January 1987

News

NASA One Year After Challenger
NASA One Year After Challenger
SAN FRANCISCO—One year ago the U.S. space program came to an abrupt and shocking halt. As the remains of the Space Shuttle Challenger plummeted into the sea, an already tenuous and drifting Space and Earth Science Program reeled under the shock wave. While NASA says none of its 22,800 employees worldwide have been laid off, the scientific programs, both at NASA facilities and elsewhere, have unquestionably been affected severely. Previous decisions to stretch out and delay flight projects
Panel To Rank U.K. Priorities
Panel To Rank U.K. Priorities
LONDON—Industrial, government and scientific leaders here are about to launch a new effort to decide how best to spend the U.K.'s research dollars. The tripartite forum—as yet unnamed—is expected to be announced shortly by the government, which hopes to attract a well-known industrialist as its chairman. The idea for such a group came from the government's Advisory Council for Applied Research and Development (ACARD). The Council, a group of senior industrial and government res
Recycling Scientists into Science Teachers
Recycling Scientists into Science Teachers
Ben Schrader wants to be a high school science teacher in Houston. The 55-year-old chemical engineer plans to reach his goal with the help of a new cooperative program, between the Chevron Corporation and three universities, that addresses both the problem of unemployment in the oil industry and the growing shortage of science teachers throughout the nation's secondary schools. Getting a good education has always been important to Schrader, who expects his youngest child, a high school senior, t
Britain Seeks Strategic Research Funds
Britain Seeks Strategic Research Funds
LONDON—Strategic research in Britain should be funded by a new route that is independent of the support given to academic science through the University Grants Committee and research councils and the customer-contractor relationship used by government departments for applied research. This view is contained in a new report on civilian R&D from the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, a body of ten peers with considerable experience in science and engineering. The repo
But What Will He Do In Moscow?
But What Will He Do In Moscow?
STOCKHOLM—The return of 65-year-old academician Andrei Sakharov has given rise to many questions. One important question for scientists is: To what extent will the former prodigy and the youngest person to be elected a full member of the prestigious Soviet' Academy of Sciences resume his scientific activities, after seven years of isolation in Gorky? Speculation about how he might apply his scientific energies ranges over a large area. His insights might be very useful to those who have st
Sakharov Release May Bolster Ties with West, Say Activists
Sakharov Release May Bolster Ties with West, Say Activists
WASHINGTON—The release of Andrei Sakharov from internal exile in Gorky could lead to improved relations between Soviet scientists and their colleagues around the world, say several scientists active in the human rights movement. The decision December 16 by Soviet party leader Mikhail Gorbachev to allow Sakharov to return to Moscow and to continue both his scientific and human rights activities is generally viewed as a bold move that deserves applause from scientists everywhere. What is les
Scientists in SDI Debate Look for Middle Ground
Scientists in SDI Debate Look for Middle Ground
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—University of New Mexico physicist Charles Bickel admits to being surprised by his encounter last summer with Roger Hagengruber, vice president for exploratory systems at Sandia National Laboratories. "I had suspected we were further apart on SDI," he said. The revelation came as the two physicists participated in the Trinity Conference last June in Santa Fe. Before a public forum and assisted by a mediator, they engaged in a process called "dialoguing." After stating the
Five NASA Scientists Reflect on a Year of Turmoil
Five NASA Scientists Reflect on a Year of Turmoil
To biochemist Nitza Cintron, a member of what she describes as "the NASA family," the Challenger accident brought with it a great sense of loss. As chief of the 75-person Biomedical Laboratories at Johnson Space Center, Cintron believes the accident has had a greater impact on operational responsibilities—supporting shuttle flights—than on basic research. But there are lots of projects that can only be done in space which have been temporarily suspended. Some of Cintron's own researc
Revolving Door in Biotech?
Revolving Door in Biotech?
WASHINGTON—Employees in the biotechnology industry are enjoying more salary increases, cash incentive programs and educational assistance, yet the annual turnover rate for some positions is as high as 23 percent, according to a recent survey conducted by Radford Associates for the Industrial Biotechnology Association. The Biotechnology Compensation and Benefits Survey collected information from 126 biotechnology companies based primarily in the United States and Canada. Salary increases we
Sharing Called Rx for U.S.-Japan Tensions
Sharing Called Rx for U.S.-Japan Tensions
WASHINGTON—American companies can learn a great deal from the Japanese approach to research planning and the contribution it makes to productivity, a group of U.S. research directors have concluded after a visit there last fall. But the two countries stand to gain even more from a full and continuous exchange of information, suggest a second group of American and Japanese officials that is in the midst of an extended discussion on issues of scientific collaboration. "In all of Japanese ind
Joint Research Centers Part of Increase for NSF
Joint Research Centers Part of Increase for NSF
WASHINGTON—A request from Director Erich Bloch for $270 million in additional funds for the National Science Foundation in fiscal 1988 should get a sympathetic hearing on Capitol Hill, according to congressional committee staff. But whether that will translate into votes is not yet clear. Bloch won administration support for the 17 percent increase, from $1.62 billion to nearly $1.9 billion, by arguing that strengthening the university research base is one of the best ways to keep American
Suits on Biotech Rules Dismissed
Suits on Biotech Rules Dismissed
WASHINGTON—Six months after the federal government published its set of proposed regulations governing biotechnology, two lawsuits aimed at overturning those regulations have failed. On December 22 Judge Gerhard A. Gesell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a suit filed by environmental activist Jeremy Rifkin that sought to overturn the June 26 announcement on the grounds that it bypassed established federal rulemaking procedures. The same day, Gesell dismisse
Basic Science Budget Remains Flat at NASA
Basic Science Budget Remains Flat at NASA
WASHINGTON—With the Space Station leading the way, NASA has requested a 16 percent increase in its research and development activities as part of a $9.5 billion budget for next year. R&D would rise from $3.1 billion this year to $3.6 billion under the proposal for fiscal year 1988. The fastest growing program within that category is the Space Station, projected to grow from $420 million this year to $767 million in the new budget. That increase, however, may draw fire from a Congress worri
Budget Cuts NIH Grants Again
Budget Cuts NIH Grants Again
WASHINGTON—The administration has proposed that the National Institutes of Health fund 700 fewer new and competing research grants this year as part of a plan to reduce the overall NIH budget in fiscal 1988. But it is unlikely that researchers will feel the pinch anytime soon. The proposal is part of a request to Congress to transfer $334 million already appropriated for this fiscal year. The present budget of $6.18 billion would drop by a corresponding amount, and the budget for next year
U.K. Panel Seeks $1.5 Billion to Extend Alvey Computer Project
U.K. Panel Seeks $1.5 Billion to Extend Alvey Computer Project
LONDON—Britain needs to spend $1.5 billion on information technology research and applications to extend the results of the Alvey program now underway, according to a new report from a committee of government, academic and university administrators. The so-called IT 86 committee, formed early last year, has recommended $800 million in further research and $700 million for applications programs over an unspecified five-year period. Of the total for research, $75 million would be allocated a
Physicists Cite Gender Bias
Physicists Cite Gender Bias
LONDON—More than half of the U.K. Institute of Physics's female members believe they have been discriminated against when applying for jobs. According to a survey by the Institute, many have suffered "patronizing attitudes, lack of rapport with male colleagues and chauvinistic or sexist remarks" and feel that they need to perform twice as well if they are to be considered as able as men. Of the Institute's 11,733 members, only 672 are women—but 63 percent of them completed the questi
Donald Fredrickson: Spending Hughs' Legacy
Donald Fredrickson: Spending Hughs' Legacy
In 1975, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) was remarkable more for its namesake, the legendary, ultra-reclusive billionaire, than for its $3 million research program. But Hughes' death in 1976, and the 1985 sale of the Hughes Aircraft Co. for $5 billion, have made the Institute remark-able to the tune of $200 million in biomedical grants last year alone. That figure is expected to climb to $300 million by 1990, making the Institute the largest private medical research organization in th

Commentary

The Global Village of Science
The Global Village of Science
In launching The Scientist, we sought the support of distinguished scientists and science policymakers from around the world. Many agreed to serve as editorial consultants; their names are listed at the left. Many more, who are not formally associated with this newspaper, have enthusiastically aided us behind the scenes. Naturally, in becoming established, our association with notables helps break down the skepticism potential subscribers may harbor about yet another periodical. It also conveys

Letter

Protecting the Myth of the Ivory Tower
Protecting the Myth of the Ivory Tower
If nothing else, Roger L. Geiger's review of my book about McCarthyism and the universities, No Ivory Tower, shows how controversial the topic remains (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, p. 25). In his attempt to sustain the myth that the academic community protected its members from McCarthyism, Geiger distorts the evidence. His seemingly precise discussion of the main academic freedom cases of the 1950s alludes to some, but not all, of the dismissals noted in the book (themselves only a sample
'Biotic Revenge' and the Death of Dinosaurs
'Biotic Revenge' and the Death of Dinosaurs
By way of his recent attempt to contrast the hard and "woolly" sciences, Beverly Haistead (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, pp. 12-13) posed the question of how to account for surviving species in the face of Alvarez's asteroid impact hypothesis of dinosaur extinction. We would like to suggest an alternative interpretation of the demise of dinosaurs based on a unique psychological capacity in many animal forms today. Tony Swain has called attention to the fact that during the Cretaceous period
Who Decides What 'Rational' Means?
Who Decides What 'Rational' Means?
Herbert L. Meltzer displays a tendency toward either academic naiveté or neofascism when he suggests a "feasibility study" regarding "...neurochemical and environmental events that occur in the perinatal period and in the early years of life" that determine how "rational" a person is (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, p. 10). Dr. Meltzer is concerned that without "neurochemical and environmental" intervention, man may prove too irrational to survive in a nuclear age. Although I certainly sh
Hopkins Official Responds To Animal Story
Hopkins Official Responds To Animal Story
I hope that the article "Search for Animal Alternatives Faces Rough Road" by Tom Watkins (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, p. 6) does not portend that The Scientist will face a rough road through inaccurate reporting. In the article, Watkins states that I refused to respond to comments by Earle Brauer of Revlon. In fact, I gave Watkins a rather extended telephone interview. He called me back several weeks later with a series of questions, saying "Person A said this and person B said that, what
Let's See More Long Book Reviews
Let's See More Long Book Reviews
John Beatty informed me that you had cut much of his review of my book Sewall Wright and Evolutionary Biology (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, pp. 23-24) without consultation. This was dismaying news for obvious minor personal reasons and also for the major reason that The Scientist apparently does not wish to publish substantive book reviews. This, I think, is a big mistake. If you are going to review science books at all, then review them well and in depth. The idea of your newspaper is grea

Opinion

... And His Future
... And His Future
The whole world of science is celebrating the return of Andrei Sakharov to his home and workplace in Moscow. This happy event not only signifies a change for the better in the political climate in the Soviet Union, it also shows that the continued public protests on his behalf were not futile. The world scientific community stood firmly by one of its most distinguished members through along, deeply troubled period. This support could not protect him entirely from unjust and brutal treatment, but
Andrei Sakharov's Return...
Andrei Sakharov's Return...
Nothing in recent developments in the Soviet Union has been as exciting and pleasing as the release of Andrei Sakharov after nearly seven years in exile. His return was long overdue, and the exile (which was illegal even by Soviet standards) was entirely unnecessary. It cost dearly the health of Sakharov and his wife, Yelena Bonner, and inevitably damaged scientific cooperation between the East and West. I have known Sakharov since the summer of 1964, when he made his short but strong speech at
A Creationist Responds
A Creationist Responds
I read with great interest the Opinion pieces in which the "danger" of creationism was discussed by several able scientists (The Scientist, November 17, 1986, pp. 10-11). Unfortunately, none of these authors offered any help in resolving the controversy. Name calling, of which both sides are amply guilty, will do nothing to solve the dilemma facing our public school system. If I may be so bold, allow me to present the concerns that those of us who are biblical literalists have about the teaching
Gene Sequencing: No Easy Answers
Gene Sequencing: No Easy Answers
The sequencing of the human genome was discussed by two of its proponents in the October 20, 1986 issue of The Scientist  (pp. 11-12). Their statements were sound and true, but incomplete in that there was no discussion of the social and ethical implications of this profound technological goal, and only good was seen to come from it. In the context of today's entrepreneurial science-technology adventures, this is at best simplistic. Science should learn from experience. That biology is trea
Federal Judges v. Science
Federal Judges v. Science
Katie Wells was born in 1981 with serious birth defects. Her parents attributed them to a contraceptive jelly and sued the maker, Ortho Pharmaceutical Judge Marvin Shoob of the U.S. District Court in Georgia ruled they had proved their case and assessed $5 million in damages against Ortho. The Court of Appeals declined to overturn the judgment and last month the Supreme Court refused to intervene. What is wrong with that? First, the facts. Scientific experts often differ and the courts generally
A New Look at Contraceptives
A New Look at Contraceptives
Ibsen's dictum "minorities are always right" cannot be correct: minorities seldom agree, so they cannot all be right. It would be more correct to say that "majorities are always wrong—partially if not completely." In the past, when research was usually a part-time job or a hobby, scientists were less apt than they are now to follow safe and fashionable lines of work. We were less specialized and moved from subject to subject in a manner that worried grant-giving committees then, and would

Books etc.

'Should Science Be Stopped?'
'Should Science Be Stopped?'
"Hope tiptoed back into the world, armed with sachets of benign bacteria," writes Nigel Calder is his new book The Green Machines (Putnam, 1986). It crept back into a world tottering on the brink of nuclear war, a world full of common people disgusted with the moral bankruptcy of the modern nation-state and the unwillingness of political leaders to do anything constructive to stop the madness. Writing from the vantage point of 2030 A.D., Calder envisions these people commandeering the "green mac
Technology on Display
Technology on Display
Engines of Change: The American Industrial Revolution, 1790-1860. New permanent exhibit at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Opened November 21, 1986. The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History recently opened a new exhibit on the industrial revolution in the United States. Covering some 6,000 square feet, the exhibit treats the development of American technology and industry from 1790 to 1860. Its thesis is that in these 70
Testing Einstein's Theory
Testing Einstein's Theory
Was Einstein Right? Putting General Relativity to the Test. Clifford Will. Basic Books. New York, 1986. 296 pp., illus. $18.95. Einstein's theory of general relativity holds a unique position in science. Despite the controversy it has generated over the years, I've never heard it trivialized by the phrase "It's just a theory, isn't it?" Somehow, in this particular case, nearly everyone intuitively understands that a theory is the best thing in the world that science has to offer. This book tells
Quantitative History of Science
Quantitative History of Science
Little Science… And Beyond. Derek J. de Solla Price. Columbia University Press, New York, 1986. $35 HB, $14.95 PB. It is four years since the death of Derek J. de Solla Price and now it is clear that he was the founder and inspirational leader of the field we call scientometrics. This book is an updated and expanded version of perhaps the most significant and primordial text in the quantitative study of science, Price's 1963 book Little Science, Big Science. Included in this new volume are
Computerized Creativity
Computerized Creativity
Scientific Discovery: Computational Explorations of the Creative Processes. Pat Langley, Herbert A. Simon, Gary L. Bradshaw and Jan M. Zytkow. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1987. 346 pp. $25 HB, $9.95 PB. One of the most commonly heard objections to artificial intelligence (Al) runs: "Well, you may be able to get a computer to play chess or diagnose illnesses, but a computer will never do anything really creative like write a good play or discover the theory of relativity." Scientific discovery
Biotechnology Industry's Movers and Shakers
Biotechnology Industry's Movers and Shakers
Biotechnology: The University-Industrial Complex. Martin Kenney. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1986. 324 pp. $23.95. Divergent economic pressures on university scientists fueled the development of small biotechnology companies and thus the entire fledgling industry. Pressures came in one form as a need to gather support for research; in another, from the realization that molecular biology could make money. In this way, a new academic "industry" world was created. This concept is the thes
Physics Revisited
Physics Revisited
The Birth of Particle Physics. Laurie M. Brown and Lillian Hoddeson, eds. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1986. 448 pp., illus. $18.95 PB. In most instances one would welcome a new edition of a symposium held nearly seven years ago about as much as one would welcome a subscription to a newspaper seven years old. This book, however, is a valuable exception. The symposium, which was held at the Fermi Laboratory in May of 1980, focused on the history of modern particle physics and such a his

Technology

Choosing the Link Product
Choosing the Link Product
This is the third and final article In the series on microcomputer to mainframe links. The first article was "Linking Micros to Mainframes" (The Scientist, October 20, 1986, p. 14); the second was "How to Develop Link Networks" (The Scientist, December 15, 1986, p. 14). How do you develop an implementation plan for connecting micro-computers to mainframes? What are the important considerations? How do you select appropriate products? If you have only six personal computers in your organization,

So They Say

So They Say
So They Say
Verbatim excerpts from the media on the conduct of science. The Weapons of Seduction Scientists and engineers work for the weapons laboratories as William Press says …, because "scientific talent will inevitably flow to those fields where national priorities put incentives of money, prestige, or excitement." The training of many scientists and engineers is heavily supported by taxpayers. After completing their costly education, those who feel they owe a debt to society tend to apply their
So They Say
So They Say
Walter E. Massey, vice president for research and development at Argonne National Laboratory and professor of physics at the University of Chicago, has been elected president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He will take office on February 19 following the AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago. Massey has been with Argonne since 1979 and prior to that was dean of the college of physics at Brown University. Massey also served on the National Science Board from 1978 to 19