News

Increasing Environmental Vigilance Could Chill Research In Antarctica
Increasing Environmental Vigilance Could Chill Research In Antarctica
Polar scientists worry that new international interests might threaten their ability to do good science in the future The ability of polar scientists to do research may be jeopardized by the political winds swirling around the world's last frontier, say Antarctic science veterans. For most of the past three decades, scientists dominated the setting of policy in Antarctica. But researchers are worried that the current discussions about Antarctica's future could threaten the basic tenets of the
Plastics Industry Struggles With Biodegradability
Plastics Industry Struggles With Biodegradability
New ASTM regulations promise to set clear definitions, enabling scientists to develop truly degradable plastics WASHINGTON--The growing public demand for truly biodegradable plastics has gone unfulfilled, in part because of a lack of agreement on what "biodegradability" means. But a new and comprehensive set of standards to define and measure such natural polymers, due out this spring, promises to help clear up the confusion within the scientific community as well as society at large. "The n
Scientific Conflict Of Interest Regulations Offer Loophole To Small Business Program
Scientific Conflict Of Interest Regulations Offer Loophole To Small Business Program
NIH takes aim at the links between industry and those doing clinical trials while ignoring firms that get funds for technology innovations WASHINGTON--Current government efforts to prevent financial conflicts of interest among clinical investigators appear to ignore an obscure but well-funded federal program that operates with few safeguards against such potential abuse by researchers. And some scientists think that omission could be a costly mistake. Officials at the National Institutes of
A SHRINKING ROLE FOR SCIENCE IN SHAPING ANTARCTIC POLICY
A SHRINKING ROLE FOR SCIENCE IN SHAPING ANTARCTIC POLICY
Volume 5, #6The Scientist March 18, 1991 A SHRINKING ROLE FOR SCIENCE IN SHAPING ANTARCTIC POLICY Author: ELIZABETH PENNISI Date: March 18, 1991 History shows that science once was the driving force behind Antarctic policies. But the present state of affairs suggests that the role of science is diminishing. In 1959, one year after the International Geophysical Year opened this icy frontier to science, the Antarctic Treaty was written by the dozen nations involved in that resea
NIH GUIDELINES COULD FACE A VETO FROM WHITE HOUSE
NIH GUIDELINES COULD FACE A VETO FROM WHITE HOUSE
Volume 5, #6The Scientist March 18, 1991 NIH GUIDELINES COULD FACE A VETO FROM WHITE HOUSE Author: Jeffrey Mervis Date: March 18, 1991 WASHINGTON--The Bush administration is unlikely to endorse any conflict of interest regulations that require clinical scientists to do anything more than disclose financial holdings in the companies whose products they are evaluating, according to White House officials. National Institutes of Health administrators have recently completed work o
Congress Stumbles Through Two Science Policy Hearings
Congress Stumbles Through Two Science Policy Hearings
WASHINGTON--The National Science Foundation can't see what's on the horizon in science. The federal government doesn't know what the supercollider will ultimately cost. And nobody has a clue how to balance competing demands for scarce science dollars. On February 20, Congress learned those things and more as it took a five-hour stab at setting science policy. The occasion was back-to-back hearings on the president's proposed science budget for 1992, involving first a portion, and then the whol
Politics And Science Mix At AAAS: A Sampler From The 157th Annual Meeting
Politics And Science Mix At AAAS: A Sampler From The 157th Annual Meeting
WASHINGTON--The crowds were bigger than expected at last month's 157th national meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. And while very little of the substance of this annual scientific smorgasbord made it into the national press, the association managed to bask in the reflected glory of having the president of the United States address its leaders on the biggest news story of the year, the war in the Persian Gulf. Security concerns related to the war had little imp
Boston Museum Honors GTE Chemist with 1991 New England Inventor Award
Boston Museum Honors GTE Chemist with 1991 New England Inventor Award
Boston Museum Honors GTE Chemist with 1991 New England Inventor Award Los Alamos' Meson Physics Lab Director Elected President Of Santa Fe Institute Martha J.B. Thomas, former director of technical services at GTE Electrical Products Group in Danvers, Mass., has been named the 1991 New England Inventor by the Museum of Science in Boston. The award is given annually to an individual whose application of science and technology, creativity, and independent thought has positively impacted

Opinion

Scientists Must Solve The Education Crisis They Helped Create
Scientists Must Solve The Education Crisis They Helped Create
What is scientific literacy, and why are youngsters in the United States lacking in it? What constitutes an adequate science education? Why have we so few inspiring science educators? These are just a few of the questions raised in the following two essays, one written by a science student, the other by a pair of physics professors. For different reasons, all three authors come to the same conclusion: Scientist must look within their own community and at themselves as individuals for answers
Educators Must Accept The Difference Between `Doing' And `Using' Science
Educators Must Accept The Difference Between `Doing' And `Using' Science
Scientific literacy constitutes the knowledge you need to understand public issues. It is a mix of facts, vocabulary, concepts, history, and philosophy. It is not the specialized stuff of the experts, but the more general, less precise knowledge used in political discourse. If you can understand the news of the day as it relates to science, if you can take articles with headlines about genetic engineering and the ozone hole and put them in a meaningful context--in short, if you can treat news a
Arrogance, Poverty, And Hierarchy Are Hidden Turnoffs In Science Education
Arrogance, Poverty, And Hierarchy Are Hidden Turnoffs In Science Education
Professional Cassandras who foresee the end of the United States' scientific preeminence read doom in the stars, doom in the schools, and doom, especially, in the minds of young people. Reputable experts debate whether declining enrollments will lead to drastic shortages of Ph.D.'s in the 21st century, a prelude to America's scientific downfall. Some point to ominous, but by now shop-worn, roadsigns of national decline. These include anything from falling achievement test scores to the rise in

Letter

High-Impact Journals
High-Impact Journals
The article titled "Flow Of Scientific Progress Creates Wave Of New Journals" [The Scientist, Nov. 12, 1990, page 17], which lists high-impact journals, errs in stating that none of the high-impact journals listed began publishing after 1981. Contrary to the statement, Neuron, which is ranked third on the high-impact list of neuroscience journals, began in March 1988 and is just completing its third year of publication. It is indeed the only journal on the three lists you published to have star
Industrial Scientists
Industrial Scientists
I was truly surprised by your lead article "Scientists Wary As New Year Dawns" ["Science In 1991,"The Scientist, Jan. 7, 1991, page 1] by Julia King, in which no industrial scientists were asked for their opinions. (The Bell Labs are a minor exception, since they do not reflect the true industrial laboratory setting in our country.) Indeed, the article seemed to confirm overwhelmingly the short shrift given industrial science by The Scientist. Most scientists work in industry, and we feel tha
Ethical Questions
Ethical Questions
My congratulations for the excellent essays "Lives In the Balance: Assessing The Risks Of Waiting For Perfectly Accurate Tests," by Dorothy C. Wertz, and "Advantages Of Genetic Testing Outweigh Arguments Against Widespread Screening," by Philip R. Reilly, regarding testing in cystic fibrosis [Opinion, "Unanswered Ethical Questions Forestall Genetic Testing," The Scientist, Jan. 21, 1991, page 9]. Both essays highlight the need for education and counseling that must accompany such testing. With

Commentary

To Be An Uncited Scientist Is No Cause For Shame
To Be An Uncited Scientist Is No Cause For Shame
When a play opens on Broadway, it's sure to be reviewed in the New York Times and other major papers, while off-Broadway productions may open and close without getting even a single mention in the press. Similarly, most papers brought to readers of such prestigious publications as the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, and Nature will be "reviewed"--that is, cited--in the science press, while thousands published in lower-impact journals may not be quoted even after 10 years. The extent

Research

Windows On The Virtual World: Head-Mounted Displays
Windows On The Virtual World: Head-Mounted Displays
Volume 5, #6The Scientist March 18, 1991 WINDOWS ON THE VIRTUAL WORLD: HEAD-MOUNTED DISPLAYS If Alice Through the Looking Glass were written today, the heroine might have used a head-mounted display to go through to the other side, instead of a mirror. Inside head-mounted displays, explains Walter Robinett, director of the head-mounted display project at the University of North Carolina, "are two 3-inch- square liquid crystal display television screens. In front of them are some
Researchers See A Wealth Of Applications For Virtual Reality
Researchers See A Wealth Of Applications For Virtual Reality
X-ray crystallographer Vivian Cody has found a way to sit--virtually--in the midst of enzyme drug binding sites. She especially likes to experience the feel of it all--the pushes and pulls that a drug goes through as it finds the coziest place to rest on a protein. Although this kind of molecular space exploration sounds like fun and games, some scientists in academia, industry, and government see it as a most serious and advanced application of "virtual reality," an emerging computer technolog
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The determination of whether the crystal structure of a protein is the same as that in solution, and the ability to solve structures of proteins that do not form crystals, are issues that require a marriage of X-ray diffraction crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Here is the first solution of an X-ray structure using a previously obtained NMR structure. The differences in the structures for the short, 72-amino acid polypeptide are small but important. E.T. Baldwi
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
Synthetic approaches using preassembled clusters as building blocks are described as a means to identify the critical features of the reactive sites in catalytic metalloenzymes. D. Coucouvanis, "Use of preassembled Fe/S and Fe/Mo/S clusters in the stepwise synthesis of potential analogues for the Fe/Mo/S site in nitrogenase," Accounts of Chemical Research, 24, 1-9, January 1991. (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) A concise summary covers the panoply of techniques involving enzyme-catalyzed r
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
Tribology, the study of friction, has been around for many years. In the last few years, atomic-scale investigations of friction have brought the field of "nanotribology" into existence. A recent report gives detailed data and analysis of liquid and solid monolayers on "smooth" and "rough" substrates. J. Krim, D.H. Solina, R. Chiarello, "Nanotribology of a Kr Monolayer: A quartz-crystal microbalance study of atomic scale friction," Physical Review Letters, 66, 181-4, 14 January 1991. (Northeas
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
During the recent period of relative seismic quiescence along the Parkfield segment of the San Andreas fault (late 1986-late 1988), the average magnitude of earthquakes was lower than usual. Throughout 1989, however, it was back to normal. This pattern has been observed before other mainshocks and, by comparison, suggests that the mainshock expected at Parkfield should occur "in the near future." M. Wyss, "Changes of mean magnitude of Parkfield seismicity: a part of the precursory process?" Ge
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The cooling of the Pacific Ocean between 11,000 and 10,000 years ago (the so-called Younger Dryas event), which has been indicated by paleovegetation studies in Alaska and Japan, has now been confirmed by radiocarbon-dated oxygen isotope studies of cores from the deep waters of the Sulu Sea, near the Philippines. This demonstrates clearly that the cooling event was not confined to the North Atlantic, as was once supposed, but was a major global shift in climate. The cause of the reversal of the

Hot Paper

Superconductivity
Superconductivity
A. Houghton, R.A. Pelcovits, A. Sudb, "Flux lattice melting in high-Tc] superconductors," Physical Review B, 40, 6763-70, 1 October 1989. Anthony Houghton (Brown University, Providence, R.I.): "Many potential applications of the high-Tc superconductors demand high critical currents. Classical type II superconductors--for example, niobium--in a magnetic field are well described by A.A. Abrikosov's mean field theory as a lattice of rigid vortex lines, each carrying one quantum of magnetic flux.
Cell Biology
Cell Biology
P. Nurse, "Universal control mechanism regulating onset of M-phase," Nature, 344, 503-8, 5 April 1990. Paul Nurse (University of Oxford, England): "This paper reviews the area of cell cycle control, which is going through an exciting period at present (The Scientist, Dec. 10, 1990, page 15). Two approaches, a genetics one using yeast and a biochemical one using egg extracts, have converged on the same gene products as being important for regulating the onset of M-phase and cell division. In pa
Cell Biology
Cell Biology
H.R.B. Pelham, "Control of protein exit from the endoplasmic reticulum," Annual Review of Cell Biology, 5, 1-23, 1989. Hugh Pelham (Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, U.K.): "There has been a lot of interest in recent years in the `sorting problem'--the question of how proteins find their correct location in cells. This is a particularly significant problem in the secretory pathway, where proteins that all start out in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are transp
Immunology
Immunology
J.G. Bodmer, S.G.E. Marsh, E. Albert, "Nomenclature for factors of the HLA system, 1989," Immunology Today, 11, 3-10, January 1990. Julia Bodmer (Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London): "`What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.' Shakespeare was right only in pointing out that it does not matter whether we call the flower a rose or a widget. The important thing is that we all call it by the same name. The 1989 nomenclature report is the ninth in a

Profession

Interdisciplinary Collaborations Offer Mutual Fulfillment
Interdisciplinary Collaborations Offer Mutual Fulfillment
Scientists most often work with collaborators in the same or closely related disciplines, and they usually strike up their relationships in professional settings or at social gatherings. Unusual, then, is the collaboration between Glenn C. Conroy and Michael W. Vannier. Conroy is a biological anthropologist and paleontologist, while Vannier is a radiologist--and their relationship was launched by a trip to the grocery that Conroy took one day. While waiting in the checkout line, Conroy browsed
Robinson Award Honors Achievements In Computer Education
Robinson Award Honors Achievements In Computer Education
The first time John Kemeny heard of the Louis Robinson Award was last summer, when the mathematician, computer scientist, and former Dartmouth College president was notified that he had won it. Now, in the second of four years in which the Robinson is slated to be given, award administrators are hoping that Kemeny's name will come to be automatically associated with the honor, which recognizes lifetime achievement in applying computer technology to education. "It is the body of previous winner
Boston Museum Honors GTE Chemist With 1991 New England Inventor Award
Boston Museum Honors GTE Chemist With 1991 New England Inventor Award
Boston Museum Honors GTE Chemist With 1991 New England Inventor Award (The Scientist, Vol:5, #6, pg. 22, March 18, 1991) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- Martha J.B. Thomas, former director of technical services at GTE Electrical Products Group in Danvers, Mass., has been named the 1991 New England Inventor by the Museum of Science in Boston. The award is given annually to an individual whose application of science and technology, creativity, and independent thought h

Briefs

Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
Grants For AIDS Research From AmFAR The American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) offers one-year research grants, as well as short-term travel grants, for biomedical research on AIDS. The research grants provide up to $50,000 for direct costs, plus up to an additional 20 percent of the grant amount for institutional indirect costs. Smaller travel grants of up to $5,000 finance short periods of study or specialized training. Postdoctoral investigators who are affiliated with nonprofit ins
People Briefs
People Briefs
Stuart Taylor Erhard W. Rothe Stuart Taylor, a biologist whose research focuses on cardiac muscle function, has been named a distinguished professor of biological sciences at Hunter College, City University of New York. Taylor, 53, comes to Hunter from the Mayo Medical School and Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, where he was a professor of physiology, specializing in biophysics and pharmacology. Taylor earned his doctorate in biology from New York University

Technology

Special Report: What To Expect In Scientific Computing
Special Report: What To Expect In Scientific Computing
Since personal computers first came into widespread use in the early 1980s, they have become essential for virtually all scientists. The best thing about these now-ubiquitous machines, aside from their ability to revolutionize research, is that as time goes by, they continue to get faster, smaller, and--relative to their power--cheaper. And with this increasing power, and the new software that it fuels, will come additional fundamental changes in the way scientists work. Advancing technology a