News

Activity At National Atmospheric Center Heats Up As Climate Research Flourishes
Activity At National Atmospheric Center Heats Up As Climate Research Flourishes
BOULDER, COLO.—During the course of the devastating heat wave that struck Texas in the summer of 1980, climatologist Stephen Schneider estimates he fielded 25 calls from reporters trying to fathom the situation. When corn belt yields fell some 40% in 1983, Schneider, who is Senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) here, got that many phone calls in a month. And when severe drought struck the southeastern United States n 1986, queries came in a rate of 25
Supercollider Suffering Birth Pangs
Supercollider Suffering Birth Pangs
DE SOTO, TEXAS-How do you attract scientists to a project that won’t yield its first results for 10 years? How do you build a research facility on a physical scale that has never before been attempted? How do you spend billions of federal dollars without incuning suffocating oversight and bureaucratic red tape? The task of answering those and hundreds of other questions over the next decade will fall on the scientists who have signed on to build the Su perconducting Supercollider (SSC).
A Personal Look At Seven Who Hope To Bring You The SSC
A Personal Look At Seven Who Hope To Bring You The SSC
Roy Schwitters, Director The National Science Foundation demonstrated its knack for spotting talent 10 years ago when it selected this experimental physicist for its prestigious Alan T. Waterman Award as the nation’s outstanding young scientist. Schwitters, then a recently named professor of physics at Harvard, was chosen for his important contributions in the design and construction of a particle detector for the Stanford Positron-Electron Accelerating Ring at the Stanford Linear Acceler
Universities' Patent Policies Vary; Officials Say, 'Vive La Difference'
Universities' Patent Policies Vary; Officials Say, 'Vive La Difference'
Marvin L. Speck was a professor of food science and microbiology at North Carolina State University when he developed a new process to help people digest milk. Speck recognized that his discovery, which he called SweetAcidophilus in honor of the fact that it improved on the unpleasant taste of the existing process, had commercial possibilities. So in 1972 he convinced the university to assign the trademark to a state dairy foundation, which then signed agreements with two companies, one to manuf
Science Grants
Science Grants
WASHINGTON-A new program at the National Science Foundation will give institutions a larger voice in training researchers in the life sciences. The initiative, which NSF plans to launch with a $4 million investment next year, is also aimed at stimulating interdisciplinary research in the nation’s universities. Called the Research Training Group Awards, the program is sponsored by the NSF’s Biological, Behavioral and Social Sciences (BBS) directorate. The foundation hopes to award
New Biomed Labs To Explore Oceans In Pursuit Of Knowledge And Profit
New Biomed Labs To Explore Oceans In Pursuit Of Knowledge And Profit
SAN DIEGO—The University of California, San Diego, and its affiliate, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, are planning a new center that will combine the basic research skills of Scripps investigators with the medical talents of the university’s school of medicine to unlock the secrets of sea life. The UCSD-Scripps project—details of which are still being worked out—is the latest of several efforts in recent months by institutions intent on forging ahead with new
Spain Moves To Upgrade Its Scientific Standing
Spain Moves To Upgrade Its Scientific Standing
MADRID—With 1992 and European commercial integration fast approaching, Spain has taken measures to launch itself into the mainstream of European science, boosting the funding and training of its scientists and taking key steps to attract foreign technology-based industries. While Spanish scientists are pleased with these measures, they also regard them as inadequate if Spain intends to compete successfully in the new, unified, high-tech Europe. “Seven years ago, Spain was at
The 1989 Nobel Prize In Medicine: 20 Who Deserve It
The 1989 Nobel Prize In Medicine: 20 Who Deserve It
Pity the Nobel committee now trying to make its selection for the next prize in physiology or medicine, soon to be announced. The committee has a very difficult task. The five-member group at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm is sifting through dossiers on more than 100 candidates. The committee members are no doubt asking themselves, as they must ask themselves every year, “How are we to select from among this collection of outstanding, world-class researchers just one (or at mos
Six Receive Lasker Foundation Medical Research Awards
Six Receive Lasker Foundation Medical Research Awards
The 1989 Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation Medical Research Awards, given to six scientists for their achievements in the medical sciences and public health administration, were announced last week. The awards, first presented in 1944, are divided into three categories: public service, clinical medical research, and basic medical research. A $15,000 prize is given in each Category. Lewis Thomas, 75, scholar-in-residence at Cornell University Medical College, Ithaca, N.Y., received the 1989 Al

Briefs

National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
Berkeley Bevalac, Three Others Threatened Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s venerable Bevalac accelerator, for 35 years a laboratory centerpiece and the tool for four Nobel Prizes, appears to be the big loser in another national lab’s campaign for a new heavy-ion research facility. A Department of Energy panel has suggested that the Bevalac be phased out in the mid-i 990s in favor of Brookhaven National Lab’s proposed Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider if the department’s nuclear ph
Government Briefs
Government Briefs
When Price Is No Object Once the Department of Energy selected Texas as the preferred site for the Superconducting Supercollider, it wanted everybody to know exactly how it had gone about assessing the environmental aspects of its big decision. The resulting document, in four volumes, weighed 26 pounds; DOE sent out 17,000 copies, at a cost of $1.4 million. That extravagant first-class mailing piqued the interest of Congress, especially members from some of The seven states that had lost out t
University Briefs
University Briefs
Stellar Discovery For 19-Year-Old Student “Pretty good.” That’s how 19-year-old Celina Mikolajozak feels about discovering a supernova this summer. Mikolajczak, an engineering student at the California Institute of Technology, spotted the event—designated SN 1989N—while participating in Caltech’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). The program, says Eleanor Helm, a planetary scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who sponsored Mikolajczak th
Entrepreneur Briefs
Entrepreneur Briefs
A Chip Off The Old Du Pont A group of about 100 former Du Pont engineers and scientists has issued its first multiclient marketing research paper, an important step in the growth of the firm’s marketing business. Established in 1985 after Du Pont drastically cut its worldwide staff with an unrestricted early retirement plan, Condux Inc. is a consulting firm that primarily offers industry its technical expertise. Not surprisingly, perhaps, one of Condux’s clients has been Du Pont it
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
New Postdoctoral Fellowship For Minorities To increase the number of black, Hispanic, Native American, and other minority life scientists, NSF will sponsor 10 postdoctoral fellows in the biological, behavioral, and social sciences. Applicants must have earned their Ph.D.’s between January 1986 and January 1991. As part of this new program, NSF will help place these fellows and will provide up to $3,000 so that qualified candidates can visit prospective mentors or attend professional meet
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
Project Focuses On Roots Of World Hunger When the agricultural expertise that produces Georgia’s peaches meets the brains behind Israel’s Jaffa oranges, the result may be a key to ending world hunger. Israeli scientists working under the auspices of the Jewish National Fund, a nonprofit group dedicated to developing Israeli agriculture through reforestation, have teamed up with the University of Georgia School of Forest Resources to study the ecophysiology and genetics of drought-t

Opinion

Scientists Have No Business Trying To Sway Public Policy
Scientists Have No Business Trying To Sway Public Policy
All too often, epidemiologic science is held up to be incontrovertible fact, synonymous with immutable truth, and then, to make matters worse, it’s accepted blindly by the popular press and reported as such. Later, if the conclusions or editorial comments by researchers are found by peer review to be deceptive, conceptually flawed, or distorted, it is too late to correct original perceptions. First impressions are lasting impressions, regardless of whether they’re inaccurate, inva
Public Policy Involvement Is The Duty Of All Scientists
Public Policy Involvement Is The Duty Of All Scientists
Does science have a role to play in affecting public policy decisions? Of course it does! To think otherwise is naive and suggests that science should have no utility. Many scientific findings have important public policy implications. It is not the duty of the scientist to make policy decisions. However, it is the scientist’s duty to make sure that the information necessary for intelligent public policy-making is available to those who do. In June, when we released to the public, o

Letter

Records And Credits
Records And Credits
Several recent publicly contested issues revolve around the failure of investigators to keep clear, complete, and contemporaneous records. The need for good record-keeping is becoming painfully more evident in academic and government laboratories, as well as industrial. Rather than curse the darkness, let us recognize the existence of a candle already lit. There is an excellent remedy for this often-neglected side of scientific training in H.M. Kanare’s Writing the Laboratory Notebook (A
On Publishing
On Publishing
I would tend to agree with the idea expressed in Craig Sinclair’s letter (The Scientist, July 10, 1989, page 12) that "... the NATO Advanced Workshop/Study Institute prointo grams fall exactly into the category of ‘best type of conference book.’ “I would, however, suggest that long delays in publication are the dark side of NATO’s publication program. As an example, “Collision theory for atoms and molecules,” which will soon be published, is the proc
On Publishing
On Publishing
A.G. Wheeler’s recent article titled “The Pressure To Publish Promotes Disreputable Science” (The Scientist, July 10, 1989, page 11) illustrates the many ills of the “publish or perish” motto of today’s scientific world in graphic detail. Fabrications, falsifications, and padding are all fair game in this endless mad race. Also appearing in print and religiously stacked in libraries (without perhaps the grueling peer reviewing that accompanies material pub
Different Cultures
Different Cultures
That the “total time to doctorate” (TTD) is longer in the humanities than in the sciences is neither bizarre nor inexplicable, contrary to what is suggested in “University Briefs” (The Scientist, June 26, 1989, page 7). First, one must recall that the humanities and the sciences are not merely different fields of knowledge, they differ profoundly; as C.P. Snow aptly put it, they are different cultures. Furthermore, one must consider some of the specific differences be
'Real Science'
'Real Science'
As a behavioral scientist (health psychologist) who has had funding from NIH for 25 years, I find many reports appearing in The Scientist to be of interest. I found the ‘piece “Project 2061: A Place To Start Educating The Public” (Aug. 7, 1989, page 1 1) especially interesting. Having served on two NIH multi-disciplinary study sections, as an ad hoc member of a number of other NIH review committees, and on intrauniversity review committees at two universities, I can declare
Nuclear Winter
Nuclear Winter
In a recent letter (The Scientist, June 26, 1989, page 12), Thomas F. Malone criticizes the article “‘Nuclear Winter’ Comes In From The Cold” (The Scientist, ‘May 1, 1989, page 1) for failing to point out that the scientific issue of “nuclear winter” has already been resolved. To substantiate his claim, Malone cites “Global Effects of Nuclear War” by R.P. Turco and (3 Golitsyn in Enviromnent (30:9, 1988), which reviews earlier studies, incl
Young Educators'
Young Educators'
The letter from Rep. George E. Brown, Jr., of California (The Scientist, Aug. 7, 1989, page 12) predicting a trend toward increased emphasis on science education seems overly optimistic unless administrative priorities are altered to promote science education. The National Science Foundation has a Presidential Young Investigator Awards Program "... ... to put in place the highest quality faculty members for educating the next generation of professional scientists and engineers” (NSF Pu

Commentary

The U.S. Should Strengthen Its Science And Technology Links With Latin America
The U.S. Should Strengthen Its Science And Technology Links With Latin America
Latin America is experiencing a prolonged economic crisis that is eroding its science and technology base. The burden of a $400 billion foreign debt has forced deep cuts in government spending on research and development, and drastically devalued currencies have made it prohibitively expensive for scientists to travel abroad, buy foreign-made equipment, and subscribe to international journals. We should recognize the United States’ role in this and other Latin American problems. Our ban

Research

Chemistry
Chemistry
CHEMISTRY BY MARY E. ANNE FOX Department of Chemistry University of Texas, Austin Austin, Texas The hypothesis that nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution is appliedto selective and nonselective behaviors in enzymology. Merely distinguishing between these types of behavior is quite a challenge. S.A. Benner, “Enzyme kinetics and molecular evolution,” Chemical Reviews, 89, 789-806, June 1989. (Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, ETH-Zentrum, Zurich, Switzerland)
Physics
Physics
PHYSICS BY FRANK A. WILCZEK School of Natural Sciences Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, N.J. " A long-sought goal in superstring theory has been to derive the theory by a method that keeps as much symmetry as possible manifest. An important bit of progress along those lines is reported. M.B. Green, C.M. Hull, “Covariant quantum mechanics of the superstring,” Physics Letters-B, 255, 57-65, 13 July 1989. (University of London, U.K.) " Data on the distribution of quasars a
Geosciences
Geosciences
GEOSCIENCES BY PETER J. SMITH Department of Earth Sciences Open University Milton Keynes, U.K. " To avoid the semantic confusion inherent in the use of the term “catastrophe” to describe mass extinctions, a scale has been devised to express the magnitude of such rare events. By partial analogy with the Richter earthquake-magnitude scale, extinction magnitude (Me) is defined as the natural logarithm of the ratio of accelerated extinction rate to background extinction rate over a
Life Sciences
Life Sciences
LIFE SCIENCES BY SIMON SILVER Department of Microbiology & Immunology University of Illinois Chicago, IlL " The availability of a range of human growth factors made on a factory scale from, recombinant DNA technology, will radically advance treatment for wounds and other skin trauma. There is also a lot to learn about basic cell biology from the study of these proteins. P. ten Dijke, K.K. Iwata, “Growth factors for wound healing,” BioTechnology, 7, 793-8, August 1989. (Oncogene

Profession

Science Fellows Lend Expertise While Learning Politics
Science Fellows Lend Expertise While Learning Politics
In 1973, Jessica Tuchman Mathews was a promising young biochemist, with a departmental chair or a leadership role at a biotechnology company in her future. But she believed there were gaps in her knowledge of how science fit into society, and curiosity got the better of her. “I had this feeling that I should see what I was missing,” she says. So Mathews left academia and traveled to Washington, D.C., as one of the first Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows sponsored by
Growing Need Erodes NIH Equipment Funds
Growing Need Erodes NIH Equipment Funds
Recognizing that a lack of funds for purchase of equipment can hamper research in the life sciences, the Division of Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health implemented the Biomedical Research Support Shared Instrumentation Grant (SIG) program in 1982 to help institutions buy new instruments and upgrade older equipment. Unfortunately, the problem that the granting scheme sought to alleviate appears to be getting more burdensome. In 1989, the SIG program received 407 applicati
FDA Review Process Short On Manpower
FDA Review Process Short On Manpower
WASHINGTON--The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been taking its lumps of late for its failure to adequately monitor the generic drug review process. FDA officials, in defending themselves before congressional inquiries, say that financial limitations—on staff and other resources—have hampered the agency’s ability to perform its statutory duties. But it seems that FDA has made its job of regulating the nation’s pharmaceutical industry more difficult by failing to

New Products

Bibliography Managers Save Aggravation
Bibliography Managers Save Aggravation
Any scientist who has ever published anything has had to wrestle with references. And the longer you’re in the field, the greater the problem grows. Card files spill over, file drawers bulge with reprints, and you shrink from preparing the next manuscript for publication because of the horrible job of assembling the relevant references. Scientists who are worn out from tackling this task constitute a ready-made market, and it’s no surprise that a number of software companies hav
Innovative Cell Separator: Gentle, Efficient, And Automatic
Innovative Cell Separator: Gentle, Efficient, And Automatic
The first automatic cell separator, Centritech Cell, is now being marketed by Alfa-Laval Centritech, located in Tumba, Sweden. Consequently, biomedical, biochemical, and biotechnical laboratories conducting research involving the cultivation and isolation of living cells can now purchase a cell separator that yields both high cell concentrations and optimal numbers of living cells. The centrifugal process used for separation is gentle and avoids all fragmentation (often seen because of mammal