News

U.S. Toughens Stance On Japan Science Pact
U.S. Toughens Stance On Japan Science Pact
WASHINGTON—The Reagan administration is asking Japan to participate in a major U.S.-led research project as part of what it hopes will be a tougher bilateral agreement on scientific cooperation. The U.S. proposal has, not been made public, but it is thought to seek Japan’s participation in a large-scale project such as the space station or the Superconducting Supercollider. According to Charles T. Owens, the National Science Foundation’s member of the negotiating team, R
Salary Survey Shows Range by Job, Field
Salary Survey Shows Range by Job, Field
A new survey based on a range of benchmark jobs shows that research directors and other top administrators earn up to twice as much as laboratory scientists. The survey of 5,000 employees in 116 industrial and academic research settings divides the work force into categories based on job responsibility. It ranges from those who direct 100 or more persons and whose duties are primarily managerial to laboratory scientists who work on a specific project. The survey found, on average, that pay
Japan Struggles to Fit Into Agreement on SDI
Japan Struggles to Fit Into Agreement on SDI
TOKYO—Some four months after Japan agreed to join the Strategic Defense Initiative championed by the Reagan administration, the scope and nature of its participation remain unclear. “We have only just finished studying what kind of cooperation and what kind of regulations are involved,” said Koji Inoue, assistant section chief of the Aircraft and Ordinance division of Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). “So far, no specific corporations.
TV Executives, Scientists to Discuss News
TV Executives, Scientists to Discuss News
NEW YORK—Some 20 eminent scientists and a similar number of television news executives will meet to try to bridge the distance between the scientists who make the news and the journalists who broadcast it. The December 12-13 meeting in Tarrytown, N.Y., is the first step in a long-term project made possible by a $876,225 grant to the Scientists Institute for Public Information (SIPI) from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago. “I used to call it a gap. Now it
Fight Looms Over Control Of U.S. Data
Fight Looms Over Control Of U.S. Data
WASHINGTON—A quiet battle is being waged here to win control over certain types of unclassified information, including scientific data, despite the Reagan administration’s decision earlier this year not to broaden such control. The decision last March not to create a new category of “sensitive hut unclassified” information has not stopped the Pentagon’s National Security Agency from continuing to set policies for defining and protecting classified information. No
Genentech Patent: Will Licensing Be Required?
Genentech Patent: Will Licensing Be Required?
Many US. scientists cloning genes in microbes could be affected by a patent awarded this month to Genentech Inc. of South San Francisco. The decision’s scope remains to be seen, but some observers believe that the impact may be slight—a sign, they say, of the growing maturity of the biotechnology industry. The question of which institutions or researchers must seek a license from Genentech, and at what stage in the process, is “a legal quagmire,” according to Iver Coo
U.K. Backing Lets Celltech Expand Base
U.K. Backing Lets Celltech Expand Base
LONDON—For the past 10 years Britain’s Medical Research Council (MRC) has fostered efforts to speed up the transfer of key inventions from academia to industry. Already hard at work on a new collaborative center to open next spring, MRC officials last month were pleased to learn that one of their most promising offspring is ready to grow up. Celitech, founded in 1980 largely with government money, has become the country’s leading inde pendent biotechnology company. The key
Czechs Plan Industry Ties For Schools
Czechs Plan Industry Ties For Schools
PARIS—Czech universities and institutes of the country’s Academy of Sciences may be permitted to conduct research for industrial clients along the lines of a model already established in Yugoslavia and beginning in the Soviet Union. Speaking at the Czechoslovakian Science and Technology Information Center here, the president of the J.E. Purkyne University in Brno said that the five-year plans covering the nature and funding of applied research may be modified to permit such contract
Soviets Seek University-Industry Link
Soviets Seek University-Industry Link
WASHINGTON—Research administrators in the Soviet Union are joining their counterparts around the world in bringing together university and industrial scientists to encourage commercial applications of basic research. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s repeated calls for perestroyka (restructuring) have reverberated through the Soviet government and bureaucracy and are being heard in the staid halls of the country’s universities. His goal is to make the entire university syst
Hungary, West Germany Sign Pact
Hungary, West Germany Sign Pact
WEST BERLIN—Just one month after signing an agreement on scientific cooperation with its other half, West Germany has strengthened ties to another Eastern bloc country. The Federal Republic and Hungary have agreed on a framework of cooperative projects in all areas of science, engineering, the humanities and the social sciences that is similar to the one reached in September with East Germany (see THE SCIENTIST, November 2, p. 1). The initial list of 32 research projects covers such area
New Head Expands U.S. AIDS Effort
New Head Expands U.S. AIDS Effort
WASHINGTON—The office that coordinates efforts among Public Health Service agencies to fight AIDS is being expanded in both size and scope, according to Peter J. Fischinger, the recently appointed PHS AIDS coordinator. “We want to get to the point where we are proactive in dealing with the problems,” said Fischinger, who is on leave for one year as deputy director of the National Cancer Institute. To do so, a new post of deputy AIDS coordinator has been created and the offi
Ph.D. Helps Top Analysts Pick Winners
Ph.D. Helps Top Analysts Pick Winners
When Robert Kupor, a biotechnology consultant with Cable, Howse, and Ragen in Seattle, was asked by some clients recently to evaluate a company’s new treatment for emphysema, he put aside his MBA and picked up his Ph.D). in molecular biology. His scientific sleuthing, which involved poring over conference abstracts and talking with researchers, allowed him to judge the potential market for such a technology with an understanding that went far beyond the fledgling firm’s management
Researchers Await Sale Of VW Stock
Researchers Await Sale Of VW Stock
WEST BERLIN—Europe’s biggest private science foundation, derived from Volkswagenwerk AG, is counting on a rebound of world financial markets to secure the capital it needs to meet its ambitious goals for the support of research. A planned November 9 sale of the government’s 16 percent share in the auto maker’s stock has been postponed indefinitely, West German Finance Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg announced earlier this month. The value of the stock package is roughly $2
AGU Takes Larger Role In Science Policy Debate
AGU Takes Larger Role In Science Policy Debate
WASHINGTON—The American Geophysical Union, a 20,000-member scientific society best known for its journals and professional meetings, is becoming more active in shaping federal policy on Earth and space science research. AGU’s higher proffle includes polling its members on science policy questions and setting priorities for geophysical research. It may eventually include active lobbying on Capitol Hill. Until recently, the 70-year-old non-profit organization has focused almost e
Changes Urged in Teaching Calculus
Changes Urged in Teaching Calculus
WASHINGTON—College calculus traditionally has acted as a filter in the scientific pipeline to make sure that only the best people get through. But some educators think the filter has become clogged, keeping many good students out of science and engineering and slowing the progress of those who do pass through. What’s needed, they say, is a new method of teaching calculus that is so inspiring that it actually pumps students into related disciplines. The first formal step in that p
Consortium Targets Business Awards
Consortium Targets Business Awards
SANTA FE, N.M.—John Pearson, director of Michigan State University’s Technology Transfer Center, was encouraging a local entrepreneur to visit the campus to seek the scientific advice he needed. “Gee, I wouldn’t even know what to wear,” the businessman responded. Unfortunately for Pearson, the differences between academia and small businesses run deeper than apparel. That’s why he and colleagues in 24 states have formed a consortium of universities to help
Drug Panel Asks Protection For Volunteers
Drug Panel Asks Protection For Volunteers
LONDON—The U.K. Medicines Commission is calling for a clampdown on independent contractors who hire healthy volunteers to test experimental drugs, but the code may never be enacted. The drug regulation agency, headed by Rosalinde Hurley of London University, wants a register of contractors, limits on payments to experimental subjects, and guarantees that the volunteers will get full medical backup and nofault compensation if they suffer side effects. Its proposal is prompted by concern
U. K. Revises Rules on Gene Engineering
U. K. Revises Rules on Gene Engineering
LONDON—British scientists would be required to seek permission for experiments involving genetic manipulation under new regulations proposed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Advisory Committee on Genetic Manipulation (ACGM). The new rules would modify those adopted in 1978, which dealt exclusively with laboratory work. The proposal would also widen the definition of genetic manipulation to include the direct introduction of recombinant nucleic acid into a cell or organi
European Role in Space Strengthened by Accord
European Role in Space Strengthened by Accord
LONDON—Western Europe has solidified its position as the world’s third major force in space following an agreement by the 13-nation European Space Agency to develop its own manned space capability by 2000. The agreement, reached at a meeting earlier this month of ESA ministers in The Hague, also promises to strengthen the hand of the European nations in their final round of negotiations with the United States over participation in the U.S.-led international manned space station p
NSF Seeks Data to Fill Ozone Hole
NSF Seeks Data to Fill Ozone Hole
WASHINGTON—There’s a time for research and a time for panic. Despite what you already may have read about the reduced levels of ozone in Antarctica, NSF officials say that insufficient data pose a greater threat to scientists than ultraviolet rays. “Antarctica is a naturally occurring laboratory to get a good research program going,” said Peter Wilkniss, director of the Division of Polar Programs at NSF. “And we need to understand better what goes on down there.
Decoding the Music of the Spheres
Decoding the Music of the Spheres
The principal contributions to astronomy that I have been able to make in the past 50 years of my professional life involve the study of binary stars—in particular, pairs of stars that are so close as to mutually eclipse each other in the course of each revolution and that, in so doing, exhibit characteristic telltale changes of light. The importance of such systems is that they offer us the only possible means to determine the masses and absolute dimensions of stars other than our Sun.
The B.A.'s Sir Walter Bodmer On Science in Britain
The B.A.'s Sir Walter Bodmer On Science in Britain
Q:Since Prime Minister Thatcher came to power in 1979, her three governments have changed the agenda for political debate in Britain. Has Conservative rule also altered the agenda for science policy? Do you believe that the difficulties now facing U.K. science are simply the outcome of an attempt to save money, or are they the result of a coherent plan? BODMER: Definitely not the latter. Our problems are largely to do with cash and with a monetary policy which says that government expenditure
Engineers Need the Liberal Arts
Engineers Need the Liberal Arts
In its development, the American engineering profession has drawn upon two competing yet complementary traditions: the hands-on, muddy-boots pragmatism inherited from Britain and the elite, science-oriented approach of the French polytechnique. Science and mathematics gradually have taken a central position, with emphasis being placed upon their creative application. The less theoretical “hardware” aspects of technology have been delegated in part to graduates of two-year technici

Commentary

F. Mayor's Vision for a Renewed UNESCO
F. Mayor's Vision for a Renewed UNESCO
The,. election this month of Federico Mayor Zaragoza as the new director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization inspires hope for the future of the agency. When 142 of 158 member states—an mipressive majority—cast their ballots for Mayor, they signaled a common desire that the organization move forward and, in the words of the new director-general, “keep what must be kept and modify what should be changed.” In choosing Mayor to g

Letter

Letters
Letters
In the interview in the September 21, 1987 issue (p. 14) Edward Teller says: I believe that this situation is a quite peculiar one. For instance, a number of technical people working on SDI have submitted to the Physical Society their arguments, to be published together with the original report. They were refused. And I believe that it is really a sad situation where, in questions of such great importance, free speech does not prevail in science, where free speech should be most highly honored

Opinion

Let's Put an End to Textbook Nonsense
Let's Put an End to Textbook Nonsense
It took half a century to get NH4OH out of our high school and college chemistry textbooks. Arrhenius hypothesized its existence around the turn of the century because ammonia dissolves in water to form a basic solution, and his definition of a base required it to contain an OH group. Diligent research in the 1920s and 1930s failed to provide evidence for it, Lewis structures suggested it was impossible, but it was in our textbooks up to the late 1970s. That’s not the only error in chemi
The Dangers of Expanding HIV's Host Range
The Dangers of Expanding HIV's Host Range
Scientists attending the Asilomar conference at Pacific Grove, Calif., in February 1975, made history by expressing public concern about the then newly recognized opportunities for splicing DNA artificially from one organism to another. Some possibilities—such as the introduction into the ubiquitous Escherichia coli of genes coding for botulinum toxin—were seen as so risky that they would never even be attempted. But many other fears ventilated at that time have proved to be un-fou
Next Time, Remember Ramanujan
Next Time, Remember Ramanujan
One hundred years ago on Decem ber 22, a most extraordinary mathematician was born in the town of Erode, 160 miles from Madras in Southern India. Srinivasa Ramanujan Aiyangar was the son of a petty accountant and a bailiff’s daughter. He grew up in Kumbakonam, where his father worked. At the age of 15 he borrowed a copy of A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure Mathematics by G.S. Carr, which lists some 6,000 theorems but gives no proofs. Captivated, Ramanujan set about finding the pro
Learning to Debunk Phony Ad Claims
Learning to Debunk Phony Ad Claims
A large passenger transport organization in Britain issued a poster rejoicing over the reliability of its services The poster compared the number of occasions when passengers reached their destinations in accordance with the timetable with the number of delayed arrivals. “The red dots ran late,” said the headline. “The black dots ran on time.” And the message seemed clear enough. Black dots so greatly outnumbered the red ones that they appeared to occupy almost the whol
Scientific Monkey Business in the U.S.S.R.
Scientific Monkey Business in the U.S.S.R.
For some time now, I’ve been followmg with interest media accounts of the effects of glasnost on life in the Soviet Union. It’s certainly been heartening, for example, to witness the release of the dissident Soviet physicists Andrei Sakharov, Yuri Orlov, and Anatoly Shcharansky. Now if only another major Soviet science figure currently living in internal exile would receive a kindly phone call from Mr. Gorbachev! I’m speaking, of course, of Yerosha, the brave little monkey

Profession

Where to Shop for New and Used Research Equipment
Where to Shop for New and Used Research Equipment
In the normal course of research administration, requests for instruments are submitted annually when budget estimates are prepared, as part of the organization’s capital budget. Depending on the type of laboratory and its place in the hierarchy, the laboratory head may have little or no control over the annual amount allocated for capital equipment. Justifications submitted with budget requests may be sound and persuasive, but if the approving authorities send it back with the total s
Science for Women and Minorities
Science for Women and Minorities
Why should we be concerned about educating women and minorities to participate in science and engineering? First of all, as American citizens, women and minorities have a right to a quality education and they should not be excluded from study in any field. Indeed, they should be encouraged to enter quantitative fields because we need scientists and engineers. Second, women constitute more than 50 percent of our population (and 44 percent of our work force), and by the year 2000 one out of eve

Research

NIH Shared Instrumentation Grants
NIH Shared Instrumentation Grants
In recognition of the longstanding need in the biomedical research. Used Equipment When an institution is awarded a government research grant or contract to perform work for which equipment must be obtained, it is a good idea to inquire whether the necessary pieces may be available through the Excess Property program of the particular agency for which the work is being done. Federal agencies that award research grants and contracts to profit-making organizations usually retain title to any

Books etc.

Children's Science Books
Children's Science Books
Two things in my childhood contributed more than all the others to my choice of science as a career. The first was the $1 chemistry set I received on my seventh birthday. The second, of equal importance and impact, was reading science books. I read all the books on science and scientists that came my way, from the well-known classics to the most transient science fiction. Thus it is with a profound sense of nostalgia in recalling my 50-year love affair with chemistry that I review this selecti
Children's Books, Reviewed
Children's Books, Reviewed
Dinosaurs Walked Here and Other Stories Fossils Tell (Patricia Lauber, Bradbury/Macmillan, 1987, 64 pp., $15.95, ages 8 and up) is an excellent introduction to paleontology that discusses how fossilized remains of plants and animals reveal characteristics of the prehistoric world. Fossil bones, teeth, shells, leaf prints, eggs, insects and animal tracks reveal stories of plant and animal extinction or adaptation and changes in the Earth’s surface and climate. The text is accompanied by
Forthcoming Books
Forthcoming Books
BIOCHEMISTRY Physiology of Metabolism. David D. Davies, ed. Academic Press: December, 318 pp, $85. Volume 12 of The Biochemistry of Plants: A Comprehensive Treatise. Discusses physiological structure and the role it plays in metabolic pathways in plants. Methodology. David D. Davies. Academic Press: December, 257 pp, $65. Volume 13 of The Biochemistry of Plants: A Comprehensive Treatise. Discusses the application of recent chemical techniques to biochemical problems in plants. BIOLOGY R

So They Say

So They Say
So They Say
All the scientists on earth should unite to devote the best of their energies and abilities to abolish the use of science for destructive purposes, to persuade the governments, as well as the applied scientists themselves, not to engage in wrong uses of science, to spread right understanding over the world, to stop the arms race, to immediately destroy all dangerous weapons and to implement an international supervision of disarmament. Of course these are tremendously different tasks, but scient

Happenings

Happenings
Happenings
The congressional board of the Office of Technology Assessment appointed four new members to four-year terms on the Technology Assessment Advisory Council, effective February 1988: Neil Han, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Economics, Iowa State University; James C. Hunt, chancellor of the Health Science Center and vice president for health affairs, University of Tennessee; Joshua Lederberg, president, Rockefeller University; and Sally Ride, Stanford University. Center for Internat