July 1992

News

U. Delaware Reaches Accord On Race Studies
U. Delaware Reaches Accord On Race Studies
Professors hotly debated it, students protested it, and volumes of legal documents were drafted concerning it. But after nearly 2 1/2 years of turmoil, controversial race research at the University of Delaware will be allowed to continue. On April 29, the university's administration quietly reached a settlement of a labor grievance with two educational studies professors, allowing them to accept previously blocked funds for conducting research into the relationship between race and intelligen
Honor Society Sigma Xi Strives To Bolster Image And Membership
Honor Society Sigma Xi Strives To Bolster Image And Membership
Under new leadership, the huge science organization hopes to overcome inertia and lay claim to status as the `voice' of science During his 19-year tenure at the helm of Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Polytechnic University, engineer George Buglia-rello took an ailing institution and made it a contender in the scientific community. Last week, when Bugliarello assumed a one-year term as president of Sigma Xi, the 101,600-member scientific honor society, he said he hopes to accomplish much the same goal in a f
Lawsuit Spurs Debate Over PCAST Meetings: Should They Be Open To Press And Public?
Lawsuit Spurs Debate Over PCAST Meetings: Should They Be Open To Press And Public?
Some researchers question the aura of secrecy that surrounds the presidential panel's closed-door sessions on science policy Scientists around the United States appear to be at loggerheads over the question, brought to the fore by a recent lawsuit, of whether the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST) should be conducting a greater portion of its work in meetings that are open to the press and public. On one hand, some, including PCAST members, say that discussing
NRC Project Aims To Change Early Science Education
NRC Project Aims To Change Early Science Education
If Karen Worth and her colleagues on a National Research Council project have their way, it won't be long before the traditional three R's of childhood classrooms--reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic--are expanded to include an "S," for science. Worth, an education instructor at Wheelock College in Boston, is playing a lead role in a recently launched NRC initiative focusing on precollege education, specifically on the status of science as a vital ingredient in K-12 curricula. The fledgling eff
NASA Search For Extraterrestrials Faces Uncertain Funding Future
NASA Search For Extraterrestrials Faces Uncertain Funding Future
It sits nestled in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration budget, drawing a scant one-tenth of 1 percent of the $15 billion total, yet the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is singled out on an almost annual basis for congressional flagellation. And this year is no exception--even as NASA gears up for the October inception of a 10-year effort to tune in radio signals from advanced alien civilizations. The problem for SETI, congressional staffers say, is the "giggle fa
Secret Science In Cold War's Aftermath: Who's Peeking?
Secret Science In Cold War's Aftermath: Who's Peeking?
The Cold War is over, but government-imposed secrecy in United States science has not been relaxed, say many scientists and policy analysts. They add that more harm than good is being done by continuing the classification system at peak levels, asserting that the process of science, like that of democracy, thrives on the free exchange of information. And, while some of them disagree as to whether secrecy is on the increase or decrease in science, most say that the legal authority for a class

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
NIH-Approved Munchies Picnic Alert Cleopatra's Secret? His Nominations Big Dipper Bio-Serv, a Frenchtown, N.J., manufacturer of food for experimental animals, is serving up a new product for laboratory primates: Golden Squares, a banana-flavored treat that the company recommends feeding to the animals once a week. Sales manager Hilton J. Sigfried says Golden Squares was developed as "a treat that's nutritionally complete" in response to NIH and USDA regulations that handlers "manipulat

Opinion

In Science, Commitment And Opportunism Work Side By Side
In Science, Commitment And Opportunism Work Side By Side
A lifetime commitment to science offers great personal rewards. But, as the notion of commitment implies, those rewards come with strings attached. There must be a commitment to work hard, to think clearly, and to act decisively. In brief, there must be a commitment to excellence. This quality, of course, is sought in every profession--in the corporate boardroom, among military staff, on the athletic field, on the concert stage, and in the airline cockpit--as well as at the laboratory bench.

Commentary

Our Academies Are Responsible To Society As Well As to Science
Our Academies Are Responsible To Society As Well As to Science
"The concern for man and his destiny," said Albert Einstein, "must always be the chief interest of all technical effort: Never forget it among your diagrams and equations." All science academies and societies must live up to this call for social engagement. I by no means suggest that basic science be given short shrift. Indeed, robust research must be encouraged more today than ever before. Nor do I recommend diluting such traditional functions of professional groups as the sponsorship of sp

Letter

Endorsement For NIH Plan
Endorsement For NIH Plan
The recent front-page story in The Scientist titled "Scientists Skeptical Of NIH Strategic Plan" (May 11, 1992) does not fully represent the views of the scientific community. I attended two of the five regional National Institutes of Health strategic plan meetings and did not sense the strong criticism and skepticism that the story indicated. One had to read to the very end of the story to reach the conclusions. I am afraid that not all of the readers saw the statement that "Despite initial
Animal Research
Animal Research
On page 1 of your May 25, 1992, issue, you state that "the emotional battle over animal welfare is heating up--with many researchers finding themselves caught in the middle." To make matters worse, the article on Americans for Medical Progress (AMP) on page 8 concludes with a statement by Martin Stephens of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) implying that AMP ads contribute to a dilemma, with readers having to decide if they are "either for sick children or for the welfare of rats."

Research

Earthquake Prediction: Research Funding On Shaky Ground?
Earthquake Prediction: Research Funding On Shaky Ground?
When the field of earthquake prediction took off in the mid- 1970s, seismologists had high hopes of finding geologic warning signs that would allow them to issue timely evacuation notices. But after years of inconclusive research, only a determined few of these investigators are still engaged in the effort to predict earthquakes, as federal support shifts to general studies designed to minimize quake aftereffects. "It isn't as easy as we thought it was going to be 15 years ago," says Jim Sav

Hot Paper

Chemical Physics
Chemical Physics
S. Uchida, T. Ido, H. Takagi, T. Arami, Y. Tokara, S. Tajima, "Optical spectra of La2-xSrxCuO4: Effect of carrier doping on the electronic structure of the CuO2 plane," Physical Review B, 43:7942-54, 1991. S. Uchida (University of Tokyo): "This paper has revealed the evolution of the electronic structure with doping in high-Tc superconductivity materials by the first detailed study of the optical spectrum on good-quality single crystals."The results and insights obtained in this work are not
Chemical Physics
Chemical Physics
J.H. Weaver, J.L. Martins, T. Komeda, Y. Chen, T.R. Ohno, G.H. Kroll, N. Troullier, R.E. Huntler, R.E. Smalley, "Electronic structure of solid C60: Experiment and theory," Physical Review Letters, 66:1741-44, 1991. John Weaver (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis): "The synthesis of macroscopic quantities of C60 has made it possible to explore the properties of fullerenes in the solid state, allowing comparison to gas phase results to determine the extent to which the molecule retains its m
Particle Physics
Particle Physics
J. Ellis, G.L. Fogli, "New bounds on mt and first bounds on MH from precision electroweak data," Physics Letters B, 249:543-50, 1990. John Ellis (CERN, Geneva, Switzerland): "The Standard Model needs two as-yet-undiscovered particles for its completion: the top quark, which is heavier than the other five quarks that make up all known nuclear matter; and the Higgs boson, which would originate the masses of all the elementary particles. These undiscovered particles now constitute the `Holy Grai
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
S.J. Baker, S. Markowitz, E.R. Fearon, J.K.V. Willson, B. Vogelstein, "Suppression of human colorectal carcinoma cell growth by wild- type p53,"Science, 249:912-15, 1990. S.J. Baker, A.C. Preisinger, J.M. Jessup, et al., "p53 gene mutations occur in combination with 17p allelic deletions as late events in colorectal tumorigenesis," Cancer Research, 50:7717-22, 1990. Bert Vogelstein (Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, Baltimore, Md.): "Cancer represents not one disease but hundreds. Accordingly,
Chemical Physics
Chemical Physics
J.M. Hawkins, A. Meyer, T.A. Lewis, S. Loren, F.J. Hollander, "Crystal structure of osmylated C60: Confirmation of the soccer ball framework," Science, 252:312-13, 1991. Joel Hawkins (University of California, Berkeley): "We view C60 as an organic compound that happens to contain only carbon. As a discrete molecular species, it is set up for selective chemical manipulation through organic reactions. Specifically, these reactions involve the addition of chemical functional groups."Our additio
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
N. Kato, M. Hijikata, Y. Ootsuyama, M. Nakagawa, et al., "Molecular cloning of the human hepatitis C virus genome from Japanese patients with non-A, non-B hepatitis," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 87:9524-28, 1990. Nobuyuki Kato (National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo): "Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the major etiological agent of posttransfusional non-A, non-B hepatitis (NANBH) throughout the world. NANBH frequently develops into chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis and

Technology

New Microwave Digestion Technology Is Aiming For Safety
New Microwave Digestion Technology Is Aiming For Safety
Sample preparation can be unpleasant, tedious, and time- consuming, but its careful execution is the backbone of a successful laboratory test or experiment. As many researchers are aware, some of the most demanding sample preparation procedures are called digestions. The aim of this process, like biological digestion, is to break a sample down into more basic constituents, but for analysis rather than for food use. Time, heat, and strong acids, oxidants, and bases are the agents of the proce

Profession

Textbook Authors Caution: Write For Love, Not Recognition
Textbook Authors Caution: Write For Love, Not Recognition
Finals are finished, students are gone, and at long last peace pervades the campus. Many a science professor is entertaining the notion that now is the perfect time to write a textbook. They know the material well, the professors reason, so it shouldn't take long, and having a text under their belts might even provide a boost up the promotion and tenure ladders. If you are having such thoughts, think again, many textbook authors advise. For one thing, they say, writing a textbook takes years
Growth In Number Of Start-Up Companies Drives Computer Scientists' Pay Increases
Growth In Number Of Start-Up Companies Drives Computer Scientists' Pay Increases
Salaries for computer scientists specializing in software design rose last year over 1990 levels, according to a recently released survey by the Massachusetts Computer Software Council. Pay increases were attributable to a growth in the number of start-up companies, which offered new job opportunities for software professionals, council officials say. While the recession eliminated jobs at larger companies, particularly among defense contractors and computer manufacturers, computer scientist
People: New Dean At Seattle University Wants To See More Women In Science Roles
People: New Dean At Seattle University Wants To See More Women In Science Roles
Kathleen Mailer says that she has been in some ludicrous predicaments. The worst, says the professor of chemistry and dean of science at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada, is when she has attended meetings with the Canadian deans of science--and found she was the only woman. "I would think to myself, `This is a really stupid situation.' To be the only woman in science is simply not normal." The incident, she says, is representative of the ongoing problem of underrepresentation of women in
People: Carnegie Institution Of Washington Names MIT Geophysicist As Department Director
People: Carnegie Institution Of Washington Names MIT Geophysicist As Department Director
During his 20 years as a professor of geophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sean Carl Solomon has led students toward a greater understanding of the principles of planetary seismology. Now, as the new director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM), he will have the opportunity to encourage his fellow scientists in the same direction. In September, Solomon will oversee the Washington D.C.-based DTM, one of five research departments of the C