WASHINGTON--Fierce rivalries and ruthless competition among scientists traditionally have characterized the United States research environment, according to Radcliffe College president Linda Wilson. But leaders of the nation's science establishment should reexamine the value of this approach to science, she maintains, if the profession hopes to attract more women and minorities.

Wilson, a chemist and former vice president for research at the University of Michigan, expressed her views last month during a panel discussion--and in subsequent interviews with a reporter--at a two-day meeting focusing on the draft of a National Academy of Sciences report entitled "Fateful Choices: The Future of the U.S. Academic Research Enterprise." She suggested to attendees at the meeting--held at academy headquarters here--that competitiveness comes naturally to Caucasian men, and it is they who, over the years, have set the tone for the way in which scientific investigation has been oriented.

But the era of white-male-dominated science is...

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