News

Neurobiology: Science Entrepreneurs' New Wave
Neurobiology: Science Entrepreneurs' New Wave
New Wave Eager venture capitalists and the tools of genetic engineering are opening up medicine’s final frontier: the brain Survey the landscape of recent science startups, and you would notice a trend: Small neurobiology companies are sprouting up on both coasts—an estimated 15 companies have been founded in the past three years. Then stake out the nerve centers of the large pharmaceutical corporations, and you’d find that, one way or another, most of them are pumping big
The Astrophysicist Who 'Hijacked' A Queen
The Astrophysicist Who 'Hijacked' A Queen
What’s a scientist to do when an eclipse is best seen at sea? Commandeer an ocean liner On a dark night last March, the Queen Elizabeth II was sprinting across the Java Sea, tossing aside waves like an impatient leviathan. Nine mighty engines throbbed at full throttle, and the crew navigated through poorly charted waters with all the urgency and care of wartime maneuvers. But the ocean liner wasn’t rushing to deliver troops—as it had during the Falklands conflict--nor even
Science And The Next President
Science And The Next President
Inside the Bush, Dukakis camps: Science advisers are named, but most downplay their role, and their advice seems absent WASHINGTON—With the presidential election hardly more than four months off, U.S. scientists face the possibility of seeing the issues dearest to them ignored in the campaign. While economic and national security questions have been batted back and forth for months now, science policy has yet to be a major topic of discussion for either George Bush or Michael Dukakis.
Networking U.S. Science By The Year 2000
Networking U.S. Science By The Year 2000
Fits and starts in the drive to contruct an information age interstate highway system WASHINGTON—White House science policy analyst, Paul Huray wanted to send the latest draft of an upcoming report on advances in computer technology to members of his intergovernmental Committee on Computer Research and Applications. So he sought an electronic solution. But Huray found that the jumble of networks that now exist couldn’t do the job. Networks balked when ordered to talk to each o
Boston Lab Small Scale, Grand Achievement
Boston Lab Small Scale, Grand Achievement
Geneticist Kunkel shows how breakthroughs can be made without big budgets, big staffs, or big bullies When it comes to tackling scientific problems of enormous difficulty, Louis M. Kunkel’s seven-member team at Boston’s Children’s Hospital proves that it isn’t always necessary to have a big staff or to have a big budget. And it’s not necessary to play rough, either. For five years, Kunkel and his crew have been doggedly pursuing the genetic basis of muscular d
Stargazing On A Shoestring: Astronomy's Grass-Roots Self-Help Movement
Stargazing On A Shoestring: Astronomy's Grass-Roots Self-Help Movement
As federal money flows toward ‘glamour facilities,’ enterprising scientists are raising private funds for smaller scopes For 30 years the big white dome in the Southern California hills was the most important observatory in the world, the home of what one astronomer calls “the grandfather of all modern reflecting telescopes.” But in 1984 light pollution from nearby Los Angeles caught up with Mt. Wilson Observatory and its famous 100-inch Hooker telescope, causing its
Major Drug Firms Also See Potential
Major Drug Firms Also See Potential
The promise of profit in neurobiology is exciting the neurons of venture capitalists all over the country (see accompanying story). It’s also stimulating gray matter at the stoic nerve centers of the pharmaceutical giants. Although they may be loathe to admit it, beneath the traditionally calm exterior at these companies, synapses—and scientists—are jumping. Some of the large companies, of course, have been searching for drugs that affect the central nervous system for years
MIT Cooks Up A Recipe To Make Startups Percolate
MIT Cooks Up A Recipe To Make Startups Percolate
Take one creative scientist-turned-entrepreneur hawking a hot new technology. Sit him next to a venture capitalist hungry for investment opportunities. And, just to mix things up a bit, toss in a corporate executive on the prowl for a new product to bring to market. What have you got? All the ingredients for a potent dish of startup success, says John T. Preston, director of technology licensing for MIT Preston should know. A recent study identified 404 MIT alumni-founded companies in Massac

Commentary

Manage Or Innovate? One Man's Solutions To A Classic Quandary
Manage Or Innovate? One Man's Solutions To A Classic Quandary
First ‘superchemist’ Ed Engler threw corporate hierarchy to the winds, then IBM promoted him for it None of his IBM colleagues would have ever guessed that Edward Engler was about to turn his career upside-down on that February day in 1987. But looking back on it, the signs were there. Everyone knew this about Engler: The 39-year-old chemist was moving smartly along Big Blue’s management track. Already a second-tier manager, he had four laboratory directors reporting to hi
Little Science, Big Science--And Global Science
Little Science, Big Science--And Global Science
The handwriting for the future of federal science funding is on the wall, and Frank Press has read it as well as anybody. In his April 26th speech, the National Academy of Sciences president uttered publicly what many have acknowledged privately. The United States cannot afford to pursue at full tilt its Big Science agenda—the superconducting supercoilider, the human genome project, the space station—without cutting into support for the legions of individual investigators represe
Four Years In The Making: A Superstring Revolution
Four Years In The Making: A Superstring Revolution
In August 1984, M. Green and J. Schwarz ushered in the latest revolution in particle physics with their discovery of mathematically consistent superstring theories. Since then, there has been a vast effort to understand string theory and to bring it to bear on the major unsolved problems of particle physics. Some have hailed it as the final unified theory of everything, while others have damned it as recreational mathematics, theology, or something worse. What is the theory that has caused thi

Briefs

Government Briefs
Government Briefs
Hitting The Magic Billion-Dollar Mark The recent AIDS report by the Institute of Medicine got a lot of play in the press for its criticism of federal efforts on behalf of drug abusers and AIDS sufferers facing discrimination. But the report also contains an important message for researchers. Entitled Confronting AIDS: Update 1988” because it follows up on IOM’s landmark 1986 report, the study calls on the NIH director to evaluate how well the government is spending its money in a s
Private Institute Briefs
Private Institute Briefs
Laying Waste To Hazardous Waste A ton of toxic waste is far worse than a pound—except when it comes to devising treatments for the stuff. “Bitter experience has shown that you cannot learn enough from a beakerful to determine what treatment to use,” explains Glenn Paulson. Paulson directs the Chicago-based Center for Hazardous Waste Management. The EPA has just granted the center a unique permit to accept and store up to 16.5 tons of contaminated substances. The hope is that
University Briefs
University Briefs
I’d Like You To Know Me Better H. T. Kung, professor of computer science at Carnegie-Mellon, had a good thing going. Instead of asking industry for money to fund his research, he would brashly invite companies to bid for the privilege. In the past, this tactic snared top dollars from General Electric, Honeywell, and Intel. But when Kung recently invited 12 major high-tech firms to join him on his latest project, a computer network, he only received sub-par offers. “We were too opti
Entrepreneur Briefs
Entrepreneur Briefs
Perestroika Comes None Too Soon Mikhail Gorbachev’s push to improve health care in the Soviet Union has led the Soviets to the doorstep of a small firm in Falmouth, Mass. Called Associates on Cape Cod, the venture was founded in 1974 by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution microbiologist Stanley Watson and pioneered the commercial use of a substance derived from the blood of horseshoe crabs—limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL)—to test for pyrogens in drugs. The new procedure was c
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Pairing Youth And Experience By combining the long experience of SmithKline Beckman with the scientific expertise of Nova Pharmaceutical, the two drug companies hope to develop new therapies with which to treat central nervous system diseases. Under a partnership announced last month and awaiting stockholder approval, SmithKline Beckman would specifically target $49 million over the next seven years for central nervous system research performed by the Baltimore company (The Scientist, May 16,
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
Public Interest In Science Surges The public’s interest in science has boomed in the last decade and science museums are proliferating in response. According to preliminary findings of an international study conducted by the Association of Science-Technology Centers, attendance at U.S. science centers grew 38% from 1979 to 1986. In addition, 16% of the 131 institutions responding said they had been founded within the past seven years. Even more indicative of the growth trend: four out o
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
A Noble Gesture Toward Plant Biology The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, long active in medical research and agriculture, is taking bids on building a laboratory and recruiting staff for a new division of plant biology. By September of this year, the foundation hopes to have a core of 20 of its own researchers, which will expand to 40 in the next four or five years. The division will fund in-house research as well as supporting labs at other institutions. Plant biologist Richard Dixon arrive

Opinion

U.S. Competitiveness Will Suffer If We Don't Build It Now
U.S. Competitiveness Will Suffer If We Don't Build It Now
During the last two decades, space officials assumed that there would be a smooth and continuous transition from numerous, extended-duration space shuffle flights in the late 1980s to a large orbiting space station by 1992. We know now that this logical evolution in our capabilities will not occur; a large gap has been created by the Challenger loss and the delay in the availability of the space station. In order to keep the United States and U.S. industry competitive, we need to fill this
Does The U.S. Need The Private Space Station?
Does The U.S. Need The Private Space Station?
  Volume 2, #12 The Scientist June 27, 1988 Does The U.S. Need The Private Space Station?   U.S. competitiveness will suffer if we don't build it now, by Gregg R. Fawkes Let's find out who will use it before we waste a billion dollars, by John Pike Date: June 27, 1988 Two years ago, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger etched its searing images on minds of the U.S. public—and crippled the country’s space effort Experiments, satellites, and
Let's Find Out Who Will Use It Before We Waste A Billion Dollars
Let's Find Out Who Will Use It Before We Waste A Billion Dollars
The tragic loss of the space shuttle Challenger has not only disrupted the U.S. space program, it has also disrupted the process for planning the program. The current debate over the manned space station and the commercially developed space facility, an unmanned platform that would be launched and serviced by the shuttle in the early 1990s, is symptomatic of the present disarray. NASA’s problem is that it continues to employ a supply-side policy of investing in space. This is true for b
The First Steps Toward Unity-- My Harvard Days
The First Steps Toward Unity-- My Harvard Days
[Ed. note: In 1979, Sheldon Glashow received the Nobel Prize for physics. But in 1954, he was still a brash and irreverant new graduate student at Harvard. Here, he remembers those heady early days.] To be perfectly honest, I went to Harvard for graduate school largely because Harvard had admitted me—Princeton University had been more choosy. (Since then, I have rarely had occasion to visit Princeton.) What I knew of the place was simply this: 1) It had a snotty reputation. 2) The under
Why Scientists Need To Repent
Why Scientists Need To Repent
Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine’ just persons, which need no repentance. New Testament, Luke, XV, 7 Heaven, as well as his scientific colleagues, greet with joy the scientist who is willing to amend previously published observations. No one I consistently correct; even a Noble laureate may end up with egg on his face. Yet regretfully, there is already procedure for altering one's earlier communications on the scientific literature. At

Letter

Letters
Letters
Illogical Pathways Eugene Garfield in his editorial on “Recognizing the Role of Chance” (May 2, page 10) touches upon a point of more realistically reporting the role of serendipity in the research process. This is only one aspect of the publication of scientific papers that needs more discussion and consensus among scientists. I have long felt that the gloss of a hypothetico-deductive style in a research paper may overstate the degree of support for an author’s claim, if

Research

U.K.Science Slips, While Other Nations Move Ahead
U.K.Science Slips, While Other Nations Move Ahead
  Volume 2, #12 The Scientist June 27, 1988 Research   U.K.Science Slips, While Other Nations Move Ahead Author:DAVID PENDLEBURY Date: June 27, 1988 Over the 12-year period of 1976 to 1987, the United States, West Germany, France, and Japan increased their share of citations on a per paper basis, while the United Kingdom dipped slightly, according to new data compiled by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Quantitative studies of British science issu
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The Scientist has asked a group of experts periodically comment upon recent articles that they have found noteworthy. Their selections, to be 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 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19104. PLAN
Superconductivity Paper Leads List Of 1986's Top 10 Science Articles
Superconductivity Paper Leads List Of 1986's Top 10 Science Articles
The accompanying list presents the 10 articles of 1986 that were most cited during 1986 and 1987. The citations, given in brackets at the end of each reference, were recorded from the 3,160 journals scanned for the Institute for Scientific Information’s Science Citation Index. While there is some advantage held by early 1986 papers, which had more time to accumulate citations over these two years than those that appeared late in the year, the first ranking article was published in Sept

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 those in the same subject area and of the same vintage. A citation-tracking algorithm of the Institute for Scientific Information has identified these articles. G. Baskaran, Z. Zou, E.W. Anderson, “The resonating valence bond state and high-Tc superconductivity. a mean field theory,” Solid State Communcations, 63 (11), 973-6, September 1987 P.J. Bjorkman, M.A. Saper, B.

Profession

Proposed Law Seen As Threat To U.K. University Science
Proposed Law Seen As Threat To U.K. University Science
LONDON—Stephen Maim, an upand-coming young chemist at England’s Bath University, was delighted recently by his unusual promotion from junior lecturer directly to reader—a move that, is the United States, would be like rising overnight from instructor to associate professor. But his new status—just one rung below full professor—and the pay raise that accompanied it came with a big snag. As a junior lecturer, Mann had had tenure; universities in the U.K. normally a
Job Boom For Agriculture Ph.D.'s
Job Boom For Agriculture Ph.D.'s
This year’s job market is the hottest yet for new Ph.D.’s in agricultural sciences specializing in engineering, economics, and biotechnology-related fields, according to the department chairmen polled by The Scientist. “The market has been very good for several years, and I don’t think we’ve seen the peak at all yet,” says Gerald Isaacs, chairman of agricultural engineering at the University of Florida. The same story comes from the West Coast. “As
Science Grants
Science Grants
Following is a selection of grants that have been awarded recently by public and private funding sources. BIOMEDICINE: Six National Cooperative Vaccine Development Groups have been funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Each will be funded for three to five years and will receive approximately $4 million for the first year. The recipient universities and scien- tists are: University of Washington School of Medicine; L. Corey University of Massachusetts Medical
For Writer's Headache, Try A Grammar Checker
For Writer's Headache, Try A Grammar Checker
Spreadsheets and outliners are joining scientific word processors and number crunchers in scientists’ software libraries. While it would be nice to add to the nonscientific shelf a package that cleans up grammatical errors and stylistic blunders as well, I’m still in search of the perfect grammar checker. Grammar rules are not easy for scientists to learn and remember just consider how hard it is to create a set of simple rules to teach grammar to what is, after all, a dumb com
How to Get Inexpensive High-Resolution Printing Without A Laser
How to Get Inexpensive High-Resolution Printing Without A Laser
A new generation of dot-matrix printers has hit the market, and these devices are ideal for the scientist whose institution can’t af- ford to put a laser printer in every office. The new 24-pin units provide better print quality and more time-saving features than older 24-pin printers, yet they cost much less than laser printers. Now a small laboratory can get high-resolution text and graphics (180 X 360 dote per square inch) for what used to be a low-resolution-only price of aroun
PEOPLE- Climate Expert Wins Award For Achievement
PEOPLE- Climate Expert Wins Award For Achievement
Climate Expert Wins Award For Achievement Professor of meteorology Bert Bolin, who helped focus international attention on the potential dangers to the world’s climate posed by “greenhouse” gases such as carbon dioxide, is the winner of the 1988 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. A University of Stockholm faculty member and director of the International Meteorological Institute in Stockholm, Bolin has been instrumental in determining how man’s activities have

Books etc.

Also Notable
Also Notable
THE ROLE OF BEHAVIOR IN EVOLUTION H.C. Plothin, editor; MIT; Cambridge; 240 pages; $27.50 Navigating through what the editor, H.C. Plotkin, calls “conceptual minefields,” the six essays presented in this volume explore the role of phenotypic behavior in evolution. Topics include the relationship between learning and evolution, an alternative hierarchy of replicators-interactors-lineages, and the evolutionary role of social systems. Besides Plotkin, contributors include David L.
An Illustrious Scientist's Life, Recounted With A Lyric Touch
An Illustrious Scientist's Life, Recounted With A Lyric Touch
THE STATUE WITHIN: An Autobiography Francois Jacob; translated by Franklin Philip Basic Books; New York; 326 pages; $22.95 Francois Jacob is the most illustrious of French scientists living today. His autobiography, La Statue Intérieure, has drawn wide attention in France. Now in its lucid English translation, The Statue Within should have an equally broad appeal in the U.S. As a work of literature, it evokes unmistakable overtones of Rousseau, Proust, and Sartre—it is hard to imag
A Biologist Tries To Make Sense Of A Very Complex Mental State
A Biologist Tries To Make Sense Of A Very Complex Mental State
THE SCIENTIFIC ATTITUDE Frederick Grinnell Westuiew; Boulder, Col.; 141 pages; $29.50 (hardback), $13.50 (paperback) “Serious play.” A “myth of scientific induction.” An amalgam of “politics, sex, wine, movies, teamwork, rivalry genius, stupidity and virtually everything that make life in the lab and out something less than perfect and a great deal more than dull.” These are but three of the many descriptions of science quoted by cell biologist, Frederic

Technology

Tulane Tests New Instrument Center
Tulane Tests New Instrument Center
Professor Schmitt, who has been grumbling about his chemistry department’s antique, demon-ridden gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, discovers that the biology department installed a new one six months before. But when he wanders into their lab to have a look at it, the biology people aren’t all that happy to see him. If he uses it, they’ll have to let everyone use it. And who’s going to train them? Gene D’Amour, associate provost at Tulane University, says th