September 1988

News

Criticism Builds Over Nature Investigation
Criticism Builds Over Nature Investigation
Criticism Builds Over Nature Investigation AUTHOR:BERNARD DIXON Date: September 05, 1988 There may be no solution that can’t be diluted, but this is one controversy that won’t die out; Maddox vs. Benveniste LONDON--La'affaire Benveniste has been this summer’s, best soap opera—another thrilling episode in “As the World of Science Thins.” Who could have imagined that Jacques Benveniste, a scientist at a prestigious French government laboratory would claim to
Managing The World's Biggest, Most Expensive Research Project
Managing The World's Biggest, Most Expensive Research Project
Nobelist Sam Ting says his CERN experiment is like the United Nations—‘except we get something done.’ Here’s why GENEVA--"I don’t know what your rules are,” the particle physicist Sam Ting tells. the officials from the Soviet Union as they drink coffee in his Geneva office. “I don’t even care. What I am saying is this: When the announcement of a discovery is made, the people on the podium are the people who get the. credit. If you want your sci
Inside Bell Labs: Excitement On The Bench; Concern on High
Inside Bell Labs: Excitement On The Bench; Concern on High
Inside Bell Labs: Excitement On The Bench; Concern On High AUTHOR: SHARON BEGLEY Date: September 05, 1988 Researchers have never felt freer, but some lab heads and a prominent former manager see major changes since divestiture The stockholder was annoyed. Why, he demanded, was AT&T paying Thomas Gradel, a middle-aged scientist, to tromp around the Jungles of Brazil studying ants, when the dollars could be better used to fatten up Bell’s notoriously meager dividends? The irate stoc
Physics Dream Machine Is Imperiled
Physics Dream Machine Is Imperiled
Technical problems plague Stanford’s Linear Collider, threatening its ability to produce breakthroughs in particle physics Expectations were running high. For months, the Stanford Linear Collider (SLC), an innovative particle accelerator nearing completion at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Facility (SLAC) in Palo Alto, Calif. had been preparing for its debut. This was the machine that would mint a million Z0 particles a year. Close study of the Z0—it’s mass, for example̵
Biotech Patent Bottleneck Harms Makers Of Better Mousetraps
Biotech Patent Bottleneck Harms Makers Of Better Mousetraps
Biotech Patent Bottleneck Harms Makers Of Better Mousetraps AUTHOR:RON COWEN Date: September 05, 1988 While the U.S. Patent Office fiddles, small firms lacking earnings records may be losing potential investors WASHINGTON—Chemist George Rathman won’t soon forget July 1, 1987, the day that the worth of his company’s stock dropped $10 million in six hours. President and CEO of Aragen Inc., an eight-year-old biotechnology firm in Thou- sand Oaks, Calif., Rathmann calls the ex
New Rule Hikes Pay Of Some NSF Scientists
New Rule Hikes Pay Of Some NSF Scientists
WASHINGTON—Starting next month, NSF will be allowed to pay up to $95,000 to scientists accepting temporary positions in Washington. The new rule represents a boost of $17,500 in the federal pay ceiling created last December by Congress. But the higher cap comes at a price—a new ceiling on salaries for thousands of NSF grantees. That annual ceiling has also been set at $95,000, although typically NSF funds only the summer salaries of university scientists. The ceiling will be appl
French Scientists Say Little; The French Press, Too Much
French Scientists Say Little; The French Press, Too Much
PARIS-- In a country where thousands of physicians practics ho- meopathy the Beneviste affair has generated widespread publicity, much of it favorable to the French scientist. Paris Match magazine, for example acclaimed the initial paper about the alleged memory of water as a stupendous breakthrough, but did not mention Nature's subsequent investigation. The newspaper Le Point reported with tongue not in cheek, rumor that several Nobel Prize-winning physicists met in Bermuda, somewhere near
A Brief History Of Dubious Science
A Brief History Of Dubious Science
Benveniste’s “high-dilution” experiments are not the first to raise concern about science journals’ proper response to unconventional results. Twice before, Nature published papers dubious enough to warrant accompanying editorials questioning the results. And in one eerily parallel precursor incident, Nature’s then editor actually swooped down on a yet another Paris lab with “The Amazing” Randi and a third party to debunk unorthodox results—and
How A 29-Year-Old Chemist Proved That Even In England Startups Can Thrive
How A 29-Year-Old Chemist Proved That Even In England Startups Can Thrive
Keith Davies has made Chemical Design a world leader in molecular modeling LONDON—By now we’ve all seen the numbers and heard the gloomy forecasts. Science in the United Kingdom is suffering from a dearth of funding, incentives, and political clout. The lack of commitment to R&D on the part of both the private and public sectors in Britain has sparked an alarming emigration of scientists and high-tech entrepreneurs. But for every rule there is an exception, and Keith Davies is
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The Scientist has asked a group of experts to periodically comment upon recent articles that they have found noteworthy. Their selections, presented here in every issue, are neither endorsements of content nor the result of systematic searching. Rather, they are personal choices of articles they believe the scientific community as a whole may also find interesting. Reprint. of any artieles cited here may be ordered through The Genuine Article, 5501 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19104, or by tel
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The Scientist has asked a group of experts to periodically comment upon recent articles that they have found noteworthy. Their selections, presented here in every issue, are neither endorsements of content nor the result of systematic searching. Rather, they are personal choices of articles they believe the scientific community as a whole may also find interesting. Reprint. of any artieles cited here may be ordered through The Genuine Article, 5501 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19104, or by tel
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The Scientist has asked a group of experts to periodically comment upon recent articles that they have found noteworthy. Their selections, presented here in every issue, are neither endorsements of content nor the result of systematic searching. Rather, they are personal choices of articles they believe the scientific community as a whole may also find interesting. Reprint. of any artieles cited here may be ordered through The Genuine Article, 5501 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19104, or by tel
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The Scientist has asked a group of experts to periodically comment upon recent articles that they have found noteworthy. Their selections, presented here in every issue, are neither endorsements of content nor the result of systematic searching. Rather, they are personal choices of articles they believe the scientific community as a whole may also find interesting. Reprint. of any artieles cited here may be ordered through The Genuine Article, 5501 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19104, or by tel
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The Scientist has asked a group of experts to periodically comment upon recent articles that they have found noteworthy. Their selections, presented here in every issue, are neither endorsements of content nor the result of systematic searching. Rather, they are personal choices of articles they believe the scientific community as a whole may also find interesting. Reprint. of any artieles cited here may be ordered through The Genuine Article, 5501 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19104, or by tel
Computer Product Briefs
Computer Product Briefs
Scientists who have joined the ranks of secretaries, journalists, data processors, and others who spend most of the day glued to a VDT screen, take note. Last month James Sheedy, chief of the University of California, Berkeley’s Video Display Terminal Eye Clinic, reported that an eye-focusing problem in people in their 20s and 30s was the number one problem in clinical studies of 153 patients. The study did not prove a causal relationship between regular VDT use and difficulty with eye
Accident Fells Physicist Pagels
Accident Fells Physicist Pagels
Heinz R. Pagels, executive director and chief executive officer of the New York Academy of Sciences, died in a mountaineering accident on July 23 while attending the summer session of the Aspen Center for Physics. A theoretical physicist, Pagels, 49, worked in the areas of relativistic quantum field theory and cosmology and was noted as being a popularizer of science. He authored three books on science: The Cosmic Code (1983); Perfect Symmetry: The Search for the Beginning of Time (1985); an
U.K.' S Royal Society Adds Members
U.K.' S Royal Society Adds Members
At its annual meeting in June, the Iondon-based Royal Society elected one new fellow and six new foreign members. Also at the meeting, the Council of the Society announced the recipients of its medals and honors for 1988. In honor of her contributions to the history of contemporary science, Margaret Gowing was elected a fellow of the society. Cowing, a specialist on the implications of atomic energy in Britain and the person responsible for establishing the Contemporary Scientific Archives
Kaiser, Chemist, Is Dead At 50
Kaiser, Chemist, Is Dead At 50
Emil Thomas Kaiser, the Patrick E. and Beatrice M. Haggerty Professor of The Rockefeller University in New York, died on July 18, at the age of 50, from immunosuppressive complications after kidney transplant surgery at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Kaiser was a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He also served on the editorial board of The Journal of the American Chemical Society, the National Institutes of Health panel evaluatin

Briefs

National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
A flap over photographs has made the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University the target of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The suit charges that staff photographer Terry Corbett was illegally fired in August 1987 after he refused to take pictures of demonstrators protesting the lab’s work on nuclear weapons. ACLU lawyer Charles Becker contends that the rights of demonstrators were violated when the Defense Department-funded lab gave pictures of the demonst
Government Briefs
Government Briefs
Yale physicist D. Allan Bromley, already a member of the low-profile White House Science Council, will soon be wearing a second, more visible Washington science policy hat. On July 25, President Reagan announced Bromley’s nomination to the National Science Board, which oversees NSF. Staffers at each body say they foresee no conflicts between the two positions, adding that Bromley’s most serious problem may be finding sufficient time to serve on each panel. Bromley is part of Vice
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Despite recent corporate shake-ups at Philadelphia’s Smith Kline & French Laboratories, the R&D scientists will remain unscathed, according to the company. “We will invest more dollars in R&D in 1989 than we did in 1988,” Viewed Henry Wendt, SmithKline Beckman chairman and chief executive officer, when the resignation of Stanley T. Crooke, head of R&D, was announced August 10. The company—which employs 2,100 research personnel—has an R&D budget this year of $250
Entrepreneur Briefs
Entrepreneur Briefs
When organic chemist Anne B. Sayigh and Harvard MBA Josef von Rickenbach formed Parexel International Corp. in 1982, they weren’t the only entrepreneurs who stood to benefit. Their Cambridge, Mass., firm escorts other companies—particularly biotechs—through the maze of FDA regulations that govern the research and production of new health products. In addition to designing, managing, and finding suitable sites for clinical trials, Parexel publishes the U.S. Regulatory Report
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
Although it claims that it has not taken a stand against dissection and vivisection, the National Association of Biology Teachers has passed a resolution that supports alternatives to animal research and pledges to recommend materials that teachers can use in place of animals. The resolution, passed unanimously by the association’s eight-member board, is in response to increased sensitivity toward animal-rights issues that has emerged during the past four years or so, says education dir
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
The Kresge Foundation, one of the dozen largest private foundations in the U.S., is well known for its financial support of nonscience-related construction and renovation. And indeed, over the years it has been instrumental in funding some very flashy libraries and gyms. However the foundation has always been open to science-related proposals as well, and earlier this year it offered to fund equipment as well as buildings. (See The Scientist, June 13, page 23.) According to program officer G

Opinion

Religious Fundamentalism Threatens To Block Scientific Progress
Religious Fundamentalism Threatens To Block Scientific Progress
“Man’s moral sense has not kept pace with his scientific knowledge.” “Humans have discovered secrets hitherto kept hidden, but not learned to use them well.” In the early 1950s, it was good sport for cliché collectors to count the number of times a week they heard assertions of this sort. The threatening science was nuclear physics, and the shock of Hiroshima was still producing understandable moral queasiness. What we now call life sciences were thought
Scientists, Face It! Science And Religion Are Incompatible
Scientists, Face It! Science And Religion Are Incompatible
The highly visible conflict between evolutionary biology and creationism has stimulated much com- mentary in the scientific press about the relationship between science and religion. The Scientist Science, Nature, and many other journals have given much space to tbe issue. Even the National Academy of Sciences has issued a statement on science and religion. A clear consensus emerges from this outpouring of literature. Scientists vigorously claim that no conflict exists between science and 
Why Scientists Shouldn't Cast Stones
Why Scientists Shouldn't Cast Stones
European visitors to the United States often remark on the surprising power and influence of religion in this country. Religion in Europe is largely a private and individual activity. In the U.S., in contrast, religion continually overflows into politics and other aspects of daily life. We recently had a serious presidential candidate who claimed that God told himto run for office. And strong, vocal groups have been calling for such practices as school prayer and the teaching of Biblical crea
How Bill Hewlett And I Wound Up In A Palo Alto Garage
How Bill Hewlett And I Wound Up In A Palo Alto Garage
How Bill Hewlett And I Wound Up In A Palo Alto Garage Palo Alto Garage AUTHOR:DAVID PACKARD Date: September 05, 1988 [Ed. note: In January 1939, five years after he graduated from Stanford, David Packard cofounded Hewlett-Packard Co. with former classmate William Hewlett. The two friends’ original partnership arrangement was so informal that neither man is sure what date it was signed. And like many new companies, Hewlett-Packard teetered on the brink of financial disaster. During the fir

Letter

Letters
Letters
I found Dilsaver’s and Coffman’s opinion column on funding for AIDS and psychiatric research (The Scientist, July 11, page 11) both provoking and disturbing. By inviting comparison, debate, and scrutiny between research agendas—perhaps in response to Frank Press’s call (The Scientist, May 30, page 1) to set research priorities within the scientific community—the article provokes useful discussion. Yet by misrepresenting the tragedy of AIDS and by misapprehendin
Letters
Letters
In connection with a recent surge of criticism of science, much has been said about the self-correcting capacity of science. Unfortunately, the Stewart and Feder “affair” (The Scientist, July 11, page 1) shows that this process hardly works in real-life situations. Instead of being praised for their effort and devotion to uncover fraud in science, these two researchers have been charged with “indulging in scientific McCarthyism and even treason.” Other members of the
Letters
Letters
More Anonymity Perhaps we need more anonymity instead of less (The Scientist, July 11, page 5), in the prepublication review process. Why should the reviewer know the name of the author? It is hard to see how this knowledge makes the process more fair, and it certainly may make it lesefair. ALICE M. BRUES Emeritus Professor Department of Anthropology University of Colorado Boulder, Co. 80309-0233
Letters
Letters
I read with great interest your article on NIH researchers Walter Stewart and Ned Feder, who are investigating scientists for fraud and other misconduct. I think that the article did a good job in pointing out something quite different from what was intended, namely, the closed shop or “guild” mentality of the scientific community. The fact of the matter is that scientific research is a business, just like the music industry, the auto industry, or television repair. Witness J
Letters
Letters
In the spirit of Dr. Garfield’s remarks in your July 25 issue, may I bring up problems I have with some statistics in articles in that issue? On page 18, you show an analysis of research output 1979 to 1987, state by state. The number of states marked in red versus those in black is suggestive that something is wrong, and the actual figures add up to a net increase of 7.6% for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. This may reflect an increase in co-authorship across stat lines
Letters
Letters
One of your special features in The Scientist of July25 entitled “Good Scientists, Bad Science?” (page 1) has touched me such that I must respond. Granted there are scientists who give dissent a bad name, but that category would in my opinion include only those who falsify data in order to push an opposing hypothesis. These people should be made to feel the discontent of the scientific society to the fullest, but both cases cited in your articles seem not to fall into that cate
Letters
Letters
Concerning the article by Rex Dalton “Should Reviewers Sign Their Critiques?” (The Scientist, July 11, page 5), my answer to the question would be emphatically “yes!” The arguments against it are unrealistic. Reviewers should have accountability. I have a modest proposal an Author’s Bill of Rights, which follows: 1. The reviewer should have credentials of scholarship equal to those required of the author. (Passing the paper to the postdoc down the hall from th
Letters
Letters
I have been receiving your publication for several weeks and am writing to let you know that I find The Scientist to be informative and interesting. It widens the tunnel vision one gets from concentrating on one field. CYNTHIA A. PRICE Genetic Diagnostics Corp. 160 Community Drive Great Neck, N.Y 11021

Commentary

Contrary to Nature?
Contrary to Nature?
Many scientists cannot understand why the episode was handled as it was—if not for the sensation of it all.

Research

Chemistry At 5 U.K. Universities: 15-Year Trends
Chemistry At 5 U.K. Universities: 15-Year Trends
The British government’s scheme for “rationalizing” support for science, begun last year with an eval nation of earth science departments, has sparked considerable controversy. Having suffered major cuts in 1981, many U.K. university scientists are chilled by the prospect of further reductions for those departments that receive low performance ratings. Next to be scrutinized are departments of chemistry and physics. The Institute for Scientific Information recently undert
Grappling With Galaxies: Basic Questions Persist
Grappling With Galaxies: Basic Questions Persist
After years of passivity, the astronomy community is protesting telescope closings, cramped quarters, and scanty maintenance Our understanding of galaxies is at a primitive level, and we are still perplexed by basic questions. For instance: 1. Why do things such as galaxies exist at all, with their observed characteristic dimensions—typically 10^11 stars within radii of about 10^4 parsecs? 2. What is the dark matter that constitutes so large a part of galaxies?We know that more than 9O
24 Experts Forecast Future Trends In Immunology
24 Experts Forecast Future Trends In Immunology
“Where do you see the most important or interesting progress occurring in immunology over the next few years.” That was the question recently put to some two dozen senior immunologists by the editorial staff of the Institute for Scientific Information’s Atlas of Science: Immunology. The scientists surveyed—a distinguished, international group that represents academia, independent laboratories, and industry—serve as the editorial advisory board of the journal. In

Hot Paper

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
The articles listed below—all less than a year old—have received a substantially greater number of citations than others of the same type and vintage. A citation-backing algorithm of the Institute for Scientific Information has Identified these articles. W.S. Argraves, S. Suzuki, H. Arai, K Thompson, M.D. Pierschbacher, E. Ruoslahti, “Amino acid sequence of the human fibronectin receptor,” Journal of Cell Biology, 105(3), 1183-90, September 1987. H.M. Cherwinski,

Profession

How A Research Proposal Moves Through NIH
How A Research Proposal Moves Through NIH
{WantNoCacheVal} How A Research Proposal Moves Through NIH When a grant proposal arrives at NIH's, Bethesda. Md., headquarters it is routed directly to the agency's Division of Research Grants. There, one of a dozen or so "referral officers" identifies the scientific field to the most appropriate of the agency's 93 standing commit- tees review to the so-called "study sections." A study section consists of from 14 to 20 scientists representing a widerange of specialties: The Surgery, Anesthesi
Ben Franklin Partnership Sets A New Funding Pace
Ben Franklin Partnership Sets A New Funding Pace
Only five years old, Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Partnership Fund, a statewide technology-transfer program, has already become a model for states that want to encourage scientists and engineers to develop the commercial potential of their research. Since its founding, the Partnership’s support of collaboration between small bus inesses and academic scientists has produced a wide range of results, including: * Products to detect drugs in saliva " SO2 and HCI sensors for use
Science Grants
Science Grants
Below is a list of notable grants recently awarded In the scIences—large fedreal grants as well as awards of all sizes from private foundations. The individual cited with each entry Is the project’s principal Investigator. Olfactory and neuroendocrine functions. $1.9 million over seven years from the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke to Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, Shrewsbury Mass.: F. Macrides Resistance to anticancer d
Science Grants
Science Grants
Below is a list of notable grants recently awarded In the scIences—large fedreal grants as well as awards of all sizes from private foundations. The individual cited with each entry Is the project’s principal Investigator. Olfactory and neuroendocrine functions. $1.9 million over seven years from the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke to Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, Shrewsbury Mass.: F. Macrides Resistance to anticancer d
UCSF Again Tops List Of NIH Med School Awardees
UCSF Again Tops List Of NIH Med School Awardees
According to numbers put together in August by the University of California, San Francisco, its School of Medicine’s fiscal 1988 support from the National Institutes of Health had reached the $110 million level While the official total for the year will he made by NIH, UCSF’s preliminary reckoning shows an $8 million increase in NIH support compared with last year. This in-house figure, however, suffices as a strong indication that UCSF will rank first among U.S. medical schools

Technology

Tools Aim To Ease Burden Of Do-It-Yourself Programming
Tools Aim To Ease Burden Of Do-It-Yourself Programming
Most people working with personal computers don’t have degrees in computer science and don’t write their own programs. But in the population of people who do program, scientists make up a large percentage. Off-the-shelf software often doesn’t provide just what laboratory scientists are looking for therefore, many of them tinker with altering these store-bought packages or develop their own. If you do a little programming on an IBM PC, you should know that some reasonably pri
Amino Acid Sequencers Of Today: Sensitive, Efficient-And Very Costly
Amino Acid Sequencers Of Today: Sensitive, Efficient-And Very Costly
Amino acid sequencing has become a highly automated and efficient process. It plays an invaluable role in protein biochemistry, and is making an increasing contribution to modern molecular biology and to the interpretation of DNA sequences. But things have changed since Frederick Sanger, a pioneer in protein chemistry, first determined the amino acid sequence of insulin more than 30 years ago. The advent in recent years of rapid nucleic acid sequencing techniques has taken much of the drudg

New Products

NEW PRODUCTS
NEW PRODUCTS
SYRINGELESS FILTERS Suitable for filtration of tissue culture media and laboratory buffers, Autovial syringeless filters are available to biological researchers in a .2 um pore size in both sterile and nonsterile forms. The devices consist of a prefilter, a membrane filter, and a syringe in one disposable unit. Membrane options include PVDF, Nylon66, or PTFE. Each ifitration unit can filter as much as 12 ml of sample. Prices depend on the quantity purchased and range from $1.10 to $2.10 per n
U.S. Visibility High At International Biotech Show
U.S. Visibility High At International Biotech Show
Anyone doubting the United States’ significance in the international biotechnology arena should take wing to Hanover, West Germany, later this month and see the impressive showing the US. will make at Biotechnica 88—the Fourth International Trade Fair and Congress for Biotechnology. Far and away the largest non-German contingent among the 400-plus exhibitors, US. representation continues a pattern of increasing Visibility in the biotech sector. The pattern was clearly astablished