Workshop Promotes Robotics in the Lab
Louis Weisberg | Feb 23, 1987
SANTA FE, N.M.—The Department of Energy believes robotics and other automated processes can free molecular biologists from much of the tedious work now performed manually in their laboratories. But responses among the 160 scientists, technicians and research administrators who attended a workshop on the subject here last month suggest the department needs to work on its sales pitch. The three-day meeting was organized by Tony Beugelsdijk, a chemist specializing in laboratory robotics at Lo
Panel Backs New British Reactor
The Scientist Staff | Feb 23, 1987
LONDON—Proponents of nuclear power received a boost recently with the recommendation of a government panel to build a pressurized water reactor at Sizewell in Suffolk. The 3,000-page report, written by Sir Frank Layfield, a planning lawyer, is the product of a four-year inquiry into the subject. Rob Campbell, the managing director of Babcock Power, a manufacturer of steam generators, said the report "signals the light at the end of the tunnel" after a decade of anti-nuclear protests. The p
New Congress Prepares Lengthy Science Agenda
Jeffrey Mervis | Feb 23, 1987
WASHINGTON—The 100th Congress has tried to set the tone of political debate in the country by moving quickly on several issues in its first few weeks. Its science panels have been equally quick to assemble their own agenda for the coming months. One group that is certain to vie for the spotlight is a new task force on technology policy that will encompass the effect of current practices on scientific R&D in the United States. The group, expected to be chaired by Rep. Buddy MacKay (D-Fla.),
JPL to Help Oversee Space Station
John Rhea | Feb 23, 1987
WASHINGTON—The hiatus in U.S. unmanned planetary missions, caused by the explosion 13 months ago of the Space Shuttle Challenger, has made it possible for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena to take on a new role as manager for a portion of the agency's troubled space station program. The loss of Challenger has delayed for several years planned missions to Venus, Mars, Jupiter and explorations of the sun that will be carried out by the Laboratory, which is operated by the Ca
NIH Cuts Grants To Guard Budget
Ron Cowen | Feb 23, 1987
WASHINGTON—NIH is cutting research grants to scientists by as much as 20 percent to keep in step with a Reagan budget proposal that is given little chance of being adopted this year by Congress. Lobbying organizations for the biomedical community are preparing to sue the government to halt what they claim is a violation of the wishes of Congress and of the appropriate procedure to achieve such spending reductions. The administration, believing Congress was overly generous to NIH, wants to
In Vitro Fight Looms Down Under
Bernard Dixon | Feb 23, 1987
PALMERSTON NORTH, N.Z.—A battle is looming over proposed restrictions on research involving in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Australia, a world leader in such studies. The extent of concern among scientists was evident in papers delivered during the annual meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (ANZAAS), held here in late January. "In the coming months, the federal Australian parliament may well become an epicenter of biomedical shock," said Rus
D Spending
Stephen Greene | Feb 23, 1987
Corporate restructurings are forcing some U.S. companies to curtail R&D spending even as they are being urged to increase such investments to remain competitive. Many companies, saddled by the massive debts often involved in such transactions, are having "to change their business strategy from long-term to shorter-term cash flow, which can't help but have an adverse effect on R&D," said Roland W. Schmitt, senior vice president and chief scientist at General Electric and chairman of NSF's Nationa
SSC Faces Uncertain Future
Therese Lloyd | Feb 23, 1987
WASHINGTON—President Reagan's decision to support the construction of a Superconducting Supercollider (SSC) may be the most significant step in its long history. But the January 30 announcement is far from the last word on the subject. A host of unresolved issues remain, from its high price and its uncertain return to its impact on the scientific community in the United States and around the world. Politics is sure to play a major role in choosing the site, including the value of support f
The Scientist Staff | Feb 23, 1987
For psychiatrist David A. Hamburg, an early interest in biobehavioral aspects of stress and aggression has broadened to embrace many issues in education, health and public policy. After brief stints at Walter Reed Army Institute of Medical Research and as chief of the adult psychiatry branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, he established the psychiatry department at Stanford University's medical school in 1961. Hamburg left Stan-ford in 1975 to become president of the Institute of Me
National Academy To Close Issues
The Scientist Staff | Feb 23, 1987
WASHINGTON—Financial problems have claimed another victim in the science publishing field. The National Academy of Sciences has decided to fold its quarterly journal, Issues in Science and Technology. "Issues just hasn't been able to attract the audience needed to make it financially successful," said Pepper Leeper, a spokeswoman for the Academy. "It never really broke even," she added, declining to release figures. The 2 ½-year-old journal, aimed at scientists and an informed public,