News

Visionary Physicist's Crusade Serves As Lesson In Futility
Visionary Physicist's Crusade Serves As Lesson In Futility
PRINCETON, NJ.—Drop a certain name in conversation with a fusion scientist or a Department of Energy official and you’re likely to observe an unusual reaction. Rolling eyes and sighs are common responses; mild cases of apoplexy are not unknown. Usually composed researchers become animated, others simply nod their heads knowingly. Rarely does the name pass without comment. The name is Bogdan Maglich, and the man who owns it claims he’s just a scientist with a relatively mo
Entomology: A Discipline's Metamorphosis
Entomology: A Discipline's Metamorphosis
TUCSON—Karen Saucier’s first glimpse of her new workplace—the insect molecular genetics laboratory at South Carolina’s Clemson University—came as a shocking disappointment. “I almost cried,” recalls Saucier, who had just left a high-powered postdoctoral fellowship at a human genetics laboratory at the University of Miami and was eager to apply those techniques to insects. What confronted her upon arriving at Clemson last year was a huge storage room
NSF Supercomputer Program Looks Beyond Princeton Recall
NSF Supercomputer Program Looks Beyond Princeton Recall
The National Science Foundation’s cancellation of funding for the John von Neumann National Supercomputer Center has, as might be expected, drawn sharp criticism from supporters of the Princeton, N.J., facility. But here, the move is being watched as a leading indicator of where the program is headed. Assuming the failure of a lastditch effort by the Princeton center to reverse NSF’s rejection of its request for $70 million over the next five years, NSF officials say that the e
Congress Readies Proposal To Cap NIH Grantees' Salaries
Congress Readies Proposal To Cap NIH Grantees' Salaries
WASHINGTON—Congress wants to cap the salaries that biomedical scientists receive for their work on federal research grants. Although the proposed limit .may not actually shrink the paychecks of individual scientists and will save the National Institutes of Health only about $10 million annually, it represents the latest move in a campaign to force universities to pick up a greater share of the cost of their research faculty. Asking universities to take on that burden, according to feder
Neuroscience Society Fights For Animals In Research
Neuroscience Society Fights For Animals In Research
PHOENIX—It’s not often that Stephen Lisberger, a neurobiologist at the University of California, San Francisco speaks to 400 scientists at one sitting. But there was standing room only at this month’s 19th annual meeting of the Society for Neu- roscience when Lisberger—who uses monkeys to study eye movement—and two other researchers shared their experiences with proponents of theanimal rights movement. That panel discussion was one of three sessions designed t
FTC Action Requires Firms To Report Research Fairly In Ads
FTC Action Requires Firms To Report Research Fairly In Ads
WASHINGTON—A federal agency that polices the accuracy of U.S. advertising has sent a message to industry that it must report scientific results fairly and completely. Last month the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. reached an agreement on an FTC complaint brought against a 1985 advertisement by Reynolds that discussed the findings from a major National Institutes of Health-funded clinical trial aimed at reducing deaths from coronary heart disease. They
Report From Gainesville: Historians Take A New Look At Old Science
Report From Gainesville: Historians Take A New Look At Old Science
From dedication inscriptions accompanying 17th-century Jesuit astronomical texts to the genesis of today’s animal rights debate, the past and present of scientific discovery were put under the microscope last month as the History of Science Society met at the University of Flor- ida, Gainesville, for its 65th annual conference. To society officials, several aspects of the three-day event affirmed not only the current vitality of the organization, but also its promising future: overal
Scientist Cited For Research On Blood Cells
Scientist Cited For Research On Blood Cells
Eugene Cronkite, of the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., received the 17th Robert de Villiers Award from the Leukemia Society of America in recognitionof his research on hematopoiesis, the process by which the cellular elements of blood are formed. Cronkite, the recipient of a medal and a cash prize of $10,000, has been a member of the Brookhaven staff since 1954. He earmed his A.B. degree in 1935 and his M.D. in 1940, both from Stanford University. In the 1960s, Cronkite develope

Briefs

Government Briefs
Government Briefs
Fireworks At The Foundation Every year during the holiday season, Bassam Shakhashiri, NSF associate director for science and engineering education, performs a flashy chemistry demonstration intended to get children excited about science. This year, however, Shakhashiri has begun his pyrotechnics a little early with a controversial campaign to increase spending on education, including a recent article in Science (246:317, 1989) that examines his wish for a $600 million annual budget, three time
National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
Exit The Fusion Critic The persistent rumors that Robert Hunter was on his way out as director of DOE’s Office of Energy Research came true last month when Hunter resigned, effective immediately. His abrupt departure marked the end of a year-long battle with advocates of magnetic-confinement fusion projects like the Princeton Plasma Lab’s tokamak. Hunter preferred a process known as inertial-confinement fusion that is being developed at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national la
University Briefs
University Briefs
Lederberg Plans Ahead With his successor, David Baltimore, waiting in the wings, Joshua Lederberg, president of the Rockefeller University in New York, can now think about his retirement. Lederberg, who has served as president since 1978, says he’s “looking forward to another change.” Lederberg will retire at the end of June, after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 in May. As for the future, “I’m still making my plans,” he says. “I’ll r
Private Institute Briefs
Private Institute Briefs
Lab’s Second Journal Debuts The Long Island, N.Y.-based Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory recently began publishing its second journal. Cancer Cells: A Monthly Review made its debut in September, joining Genes and Development, the lab’s 2 1/2-year-old periodical. “The lab has a big, publishing program, but it’s primarily books,” says Paula Kiberstis, Cancer Cells' editor. Kiberstis foresees even more Cold Spring Harbor journals in the pipeline: “The publications
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Early Warning About 12 seconds before the October 17 earthquake shook the San Francisco and Oakland region, 10 sensors placed along the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s subsurface rail lines warned of the imminent tragedy. Detecting the harmless “P waves” that arrived from the earthquake’s epicenter shortly before the more destructive “S waves,” the sensors triggered an alarm system that brought the trains to a crawl until they reached their next stations. The senso
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
Navy Hikes New Investigators Awards For scientists who earned their doctoral degrees after Dec. 1, 1984, the Office of Naval Research now offers an even bigger Young Investigator Award. ONR will award about a dozen grants of at least $75,000 per year to young tenure-track scientists who are not already holding ONR contracts. The previous awards were limited to $50,000. Applicants can submit proposals to any of ONR’s 13 divisions. The award can cover salary, equipment, graduate student su

Books etc.

Genetics-Based Testing Could Create A Biologic Underclass
Genetics-Based Testing Could Create A Biologic Underclass
[Editor’s note: Sophisticated biological tests that can uncover latent problems or predict future diseases have been developed over the past few years. Such tests have important clinical applications, but they also have found their way into nonclinical contexts in which they provide unprecedented threats to our traditional concepts of privacy and personal autonomy. So say Dorothy Nelkin and Laurence Tancredi, coauthors of a new book, Dangerous Diagnostics: The Social Power of Biological I

Letter

UCS Activism
UCS Activism
I was disappointed and annoyed by the extensive and flattering coverage given to the Union of Concerned Scientists (The Scientist, Oct. 30, 1989, page 2), describing the group as an advocate of the proper use of technology.. and proclaiming in a headline that “UCS fights for best use of science.” UCS is not a scientific organization, nor does it speak for scientists. It is a garden-variety political activist organization, indistinguishable in its goals (and overlapping membership)
Yea And Nay
Yea And Nay
One bravo and two boos for your Oct. 2, 1989, issue. The bravo is for the article “Science Fellows Lend Expertise While Learning Politics” [page 17], which was very well done. One aspect that you did not mention, however, is that the midcareer fellows who return to their. former institutions (often a tenured position at a university) may be unsatisfied and have trouble readjusting to that life. Midcareer scientists contemplating applying for one of those fellowships should be forew
Hot Field
Hot Field
The article by Abigail Grissom (“Organometallics Tops List As Hottest Chemistry Field,” The Scientist, Sept. 4, 1989. page 16) may have missed one particular area. Although organolithium chemistry is mentioned in connection with organocuprates near the end of the article, “straight” organolithium chemistry is currently experiencing great development and application both in academics and industry. The area of directed orthometalation (DoM) has revolutionized the way c
A Transversable Path
A Transversable Path
I am thrilled by your decision to ask A. Carl Leopold to write an Opinion article for The Scientist (“Weapons Research Extracts A Toll On Academic Science,” Oct. 16, 1989). I’m sure many of your readers will feel that Leopold’s arguments are unnecessarily alarmist, but, alas, such is not the case. If, as Leopold asserts, 65% of federal allocations for R&D are for military purposes, scientists cannot afford to bury their heads in the sand for another decade; immediate act
Cold PR
Cold PR
In ‘Soft Cheating’ Is More Harmful To Science Than Cases Of Outright Fraud” (The Scientist, Sept. 18, 1989, page 14) Rustum Roy cites early reports of neutron production in cold fusion as an example of questionable science. However, Roy seems tu be referring to the early press reports of large excess heat production, rather than low-level neutron production, in such experiments These early notices are what caused much of the confusion about cold fusion. The excess heat prod
Naming Invertebrates
Naming Invertebrates
I read with interest your recent article on biomedical studies involving marine organisms (The Scientist, Oct. 2, 1989, page. 2). I was somewhat surprised to read that “...Carrado Spadafora has reported that the head of sperm from a sea urchin (Xenopus) is capable of transferring DNA into the cells of mice Since when has the African clawed frog (Xenopus) been a sea urchin? Unfortunately, this little slip in nomenclature points out a major problem in research on marine invertebrates: tha

Commentary

Despite Immediate Concerns, Science Must Push On With Long-Term Projects
Despite Immediate Concerns, Science Must Push On With Long-Term Projects
If the satellite reaches its planned orbit aboard a Delta rocket, the so-called Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) is designed to probe for local variations in the background microwave radio hiss that seems to come from every corner of the sky. Although the observations of the three instruments on board—averaged over a year of readings—may turn Out to be bland, that blandness will be very challenging because of the problem of accounting for something so smooth in a universe that is

Research

Reverse Genetics Methods: What's Known, What's New, What's Next On The Agenda
Reverse Genetics Methods: What's Known, What's New, What's Next On The Agenda
The last decade has seen extraordinary advances in identifying single genes that are responsible for a variety of human diseases. Most recantly researchers have pinpointed the genes that cause retinoblastoma, chronic granulomatous disease, muscular dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis, the last as recently as September. Ingenious experimental design and new technologies are helping to pave the way for rapid identification of other disease-causing genes. And from there, the development of improved d
Physics
Physics
PHYSICS BY FRANK A. WILCZEK School of Natural Science Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, N.J. " The construction of a theory that simultaneously incorporates both Einstein's gravitational dynamics of space-time and quantum mechanics has been for some time a major goal of theoretical physics. Severe conceptual and practical problems must be faced, in any such construction. Recently, new insights have emerged from studying the problem in a smaller number of dimensions. Two significant pap
Life Sciences
Life Sciences
LIFE SCIENCES BY SIMON SILVER Department of Microbiology & Immunology University of Illinois Chicago, Ill. " Obtaining diffraction-quality crystals of a membrane protein complex for the, first time ever and then obtaining a high-resolution, three-dimensional structure of this four-polypeptide complex by X-ray diffraction analysis was a major achievement in protein chemistry for 1958 Nobelists Deisenhofer and Michel. Their Nobel Prize lecture, like other science Nobel lectures, is published i
Chemistry
Chemistry
CHEMISTRY BY MARYE ANNE FOX Department of Chemistry University of Texas, Austin Austin, Texas The prediction of ab initio calculations that a C 18 cyclocarbon would possess alternating single and triple bonds seems to be verified in a recent study, which reports the laser flash pyrolysis of a well-characterized precursor to the title compound. Structural evidence for its formation via a retro-Diels-Alder reaction of an appropriate [18] annulene is presented. F. Diederich, Y Rubin, C.B. Knob
Geosciences
Geosciences
GEOSCIENCES BY PETER J. SMITH Departmentof Earth Sciences Open University Milton Keynes, U.K. " Even as the final parts (south China and Cimmeria) were coming together to complete the construction of Pangea, the supercontinent was undergoing incipient rifting (leading to breakup) in eastern North America, in northwest and east Africa, and here. There was a major turning point 230 million years ago, when because of the first major loss of heat from the reservoir beneath Pangea there was a cha

Profession

New Strategies Emerge In Competition For Federal Grants
New Strategies Emerge In Competition For Federal Grants
You can’t take federal funding for granted anymore. That’s what an increasing number of scientists find out when they send proposals to the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, where the percentage of reviewed grants awarded has dropped considerably over the past 10 years. Latest NIH figures show that the agency’s award rate has dropped from more than 50% to just over 35% since 1979, while NSF has an award rate of slightly under 30%. Meanwhile
DOE Embraces Synchrotron Radiation
DOE Embraces Synchrotron Radiation
Synchrotron radiation, once best known to high-energy physicists an an energy-sapping nuisance, is now emerging as an important new research area in its own right. First discovered in the early days of atom smashers, the radiation occurs when charged particles, such as electrons and protons; are rapidly accelerated. The more the particles are forced to speed up or change direction, the more energy they re-release as spontaneous radiation. That energy is, in effect, wasted in high-energy phy

New Products

Computer Simulation In Science Teaching: Pros And Cons
Computer Simulation In Science Teaching: Pros And Cons
Undergraduate science labs were once pretty predictable—pulleys and circuits, rocks and minerals, titrations and unknowns, bacterial brews and pickled piglets. But today’s science lab student, in one short session, can breed a litter of kittens, trace the trajectory of a fall on Venus, predict the timing and force of an earthquake or a volcano, “experience” a car crash or being born, or, in the rather unscientific prose of one catalog, “empathize with the hopeles
Electrode Measures Calcium Ions In Solutions
Electrode Measures Calcium Ions In Solutions
Food scientists, agronomists, and chemists frequently need to know the amount of calcium present in a variety of solutions. Different solutions, however, may require different electrodes. A new Calcium Ion-Selective Electrode (ISE) from Hach Co. can measure calcium in almost all aqueous sample types, including colored and turbid samples, according to the manufacturer. Applications include measurement of calcium in milk, wine, boiler feed-waters, feeds, plant tissues, and beer. The Hach Calci