September 1992

News

Renewed SSC Funding Fails To Eliminate Physicists' Concerns
Renewed SSC Funding Fails To Eliminate Physicists' Concerns
Although funding has been restored for the superconducting supercollider, the skies have not cleared over the Dallas-based project, as well-founded fears of another budget wrangle next year persist, say SSC officials. The Senate voted on August 3 in favor of continued SSC funding after the House voted the project down on June 17, but physicists associated with the SSC say they are still wary. They are concerned over a Congress that will have as many as 130 new members after this fall's election
Undaunted By Death Of First Baboon Liver Recipient, Interdisciplinary Transplant Team Looks To The Future
Undaunted By Death Of First Baboon Liver Recipient, Interdisciplinary Transplant Team Looks To The Future
With knowledge gained, surgeons and researchers in Pittsburgh proceed with ambitious plans for xenotransplantation Clinicians and medical researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are pressing forward with plans for a series of four baboon-to-human liver transplants, even after the death earlier this month of the first human recipient of a baboon liver. Despite the recipient's death, and despite strong opposition from animal rights groups, the transplant team hopes interspecie
Academy Criticism Of A Foreign Associate Stirs Debate Over NAS Role And Policies
Academy Criticism Of A Foreign Associate Stirs Debate Over NAS Role And Policies
Controversy centers on whether and how the elite science body should deal with members whose behavior is questionable For the first time in its 129-year history, the National Academy of Sciences has sent a letter to one of its members hinting that he should resign. The unprecedented move has called into question the academy's role as an ostensibly apolitical body. The ensuing debate has focused on, among other issues, whether NAS should censure its members whose activities are offensive to a l
NSB Panel To Help NSF Plan Its Post-Cold War Future
NSB Panel To Help NSF Plan Its Post-Cold War Future
In an effort to cope with hurdles posed by the post-Cold War "new order," National Science Foundation director Walter E. Massey is looking to a 15-member special panel to assist NSF with charting out a "new strategic plan" to the year 2000 and beyond. Massey says he is hopeful that the newly formed Special Commission on the Future of the NSF, which he announced during an August 13-14 presentation before the National Science Board (NSB), will serve to complement the "long-range planning process"
Seven To Receive 1992 Gairdner Awards
Seven To Receive 1992 Gairdner Awards
The award ceremony will take place in Toronto on October 23; the winners will divide the foundation's largess, which totals $220,000 Canadian.

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Soap opera star Susan Lucci has been nominated for an Emmy Award 13 times for her portrayal of Erica on ABC-TV's "All My Children," but has never walked away with the statuette. Research!America also knows what it feels like to leave an Emmy ceremony empty-handed. The group, which promotes public awareness of the benefits of medical research, received an Emmy nomination this year for "Eddie Butler," a public-service announcement on Alzheimer's disease, but lost out to a spot on steroids by the

Opinion

Art, Science Offer Freedom But Entail Responsibility
Art, Science Offer Freedom But Entail Responsibility
The National Endowment for the Arts, administering a paltry budget of $176 million, has been under congressional attack over the past few years. Various works of art--from Robert Mapplethorpe's homoerotic photographs to Holly Hughes's sexually provocative performance art--have caught our lawmakers' attention. In some cases their interest may well have taken the form of contemplative appreciation; in others, though, the reaction was one of moral outrage. Earlier this year, John Frohnmayer, NEA's

Commentary

Manned Spaceflight And Basic Research: Their Fortunes Rise And Fall Together
Manned Spaceflight And Basic Research: Their Fortunes Rise And Fall Together
An ongoing debate within the United States science community pits those who favor government funding of manned spaceflight against those who believe that such funding is appropriated at the expense of smaller scientific research projects. The argument is treated on both sides as a zero-sum game, in which an absolute choice must be made between supporting, on one hand, a lot of small science programs and, on the other hand, a few large, manned space programs. Those who would protect disciplines

Letter

Search For Extraterrestrials
Search For Extraterrestrials
It is easy to think up reasons for not searching for extraterrestrial signals (Scott Veggeberg, The Scientist, July 6, 1992, page 5). Christopher Columbus probably heard most of them. One is the budgetary illusion that if the money is not spent on the search, it will benefit the objectors' pet project, instead of disappearing into some general fund. Another objection, expressed by Robert Park in the article, is that there is no extraterrestrial life in the solar system, so we shouldn't look for
Scientists' Contribution
Scientists' Contribution
Recent letters from Philip Siekevitz (The Scientist, June 22, 1992, page 12) and M.P. Thomas (The Scientist, July 20, 1992, page 12) misrepresented both the content and the intent of my commentary (The Scientist, May 11, 1992, page 12). In response to Thomas, I said nothing to demean the professional accomplishments of Radcliffe College president Linda Wilson, for which I have the highest regard, and I expressed qualified support for her views. In contrast to Thomas's unabashedly sexist letter,

Research

Restoration Ecology Grows As The Environment Decays
Restoration Ecology Grows As The Environment Decays
The American landscape has undergone tremendous alteration and devastation; 90 percent or more of its prairies, wetlands, and virgin forests have been consumed by development. And now many parts of the developing world are feeling the bite of the chain saw and bulldozer. But in counterpoint to this depressing scenario, restoration ecology--the science of rehabilitating degraded ecosystems--is growing. The field is attracting many new scientists, more funding is becoming available, and a new jou

Hot Paper

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
P. Langacker, M. Luo, "Implications of precision electroweak experiments for mt, r0, sin2 qw, and grand unification," Physical Review D, 44:817-22, 1991. Paul Langacker (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia): "This paper presents a systematic analysis of the implications of all high-precision electroweak experiments, including those at the new e+e- collider LEP at CERN in Geneva. It shows that our present `standard model' correctly describes nature down to a distance scale of 1/1000th the s

Technology

Symbol-Crunching Programs: Mainframe Analytical Power Reaches The Desktop
Symbol-Crunching Programs: Mainframe Analytical Power Reaches The Desktop
A new breed of mathematical software brings computing power formerly reserved for mainframes to personal computers, allowing scientists with desktop machines to pose and answer problems of greater complexity than ever before. Those taking advantage of the increased availability of such sophisticated analytical support for their work include--perhaps expectedly--many physicists and engineers, but also biological researchers studying such phenomena as fish population cycles and the foraging habit

Profession

Scientists Find Fulfillment, Freedom Through Technical Support Positions
Scientists Find Fulfillment, Freedom Through Technical Support Positions
After the rigors of grad school and postdoctoral work are over, many a young scientist aspires to make an independent mark in the world of research. And that usually requires finding a tenure-track position at a university, joining an industrial research group, or perhaps becoming a research scientist at a government lab. Or so goes the conventional wisdom. In fact, many Ph.D. scientists in the United States opt for something else. Instead of applying the tools of research to their own projects
Obituaries
Obituaries
Barbara McClintock, the pioneering geneticist who was recognized as a major directing force in 20th-century science, died September 2 in Huntington, N.Y., at the age of 90. Until her death, the Nobel Prize-winning McClintock conducted her research at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Genetics in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. She had joined the Cold Spring Harbor lab's staff in 1941. She won the Nobel in 1983 for her discovery of transposable elements, or "jumping genes," in a study of varying
People
People
The University of Cincinnati Medical Center has established a $6.5 million Center for Environmental Genetics and has named Daniel W. Nebert, a professor of environmental health, to be its first director. Nebert says the center is the first of its kind in the world to study the genetic link between environmental contaminants and human health. The center opened at the University of Cincinnati in mid-August in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental
1992 MacArthur Fellows In Science Are Grateful For `Venture Capital'
1992 MacArthur Fellows In Science Are Grateful For `Venture Capital'
Since 1981, the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's MacArthur Fellows Program has awarded more than $100 million to nearly 300 individuals in a wide range of professions. The generous, unrestricted awards allow MacArthur fellows the freedom to carry out research and pursue projects they otherwise might never be able to even contemplate. This year, the MacArthur Foundation selected nine scientists among its 33 fellowship recipients. Many of these researchers say the fin