News

Older Centers Aided by NSF Working Well
Older Centers Aided by NSF Working Well
Long before NSF Director Erich Bloch began beating the drums for multimilliondollar interdisciplinary research centers, foundation officials quietly embarked on a program to provide seed money for smaller cooperative research efforts between universities and industry. The program, which since 1979 has stimulated the creation of more than 40 such centers at schools around the country, offers valuable lessons in how to build industrial ties without sacrificing the quality of scientific research on
Japan, Stalled On Frontier Science Plan
Japan, Stalled On Frontier Science Plan
Japan's effort to launch an international program in basic biological research has stalled again amid continued confusion over its specifics, according to U.S. and Japanese sources familiar with the project. The latest setback to the Human Frontier Science Program came earlier this month at the Venice economic summit, where Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone had been expected to unveil an official proposal. Instead, final details of the program remain under wraps, and the seven leaders of major in
HHMI: Bitterness Remains
HHMI: Bitterness Remains
WASHINGTON—Behind Donald Fredrickson's forced resignation June 2 as president and lifetime trustee of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute lies a tale of budget overruns and unorthodox purchasing procedures that HHMI trustees and officials say stem from his wife's active and inappropriate role at the institute. "It's big and it's bad," said HHMI chairman George Thorn about the results of the six-month review conducted by the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, abo
Genentech's TPA Faced Tougher Test Before FDA
Genentech's TPA Faced Tougher Test Before FDA
WASHINGTON—False assumptions, deficient data, lack of guidelines and a bureaucratic handoff all figured in a federal advisory panel's decision last month not to recommend approval of tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), widely touted as biotechnology's first "blockbuster" drug. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel's action stunned Genentech Inc., the South San Francisco company that had hoped to begin marketing the blood clot-dissolving drug this summer. The company said it hopes to
NSF Plan to Fund Center Surprises Two 'Partners'
NSF Plan to Fund Center Surprises Two 'Partners'
WASHINGTON—National Science Foundation officials are hoping that an arranged marriage between Duke University and the National Institutes of Health will extend NSF's engineering research centers into the life sciences and provide a model for other joint ventures by federal research agencies. But progress has been slow because, as with most such marriages, the couple was the last to know. This spring the National Science Board agreed to spend up to $32 million over the next five years to cr
Thatcher Plans to Do More With Less
Thatcher Plans to Do More With Less
LONDON—Prime Minister Thatcher's landslide victory in Britain's general election June 11 means that U.K. science is unlikely to receive more money from her Conservative government. Instead, the scientific community is bracing for changes designed to make better use of existing funds. The state of British science rarely surfaced in a campaign pre occupied with welfare and defense. Although both main opposition parties—Labour and the alliance of the Liberals and Social Demo crats̵
UK Expeditionary Group Mixes Science and Sport
UK Expeditionary Group Mixes Science and Sport
LONDON—Joe Bradwell and his party of 25 were due to leave England this week on the latest in a series of highly unusual scientffic excursions. Their destination this year is the Karakoram range of mountains in the Himalayas, where they will continue studies on altitude sickness that have im proved strategies for combating this condition—and earned them a considerable reputation for self-experimentation. It is 11 years since A.R. (Joe) Bradwell got together with fellow physicians John
NIH to Fund Genome Grants
NIH to Fund Genome Grants
WASHlNGTON—The National Institutes of Health has invited investigators to apply for grants in two key areas related to the mapping and sequencing of the human genome. The announcement is the latest step in the federal government's expanding efforts to mobilize the research community for this billion-dollar project. The announcement, which appeared in the May 29 issue of the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts (Vol. 16. no. 18), represents a continuation of policies outlined at a meeting las
U.S. Science Dept. Plan Reprised
U.S. Science Dept. Plan Reprised
WASHINGTON—The bandwagon on Capitol Hill to boost American competitiveness has breathed new life into proposals to place federal science agencies under one roof. In recent weeks, Rep. George E. Brown Jr. (D-Calif.) has reintroduced bills to create a federal Department of Science and Technology and a new agency, the National Policy and Technology Foundation, to coordinate research and efforts to translate knowledge into products. Brown has introduced similar measures in the past, without n
Graham's Appointees Mirror His Credentials
Graham's Appointees Mirror His Credentials
WASHINGTON—In eight months as presidential science adviser, William Graham has built a staff that has extensive defense and technical experience but few ties to the mainstream academic community. His latest appointment is the Department of Energy's Beverly Berger, who took over April 1 as assistant director for life sciences in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She replaces Robert Rabin, who returned to the National Science Foundation after 18 months at OSTP to coordinate
Farm Crop Research Bill Draws Praise, Scorn
Farm Crop Research Bill Draws Praise, Scorn
WASHINGTON—A new federal agricultural research program, funded at $75 million annually over the next 20 years, has been proposed to "develop and produce marketable products other than traditional food and fiber products." The research program would be administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with assistance from an independent New Products Research Board to be created. The law would require USDA to fund at least 15 research projects within two years of the act's passage; each pro
West Germans Debate Research Indicators
West Germans Debate Research Indicators
WEST BERLIN—With a rising pro portion of the budget going to re search, the West German government has become increasingly interested in finding a way to mea sure the quality of the work it is supporting. Its growing interest has triggered a reaction from academics, who argue that such indicators do not give a complete and accurate picture of the academic landscape and that, if used to determine funding, they could disrupt or reduce the current allocation to the nation's universities. The
States Study Economic Conversion
States Study Economic Conversion
BOSTON—An informal network of local and state activists is using economic rather than political arguments in a campaign to divert spending on military R&D to civilian projects. The effort to reduce a local economy's dependence on defense con tracts and replace it with a variety of civilian R&D projects is known most often as economic conversion, although it goes by a variety of other names. Based on a desire to avoid the historical fluctuations in funding that have plagued communities who
Group Works to Bring U.S. Back in Touch With UNESCO
Group Works to Bring U.S. Back in Touch With UNESCO
WASHINGTON—Operating with plenty of optimism and a shoestring budget, the non-profit Americans for the Universality of UNESCO (AUU) is working to narrow the gap between the United States and the U.N. agency it abandoned in 1984. "Unfortunately," said William Treanor, who serves as the organization's Washington representative, "under [the Reagan] administration we're pretty much a candle in the hurricane." The group's newsletter, distributed to 1,200 Americans and more than 2,000 persons ab
Ponnamperuma on Promoting Third World Science
Ponnamperuma on Promoting Third World Science
Chemist and exobiologist Cyril Ponnamperuma was born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and took a degree in philosophy at the University of Madras. He went on to study chemistry at Birkbeck College in London under crystallographer J.D. Bernal, a pioneer in studies of the origin of life. After receiving a Ph.D. in 1962 from the University of California, Berkeley, Ponreamperuma joined NASA'S Exobiology Division and kiter became chief of its chemical evolution branch. Since 1971 he has directed the Lab ora

Commentary

NATO's Strategy for Science
NATO's Strategy for Science
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) unites 16 nations in a military and political alliance for the defense of the West. But there is a lesser-known and nonmilitary third dimension to NATO—its activities to foster cooperation in civilian science, both basic and applied. NATO's involvement in science rests on its 30-year old agreement that a strong, dynamic alliance requires a sense of community based upon a common cultural heritage, of which science and technology form an importa

Letter

Letters
Letters
Ditta Bartels' view that the Victorian government's Infertility (Medical Procedures) Act of 1984 is the correct model for regulating in vitro fertilization (IVF) (The Scientist, April 6, 1987, p. 11) is not an opinion that is necessarily widely shared. Even the Attorney General of Victoria who prepared the legislation told Time Australia (March 23rd, 1987) that embryo experimentation "raises the very fundamental question that some things are better left unsaid. I'm not saying that I espouse that

Opinion

The Pugwash Conference Turns 30
The Pugwash Conference Turns 30
On July 7 the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs will be 30 years old. Most international institutions serve their original purpose well for 10-15 years and then decline, but continue to linger on. The more successful the institution, the longer it lingers, perhaps in the hopes that its past successes will be repeated. Pugwash seems to be a case in point. It has already begun to fade away, leaving its goal of complete nuclear disarmament still totally unfulfilled. During its lifetim
Tropical Biology: A Legacy of Neglect
Tropical Biology: A Legacy of Neglect
Unlike most scientific fields, conservation biology rests on an explicit ethical principle: biological diversity is valuable in itself, irrespective of the economic or practical value particular species. A corollary is that untimely extinction of populations or species is bad. The highest priority of conservation biology is to design and establish viable parks in the tropics, where options for preserving biological diversity are quickly being fore closed. Some pioneering projects in conservatio
Why You Should Typeset Your Papers
Why You Should Typeset Your Papers
Throughout our scientific careers we are continually judged by the way we present our ideas, methods and results. Although it is generally agreed that scientific work should be judged only on its scientific merits, we all know of excellent papers that were poorly presented at a national meeting, and further handicapped by unreadable slides that compromised some exciting ideas. Intuitively, it is almost trivial to assume that not only the content, but also the presentation governs the effect of o
AIDS Commission Needs Gay Panelists
AIDS Commission Needs Gay Panelists
EDITOR'S NOTE: In late May, the White House announced that it would not appoint an openly gay person to the president's new commission on acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Gary L. Bauer, the president's domestic policy adviser, said the administration was opposed to naming a member to the commission—recommended last year by the National Academy of Sciences—solely because he or she was gay. June Osborn, dean of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, organized a group o
Who's That Whale Behind Those Foster Grants?
Who's That Whale Behind Those Foster Grants?
My friend Goodbeaker has had one of the more quilted scientific careers I know of, yet one that somehow always seems to follow the cutting edge of research. An academic biologist of no great repute, she thought her career was made last year when her department chairman fled the groves of academe for Turkey in search of Noah's Ark. Passed over for promotion, she languished teaching freshmen the difference between sperm and ova until eight weeks ago when she somehow jumped on the superconducter ba

Perspective

Kicking Joe McCarthy Out of the Lab
Kicking Joe McCarthy Out of the Lab
In April 1954, I was one of thousands of biomedical scientists who gathered as usual for the annual meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). On this occasion, however, we received an unexpected shock. Rumors were circulating—with circumstantial detail that left little doubt as to their truth—that some highly regarded investigators, previously supported in their unclassified research by the U.S. Public Health Service, had found their grant appl

Technology

Selling Mathematics to the Media
Selling Mathematics to the Media
A New Year's review of 1986 in the British newspaper The Guardian included a collective obituary of public figures who had died during that year. There were long sections devoted to the arts, politics and sports. The only scientists mentioned were part of a ragbag collection of Nobel Prize winners (including the Peace Prize) and buried in the middle of them was—of all people—Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, of Scientology fame. As Old Mother Time begins to close her net curtains on this dec

Books etc.

An Adept and Amusing Analysis of Science
An Adept and Amusing Analysis of Science
Science in Action. Bruno Latour. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1987. 274 pp. $25. Sacrebleu! This is science? Forget those preconceptions now comfortably a part of how you see science and the sociology of it, or how you see nature and society. Here instead we have sketches of Janus: on the left a graybeard tells us that "Nature is the cause that allowed controversies to be settled"; on the right, a more youthful half-face tells us that "Nature will be the consequence of settlement." A
Chinese Explorations and Contributions
Chinese Explorations and Contributions
Science and Technology in Chinese Civilization Cheng-Yih Chen, ed. World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1987. 352 pp. £55.70. This beautifully produced book is a collection of edited papers originally prepared for one of two conferences held in the summer of 1985—the 17th International Congress of the History of Science, in Berkeley, and the San Diego Workshop on the History of Science and Technology in Chinese Civilization. The 14 papers, a fair sample of current research, ran
M. C. Escher: Master of Tessellation
M. C. Escher: Master of Tessellation
M.C. ESCHER: Art and Science. H.S.M. Coxeter, M. Emmer, R. Penrose and M.L Teuber, eds. Elsevier, New York, 1986. 402 pp. $50. Who has failed to notice that exposition in the mathematical sciences is more pictorial lately? Today, it is not uncommon to find technical mathematics illustrated with drawings. And not just with elaborate symbols which, before the morning coffee, resemble an intimidating jumble. There have even appeared in august mathematical journals whole articles consisting entirel
The Research Enterprise of the 198Os
The Research Enterprise of the 198Os
The New Alliance: America's R&D Consortia. Dan Dimancescu and James Botkin. Ballinger Publishing Co., Cambridge, MA, 1986. 232 pp. $29.95. In just over 200 pages, the authors of The New Alliance skillfully analyze the mechanics of a question of strategic importance to the future of the United States: can the technology-based consortia of the 1980s make the nation's economy competitive again? The strong and weak forces, as well as the changing nature of 14 representative industry-university-gov
Lavish Look at Islamic Technology
Lavish Look at Islamic Technology
Islamic Technology: An Illustrated History. Ahmad Y. al Hassan and Donald R. Hill. UNESCO and Cambridge University Press, New York, 1987. 304 pp. $39.50. UNESCO sponsorship is a welcome event in the area of Islamic studies. This is particularly true in the case of this excellent treatise, which places Islamic science and technology in its cultural perspective. The book is lavishly furnished with more than 160 illustrations, including photographs—some of rare origin—and schematic draw
A Durable Discourse on Time
A Durable Discourse on Time
The Nature of Time: Raymond Flood and Michael Lockwood, eds. Basil Blackwell, New York, 1987. 187 pp. $19.95. In 1985 the Oxford University Department for External Studies sponsored a series of popular lectures on the nature of time by five physicists and three philosophers. The eight essays that make up this exceptionally well-edited book are based on these lectures. Although they span a wide range of topics and points of view, none presupposes a strong background in either physics or philosoph
Leo Szilard: The First Pugwash
Leo Szilard: The First Pugwash
The Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs turns 30 on July 7. Leo Szilard, the physicist who since 1945 had been proposing just such a meeting of Russian and Western scientists to discuss arms control, was on hand at the first Pugwash gathering, called by Bertrand Russell and financed by Cyrus Eaton. One of the key figures in the Manhattan Project, Szilard had turned his considerable talents and energy to helping the world learn how to "live with the bomb." On August 15, 1957 he drafte
Forthcoming Books
Forthcoming Books
This list of forthcoming books has been complied from the latest information available from publishers Dates of publication, prices and numbers of pages are tentative, however, and are subject to change. Astronomy Galactic Dynamics. James Binney and Scott Tremaine. Princeton University Press: July, 640 pp, HB $75, PB $25. Reviews current theories of the dynamics and structure of stellar systems, such as galaxies and star clusters, and discusses how the observable properties of galaxies are chang

Happenings

Happenings
Happenings
Benoit de Crombrugghe, chief of the gene-regulation section at the National Cancer Institute, has been named chairman of the department of genetics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Hospital and Thmor Institute. De Crombrugghe's research has focused on the analysis and understanding of hereditary cancer and cancer susceptibility. He has been with the National Cancer Institute since 1963. In addition to his appointment as chairman, de Crombrugghe has been named to the first Paul and Mary H

So They Say

So They Say
So They Say
"When there is a fire, you don't check to see if the water has calcium in it," says French researcher Daniel Zagury. "You just throw it on the fire." The fire this time is AIDS, which now infects an estimated five million to 10 million people world-wide, including as much as a quarter of the young adults in some African cities. But Dr. Zagury's firefighting methods have ignited a furor be-cause he used himself as an experimental animal to test an experimental AIDS vaccine. In so doing, he brea

Profession

Supply and Demand for Scientists
Supply and Demand for Scientists
As new graduates in science and engineering are learning, it is not as easy to get job offers as it was two or three years ago. However, as the number of graduates starts to fall with the drop in the college age population, employment opportunities are expected to expand, and many forecasters project significant shortages of EMPs—engineers, math and computer scientists, and physical scientists— through much of the next decade. The key to correct forecasting, of course, is to be able