BIOLOGY RULES ... Biology is becoming so popular, it may overtake the humanities as the foundation of American undergraduate education, claims Joseph G. Perpich, vice president for grants and special programs at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute of Chevy Chase, Md. The institute, America's largest philanthropy, recently announced the allocation of a record $91.1 million in four-year grants to help 58 research and doctoral universities to strengthen their undergraduate programs in biological sciences. Perpich joined the institute a decade ago, to set up the grants program. Since then, undergraduate grants have become the largest segment, totaling more than $425 million. "We started at a time when there wasn't much public support for science education from the NSF (National Science Foundation) or philanthropy," Perpich comments. Nowadays, he says, NSF budgets about $1 billion for undergraduate science programs. More than 50,000 students now receive bachelor degrees in biology each year, more...

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