October 1987

News

West Is Urged To Seek, Use Japanese Data
West Is Urged To Seek, Use Japanese Data
COVENTRY, ENGLAND—Western scientists need to do more to obtain and make use of Japanese technical research results if their countries hope to remain competitive in many emerging areas. American and European scientists, administrators and industry representatives heard that message repeatedly from speakers at the International Conference on Japanese Information, held here last. month at the University of Warwick. They were also told that scientists should not expect any extraordinary ef
Pasteur at 100: Echoes of Past, Future Promise
Pasteur at 100: Echoes of Past, Future Promise
PARIS—The Pasteur Institute, which over the past century has evolved into a major center of biomedical research, celebrate its centennial this week with unusual panache for such a venerable institution. It enters its second century in far better financial shape than it was a decade ago, and having recently tucked several new feathers into its cap. French President Francois Mitterand and Prime Minister Jacques Chirac will launch the anniversary events, which include a conference on the f
Citizens GroupsTarget New Campus Facilities
Citizens GroupsTarget New Campus Facilities
SAN FRANCISCO—Animal rights and environmental groups have targeted several proposed research facilities here in what univer- sity officials see as a serious threat to basic research and academic freedom on their campuses. Although there is a nationwide pattern of activity by various groups (see related story on p. 5), the Bay area has emerged as a major hot spot. At present Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley and UC-San Francisco are all fighting for permission to ex
Misconduct Plan Due?
Misconduct Plan Due?
HEDGESVILLE, W.VA.—Guidelines for coping with scientific fraud and misconduct may be drafted by a joint committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Bar Association. Draft guidelines could be prepared and discussed at the group’s next meeting in the spring of 1988, according to Albert H. Teich of the AAAS. Teich is project director of the subcommittee on scientific fraud and misconduct of the AAAS/ABA National Conference of Lawyers and Sc
ASIS Marks 50 Years Spreading Information
ASIS Marks 50 Years Spreading Information
WASHINGTON—As it starts a year-long celebration of its 50th birthday with a gala annual meeting in Boston this week, the American Society for Information Science faces a couple of paradoxes that together constitute an identity crisis. While the information industry is growing rapidly, the membership of ASIS is not. The society’s diversity, attested to by a membership drawn from a wide swath of academia, industry and government, has the disadvantage of diffusing its professional
Edinburgh Plans Science Fete
Edinburgh Plans Science Fete
EDINBURGH—Already renowned for its summer arts festival, the Scottish capital is preparing for an annual international science festival each spring. Organizers have already obtained a pledge of $120,000 from the town council, and hope to raise an additional $750,000 in each of the first three years of the festival. They plan a group of smaller events next year before kicking off the festival in 1989. The festival is expected to attract both scientists and the public. If a success, it
NSF Expands Program Of Instrument Grants
NSF Expands Program Of Instrument Grants
WASHINGTON—A small but popular NSF program to provide scientific instruments for undergraduate programs is being expanded to let in both two-year colleges and major research universities. The changes reflect pent-up demand within higher education for such teaching equipment and a feeling here that the federal government must do more to support the next generation of scientists and engineers. But the expansion may dilute the program’s value for its original audience. The College
NIH Probing Use of Fetal Tissue
NIH Probing Use of Fetal Tissue
WASHINGTON—NIH is looking into charges that it has improperly funded research on tissues and organs that have been removed from live human fetuses. The investigation stems from allegations by Jeremy Rifkin of the Foundation on Economic Trends, that the National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) is not following appropriate protocols to establish death before obtaining the tissue and providing it to researchers. F. William Dommel, of NIH’s Office of Protection from Research Risk
German Physicist Forms Group on Global Problems
German Physicist Forms Group on Global Problems
WEST BERLIN—A West German physicist has begun a new effort to mobilize scientific and technical resources against some of the world’s most pressing problems. The idea of creating a Global Challenges Network is a “crazy vision,” admitted Hans-Peter Dürr, professor of physics and director of the Werner Heisenberg Institute of Physics at the Max Planck Society in Munich. But he said that the magnitude of the problem requires a worldwide effort involving the most ta
City Debates Animal Research Plan
City Debates Animal Research Plan
CAMBRIDGE, MASS.—City officials here are wrestling with a proposal to place experiments involving animals under the control of a new council-appointed body that would have the right to delay or veto any work it did not like. The city council is in the midst of hearings leading to a possible vote on two ordinances relating to animal research at Harvard University, MIT and other private institutions within the city limits. The first proposal would seek to ensure that all laboratories are
NIH Asks AIDS Labs to Tighten Safety
NIH Asks AIDS Labs to Tighten Safety
WASHINGTON—Federal biosafety guidelines for laboratories handling the AIDS virus are appropriate, a team of virus safety experts has concluded after investigating labs working with large amounts of highly concentrated AIDS virus. But workers need to better understand how and why the practices should be followed. The four-member group, formed last month after NIH announced that an unidentified lab worker was infected while working with the virus, spent two weeks at the dozen or so NIH
AAAS Election Features Women And Minorities
AAAS Election Features Women And Minorities
WASHINGTON—Although women and minorities still make up only a small percentage of scientists in most fields, their presence is being felt within the governing body of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This fall, for the first time in AAAS’s history, all four candidates for the two vacancies on the board of directors are women and/or minorities. And the next AAAS president is University of Chicago physicist Walter Massey, who is black. AAAS officials downpl
Scientists Praise U.K. AIDS Efforts
Scientists Praise U.K. AIDS Efforts
LONDON—A new, open-ended program to fund AIDS research has drawn praise from British scientists who see the directed initiative as a refreshing change from the parsimonious attitude taken by the government toward most basic research efforts. Six months ago the government announced a special allocation of $23 million over three years for AIDS research. The program, overseen by the Medical Research Council, has already involved 24 laboratories at universities, hospitals and biotechnology
NSF Urged to Boost K-12 Effort
NSF Urged to Boost K-12 Effort
WASHINGTON—A $1.6 million study by an independent research firm is likely to provide ammunition for members of Congress who want the National Science Foundation to become more involved in pre-college science education. The study by SRI International of Palo Alto, Calif., requested in 1985 by Congress, was released during the August congressional recess. But it is likely to be “chewed over” next year, according to Thomas Van der Voort, staff director of the Senate Appropriat
Lessons From the Pasteur Institute Cancers
Lessons From the Pasteur Institute Cancers
The Pasteur Institute is world famous for the science it has produced for the past century, particularly in molecular biology. But for the past year and a half, molecular biologists have been concerned about another institute matter: six of its molecular biologists working with the teclmiques of genetic engineering have developed cancer. What do these cancers mean? Do they show that genetic engineering is hazardous for workers, as has been suggested by its critics from the beginning? Or is
Missed Chances on a Hopeful Road
Missed Chances on a Hopeful Road
Looking back, my scientific career seems to have been liberally strewn with missed opportunities. In fact, right at its outset I missed an opportunity by force of circumstance. After a six-year break in my studies occasioned by service with the Jewish Brigade in the 8th Army during World War II, I began work on my Ph.D. thesis at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1947. The subject was a search for soil bacteria that would produce an antibiotic against typhoid and dysentery bacteria. At th
Goldberger On Education And Arms Control
Goldberger On Education And Arms Control
Q: How healthy is U.S. science? GOLDBEGER: I think U.S. science is quite healthy in most of the forefront areas. In biology, it seems to be extremely strong. In condensed matter physics and related device physics, it’s very strong. In astronomy, astrophysics, there’s little question that the United States is the unchallenged world leader. In elementary particle physics and high energy physics, we have sort of a bifurcated situation. On the theoretical side, the United States is pro
Reducing Pain and Distress in Animal Research
Reducing Pain and Distress in Animal Research
Researchers practicing good science must be concerned with the well-being of their laboratory animals; health problems, pain, and stress may introduce unwanted variables that can invalidate study results. Concern for laboratory animals also reflects a fundamental principle of ethical animal research: experimental animals, regardless of species, should not undergo unnecessary distress or discomfort. Attention to the animal’s wellbeing begins with research planning. Studies should be desi

Commentary

The Role of Information Scientists
The Role of Information Scientists
The American Society for Information Science (ASIS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Boston this week. It is an appropriate moment, therefore, to emphasize to the scientific community the strategic and growing role that information scientists play in scientific research, in technological advancement and, in broader terms, in the transformation of society. In fact, information and the transformation of society is the theme of this year’s ASIS conference. Since 1945 our world has u

Letter

Letters
Letters
As a disenfranchised victim of the peer-review system, I consider that the myriad proposals for modifying peer review are less than encouraging. In his letter “Can Peer Review Be Improved?” (May 4, 1987, P. 10), Moshe Wolman is more than correct when he points out the inhibitory effect peer review has on science. Innovative, creative ideas that depart from dogma are usually given unfundable priorities, especially when dealing with NIH. In 1985 NIH received more than 30,000 proposa

Opinion

The Ascent of Sputnik: A Reminiscence
The Ascent of Sputnik: A Reminiscence
Editor’s note: October 4 marks the 30th anniversary of the launching of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union. In this issue of THE SCIENTIST we look back to the beginning of the space age with a reminiscence by Joshua Lederberg. Other prominent scientists and public figures recalled the ascent of Sputnik and reflected on present-day Soviet- U.S. competition in space during interviews with freelance writer Neil McA leer. Excerpts from seven interviews appear on p. 12. When Sputnik was launched
Where Were You When the Space Age Began?
Where Were You When the Space Age Began?
FREDERICK C. DURANT III “We were all gathered in Barcelona, Spain for the International Astronautical Federation conference, and there were delegates from about 20 countries. The head of the Soviet delegation was Leonid Sedov. We saw him at the airport on Saturday afternoon, and we knew nothing about the launch because in Spain under Franco they didn’t allow British papers in until they had been censored or reviewed. So a lot of us didn’t know about it until later, when peo

Profession

Drug Companies Must Adapt to the 'Bioburst' Era
Drug Companies Must Adapt to the 'Bioburst' Era
“Bioburst” as the name Richard Noel Re gives to the revolution now taking place in molecular biology. In his book Bioburst: The Impact of Modern Biology on the Affairs of Man (Louisiana State University Press, 1986), Re discusses how that revolution will permeate contemporary life. He uses the discovery of cyclosporin A to illustrate the new flexibility needed in the pharmaceutical industry to deal with this revolution. The excerpt below is taken from the book. Chance favors the
Interviewing for Scientific Jobs
Interviewing for Scientific Jobs
Too often “technical” people fare poorly in a job interview because they have a faulty perception of what is expected of them. They believe that having strong technical credentials is the primary factor utilized in filling a job. In fact, technical credentials represent only one of several criteria an interviewer considers. The very fact that you have been invited for an interview is a good indication that the employer is satisfied you meet the technical requirements for the positi

Books etc.

A Physiologist Who Never Said Die
A Physiologist Who Never Said Die
CONTROLLING LIFE Jacques Loeb and the Engineering Ideal in Biology. Philip J. Pauly. Oxford University Press, New York, 1987. 252 pp. $24.95. Few scientists today would consider modeling their professional development on the life of Jacques Loeb (1859-1924). Despite considerable accomplishments, Loeb felt embattled for most of his career. As a German Jew, he was alienated from American academic and social circles, and on several occasions his religion served to limit and even deny him prof
A Report That Brings Space Biology Down to Earth
A Report That Brings Space Biology Down to Earth
A STRATEGY FOR SPACE BIOLOGY AND MEDICAL SCIENCE For the 1980s and 1990s. Committee on Space Biology and Medicine, Space Science Board, Commission on physical Sciences, Mathematics and Resources, National Research Council. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1987. 196 pp. This report, which represents the collective thinking of some 60 scientists, was developed over the course of two and a half years in series of meetings of the Space Science Board’s Committee on Space Biology and
Artificial Intelligence: Making Up Our Minds
Artificial Intelligence: Making Up Our Minds
MACHINES AND INTELLIGENCE A Critique of Arguments Against the Possibility of Artificial Intelligence. Stuart Goldkind. Greenwood Press. Westport, CT, 1987. 138 pp. $29.95. MAN-MADE MINDS The Promise of Artificial Intelligence. M. Mitchell Waidrop. Walker and Company, New York, 1987. 288 pp. $22.95 HB, $14.95 PB. After 30 years, investigators and critics of artificial intelligence (AT) continue to differ in their definitions of the domain and the fundamental claim that AI is or is not possib
Lasers Take Their Place in the Lab
Lasers Take Their Place in the Lab
RESEARCH APPLICATIONS OF LASERS Science. August 7, 1987. Vol. 237. Pages 605-625. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC. While laser scientists are busy worrying about femtosecond pulses, squeezed states and free electrons, lasers developed in the 1960s and ‘70s are finding their place in the research laboratory. Three scientific disciplines—geophysics, atomic physics and chemical physics—are highlighted in the August 7, 1987 issue of Science a
Forthcoming Books
Forthcoming Books
AGRICULTURE The Transformation of International Agricultural Research and Development. J. Lin Compton, ed. Westview: October, 260 pp, $19.85. Assesses the influence of experiment stations on agricultural research and development and the effectiveness of their research. Includes discussions of the role of women in research and development, the role of research and extension services and the linking of traditional and modern agricultural knowledge. ANTHROPOLOGY Almost Human: A Journey Into th

So They Say

So They Say
So They Say
Giving Away Your Rights [N]owhere in our Constitution does it give Congress or the President the right to set science policy or determine what technology the nation should support or disregard. Rather like literature and art, that right remains with the people. Unfortunately, scientists and engineers in the U.S. have been giving this right away. The exception to an independent and critical spirit towards science and technology policies may occur when the nation is engaged in deadly combat. A

Happenings

Happenings
Happenings
The Association of American Medical Colleges has appointed two new executives to its Washington branch. Robert I. Levy, senior associate vice president for health sciences at Columbia University, will become vice president for biomedical research January 1, 1988, and Edwin I. Crocker, vice president for finance and treasurer of the AAMC in Mills College, Oakland, Calif., will become vice president for administrative services on November 16. Levy has served as dean of the medical school and vice