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How Britain's Salford U. Rose From The Dead Like Lazarus
How Britain's Salford U. Rose From The Dead Like Lazarus
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND—In 1981, two years after Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher first attacked Britain’s slack management and bloated work forces, a powerful government committee decided to apply her doctrines to the nation’s universities. Out came the budget knife, and every university suffered cuts. A few of the cuts were so severe that they stunned even supporters of austerity measures. And the worst hit university, everyone agreed, was Salford, an establishment in a depressed
Doing Good Science With Rank Amateurs
Doing Good Science With Rank Amateurs
Picture this You’re in an isolated corner of Easter Island, leading a research expedition peopled by lay volunteers who have actually paid for the privilege of helping you find and catalogue a series of ancient rock paintings. You’ve hiked for hours over extremely rough terrain to get to your site, a cliffside so precipitous that the volunteers have to be anchored to solid ground with ropes. Out of the blue, a female vol unteer approaches you and asks if there’s anyplace nearby
Neural Network Startups Proliferate Across The U.S.
Neural Network Startups Proliferate Across The U.S.
Creating machines that truly mimic the mind has long been the Holy Grail of computer scientists. And like the path to that mythical prize, the quest for artificial “brains” that can balance a checkbook or recognize flaws in aircraft engines with all the aplomb of a human is strewn with failed attempts But now there is a promising new contender. The approach goes by the name artificial neural network, because it works by duplicating the neural structure of the brain and it is already
Can Hard Science Save The Aerospace Plane?
Can Hard Science Save The Aerospace Plane?
After years of hype, the national aerospace plane may finally be lumbering off the ground. Gone are the visionaries who spent years promoting proposals that have turned out to be little more than pipe dreams. Replacing them is a group of practical scientists and engineers. They admit that they are working on an experimental prototype that may never fly, much less carry passengers. Ironically, though, it’s just this kind of pragmatic talk that could bring the project the credibility it will
Scientists Launch Innovative Programs To Improve Grade School Education
Scientists Launch Innovative Programs To Improve Grade School Education
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.—Teenager Alisa Pura excitedly runs toward a cluttered lab bench at the University of California, San Francisco, where her friends and high school teacher are taking turns peering through a microscope at a Drosophila larva. “How many years of school does it take to do what you do?” “Do you really use all the calculus, physics, and chemistry you learned in college?” “Why is that larva wriggling so fast?” The questions, posed rapid-f
Report Says Foreigners Strenghten U.S. Labs
Report Says Foreigners Strenghten U.S. Labs
WASHINGTON—Most members of Congress and the executive branch have a nagging fear that visiting foreign scientists are stealing research secrets from United States labs and turning them into products that compete successfully against those of U.S. firms. Indeed, the Reagan administration wants to both restrict foreign access to information from U.S. government labs and pressure foreign nations to open up their labs. THE EXTENT OF FOREIGN PRESENCE As part of its attempt to gauge the exten
End Peer Review
End Peer Review
End Peer Review Several articles in the July 25 issue of The Scientist focus on one of the major problems that we are having in American science and why we are losing our technological edge to other countries. The articles on “blue sky” funding [from British Petroleum] and “renegade” researchers, and the editorial about Uncle Sam needing more good scientists all illustrate problems that have roots in the peer-review process. It is well known that people with innovative,

Briefs

National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
Pity the planners at the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility. After 25 years operating one of the nation’s top experimental accelerators, LAMPF officials fear that their operation may fall victim to the Energy Department’s desire to attract international partners for the superconducting supercollider. Both LAMPF and a similar Canadian meson physics facility in British Columbia want to upgrade their accelerators to the tune of several hundred million dollars—and it appears likely
Government Briefs
Government Briefs
Ever since the first space shuttle flight, space enthusiasts have decried the wastefulness of discarding the huge external fuel tank that helps boost a shuttle into orbit. So when NASA put out a call for profitable uses of these tanks, many organizations let their imaginations soar. NASA had hoped for small experiments that could be tucked away in unused nooks and crannies to take advantage of the half-hour spent by each tank in low gravity before it burns up upon reentry. But the size (154 fee
University Briefs
University Briefs
By not charging corporate and government clients for the indirect costs of contract research, British universities have been effectively subsidizing the research. (The Scientist, May 30, page 5). This practice, says a recent report from the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, must stop. The report contains guidelines that would add more than $100 million to the $500 million annually that universities now charge for research. The guidelines are not mandatory, but universities are under
Private Institute Briefs
Private Institute Briefs
Uncle Sam casts a regulatory eye over animal research in universities, but until recently no one had firmly tackled the issues raised by dissections and experiments in high schools and junior highs. Enter the Buckeye State. Beginning this month, 10 workshops sponsored by the Ohio Academy of Science and Ohio State University will be held across the state to educate secondary school science teachers about the controversies swirling around animal research. Rather than tell teachers how to use anim
Entrepreneur Briefs
Entrepreneur Briefs
Pantyhose last longer, seeds germinate faster, piano strings hold their tune better, golf balls travel further—it would seem there is nothing that a few hours at -300 degrees Fahrenheit won’t improve. That’s the discovery of physicist Jeff Levine and mechanical engineer Bruce Norian, who started Applied Cryogenics, Newton Upper Falls, Mass., eight years ago to improve cutting tools by exposing them to extreme cold. Norian had observed that the Gillette company of South Boston,
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
In a memo circulated to the staff of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on September 30, executive officer Alvin W. Trivelpiece announced his resignation in order to become director of the Oak Ridge National Lab and vice president of Martin Marrieta Energy Systems, which runs the lab for DOE. Alex Zucker, who has been acting director of the lab since February 1, tells The Scientist: “I think it’s a very good move for the lab. I think Trivelpiece will bring stren
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry has submitted its budget proposals to the Finance Ministry and, as usual, they provide a strong indication of the fields Japan intends to concentrate on next. Among the hot topics targeted by MITI are: " Artificial intelligence—MITI recommends that a study group of computer experts be convened to examine new approaches, such as neural network computers, which could be used to build a machine that imitates human thought. " Superc
Science Grants
Science Grants
Hazardous wastes study. $25,000 from the General Electric Foundation to Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. HEALTH SCIENCES Mental health. $19,500 from the Chicago Community Trust to the University of illinois at Chicago for the Pacific/Asian American Mental Health Research Center Obstetrics. $32,535 from the Ford Foundation to International Women’s Health Coalition, New York, for research on reproductive health care in Indonesia Geriatrics center. $1 million from the Sarah and
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
The move to streamline the paperwork for federal grants is gaining steam. A new set of simplified rules has been in effect experimentally with Florida schools for three years, arid when designers of the streamlining project asked for volunteers to test the procedures nationwide, 50 institutions signed up. Meanwhile, the number of federal agencies participating has grown from five to eight, and NASA has been attending meetings on the system and may join soon. Currently taking part are: NIH, NSF,
Tools Briefs
Tools Briefs
By building a tiny “cityscape” on a chip of gallium arsenide, with crystal “skyscrapers” less thanone ten-thousandth of an inch high, Cornell University scientists have developed a simple method to improve electronic devices based on gallium arsenide (GaAs). As the basis for high-speed transistors, microprocessors, and tiny solid-state lasers, gallium arsenide outperforms silicon. However, its use has been limited by the number of defects plaguing the sandwich-like devic
Also Notable
Also Notable
Debra Jan Bibel; Science Tech Publishers; Madison, Wisc., and Springer-Verlag, London; 330 pages; $35 “When a science is making rapid and giant strides forward, as has been the case in immunology these past 25 years, there is little time to reminisce,”writes immunologist Arthur Silverstein in the introduction to this book. He laments that “most of [the young immunologists act (and write the introductions to their scientific papers) as though the entire history of the field we

Profession

A Lonely Stargazer, With A Lot Of Help From His Friends
A Lonely Stargazer, With A Lot Of Help From His Friends
Although a five-member international team of astronomers recently took credit for identifying what appears to be a previously unknown planet, the thrill of first noticing the heavenly body belonged to a single individual, Robert Stefanik. Working in solitude late one night at the Oak Ridge Observatory 30 miles outside of Cambridge, Mass., Stefanik, using a 55-year-old telescope, detected an almost imperceptible wobble in the motion of a star some 90 light-years from Earth. It was this lone scie
Chinese Biotech Initiative May Open Doors For U.S. Firms
Chinese Biotech Initiative May Open Doors For U.S. Firms
Movement toward developing a robust, internationally active biotechnology industry is gaming momentum in the People’s Republic of China.. And as the movement picks up steam, one byproduct is an increasing number of stimulating opportunities for scientists and entrepreneurs connected with biotech firms outside of China. In an interview with The Scientist, Liu Yonghui, director of the National Center for Biotechnology Development in Beijing, said that his country wishes to “improve the
How Scientists And Journalists Can Reach Mutual Understanding
How Scientists And Journalists Can Reach Mutual Understanding
As a public information officer at a research institution—the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.—I work in the middle of a mutual misunderstanding between scientists and the press. Most experienced journalists— including many who specialize in science writing—know surprisingly little about the content or process of science. Working in the news business, constantly under the pressure of deadlines, science writers are charged with finding “discovery&#
Rejected NIH Applicants Should Keep Trying
Rejected NIH Applicants Should Keep Trying
According to figures maintained by NIH for the past 18 years (see chart), the percentage of applicants funded on their first try varied quite a bit in the 1970s—from about 24% in 1973 to a high of more than 40% in 1975. So far in the 1980s, the success rate for first-time applicants has stabilized at just under 30%—a stability mirrored by the success rate for all NIH applicants during recent years. “Part of it is deliberate policy,” says Joseph Brackett, chief of NIH&
Mix Of Programs Can Meet Lab Communication Needs
Mix Of Programs Can Meet Lab Communication Needs
Communications software packages solve a variety of laboratory computer problems. They let incompatible computers talk to each other, for example, and they allow scientists to access laboratory computers from home or in the field. While I haven’t found any single program that will solve all my lab’s communications needs, a combination of two or three fairly inexpensive packages should be the answer for most labs. In my toxicity testing laboratory, when we need to transfer files fro
Lord Foundation Honors Six As Science Leaders
Lord Foundation Honors Six As Science Leaders
This year’s honors will go to Isaac Asimov, James Buchanan, Jay Forrester, Edwin Land, Herman Mark, and James Watson at Lord Corporation’s Third National Symposium on Technology and Society, to be held this week at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. Upon announcing the award recipients, Lord Corp. chairman Donald M. Alstadt noted that each of them “has amply demonstrated through their innovative processes” that “the growth of knowledge

Opinion

Prizes Like The Nobel Are Unjust--And Bad For Science
Prizes Like The Nobel Are Unjust--And Bad For Science
The fact is, major prizes like the Nobel are a blight on the landscape of science. I believe that; so do dozens of scientists that I know. Of course, we can’t say so publicly without opening ourselves to accusations of sour grapes or, if we have already won big prizes, of lording it over the have-nots. So why are the most prestigious awards bad for science? One good reason is that they strongly discourage cooperation, and foster all sorts of shady ethics. I’ve seen it happen; as
We Are Eroding The Vital link Between Academic Research And Education
We Are Eroding The Vital link Between Academic Research And Education
I wonder if what I’ve noticed happening to the faculty of United States medical schools applies equally to other segments of the “research university.” Put simply, we are creating two faculties: one devoted to bringing in research grants and publishing as many papers as possible, and the other relegated to handling the teaching load. The separation is not complete, but it is rapidly becoming so, and the vigor of the latter group is not increasing. Many professors will retire in

Letter

Radiation Risk
Radiation Risk
Radiation Risk In reply to Dr. Butterworth’s letter concerning radiation-induced mutations (The Scientist, July 25, page 14), it is important to note that Schull et al (Science 213:1220,1981) reported that in no instance was there a statistically significant effect of parental exposure on genetic alterations in the children born to survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Does Dr. Butterworth recommend evacuating the Rocky Mountain States since there is an increased total body ex
On Science And Religion
On Science And Religion
William Provine takes the extreme point of view that people (implying particularly scientists) who practice religion must check their brains at the church door. His view seems to be that a scientist cannot justify believing both in religion and in scientific principles, including evolution. I take exception with Provine’s point of view. Religion is a very personal set of beliefs. It is no more right for Provine to thrust his atheism on readers than for the Pope to force people to his poi
On Science And Religion
On Science And Religion
On Science And Religion Thanks for posing the important question of the relative roles of science and religion (The Scientist, September 5, page 10). Biologist William Provine tells us that “science and religion are incompatible.” The fact is, they are incompatible only in the sense that “round” and “red” are incompatible. Arguments on this topic usually consist of one side insisting that the ball is round, while the other shouts, “No, no! It’s re
On Science And Religion
On Science And Religion
The editorial by William Provine was a tremendous revelation to me, especially since, prior to reading it, I was lost in an ignorant state of religious faith without the ability to think critically. I must confess that I once believed that not all of Truth was demonstrable through science. As hard as it is to admit now, I even believed (oops! I behaved as if I believed) that I made choices and was responsible for them. How wonderful it was to learn for certain that life has no purpose or meaning
On Science And Religion
On Science And Religion
Anticipating that you will receive a great number of letters disagreeing with Will Provine’s article, I wish to come to his defense. It is currently popular for scientists to champion the “no conflict” attitude. I have engaged in a number of discussions with colleagues over this issue and it is my experience that compatibility is bought at a high price. The price is that the supposed deity becomes so nebulous, so indistinguishable from nature that the normal language for existe
On Science And Religion
On Science And Religion
Is religion compatible with science? Is chemistry compatible with art? A chemical description of the Mona Lisa seems to miss a great deal of what someone can learn either from looking at the painting or from reading Kenneth Clark. Are Clark’s readers simply deluding themselves? Is chemistry more real than art? Chemistry and art criticism only seem to conflict if we think they are meant to do the same things. For most people, the same can be said of religion and science. Granted there is no
On Science And Religion
On Science And Religion
Professor Provine’s outstanding scholarly works make untrue his words, “I will die and soon be forgotten.” He has built for himself the kind of immortality that is the envy of those of us for whom his words will be the truth. This error about himself possibly derives from his failure to explicitly recognize that every theory has boundaries and only as the boundaries are discovered do we begin to fully understand the theory. In his second paragraph, Provine states the postulat

Commentary

How Scientists Can Help Foster Science Appreciation
How Scientists Can Help Foster Science Appreciation
In the last issue of The Scientist, Morris H. Shamos, emeritus professor of physics at New York University, cast a cold eye on the concept of scientific literacy. He argued that a more reasonable goal in educating nonscientists about science might be science appreciation. Like music and art appreciation, science appreciation might be fostered without requiring the mastery of technical details that experts need to know. Furthermore, Shamos noted, the appreciation of science by a large segment of

Hot Paper

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
M.W. Bond, B. Shrader, T.R. Mosmaxm, R.L. Coffman, “A mouse T cell product that preferentially enhances IgA production. Part 2: Physiochemical characterizations,” Journal of Immunology, 139 (11), 3691-6, 1, December 1987. B.K. Kobilka, H. Matsui, T.S. Kobilka, T.L. Yang-Feng, et al., “Cloning, sequencing, and expression of the gene coding for the human platelet alpha2- adrenergic receptor,” Science, 236 (4827), 650-6,30 October 1987. Y. Yarden, W-J. Kuang, T. Yang-Fe

Research

New Wave Cancer Therapy: Disease-Specific Strategies
New Wave Cancer Therapy: Disease-Specific Strategies
A tacit assumption underlying the search for anticancer drugs over the last 30 years has been that all cancer cells, irrespective of tissue origin, share certain common features that account for their unregulated growth and malignant properties. Accordingly, drugs effective against one type of tumor should be active against other classes of cancer. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. While many of the 40 FDA-approved cancer drugs are effective against certain leukemias and lymphomas (the
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Traditional high-tech industry rivals IBM and AT&T compete in many spheres—from selling personal computers to garnering Nobel Prizes. But an area of particular fascination for scientists is their ongoing competition in basic and applied research. In 1987, the two titans again went head-to-head. They both, for example, went all out in pursuing high-temperature superconducting ceramic oxides and new technology leading to improved semiconductors. But there were significant differ- ences in
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
PHYSICS BY SOKRATES T. PANTELIDES IBM Research Division Thomas J. Watson Research Center Yorktown Heights, N.Y. " Are the new high-Tc superconducting materials going to be useful? It has recently been possible to deposit high-quality superconducting films without post-annealing. The deposition temperature is now lowered to approximately 400°C Such temperatures are compatible with semiconductor device processing. S. Witanachchi, H.S. Kwoh, X.W. Wang, D.T. Shaw, Deposition tion of superco
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
BY PETER J. SMITH Department of Earth Sciences Open University Milton Keynes, U.K. " Because there has been no great earthquake in the Shumagin Islands area of the Aleutian Trench since at least 1917, the region is regarded as having high seismic potentiaL However, no strain accumulation was detected during 1980-87, suggesting that the seismic danger has been overestimated. M. Lisowaki, J.C. Strange, W.H. Prescott, W.K. Gross, “Absence of strain accumulation in the Shumagin seismic gap,
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
PLANT AND ANIMAL SCIENCES BY FRANCISCO J. AYALA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of California, Irvine Irvine, Calif. " The gene that switches embryonic development into the male rather than the female pathway is located on the short arm of the Y chromosome in humans as well as in mice. How this gene exerts its effects is still a mystery. A. McLaren, “Sex determination in mammals,” Trends in Genetics, 4 (6), 153-7, June 1988. " Many insect species carry v
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
LIFE SCIENCES BY BERNARD DIXON European Editorial Offices The Scientist Uxbridge, U.K. " After mearly a century of speculation by embryologists, elegant genetic trickery in Tubigen has produced a stunning example of morphogenetic gradients at work. A protein coded by the bed gene in fruit flies behaves as a morphogen that directs the position of cells in the embryo’s anterior. W. Driever, C. Nusslein-Volhard, “A gradient of the bicoid protein in Drosophiia embryos,” Cell, 54
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
CHEMISTRY BY MARYE ANNE FOX Department of Chemistry University of Texas, Austin Austin, Tex. " The formation of rapidly responding materials for altering electronic input signals would have important consequences for fundamental science as well as for imaging systems. The characteristics of an electronic shift-register memory at the molecular level have been described in a recent and provocative paper. J.J. Hopfield, J.N. Onuchic, D.N. Beratan, “A molecular shift register based on elect
Top 20 Science Cities In The U.S.
Top 20 Science Cities In The U.S.
New York also ranked first in similar surveys taken in 1967 and 1977. Since New York boasts the largest population of any U.S. city, one might justifiably expect it to rank at the top of any such list; it is noteworthy that, despite growth in other major metropolises, New York’s great concentration of scientists at its numerous universities and medical centers has kept it on top for at least 20 years. However, when measured in terms of the growth rate of number of publishing scientists

Technology

Laser Augments New Pharmaceutical Detecting Device
Laser Augments New Pharmaceutical Detecting Device
Using laser technology similar to that found in compact disc players, scientists from England’s York University have developed a liquid chromatography detector that could prove to be the answer to one of the most perplexing problems facing the pharmaceutical industry. Many drug licensing bodies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are now proposing that all pharmaceuticals under development be screened for optical activity. That is, they are requiring tests to determine whet

Books etc.

Where Science, Technology, And Profit Motive Meet
Where Science, Technology, And Profit Motive Meet
SCIENCE AND CORPORATE STRATEGY: Du Pont R&D, 1902-1980 David A. Hounshell and John Kenly Smith, Jr. Cambridge University Press; New York 731 pages; $34.50 Science, married to technology under the auspices of the corporate industrial research laboratory, has played a central role in the transformation of the U.S. economy in the 20th century. Yet, until the present book, there has never been a detailed, scholarly study of the history of a major U.S. industrial research program covering more tha
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