60-plus scientists running the X-11A X-ray beam line at Brookhaven National Laboratory's National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), Upton, N.Y., describe themselves as "communal, even socialist" in s

New Products

Pittcon: Hardware, Software on Display
Pittcon: Hardware, Software on Display
Volume 3, #4The Scientist February 20, 1989 Pittcon: Hardware, Software on Display In addition to an array of new scientific instruments and tools, a variety of hardware and software products developed for the scientific market will be introduced at next month's Pittsburgh Conference & Exposition on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy. See page 24 for more details on the conference. INFORMATION MANAGEMENT Advanced Systems Management of Baton Rouge, La., says it ha