May 1989

News

'Nuclear Winter' Comes In From The Cold
'Nuclear Winter' Comes In From The Cold
“[Here we are on] the Halloween preceding 1984,” Carl Sagan solemnly told a gathering of scientists and reporters in Washington, D.C., “and I deeply wish that what I am about to tell you were only a ghost story, something invented to frighten children for a day. But unfortunately, it is not just a story.” Thus began a spellbinding tale of doom, delivered in inimitable Sagan fashion. Should nuclear war erupt between the world’s two superpow ers, warned the Corn
Personal Tragedy Puts Passion Back Into A Scientist's Quest
Personal Tragedy Puts Passion Back Into A Scientist's Quest
It wasn’t a run-of-the-mill midlife-crisis that made Jeff Wine abruptly abandon his life’s work. It was the salty taste he noticed whenever he kissed his baby daughter Nina. In the fall of 1981, Wine was a 41-year-old associate professor in Stanford University’s prestigious psychology department. A physiological psychologist, he had already won wide recognition for his use of crayfish to study how nerve cells control behavior. He was also a firsttime parent, but not an anxio
Optics Boom Spawns Need For More Experts
Optics Boom Spawns Need For More Experts
Despite the trouble being encountered by some fledgling U.S. optics firms, when the University of Arizona’s Optical Sciences Center celebrated its 25th anniversary in March with the opening of a new $3 million building, optics specialists Used the occasion to herald a bright future for the discipline overall and for the young scientists who are enentering it. “I’m so bullish on the field that we’ve already selected an architect for the next addition to the center,R
PEOPLE
PEOPLE
Steven H. Safe, professor of veterinary physiology and pharmacology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University, is recipient of the 1989 Burroughs Wellcome Toxicology Scholar Award. The $300,000 prize recognizes 15 years of Safe’s “strong commitment to toxicological research, training, and education," particularly in his studies of toxic dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the relationships of these substances to cancer and birth defects. The Univers

Briefs

National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
To Catch A Spy. Debt, stress, and greed may be a routine part of life for most scientists. But they are a constant source of worry for Sandia National Lab security chief Jerry Brown. Brown recently analyzed more than 100 cases, of Communist Bloc-sponsored espionage since 1950 (of which more than half occurred in the last decade) in which he found that money was the most common motive. “That fits right in with the Soviet premise that every American has a price,” says Brown, who found
Government Briefs
Government Briefs
Calling All Industry Scientists NSF has selected 47 scientists to spend several months doing research in Japan under three new fellowship programs designed to even out the flow of knowledge between the two countries. But while the Japanese-funded programs are open to any qualified scientist, everyone in the first batch hails from either a university or government laboratory. “The lack of participation by industry has been a real disappointment,” admits NSF,s Charles (“TomR
University Briefs
University Briefs
And They’re Off! 23 Feet Under The Waves Remember submarine races? The competition that took place at the end of lovers’ lane? Well, lovers’ lane now stops at West Palm Beach, where Florida Atlantic University and the H.A. Perry Foundation are sponsoring the First Annual International Submarine Races June 23-25, in part to encourage improvements in the hydrodynamics, propulsion, and life support systems of underwater vehicles. About 20 human-powered “wet subs”R
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Merieux-Connaught Merger To Benefit R&D Scientists at Toronto-based Connaught BioSciences, and Institut Merieux S.A., of Lyon, France, both pharmaceutical companies, have nothing to fear from the recently announced merger of the human health care divisions of the two firms— indeed, they may have much to cheer, according to Gerald Wood, Connaught’s vice president and chief financial officer. In fact, Connaught’s desire to strengthen its research efforts “is the main reas
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
Privileged Info: The Names Of Referees The right of scientific journals to keep the identities of their manuscript referees confidential has been buttressed by a recent court decision. The decision, first made last year by a district court and then upheld by a federal appeals court in March, is one of the byproducts of a case brought against Arco Solar Inc. When the solar energy subsidiary of the Arco oil company found itself charged with patent infringement by Solarex Corp. and RCA Corp. for i
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
Man Versus Man William Wordsworth waxed poetic about “man’s inhumanity to man,” but the more broadminded Harry Frank Guggenheim was interested in studying, as he put it, “man’s relation to man.” In keeping with that idea, the New York foundation that Guggenheim endowed in 1929 has traditionally sponsored a seven-part international program of scientific research aimed at better understanding the causes of dominance, violence, and aggression. Now an eighth a

Opinion

...But Can't Attract U.S. Students
...But Can't Attract U.S. Students
I would like to address a serious problem that has immediate and long-range consequences for biomedical education, the medical profession, and community health in general. It concerns, specifically, the alarming decrease in the number of young people seeking careers in biomedical research, medicine, and allied health professions. According to statistics compiled by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of college students taking the Medical College Aptitude Test (MCAT) has

Research

U.S. Research Environment Lures Canadian Scientists...
U.S. Research Environment Lures Canadian Scientists...
Last summer Huntington Willard, an associate professor of medical genetics at the University of Toronto, surprised a news conference at the 16th International Congress on Genetics by announcing that he was leaving Canada to join the Department of Genetics and the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine headed by Paul Berg at Stanford University. He gave as his reason a lack of resources for basic research at his university and in Canada generally, and the low priority assigned to it.
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
PLANT AND ANIMAL SCIENCES BY FRANCISCO J. AYALA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of California Irvine, Calif. " The great lakes of Africa each contain a unique radiation of cichlids. Lake Tanganyika has more than 140 endemic species, Lake Victoria more than 200, and Lake Malawi about 500. Around 1960, the Nile perch, a piscivorous fish, was introduced in Lake Victoria in order to improve the fisheries, but it has eaten its way through much of the lake and caused a
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
CHEMISTRY BY MARYE ANNE FOX Department of Chemistry University of Texas, Austin Austin, Tex. " " Selective interactions through properly oriented functionalities allow for molecular recognition. The surface properties of this chiral monolayer show strongly temperature-dependent chiral recognition attributable to long range order. N.G. Harvey, D. Mirajovsky, P.L. Rose, R. Verbiar, E.M. Arnett, “Molecular recognition in chiral monolayers of stearoylserine methyl ester,” Journal of
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
GEOSCIENCES BY PETER J. SMITH Department of Earth Sciences Open University Milton Keynes, U.K. " A recent redetermination of solar composition showed that the Sun’s Fe abundance is 40% higher than previously thought and that Fe/Si and Ca/Al atomic ratios are 30% to 40% higher than chrondritic values. These new data require a fundamental re-evaluation of the. composition of the Earth’s mantle, which is likely to be chemically layered. The lower mantle, in particular, must be much r
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
PHYSICS BY FRANK A. WILCZEK School of Natural Science Institute for Advanced Studies Princeton, NJ " The Aharonov-Bohm effect describes the fact that the behavior of charged particles in quantum mechanics depends not only on the electric and magnetic fields, but also on the vector potentials. The effect controls fractional quantum statistics, dominates the interaction of matter with cosmic strings; and supplies new, essentially quantal observables for black holes. At a more down-to-earth level
Life Sciences 100, 1987-1988 Pt. 1: Surveying The Players
Life Sciences 100, 1987-1988 Pt. 1: Surveying The Players
About one in five of the 100 life sciences articles listed in the past year in The Scientist’s “Hot Papers” column was written by scientists at just three research institutions— Harvard University, Stanford University, and the Salk Insitute in San Diego. These three produced about 22% of this corpus of strong citation getters in the life sciences, papers that were originally published from early 1987 to late 1988 and that within their first year after publication, rece

Commentary

Elder Scientists Are A Vast Resource: Let's Put Their Skills To Good Use
Elder Scientists Are A Vast Resource: Let's Put Their Skills To Good Use
National Science Foundation statistics show that in 1986 there were 835,500 U.S. scientists and engineers who were 55 years of age or older and still employed. Surprisingly, there are no reliable statistics on the number of retired scientists and engineers, according to the American Association of Retired Persons. Despite this knowledge gap, it is reasonable to assume that many thousands of scientists are nearing or in retirement. This number will increase in line with the well-established de

Letter

Animal Rights
Animal Rights
Many of your readers are undoubtedly supportive, at least in principle, of the goals of the grassroots pro-research organizations that have emerged. There is a clear and critical need to educate the public, politicians, and many scientists and educators about the need to use animals in research and teaching. However, these supporters should also realize that the educational activities of organizations such as the Coalition for Animal and Animal Research; Citizens for Life, Education and Researc
Science And Religion
Science And Religion
Science And Religion Over the past several months The Scientist has provided a forum for a debate purportedly on the compatibility of science and religion, although in fact the discussion has been limited to the dualistic, theistic religions of the West, which are dependent on belief in a respective holy Scripture. It would be improper to venture any conclusion on the general question with such a restriction. Consideration must also be given to the religions of the East. With their focus on na
Faulty Reasoning
Faulty Reasoning
Faulty Reasoning The opinion article by Garland Allen, “A Dangerous Form of Eugenics is Creeping Back Into Science,” (The Scientist, February 6, 1989) shows that a dangerous form of antiscientific thought is creeping back into science. Allen would have us believe that there are aspects of the biological organization of human beings that should remain forever unknown. The opinion and the justifications for it are based on faulty reasoning, unsubstantiated accusations, and downright
Science And Religion
Science And Religion
Norbert Muller of Purdue University states in The Scientist (December 26, 1988, page 9): “A prerequisite for any fruitful scientific work is that one must accept on faith a number of statements about the nature of the universe for which there "can be no scientific proof.” This is not true. A fruitful scientist does notaccept unprovable scientific statements on faith. He accepts them skeptically, for the nonce, and is ready to abandon them if they prove unworkable. It would be danger
Animal Rights
Animal Rights
Rex Dalton’s article “Waging War On The Animal Rights Lobby,” The Scientist, February 6; 1989) characterizes animal rights activists as “anti-research.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is opposed to neither research nor science; we are opposed to animal research and bad science, which go hand in hand. Whereas many experiments on nonhuman animals have led scientists astray in studies of human disease, human clinical and epidemiological studies—a
Letters
Letters
As a physiologist and a Christian, I have followed with some interest the series of exchanges appearing in the “Letters” section of The Scientist. At one time I, too, thought— like some of your correspondents —that natural science had all the worthwhile answers, since only natural science seemed to have the most foolproof way of finding out what was really provable. But in due course, I have come to a different understanding, primarily because so many questions come up t

Profession

Scientists As Artists: Extending The Tools Of observation
Scientists As Artists: Extending The Tools Of observation
The first time paleontologist Robert Bakker examined a small one-of-a-kind dinosaur skull at, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, something about it puzzled him. And while he couldn’t quite put his finger on what that something was, he was fairly sure it was not the skull of a gorgosaurus as its label indicated. So Bakker, adjunct curator of paleontology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, did what he always does— he began to draw, using a pencil to record each and every

New Products

Three To-Do Programs Can Help Scientists Get Organized
Three To-Do Programs Can Help Scientists Get Organized
Scientists are busy people. And we’re also human. Which means we tend to forget things—things like deadlines for funding proposals, peer review meetings, special reports to professional organizations, and so forth. Unfortunately, many of us have had to learn the hard way that organization is essential. Without it, it’s all but impossible to track and fulfill professional commitments without compromising precious research time. A little-known category of software products&#
Electron Microscope 'Filters' Energy
Electron Microscope 'Filters' Energy
Over the last several decades, a detailed description of the, fine struc " ture of cells and tissues has emerged, due in a large part to transmission electron microscopy (TEM). With improvements in microscope design, sectioning techniques, and fixation and staining methodology, scientists can now examine biological structures with nanometer resolution. In addition, regularly spaced structures, such as cytoskeletal polymers, can be described in molecular detail via electron diffraction. Desp