News

Shutdown Of Supercomputer Firm Imperils Princeton Installation
Shutdown Of Supercomputer Firm Imperils Princeton Installation
The John von Neumann Supercomputing Center at Princeton University may be paying a devastating price for its alliance with a floundering computer giant. Last month the four-year-old center was rocked by the announcement thai its sole supercomputer supplier, ETA Systems Inc., had been shut down abruptly by its parent company, Control Data Corp. (CDC). That decision, made after the six year-old supercomputer subsidiary lost more than $100 million last year, means the center will get no furthe
Oceanographers Teach Science From The Seabed
Oceanographers Teach Science From The Seabed
WOODS HOLE, MASS.—For the past two weeks, a quarter-million students, at viewing posts in the United States and Canada, have participated in an unprecedented scientific adventure—a live telecast from the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. experiment called the Jason Project (after Greek mythology’s heroic leader of the Argonauts), is an $8 million extravaganza that is part science, part education, and part showbiz. It is the brainchild of Robert Ballard, the famed deep-sea re
SSC Faces Uphill Battle For Funds
SSC Faces Uphill Battle For Funds
WASHINGTON—In some places, April showers may indeed bring May flowers. But in this town the vegetation must compete with the lobbyists, who appear in droves each spring to plead for their favorite projects as part of.the annual federal budget process. This year, advocates of the superconducting supercollider (SSC) are hoping to avoid last year’s bitter harvest, when Congress refused to spend anything to begin preparing for construction and instead retained level funding—$
NIH Establishes Office To Probe Science Misconduct
NIH Establishes Office To Probe Science Misconduct
WASHINGTON—If NIH is the crown jewel of federal biomedical research, then scientific misconduct is a scratch on its surface. And Brian Kimes is the man that NIH officials hope will begin to restore the luster their organization has lost in the eyes of Congress and the public. On April 10 Kimes became acting director of the newly formed Office of Scientific Integrity (OSI). The office was created by officials within the Public Health Service, NIH’s parent agency, as part of a two-
Bromley Brings His No-Nonsense Style To Science Adviser's Job
Bromley Brings His No-Nonsense Style To Science Adviser's Job
WASHINGTON—The view with respect to Yale nuclear physicist D. Allan Bromley seems to be unanimous: The new assistant to the pres- ident for science and technology, in the words of one colleague, “cuts through the crap to get things done.” On April 20, the White House issued an announcement that the science community had been anxiously awaiting for months: President Bush had selected his new science adviser. Long rumored for the position, Bromley comes to the job with true
Wyngaarden To Step Down As NIH Director
Wyngaarden To Step Down As NIH Director
WASHINGTON—The resignation of James Wyngaarden last month after more than seven years as director of the National Institutes of Health may have caught scientists by surprise. But it was a long time coming for the 64-year-old Wyngaarden. In fact, his last day on the job, July 31, will be nine months past the date when the soft-spoken former Duke University medical schcol administrator had hoped to leave the post. It’s clear that Wyngaarden has had his fill of the political battles
Funding Helps To Fuel Technical Advances In The Field
Funding Helps To Fuel Technical Advances In The Field
Although the term “designer drugs” has already become trendy, the actual work of modifying chemical compounds to attack certain proteins and enzymes associated with various diseases has only just gotten off the ground. Fueling the progress in research during the past five years have been significant advances in such areas as X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance technology. And leading the support for this field of scientific investigadon has been the National Insti

Briefs

National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
GAO Defends Livermore Investigation Three months after a congressman called for the General Accounting Office to retract its Inaccurate, misleading, and biased” investigation of Lawrence Livermore founder Edward Teller (see The Scientist, March 20,1989, page 1), the GAO has declined the offer. In a letter last month to Rep. Fortney (Pete) Stark (D-Calif.), who had led the quest for a retraction, the agency said that it stands by the conclusion of its June 1988 report that the letters Tel
Government Briefs
Government Briefs
Navy First To Fund Utah Fusion With a $400,000 grant issued earlier this month, the Office of Naval Research has become the first government agency to fund the University of Utah’s groundbreaking fusion research (See The Scientist, May 1, page 1). The grant will support additional basic research by electrochemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann “to confirm their claims [of room-temperature sustained fusion] or, if that’s not what’s going on, to get to the truth,
Private Institute Briefs
Private Institute Briefs
Wildlife Cashes In On Ecuador IOU Two U.S. conservation groups have turned Ecuador’s foreign debt into a boon for that country’s wildlife areas and endangered species. The World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy have agreed to pay off $9 million of Ecuador’s debt at a rate of 11 7/8 cents on the dollar—an expenditure of little more than $1 million. In exchange for having the debt retired, the Ecuadoran government will give a private conservation group in the Sout
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Using Neutron Analysis To Find Bombs In addition to the usual indignities of being tossed into the cargo hold and then hurled onto the baggage carousel, your luggage may also soon be bombarded by neutrons, thanks to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) of LaJolla, Calif. But this is one form of harassment that none of us is likely to mind. When an Air-India Boeing 747 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 23, 1985, a disaster widely believed to be the work of a bomb, SAIC re
University Briefs
University Briefs
Using Science To Solve Murders Forget Scotland Yard. Forget the FBI. Forget bloodhounds and fingerprint experts. Richard Merritt, an aquatic entomologist at Michigan State University, is the specialist that police call upon when they need help in determining the time of death of a decomposed corpse. Merritt’s research into the insects that live in streams and lakes has earned him a spot in the small cadre of forensic entomologists. “I’ve worked with all those insects that liv
Entrepreneur Briefs
Entrepreneur Briefs
No Conclusion Yet On Value Of Imreg-1 It was lmreg Inc., of New Orleans, La., playing David opposite the well-established, well-heeled, well-staffed, pharmaceutical Goliaths last summer. At that time, lmreg was one of the five companies in the race to develop anti-AIDS drugs that had completed FDA clinical trials for its AIDS products—and with nine scientists on board it was by far the smallest firm. (See “A Tiny Biotech Startup Wages War Against AIDS,” The Scientist, August
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
A Lab To Call Your Own Rockefeller University, one of the nation’s foremost centers of biomedical research and graduate education, is looking for a few good minds to participate in its new Fellows Program in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. Last March the Lucille R Markey Charitable Trust of Miami contributed a whopping $5 million to support this expansion of the New York City-based institution’s 18-year-old University Fellows program. The fellowships provide an opport

Opinion

Hyped Science: Researchers Are Hurting Their Own Cause
Hyped Science: Researchers Are Hurting Their Own Cause
Once upon a time, scientists assumed that a record of solid accomplishment was sufficient to maintain research support. They were not really interested in public visibility; on the contrary, they feared it would encourage outsiders to interfere in the research process. Even when research had obvious applications, scientists in most fields were careful to direct their initial findings toward their professional colleagues. Once supported by peer review, they then would go public through the pre
Behavior Genetics Research: A Far Cry From Fascism
Behavior Genetics Research: A Far Cry From Fascism
It was disheartening to read in The Scientist that one’s research activities are “tired,” “flagrantly wrong,” “dangerous,” and even “fascist.” Garland Allen’s (February 6, 1989, page 9) assault was directed at modern behavior genetics generally, but since the twin research going on at the University of Minnesota is the only work Professor Allen refers to directly, we would like to offer a rebuttal. Allen’s first argument is t
Computers Are Limiting Our World
Computers Are Limiting Our World
Everyone agrees that computers highlight the achievements of 20th-century science and technology. With so much obvious success it is very easy to forget the limitations. Are we making serious mistakes because science is leading us in the wrong direction? I believe that we are. Because computers are designed by scientists, they reflect the scientific ethos. A “good” scientist observes a narrowly defined phenomenon and explains its behavior with simple generalizations. A “fam

Letter

Multiple Authorship
Multiple Authorship
In their respective articles in the March 20, 1989, issue, Andrew Herxheimer (“Make Scientific Journals More Responsive—And Responsible”) and Murray Saffran [see above letter] are onto something important. We owe them and The Scientist a vote of thanks for articulating and publicizing it, and I hope it doesn’t end there. We tend to think that science is what goes on in laboratories, and we turn the spotlight on the poor experimentalist every time there is a question of
Science Vs. Orthodoxy
Science Vs. Orthodoxy
Science Vs. Orthodoxy The greatest enemy science has is orthodoxy. We recognize it in thinking of the Middle Ages, and we are appalled when we think of Lysenko, but just as destructive and not as commonly recognized is the orthodoxy that scientists have imposed on each other. Scientists themselves, more than church or state, have interfered with the advancement of science. We are in my view, in a period of militant orthodoxy. A characteristic of this is certainty. In my field of biology, the
Multiple Authorship
Multiple Authorship
In response to Murray Saffran’s.article entitled “On Multiple Authorship: Describe The Contribution” (The Scientist, March 20, 1989, page 9), I would like to suggest and appeal to the editors of scientific journals as well as to the NIH and the NSF to make a rule that would apply to both authorship and grant proposals: “Any individual who has been a coauthor on any paper (except that from a multicenter clinical trial) with a principal investigator (author) and co-invest

Commentary

The English Language: The Lingua Franca Of International Science
The English Language: The Lingua Franca Of International Science
For practical reasons, the Pasteur Institute in Paris recently decided to publish its venerable Annales de l’Institut Pasteur in English. The new title is Research in Virology (or Immunology or Micro biology, depending on the specialty). Institute officials explained that almost 100% of the articles submitted to the journal in 1987 were in English, compared to about 15% in 1973. The officials also noted that the journal’s French title gave researchers the impression that it was no

Research

Geosciences
Geosciences
GEOSCIENCES BY PETER J. SMITH Department of Earth Sciences Open University Milton Keynes, U.K. " A new type of carbonate-platform margin has been recognized in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean regions. Named a “scalloped margin,” it comprises a series of irregular embayments, convex on the platform side, and is thought to be largely an erosional feature produced by large-scale failure triggered by earthquakes or resulting from undercutting by dissolution. H.T. Mullins, A.C. Hin
Computational Sciences
Computational Sciences
COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCES BY BRUCE G. BUCHANAN Department of Computer Science University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pa. " Scientists rely on information, and information management in this century now necessarily involves computers. Yet many scientists are frustrated in attempts to use computers for communicating with colleagues, analyzing data, and otherwise carrying out research. Are report, commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences, examines the use of information technologies (mostly c
Plant and Animal Sciences
Plant and Animal Sciences
PLANT AND ANIMAL SCIENCES BY PETER D. MOORE Department of Biology King’s College London, U.K. " Many plants respond to grazing by increasing their production of secondary chemical compounds that play a deterrent role. Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) from heavily grazed habitats are found to possess higher densities of stinging hairs than those from ungrazed areas, and experimental damage to plants in the laboratory also results in higher trichome density on the new shoots. A.S. Pullin
Life Sciences 100,1987-1988 Pt. 2: Surveying The Payers
Life Sciences 100,1987-1988 Pt. 2: Surveying The Payers
Last issue’s Special Report focused on the research institutions and nations that contributed in greatest measure to the 100 life sciences articles that have been listed during the past year in The Scientist’s ‘Hot Papers” column (See “Life Sciences 100, 1987-1988. Pt. 1: Surveying the Players,” The Scientist, May 1, 1989, page 12). These 100 research reports, originally published in 1987 and 1988, were identified as hot because they were so frequently cited

Profession

Lucille Markey Trust Sets Agenda For Going Out Of Business
Lucille Markey Trust Sets Agenda For Going Out Of Business
Ever since 1983, when it was establisbed with a $300 million gift from the late Kentucky racehorse breeder Lucille P. Markey, the Markey trust has been sinking millions into basic biomedical research. At the same time the Miami-based endowment has been earning millions in interest on investments largely tied to oil properties. The net result: an enormous cash balance of close to $133 million—all of which must be given away over the next seven and one-half years, when, according to a con

New Products

Tools
Tools
Reliable, rapid, and sensitive measurement of biochemical reactions and interactions has always presented a formidable challenge to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, clinical laboratories, and research facilities. However, the use of innovative biosensors as part of an integrated lab system is showing great promise in alleviating many of the problems encountered in this area of scientific investigation. Essentially, biosensors are detection devices that translate biological activi