September 1996

News

Fired Whistleblower's Successful Appeal May Broaden State Protection Statutes
Fired Whistleblower's Successful Appeal May Broaden State Protection Statutes
'PEOPLE ARE THE SAME': Myron Mehlman plans to pursue a $30 million defamation suit against Mobil if his case is upheld on its next appeal. A New Jersey appellate court has upheld and doubled a $3.5 million ruling in favor of a Mobil Oil Corp. toxicologist fired after advising a Mobil subsidiary in Japan to stop selling gasoline with hazardous levels of benzene, a carcinogen. While the company appeals the decision to the state Supreme Court, observers are speculating that the case may help whi
Schools Of Public Health Adapting To Societal Needs
Schools Of Public Health Adapting To Societal Needs
The institutions strive to overcome a poor image while looking ahead to a new role in a managed-care environment Sidebar : ACCREDITED SCHOOLS OF PUBLIC HEALTH Once the poor cousins of medical schools, public health schools are coming into their own as universities create new programs or expand existing ones. The advent of managed care, which emphasizes cost-effectiveness, has focused the attention of many institutions on prevention, the traditional raison d'^Ðtre of public health. CON
Six Scientists Are Added To Ranks Of Prestigious MacArthur Fellows
Six Scientists Are Added To Ranks Of Prestigious MacArthur Fellows
SOLVING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS: MacArthur fellow Vonnie McLoyd's research combines concepts in socioeconomics, psychology, and anthropology. This year's John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships will help six scientists advance their cutting-edge, multidisciplinary projects that extend from the ocean depths to distant stars and planets. With grants of about $250,000 or more, the newly named fellows will be able to finance innovative-even maverick-research ideas that might otherwis
As MacArthur Fellowship Turns 15, Recipients Reflect On Its Impact
As MacArthur Fellowship Turns 15, Recipients Reflect On Its Impact
STARRY-EYED: Margie Profet used her MacArthur funds to switch fields of study. Margie Profet had been researching reproductive biology for 10 years when the call came, out of the blue, in 1993. On the line was an official with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago, informing her that she had been named to join one of the most creative and elite groups of thinkers and doers in the world. Such a scene has been played out 479 times since 1981, when the first MacArthur Fel
Accredited Schools Of Public Health
Accredited Schools Of Public Health
Date: September 2, 1996 ACCREDITED SCHOOLS OF PUBLIC HEALTH School of Public Health, University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Public Health, Boston University School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, Columbia University School of Public Health, Emory University School of Public Health, Harvard University School of Public Health, University of Hawaii School of Public Health, University
Medicine, Science, Public Health Must Merge For The Greater Good
Medicine, Science, Public Health Must Merge For The Greater Good
My own background in schools of medicine and institutions for biomedical research perhaps leads me to stress the opportunities for those disciplines to impact research and education at schools of public health. While the agenda of such schools has turned more and more to hospital administration and the rationalization of the health-care system, this must not be to the neglect of using science for the most effective population-based measures to protect public health. These measures will be larg
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle - September 2, 1996
The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle - September 2, 1996
By Eric Albert Email: ealbert@world.std.com ACROSS 1 Organic molecule serving as a cofactor. 5 Protein cell enclosing the viral genome. 10 Shinbone 11 Micturation fluid 12 Dr.'s order 13 Basic amino acid 14 Genetic engineering and so on, for short 15 Fluid-filled, saclike structure 16 Vena follower 18 ____-interferon 20 What the appendix is appended to 22 Disease of the sebuceous glands 23 Microbe 25 Artificially maintained away from a living organism 27 Body cavity of higher metazoans 29 Limb

Leaders of Science

Robert T. Sauer
Robert T. Sauer
The Scientist Date: September 2, 1996 THE SCIENTIST® The Newspaper for the Life Sciences Professional "I enjoy reading the articles in THE SCIENTIST with broader implications, such as public policy, education, ethics, and federal support of biomedical research. These provide an important source of information." Robert T. Sauer, Whitehead Professor of Biochemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Robert Sauer, who was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1996

Opinion

Affirmative Action And Women In Science: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc?
Affirmative Action And Women In Science: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc?
"The Committee on Affirmative Action and the Status of Women of the Society for [insert organization name here] (a) declares that its primary objective is to render itself obsolete and (b) requests that it be made a permanent, standing committee of the Society, rather than a temporary, ad hoc committee." While such a statement could be issued within any organization, it actually happened twice in the last year within societies to which I belong-one interdisciplinary and one subject-oriented. W

Letter

Social Constructs
Social Constructs
Thank you for Irving M. Klotz's Opinion article on postmodernist rhetoric [The Scientist, July 22, 1996, page 9]. The article was a great read; however, I think he may be missing the trees for the forest. The argument that scientific facts are not social constructs is being made with the most prevalent social construct in existence: language. Language was constructed by society to describe what we experience in the world-to describe "reality." In our scientific reality, the velocity of light is
Government Research Support
Government Research Support
In this era of mounting deficits, we struggle to find extravagances whose elimination is practicable and effective. Among the many proposals to salvage the economy is imposition of a drastic reduction of the government support of basic research. Proponents of these austerities view research activity as frivolous-its practitioners in the laboratories as misty-eyed, impractical dreamers who are wholly out of touch with reality and the serious needs of our society. The administration favors diver
Ethical Theories
Ethical Theories
Editor's Note: Owing to an editing error, an erroneous version of the following letter appeared in the July 8, 1996, issue of The Scientist (page 12). Below is the correct version of the letter. In his May 13, 1996, letter to The Scientist (page 12), Arthur W. Galston still appears somewhat confused about what ethical theories can teach us. As I stated in my previous letter, moral practices are not theories (B. Everill, The Scientist, April 1, 1996, page 13). They are accounts of nothing more
Women In Science
Women In Science
With regard to the commentary about the Association for Women in Science in your July 8 issue [J. Daie, The Scientist, July 8, 1996, page 11], we would like to point out that other coed organizations are also concerned with equal opportunity for women in science. Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) is an interdisciplinary affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a national organization founded at Cornell University in 1926. It is open to anyone (male or female)

Research

The Significant Scientific Literature Appears In A Small Core Of Journals
The Significant Scientific Literature Appears In A Small Core Of Journals
Despite the voluminous literature that supports this point, which need not be cited here, people in the research, library, and information science communities continue to claim that there are 40,000 or more "journals" in existence. The problem is that such claims do not provide either qualitative or quantitative criteria for the definition of a journal. Furthermore, thousands of deceased journals are included among these claims. Despite the steady growth of scientific literature, 150 journals
MOST-CITED JOURNALS, 1994 AND 1989
MOST-CITED JOURNALS, 1994 AND 1989
TABLE 1 -- MOST-CITED JOURNALS, 1994 AND 1989 1994Rank1989RankTitle1994 Citations(thousands) 1989 Citations(thousands) 1 1Journal of Biological Chemistry 265.3183.4 2 2 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 259.3 180.6 3 3 Nature 246.5 178.3 4 5 Science 190.9 117.1 5 4 Journal of the Am. Chemical Soc. 153.0 121.8 6 10 Cell 129.2 71.3 7 8 Physical Review B 116.6 77.7 8 7 Physical Review Letters 114.6 78.0 9 6 Journal of Chemical Physics 1

Hot Paper

Cell Signaling
Cell Signaling
Edited by Thomas W. Durso K.L. Schmeichel, M.C. Beckerle, "The LIM domain is a modular protein-binding interface," Cell, 79:211-9, 1994. (Cited in nearly 50 publications through August 1996) Comments by Mary C. Beckerle, University of Utah, Salt Lake City Its presence in several proteins that "play fundamental roles in development" is what led Karen L. Schmeichel and Mary C. Beckerle of the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, to begin studying the LIM domain, a zinc-binding protein sequence.
Plant Disease Resistance
Plant Disease Resistance
Edited by Thomas W. Durso A. Levine, R. Tenhaken, R. Dixon, C. Lamb, "H2O2 from the oxidative burst orchestrates the plant hypersensitive disease resistance response," Cell, 79:583-93, 1994. (Cited in more than 80 publications through August 1996) Comments by Chris Lamb, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif. 'A VERY ACTIVE AREA': Chris Lamb notes that a burst of hydrogen peroxide causes invaded cells to die and helps protect surrounding cells. Plants under attack from invadin

Profession

Festschriften Honor Exceptional Scientific Careers, Scholarly Influences
Festschriften Honor Exceptional Scientific Careers, Scholarly Influences
TREND-SETTER: Engineer Y.K. Lin's popular festschrift conference became an annual event. A scientist often wears several hats-teacher, mentor, administrator, and researcher. While many prominent awards honor the research role, a festschrift volume uniquely recognizes the many facets of an outstanding and influential scientist. Meaning in German "celebratory writing," a festschrift is a unique publication devoted to the lifelong ideas and influences of an exceptional scholar. EDITOR'S ROLE:
Most-Productive Journals, 1994 and 1989
Most-Productive Journals, 1994 and 1989
Table 2 - Most-Productive Journals, 1994 and 1989 1994Rank1989RankTitle1994Articles 1989Articles 1 2 Journal of Biological Chemistry 4915 3292 2 1 Physical Review B 4894 3733 3 7 Journal of Applied Physics 2968 1948 4 5 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 2650 2090 5 4 American Journal of Physiology 2480 2093 6 9 Tetrahedron Letters 2448 1886 7 12 Applied Physics Letters 2254 1778 8 6 Journal of the American Chemical Society 2134 1984 9

Clarification

Clarification
Clarification
In the article "Biological Determination Of Sexuality Heating Up As A Research Field" (R. Finn, The Scientist, Jan. 8, 1996, page 13), incorrect information was given regarding the first finding of a neuroanatomic difference between homosexual and heterosexual men. This finding was first demonstrated by D.F. Swaab and M.A. Hofman of the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research (D.F. Swaab, M.A. Hofman, "An enlarged suprachiasmatic nucleus in homosexual men," Brain Research, 537:141-8, 1990).

Technology

New Water Purification Systems Provide Increasingly Clean Solutions
New Water Purification Systems Provide Increasingly Clean Solutions
Twenty-five years ago, water was considered "pure" enough for laboratory use if it would resist electrical current fairly well, suggesting it was relatively free of conductive ions. A new generation of highly sensitive analytical instruments-including high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)- demand ultrapure water. Today's purification systems eliminate most contaminants, delivering water with total organic carbon (TOC) levels lowe

New Products

New products.
New products.
NEW PRODUCTS - September 2, 1996 Date: September 2, 1996 Xybion Offers CCD Camera Xybion Offers CCD Camera With Automatic Data Collection The IDG Series is a family of intensified, digital, gated charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras designed for radiometry and signature measurement applications. The cameras' iris, gating, and intensifier gain function may be controlled manually or automatically. Their high-speed asynchronous image capture, built-in contrast enhancement, and aut

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
ROCK STAR: The now-famous 4.5 billion-year-old hunk of meteorite that may have once contained microscopic Martian life. Last month's historic announcement that a Martian meteorite found on Earth may contain vestiges of ancient microbes (D.S. McKay et al., 273:924-30, Science, 1996) has spawned all manner of comment. The American Physical Society's Robert Park opined in the August 9 issue of his online newsletter, "What's New," that the discovery may save United States taxpayers billions of dol