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Open Software Or Open Warfare?
Open Software Or Open Warfare?
The baffling battle over Unix: Why would IBM team up with its arch rivals? Is its software consortium bluffing AT&T? Unix. After years of learning incompatible sets of commands and rewriting programs for each new computer, scientists thought they saw relief on the way. Computer workstations of all stripes run Unix. Cray-2 supercomputers run Unix. Even Apple Computer has introduced a version of the AT&T Bell Labs-developed system for its Macintosh II. Hosanna? Not yet. In the middie of May, s
BP Pumps Money Into Unlikely Projects, From Plants To Lasers
BP Pumps Money Into Unlikely Projects, From Plants To Lasers
Thanks to physicist Don Braben, the oil giant funds Nobeists and little-known scientists when no one will LONDON—Harvard chemist Dudley Herschbach was reading a copy of Physics Today one day in 1981 when he came across an article on quantum chromodynamics. It explained how physicists use dimensional contraction to calculate the energy levels of subatomic particles. Intrigued, the soon-to-be Nobel laureate thought this might make a good exercise for his chemistry students to apply to atom
Grants amounts are in the thousands.
Grants amounts are in the thousands.
DOD dollars have been stripped from California and Massachusetts in behalf of heartland science. WASHINGTON—Last fall, Caltech mechanical engineer Frank Marble was due to receive $500,000 from the Department of Defense to study the fuel dynamics of the hypersonic aerospace plane. It was to be the second installment in a three-year, $1.75 million award under the Defense Department’s new University Research Initiative—a program designed to support on campus. research with pote
Good Scientists, Bad Science? How To Respond To 'Renegade' Researchers
Good Scientists, Bad Science? How To Respond To 'Renegade' Researchers
Case One: The Molecular biologist who refuses to believe that AIDS is caused by a virus BERKELEY, CALIF.—On a Saturday early in April, as Washington’s famous cherry trees began to blossom, eight of the nation’s top AIDS researchers gathered at George Washington University for a special meeting. But they weren’t there to discuss their latest findings, or to devise new strategies for fighting the deadly disease, or even to enjoy the Washington spring. Instead, says Berke
An International Brain Institute Is Proposed
An International Brain Institute Is Proposed
Japanese instrument company is out to raise $80 million so 100 world-class scientists can explore the mind TOKYO—This time the Japanese—at least, some of them— aren’t going it alone. Sensitive to criticism that the country is unwilling to share its knowledge with the rest of the world, the president of a leading Japanese manufacturer of optical instruments is trying to promote an international institute to explore how the brain functions. The driving force behind the p
Good Scientists, Bad Science? Clinging To A 'Dubious' Position Can Destroy A Career
Good Scientists, Bad Science? Clinging To A 'Dubious' Position Can Destroy A Career
Case Two: Harold Hilman’s attack on electron microscopy may have cost the British neurophysiologist his job Neurophysiologist Harold Hillman has a serious career problem. He’s out of step with his peers, and now he’s out of a job as well. For 15 years Hillman has been leading a scientist’s version of a double life. On the one hand, he has done mainstream neurological research and been a respected teacher of physiology. On the other, he has been questioning, needling,
Riding An Entrepreneurial Rocket To Financial success
Riding An Entrepreneurial Rocket To Financial success
How three Harvard grads formed an aerospace startup in a bedroom and six years later control a $45 million company FAIRFAX, VA.—David Thompson, Bruce Ferguson, and Scott Webster have boarded a rocket to success. The three young founders of Orbital’ Sciences Corp.—none older than 36—have created an aerospace firm that is playing David to the Goliaths of the rocket industry. After just six years they already have one viable product—a system for launching satellite
Uncle Sam Needs More Good Scientists- And Not Just At NSF
Uncle Sam Needs More Good Scientists- And Not Just At NSF
At every level of decision making in the federal government, scientific and technological factors have become increasingly important. This is true in fields ranging from educational policy to basic and applied research strategy, from trade negotiations to arms control policy, and from defense to health related issues. Therefore, it is in the interest of the nation to have a cadre of scientists and engineers helping to make key decisions. Yet, we have a dearth of scientists and engineers in im
Setting A Science Agenda For The Presidential Candidates
Setting A Science Agenda For The Presidential Candidates
Are science and technology being shortchanged in the current presidential race? So far, the campaign has focused on past policies and mistakes, not future directions. The talk about tomorrow has been nothing more than stirring rhetoric about making the United States great again, bringing it back, and other equally vague promises. Missing is any specific debate about science and technology (see The Scientist, June 27, 1988, page 1). Both George Bush and Michael Dukakis are “for” t
Why The Scientist Welcomes Corrections
Why The Scientist Welcomes Corrections
A certain amount of error in science is inevitable; in fact, the correction of errors and the retraction of incorrect or premature conclusions is expected as part of the normal process and progress of science. Errors come in many varieties. Scientists, like everyone can be careless or inattentive. Such errors are preventable. But there are other errors that scientists make that are almost unavoidable, as when a conclusion, based on accurate experiments and current knowledge, is later shown to
AIDS In The USA: People, Papers, And Funding
AIDS In The USA: People, Papers, And Funding
“Better late than never,” one might say about the U.S. federal government’s response to AIDS, first identified in 1981. Only in the past few years has the government moved aggressively to fund the battle against the epidemic. Today, al- though federal funding has greatly increased, many continue to believe that it is still below what it should be. In the spring of 1987, AIDS researcher and immunochemist Paul Naylor of George Washington University called for a tripling of the
New Software Programs Aim To Support Group Writing Projects
New Software Programs Aim To Support Group Writing Projects
It’s hard enough for most scientists to organize their thoughts and present them logically on paper. But when a group gets together to create a document—a departmental grant application, for example, or a jointly authored research paper—the complications tend to increase geometrically. Typically, one member of a group drafts a document. Then the other participants circulate the work in progress, scribbling notes in the margins and throughout the text. By the time the annota
With Lighter Weight, Readable Screens, Laptops Are Becoming More Attractive
With Lighter Weight, Readable Screens, Laptops Are Becoming More Attractive
For almost 10 years, I’ve been looking for a truly portable computer to take into the field. But at 28 pounds, the first portables—the Osborne and the Kaypro—deserved the term “luggables;” it took a sumo wrestler or a defensive lineman to really feel comfortable car- rying them. The same was true for the first 32-pound Compaq “portable.” The problem was the CRT. It was heavy—even Osborne’s 9-inch version—and together with the associ
Chemical Waste Disposal: A Moral, Legal, And Economic Problem
Chemical Waste Disposal: A Moral, Legal, And Economic Problem
In the laboratory, chemicals are measured by the gram or kilogram rather than by the ton or kiloton as they are in industry. The cost involved with disposal of hazardous chemicals tends to be inversely proportional to the volume of waste, so the disposal cost per pound is usually much higher for laboratory waste than for industrial waste. As a result, laboratories should recognize not only the usual moral and legal reasons for minimizing their waste, but economic reasons as well. Five general

Briefs

Government Briefs
Government Briefs
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is supposed to coordinate federal policy on science. But low-profile science adviser William Graham, even after 20 months on the job, occasionally still finds himself on the outside looking in. The latest snub is a new report from the Office of Technology Assessment on ways to improve U.S. efforts to commercialize high-temperature superconductivity [to get the report, call (202) 783-3238 and ask for GPO 052-003-01112-3; the price is $8].
National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is supposed to be one of the government’s most secure weapons facilities, but when an in-house investigator wanted to test the sobriety of its support personnel, all he had to do was sign on as a truck driver for a firm that delivers supplies to the lab. He found he had instant access to much of the lab, and within a week he had made his first drug buy. The implications of his easy access to a high security facility may have been lost on the press.
Private Institute Briefs
Private Institute Briefs
It’s not often that spiders are a gift of fellowship. It’s perhaps even less often that they are received with enthusiasm. Yet the unlikely occurred in May when the Smithsonian Institution and the Republic of Madagascar signed a protocol to strengthen cooperation in natural science and conservation. The protocol is another step in Madagascar’s recognition of its large number of unique species and habitats. In honor of the new alliance, Madame Lala Rakotovao, director of the C
University Briefs
University Briefs
Wbrried that gene-splicers will create killer potatoes or rampaging soybeans? Rest easy, says a new report from the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell. The report concludes that field tests of crop plants that have been genetically altered to resist insects or disease pose little risk to the environment. It also chides the government for imposing generous restrictions for the testing and use of gene-spliced plants, but not of new varieties produced by traditional techniques
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
TPA could just as well stand for Target of Patent Attack. Tissue plasminogen activator, a drug that dissolves blood clots in heart attack victims, has ignited another dispute. On June 14, Monsanto was granted a narrow patent for its naturally derived version of TPA. Meanwhile, back in South San Francisco, Genentech received broad patent protection for TPA—one that covers the drug regardless of how it is derived—on June 21. The company then immediately filed suit against Wellcome Fo
Entrepreneur Briefs
Entrepreneur Briefs
Small Businesses: Advice And Money Dollars are available and deadlines are imminent for proposals to the Small Business Innovation Research program—plus, if you have already tried and failed, a couple of conferences might set you straight. SBIR, run by 11 participating federal agencies, funds research “of a high risk nature that may have excellent commercial potential.” Phase I SBIR awards—which range from $20,000 to $50,000 for a six-month effort—can be crucial so
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
The Astronomy News Hotline, sponsored by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, has a new number: (415) 337-1244. The Hotline’s recorded message—which is available to callers around the clock and has been in continuous operation since 1976, relays new discoveries in astronomy, special celestial events, and other items of interest to stargazers and armchair astronomers. It is written and produced by astronomer Sherwood Harrington, staff member of the Astronomical Society of the Pa
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
Wanted: Young Talent for $500,000 Prize The National Science Foundation is looking for promising young researchers in any field of science, mathematics, or engineering to consider for the 1989 Alan T. Waterman Award. Honoring NSF’s first director, the award encourages “further high quality research,” with a prize of up to $500,000 per year for three years of research or advanced study. The award grant is made to the institution of the recipient’s choice and is administer

Opinion

On The Trail Of Vitamin A With A Distinguished Biochemist
On The Trail Of Vitamin A With A Distinguished Biochemist
(Ed. note: After a distinguished career devoted to plant biochemistry and the study of vitamin synthesis, Trevor Goodwin retired in 1983 as Johnston Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Liverpool. He was highly influential in shaping the course of British science, serving in such key science groups as the University Grants Committee and the Council of the Royal Society. He also authored widely used textbooks and recently completed a history of the U.K Biochemical Society. Here, Goodwi
Why Do Scientists Travel? For Applause, Of Course
Why Do Scientists Travel? For Applause, Of Course
An ecological study of scientists conducted in the pre-jet plane era concluded that the likeliest place to find a scientist was at O’Hare airport in Chicago. Now, a similar statement can be made about important international airports, such as Heathrow in London and Orly in Paris. Every terminal seems to be populated with scientists on the move. Why do scientists travel? Hans Selye, the father of the concept of stress, wrote that scientists are not motivated by fortune, but by fame. The

Letter

Letters
Letters
"Radiation Questions," by F.M. BUTTERWORTH "Achieving World Peace," by LOUIS A.P. BALAZS "Physics Collapse," by LAWRENCE CRANBERG "Publishing Alternatives," by THOMAS D. BROCK "We Hope So Too," by ANDREW N. ROWAN Rosalyn S. Yalow’s opinion essay (The Scientist, June 13, 1988, page 11) is interesting but avoids the real threat of radiation: mutation. She describes a variety of inconclusive studies about low levels of radiation and cancer but misses the main point. Radiation ca

Hot Paper

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
The articles listed below—all less than a year old—have received a substantially greater number of citations than others of the same type and vintage. A citation-tracking algorithm of the Institute for Scientific Information has identified these articles. M. Akam, “The molecular basis for metameric pattern in Drosophila embryo,” Development, 101 (1), 1-22, September 1987. M. Hong, S.H. Liou, J. Kwo, B.A. Davidson, “Superconducting Y-Ba-Cu-O oxide films by sputt

Research

We Must Try To Bridge The Gap Between Biological And Chemical Sciences
We Must Try To Bridge The Gap Between Biological And Chemical Sciences
Chemical language has great asthetic beauty and links the physical sciences to the biological sciences. Unfortunately, the full use of this language to understand life processes is hindered by a gulf that separates chemistry from biology. This gulf is not nearly as wide as that between the humanities and and sciences, on which C.P. Snow focused attention. Yet, chemistry and biology are two distinctive cultures and the rift between them Is serious, generally unappreciated, and counterproductive.
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The Scientist has asked a group of experts to periodically comment upon recent articles that they have found noteworthy. Their selections, presented here In every issue, are neither endorsements of content nor the result of systematic searching. Rather they are personal choices of articles they believe the scientific community as a whole may also find interesting. Reprints of any articles cited here may be ordered through The Genuine Article, 3501 Markst St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19104, or by tel
Illinois First Among States In Boosting Research Output
Illinois First Among States In Boosting Research Output
To determine and compare scientific performance of nations, states, institutions, and individuals, researchers can reach for a variety of measures. One can measure number of articles or total citations or citations per paper—the latter adding a qualitative component to the analysis. There are other methods, too, such as calculating changes in percentage share of articles in a journal set. The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) has just completed such an analysis focusing on scien

Profession

Collective Bargaining Seen As Boon To Science Salaries
Collective Bargaining Seen As Boon To Science Salaries
Physics professors, on the average, are paid higher salaries than their biology, chemistry, and mathematics counterparts. And full professors in all scientific disciplines tend to earn more in private colleges and universities than those in state-supported institutions. However, the scientists in more than one-third of those state-supported schools—including the physicists—would be making a lot less money than they do now if it weren’t for collective bargaining. These are a
Science Grants
Science Grants
Below is a list of notable grants recently awarded in the sciences—large federal grants as well as awards of all sizes from private foundations. The Individual cited with each entry is the project’s principal investigator. BIOMEDICINE: New devices in international cardiology; $100,000 from Rich Foundation, Atlanta, Ga., to Emory University’s Dr. Andreas Grundawit Research Center, Atlanta; G. Rueben The Lucille P Markey Charitable Trust, Miami, Fla., awarded the following fou
NSF Increases Japan Research Opportunities
NSF Increases Japan Research Opportunities
Scientists may find this a better year than usual to get grants either from or through the National Science Foundation to do research in Japan, thanks to an infusion of funding support from the U.S. government and two Japanese organizations. The NSF’s U.S.-Japan Cooperative Science Program received $800,000 more than it did last year, doubling its budget, according to program manager Larry Weber. NSF will use the money for four programs. " Long-term Stays in Japan. U.S. scientists and
Oxford Names Blumberg As Balliol Master
Oxford Names Blumberg As Balliol Master
In a break with tradition, Balliol College, one of Oxford University’s 35 colleges, has named Baruch S. Blumberg of Philadelphia, Pa., as its next Master. Nobel prizewinner Blumberg is both the first United States citizen and the first scientist elected to head the college, which traditionally chooses scholars from the humanities. Succeeding medieval philosopher Anthony Kenny, Blumberg, vice president of population oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, will assume the mastership in Sept
Biologist Hood Uses Loose Reins To Guide 'Gang of 70'
Biologist Hood Uses Loose Reins To Guide 'Gang of 70'
Around the California Institute of Technology, members of Leroy Hood’s lab occasionally call themselves the “Gang of 70.” In fact, the precise number working for one of the world’s top biologists changes constantly with the natural ebb and flow of graduate students, postdoctorates, and technical staff. But the spirit of the nickname remains constant: Hood’s team is big, anywhere from eight to 10 times bigger than the typical academic lab team. However, the group m

Technology

Product Options Increase In DNA Sequencing Arena
Product Options Increase In DNA Sequencing Arena
DNA sequence analysis is one of the pivotal methods of modern molecular biology. It plays a central role in virtually every project that involves the cloning, characterization, and manipulation of RNA or DNA. Since the development of rapid sequencing techniques in the early 1970s, more than 20 million bases have been sequenced by manual techniques. This DNA sequencing has all been accomplished with either of two techniques: the enzymatic method of sequencing, developed by Sanger and Coulson,

Books etc.

How Do We Deal With Our Endangered Ecosystem?
How Do We Deal With Our Endangered Ecosystem?
THE STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT: A View Toward The Nineties The Conservation Foundation staff The Conservation Foundation; Washington; 614 pages; $19.95 This comprehensive report presents an excellent outline of environmental concerns in the table of contents; it adds focus, intent, and narrative in the executive summary, and it challenges a new generation of environmentalists in the overview. While this volume is called a report, it could readily be adopted as a text for a senior interdiscipli
Tracking The Progress Of Today's Brain 'Technology'
Tracking The Progress Of Today's Brain 'Technology'
NEUROCOMPUTING: Foundations Of Research James A. Anderson and Edward Rosenfeld, editors MIT Press; Cambridge; 729 pages; $55 Brain science, neural computation and traditional artificial intelligence, perhaps more than most fields, seem to lack definitive textbooks. Instead they give rise to classic papers or multiauthored compendia such as this volume, which fits in squarely with other such important multiauthored landmark works as Principles of Neural Science, Handbook of Artificial Intelli
Also Notable
Also Notable
MATHEMATICS AND THE UNEXPECTED Ivar Ekeland University of Chicago Press; Chicago; 146 pages; $19.95 Ekeland writes, “This is the task I have set myself to accomplish: to sum up, in a few pictures;, the mathematics of time, which is the common background of much of contemporary science.” Like art, science has its compelling images, he argues—planets revolving around the sun in elliptical orbits, or more recently, Arnold’s cat, Smale’s horseshoe, and Thom’s c
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