News
Funding Crunch, Politics Plague Science Council
Andy Crump | Dec 15, 1986
LONDON-A financial crisis and the politics of apartheid, played out within a continuing battle between the developed and the developing nations, pose serious problems for the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). The Council, formed in 1931, is made up of 20 international scientific unions and 71 national academies and research councils representing millions of scientists in a variety of disciplines. For years it has worked to coordinate scientific research worldwide with UNESCO, wh
Military Spending Spurs Interest In Research on Biological Weapons
Seth Shulman | Dec 15, 1986
Date: December 15, 1986 BOSTON-A sharp increase in U.S. military spending for research on biological warfare agents has raised concern about its effect on related fields and sparked debate on the nature of the work. The Defense Department expects to spend $73.2 million in 1987 on biological weapons research, a figure that has risen from $14.9 million at the start of the Reagan administration. Douglas Feith, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy, told a House sub-co
NIH's Raub on Misconduct
Tabitha Powledge | Dec 15, 1986
Author: Tabitha M. Powledge Date: December 15, 1986 In August, William F Raub, a 20-year veteran of the National Institutes of Health, was named its deputy director. Raub received an A.B. from Wilkes College in 1961 and his Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965. He directed the development of PROPHET—an integrated computer system for studying chemical/biological interrelationships. From 1983-1986, he headed the agency's extramural program, including all research
NSF Sends A Verbal Aftershock
The Scientist Staff | Dec 15, 1986
WASHINGTON-NSF Director Erich Bloch has administered a public wrist-slapping to the president of the State University of New York at Buffalo for material in its proposal for an Earthquake Engineering Research Center that was copied from another document on the subject. "It's not plagiarism.' Bloch told members of the National Science Board at their recent meeting, "but it is copying without acknowledgement. I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill, but it was sloppy work and I think we
International Review Sought for Release
The Scientist Staff | Dec 15, 1986
WASHINGTON—A group of public interest organizations has asked the United Nations to develop international standards for the re lease of genetically altered organ isms into the environment in the wake of recent experiments by American researchers in Argentina and New Zealand. The organizations, which included the Committee for Responsible Genetics, the Environmental Policy Institute, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, also asked the U.S. government to re view all federally funded g
'Gell-Mann Opened My Eyes'
John Polkinghorne | Dec 15, 1986
Author: JOHN POLKINGHORNE Date: December 15, 1986 I am a subscriber to the “great man” theory of the history of science—the view that it is the insights of the men of genius that actually propel the subject. No doubt there is also a role for those of us who belong to the army of honest toilers, providing the background of expectation and exploitation, but the big ideas come from the big men. The first big man of theoretical physics that I knew was Paul Dirac, whose intellec
Small Business Grants: A Program That Works
Don Veraska | Dec 15, 1986
WASHINGTON—A small Salt Lake City horticultural firm thought it had a marketable idea when it found strains of a fungus that significantly improves the ability of plants to absorb water and nutrients. But Native Plants Inc. didn't have enough money to conduct the necessary research, and venture capital companies weren't interested in an unknown company. Enter the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, an attempt to share a small part of the federal R&D budget with small, high-
U.K. View Is 'Sobering'
Bernard Dixon | Dec 15, 1986
BRISTOL, ENGLAND—A survey of adults in Britain has found that: Three-quarters believe astrology is scientific, but only a bare majority believe ecology is; 33 percent of the population believe that penicillin attacks viruses; 20 percent see carbon dioxide as the chief cause of acid rain; 37 percent believe proteins “provide most of the energy needs of the human body,” and 19 percent chose vitamins. Only 36 percent chose carbohydrates. Those sobering findings are pa
French Teens Hopeful About Science
Bernard Dixon | Dec 15, 1986
LONDON—Nearly 90 percent of French teenagers expect scientists to find a cure for cancer within 20 years. A little more than 40 percent believe science will eliminate hunger in that time, 61 percent think it will make daily life easier, and 15 percent expect scientists to have “blown up the world.” These forecasts come from a survey of 5,000 adolescent readers of the French general interest magazine Okapi. The results indicate considerable optimism about science coupled with a
Americans Confident Of Leaders In Science
Amy Mcdonald | Dec 15, 1986
WASHINGTON—There is no single survey of American attitudes to-ward science that compares with the British and French polls. How-ever, the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation regularly reviews existing surveys in its biennial Science Indicators, an assessment of the overall state of American science and technology. The 1985 edition reports: Forty-seven percent of 943 respondents to a 1985 survey said they had a “great deal of confidence” in scientific le