January 1988

News

Soviet Panel Hits Science Bureaucracy

Soviet Panel Hits Science Bureaucracy

The Soviet Academy of Sciences got more than it bargained for when in 1985 it created a commission to eliminate much of the red tape that has strangled innovation in the country’s more than 200 research institutes. Word of the cormmission’s existence sparked pleas for help from everyone from truck drivers to petty crooks in coping with the country’s gargantuan bureaucracy. The panel has since revised Its title to the “Commission for the Regulating of the Style and Met

Foreign Scientists Pioneer in Japan's Labs

Foreign Scientists Pioneer in Japan's Labs

TOKYO—Physicist Ron Scott returned to the United States in 1980 after working in Japan on a one-year grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation. But two years after going back to work for McDonnell-Douglas, he said with his easy Texas drawl, “I felt I hadn’t seen it all. So I returned to Sendai for six months to write a paper.” Six years later Scott is still in Japan, working in the northeastern city of Sendai as a research physicist for the Inaba Biophoton Proj

AIDS Seen As Job Hazard In Some Labs

AIDS Seen As Job Hazard In Some Labs

Washington-Becoming infected with the AIDS virus is an occupational hazard facing laboratory workers who handle highly concentrated preparations of the virus, according to a study published in the January 1 issue of Science. To minirnize what they call a “very low” risk of infection, the authors urge a review of federal safety guidelines and increased vigilance in following prescribed safety procedures. WASHINGTON—A monthly science magazine that was shut down by the feder

Soviet Panel Hits Science Bureaucracy

Soviet Panel Hits Science Bureaucracy

The Soviet Academy of Sciences got more than it bargained for when in 1985 it created a commission to eliminate much of the red tape that has strangled innovation in the country’s more than 200 research institutes. Word of the cormmission’s existence sparked pleas for help from everyone from truck drivers to petty crooks in coping with the country’s gargantuan bureaucracy. The panel has since revised Its title to the “Commission for the Regulating of the Style and Met

Foreign Scientists Pioneer in Japan's Labs

Foreign Scientists Pioneer in Japan's Labs

TOKYO—Physicist Ron Scott returned to the United States in 1980 after working in Japan on a one-year grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation. But two years after going back to work for McDonnell-Douglas, he said with his easy Texas drawl, “I felt I hadn’t seen it all. So I returned to Sendai for six months to write a paper.” Six years later Scott is still in Japan, working in the northeastern city of Sendai as a research physicist for the Inaba Biophoton Proj

AIDS Seen As Job Hazard In Some Labs

AIDS Seen As Job Hazard In Some Labs

Washington-Becoming infected with the AIDS virus is an occupational hazard facing laboratory workers who handle highly concentrated preparations of the virus, according to a study published in the January 1 issue of Science. To minirnize what they call a “very low” risk of infection, the authors urge a review of federal safety guidelines and increased vigilance in following prescribed safety procedures. WASHINGTON—A monthly science magazine that was shut down by the feder

Journal Gives Prize for Mangled Prose

Journal Gives Prize for Mangled Prose

LONDON-Theres no shortage of obscure prose in the scientific literature, judging from entries to competition organized by The Veterinary Record, which recently announced the winner. He is Martin Gregory of Weybridge, England who submitted a sentence from G.W. Arnold and ML. Dudzinski’s book Ethology of FreeR anging Domestic Animals (ier, 1978) The authors wrote: “That the sense of smell used by these cattle was established because of the marked audible variation in inhalation inte

Job Market Better Than Polls Show

Job Market Better Than Polls Show

Recent science and engineering graduates are entering a better job market than reports on two national surveys might indicate. A 25% percent decline in job offers to the class of 1987, reported by the College Placement Council, is in part the result of an 11 percent decline in the number of placement offices that participated in its 27th annual salary survey. Likewise, a 12 percent decline in job offers to the class of 1986, reported by the 1987 Northwestern Endicott-Lindquist survey of 230 U.

Industry Blasts Thatcher's College Cuts

Industry Blasts Thatcher's College Cuts

LONDON—Leaders of Britain’s highly successful doing industry say that reduced government spending on academic research in chemistry, biology and medicine will limit industry’s ability to hire talented people and turn new ideas into profitable products. Coming from one of Britain’s leading research-based manufacturing businesses, the attack may well influence the Thatcher government as it comes under increased pressure to boost funds for basic research in higher educat

Esprit Funds 2nd Phase of Work

Esprit Funds 2nd Phase of Work

BRUSSELS—Some 500 companies will benefit from the five-year, $2 billion budget set by research miniisters for the second phase of the European Economic Community’s Esprit program of information technology research. The agreement secures the immediate future for 3,000 researchers and 200 projects whose Esprit 1 funding had virtually expired and who had been pawns for the past year in the British government’s opposition to the EEC’s intended funding for collaborative re

U.S. Absent From Japan's New Center

U.S. Absent From Japan's New Center

Japan launched an R&D program in superconductivity this month without the international collaborators that officials there had hoped to attract. Some U.S. researchers said they didn’t know they had been invited, while others are waiting to see how the program develops. The International Superconductivity Technology Center (ISTEC) that opened January 14 is being funded by about 50 Japanese companies, including large electronics firms such as Toshiba and Hitachi, electric utility compani

D Budget

D Budget

OSLO—Norwegian scientists and policy-makers have overwhelmingly agreed to spend a large share of the nation’s growing R&D budget over the next five years on environmental technologies. The Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research recently agreed to campaign for a 40 percent increase in research funding (see THE SCIENTIST, November 2, 1987, p. 7). The council now has identified environmental technologies as an important area to receive additional money. The

Markey Trust Has Big Grants for Best

Markey Trust Has Big Grants for Best

WASHINGTON-Robert J. Glaser has begun a five-year adventure in philanthropy to extend the frontiers of basic medical research in the United States. Only institutions doing the most innovative and important work need apply, but for those talented few scientists the sky’s the limit. Glaser is director for medical science at the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust, formed after the 1982 death of the owner of Calumet Farms, the Kentucky thorough-bred racing and breeding stable. She stipulate

Association Tackles Science Role in Society

Association Tackles Science Role in Society

WASHINGTON—A new association to address the scientific and technical issues affecting society will be formed next month. The National Association for Science, Technology and Society will hold its first meeting during the Third National STS Conference on Technological Literacy February 5-7 in Arlington, Va. More than 1,000 scientists, educators and others are expected to gather to hear such speakers as William Baker, former chairman of Bell Labs; Rep. Robert Roe (1)- N.J.), chairman of

New Science Office Deputy Relishes Policy Debates

New Science Office Deputy Relishes Policy Debates

WASHINGTON—Thomas Rona, confirmed in late November as associate director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is described in a press release as an electrical engineer with a Sc.D. from MIT. But it is ideas, not objects, that excite him. During a long career at Boeing Aerospace Rona was an anomaly, a self-proclaimed “exotic brain” whose job was to hunt for long range opportunities outside the defense contractor’s normal product line. That search

2 U.S. Agencies Tighten Conflict-Of-Interest Rules

2 U.S. Agencies Tighten Conflict-Of-Interest Rules

BOSTON—Two federal agencies have recently tightened procedures to avoid potential financial conflicts of interest among staff members. The new procedures at the National Science Foundation and the Office of Technology Assessment follow public disclosure that a staff member at each agency had ties to companies whose products were related to their work. This perennial thorny issue resurfaced last fall after reports that David T. Kingsbury, assistant director of NSF and chairman of the Wh

Austin Gives Big Welcome To Sematech

Austin Gives Big Welcome To Sematech

Sematech has found a home and it’s a homerun for Texas." Texas Gov. Bill Clements was reacting to the news that Austin, the state capital and home of the University of Texas, has been picked as the site for a $1.5 billion advanced semiconductor research facility. State officials expect the project to provide a scientific boost to their ailing economy by offering employment to thousands and attracting new electronics firms to the region. Texas beat out 11 other finalists from an original

Lack of U.S. Scientists Said to Hurt Economy

Lack of U.S. Scientists Said to Hurt Economy

WASHINGTON—An inadequate supply of scientists and engineers is the biggest obstacle to keeping the United States competitive in the world economy, according to a survey of 500 industrial, academic and state government research administrators. They ranked educational issues above research and development issues and fiscal and monetary policies as the most important factor in maintaining U.S. competitiveness. The survey, released last month, was conducted last winter by the National Govern

Germany Boosts Spending on Space

Germany Boosts Spending on Space

The money represents an increase of 6 percent over 1987, compared with a 4 percent rise in the government’s overall science budget. Sectors due to receive a reduced share of the $4.7 billion budget include research into the use of coal and other fossil fuels (down 10.5 percent) and nuclear fission technology (down 15.3 percent). Biotechnology (up 7.7 percent), oceanography (up 11 percent) and ecology (up 8 percent) are among the beneficiaries. Presenting his budget to the Bundestag, Re

U.K. MPs To Get More Advice

U.K. MPs To Get More Advice

LONDON—Embryo experimentation and the future of the fast breeder reactor are two of several topics that an Advisory Board for Science and Technology, due to be launched next month by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, will tackle to help inform U.K. members of Parliament. Seen as the first step toward a U.S-style Office of Technology Assessment, the new board will consist of four MPs, four members of the House of Lords and four members of the scientific community. Although so f

Voting Changes At IEEE Give Nod to Critics

Voting Changes At IEEE Give Nod to Critics

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has adopted new voting procedures for choosing its top officers that are, in part, a response to continued pressure by dissident members to give the rank and file a greater voice in the institute’s affairs. In the fall the 280,000 member international organization will use a system that allows members to vote for more than one candidate for each office. Officials said that this system, called approval plurality voting, is the

Britons Give Scientists Mixed Marks

Britons Give Scientists Mixed Marks

LONDON—Over two-thirds of British people believe that national prosperity depends upon advances in science and technology, while 80 percent feel that it is important for the future of their country to be a leader in science. But a Gallup survey of more than 1,000 people also found that half of the respondents think that scientists are too secretive and that scientific discovery can pose dangers to humanity. Asked to name “the three most famous scientists, living or dead,” 3

U.K. Backs Superconductivity Research

U.K. Backs Superconductivity Research

LONDON—Cambridge and Oxford are the academic foci for new research programs that the British hope will make them more competitive in the expanding field of high-temperature superconductivity. The Cambridge group will be Britain’s first University Research Center. Bolstered by $10 million in government funds over the next six years, it is expected to attract private support and generate marketable products within 10 years. The URC will be a new university laboratory within the Cav

Venture Capital for Biomedical Research

Venture Capital for Biomedical Research

The strategic role of the private foundations Purnell Choppin observes in this issue (p. 16-17) that “the health of the biomedical research enterprise [in the United States] is inseparable from the health of the NIH.” Since two thirds of federal support for biomedical research in this country goes into or through the NIH, and since that amounts to one third of total national support for basic research in biomedicine, one can only agree with the statement of the president of the How

The Day I Let a Reporter Into My Lab

The Day I Let a Reporter Into My Lab

In the summer of 1985 Washington Post reporter Phil McCombs, whom I had met socially, approached me about being interviewed for a story he was planning. He wanted to profile a scientist who did biomedical research with animals. Although I was flattered, all my instincts screamed “NO! Don’t do it!” Being an untenured assistant professor building a laboratory at an emerging research institution, I felt there was nothing to be gained and everything to lose professionally if I gr

The Day I Let a Reporter Into My Lab

The Day I Let a Reporter Into My Lab

In the summer of 1985 Washington Post reporter Phil McCombs, whom I had met socially, approached me about being interviewed for a story he was planning. He wanted to profile a scientist who did biomedical research with animals. Although I was flattered, all my instincts screamed “NO! Don’t do it!” Being an untenured assistant professor building a laboratory at an emerging research institution, I felt there was nothing to be gained and everything to lose professionally if I gr

Hieroboology: The Study of Sacred Cows

Hieroboology: The Study of Sacred Cows

Humans are addicted to cherished principles, certainties that have been expensively acquired and should not be questioned. Science is in this respect extremely human—it is always relieved to feel that however large our ignorance there are some questions that appear to have been settled once and for all. Around these questions it tends to draw the wagons: anyone who insists on reopening them is eccentric, misguided if not anti-scientific. However, if we look at scientific history, the de

Hieroboology: The Study of Sacred Cows

Hieroboology: The Study of Sacred Cows

Humans are addicted to cherished principles, certainties that have been expensively acquired and should not be questioned. Science is in this respect extremely human—it is always relieved to feel that however large our ignorance there are some questions that appear to have been settled once and for all. Around these questions it tends to draw the wagons: anyone who insists on reopening them is eccentric, misguided if not anti-scientific. However, if we look at scientific history, the de

In Memoriam Peter Medawar

In Memoriam Peter Medawar

Editor's note: On October 2, 1987, the British immunologist Sir Peter Medawar died at a London hospital following a stroke. Among other achievements, Sir Peter shared the 1960 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine with Sir Macfarlane Burnet for their joint work on the theory of acquired immunological tolerance. The work led to tremendous advances in liver, heart and kidney transplants. He was also a noted author and philosopher of science (see THE SCIENTIST, November 17, 1986, p. 23, for a re

Still Crazy Enough to Study Aging

Still Crazy Enough to Study Aging

Curiosity about aging, stimulated by many long-lived relatives, motivated my research from the beginning. For many generations, some of them lived to age 90 or more. As a child I was intrigued by how differently people age, so that some retained mental clarity and memory into advanced old age while others began to fail 20 years earlier. Was this mostly hereditary, or also the result of nurtured expectations for high mental performance throughout life? Born in 1939 I thrilled to hear elderly r

Choppin On Hughes And Its New Ventures

Choppin On Hughes And Its New Ventures

Virologist Purnell W Choppin (pronounced "Sho-pan") took office September 1 as president of Howard Hughes Medical Institute at a time of great ferment. His predecessor, Donald S. Fredrickson, deported after a dispute involving controversial management and spending practices [see THE SCIENTIST, June 1, 1987, p. 2, and June 29, p. 1]. At the some time, as port of its agreement last spring with the Internal Revenue Service, HHMI has agreed to increase its financial awards, by on average of at leas

Why It's OK to Sometimes Split Infinitives in Papers

Why It's OK to Sometimes Split Infinitives in Papers

I have on occasion split the infinitive and one should never do that. Yet it’s hard to remember what is so bad about splitting infinitives, except that it offends those people who had their grammar belted into them and never dared to ask questions. You should certainly not ignore the rules of style in favor of expediency, but there are situations where only a split infinitive gives the right emphasis. "Write down key words or short sentences as they come to mind. "Arrange the keys in

Another First-Class Journal for Biologists?

Another First-Class Journal for Biologists?

THE FASEB JOURNAL Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Vol. 1, nos.1, 2 and 3, Rockville, MD, 1987. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), in an apparent attempt to make a greater impact on biological science, has replaced its Federation Proceedings with The FASEB Journal. No longer limited to abstracts and programs of annual meetings and occasional symposia, the new journal is designed to be interdisciplinary,

Finding a Niche and Staying There

Finding a Niche and Staying There

KNOWING EVERYTHING ABOUT NOTHING Specialization and Change In Scientific Careers. John Ziman. Cambridge University Press, New York 1987. 196 pp. $29.95. The title of this book and the reputation of its author led me to hope for an insightful analysis of how the ever-increasing specialization of research has shaped modern science. What would 19th-century giants such as Helmholtz think of a scientific enterprise that generated half a million research papers per year, most of which are largely u

A Telescopic Picture Of The Early Days

A Telescopic Picture Of The Early Days

VOICE OF THE UNIVERSE Building the Jodrell Bank Telescope. Revised and updated edition. Bernard Lovell. Praeger Publishers. New York, 1987. 300 pp. $14.95 PS. The revised and updated version of Bernard Lovell’s 1968 book The Story of Jodrell Bank traces the growth of a true symbol of the modern space age—the radio astronomy observatory at the University of Manchester. It covers the early studies of meteor trails, development of the 250-foot radio telescope and its subsequent triu

A Splendid Tool For The Library

A Splendid Tool For The Library

WHO’S WHO IN SCIENCE IN EUROPE A Biographical Guide in Science. Technology, Agriculture, and Medicine. Fifth edition. Longman Group Ltd.. Essex, UK, 1987. 3 vols. 2,880 pp. £395. Distributed in the United States and Canada by Gale Research Co., Detroit, MI. $695. Despite initial astonishment at finding distinguished Spanish biochemist and new UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor’s name omitted, and mild amusement on discovering that social scientists continue to be ignored

The Next Computer Revolution

The Next Computer Revolution

COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS Physics Today. October 1987. Vol. 40, no. 10. Pages 25-72. American Institute of Physics, New York. The special articles in the October 1987 issue of Physics Today explore not only the use of computers by scientists, but also the discipline of computational science—a mode of operation complementary to, and distinguishable from, the familiar methods of theoretical and experimental science. The introduction and four review articles show clearly that computer simulati

Behind the Gates Of a 'Platonic Heaven'

Behind the Gates Of a 'Platonic Heaven'

WHO GOT EINSTEIN’S OFFICE? Eccentricity and Genius at the Institute for Advanced Study. Ed Regjs. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA. 1987. 320 pp. $17.95. Since Albert Einstein’s sojourn there, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey has enjoyed a worldwide reputation as a preeminent think-tank. As the author, philosopher Ed Regis, puts it, the institute is a “Platonic Heaven” where esoteric thinkers can muse about the most abstract forms of the universe. H

Research (Mis)Management in France

Research (Mis)Management in France

LA RECHERCHE MAL MENEE (Research Misled.) Pierre Piganiol, Editions Larousse. Pals, 1987 288 pp. Fr 69 The Creativity of French research is on the decline. State-supported research is too isolated from industry, too centralized and often “functionnalized,” to the extent that researchers are discouraged from physical as well as intellectual mobility. The most prestigious engineering schools have not given enough importance to research, but often serve as stepladders for students to

Dabbling in Historical Research

Dabbling in Historical Research

DOCTORS IN SCIENCE AND SOCIETY Essays of a Clinincal Scientist Christopher C. Booth. The Memoir Club. British Medical Journal, London, 1987. 318 pp. £14.95. Distributed in the U.S. by Taylor & Francis. Philadelphia. $32. As a student at Oxford in the early ‘70s, I shared a house with an odd assortment of characters, one of whom was researching a 10th century English king. One day he burst into the house in great excitement, proclaiming he had just found a manuscript that carried m

Scientists Must Help Stop the Arms Race

Scientists Must Help Stop the Arms Race

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking" wrote Albert Einstein in 1946. A new book, Breakthrough: Emerging New Thinking (Walker and Co., 1988), attempts to change those modes of thinking. The Beyond War Foundation, a nonprofit educational group, brought together dozens of scholars from Western nations and the Soviet Union to discuss the politics, science and ethics of nuclear disarmament. In this excerpt from the book, which is also being publish

So They Say

So They Say

"Bizarre Bifocals," by Editorial "That Nagging Feeling," by Donald E. Fink "No Longer a Mad Scientist's Dream," by Clive Hollands "Biology Behind Bars," by Editorial "An Appalling Appearance," by "Reagans Science Aide Cautious on Expanded Soviet Ties" "Are Proper Processes In Place?," by Stuart Pugh "Profit or Perish," by Calvin Sims "Too Much Redundancy," by Larry W. Sumney "More Spin-Ins Than Spin-Offs," by Lester C. Thurow "Selling Science," by John R. Hensley "Invent

Locating Science Temporaries

Locating Science Temporaries

One of the most significant expenditures for any science-based company is its people. Clearly, if a company could reduce its personnel costs without sacrificing any productivity or intellectual resources, its bottom line would look much better. Renting staff...that is, using scientifically trained individuals just when the company needs them—is a method of reducing costs while maintaining the level of sophistication and expertise to which a company is accustomed. Take, for example an

Letter

Letters

Letters

Taxman Blowing the Whistle Von Hapsburgs's Return Libraries Not Dead Museum Learning Stephen Greene wrote a timely article about how changes in federal tax laws affect the tax exemption status of graduate students with fellowships and assistantships (October 19, 1987, p. 1). However, he did not mention current Internal Revenue Service efforts to collect back taxes from former or current graduate students who held research assitantships during the years before the tax law changes cam

Letters

Letters

Taxman Blowing the Whistle Von Hapsburgs's Return Libraries Not Dead Museum Learning Stephen Greene wrote a timely article about how changes in federal tax laws affect the tax exemption status of graduate students with fellowships and assistantships (October 19, 1987, p. 1). However, he did not mention current Internal Revenue Service efforts to collect back taxes from former or current graduate students who held research assitantships during the years before the tax law changes cam

Opinion

Why Does the U.S. Neglect Euro-Science

Why Does the U.S. Neglect Euro-Science

Roughing up the media is a sport played by scientists the world over, whenever two or more are gathered together. Some of the illegations tossed around on these occasions are wildly misdirected - as when biochemist, Tart attacks newspaper reporter Haig for giving publicity to the theories of chemist Robertson. Others are wildly unrealistic—as when physicist Dole criticizes television host Kennedy for not describing his work vith all of the calculated cautions and caveats found in his 6,00

Why Does the U.S. Neglect Euro-Science

Why Does the U.S. Neglect Euro-Science

Roughing up the media is a sport played by scientists the world over, whenever two or more are gathered together. Some of the illegations tossed around on these occasions are wildly misdirected - as when biochemist, Tart attacks newspaper reporter Haig for giving publicity to the theories of chemist Robertson. Others are wildly unrealistic—as when physicist Dole criticizes television host Kennedy for not describing his work vith all of the calculated cautions and caveats found in his 6,00

New Products

New Products

New Products

These three new models of variable speed stirrers are electronically controlled and are designed to handle a range of viscosities. Available speeds range from 0 to 6,000 rpm. All three models feature overload protection with a manually resetable circuit breaker. The shaft and propeller are made of stainless steel for easy cleaning and resistance to most acids and chemicals. Arrow Engineering. Featuring more than 65 chemicals available in high purity, reagent and technical grades, this 1988

Happenings

Happenings

Happenings

PEOPLE AWARDS OPPORTUNITIES ETCETERA MEETINGS During the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ winter hearing in December, Ernest L. Daman, senior vice president and director of research for Foster Wheeler Corporation, Livingston, N.J., was elected ASME president, effective June 1988. Daman joined Foster Wheeler in 1947 as an engineer in its research division, and became director of research in 1960. In 1976 he was elected chairman of the board of the Foster Wheeler Developme