March 1992

News

Gay And Lesbian Scientists Seek Workplace Equality
Gay And Lesbian Scientists Seek Workplace Equality
Sidebar: How AIDS Has Changed the Nature of Research Sidebar: Security Clearance Delays Hamper Gays' Careers While more institutions move to accommodate homosexual researchers, many gay activists still complain of bias Last September, the business world focused its attention on Lotus Development Corp. when it became the first large firm to offer health and other benefits to the "spousal equivalents" of its gay and lesbian employees. "The intent is to make us the employer of choice," says Rus
Bush Budget Would Reduce Number Of New NIH Grants
Bush Budget Would Reduce Number Of New NIH Grants
Sidebar: Wrong Number, Please Try Again The president's request for 1993 specifies more science support overall but dims hopes for some individual researchers WASHINGTON--On the surface, the 1993 budget that President Bush submitted to Congress January 29 should look very familiar to researchers: A lot more for the National Science Foundation, a little more for the National Institutes of Health, and large increases to pay for the continuing construction of the superconducting supercollider an
Turmoil Besets Wistar In Wake Of Koprowski's Ouster
Turmoil Besets Wistar In Wake Of Koprowski's Ouster
The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia marks its 100th anniversary this year, but the mood at the nation's oldest independent biomedical research facility is hardly jubilant. The institute has been in turmoil for the last year, after the abrupt ouster of longtime director Hilary Koprowski, the famed virologist and immunologist who transformed Wistar from a dilapidated museum into a world-renowned research center. The commotion recently was stirred up further, when the 75-year-old Koprowski file
NSF Backs Push For Better Database Management
NSF Backs Push For Better Database Management
WASHINGTON--The National Science Foundation has created a new program that funds research on how to store, retrieve, and manipulate scientific data. Its goal is to help scientists make better use of the flood of information their work is generating, as well as to stimulate cooperation among individual disciplines in tackling common problems in processing data. In addition, participants hope to upgrade the status of the information sciences by demonstrating the importance of modern scientific da
Growth Of A Research Bastion
Growth Of A Research Bastion
In 1892, when Gen. Isaac J. Wistar founded the institute that a century later still bears his name, his main intent was to make a home for the anatomical collection that belonged to his great-uncle Caspar Wistar, a University of Pennsylvania anatomist and physician. Fortunately, the general thought to add a few laboratories and research rooms to the museum on the first floor, which displayed such items as a great whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling. But though it was the general who fou
Wrong Number, Please Try Again
Wrong Number, Please Try Again
Making sense of the mass of numbers in the president's budget isn't easy, even for administration officials who have played a role in developing them. For example, at his news conference held the day the budget was released, presidential science adviser Allan Bromley declared that military spending in the 1993 proposed budget represents only 53 percent of the total R&D budget request. Several articles in the national media cited that number as proof that the Bush administration has shifted it
How AIDS Has Changed The Nature Of Research
How AIDS Has Changed The Nature Of Research
In his best-selling expose, And the Band Played On (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1987), San Francisco Chronicle reporter Randy Shilts documented how AIDS was largely ignored by the research and funding communities until the disease reached crisis proportions. Today, however, AIDS has become a glamorous field of investigation. Because the United States research establishment has become convinced that proceeding at an accelerated pace might help save lives, the processes of proposal review and d
Security Clearance Delays Hamper Gays' Careers
Security Clearance Delays Hamper Gays' Careers
For gay scientists hoping to do work for the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Energy, or the National Security Agency, one sign that times have changed is that homosexuality, in and of itself, is no longer a basis for denial of a security clearance. "Before 1975, no gay person was allowed to have a security clearance, even at the lowest level. Since then, things have gotten significantly better," says Richard Gayer, a San Francisco lawyer whose practice focuses on appealing denial
Koprowski: From Music To Medicine
Koprowski: From Music To Medicine
Were it not for World War II, Hilary Koprowski might be famous today as a concert pianist instead of a biomedical scientist whose achievements, including development of the first oral polio vaccine, have saved thousands of lives. Koprowski, who was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1916, at one time considered a career as a pianist, graduating from music conservatories in Warsaw and Rome. As the only child of the first female dental surgeon ever graduated from a Russian dental school, Koprowski grew

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Getting Leaner But Not Meaner All You Need is Drugs Thanks, But The Answer's No Spreading The News Researchers have an obligation to think about what's good for society as well as what's important for science, says Rep. George Brown (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Transportation Committee. Such public-spirited thinking, he says, could lead to a smaller federal research budget but a healthier citizenry and stronger national economy. Speaking at the National Academy of Sc

Opinion

What Do We Mean When We Use The Term `Science Fraud'?
What Do We Mean When We Use The Term `Science Fraud'?
In late 1989, the Public Health Service (PHS)--the parent organization of the National Institutes of Health--ruled that after January 1990 no research proposal would be accepted from any university that did not certify that it had in place a formal set of regulations on how to handle research misconduct. Subsequently, an Office of Scientific Integrity was established at NIH to investigate alleged fraud. Meanwhile, although the National Science Foundation doesn't yet have such an office, it does

Commentary

Stronger Support For U.S. Research Is Needed To Meet Asian Science's Growing Challenge
Stronger Support For U.S. Research Is Needed To Meet Asian Science's Growing Challenge
As the United States science community seeks to maintain its leadership position globally, it must not ignore the increasing capability of Asian scientists, and it must not underestimate the Pacific Rim nations' drive to become as dominant in science as they have become in high technology. No longer are Asian researchers just an audience for American scientists; they are emerging as leaders on their own, with a level of support from their countries that many U.S. investigators would find enviab

Letter

Soft Covers In Hard Times
Soft Covers In Hard Times
Marcia Clemmitt (The Scientist, Jan. 6, 1992, page 1) comments on hard times faced by book publishers. Currently, technical books from major publishers run from about 20 cents per page to more than 40 cents per page. Few are the books that cost less than $50. With reduced funding available for research, we can afford only the most essential monographs. In France, scientific publishers market most books as paperbacks. They are as durable as hardcover books. They can be produced more quickly an
Racist Relics?
Racist Relics?
In Melvin Hunter's interesting article in the Nov. 25, 1991 issue of The Scientist, "Racist Relics: An Ugly Blight On Our Botanical Nomenclature" (page 13), I believe he incorrectly ascribes a racist origin for the common name of the dwarf American cycad found in the southeastern United States, Zamia integrifolia (Hunter uses Zambia floridana, another species, but with the genus misspelled.) He notes that the plant ". . . has been called a Coontie, a reference to the tree's long, slender green
NSF Trainees
NSF Trainees
The article "NSF Offers Funds For University Buildings And Staff" (The Scientist, Jan. 6, 1992, page 3) discusses the new National Science Foundation graduate traineeship program. The article states that the program "creates university traineeship programs for doctoral students in the range of disciplines in the natural and physical sciences that NSF supports" (my emphasis). This gives the impression that the social and behavioral sciences, which NSF also supports, are ineligible. There is noth
Racist Relics?
Racist Relics?
In the Opinion essay entitled "Racist Relics: An Ugly Blight On Our Botanical Nomenclature," the author, Melvin Hunter, finds it sad that various racially offensive plant names have slipped into the vernacular of gardening. I find it even sadder that, with all the truly significant problems facing minorities in America, anyone considers the eradication of such names as a matter of anything but the lowest priority. To the best of my knowledge, neither a black nor a Native American child has ha

Research

Hot Team: Volcanologists' Good Call In Philippines Saves Lives
Hot Team: Volcanologists' Good Call In Philippines Saves Lives
Hot Team: Volcanologists' Good Call In Philippines Saves Lives
Among the Ayta people of Mount Pinatubo it was a portent. A steam cloud that smelled like rotten eggs was rising from the peak.

Hot Paper

Theoretical Physics
Theoretical Physics
D.J. Gross, A.A. Migdal, "Nonperturbative two-dimensional quantum gravity," Physical Review Letters, 64:127-30, 1990. D.J. Gross, A.A. Migdal, "Nonperturbative solution of the Ising model on a random surface," Physical Review Letters, 64:717-20, 1990. D.J. Gross, N. Miljkovic, "A nonperturbative solution of D=1 string theory," Physics Letters B, 238:217-23, 1990. David J. Gross (Joseph Henry Laboratories, Princeton University): "String theory, which contends to yield a unified theory of gr
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
D.W. Nebert, D.R. Nelson, M.J. Coon, R.W. Estabrook, et al., "The P450 superfamily: update on new sequences, gene mapping, and recommended nomenclature," DNA and Cell Biology, 10:1-14, 1991. Daniel W. Nebert (University of Cincinnati Medical Center): "This review is the third in a series of comprehensive, up- to-date compilations of data about members of the large cytochrome P450 gene superfamily. It serves to organize a large--and growing--body of sequencing and mapping data on 154 P450 genes
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
M.P. Kamps, C. Murre, X.-h. Sun, D. Baltimore, "A new homeobox gene contributes the DNA binding domain of the t(1;19) translocation protein in Pre-B ALL," Cell, 60:547- 55, 1990. Mark Kamps (University of California, San Diego): "In man, most chromosomal translocations elicit tumorigenic effects by introducing a strong enhancer adjacent to a normal cellular gene, such as c-MYC, and constitutively activating its expression. Less frequently, a chimeric oncogene forms by the joining of two distinc

Technology

U.S. Maintains Leadership In Global Lab Equipment Market
U.S. Maintains Leadership In Global Lab Equipment Market
While imports devastate other domestic industries, most notably the automobile and computer sectors, United States manufacturers of laboratory instruments posted a $2.3 billion trade surplus in 1991, according to U.S. Department of Commerce figures. Though foreign companies are making progress in the industry, the nation's equipment manufacturers can be assured that "made in the U.S.A." will remain a common label in labs throughout the scientific world. U.S. instrument makers have continued t

Profession

A Tale Of Two Systems
A Tale Of Two Systems
NIH 1. Proposal arrives at NIH and is sent to appropriate study section. 2. Scientific review administrator appoints two study section members to serve as primary and secondary reviewers of the application. 3. Study section convenes. Primary and secondary reviewers present reports on proposal, followed by open discussion. Study section may vote to reject or defer action on application. Otherwise, panelists assign it a priority score. 4. Proposal proceeds to National Advisory Council (NAC) o
Company's Grants Support Search For Alternatives To Animal Testing
Company's Grants Support Search For Alternatives To Animal Testing
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that each year as many as 20 million animals are used in various university and industry settings for basic research and product testing. This figure represents a sizable drop from the late 1970s, when the USDA estimated that about 33 million animals per year were used. Two reasons are usually cited for this trend, says Daniel Ringler, director of the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine at the University of Michigan. First, many researchers have al
People: Association Of Biotechnology Companies' New Executive Director Assumes Duties
People: Association Of Biotechnology Companies' New Executive Director Assumes Duties
The Association of Biotechnology Companies (ABC), a 270- member international organization based in Washington, D.C., has named William E. Small as its executive director. He began his duties February 3. Small has spent much of his career working for health-care associations in Washington. For the past year, he has been director of communications for the American Nurses Association. From 1989 to 1991, he served as deputy executive vice president for management and operations at the American A

Briefs

Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund offers the $350,000 George Herbert Hitchings Award for Innovative Methods to a scientist or group of scientists investigating novel approaches to drug design and discovery. Hitchings, who served as president of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund from 1971 to 1990, pioneered several important concepts in drug design. The award is intended to support investigators embarking on new lines of drug research who are not yet eligible for more traditional grants. Eligible projects
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
The U.S. Army Research Office's Young Investigator Program offers three years of support to young university faculty members pursuing research projects relevant to Army interests. Eligible candidates must hold tenure-track positions at U.S. institutions and have received their doctoral degrees within five years of applying for the award. Research areas of interest include biotechnology, polymer chemistry, kinematics, atmospheric sciences, artificial intelligence, materials science, and condensed
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
Navy Sponsors Postdocs The Office of Naval Technology sponsors a postdoctoral fellowship program at naval research and development centers and laboratories across the United States. The fellowship program provides approximately 40 new postdoctoral appointments each year in fields such as aerodynamics, acoustics, biotechnology, computer science, material sciences, and oceanography. To be eligible, scientists must be U.S. citizens and have received research doctoral degrees within seven years of