News

D Effort
D Effort
TOKYO—Stung by foreign criticism of its scant contributions to basic research, Japan has taken steps to break down its traditionally rigid system of funding university research and to launch new ventures. Budget figures released this summer show that government support is strongest, in fact, for the least traditional of the new programs, some of which involve substantial foreign participation. The Science and Technology Agency (STA) achieved a 23 percent increase in funds for its nont
Is Quality a Casualty in the Race to Publish?
Is Quality a Casualty in the Race to Publish?
WASHINGTON—Last spring’s newspaper stories that described how IBM researchers had boosted the critical current density of a superconductive thin-film crystal by a factor of 100 were also bringing news of the discovery to most scientists. Not until six weeks later were the details published in Physical Review Letters. Increasingly, scientists in fast-paced fields are announcing breakthroughs at meetings or press conferences. Long before results appear in scientific journals, they
Campus Reacts to Strobel
Campus Reacts to Strobel
BOZEMAN, MONT.—The deliberate violation by a Montana State University scientist of EPA regulations on the release of genetically engineered organisms has evoked sharply different reactions from scientists and top administrators on campus. While colleagues criticize him in harsh terms, university officials say they welcome the increased attention to the impact of federal regulations on science. At issue is plant pathology professor Gary Strobel’s June release into the wild of a ge
FCC Makes On-line Ties More Costly
FCC Makes On-line Ties More Costly
SAN FRANCISCO—A battle is brewing over a Federal Communications Commission proposal that could double the cost of accessing many on-line computer networks. Users affected by the proposal include the thousands of research labs across the nation that regularly use on-line computer services to keep them up-to-date on specific topics or to assist otherwise in their work. The change could force such labs to severely curtail or drop their use of such services. At issue is the right of so-ca
Europeans Seek Academy Of Science
Europeans Seek Academy Of Science
LONDON—An international group of eminent scientists hopes to establish a European Academy of Science to provide a new voice for researchers. Sir Arnold Burgen, a biologist and former foreign secretary of the Royal Society has taken the lead in convening an ad hoc group with representatives from seven European nations to discuss the academy. Its proposal received a favorable reception this summer at the European Science Foundation’s council meeting in Bonn. The Royal Society has ag
Germans Redefine the Ranks
Germans Redefine the Ranks
WEST BERLIN—A rose isa rose is a rose, according to Gertrude Stein. But a professor is not a Professor an einer Kunsthochschule (college of art), much less a Universitätsprofessor. So says the West German Bundestag, which voted to end rampant rank inflation in academic circles. A suit by hundreds of university professors forced the legislature to reestablish the hierarchical structure of academics that had eroded over the past two decades. The new law has no effect on salaries. &
U.K. Pullback Threatens Joint Space Programs
U.K. Pullback Threatens Joint Space Programs
LONDON—Cooperation between Western Europe and the United States on the manned space station have been thrown in doubt by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s decision not to boost the British space budget. Thatcher’s announcement that there was little immediate hope for an increase in Britain’s $170 million annual spending on civilian space technology dashed the hopes of her partners in the 13-nation European Space Agency that the country would become a leading contribut
D Help
D Help
WASHINGTON—Small new high-tech firms that struggle for their share of the federal research and development pie have cast a vote of confidence for the Small Business Innovation Research program, which helps them get it. Ninety-five percent of the nearly 800 small companies responding to a General Accounting Office survey said it is worthwhile participating in the program, which by next month will have handed out $1.1 billion in federal R&D funds. “The program opened up a new area
Science Trust Fund Urged
Science Trust Fund Urged
WASHINGTON—A proposal to use the commercial fruits of federally funded research to finance new projects may get a hearing this fall in Congress. Although its passage is unlikely, the idea is seen as an innovative approach to funding R&D at a time when there is little room in the federal budget for new research programs. A bill (S. 1302) introduced May 29 by Sen. James Exon (D-Neb.) would create a technology trust fund with royalties from the sale of products that originated in federally
Weapons Researchers
Weapons Researchers
LIVERMORE, CALIF.—The nation's nuclear weapons researchers are working in ways that are not inconsistent with a future test-ban treaty, says a University of California panel asked to examine the scientists’ role in the arms race. The university’s Scientific and Academic Advisory Committee failed to find evidence to support accusations that the scientists were trying to block such a ban on testing by designing weapons that must be tested constantly by explosions. Rather, the
MIT Academics Market Discovery
MIT Academics Market Discovery
BOSTON—Two MIT professors without business experience hope to turn a unique manufacturing process into a commercial success in the burgeoning field of high-temperature superconductivity. Gregory J. Yurek and John Vandersande, both of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, decided to launch the American Superconductor Corp. last spring after developing a proprietary process for fabricating superconductors through oxidation of metallic components. The program is sai
Museum's High Hopes
Museum's High Hopes
ITHACA, N.Y.—The new director of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., hopes to expand its research efforts and use its exhibits to further public understanding of science and technology. Cornell astronomer and astrophysicist Martin 0. Harwit last month took charge of one of the most-visited museums in the world, with an estimated 9 million visitors annually. It houses exhibits ranging from the Wright Brothers’ first aircraft to the Apollo 11 command module and
Congress Poised to Create 15-Member Panel on AIDS
Congress Poised to Create 15-Member Panel on AIDS
WASHINGTON—A bill calling for the creation of a national advisory panel on AIDS is moving swiftly through Congress. The bill, which passed the House last month and could be taken up as early as this month by the Senate, would authorize the president and Congress to appoint a 15-member panel to make policy recommendations in the areas of AIDS research, testing, treatment and education The bill specifies that at least eight members would be “recognized experts” in the fields
Rules on Embryos Proposed
Rules on Embryos Proposed
MADRID—The Council of Europe, seeking a common framework for legislation regulating experiments on human embryos in its 21 member nations, is considering a new report by a Spanish physician on the ethics and biology of such research. In his report, Marcelo Palacios, a Socialist member of Spain’s parliament, endorses the increasingly accepted view that a fertilized human egg becomes an embryo 14 days after conception. The pre-embryo, he suggests, could be used for experimentation&
U.K. Schools Compete for New Centers
U.K. Schools Compete for New Centers
LONDON—British universities have been invited to participate in a network of interdisciplinary research centers that will be created if the government provides sufficient funds. The Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) hopes to set up at least 10 such centers during the next three years as part of a new strategy to support state-of-the-art basic research that will have commercial applications. The program is similar in many ways to the new Science and Technology Centers prog
Math Society to Vote on Military Funds
Math Society to Vote on Military Funds
BOSTON—The American Mathematical Society (AMS) has agreed to ask its 20,000 members to set a policy on the role of the military in funding mathematics research. The vote, to be taken in January, will cover five motions touching on the nature of federal support for the discipline. The society’s decision to poll its membership comes after two controversial motions on the topic of military funding generated heated debate during the society’s meeting last January. One of these
NASA Official Hopeful
NASA Official Hopeful
WASHINGTON—The pam of the present will eventually lead to longterm gains for space scientists if NASA’s budget continues to grow, says Lennard A. Fisk, the agency’s new associate administrator for space science and applications. “NASA has essentially been directed by the president to go back to its R&D roots, and that will do well for science and applications,” Fisk told THE SCIENTIST in one of his first interviews since taking the position in April. “If I
T Centers
T Centers
WASHINGTON—Universities have until January 15 to submit proposals for the first year of NSF’s new $30 million science and technology centers program. The program was created to allow scientists from several disciplines to work together on projects involving basic research questions that are expected eventually to have commercial applications. The centers, although based at individual universities, are expected to receive support from state and local governments, federal laboratori
Scientific American Takes on New Look
Scientific American Takes on New Look
WASHINGTON—The 142-year-old Scientific American has undergone a facelift to make its contents more attractive to a wider audience. The September issue of the magazine contains numerous changes in graphics, typography and organization, according to Editor Jonathan Piel. Piel said the new design continues a trend toward shorter, easier-to-read articles and columns and more compelling illustrations and photographs that began when he became editor in 1984 and has continued under its new own
Money Bills Favor NIH, Squeeze NSF
Money Bills Favor NIH, Squeeze NSF
WASHINGTON—The status of research funding bills for 1988, as Congress returns from its month-long summer break, reflects the difference between word and deed in politics. In January President Reagan proposed a federal budget that called for a healthy increase for NSF, selective increases for R&D at NASA, and a sharp reduction in funding for NIH. Eight months later, as Congress approaches its October 1 deadline to appropriate money for the 1988 fiscal year, the opposite appears more like
Italy Expands Science Post
Italy Expands Science Post
MILAN—In a surprise move never mentioned during Italy’s recent general election campaign, the new government is transferring supervision of the nation’s universities from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Scientific Research. The science ministry is also being elevated to cabinet level. The jurisdictional transfer of the university system, which comprises 50,000 people and has an annual budget of several billion dollars, may offer new opportunities for university
Thier on the Institute of Medicine
Thier on the Institute of Medicine
Director of the Institute of Medicine since 1985, Samuel 0. Thier has succeeded in increasing both its budget and its public profile. In doing so, the Brooklyn native has been able to draw upon his experience as an academic physician and administrator. A Cornell University graduate, Thier received his MD degree from the State University of New York at Syracuse in 1960. He went to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston as an intern and eventually became chief of its renal unit, while also jo
AIDS Crisis Calls for 'Firm Leadership and Direction'
AIDS Crisis Calls for 'Firm Leadership and Direction'
Q: The AIDS report is a major example of IOM’s increased visibility. Its recommendations have been widely disseminated. Are you happy with the response it’s gotten from policymakers? THIER: The response from the research community has been pretty reasonable. The major concern is that we pointed out that education is our only major intervention until therapies and vaccines are developed, but the amount of activity relating to education has been very modest. We also were concerned th
A Theory That Missed the Mark
A Theory That Missed the Mark
Although many scientists must narrowly fail to make an important discovery, it is hard not to feel guilty for not having pushed oneself just that little bit harder. Early in my career as a psychologist, I began to study vision in the octopus. I chose this strange beast because it was an invertebrate; hence its visual system, though highly developed, has evolved from structures very different from that of vertebrates. I believed (perhaps rather naively) that by finding the differences betwee
Understanding Export Controls - THE AAU PROJECT ON NATIONAL SECURITY CONTROLS AND UNIVERSITY RESEARCH
Understanding Export Controls - THE AAU PROJECT ON NATIONAL SECURITY CONTROLS AND UNIVERSITY RESEARCH
Export and other controls over the dissemination of “technical data” are part of the federal government’s efforts to inhibit or prevent the transfer of advanced technology of critical military or intelligence importance from the United States to the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations. Some university research results might be technical data of the kind subject to these controls. The present situation of security controls—which for the most part exempts academic
Technical Data Defined
Technical Data Defined
The two definitions of technical data in the respective sets of regulations are: " “Information of any kind that can be used, or adapted for use in the design, production, manufacture, utilization, or reconstruction of articles or materials. The data may take a tangible form, such as a model, prototype, blueprint, or an operating model; or they may take an intangible form such as technical service.” (EAR). " “Information which is directly related to the design, engineering,
The Tao of Programming
The Tao of Programming
Something mysterious is formed, born in the silent void. Waiting alone and unmoving, it is at once still and yet in constant motion. It is the source of all programs. I do not know its name, so I will call it the Tao of Programming. If the Tao is great, then the operating system is great. If the operating system is great, then the compiler is great. If the compiler is great, then the application is great. The user is pleased and there is harmony in the world. The Tao of Programming flows fa

Commentary

English Spoken Here
English Spoken Here
English has very nearly become the universal language of science. Whether for publication or for international conferences and symposia, English now dominates scientific communication. By what degree is apparent from the contents of the journals indexed in ISI’s Science Citation Index. This group of journals, selected by both peer judgment and the citation patterns of the world’s scientists, represents the most important portion of the scientific literature. Although this is only a

Letter

Letters
Letters
I feel compelled to respond to Ann Brierly’s letter (THE SCIENTIST, June 1, 1987, P. 10) about my Opinion article “Should Journals Pay Referees?” (THE SCIENTIST, March 9, 1987, p. 13). I agree with Brierly’s statement that reviewing manuscripts for journals is our professional duty, but thinking that being paid for reviewing a paper is a bribe is quite unreasonable. One of the professional duties of a physician is occasionally to examine people before they are hired for

Opinion

The SSC Deserves Better Criticism...
The SSC Deserves Better Criticism...
Philip Anderson recently spoke out in these pages against the project to build the Superconducting Supercoilider (THE SCIENTIST, June 1, 1987, p. 11). It is true that no major project in history has been without its critics; a requirement of unanimity would have been fatal to all such projects, including the pyramids, the Panama Canal, and all modern accelerators. But I do think we deserve better criticism. Anderson, a distinguished scientist and Nobel laureate, wrote about high-energy physi
...And Well-Informed, Responsible Opposition
...And Well-Informed, Responsible Opposition
I was appalled at Michael J. Moravcsik’s commentary on the SSC (THE SCIENTIST, June 1, 1987, p. 11). I welcome the expression of differences when they are based on well-informed points of view. The first of his four points might generously be interpreted in that way. The other three are glaringly factually incorrect and, therefore, quite irresponsible. First, elementary particle physics is today’s “physics of the very small.” The previous two generations of that most
The APS Report Weathers Its Critics
The APS Report Weathers Its Critics
It comes as no great surprise that groups promoting the president’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) have attempted to discredit the recently published American Physical Society study Science and Technology of Directed Energy Weapons (THE SCIENTIST, May 18, 1987, p. 11). The APS study, released on April 23, 1987, addressed the scientific feasibility of a ballistic missile defense utilizing high-intensity lasers and energetic particle beams as weapons. A panel of experts on directed en
What Science Did Last Summer
What Science Did Last Summer
June Brood 10 of the periodical cicada reappeared in the eastern United States. Brood 10 is the largest group of these remarkable insects, which are known (erroneously) in American folklore as 17-year locusts. For 17 years the nymphs linger beneath the surface of the soil. Then millions emerge, climb the nearest tree, shed their skins, sing love songs that would do credit to a heavy-metal rock group, mate, lay eggs, and die. A few weeks later the new nymphs drop to the ground from which their
When Hutton Talks, Do Scientists Listen?
When Hutton Talks, Do Scientists Listen?
The three-day meeting on the origin of the granites that opens in Edinburgh on September 14 is billed as a symposium celebrating the bicentenary of the work of James Hutton. But who is this James Hutton? Could it possibly be that same James Hutton whose name was invoked at another conference but a decade or so ago, the Hutton often referred to as “the father of geology”? Well, yes and no—or rather, yes, yes and no—and thereby hangs a (tragic?) tale. The James Hutton o

Books etc.

Dinosaur Artists: Exhibiting a New Science?
Dinosaur Artists: Exhibiting a New Science?
DINOSAURS, MAMMOTHS AND CAVEMEN The Art of Charles R. Knight. Sylvia Czerkas, curator. Exhibit at Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, June-August 1987. DINOSAURS, PAST AND PRESENT Sylvia Czerkas, curator. Exhibit at Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, June-August 1987. What impact has dinosaur art had on the public’s understanding of dinosaurs? Scientists have been aware of remains of gi
Evolution At the Molecular Level
Evolution At the Molecular Level
MOLECULAR EVOLUTIONARY GENETICS Masatoshi Nei. Columbia University Press, New York, 1987. 512 pp. $50. Recent developments in molecular biology mean that now it is possible to decipher genetic messages of parts of the genome from almost any organism. In the past, molecular biologists tended to assume that determination of the sequence of a single copy of a given gene for a given species provided sufficient information to speak meaningfully about the DNA sequence of the gene. Now there is inc
Secrets of Sci-Sales Success
Secrets of Sci-Sales Success
SCI-TECH SELLING Selling Scientific and Technical Products and Services. Michael P. Wynne. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1987. 250 pp. $24.95. This catchy title refers to a broad range of scientific and industrial products and services, and the book is aimed at the people who sell them. Michael Wynne, an interna- tional management consultant, offers advice on the various stages of the sales process: making contacts, identifying and offering solutions to customers’ problems, clos
A Supercomputer Exchange: The Supercomputer Era
A Supercomputer Exchange: The Supercomputer Era
THE SUPERCOMPUTER ERA Sidney Kann and Noms Parker Smith. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Cambridge, MA, 1987. 313 pp. $19.95. Supercomputers are not new. They have been in existence since the invention of computers. Today, however, they have become indispensable tools at the cutting edge of science and technology. They enable scientists to solve problems and develop new technologies for tomorrow’s industry, affecting national employment patterns, wealth and national security. Until recent
A Supercomputer Exchange: Supercomputers and Their Use
A Supercomputer Exchange: Supercomputers and Their Use
SUPERCOMPUTERS AND THEIR USE Christopher Lazou. Oxford University Press, New York, 1987. 227 pp. $45. Computers have been assisting experimental and theoretical scientific investigations for several decades. Recently a new phenomenon has emerged, under the banner of supercomputers. The true distinguishing characteristic of supercomputers is their power to model accurately phenomena of the real world that have been inaccessible to either experimental or theoretical science. Supercomputing (per
Forthcoming Books
Forthcoming Books
Developmental Time, Cultural Space: Studies In Psychogeography. Howard F. Stein. University of Oklahoma Press: September 18,252 pp, $21.95. Explores the human tendency to project internal issues onto the natural and social environment. Discusses this both through observations of migrants’ responses to new life in America and intergroup conflicts between Russia and Western Europe and the U.S. PHYSICS Energy In Physics, War and Peace. Hans Mark and Lowell Wood, eds. Balaban: September, 40

So They Say

So They Say
So They Say
Gallo: On Center Stage There are those out there who despise Dr. Robert Gallo. He discovered the cause of AIDS and is now at work on a vaccine, and yet he needs only to open his mail or make a trip, and there they are, the bizarre accusations, the flashes of hatred. ... More respected critics—indeed, some of his colleagues—have. faulted Gallo for his behavior during a two-year-long dispute with French research scientist Luc Montagnier over who could claim credit for identifying th

Happenings

Happenings
Happenings
Howard E. Morgan became the new president of the American Heart Association on June 22. M(frgan will continue at the Geisinger Clinic, Danville, PA, in his capacity as director of the Siegfried and Janet Weis Center for Research, as well as continuing to direct the development of a new program of basic investigation into cardiovascular disease. Peter Bond became the new Chairman of the Physics Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory in July. Bond sees relativistic heavy ion physics as th
Royal Society Medals and Awards
Royal Society Medals and Awards
Sir Francis Graham-Smith, Astronomer Royal and director of Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratory, for his contributions to radio and optical astronomy. Sir Eric Denton, secretary of the Marine Biological Association, for his contributions to the physiology of marine animals, to marine biology in general, and his leadership of U.K. marine science. G.V.R. Born, Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology, University of London, Kings College, to honor his many contributions to the physiology, pathology and