News

Trade Unions Target Laboratories As Technicians Seek Better Work Life
Trade Unions Target Laboratories As Technicians Seek Better Work Life
Lab aides, though crucial to research, discover that it takes union campaigns to get their bosses' attention BOSTON -- Fifteen years ago, Kristine Rondeau wore a white lab coat and spent her day doing experiments in the physiology and biochemistry departments of Harvard Medical School. Today, her place of work is 67 Winthrop Street in Cambridge, headquarters of the two-year-old Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, which she now heads. Rondeau's career progression parallels an equa
Larger Firms Join Race For AIDS Vaccine
Larger Firms Join Race For AIDS Vaccine
questions about the wisdom of rushing into clinical trials WASHINGTON -- The first company to win permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to test an AIDS vaccine on humans was an obscure biotech firm in West Haven, Conn. That step, taken in August 1987, was viewed as a great leap forward in the fight against AIDS and a coup by the four-year-old company, MicroGeneSys, in its race against two other firms. Yet some scientists believe that the company made a false start. Because not
Hawaiian Cancer Warriors Lead Research In Pacific
Hawaiian Cancer Warriors Lead Research In Pacific
A university facility looks for tropical medicines while its epidemiology program tries to link disease and lifestyle HONOLULU -- An organism that Hawaiians call limu-make-o-hana thrives in the tide pools near the town of Hana, on the island of Maui, according to University of Hawaii chemist Richard Moore. And when Hawaiian warriors of the past, in search of a lethal poison, placed an exudate of this organism on their spear tips, they were on the right track, says Moore. Palytoxin is the exud
NIH, NSF Move Ahead Slowly On Electronic Submissions
NIH, NSF Move Ahead Slowly On Electronic Submissions
New joint effort doesn't erase differences in how the two agencies view the long-term impact of getting proposals on the wire WASHINGTON -- The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation have teamed up to study how the government might develop a system for scientists to submit their grant applications via modem. University grants administrators predict that such submissions are inevitable, and speculate about the possibility of a single application for all federal grants
Government Briefs
Government Briefs
Let's Talk--To Each Other A recent report by a five-person task force of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government called on the executive branch of government to consolidate its advice to the president on the environment, energy, and the economy. A subset of the 22-member commission, created in 1988 to recommend ways that the government could make better use of the country's scientists and engineers, suggests how to encourage White House-level panels "to look beyond the sh
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Technology Import "There's a perception that the Soviets and the East Europeans don't have the [advanced] technology, and that's a fallacy," says John Ziker, a research associate at Kiser Research Inc. in Washington. For more than a decade Kiser Research, founded by John W. Kiser III, has been proving the fallacy by importing a broad range of industrial technologies from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. One of its latest projects involves self-propagating high-temperature synthesis of exo
NIH Cuts Research Funding Of Scientist Under Investigation For Cell Paper Data
NIH Cuts Research Funding Of Scientist Under Investigation For Cell Paper Data
WASHINGTON -- The National Institutes of Health has begun to withdraw its financial ties to Thereza Imanishi-Kari, the Tufts University immunologist accused of failing to support data in a 1986 Cell paper on gene expression. The decision parallels a new NIH investigation into the case that agency officials say has produced "mounting evidence of inconsistencies" in her work. The latest chapter in the controversy, involving a paper whose coauthors include Nobel laureate David Baltimore, unfolded
Entrepreneur-Educators Offer Physics Students High-Tech Text
Entrepreneur-Educators Offer Physics Students High-Tech Text
Instructional laser videodiscs promise to serve up physics with pizazz in high schools across the country Ephraim L. Rubin, physicist, businessman, and classical clarinetist, has seen the grim statistics on the level of scientific literacy among the current generation of high school students. "It's terrifying and mind-boggling how bad it is," he says, citing studies like the one done in 1988 by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement in which 12th-graders f
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The Scientist has asked a group of experts to comment periodically upon recent articles that they have found noteworthy. Their selections, presented herein every issue, are neither endorsements of content nor the result of systematic searching. Rather, the list represents personal choices of articles the columnists 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,
People: James E. Darnell, Jr., Is Appointed Chief Academic Officer At Rockefeller University
People: James E. Darnell, Jr., Is Appointed Chief Academic Officer At Rockefeller University
James E. Darnell, Jr., Vincent Astor Professor at the Rockefeller University, has been appointed vice president for academic affairs, a new position at the school. Darnell, 59, was named to the position by President-Elect David Baltimore and will become the university's chief academic officer. He will assume the post July 1. Darnell has been a professor at Rockefeller since 1973 and says he looks forward to his new position. His new duties include more responsibility for the university's facu

Letter

Letter: Environmental Oversights
Letter: Environmental Oversights
Elizabeth Pennisi's article "Tokyo Funds Marine Biotechnology Plan" (The Scientist, March 19, 1990, page 1) demonstrated the great interest the Japanese have in developing alternative resources, but also showed what seems to be an all-too-present lack of concern by the Japanese for potential environmental impact. The accompanying flow chart, which lauded the organization and widespread backing for the research effort, was especially revealing. But, nowhere in the chart is there any mention of f
Letter: NIH Research Grants
Letter: NIH Research Grants
The article "NIH Institute's Plan Will Favor Researchers Dependent On Single Grants" (The Scientist, April 16, 1990, page 1), conveys the impression that the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has introduced a fiendish new policy favoring "smaller laboratories," at the expense of investigators with more than $500,000 in grants. A few paragraphs into the story, it becomes clear that the policy described is not really new; some similar discretionary practices have been exercis

Opinion

. . . Without Promoting Conflicts Of Interest?
. . . Without Promoting Conflicts Of Interest?
An issue that has received almost no attention in the debate about university-industry partnerships reaches beyond the norms of science and the mission of the university. I am referring to the importance to society of an independent academic sector. Professors are frequently called on to provide technical expertise and to exercise independent judgment across the range of public policy. Scientists serve on a host of public advisory committees and risk assessment panels at all levels of governme

Commentary

Nonprofit Societies Should Be Open To Scrutiny By Their Members And By The Press
Nonprofit Societies Should Be Open To Scrutiny By Their Members And By The Press
We live in a society in which public, private, and nonprofit institutions co-exist in a competitive environment. Ironically, in the world's most for-profit free enterprise society, nonprofit institutions abound. There is an endless variety of them recognized by our tax laws. Most nonprofits are tax-exempt. They range from religious to educational to professional societies. In exchange for this status, they must give up some of the privileges of being private or commercial. Public corporations,

Research

Research: U.S. And Japan Sparkle In Diamond Thin Film Research
Research: U.S. And Japan Sparkle In Diamond Thin Film Research
Diamonds are turning out to be industry's best friend these days, and, in a reversal of the old adage, the smaller the diamond, the better. In fact, thin films of tiny diamonds applied to mundane substances, such as iron, are revolutionizing businesses that make products as diverse as drills and cutting tools, stereo loudspeaker tweeters, heat sinks, sunglasses, prosthetic devices, and components for scientific instruments. The United States and Japan are the leading players in this rapidly gr
Research: Around The World With The Fulbrights
Research: Around The World With The Fulbrights
The Fulbright Scholars Program offers many year-round opportunities for science faculty and researchers at the postdoctoral level to travel and work at the same time. Approximately 1,000 awards will be available for the 1990-91 academic year for research, lecturing, or combinations of both. Although the program is not limited to the sciences, scientists are well represented among Fulbright scholars. U.S. citizens doing research in biology, chemistry, geology, the medical sciences, and other di

Hot Paper

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
C. Guthrie, B. Patterson, "Spliceosomal snRNAs," Annual Review of Genetics, 22, 387-419, 1988. Bruce Patterson (University of California, San Francisco): "Carl Woese [The Scientist, May 14, 1990, page 22] and Harry Noller pioneered the `phylogenetic approach' to rRNA structure/function, reasoning that highly conserved features of an RNA reflect functionally important domains or moieties (C.R. Woese, Microbiol. Rev., 51:221-71, 1987; H.F. Noller, Ann. Rev. Biochem., 53:119-62, 1984). We wrote ou

Profession

Organizing One's Own Conference Can Fill A Scientific Void
Organizing One's Own Conference Can Fill A Scientific Void
Sadao Mori's proposal sounded promising to Du Pont chemist Howard Barth. Mori, a researcher at Mie University in Japan, had contacted Barth, an active member of the American Chemical Society, in early 1987, seeking his assistance in setting up a conference on polymer analysis under the auspices of ACS and its Japanese counterpart. While talking over the idea with Mori, however, Barth was struck by a new notion: Why not enlarge the scope of the meeting and bring scientists studying polymer chara
Rockefeller University Fellowships Encourage Diversity
Rockefeller University Fellowships Encourage Diversity
When he assumes the presidency of the Rockefeller University next month, molecular biologist David Baltimore will be faced with the task of assessing the university's programs in the biomedical and related behavioral and physical sciences. One of the areas targeted for evaluation by Baltimore is the University Fellows Program, in which exceptional young scientists are recruited to head their own research groups and are given the title of assistant professor at the university. The program gives
People: MIT Organometallic Chemist Is Named 1990 Harold Edgerton Award Winner
People: MIT Organometallic Chemist Is Named 1990 Harold Edgerton Award Winner
For his contributions to research, scholarship, and teaching, Stephen L. Buchwald, Firmenich Associate Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has won the school's 1990 Harold E. Edgerton Award. The annual $5,000 award was established in 1983 by the MIT faculty in honor of Edgerton, former professor at MIT and inventor of the strobe light, who died this past January. Chosen by a four-member MIT faculty committee, the Edgerton award recognizes young faculty members.
People: UC-Santa Barbara Physics Professor Wins American Physical Society Prize
People: UC-Santa Barbara Physics Professor Wins American Physical Society Prize
The research career of Michael S. Witherell, professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been "charmed" of late: The 40-year-old investigator was recently named the winner of the American Physical Society's 1990 W.K.H. Panofsky Prise for his studies of the charmed quark, a subatomic particle that has higher energy than that of ordinary quarks. The prize is named for Wolfgang Panofsky, the German-born professor emeritus of physics at Stanford University and former d

Briefs

People Briefs
People Briefs
John Kenneth Hulm, chief scientist emeritus at the Westinghouse Electric Corp., has been appointed to the U.S.-Japan Joint High Level Advisory Panel by Allan Bromley, the president's assistant for science and technology. The advisory panel is composed of 20 distinguished U.S. and Japanese scientists and engineers from industry and academia. Formed in 1988, the panel provides advice to both governments on their science and technology relationship. Hulm, a physicist who is internationally recogni

Technology

Peripherals And Software Packages Aid In Data Collection
Peripherals And Software Packages Aid In Data Collection
Data are the heart and soul of science, as well as the backbone, the skeleton, and a wide assortment of vital organs and appendages. The ability of computers to process data quickly has been an important factor contributing to the increase in scientific productivity over the last few years. But "processing" data isn't as easy as it sounds. Many scientists, when presented with a new microcomputer, naively believe that they simply will be able to put all their data into the machine and come up w
Immunostaining Center Accommodates Batch Runs
Immunostaining Center Accommodates Batch Runs
When immunologists prepare specimens, they stain them with various reagents to bring out details or to produce specific chemical reactions. Efficient immunostaining requires accurate timing and effective buffer washes. During the staining process, it is also important that the researcher or technician take care not to damage the specimen. Shandon Inc., of Pittsburgh, has released an immunostaining center that the company claims will save time and ensure accurate, consistent results while prote