News

Biocontrols: An Alternative To Pesticides?
Biocontrols: An Alternative To Pesticides?
A plan to screen pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides for endocrine disruptor activity could be bad news for the manufacturers of those synthetics, but good news for research in biocontrols, a natural alternative to those chemicals. Recently, the Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee (EDSTAC) recommended that about 15,000 commercial chemicals be tested for their interaction with reproduction and development (P. Smaglik, The Scientist, 12[18]:1, Sept. 14, 1998). Although
1998 Lasker Award Recipients Honored For Their Groundbreaking Achievements
1998 Lasker Award Recipients Honored For Their Groundbreaking Achievements
On September 25 at the Hotel Pierre in New York City, seven prominent scientists, representing a generation of landmark discoveries in biology and medicine, stepped to the podium to receive this year's Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards, a coveted honor bestowed annually since 1946 by The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. The research of six of this year's recipients made possible groundbreaking discoveries in the field of cancer research. The research of the seventh, who received his award
Erectile Dysfunction: Serious Research for a Serious Problem
Erectile Dysfunction: Serious Research for a Serious Problem
You have probably heard more than your share of Viagra jokes; a whole Web site is devoted to them. But impotence, or erectile dysfunction (ED), is no joke. According to a survey (H.A. Feldman et al., Journal of Urology, 151:54-61, 1994), more than 50 percent of men between 40 and 70 suffer from some degree of ED. The figure climbs to 67 percent at age 70. That's 20 to 30 million men, according to the National Institutes of Health. FIRST IN LINE: Viagra is actually the second drug approved t
Genesis of an IPO ... from NO
Genesis of an IPO ... from NO
EDITOR'S NOTE: Carl Djerassi's novel NO concerns the development of a fictional, though close-to-life, drug and delivery system for the relief of male impotence. While the science in the novel is accurate, the book is a work of fiction. Nevertheless, some real-life characters, including Djerassi himself (a professor in the chemistry department at Stanford University), and other more or less disguised fictional characters based on real people make appearances in the book. In this issue and in t

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
"The part about winning a Novel Prize IS impressive but your Web resume would really stand out if you added a few animations."

Letter

Making Sense of Antisense
Making Sense of Antisense
As implied in the article by Paul Smaglik, "Making Sense of Antisense" (The Scientist, 12[17]:1, Aug. 31, 1998), the clinical usefulness of antisense compounds will be determined, in large part, by our ability to identify drugs that bind their intended targets much more readily than they bind to bystander RNAs and other cellular components. Selective drugs will be those that recognize highly accessible, "optimal"-target sites. In assessing the likelihood that we will ever be able to develop gen
U.S. Students Not So Bad
U.S. Students Not So Bad
In his recent Opinion piece, P. Michael Conn (The Scientist, 12[15]:9, July 20, 1998) comments on the outcome of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, which was administered in 41 countries worldwide in 1995. The results of this study, which were released in March 1998, have been widely interpreted as a scathing failure of our system of science and mathematics education here in the U.S. Although many politicians, journalists, and scientists have commented on these results, no o

Commentary

Untitled and Anonymous Editorials And Other Forms of Provincialism
Untitled and Anonymous Editorials And Other Forms of Provincialism
For several decades Current Contents was the vehicle I used for personal expressions of pleasure or discontent about various practices in science and scholarship. Remarkably, even after decades in some cases, not much has changed since I first voiced an opinion on subjects such as anonymity.1 One of my pet grievances with scientific and other publications has been the implied use of the editorial "we" and its expression in the form of anonymous editorials. Whether in Nature or the New York Tim

Opinion

Early Science Education Should Be Innovative And Hands-On
Early Science Education Should Be Innovative And Hands-On
For two decades, I taught chemistry and physics to high school students. My goal was to have students learn how to learn. To quote Sir Alec Clegg: "The object of teaching is not so much to convey knowledge as it is to excite a determination in the child to acquire it for himself, and to teach him how to go about acquiring it." Even so, it became very evident that a majority of students entered high school with a negative attitude toward science. They might be willing to do the assigned work an

Hot Paper

APOPTOSIS
APOPTOSIS
David Baltimore A.A. Beg, D. Baltimore, "An essential role for NF-kappa B in preventing TNF-alpha -induced cell death," Science, 274:782-4, 1996. (Cited in more than 300 papers since publication.) Comments by David Baltimore, a professor of biology and president of the California Institute of Technology Apoptosis. Programmed cell death. Several proteins carry a signal that commands cells to commit suicide for the greater good of the organism. But if these portable time bombs are circulating
HEART FAILURE
HEART FAILURE
M. Packer, C.M. O'Connor, J.K. Ghali, M.L. Pressler, P.E. Carson, R.N. Belkin, A.B. Miller, G.W. Neuberg, D. Frid, J.H. Wertheimer, A.B. Cropp, D.L. DeMets, "Effect of amlodipine on morbidity and mortality in severe chronic heart failure," New England Journal of Medicine, 335:1107-14, 1996. (Cited in more than 155 papers since publication) Comments by Christopher Michael O'Connor, associate director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, N.C. Medical advances have allowed us to live

Profession

Technology

Probing the Nanoworld: Near-Field Scanning Optical Microscopy from Topometrix
Probing the Nanoworld: Near-Field Scanning Optical Microscopy from Topometrix
Penetrating ever farther into the submicron world, microscope designers have broken through the diffraction barrier that once stood between researchers and the mysterious depths of the nano world. Simultaneously acquired topographic and NSOM images of j-aggregates of pseudocyanine embedded in polyvinylsulfate. Courtesy of Paul Barbara and Dan Higgins, Univ. of Minnesota Researchers are now returning from this vast hidden frontier with images that are both startling in their beauty and compe
All in One Data Acquisition and Analysis: Comprehensive Windows Acquisition for Electrophysiology in Clampex 7.0
All in One Data Acquisition and Analysis: Comprehensive Windows Acquisition for Electrophysiology in Clampex 7.0
Axon Instrument's Clampex Data Acquistion Graphic Interface As researchers use patch clamp technology to probe ever deeper into the subtle phenomena of cell physiology, they leave behind the macrocosm of human experience and enter the microcosm of the cell. The key to understanding these cellular phenomena, beyond or beneath the human senses, is to find ways of analyzing information that produce visually accessible results. The problem of extracting meaningful data from recorded observations
The 'E' means 'Easy': Invitrogen's E-Gel Precast Agarose Electrophoresis System
The 'E' means 'Easy': Invitrogen's E-Gel Precast Agarose Electrophoresis System
E-Gel from Invitrogen As laboratory personnel search for more streamlined protocols to maximize daily productivity, commercial vendors are designing a new family of convenience products. Premixed buffer stocks, minicolumns to isolate plasmid DNA, and even agar plates prepared using premeasured capsules have all allowed researchers to focus their efforts on experimental design rather than on laborious preparative tasks. To add to the growing list of such products is the new E-Gel™ from Inv

Technology Profile

Getting Down To Bases
Getting Down To Bases
Human Genome Program Report (1977) Prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy by the Human Genome Management Information System, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Oak Ridge, Tenn. DNA Sequence Analysis Software Features
Up On Blocks: A Profile Of Thermal Cyclers With Interchangeable Blocks
Up On Blocks: A Profile Of Thermal Cyclers With Interchangeable Blocks
Date: October 12, 1998Comparison Table Bench space and budget--the two biggest limiting factors of life in the lab. How can both be maximized, especially in terms of equipment? This problem undoubtedly occupies the time and efforts of all life scientists at one time or another. Often, easy answers are difficult to find. In this profile, LabConsumer looks at one of its favorite topics, the thermal cycler, for a glimpse at how the manufacturers of these products have tackled the space and budge

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
LEAVING HOWARD HUGHES After serving as the president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1987, Purnell W. Choppin has announced his resignation. "While my enthusiasm for the position I have been privileged to hold and my dedication to the Institute remain as intense as ever, I believe that it will be time for someone to take up the reins and lead HHMI into the new millennium," Choppin wrote in a letter to the institute's staff. He will remain in the position through 1999. Under Choppin