Many scientists once denied emigration have now left the USSR, but others are still unable to obtain exit visas.
Yuri Magarshack is doing science again. Today, he is an assistant researcher in the chemistry department at New York University. Yet for an 11-year period that ended last spring, the theoretical physicist was struggling to endure life as a refusenik - a Soviet citizen, usually Jewish, who is denied permission to emigrate. Dismissed from his job as head of a laboratory in Leningrad's Polytechnical Institute, he had to find work as a lifeguard to support himself. In the USSR, "many of my colleagues were afraid to talk to me," he recalls. But in the United States, he marvels, "it's possible to work, not thinking about anything else."

The happy ending to Magar-shack's saga is by no means unique. Within the last three years, the trickle of refusenik scientists being permitted to...

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