November 1991

News

Campus Science/Technology Officers Gain Stature
Campus Science/Technology Officers Gain Stature
Where academic research and commercial enterprise converge, this new breed of college official serves as science's gatekeeper When Katharine Ku took on the directorship of the Office of Technology Licensing at Stanford University earlier this fall, she inherited quite a legacy from her predecessor, Neils Rimers. Her professional endowment included royalties totaling $25.6 million last year; a portfolio of patents and licenses that includes one of the most lucrative and commercially successful
Report Cites Threats To U.S. Leadership In Biotechnology
Report Cites Threats To U.S. Leadership In Biotechnology
OTA study contends that intellectual, financial, and regulatory challenges from other nations could erode America's global domination The United States is the world's front-runner in biotechnology because of its strong basic research structure and its ability to convert research into pharmaceutical and agricultural products, according to a report published by Congress' Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) last month. But the 283-page study, "Biotechnology in a Global Economy," warns that sev
Funding Of Two Science Labs Revives Pork Barrel Vs. Peer Review Debate
Funding Of Two Science Labs Revives Pork Barrel Vs. Peer Review Debate
Controversy over propriety is rekindled as new physics and marine biotech centers make their respective moves to gain federal allocations WASHINGTON--Buried within the 1992 appropriations bill signed last month by President Bush for NASA, the National Science Foundation, and several other federal agencies is an allocation of $43 million to start the building of two new academic research facilities. One--a $211 million observatory to measure gravity waves, to be built at two sites thousands of
National Labs Face Cuts In Accelerator Programs
National Labs Face Cuts In Accelerator Programs
WASHINGTON--A panel of high-energy physicists has recommended slashing experimental programs at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Fermilab, and Brookhaven National Laboratory in response to expected budget cuts of up to 15 percent to be proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE). The cuts, if contained in the fiscal year 1993 budget that President Bush will submit in January to Congress, could mean layoffs of hundreds of scientists, the early termination of several research efforts, and
Improvements In Light Microscopy Lead To New Applications
Improvements In Light Microscopy Lead To New Applications
Hosts of new applications have turned the light microscope into an exquisitely sensitive measuring device that can be used to image dynamic cellular events right down to the molecular level. Indeed, dramatic improvements in optical microscopy have brought about a renaissance in the use of light microscopes in biology and medicine. And within the last few years, the combination of novel optical systems with video and digital image processing capabilities have opened up whole new fields of resear

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Choice Cuts Raub Leaves NIH for OSTP Shopping Around For Space Grants Changes Ahead For University Coalition National Public Radio Talks Science Federal investigators looking at how certain agencies use their special authority to offer higher salaries for hard-to-fill technical slots have discovered that many scientists and engineers are actually taking pay cuts to join the government. Some 35 percent of the people hired during 1987-88 under these rules agreed to pay cuts, some exceedi

Opinion

Racist Relics: An Ugly Blight On Our Botanical Nomenclature
Racist Relics: An Ugly Blight On Our Botanical Nomenclature
Sad to say, a number of racially offensive common plant names long ago slipped into the vernacular of gardening, and some have found their way into horticulture's most important reference books.

Letter

Animal Research Concerns
Animal Research Concerns
Heart surgeon Michael DeBakey is outraged because of a question on the SAT tests, the correct answer to which suggests that there is some abuse of animals in scientific research, and that concern about the problem is long overdue (The Scientist, Sept. 16, 1991, page 3). The fact is that scientists themselves have voiced concerns. In 1952, Robert Gesell, then chairman of the department of physiology at the University of Michigan, said at a meeting of the American Physiological Society: "Conside
Accepting Theories
Accepting Theories
After picking up a copy of The Scientist (May 13, 1991) and reading the responses of Forrest Mims III and Arthur Caplan to other readers' letters [page 14], I found it shocking that these two self-proclaimed scientists have lost the understanding of what theory is. While Mims appears to be qualified to write about hands-on technology, his failure to accept evolutionism as a theory (whether he agrees with it or not or whether it is worth anything once man knows the ultimate truth to everything)
Mutant Stock Center
Mutant Stock Center
Thank you for including a mention of the red flour beetle in your article on sources of genetic variants (The Scientist, Sept. 30, 1991, page 23). Our laboratories have been collaborating to develop this insect further as an experimental system, and we appreciate that you have publicized the availability of these genetic stocks. In addition to mutants of Tribolium castaneum, this collection includes many lines isolated from the wild of this and other species of insect pests attacking stored pr

Commentary

Bibliographic Negligence: A Serious Transgression
Bibliographic Negligence: A Serious Transgression
For a long time, scientists and others have expressed the need for a "science court"--a panel that would, among other things, sit in judgment concerning matters of fraud, misconduct, and other transgressions by researchers. If such a court is ever established, I hope that cases of bibliographic negligence are among the issues that come under consideration--and I hope that proven cases of such negligence will be dealt with firmly. As important as the need for meting out punishment to willful p

Research

1991 Nobel Prize Winners Sparked Fundamental Advances
1991 Nobel Prize Winners Sparked Fundamental Advances
The 1991 Nobel Prize winners in science were announced last month, and for the first time in 43 years, none of the laureates is from the United States. Yet their work--in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, phase transitions in materials science, and patch-clamp methodologies--collectively has influenced research in the U.S. and throughout the world. As is typical of Nobel Prize winners, their pioneering advances have changed the way science is done across the spectrum of scientific discip

Hot Paper

Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
C. Cohen, D.A.D. Parry, "a-helical coiled coils and bundles: how to design an a-helical protein," Proteins: Structure, Function, and Genetics, 7:1-15, 1990. Carolyn Cohen (Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass.): "Exciting developments in a number of rapidly evolving areas of research probably evoked particular interest in our review: the so-called protein-folding problem, or `deciphering the second half of the genetic code'; and, closely related
Chemistry
Chemistry
M.C. Etter, "Encoding and decoding hydrogen-bond patterns of organic compounds," Accounts of Chemical Research, 23:120-26, 1990. Margaret C. Etter (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis): "Despite hydrogen bonds' role as an essential component of life processes, there is an unspoken ethic that hydrogen-bond patterns are not predictable. In this paper, a new perspective on hydrogen bonds, based on analyses of small-molecule organic-crystal structures, is presented that challenges this assumption
Immunology
Immunology
H. Loetscher, Y.-C.E. Pan, H.-W. Lahm, R. Gentz, et al., "Molecular cloning and expression of the human 55 kd tumor necrosis factor receptor," Cell, 61:351-59, 1990. Hansruedi Loetscher (F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Basel, Switzerland): "We are interested in specific immunologic and inflammatory host defense reactions in humans. Biomedical research has shown that these defense responses are orchestrated by a highly specific network of different cytokines. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) has been rec

Profession

Finding Insurance: A Test For The Entrepreneurial Scientist
Finding Insurance: A Test For The Entrepreneurial Scientist
The entrepreneurial scientist who needs insurance for a start-up, high-technology business--especially in biotechnology or hazardous waste remediation--may find that liability coverage is hard to get. The reasons are simple. "Insurance is a business that depends on the status quo and experience," says Peter Huber, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a New York-based think tank, and a critic of the liability system. It's no wonder that life insurance, with its rich data bank on mortalit
Generous NRC Fellowship Program Is Underutilized By U.S. Students
Generous NRC Fellowship Program Is Underutilized By U.S. Students
Godwin Ananaba says it was a chance meeting with a friend that eventually led him to become a researcher in Larry J. Anderson's lab at the Center for Infectious Diseases in Atlanta (part of the Public Health Service's Centers for Disease Control, or CDC). The friend told Ananaba about the Washington, D.C.-based National Research Council's research associateship program, a program widely known to foreign students seeking postdoctoral fellowships but underutilized by, and even unknown to, many Am
1991 Kyoto Prizes Recognize Advances In Deterministic Chaos, Polymer Science
1991 Kyoto Prizes Recognize Advances In Deterministic Chaos, Polymer Science
VOLUME 5, No:23 The Scientist November 25, 1991 People 1991 Kyoto Prizes Recognize Advances In Deterministic Chaos, Polymer Science Author: Rebecca Andrews, p.21 At about $300,000 each, the international Kyoto Prizes are among the most lucrative cash awards given in science or the arts. These prizes, sponsored by the Inamori Foundation of Japan in three categories each year--advanced technology, basic sciences, and creative arts and moral sciences--were presented at a cerem

Briefs

Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
VOLUME 5, No:23 The Scientist November 25, 1991 Research FUNDING BRIEFS   ONR Funds Young Researchers The Office of Naval Research will offer grant support this year to approximately 14 young academic researchers through its Young Investigator Program. ONR receives approximately 300 applications for the program annually. The Young Investigator Program is open to any United States citizen holding a tenure-track position at a U.S. university or college who received a P