News

Pundits Foresee Stiffer Job Competition In Academia
Pundits Foresee Stiffer Job Competition In Academia
Countering the widespread predictions of a future scientist shortage, several analysts predict a crisis in quality, not quantity WASHINGTON--The idea of an upcoming massive shortage of scientists and engineers is now being assailed and discredited on many fronts. But that doesn't mean that labor economists and statisticians are anticipating only bright skies ahead for scientists entering the job market. What is emerging is a more limited assessment of employment prospects and the economy that
U.S. Immigration Law Both Helps And Hinders Foreign Researchers
U.S. Immigration Law Both Helps And Hinders Foreign Researchers
New policies may make it more difficult for them to work temporarily, but may make it easier for them to get permanent visas Universities, industries, and government agencies that employ foreign scientists see the 1990 Immigration Act, which revamps the visa application process for skilled workers and the quotas of temporary and permanent visas issued, as a mixed blessing. The 110-page law, signed by President Bush last November, triples the number of permanent visas for skilled workers to 1
Are Scientific Societies Diverted By Their Cash Cows?
Are Scientific Societies Diverted By Their Cash Cows?
Some members fear that wealthy organizations like ACS and AAS may be losing sight of their charters as they pursue revenue As an information specialist with Spring House, Pa.-based chemical manufacturer Rohm and Haas Co., chemist Joann Witiak is a regular user of the American Chemical Society's Chemical Abstract Service. She is also a member of the society. So is Steve Weininger, a professor of chemistry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. Witiak generally pays about $68 per
NIH 's New Approach To Grant Cuts Won't Ease Deficiencies In Funding
NIH 's New Approach To Grant Cuts Won't Ease Deficiencies In Funding
While the agency's halt to `downward negotiations' may promote fairness, it fails to brighten overall research support vistas WASHINGTON--The National Institutes of Health has officially ended its highly unpopular practice of applying unilateral, across-the-board cuts to the grants of those researchers it funds. But most scientists will find that the varying approaches adopted by individual institutes to replace what were euphemistically called "downward negotiations" do not yield any more mon
New NIH Awards Will Help Those Who Just Missed The Cut
New NIH Awards Will Help Those Who Just Missed The Cut
Healy unveils $30 million plan to provide interim funding for researchers struggling to secure NIH grants for their research WASHINGTON--In her first official appearance before Congress as National Institutes of Health director last month, Bernadine Healy delivered a gift to the scientific research community: a new $30 million awards program. Healy told the House appropriations subcommittee headed by Rep. William Natcher (D-Ky.) that by the end of September, NIH hopes to have thrown a lifelin

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Healy's Family Ties Soften Pay Cut Penn Researcher Fights Sanctions Astronomers To Get SDI Technology Soon They'll Want A Sports Car Try Dial-A-Prayer New NIH director Bernadine Healy received copious condolences last month from members of a House appropriations subcommittee for the "substantial pay cut" that she was taking to come to Washington. Indeed, her financial disclosure statement reveals that she earned $251,000 last year in salary as director of the research institute at the

Opinion

Finding The Way To Confidence, Accountability
Finding The Way To Confidence, Accountability
There is clearly a problem with the process by which universities recover their indirect costs of research. Congressional hearings, media reports, and discussion by university scientists and administrators all reflect a widespread loss of confidence in the present process, and that loss of confidence is in itself a significant problem. Universities must regain public confidence that the expenditure of public funds is handled in a fair and prudent fashion. The fact that there are problems in th
Reform The Indirect Costs System, But Don't Hurt Scientific Research
Reform The Indirect Costs System, But Don't Hurt Scientific Research
Until recently, the public has known little about the reimbursement of indirect costs of research. Now, however, revelations about alleged abuses concerning some specific indirect costs reimbursements have been well publicized. This has created a good deal of concern, and an understandable demand for accountability and, if necessary, for reform. But how well do the reformers understand the need for appropriate indirect costs, and further, what reforms might be appropriate to satisfy the primary
How Indirect Are The Legitimate Costs Of Doing Science?
How Indirect Are The Legitimate Costs Of Doing Science?
"What we will hear today is a story of taxpayer dollars going to bloated overhead rather than to scientific research. It is a story of excess and arrogance, compounded by lax governmental oversight." Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) thus opened a March 13 congressional hearing investigating alleged misuses of indirect costs reimbursements by Stanford University. In the two months since that hearing, payment of indirect costs has become a matter of public debate, not to mention public ridicule.
Beware The Corrosive Consequences Of Indirect Costs
Beware The Corrosive Consequences Of Indirect Costs
My baptism in the conflict between academic productivity and the acquisition of indirect costs occurred some years ago when my university unilaterally canceled a research grant made to my laboratory by the Rockefeller Foundation. The shock to my research program was hardly mollified by a vice president's explanation that the cancellation was necessary because the foundation had refused to pay indirect costs. The unpleasant possibility that the university administration might be more interested
Letters
Letters
Editor's Note: In the past few months, the case of Forrest M. Mims III has received considerable publicity. Mims, a veteran science writer from Seguin, Texas, was commissioned by Scientific American to write a column called "The Amateur Scientist," but the magazine revoked his assignment when the editors learned that Mims is an evangelical Christian who does not believe in evolution. Mims has accused Scientific American of religious discrimination; the magazine denies the charge. The Opinion

Letter

Animals and Research
Animals and Research
I was disappointed to see that The Scientist published the misrepresentative view of animal experimentation expressed in the letter by Melissa Goldman [Feb. 18, 1991, page 12]. It should be noted that both the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association have voted to censure the group Goldman represents, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, for misrepresentation. Goldman claims that leading cosmetics companies have stopped using toxicity testing in animals, pr
Summer Science
Summer Science
It was great to see your article on science programs for kids and teens in the summer [The Scientist, Feb. 18, 1991, page 20]. With our first program, called Summer Science, two years ago, we thought we were unique in offering girls entering grades 8, 9, or 10 two weeks of science research on projects they thought up themselves. I'm happy to see other programs for the same age group, and I wonder if we're still unique in allowing participants this open-endedness. This year we run from July 7-1
Animals And Research
Animals And Research
I am writing to comment on the letter from Donald J. Barnes, director of the National Antivivisection Society [The Scientist, Jan. 7, 1991, page 16]. In response to Albert Kligman's challenge to antivivisectionists to openly debate their positions with members of the scientific establishment [The Scientist, Oct. 29, 1990, page 16], Barnes complains that "it is increasingly difficult to find members of the active biomedical research community who will agree to such debates within our public inst

Commentary

Is the Office of Scientific Integrity Too Zealous?
Is the Office of Scientific Integrity Too Zealous?
Since administrators naturally wish to protect their institutions from embarrassment, it is not surprising that they have often been reluctant to respond to allegations of fraud in research. We are now paying the price for this reticence, as congressional investigations have exposed a substantial number of fraud cases--more than most scientists would have expected. Nevertheless, the recognition of even one or two dozen cases of fraud among the 24,000 grants supported by the National Institutes

Research

Physical Scientists May Be Key To Speedup of Gene Sequencing
Physical Scientists May Be Key To Speedup of Gene Sequencing
Chemist Lloyd M. Smith's entry into the world of gene sequencing came about during his postdoc days, in Leroy Hood's molecular biology lab at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. With his background in fluorescence chemistry and instrumentation, Smith saw a way to speed the tedious process of reading DNA sequences off gels. The result was the development of the first automated DNA sequencer (L.M. Smith, et al., "Fluorescence Detection in Automated DNA Sequence Analysis," Nature,

Hot Paper

Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
R.G. Goodwin, D. Friend, S.F. Ziegler, R. Jerzy, et al., "Cloning of the human and murine interleukin-7 receptors: Demonstration of a soluble form and homology to a new receptor superfamily," Cell, 60:941-51, 1990. Raymond Goodwin (Immunex Corp., Seattle): "Interleukin-7 (IL-7) was cloned based on its ability to induce the proliferation of pre-B cells, and has subsequently been shown to have effects on immature and mature T cells. The cloning of the receptor for IL-7 allows for studies to iden
Microbiology
Microbiology
J.B. Stock, A.J. Ninfa, A.M. Stock, "Protein phosphorylation and regulation of adaptive responses in bacteria," Microbiological Reviews, 53:450-90, 1989. Jeff Stock (Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.): "Although research on signal transduction has traditionally focused on eukaryotic cells, prokaryotes also respond to environmental signals. Recent studies, reviewed in this article, show that a single bacterial cell such as Escherichia coli may have as many as 50 different receptor kinases a
Immunology
Immunology
K.S. Campbell, J.C. Cambier, "B lymphocyte antigen receptors (mlg) are non-covalently associated with a disulfide linked, inducibly phosphorylated glycoprotein complex," EMBO Journal, 9:441-48, 1990. Kerry S. Campbell ( National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Denver): "B cell antigen receptors are membrane-bound forms of immunoglobulin (mlg) that transduce essential growth-promoting signals. Interestingly, their cytoplasmic structure appears inadequate for direct physic

Profession

Courses Keep Industry, Government Scientists Competitive
Courses Keep Industry, Government Scientists Competitive
This past March, more than two dozen scientists gathered in a small conference room at Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories (MSDRL) in West Point, Pa. They were there for a half-day seminar on the signal transduction of receptors, the first in a five-part, company-sponsored lecture series on receptors. The instructor, Ben Margolis, an assistant professor in the department of pharmacology at New York University Medical Center, told his audience he wanted the talk to be informal--and it was.
Baltimore's Passano Foundation Honors UCSD Neurobiologist With $15,000 Prize
Baltimore's Passano Foundation Honors UCSD Neurobiologist With $15,000 Prize
Baltimore's Passano Foundation Honors UCSD Neurobiologist With $15,000 Prize Philadelphia's Wistar Institute appoints Giovanni Rovera As Its New Director Obituary Roger Tsien, a professor of pharmacology and chemistry at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, has won the Passano Foundation's 1991 Young Scientist Award. Tsien accepted the $15,000 prize last month. The Baltimore-based foundation was established in 1943 to encourage medical research in the United Stat
New York Foundation Fills In The Cracks By Funding General Operating Expenses
New York Foundation Fills In The Cracks By Funding General Operating Expenses
When a medical institution needs to build a new wing or start a new research project, its officials can turn to a wide range of grantmakers for financial support. Finding funds for general operating expenses, on the other hand, can be very difficult. Most granting agencies will not provide monies for the expensive supplies, equipment, and staff required for day-to-day operations. According to the Foundation Grants Index, issued by the New York-based Foundation Center, general operating support

Briefs

Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
Fulbrights Back Teaching And Research The Fulbright Scholar Program for 1992-93 will award 1,000 grants for research and teaching in more than 100 countries to academic faculty at all levels, professionals, and independent scholars. Grant periods range from two months to an academic year and may include research, university lecturing, or a combination of the two. Basic requirements for Fulbright awards are U.S. citizenship and a Ph.D. or equivalent professional qualifications. Most lecturing

Technology

Robots Toil Round The Clock In Today's Science Laboratories
Robots Toil Round The Clock In Today's Science Laboratories
It is 2:30 in the morning at Steve Metzner's lab at Monsanto Co. in St. Louis, and lab workers are busy preparing samples for an experiment to be run that day. These workers aren't diligent technicians, however--they're robots, and they're freeing the laboratory's human workers to do more complicated and challenging tasks when they arrive. To the functioning of Metzner's lab, and many others around the United States, robotics has become integral. While most prevalent in labs that perform highly