News

Mr. President, What About...?
Mr. President, What About...?
Boston-Scientists who advise the president face a dilemma. Their advice must remain confidential if it is to be useful. Yet their authority ultimately is derived from public acceptance of their technical expertise. Last month, at the annual meeting here of the Amencan Association for the Advancement of Science, a distinguished panel of past and present science advisers discussed how best to advise the president. Although the day-long symposium was spawned by the frustration and disappointment
NSF Pitches 5-Year Funding For Centers
NSF Pitches 5-Year Funding For Centers
WASHINGTON—NSF Director Erich Bloch has thrown Congress a curveball in the hope that legislators won’t knock his request for a 19 percent budget increase out of the ballpark. Bloch's 1989 budget contains a new pitch to salvage his plan for a dozen or more university-based science and technology centers. It requests $150 million up front—nearly half of the overall $333 million increase sought by NSF—for a five-year program that would be isolated from the foundationR
OECD Developing Guidelines For Cooperation in Science
OECD Developing Guidelines For Cooperation in Science
PARIS- U.S. proposal to resolve imbalances in scientific cooperation among nations may be adopted as early as this spring by science ministers from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. The organization’s Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy meets later this month to review the latest draft of a proposal put forth last fall by White House science adviser William Graham. U.S. officials believe that such common principles of scientific cooperation can als
Journals Slow to Retract Slutsky Research Errors
Journals Slow to Retract Slutsky Research Errors
SAN DIEGO-Three U.S. journals still have not published retractions or clarifications on nine articles by Robert A. Slutsky that 18 months ago were declared fraudulent or questionable. One small journal is waiting for its publishing house to obtain permission from Slutsky. A second publication has withdrawn only research retracted by Slutsky himself. The third journal has printed no corrections because neither Slutsky nor his co-authors have requested retractions. All said they feared litigat
A Reporter's AAAS Notebook
A Reporter's AAAS Notebook
The 1988 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science confirmed one long.standing suspicion about the association: there’s no staff meteorologist. After subjecting participants to subzero cold and Lake Michigan’s 15-foot waves at last year’s bash in Chicago. AAAS this year decided to take on a howling storm that dropped a foot of snow on Boston. Nevertheless, the SCIENTIST's staffers overcame a closed Logan Airport to bring you the following report
No Action Seen After Hearing On Policy Office
No Action Seen After Hearing On Policy Office
WASHINGTON-Congress has several options to strengthen the effectiveness of the White House science adviser and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). But a hearing last month, more tame than some had expected, made clear that no changes are contemplated before the next president takes office. Part of the perception of weakness was attributed to the relatively low profile of the current adviser, William R. Graham; OSTP's modest budget of less than $2 million, and its small staff o
Forums to Address Role of Editors
Forums to Address Role of Editors
WASHINGTON-Scientists have begun to consider changes in fundamental publication and research practices in the wake of several well-publicized cases of research misconduct. Panel Backs Journal Retractions Medical journals should print retractions of questioned or fraudulent research even if the lead author or co-authors have not submitted or approved such statements said a top official of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. "Journal editors have a responsibility to keep
Panel Backs Journal Retractions
Panel Backs Journal Retractions
{WantNoCacheVal} Panel Backs Journal Retractions Medical journals should print retractions of questioned or fraudulent research even if the lead author or co-authors have not submitted or approved such statements said a top official of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. "Journal editors have a responsibility to keep the scientific record clear," said Edward J. Huth, a physician and North American coordinator for the international committee. Last month the group published
Germans Fault Bigger Space Budget
Germans Fault Bigger Space Budget
WEST BERLIN—West German scientists appear to be increasingly unhappy with their government’s decision to boost spending on space research at the expense of fundamental science. The Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research, the principal state organization funding applied sciences, has come out against the 16 percent increase for space planned in the country’s 1988 R&D budget. It echoes earlier criticism from the Max Planck Society, which is devoted to basic
Two Saved From Death In Somalia
Two Saved From Death In Somalia
WASHINGTON—The Somalia government has commuted the death sentences of two American-trained scientists whose brutal treatment in prison was the focus of an onsite visit by a delegation from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine. The two men, civil engineer Suleiman Nuh Ali and mathematician Abdi Ismail Yonis, have instead received 24-year prison sentences after having been convicted of treason during a trial last month. A spokesman for the Somalia government sa
NASA Pushes Two New Programs
NASA Pushes Two New Programs
Overall research and development accounts for $4.4 billion of the NASA budget request, up 33 percent from this year’s $3.3 billion. The largest share is the $967 million sought for the space station, which received $392 million this year. Other features of the NASA budget request were an increase from $52 million to $84 million for NASA’s participation in the transatmospheric research for the hypersonic aerospace plane project, and a five-fold increase, from $20 million to $102 mil
Reagan Seeks 5.4% Boost at NIH
Reagan Seeks 5.4% Boost at NIH
WASHINGTON—The proposed 5.4 percent increase next year for NIH is expected to be taken more seriously by Congress than previous budgets that President Reagan has submitted for health research. The 1989 request would lift the current NIH budget of $6.667 billion to $7.123 billion, a figure that includes $588 million for AIDS research. Last year NIH received $448 million for AIDS, a little less than one-half of the total federal spending on the disease. “This is the most realisti
Energy Dept. Faces Battle on SSC
Energy Dept. Faces Battle on SSC
WASHINGTON-A $363 million request for the Superconducting Supercollider, part of the Department of Energy's proposed research budget, faces an uncertain future in Congress. DOE officials will face some tough questions on the SSC at hearings later this week, said Edd Nolan, an aide to Rep. Tom Bevill (D-Ala.), chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee on energy and water. Bevill "doesn't know where the money is going to come from," said Nolan. The new proposal would consume one-fift
Space Station Accord Near
Space Station Accord Near
LONDON—The United States appears to have acceded to Western European demands for greater control over certain elements of the space station, paving the way for an agreement as early as next month on the $30 billion international project. Previous talks had floundered on American insistence that it remain in sole charge of the orbiting base, which is due to house laboratories for scientific experiments and accommodate about eight people. But last month, at a meeting in Washington with re
Campaign ' 88
Campaign ' 88
Michael Dukakis Governor of Massachusetts since 1982 and from 1974 to 1978. When U.S. presidential candidates take to the stump, science and technology policy is not among the principal topics they address. Press them about specific proposals-whether they would reinstitute the President's Science Advisory Committee, for example, or how they would pay for a space station or for sequencing the human genome-and many veer off into abstractions. While they may be more comfortable talking abou
Too Many Journals? Nonsense!
Too Many Journals? Nonsense!
Every few weeks I read another journalist’s jab at the value and quantity of scientific journals. When discussing the ever-expanding literature, reporters of the popular press frequently indulge in superficial analyses that distort reality, whether through misunderstanding or exaggeration. Nancy Jeffrey revealed profound misunderstanding in “Mollusks, Semiotics and Dermatology: Narrow Scholarly Journals Are Spreading” (Wall Street Journal, August 27, 1987, p. 25). She invites
NAS Report: Full Speed Ahead On Human Gene Sequencing
NAS Report: Full Speed Ahead On Human Gene Sequencing
Editor’s note: February was a key month for the proposed project to map and sequence the human genome. The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences issued its report “Mapping and Sequencing the Human Genome,” which sounds a strong call for an immediate, largescale program. Meanwhile, David Baltimorebiologist, devoted part of his keynote address at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to a cautionary note regarding t
'A Project Justified by Its Public Relations Value'
'A Project Justified by Its Public Relations Value'
The genome. project... seems a ploy to raise money, a project justified by its public relations value, not its scientific value... We stand now at a moment of great opportunity. We have, a low-resolution map of much of the human genome and it is sure to improve. We have the skills to develop clone banks, high-resolution maps and rapid sequencing techniques. We can do what we have always done: each of us can apply these techniques as we see fit. We can distribute our efforts over various exper
Scientists, Whistle-Blowers and the Vanunu Affair
Scientists, Whistle-Blowers and the Vanunu Affair
What should scientists and technicians working in a military research establishment do if they come across classified information that they believe should be made public? If they decide to publish information concerning a clear threat to world security, how should the international scientific community respond? Should it assist whistle-blowers if they are put on trial for breaking the country's secrecy laws? The plight of Mordechai Vanunu dramatically raises all these questions. Vanunu, a 33
Ban Doctorates 'By the Pound'
Ban Doctorates 'By the Pound'
Alongside triviality, unoriginality and, nowadays, dishonesty, one attribute for which journal editors are particularly vigilant in papers is obesity. Some research reports are, of course, necessarily bulky documents. This is especially true in fields such as high energy physics, where a collaboration of several dozen physicists and machine staff may be necessary to describe the design, outcome and analysis of experiments that take many months. At the other end of the scale, few if any worthwh
Luck in the Lab Helped My Career
Luck in the Lab Helped My Career
My scientific career has been helped along by two marvelous instances of good luck. The first occurred while I was a research student in chemistry at Leeds University where my supervisor was Prof. R. Whytlaw-Gray, the leader of a distinguished school for the measurement of atomic weights. His method depended on the use of a very delicate microbalance to determine the vapor densities of substances in their dilute gaseous states. The problem he gave me was to obtain a new and more precise va
The Legacy of the Nazi Lagers
The Legacy of the Nazi Lagers
On April 11, 1987, the Italian chemist and author Primo Levi was found dead in his apartment building in Turin. Reportedly depressed over worldwide violence, his deteriorating health, and a case of writer’s block, he apparently threw himself down the stairwell of his building. A survivor of Auschwitz, Levi had written a series of works, including The Periodic Table (Schochen Books, 1984), that intermingled stories of his captivity with metaphysical reflections (see THE SCIENTIST, May 18,
Two Tax Programs for the IBM PC
Two Tax Programs for the IBM PC
Nothing is certain but death and taxes, goes the old saw. And while there are programs that can help you write your will (and I suppose one could devise a far-fetched scenario involving medical databases) there really isn’t much that you and your PC can do about the former of these certainties. There is, however, a class of programs that can make filling out tax returns more pleasant and less time-consuming, if not outright fun. One of the leading IBM PC programs is TURBO TAX. The lead
Superconductivity News: The Heat is On
Superconductivity News: The Heat is On
The discovery of high-temperature (950K) superconductors has incited a stampede of activity in the last 18 months, not only in research labs, but also in newsrooms and editors' offices. According to the December 1, 1987 issue of High-Tc. Update, 12 new publications in press or planned are aimed at keeping scientists and industrialists up to date on the scientific, governmental and commercial activity involving the new superconducting ceramics. Add to this at least seven existing newsletters th
Vita Writing for Academic Scientists
Vita Writing for Academic Scientists
Applying for an academic post is considerably different from seeking a job in industry. Hence, the advice given in "Resumé Writing for Scientists” (September 21, 1987) tells only part of the tale. That article may serve those seeking jobs in industry (the resumé writers), but for those applying for an academic position (the vita writers), I suggest the following: DO: List every dollar you have raised by grants, scholarships, gifts and endowments. Include teaching awards y

Letter

Letters
Letters
Euro-Science News Lab Break-Ins Gene Sequencing IEEE’s Voting Rules Bernard Dixon’s short Opinion piece “Why Does the U.S. Neglect Euro-Science” (January 25, 1988, p. 11) on the asymmetry between U.S. and European mass media coverage of science neglects one of the made by Harrois-Monin in her original article. That point is that the proportionate coverage of European science by U.S. periodicals is a matter of editorial policy and practice. American journalist

Technology

Filing by Modem
Filing by Modem
{WantNoCacheVal} Filing by Modem Clearly we are heading toward the day when you’ll be able to file your tax return with IRS Already this year there are pilot projects allowing large professional preparers to supply returns in this manner. It’s safe to predict that within about five years, you’ll be able to submit returns by modem if you have a program like one of those reviewed here. —B.S.

New Products

New Products
New Products
The Immu-Mark Chlamydia kit is an indirect test for chlamydia infection that detects IgG and IgA anti-Chlamydia antibodies. These antibodies have been used as markers to distinguish between active infection, a carrier state and a negative result. The stabilized reagents require no reconstitution or dilution. The test requires only a light microscope, and results are available within two to three hours. ICN Biomedicals. The Kjel-FAST 6-minute microwave Kjeldahl digestion system incorporates

Happenings

Happenings
Happenings
PEOPLE DEATHS AWARDS SCIENCE ARCHIVE Three MIT scientists, Robert Horvitz, Richard O. Hynes and Susumu Tonegawa, have been appointed Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators as part of a new long-term collaborative agreement to conduct biomedical research at MIT. HHMI will help fund the research and will donate $15 million toward the construction of a new MIT research facility. Caroline L. Herzenberg, Argonne National Laboratory, became president of the national Association fo

Profession

Dos and Dont's of Vita Preparation
Dos and Dont's of Vita Preparation
{WantNoCacheVal} Dos and Dont's of Vita Preparation DO: List every dollar you have raised by grants, scholarships, gifts and endowments. Include teaching awards you have won Check with your references before including their names on your vita. DON'T Have your vita prepared by a professional printer. List your hobbies. Try to give the impression that you have written more papers than you have read.