News
Unkind Cuts in Canada
David Spurgeon | Nov 17, 1986
OTTAWA-The National Research Council managed to dampen the celebration of Canadian John Polanyi's Nobel Prize in chemistry last month by announcing on the same day that it was eliminating the section where he did his re search as part of widespread cuts in science funding. The Council said it would save $20 million by eliminating 200 positions and dozens of programs. (The Canadian dollar is worth 72 cents U.S.) About $12 million will be diverted to Canada's space program, to support its communic
U.K. Petition Rejects SDI
The Scientist Staff | Nov 17, 1986
More than 500 British scientists, including 22 Fellows of the Royal Society, have pledged to refuse any funding arising from the American Strategic Defense Initiative program. In addition, a major trade union representing researchers and technicians is campaigning to keep any contracts from going to U.K. laboratories. The Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs opposes any siphoning of jobs from domestic research into defense. At the same time, a survey of members of the U.S.
Discovering Ant Language
Edward Wilson | Nov 17, 1986
In 1953, while I was a graduate student at Harvard University, I heard a lecture by Konrad Lorenz on ethology. The experience illustrates the principle that new fields are impelled by one to several great ideas expressible in a few words. The one offered by Lorenz that captured my imagination was the concept of the sign stimulus. Animal behavior, Lorenz said, is organized into modules of fixed-action patterns, complex sequences of sensory and motor actions that accomplish something for the organ
Industrial Giants Ask Researchers To Build Better Supercomputers
Bill Steele | Nov 17, 1986
ITHACA, N.Y.-Scientists and engineers in American industry desperately need computing power far beyond the capability of today's fastest supercomputers. The computer industry hopes to fill that need-with the help of university researchers. That vision emerged during a conference on supercomputing held last month at Cornell University's Center for Theory and Simulation in Science and Engineering. The facility is one office university centers for research on super-computing established last year b
Why Scientists Don't Spy
Gregory Byrne | Nov 17, 1986
The arrest of Soviet physicist and U.N. employee Gennadi F. Zakharov on espionage charges this fall was the exception that proves the rule. Very little scientific spying is actually done by scientists. An FBI listing of 62 espionage prosecutions from 1945 to the present includes quite a few engineers and technicians and the expected large number of military and intelligence personnel. But other than Zakharov, who was ex changed in October for journalist Nicholas Daniloff after being indicted for
Danes Ban Genetic Release
The Scientist Staff | Nov 17, 1986
COPENHAGEN-The release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment us now against the law in Denmark. The Law on Gene Technology and Environment, passed this summer, is unique among actions taken by other countries in its being an Act of Parliament. here, rules concerning recombinant DNA research are only advisory. The Minister for Environment has the authority to approve deliberate release of such organisms "in special cases" as defined by the law. The minister also must approve th
Fuqua: Advice to Scientists
Tabitha Powledge | Nov 17, 1986
Last March, Rep. Don Fuqua (D-Fla.) startled many in the science community by announcing that he was calling it quits after 24 years in the House, all of it serving on various science-oriented committees. The chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology for the past eight years, the 53-year-old Fuqua has decided to embark on a second career as president of the Aerospace Industries Association, a Washington-based organization representing space and defense contractors. Under his dire
D Budget Up Again
Bob Westgate | Nov 17, 1986
The information for these stories and the accompanying chart was gathered by freelance writers Bob Westgate and Susan Walton. WASHINGTON-Funding for science research, part of an overall federal budget that is expected to grow little in 1987, has increased significantly in several areas. Congress once again failed to approve appropriations bills for individual departments. Instead, on the day before it adjourned last month, it approved a $576 billion continuing resolution covering most government
Study Sharpens Debate On Role of Co-authors
Jeffrey Mervis | Nov 17, 1986
WASHINGTON-A still-unpublished paper by two NIH scientists on professional misconduct has spawned sharp debate within the scientific community on the responsibilities of co-authors and the role of lawyers in the publications process. The authors of the 1983 report, Walter Stewart and Ned Feder, have appeared in recent months before two congressional committees and a steadily growing number of university gatherings to discuss their findings and the larger issues it has raised. But the possibility
AIDS Funding Outlook Hazy
Amy Mcdonald | Nov 17, 1986
WASHINGTON-The drive to quadruple federal funding for AIDS research to $1 billion annually faces an uncertain future within the Reagan administration and in Congress. A star-studded joint committee of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine has urged the massive increase after an intensive six-month study. Its report, issued late last month, also chides the National Institutes of Health for not enlisting enough university researchers in its effort to better understand the