News

Congress To Forge Ahead With Misconduct Hearings
Congress To Forge Ahead With Misconduct Hearings
WASHINGTON—Although many scientists may wish otherwise, the political debate over scientific misconduct is not likely to end anytime soon. Despite the decidedly mixed reviews of last month’s two-day grilling by Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) of MIT biologist David Baltimore and others involved in investigating allegations of error stemming from a 1986 Cell paper, Congress seems eager to extend the discussion. Two more congressional panels have scheduled hearings this month on the to
Startup's Fortunes Depend On Success Of High-Tech Sponge
Startup's Fortunes Depend On Success Of High-Tech Sponge
REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. —Don’t look for high-tech razzle-dazzle at Advanced Polymer Systems Inc. (APS). Unlike most of its entrepreneurial neighbors located in the creative ferment of the San Francisco Bay area, APS is not built upon some headline-grabbing new technology. There are no genetically engineered organisms here, no new drugs poised to save the world, no superconducting substances ready to revolutionize electronics. Founded in 1983, APS is anchored upon a relatively humdru
Oil Spill Spawns Alaskan 'Science Rush'
Oil Spill Spawns Alaskan 'Science Rush'
When the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on the rocks of Bligh Island on March 24, the more than 10 million gallons of crude oil it carried, invaded every nook and cranny of Alaska’s Prince William Sound, polluting the air, fouling the beaches, and staining the water for miles around. Within hours, while the stricken yessel remained on the rocks that had sliced it open like a tin can, a second invasion began: the scientists. They included fisheries biologists, oceanographers, vete
Genome Project Planners Vie For Leadership
Genome Project Planners Vie For Leadership
WASHINGTON—in the three years since it was first proposed, the U.S. effort to map and sequence the human genome has joined the ranks of Big $cience with astonishing speed. Unlike the prospects for such controversial megaprojects as the superconducting supercollider and the space station, funding for the genome project appears to be going nowhere but up. The Bush administration has requested a total of $128 million more than double the current level of $53 million, and Congress appears
NIH Official, Ex-Chief Of Black College, Named Adviser To NSF's Erich Bloch
NIH Official, Ex-Chief Of Black College, Named Adviser To NSF's Erich Bloch
WASHINGTON—Luther Williams, a molecular biologist and former president of a predominantly black graduate research university, has been named senior science adviser to NSF Director Erich Bloch. Williams becomes the fourth scientist to hold the job since Bloch created the position five years ago. Williams, 48, has spent the past 18 months at NIH, most recently as deputy director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. From 1984 to 1987 he was president of the 1,100-stude
Obsolete Computers Are Said To Hamper U.S. Space Science
Obsolete Computers Are Said To Hamper U.S. Space Science
When it comes to computers, space science is far from space-age science. A new government report reveals that NASA’s ambitious program to explore the universe is being seriously hampered by on-board computers that are barely a match for the technology used in children’s video games. The big problem, according to a report from the congressional General Accounting Office (GAO), is the difficulty of protecting leading-edge technology from the hazards of cosmic radiation found in s
Who Owns The Licensing Rights To The Wrinkle Cream?
Who Owns The Licensing Rights To The Wrinkle Cream?
PHILADELPHIA—A federal lawsuit involving the University of Pennsylvania professor who developed Retin-A, the now-legendary drug said to reverse the effect of aging on the skin, has wrinkled the brows of university administrators, who say they would prefer to settle the matter out of court. In a case that observers believe is the first of its kind, the university has been named an involuntary plaintiff in a suit filed by University Patents Inc., a Westport, Conn., patentlicensing firm
New NSF Math Program Speeds Algorithms
New NSF Math Program Speeds Algorithms
As science continues to push the envelope of experimentation, computer-based numerical simulation is gaining wide acceptance as a means of quantifying research subjects that are either too large or too small—or move too quickly or too slowly—to be measured by conventional instruments. Indeed, numerical simulation is now not only the domain of mathematicians and theorists, but also of researchers in most life- and physical-science disciplines. The virtues of numerical simuladon ar
NSF Award Goes To Nobelist Linus Pauling
NSF Award Goes To Nobelist Linus Pauling
Linus Pauling, the two-time Nobel Prize winner who revolutionized the teaching of chemistry by presenting it in terms of the laws of quantum mechanics applied to molecular structure, has been selected to receive the 1989 Vannevar Bush Award by The National Science Foundation’s National Science Board. The award is named for the former director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, whose recommendation led to the establishment of the NSF in 1950. The 88-year-old Pauling wo

Briefs

Government Briefs
Government Briefs
If At First You Don’t Succeed The four states—Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Dakota—that have just been awarded three-year, $1.8 million grants from the National Science Foundation know what it’s like to try, try again. Each of them has lost out in previous bids to receive funds under a 10-year-old program that is meant to help states at the bottom of the federal research pile do better by improving the quality of their science. “Louisiana is going thro
Government Briefs
Government Briefs
If At First You Don’t Succeed The four states—Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Dakota—that have just been awarded three-year, $1.8 million grants from the National Science Foundation know what it’s like to try, try again. Each of them has lost out in previous bids to receive funds under a 10-year-old program that is meant to help states at the bottom of the federal research pile do better by improving the quality of their science. “Louisiana is going thro
National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
Antimatter To Go Physicists have begun a grass roots effort to make Brookhaven National Lab the world’s first source of portable antiprotons. The scientists, led by Syracuse University physicist Theodore Kalogeropoulos, discussed the construction of a $20 million antiproton addition to Brookhavens Alternating Gradient Synchrotron accelerator last month in a workshop at the lab’s usergroup meeting. According to Kalogeropoulos, antiprotons created at the lab could be stored in portab
Private Institute Briefs
Private Institute Briefs
Jackson Fire Imperils Research The May 11 fire that injured four workmen and destroyed 500,000 mice at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, could disrupt genetic research all over the world. The lab’s most optimistic projections are that shipments of lab mice won’t be resumed until late summer However, Barbara Trevett, a lab spokeswoman, stressed that only production stocks of lab mice were destroyed; the lab didn’t lose any research colony stocks, its library of gen
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Biotech Wins Some, Loses Some State legislators throughout the country have started looking at biotechnology—and the results, according to one survey, have been positive for scientists. The Industrial Biotechnology Association (IBA) finds 51 legislative initiatives either pending or enacted in 24 states. In a flurry of lawmaking, five of the 51 bills were enacted this past March. Richard Godown, the IBA president, says he was pleasantly surprised by the survey’s results. “At
Entrepreneur Briefs
Entrepreneur Briefs
When Biospan—a biotech firm that is studying the severe muscle disease myasthenia gravis—opened for business last year, it employed a new financial instrument that is growing in popularity among science startups: venture leasing. A report issued last month by Venture Economics, a consulting firm in Needham, Mass., finds that venture leasing in the U.S. has accounted for more than $300 million in deals from 1986 through 1988. Biotechnology firms especially have shown interest in this
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
Dropouts Alarm Chemical Society Is the American Chemical Society (ACS) facing a membership crisis? Virtually stagnant growth in the ACS has prompted the group to forgo an increase in its $82 annual dues and to reexamine how it is perceived by its members. According to Attila E. Pavlath, chairman of the ACS membership committee, the 137,000-member organization gained only a net total of 14 new members last year. The preliminary findings of his study on the drop in renewals shows that the group

Opinion

Trying To Attract The Young To Science: Let's Be Realistic
Trying To Attract The Young To Science: Let's Be Realistic
In a recent speech (delivered Sept. 22, 1988 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.), Cornell University astronomer Carl Sagan la mented the extended and dramatic downward trend in science, education, and literacy among U.S. schoolchildren and, perhaps correctly, pointed out what he believes to be the major reasons for the decline of science literacy. Sagan’s explanations include lack of publicity, poor teaching in the elementary and high schools, and the negative but well-publi
Literature Has Shaped The Public Perception Of Science
Literature Has Shaped The Public Perception Of Science
In 1957, Margaret Mead and Rhoda Metraux carried out a survey of the attitudes of high school students to scientists and found that although the students agreed that science was a “good thing,” their attitude to becoming a scientist or marrying a scientist was overwhelmingly negative. In 1975 the magazines New Scientist and New Society asked their readers to describe the characteristics they associated with scientists. This survey revealed that the nonscientist readers also had a

Letter

False Impression
False Impression
False Impression A news brief in The Scientist (April ‘17, page 2) could give some readers the false impression that reconstruction of the Green Bank, W.Va, radio telescope is a pork barrel project (versus the “bonanza for astrophysicists” of a gravity wave detector). But the 300-meter telescope was ideal for certain kinds of survey work impossible with most modem high-resolution instruments Also, the loss of the radio quiet zone around Green Bank would be nearly impossible
Good Mice
Good Mice
Good Mice The article “Going For The Gold: Some Dos And Don’ts For Grant Seekers” (The Scientist, April 3, page 15) provides extremely valuable information for potential grantees looking to funding agencies, including those of the federal government, for support to carry out their research endeavors. Both The Scientist and Liane ReifLehrer have provided a commend- able service to the research community by presenting this timely article. On a monthly basis, our office deals wi
What's in A Name?
What's in A Name?
What's in A name? An article in The Scientist (April 17, 1989, page 8) reported on the acceptance by the American Association for theAdvancement of Science (AAAS) of the Scientists Center for Animal Welfare (SCAW) as an affiliate member. As of May 9, three AAAS sections had indeed accepted SCAW: Education Medical Sciences, and Pharmaceutical Sciences. SCAW believes that this affiliation is an important landmark in the controversial area of animal welfare, and that it underlines the fact that s

Commentary

Will Glasnost And Perestroika Improve Scientific Freedom In East Germany?
Will Glasnost And Perestroika Improve Scientific Freedom In East Germany?
About two years ago, Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the words glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) into the world’s vocabulary. These words have become symbols of hope for a fundamental change in East-West relations. For scientists, glasnost is interpreted to mean improved communication, freer travel, and closer collaboration between researchers in the East and West. This message has been repeated by a wave of high-ranking delegations of Soviet; scientists in recent visit

Research

Plant and Animal Sciences
Plant and Animal Sciences
PLANT AND ANIMAL SCIENCES By PETER D. MOORE Department of Biology Kings College London, U.L " While most experimental studies of the effect of acid rain on plants have been carried out on single species, the real world contains many species of plants in competitive juxtaposition. Experiments on white clover and rye grass show that the outcome of acid rain treatment depends on such factors as the relative density of the two species and the timing of the application of acid rain. L. Menchaca,
Researchers Probe Mysteries of Geoscience
Researchers Probe Mysteries of Geoscience
While geologists traditionally have focused their research on the materials that constitute the earth’s crust, modern geoscience has probed deeper and wider. Today, geoscience is an interdisciplinary field that addresses issues well beyond the investigation of earthquakes and the search for oil. Now, oceanographers; meteorologists, and paleobiologists, as well as geologists, study geophysical signatures to gain a better understanding of subjects such as the origin and evolution of the p
Physics
Physics
PHYSICS BY FRANK A. WILCZEK School of Natural Sciences Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, NJ. " The late Soviet physicist Zeldovich was renowned for the breadth as well as the depth of his understanding. He brought an extraordinary range of insights to bear upon his central interest, which was the fonnation of structure in the universe. One of the last papers that he published is characteristic of him: It contains miniature courses on turbulence and on the hydrodynamics of self-gravitati
Chemistry
Chemistry
CHEMISTRY BY RON MAGOLDA Medical Products Department E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. Wilmington, Del. A highly convergent and efficient route to the synthetically useful dihydropyrancarboxylates has been identified. L.F Tietze, H. Meier, H. Nutt, “The tandem Knoevenagel hetero Diels-Alder reaction with a formylacetic acid equivalent. Synthesis of dihydropyrancarboxylates,” Chemische Berichte, 122, 643-50, April 1989. (Institut für Organische Chemie der Universität Gottin
Life Sciences
Life Sciences
LIFE SCIENCES BY SIMON SILVER Department of Microbiology & Immunology University of Illinois Chicago, Ill. The protein secretory apparatus E. coli is being taken apart and put together in vitro like a Tinkertoy: SecA is a peripheral membrant ATPase of 102 kdaltons. SecB is separate and exists as a cytoplasmic tetramer of 16x4=64 kdaltons that is sufficient by itself for transport of some exported polypeptides. M. Watanabe, G. Blobel, “Cytosolic factor purified from Escherichia coli is

Profession

Planetary Scientist Leaves Research To Teach Teachers
Planetary Scientist Leaves Research To Teach Teachers
Nothing in Richard J. Greenberg’s past hinted that his career might suddenly take a radical turn. A highly esteemed planetary scientist at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, he had been responsible for a number of pioneering ideas, including the theory that gravitational forces combined with the effects of colliding orbiting bodies could lead to a runaway. growth of very big planets. His current work revolved around developing the digital image processing system f

New Products

Scanning Tunneling Microscopy: A Breakthrough In Imaging
Scanning Tunneling Microscopy: A Breakthrough In Imaging
There are numerous examples in science in which a radically different conceptual approach to solving a problem at hand has resulted in a major scientific breakthrough. Such is the case for scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The inventors of STM, Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer of the IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986, only four years after their initial report of the technique (G. .Binnig and H. Rohrer, Rev. Mod. Phys. 59, .6 15, 198
New Imaging System Aids Study Of Cellular Events
New Imaging System Aids Study Of Cellular Events
For microbiologists involved in time-dependent studies of cellular events, such as the role of intracellular Ca++ ions, Tracor Northern Inc. of Middleton, Wis., has developed the Fluoroplex Ill imaging system. Designed to automate the study of biological cells using dual-wavelength excitation fluorescent probes the Fluoroplex III is said to provide precise control over experimental timing, complete image acquisition and storage capabilities, image ratioing for determination of calcium concentra