News

Co-Author Responsibility Issue Under Study
Co-Author Responsibility Issue Under Study
Recent incidents of scientific misconduct have made researchers and their institutions more aware that credit given on papers is not always credit due. But major research universities and journals in the life sciences have taken few steps to develop policies or guidelines on responsible co-authorship, according to an informal study by The Scientist. The School of Basic Health Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University adopted such a policy in August in response to national concern and because
Space Research Carries On
Space Research Carries On
WASHINGTON—Smaller payloads, alternative boosters and suborbital flights are making it possible for space scientists to carry out their experiments in the aftermath of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger one year ago this month. NASA's billion-dollar budget for space science survived relatively unscathed for the current year, and officials are hopeful that the same will be true for fiscal 1988. But flight time, not money, is the biggest immediate problem for scientists, acknowled
EEC Budget at Impasse
EEC Budget at Impasse
LONDON—"Agriculture has a lobby. Research and development does not." That comment last month from Karl-Heinz Narjes, vice president of the European Economic Community, summarized the problems facing the 12 nations in the Community as they struggled to agree on a new budget for collaborative research during the next five years. West Germany, France and Britain, joined in December by the Netherlands, have been calling for a major reduction in the European Commission's ambitious proposal for
'Pork Barrel' Means More Labs, Jobs
'Pork Barrel' Means More Labs, Jobs
WASHINGTON—Seven universities and one hospital will receive $84.1 million this year in Energy Department funds to build research facilities. The congressional largesse, taken from funds initially budgeted for uranium enrichment programs, will mean hundreds of new jobs and more than one million additional square feet of laboratory, hospital and office space for American scientists. Critics see the appropriation as the latest example of "pork-barrel science"—a direct appeal to Congress
Experts Debate NSF Pre-College Program
Experts Debate NSF Pre-College Program
WASHINGTON—A recommendation that Congress look into taking responsibility for pre-college education programs away from the National Science Foundation has caught the attention of the science community. But the suggestion from retiring Rep. Donald Fuqua (D-Fla.) that the Department of Education could better handle the job is viewed more as an attempt to stir up science educators than to take the Foundation out of the business of elementary and secondary school science. In a brief discussion
ESA Nations Ask What Comes After Ariane
ESA Nations Ask What Comes After Ariane
LONDON—Competing schemes to take Western Europe into a new era in extraterrestrial transportation are posing a conundrum for the continent's space planners. At the heart of the debate is just how ambitious Western Europe wants to be in its next generation of space launchers, together with whether the countries involved can put aside their contrasting approaches and agree on a common goal. At issue is the next big transportation project for the 13-nation European Space Agency (ESA), the Par
Bordeaux Welcomes Aerospace
Bordeaux Welcomes Aerospace
BORDEAUX—Nearly 200 years after the French Revolution, this city may face another upheaval. More than 2,000 scientists, engineers and technicians at the core of France's military aerospace effort cast off their normal shyness about self-promotion and turned out in force for the Techno-Espace exhibit and conference held here in early December. This first-ever exposition was intended to offset the dominant position of the civil aerospace industry in the ToulouseMontpellier region to the sout
Science Looms Large In German Elections
Science Looms Large In German Elections
FRANKFURT—"If it weren't for all those chemical accidents, we'd have an easy time with this election," Helmut Kohl remarked in early December. The West German chancellor was responding to a poll that showed environmental issues had passed unemployment, the general economy, and other subjects as the principal issue in the January 25 election. But only 26 percent thought Kohl's party, the conservative, business-oriented Christian Democrats (CDU), was best equipped to deal with it, compared w
Japan Slowly Permits Foreign Faculty
Japan Slowly Permits Foreign Faculty
TOKYO—It was, admits American seismologist Robert Geller, a simple task: to complete a requisition to repair the departmental roof. But the fact that a nonnative member of the Tokyo University faculty was given this duty indicates the change in Japanese attitudes toward foreign scientists. A 1982 law allows foreign nationals to teach at public universities. The law changed an interpretation of the Japanese constitution that required faculty, as government employees, to be "persons of Japan
Drug Agency Hikes Spending For Research
Drug Agency Hikes Spending For Research
WASHINGTON—The National Institute on Drug Abuse will award more than $155 million in research funds this year. The 77 percent increase over last year is due largely to the President's initiative on drug abuse, and the drug-AIDS connection. Officials said $31 million will be directed toward AIDS research, a 340 percent increase over last year. The administration's $1.5 billion program to combat drugs, which includes funds for military interdiction and anti-crime measures, contains $27 milli
U.K. Toughens Animal Regulations
U.K. Toughens Animal Regulations
LONDON—A more restrictive law aimed at British biologists who use laboratory animals goes into effect this month. The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act of 1986 applies to anything done in the name of science that might cause "pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm" to animals. Routine tests, antiserum production and a host of small interferences occurring during behavioral or field studies are covered for the first time. The law replaces the grimly-named Cruelty to Animals Act, which
New Law Allows Drug Export
New Law Allows Drug Export
WASHINGTON—President Reagan has signed a controversial health bill that allows U.S. firms to export drugs prior to approval by the Food and Drug Administration and provides a federal no-fault compensation system for children injured by vaccines. The drug export provision was strongly supported by pharmaceutical manufacturers who can now export prescription drugs to 21 foreign countries providing the drug has been approved for use in that country and the manufacturer is actively seeking app
Sir George Porter On British Science
Sir George Porter On British Science
A war surplus searchlight was the unlikely piece of equipment which a young English chemist, George Porter, pressed into the service of science during the late 1940s. As a Cambridge researcher following five years in the Royal Navy, he was investigating chemical reactions thought until that time to be instantaneous in nature and, thus, unmeasurable in the laboratory. Porter's ingenuity paid off Barely 20 years later, he shared the 1967 Nobel Prize in chemistry (with Manfred Eigen and Ronald Norr

Commentary

Science Needs Critics
Science Needs Critics
The professions of science administrator and science writer have become well established in recent years. The first arose in response to the rapid growth of the scientific enterprise and the second in response to its increasing importance to society. And the growth of science has spawned other science-supporting or parascience professions such as the science publicist at research institutes (see "Good Science Needs Good Reporting," The Scientist, December 15, 1986, p. 13). Yet more are in prospe

Letter

Creationism is Bad Science, Bad Theology, Too
Creationism is Bad Science, Bad Theology, Too
There is another aspect to scientific creationism (The Scientist, November 17, 1986, pp.10-11) that nobody seems to mention. The obvious aim of the fundamentalism-oriented scientific creationists is to combat atheism. In this endeavor, they render great disservice to science because they identify evolutionary science with atheism. This is well known. What is being missed, however, is that they also render great disservice to sound theology as well. Jean Danielou, S.J., a scripture scholar, state
Creationism Is Simpleminded
Creationism Is Simpleminded
The statements on creationism (The Scientist, November 17, 1986, pp.10-11), have stimulated me to write. I believe they all missed the main point. Fundamentally, the difference between creationism and science is that the former is simpler. Thus, it is more likely to be espoused by the uninformed, the simpleminded, the intellectually idle. Comprehension and evaluation of scientific evidence about something like evolution is really very hard work, and is unlikely to be done at the highest level by
No Mea Culpas Here
No Mea Culpas Here
The article by Gregory Byrne (The Scientist, November 17, p.2) contains the statement"… was the exception that proves the rule" (my emphasis). It is surprising that a newspaper for the science professional should use a phrase which is the antithesis of scientific thought. The original Latin expression exceptio probat regulam means "the exception probes the rule"—a principle that we would all agree should be basic to the thinking of the science professional. -Martin Freundlich Departm
Autobiographies and Public Understanding
Autobiographies and Public Understanding
The review of my book A Life in Science (The Scientist, November 17, 1986, p. 23) leads me to remember other autobiographies I have enjoyed, including that of Max Born showing how little help he got in the German universities before 1914 and that of my friend Rudolf Peierls on the role he played in the Manhattan Project. I think that many of us in the scientific community, who know and respect our colleagues, are fascinated to know what they think about themselves. An important question, however
Creationism Coverage Insults Reader's Intelligence
Creationism Coverage Insults Reader's Intelligence
I just read my first issue of The Scientist and am relieved I had not yet paid for the subscription. Please take my name off your mailing list. You have insulted my intelligence by your treatment of creationism versus evolution [The Scientist, November 17, 1986, pp. 10-11]. The presentation is totally one-sided. Apparently, you do not believe your readers can be trusted to make up their own minds about controversial issues. I am not interested in a publication that cannot present both sides of a

Opinion

Science Meetings' Five-Star Prices
Science Meetings' Five-Star Prices
The cost of participating in international scientific conferences steadily rises. Currently, registration fees range from $100 to $500 or more. While scientists may grumble among themselves about these high fees, they continue meekly to pay them. Are these high fees justified? It seems to depend, in part, on the kind of conference. Nonprofit groups like professional societies, research institutions and universities set a fee that covers the actual costs of the meeting. If an outside subsidy is a
Sakharov's 'Happy Ending'
Sakharov's 'Happy Ending'
On December 19, 1986, the Soviet Foreign Ministry announced that Soviet physicist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov was being released from his five-year internal exile in Gorky. The Ministry said that the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize winner would be allowed to resume his work at the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow, and that his wife, the physician Elena Bonner, had been pardoned for her "anti-Soviet slander." During a visit to the United States last year to undergo multiple bypass surger
Time to 'Interfere' in Science Ed
Time to 'Interfere' in Science Ed
Nearly all recent surveys of science and mathematics curricula in our secondary schools paint a picture of gloom and doom. A cross section of high school curricula and faculty taken across the United States reveals a lack of consistency in both the number and quality of courses. The research-oriented colleges and universities that draw upon today's high school graduates to populate their freshman classes are, however, generally blasé about the situation. A great deal of the colleges' effort
...and Taking It Seriously
...and Taking It Seriously
Suppose you were faced with the following examination question: Which of the following statements do you think is more applicable to science? (1) "History is more or less bunk" [Henry Ford]; (2) "If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us!" [S.T. Coleridge]. How would most scientists answer? Some—such as those involved in taxonomy—might opt for the second alternative, but I suspect a majority would prefer the first. Yet it is difficult to avoid all history in sci
Researchers and Lab Security
Researchers and Lab Security
Laboratory managers like to attend to positive subjects (such as the emergence of new products and processes) while their research colleagues tend to focus on the laboratory bench. But it is becoming clear that fraud, extortion and other crimes are with us on such a large scale that advance preparation is necessary; mere tactical responses are no longer sufficient. For this reason, scientists, engineers and laboratory managers alike must learn to adapt to a new age in which security is of paramo
'Five Senses to the Rescue'
'Five Senses to the Rescue'
In troubleshooting one must never forget the portable laboratory equipment that one carries around—the senses of sight, sound, scent, taste and touch. There is also the common sense that stops one tasting things if there is any cyanide about. Long years ago the Deutsche Hydriewerke started marketing non-soapy detergents of the cetyl or oleyl sulfate variety. Prior to World War II, the British textile industry was as dependent on German supplies of these materials as it had been on German d

Books etc.

The ABCs of Abstract Science
The ABCs of Abstract Science
For years, scientists and historians have wondered why the Chinese, who introduced technological innovations like gunpowder, paper, iron smelting, and the segmental arch bridge to the Western world, never developed abstract science. Robert K Logan, a physicist with a special interest in phonetics, postulates in his new book The Alphabet Effect (William Morrow & Company, 1986) that the rise of the phonetic alphabet in the West was a necessary precondition for the development of modern science. Th
Planck: The Fight for Order
Planck: The Fight for Order
The Dilemmas of a Upright Man: Max Planck as Spokesman for German Science. J.L. Heilbron. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1986. 238 pp., illus. $16.95. The story of Max Planck goes far beyond his status as an eminent scientist and creator of the quantum. Planck, who was born in Germany in 1858 and remained there until his death in 1947, lived in an era that witnessed significant changes throughout the world. Heilbron's book seeks to understand Planck in his historical setting, and whil
The Surfaces of Black Holes
The Surfaces of Black Holes
Black Holes: The Membrane Paradigm. Kip S. Thome, Richard H. Price and Douglas A. Macdonald, eds. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1986. 367 pp., illus. $40 HB, $14.95 PB. Black holes have entered our everyday discourse, used as metaphors for entities like the U.S. federal budget that swallow up all the country's resources. Astrophysically, black holes are formed when a sufficiently large amount of matter occupies a sufficiently small space. Gravity becomes so strong that the matter collap
Mathematics Has No Gender
Mathematics Has No Gender
Girls and Mathematics. A Report by the Joint Mathematical Education Committee of the Royal Society and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the Royal Society, London, 1986. 37 pp. £3. It is heartening that girls' needs have been accorded recognition and status through the publication of a report such as this by the Royal Society. Several important themes are brought to light: there is ample evidence of girls' and womens' underachievement and under-representation in mathematics
A New Entry In Evolution Controversy
A New Entry In Evolution Controversy
The Blind Watchmaker. Richard Dawkins. W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 1986. 332 pp., illus. $18.95. Well-informed, imaginative and stylistically pleasing introductions to evolution and the theory of natural selection have hitherto been the special preserve of Stephen J. Gould. Hitherto—but not hereafter. Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker bids fair to become at least as influential a guide to controversies in evolutionary theory as the best of Gould's wonderful books. This is probab
Gene Expression: Complicated Molecules Made to Seem Simple
Gene Expression: Complicated Molecules Made to Seem Simple
A Genetic Switch: Gene Control and Phage A. Mark Ptashne. Cell Press, Cambridge, MA, and Blackwell Scientific, Palo Alto, CA, 1986. 138 pp., illus. $16.95 PB. A small, easily digestible new textbook, A Genetic Switch, is destined to become an essential primer for novices in molecular biology and a rewarding recapitulation for old hands. The book builds from the basic relationship between promoters, operators and repressors that is at the heart of the decision between bacteriophage lambda's two
A Wake-Up Call for Technological Somnambulists
A Wake-Up Call for Technological Somnambulists
The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology. Langdon Winner. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1986. 214 pp. $17.50. These 10 graceful essays, grouped under the headings A Philosophy of Technology; Technology: Reform and Revolution; and Excess and Limit, explore the intimate connection between technologies and the political structures in which they are embedded. Winner insists that since many of today's technologies threaten our ecological and social well-bein

Technology

The Cost of Lab Remodeling
The Cost of Lab Remodeling
This Is the second in a series of three articles on lab design. The first article was "How to Plan a Lab BuildIng" (The Scientist, November 17, 1986, P. 15). An upcoming article will deal with furniture for laboratories. Sooner, or later, everyone working in a laboratory building must face the perplexing question of whether to build a new one or remodel the old one. The answer depends on many considerations. Let's look at some of the more obvious ones. Time. Are you under time constraints that w

So They Say

So They Say
So They Say
Verbatim excerpts from the media on the conduct of science. Underwriting Science "I think it's probably true that we've been living off the investments we made in technology years ago," says Sally Ride, the young astronaut who became highly visible in the agency's [NASA's] management after serving as a member of the Rogers Commission. "We've recognized this in the last year, and realized the need for NASA to start investing again in basic R&D…." Other observers wonder whether Star Wars wil
So They Say
So They Say
Robert K. Adair has been appointed associate director for high energy and nuclear physics at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Adair was previously associated with Brookhaven as a graduate student in 1949 and as a researcher for the department of physics from 1953 to 1959. Since that time, he has been a professor of physics at Yale University. Peter H. Quail of the University of Wisconsin will head the first research team appointed to the Plant Gene Expression Center in Albany, Calif. The new cent