November 1996

News

Academic Job Security Threatened As Anti-Tenure Wave Sweeps U.S.
Academic Job Security Threatened As Anti-Tenure Wave Sweeps U.S.
SIDEBAR: For Further Information .. Academic Job Security FLEXIBILITY WANTED: University of Minnesota regent Patricia Spence cites budgetary uncertainty. Colleges and universities all over the United States are making changes-both major and minor-to the tenure system. Some have abolished it, opting for multiyear contracts with faculty, while others have adopted new codes that make it easier to fire tenured faculty members. Like other academic employees, scientists are feeling the constraints
Biotechnology Still Struggling To Gain A Public Awareness Foothold
Biotechnology Still Struggling To Gain A Public Awareness Foothold
The industry's supporters and critics both claim that surveys support their causes; meanwhile, its boosters ponder improvements to their educational efforts. POLL POSITION: Ronnie Cummins claims that the Pure Food Campaign's surveys reveal negative attitudes toward biotech. Biotechnology representatives paint a rosy picture of the industry's future, portraying it as a rising star gaining influence among commercial interests and policymakers. But surveys reveal a wide range of public reaction
New Nobel Laureates Speak Out For Increased Research Funding
New Nobel Laureates Speak Out For Increased Research Funding
LUCKY STARS: Harold Kroto was studying carbon clusters when he and coworkers discovered buckyballs. Like many of their predecessors, the winners of the 1996 Nobel Prizes in science have found that the media attention accompanying the honor provides an excellent opportunity to speak out on behalf of important causes. Last month, five of the eight newly named science laureates used their "bully pulpit" to voice concerns about research funding at a National Science Foundation news conference. Th
Multidisciplinary Research Blurs Lines Between 'Hard' and 'Soft' Sciences
Multidisciplinary Research Blurs Lines Between 'Hard' and 'Soft' Sciences
As scientists answer complex questions about how humans think, perceive the world, and behave, age-old divisions between the "hard" and "soft" sciences are beginning to crumble. Researchers in the life and physical sciences increasingly rely on fundamental principles from social, behavioral, and economic science to resolve complex problems and develop new technology. The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health are further blurring the lines, funding initiatives that co
For Further Information
For Further Information
"Contemporary Problems in Science Jobs" by Arthur E. Sowers can be found at http://www.access.digex.net/~arthures/homepage.htm. The American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) is publishing a series of monographs called "New Pathways: Faculty Careers and Employment for the 21st Century," several of which are particularly relevant to the issue of tenure. To obtain any of these monographs, telephone AAHE Publications at (202) 293-6440, Ext. 11, or write to AAHE at One Dupont Circle, Suite
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle - November 11, 1996
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle - November 11, 1996
By Eric Albert Email: ealbert@world.std.com ACROSS 1 Up quark + up quark + down quark 4 Breast enlarger 10 Natural prefix? 11 Letter used for angles 12 Gram-positivity evidence 13 Bone-marrow tumor 14 Big toe 15 Median, for one 17 Mouthy? 19 Nevus 21 Clave starter 22 ATP, after conversion 23 Scottish chemist who discovered carbon dioxide 25 Some taxa 27 Gnawing aid 30 Atom, after gaining electrons 31 Clinical _____ 32 Blood group classification system 33 Diaphragm or iris, e.g. 34 Mamma protub

Clarification

Clarification
Clarification
The Notebook item "Ig-Niting Controversy" (The Scientist, Oct. 28, 1996, page 30) misstated the ground for British science adviser Robert May's objection to the Ig Nobel Prizes. May objected to the prizes because of ridicule he claimed they bring to legitimate research.

Opinion

Proliferation Of Scientific Prizes Reinforces Nobel's Distinguished Honor
Proliferation Of Scientific Prizes Reinforces Nobel's Distinguished Honor
Prizes in science-especially those with large honoraria-are proliferating. In North America alone, some 3,000 prizes are available in the sciences-five times as many as 20 years ago. In the same interval, the population of working scientists has grown, but at nothing like that clip. Like their predecessors, most new prizes are designed to honor those who have done significant research and, as a byproduct, to honor those who award them. Unlike most of their predecessors, many new prizes are ric

Commentary

The Biotech Industry Must Tell Its Story To The Public
The Biotech Industry Must Tell Its Story To The Public
Scientific discovery takes long periods of trial and error. When you uncover enough new rules that work, you have a scientific revolution. Every time a big change like this happens in science, we have a fancy word for it: a new paradigm. Every day we are discovering new rules for biotechnology. Sometimes we explore down a dead end; other times, we uncover a new mystery. This is the nature of scientific discovery; it can't be rushed. Look what happened in the Aesop fable about the tortoise and

Letter

Seeking Commuter Couples
Seeking Commuter Couples
We are seeking participants for research on commuter marriages and commuter consensual relationships [see, for example, E. Culotta, The Scientist, Sept. 30, 1991, page 19]. We will examine decision-making, logistics, social life, and other issues in commuting relationships that are successful and that have failed. If you are now living, or have in the past lived, in a relationship in which you and your partner (of the opposite or same sex) lived apart in separate domiciles for at least three da
Legal Baggage
Legal Baggage
I found Dan L. Burk's Opinion article (The Scientist, Sept. 16, 1996, page 9) interesting and educational. Not being a lawyer, I did not appreciate how many of the terms in the report carry significant legal baggage. I agree with Burk that increasing the legalism of investigations of misconduct in science is unwise and undesirable. Unfortunately, the Commission on Research Integrity is hardly leading the way in such a move. As Burk notes, "more and more cases of scientific misconduct are being
Misconduct Inquiry
Misconduct Inquiry
Dan L. Burk, law professor at Seton Hall University, wrote ("Legal Process Presented In Ryan Report Requires Reconsideration," The Scientist, Sept. 16, 1996, page 9), "To that end, the major focus of misconduct inquiry by the scientific community will be to determine the empirical demonstrability of a researcher's claims, to purge the record of fabricated or incorrect data, and to discourage future conduct that would tend to corrupt the acquisition of certified knowledge" (emphasis added). The
Mehlman's Success
Mehlman's Success
It was enlightening to read the story of the failure of Mobil Corp.'s appeal against the award to Myron Mehlman in his wrongful dismissal case [T.W. Durso, The Scientist, Sept. 2, 1996, page 1]. I would have no other source for such an important story. It seems that Mehlman was punished for speaking the truth. That he prevailed against the rich and powerful, while rare (as attested by your commentators), offers hope to those employees who, in similar circumstances, might feel intimidated. I hop

Leaders of Science

Catherine Didion
Catherine Didion
The Scientist Date: November 11, 1996 THE SCIENTIST® The Newspaper for the Life Sciences Professional "The SCIENTIST... gives you the ability to learn quickly what's happening in disciplines other than your own. It is almost like a compass: It tells you quickly where the world of science is heading." Catherine Didion, executive director, Association for Women in Science, Washington, D.C. When Catherine Didion looks over the 25-year history of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS

Research

Investigations Are Blossoming On Programmed Cell Death In Plants
Investigations Are Blossoming On Programmed Cell Death In Plants
SIDEBAR : Plant Cell Death Resources A FIELD IN BLOOM: Micheèle Heath observes that plant cell death research is starting to take off. The study of programmed cell death in plants can be likened to a rapidly growing sapling, still in its infancy but ripe with the promise of eventually bearing fruit. In the past few years, several research articles have begun to reveal a complex picture of cell death in plants, much like the initial boom in the study of animal cell death, especially apo
Plant Cell Death Resources
Plant Cell Death Resources
American Society for Plant Physiology 15501 Monona Dr., Rockville, Md. 2085 251-0560 -- Fax: (301) 279-2996 E-mail: aspp@.org -- Web page: http://aspp.org 5,000 members President: Donald Ort Executive Director: Kenneth M. Beam Journals: The Plant Cell, Plant Physiology American Phytopathology Society 3340 Pilot Knob Rd., St. Paul, Minn. 55121 (612) 454-7250 -- Fax: (612) 454-0766 E-mail: aps@scisoc.org -- Web page: http://www.scisoc.org 5,000 members President: Larry Madden Executive Director:
Selected Suppliers of DNA and RNA Probes
Selected Suppliers of DNA and RNA Probes
Selected Suppliers of DNA and RNA Probes Date: November 11, 1996 Amersham Life Science Inc. Clontech Laboratories Inc. Epicentre Technologies FMC Corporation Genosys Biotechnologies Inc. IDEXX Laboratories Inc. Kamiya Biomedical Co. Oncor Inc. Operon Inc. Signet Laboratories Inc. Vysis Inc.

Hot Paper

Hypertension Genetics
Hypertension Genetics
Edited by: Steven Benowitz R.A. Shimkets, D.G. Warnock, C.M. Bositis, C. Nelson-Williams, J.H. Hansson, M. Schambelan, J.R. Gill, S. Ulick, R.V. Milora, J.W. Findling, C.M. Canessa, B.C. Rossier, R.P. Lifton, "Liddle's syndrome: Heritable human hypertension caused by mutations of the beta subunit of the epithelial sodium channel," Cell, 79:407-14, 1994. (Cited in more than 70 papers as of October 1996) Comments by Richard A. Shimkets, Department of Genetics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute,
Reproductive Biology
Reproductive Biology
Edited by: Steven Benowitz S.J. Silber, Z.P. Nagy, J. Liu, H. Godoy, P. Devroey, A.C. Van Steirteghem, "Conventional in vitro fertilization versus intracytoplasmic sperm injection for patients requiring microsurgical sperm injection," Human Reproduction, 9:1705-9, 1994. (Cited in more than 50 papers as of October 1996) Comments by Sherman J. Silber, St. Luke's Hospital, St. Louis For years, one of the most frustrating causes of male infertility was the congenital absence of the vas deferens,

Profession

Scientific Success Often Leads To Paid Public-Speaking Engagements
Scientific Success Often Leads To Paid Public-Speaking Engagements
DAZZLING 'EM: Robert Anholt points out that a good reputation as a speaker enhances one's career. Love of discovery, not public speaking, inspires most scientists to choose their careers. Yet most researchers find that success in science and giving lectures go hand in hand. Some have even found that speaking pays quite handsomely-but they are the exception to the rule. "Only a very few scientists get rich giving talks," observes Robert Anholt, a professor of zoology at North Carolina State Un

Technology

New DNA/RNA Probe Applications Help To Unlock Secrets Of Genetics
New DNA/RNA Probe Applications Help To Unlock Secrets Of Genetics
SIDEBAR: Selected Suppliers of DNA and RNA Probes In the doctor's office or the research lab, the supreme value of DNA and RNA as diagnostic tools and the high potential of genetic therapy are putting a premium on DNA and RNA probes. Probes are short, single-stranded chains of nucleic acid that seek out and latch themselves to a complementary sequence of nucleic acids, often buried anonymously in a much larger section of DNA/RNA. Guanine on one chain links to a cytosine counterpart (G-C), and

New Products

New Products
New Products
The JLA-16.250 J-Lite is a large-capacity, fixed-angle rotor with a maximum capacity of 1,500 ml. Designed for use in the company's Avanti J Series of centrifuges, the new rotor generates a maximum force of 38,500 x g at its rated speed of 16,000 rpm. These centrifuges feature a high-torque drive system that accelerates and brakes reportedly in half the time of conventional high-speed drives for higher speeds and g-forces with larger volumes. Beckman Instruments Inc. Fullerton, CA The line

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
LIFE GOES ON: Francis Collins says he won't change his style. In an October 1 "Dear Colleague" letter to 100 or so leukemia genetics researchers, geneticist Francis Collins explained that he was retracting five research papers on leukemia in leading scientific journals because a junior colleague falsified data. News of the letter was originally reported in the Chicago Tribune on October 29 (J. Crewdson, page 1). Collins, director of the Human Genome Project and the National Center for Human Ge