THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:24 December 13, 1993 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) Articles

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:24 December 13, 1993 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) =============================================================== Articles published in THE SCIENTIST reflect the views of their authors and not the official views of the publication, its editorial staff, or its ownership. ================================================================ *** THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE SCIENTIST WILL APPEAR ON *** *** DECEMBER 27, 1993 *** *** *** ******************************************************* Subscription rates for the printed edition are: In the United States: one year $58, two years $94 Canada : one year $82, two years $142 All other foreign : one year/air cargo $79, countries one year/ airmail $133 THE SCIENTIST (Page numbers correspond to printed edition of THE SCIENTIST) FOR SEARCHING PURPOSES: AU = author TI = title of article TY = type PG = page NEXT = next article ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : CONTENTS PG : 3 ============================================================= NEWS SCIENCE 1993: During the year now coming to a close, bench scientists throughout the United States have pressed forward at the frontiers of their disciplines, many of them with well-publicized success. Even so, sources agree, the most important events in the world of research this year had to do with activity not in the laboratory, but in the halls of Congress and the corridors of scientific power--at the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, for example PG : 1 CELL BIOLOGY'S BOOM-BUST CYCLE: Dramatic advances in cell biology are grabbing headlines, and the field is increasingly attractive to young researchers. But there is a clear downside to all of this: Uncertainty over the economy and the fate of President's Clinton's health care plan is causing the job market in this field to stagnate or decline PG : 1 TEAM EFFORT: A coalition of scientists and clergy is putting aside their traditional differences about the specific origins and workings of the Earth to work toward saving the present environment through a public information campaign that crosses both scientific and religious boundaries PG : 1 DANA HONORS: This year, seven scientists and educators won or shared the four prizes making up the Charles A. Dana Awards for Pioneering Achievement in Health and Education; among them were three neuroscientists who applied their brain research to clinical disorders and two physics professors who created a new approach to teaching their discipline PG : 3 OPINION MONTAGNIER ON GALLO: A new book by science writer Thomas A. Bass presents interviews with 11 internationally known research scientists. One of Bass's interviews is excerpted here: French biochemist Luc Montagnier shares with the author his views on the discovery of the AIDS virus, the varying investigative roles played by him and the American cancer researcher Robert Gallo, and the highly publicized controversy centering on the conflicting claims made by these two eminent investigators PG : 11 COMMENTARY: The expansion of interest in the history of science is heartening for several reasons, says publisher Eugene Garfield. An understanding of what has gone before informs and invigorates the efforts of the present-day science community; it also reinforces a scientist's sense of belonging in the grand scheme of things PG : 12 RESEARCH LANDSAT UPSHOT: Many researchers are trying to adjust to the launch failure of Landsat 6. Originally intended to support studies in geology and other physical sciences disciplines, the satellite's remote-sensing-generated data have become increasingly valuable to environmental specialists and other life sciences investigators PG : 14 HOT PAPERS: A medical researcher discusses his investigation of the use of bronchodilators for chronic asthma and bronchitis PG : 16 TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY CELL DISRUPTION: The challenge for cell biologists whose work requires them to open a cell and retrieve its contents- -without destroying most of it in the process--is being met through a growing selection of versatile cell-disruption devices and systems PG : 18 PROFESSION NEVER TOO OLD TO TEACH: A Washington, D.C.-based program is bringing retired researchers' skills and experience into the classroom as part of a collaborative science education effort with several schools; armed with an NSF grant, the initiative is poised to go national PG : 20 CARLO M. CROCE AND RICHARD E. SMALLEY, director of the Thomas Jefferson University Cancer Institute and Cancer Center and Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry at Rice University, respectively, have received the 1993 John Scott Awards PG : 22 SHORT TAKES NOTEBOOK PG : 4 CARTOON PG : 4 LETTERS PG : 12 CROSSWORD PG : 13 OBITUARIES PG : 22 SCIENTIFIC SOFTWARE DIRECTORY PG : 30 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Cell Biology Leads Way As Biological Sciences Progress, But Experts Are Wondering Where All The Jobs Have Gone As more researchers flock to the popular field, observers fear a widening gap between supply and demand AU : SUSAN L-J DICKINSON TY : NEWS PG : 1 When scientists convene in New Orleans next week for the 33rd annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), nine symposia, 20 minisymposia, and countless informal gatherings are sure to focus on the recent achievements and continuing progress in this exciting and rapidly expanding scientific field. There is likely to be little excitement in the air, however, concerning the current job market for the researchers committed to working in cell biology. Steve Hanes, whose recent job search consumed two years before he landed a position as a research scientist at the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Center in Albany, puts it simply: "There is a tremendous supply of first-rate people looking for a few positions." For Hanes, an accomplished cell biologist, the job hunt was "an exhausting process." Dottie Doyle, placement coordinator for ASCB, concurs with Hanes's observation concerning supply and demand, although she does expect more candidates and more employers to register with the meeting's placement service this year than did at last year's meeting in Denver. She warns that registration figures do not accurately reflect the true demand for cell biologists. She's skeptical as well about other numbers that might misleadingly indicate that the cell biology job market is healthier than it actually is. "Based on previous years' statistics," says Doyle, "the job market has appeared stable. But anecdotally, I know that people are feeling the pinch." Indeed, when asked to describe their recent experiences trying to find a job or get funding, cell biologists plumb the depths of their vocabularies. "Demeaning," "depressing," "discouraging," "exhausting," "bruising," and "demoralizing" are some of the adjectives that recur. Their characterizations apply to both the oversupply of and the underde-mand for experts in their field. The evolution of cell biology itself and its merging with other subdisciplines within the biological sciences has beclouded the issue of just who is and who isn't a cell biologist these days (see accompanying story); it is abundantly clear, however, that the factors contributing to the tight job market over the past few years have not abated in 1993, nor are they expected to in 1994, say observers of the field. Academic budgets continue to be squeezed, industrial research divisions suffer at the hands of a poor economy and fears of President Clinton's health plan, and Ph.D.'s in the biological sciences continue to be awarded in increasing numbers each year. According to the National Research Council, the number of United States scientists earning their doctorates in cell biology has increased over the past 10 years, from 118 in 1983 to 188 in 1992. During this same period, the number of Ph.D.'s awarded in all biological sciences--the larger candidate pool from which cell biology positions are being filled--has also risen sharply, from 3,741 to 4,794. Furthermore, the number of U.S. scientists who consider themselves to be cell biologists--as measured by membership in ASCB--has grown more than 60 percent over the past decade, from 3,973 in 1983 to 6,322 at this year's meeting. ASCB president Susan Gerbi points out that "even if you kept turning out the same number of graduates year after year," as her department at Brown University is doing, "unless the demand increases, you are going to start overloading the market." And indeed, it is the sharp decrease in the number of new academic and industrial positions that is hurting cell biologists' employment prospects the most, experts say. Academic scientists point out that state university budgets have been drastically cut during the past few years, and even large, private research universities are searching for ways to cut costs. "Universities are being very tightly squeezed now," says Peter von Hippel, a professor of chemistry who administers a National Institutes of Health training grant at the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon in Eugene. "Every university is trying to hire as few faculty as it can to save money; many posted positions are being eliminated even before they are filled." Additionally, von Hippel notes, the practice of hiring part- time faculty to circumvent the creation of expensive, tenure-track positions is increasing in popularity. Compounding this budget crunch, both Gerbi and von Hippel say, is the fact that older faculty--who are due to be released, by federal law, in January from mandatory retirement at age 70--are staying in their senior faculty positions longer than anticipated. This not only decreases the need for new faculty, but also ties up a significant portion of university staff budgets in fewer, more expensive positions. In industry, a poor economy and the specter of Clinton's health plan and its predicted impact on the pharmaceutical industry are the major forces resulting in a dismal employment outlook, industry observers say. The list of large companies that have announced downsizing efforts reads like a who's who in the pharmaceutical industry, and includes Merck & Co. Inc. (Rahway, N.J.), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (Princeton, N.J.), SmithKline Beecham (Philadelphia), Syntex Corp. (Palo Alto, Calif.), the Upjohn Co. (Kalamazoo, Mich.), and Warner-Lambert Co. (Morris Plains, N.J.). And though all of these companies claim to be preserving R&D to the greatest extent possible, hiring freezes prevent anyone from predicting an expanded industrial job market for scientists in 1994. Fiscal belts are being tightened at the smaller R&D firms, as well. In addition to general economic concerns, two highly publicized clinical trial setbacks, for Centocor Inc.'s Centoxin and Synergen Inc.'s Antril, were dealt earlier this year. The result, industry watchers say, has been a dampening of venture capital's interest in biotechnology, and a grim retrenchment among the industry's management. The most immediate result of this dearth of positions for an expanding pool of applicants, scientists say, is an increase in the amount of time new Ph.D.'s spend at the postdoctoral level. Bert Shapiro, deputy director of the cellular and molecular basis of disease program at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, recalls that when he graduated from Harvard with a Ph.D. in biology 25 years ago, he received two offers for faculty positions immediately, without ever doing a postdoctoral fellowship. By contrast, Mary Jane Osborn, chairman of the department of microbiology at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, says that in1985, strong job candidates had an average of three years' postdoc experience. In 1993 this number, many postdocs and employers say, has increased to five years. "It's a very long haul," says Shapiro, who estimates that a scientist can be 30 or 35 years old by the time he or she gets a Ph.D. and completes the one or two postdocs requisite to be considered for a tenure-track position. "These people should be doing their own science by then," says von Hippel, who is one of the many scientists worried by this trend. He points out that expanding postdoctoral years is bad for the scientist psychologically, and puts a strain on the budgets of research grants required to support these trainee positions. "These scientists are ready to teach and be productive on their own," he says. "It would be better for them and better for the science." An Arduous Search "Your ego takes a bruising," acknowledges Robert Glaser, a colleague of Hanes's at the Wadsworth Center whose job search also required two years. He had earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular and cell biology from Cornell University in 1989 and was two years into his three-year postdoc at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., when he started his search for job in the fall of 1991. During the first year, he sent some 60 applications, all for academic positions, and garnered a few interviews for teaching posts. But, because he really wanted a full-time research position, Glaser says he decided to hold out for another year. In 1992, aware that he no longer had a funded fallback position for the following year, he broadened his job search significantly, to include both industry and what he calls "peripheral science positions"--a grant review position at NIH, for example. Glaser says he sent out nearly 100 applications, and was dismayed to learn that during the intervening year the market had gotten even tighter. "I talked with people hiring both years, and was told that the number of competing applicants went up substantially," he recalls So Glaser mounted an all-out offensive. "Most job descriptions are very, very general," he notes. "You need to talk to people, and find out not just about the science, but also the political nuances of each position--what does the chair of the search committee want vs. what other faculty members want, for instance. "I was much more aggressive up front" during the second search, he says. "I made lots of phone calls, did constant networking, and whenever possible got the department chair on the phone to say: `This is who I am; what do you really want?'" Armed with this knowledge, Glaser not only customized the cover letter for each application, but also reworked his c.v. to best fit his perception of what each search committee was looking for. It took a tremendous amount of time and organization, he says, but it worked. Glaser got four interviews and four job offers, one of which is the project assistantship at the Wadsworth Center that he started this fall. "I knew it was going to be difficult," Glaser says. "But I was surprised that with my background, from first-rate and respected institutions, I didn't at least get more interviews." He also acknowledges that he probably wouldn't have applied to the Wadsworth Center during the first year of his search. "It's part of the New York State health department, so I would have assumed that it wasn't true academia," a prejudice he now feels is totally unfounded. If there is any silver lining to be found in the cloud that is the current job squeeze, cell biologists find it in the science itself, and the assumption that, in time, the situation will improve. "Right now is the best time to be alive for a biological scientist," says Shapiro. "The intellectual ferment is extremely exciting, and the promise [for advances] is the greatest it's ever been. Medical and biological science is hopping, and cell biology is in the middle of it." "In a few years," adds von Hippel, "maybe the people who didn't retire at 65 will retire at 70. And maybe there will be less fiscal pressure." Susan L-J Dickinson is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : WHO IS A CELL BIOLOGIST? AU : SUSAN L-J. DICKINSON TY : NEWS PG : 5 The challenge of presenting a comprehensive assessment of career prospects for cell biologists is great, since there is some question, even among experts, as to which scientists currently constitute the field. A list of American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) members who have registered with the placement service for this year's meeting reveals no fewer than 18 different types of Ph.D.'s, including those in anatomy, biochemistry, immunology, endocrinology, biophysics, and zoology. Darien Wilson, a public relations representative for Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. of Nutley, N.J., can't reveal how many cell biologists her company has hired over the past year, not because of concern for industrial competition, but because it is practically impossible. "Cell biologists are used in pretty much every department," she says. "Cell biology is such a fundamental discipline," concurs Donald Luecke, deputy director of research grants at the National Institutes of Health. "Virtually all of the institutes make awards that could be classified as cell biology; it would be too difficult to dissect out," to determine what portion of NIH monies are awarded for cell biology or how application and success rates compare with other areas of life sciences. At issue, observers agree, is the evolution of science itself: As more knowledge is gained, distinctions between disciplines are becoming obsolete. "All of the subfields of biomedical science are coming together," says Bert Shapiro, a deputy director at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. "For instance, molecular biology is now a common tool in cell biology, genetics, and immunology," says Steve Hanes, a research scientist at the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Center in Albany. "So you can no longer make such strong distinctions." Even university departments are beginning to reflect this. Wadsworth Center researcher Robert Glaser, for example, received his Ph.D. from Cornell University's department of biochemistry and molecular and cell biology. And Susan Gerbi, president of ASCB, is currently the chairwoman nominee for the new department at Brown University that will merge molecular biology, cell biology, and developmental biology into one. What pragmatic effect does this have on the job market for someone with a degree in cell biology? Certainly, it broadens the categories of positions for which such researchers can feel qualified to apply. But, as the increasing ASCB membership indicates, this trend also works to broaden the pool of applicants for each available position. --S.L-J D. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Researchers' Assessment Of 1993: Science Gained, Politics Reigned Despite impressive lab achievements, the big news this year has sprung from the corridors of power in Washington AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : NEWS PG : 1 Scientists, policy experts, administrators, and observers of the research community appear satisfied that 1993 has been a strong year in terms of research advances. They cite, for example, bold steps taken this year in gene therapies and a continuing frenzy of research on the 60-atom molecules of carbon known as buckminsterfullerenes, or buckyballs. Overall, they feel, researchers pressed their disciplines forward on many fronts, advancing fundamental knowledge and clinical capabilities dramatically. However, those interviewed during recent weeks by The Scientist also tend to share the opinion that the most important developments for science took place not in academic and industry labs throughout the United States, but in the nation's capital, in the halls of Congress and the agencies in whose hands lie the fate of America's research future. Many sources agree, for example, that the most arresting single event this year--and hardly a scientific step forward--was the cancellation by Congress of the superconducting supercollider (SSC). Also cited as highly significant, if less dramatic, are the well-received science appointments that followed President Bill Clinton's inauguration in January, specifically those of Harold Varmus to head the National Institutes of Health and Neal Lane to be director of the National Science Foundation. In addition, a major shift in the rationale for public funding of science, toward more economic justifications, in both Congress and the new administration, is seen as worrisome by many scientists. A settlement in favor of the accused in several high-profile scientific misconduct cases on appeal, new rules for assessing indirect costs in research, and Hillary Rodham Clinton's health care reform proposals are also expected to influence the environment for future research. Certainly, researchers and clinicians continued to move boldly in their respective fields, according to observers. "This year brought very clearly home that we've entered the era of cell therapeutics, from which we're never going to retreat," says Donald S. Fredrickson, director of NIH from 1975 to 1981 under President Jimmy Carter. Fredrickson believes that the replacement of genes, the development of humanized murine antibodies, and the creation of designer drugs to receptors are major steps toward fully realized molecular medicine. "It will be three or four years before this will become so commonplace that we'll turn to the vial instead of the pill box," he says. Fredrickson says, too, that the emerging molecular therapies may serve to reunify investigators whose biomedical goals have evolved in disparate directions over the past decade and more. "We've probably bottomed out in the creation of this tremendous gradient between clinical researchers and molecular biologists," Fredrickson says. "The whole field of molecular biology and molecular genetics is now becoming not a discipline at all, but a set of tools. More and more, very gifted people in molecular biology are working on more clinically related problems." But political changes take precedence over laboratory advances as others look back at the year in science. "The most important [event] is the new science and technology policy of the administration," says Erich Bloch, NSF director from 1984 to 1990 under President Ronald Reagan and now a fellow with the Council on Competitiveness in Washington. "I put that one ahead of all of them, because it's the basis for all the others in one form or another," Bloch says. "And there's a material change occurring with this administration with the acknowledgment that technology is the driver for economic growth. I think we're seeing a sea change." The change is going to mean researchers will have to justify their work to granting agencies in new terms, Bloch says. "Unless you can responsibly say what you are doing is helping the country," he says, "you will have a more difficult time getting support in the future than you had in the past." The appointments of University of California, San Francisco, geneticist and Nobel Prize winner Varmus at NIH and Rice University provost and physicist Lane at NSF, along with other top science appointments, are emphasized by some scientists. "My concern has been that the Clinton administration would be so technology-oriented that basic research would be put into a second tier," says Arthur Kornberg, a professor of biochemistry at Stanford University Medical Center and a Nobelist himself. "At least based on these appointments, that doesn't seem to be the case," Kornberg says. "That's the big story--it matches the others easily." The Loss Of The SSC For many scientists, the cancellation of the SSC by Congress after a protracted appropriations struggle is the most important single story in science this year. They fear the demise of the huge particle physics project may have a lingering and detrimental effect on other large-scale science efforts, especially in related areas, such as fusion research. "The death of the SSC is the biggest [science] event this year," says Harvey Brooks, a professor, emeritus, of technology and public policy and applied physics at Harvard University. "People in the field are beginning to see what they can do in Europe now, because the U.S. is out of the game, essentially," says Brooks, a former chairman of the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSE-PUP). Scientists say that Congress' refusal to continue to bear the expense of the SSC begins to redefine what kinds of science will--and will not--be possible in the future. The loss of the SSC "certainly shows that the country has lost its will to push ahead with big adventures," says J. David Litster, a professor of physics and vice president and dean for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "I'm afraid that same loss of will is going to apply to other projects in other areas. In spite of how tough the times are [economically], we should have one or two heroic projects like the SSC." Arthur Reis, associate provost for research at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., says the SSC's fall suggests a change in the way Congress and society perceive national goals. In the past, he says, some programs without obvious benefit to society were, nonetheless, seen as important to the country. "Sometimes you don't get a lot of national good from something that's declared a national priority, but everyone seems to be behind it," says Reis. "Somehow, the SSC was never perceived as an important project by a large majority of the population. We never said that this was a national priority, like the space program was a national priority in the 1960s." The cancellation of the SSC was not completely unexpected, given its difficulties in getting congressional backing the year before, according to Graham Glass, a professor of chemistry and dean of graduate studies at Rice University. He also accepts that the straitened economic circumstances the country now finds itself in will mean funding reductions in many areas, not only in science. "Most of us recognize that, with a major budget deficit, science will have a much harder time," Glass says. "Funding from the federal government will become more difficult to obtain in the future," he predicts. "The SSC is just one example--we're going to be pared down across the board." Glass adds: "Programs that have infinitely larger amounts of human appeal are being cut. It's unlikely that science can possibly escape the effects." New Science Leaders In contrast to the gloomy feelings surrounding the SSC's fate, several Washington appointments have buoyed scientists concerned over the continuing strength of federal support for basic science. For example, the selection of Varmus, a strong proponent of fundamental research, to head NIH reassured basic investigators that their interests would be represented in an administration whose rhetoric seems aimed at technology transfer and strategic research. Also, some scientists say the research prowess of NIH itself, somewhat diminished in recent years, may rebound under Varmus. "The capacity for that institution to regain its focus on supporting both meritorious clinical and basic research should be improved with Varmus's coming on board," says David Kipnis, Distinguished University Professor of Medicine at Washington University, St. Louis. Kipnis, a diabetes researcher, also chairs the committee overseeing the university's joint biomedical research program with Monsanto Co., St. Louis. While Kipnis generally praises former director Bernadine Healy's efforts, he hopes Varmus will have more successful relations with Congress. Healy's encounters with the legislative branch were sometimes confrontational. Kipnis would like to see lawmakers content to describe the goals they see as important and then to let scientists decide the best way to achieve those goals. "My concern is that appropriate and effective communication be developed with Congress," Kipnis says, "so that they exercise less and less effort to micromanipulate. Using the NIH as a social instrument is very dangerous." Like Varmus's appointment, the choice of Neal Lane as director of NSF also has bolstered researchers' confidence that Clinton's administration will be sufficiently supportive of science. Lane is a research physicist by training; his statements express a desire to continue to maintain a balance in the NSF research portfolio between basic and applied work. "I see a greater responsiveness to the universities in a number of these appointments," says Glass. He also says his interactions with some government departments have improved with the change of administrations in Washington. Glass is, however, concerned about recent revisions to circular A-21, the publication from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that specifies allowable indirect costs on government research grants. The Clinton administration reviewed but let stand most of the changes proposed by the previous administration, including a 26 percent cap on administrative indirect costs, which is less than most universities charged previously, Glass says. "We are looking at significant shortfalls," Glass says. "We're going to have to come up with millions of dollars to cover these costs, and there is no other source except the university's income to do it with. This is going to be a major hit that most universities experience." The health care reforms proposed by Hillary Rodham Clinton this year are also likely to have repercussions for science, some researchers note. For example, pharmaceutical companies have raised concerns that the new laws may seek to control aspects of their activities, perhaps hampering their drug research and development capabilities. For now, however, the implications for biomedical research of health care reform remain unclear. "Regardless of what the details are, the die seems to be cast that something is going to be done in the way of universal health care," says Edwin G. Krebs, a professor of pharmacology and biochemistry at the University of Washington, Seattle, and a Nobel Prize winner. "I have enough faith in the planners [to believe] that medical research is going to continue to be accommodated. The Clinton administration is very well aware of America's position in research, and it's going to be maintained." Redefining Science Fraud A number of researchers who had been found guilty of misconduct by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the Public Health Service (PHS) successfully appealed their cases or saw charges against them dropped this year. For example, the appeals panel of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees PHS, overturned ORI's case against Mikulas Popovic, an assistant to also-accused AIDS researcher Robert C. Gallo. The panel, composed mainly of lawyers, cited a lack of hard evidence in its decision. Then, just a few weeks later, noting what it viewed as a changed and more difficult-to-prove definition of misconduct, ORI dropped its charges that Gallo had appropriated the work of French researchers, ending a four- year-long battle. Many researchers--but not all--welcome the apparent shift to a more demanding definition of what constitutes scientific misconduct. They hope that, overall, the issue will receive less attention in the future as a result. "It's distressing that it's gone as far as it has," says Stanford's Kornberg, "because it's politicized science and exaggerated the importance of fraud. Fraud has always existed, as long as human nature has been around, but the significance of it is trivial." "There have always been some problems," agrees Harvard's Brooks, "but they represent a very small fraction of the total. I think an objective examination would show that the scientific system is probably much less corrupt than any other system that depends on government support in our society." Some scientists see a degree of irony in the fact that a panel of lawyers may have had the effect of returning responsibility for issues of scientific misconduct to scientists, where, they say, it belongs. "When people attempt to provide judicial solutions toward questions of scientific research, they're obviously [using] instruments not very well made for each other," Fredrickson says. "Issues of fraud, abuse of funds, and so forth need to be punished legally, but judgments of science's notebooks simply are not amenable to this kind of treatment." Other observers, however, point to a recently published study that suggests that researchers encounter what they believe to be fraud much more often than has been previously thought (J.P. Swazey, M.S. Anderson, K.S. Louis, American Scientist, 81[6]:542-53, 1993). These individuals see scientific misconduct as a serious problem that the community of researchers must confront, if not through the agency of ORI, then in some other way. C.K. Gunsalus, associate vice chancellor for research at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, for example, praises the scientific misconduct research performed by Walter Stewart and Ned Feder of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at NIH. Stewart and Feder, after years of controversial investigation, were forcibly reassigned in early summer in an attempt to end their misconduct inquiries. Gunsalus notes that the two men have often angered scientists, but says that their contributions are undeniable. "These guys are infuriating, they're outrageous, they're exasperating, and they haven't got the sense that God gave geese--but they're often right," says Gunsalus, who is also chairwoman of the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington. "The infuriating things about them are mostly stylistic, and they do have substance," she adds. "As a community, we ought to care more about substance than style." Gunsalus says, for instance, that she has used a computer system developed by the Stewart and Feder to compare texts for matching character strings to both substantiate and refute allegations of plagiarism at her campus. "They ought to have a platform from which to speak," Gunsalus says. "Should that be NIDDK? Probably not. Should it be someplace in the government? Probably so." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Scientists Join Forces With Clergy In Addressing Environmental Issues AU : EDWARD R. SILVERMAN TY : NEWS PG : 1 In an unusual alliance, a group of prominent scientists has teamed up with several major religious denominations to address what they see as urgent environmental problems. The group aims to educate Americans about such global concerns as deteriorating marine life, loss of important species, and food shortages. It is being led by Henry Kendall, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, both in Cambridge, Mass. Called the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, the recently formed nonprofit organization hopes to tap into the American consciousness by building grass-roots support at the spiritual level. "The global environment situation is harsher than most people realize," says Kendall. "The severe troubles are coming down the pike. There's a lot riding on this outreach. "And none of us in the scientific community have anything approaching this kind of access," he says, referring to the widespread following of major Christian and Jewish denominations. Setting Aside Differences Reasonable minds may disagree about the Earth's beginnings, says Paul Gorman, executive director of the New York-based partnership, but the organization wants to set aside creation debates and remind everyone that improving the environment requires a mix of ecological vigilance and faith. "The science and religious communities are two groups that have long been distant or estranged," says Gorman, who previously worked as a vice president of advocacy at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. "They may not agree about creation. But look at it this way. God said, `Let there be water.' Well, what's the state of our water now? " he says. "And God created animals. But half of those species may be extinct within 50 years. The bottom line is that we don't have to agree on how or when the Earth was made in order to agree on how to preserve it." "These are human problems, and require a new ethic of dealing with ecosystems," says Kendall. "But the solutions can't rest with the scientific community." To get its message out, the partnership plans to distribute informational booklets to 53,000 congregations--Catholic, Baptist, Greek Orthodox, and Reform and Conservative Jewish, among many others--representing as many as 100 million Americans, on Earth Day, next April 22. The specific content of the booklets has yet to be determined. Simple Goals As Gorman describes it, the goals of the organization are simple: to broaden the base of support for environmental action in mainstream communities, deepen the level of commitment to collective action, and underscore the moral imperative of leaving a healthier planet for future generations. To make that happen, the partnership will try to help religious leaders integrate environmental issues in their preaching, teaching, and worship. Emphasis will also be placed on helping them build bridges to community organizations in order to participate in public policy. "When the religious community gets together, they can make a lot of things happen," says Gorman, noting, for example, that the effort will reach every Catholic parish in the United States. "There hasn't been a partnership of this breadth on a single issue before," Gorman says. "We bring the authority of the scientific community, which understands threats to the environment, the nature of damage being done, and how to assess it," says Kendall. Scientists Took Initiative The partnership got its start in January 1990, when 34 prominent scientists--including Kendall; Hans Bethe, John Wendell Anderson Professor of Physics at Cornell University; Freeman Dyson, a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.; Jerome Wiesner, president, emeritus, and Institute Professor, emeritus, at MIT; Stephen Jay Gould, a professor of zoology at Harvard University; and Carl Sagan, David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and director of planetary studies at Cornell--sent a letter to the heads of several major religious denominations, urging their involvement in solving environmental problems. That letter got the ball rolling. Subsequent conversations led to meetings, including one breakfast with several congressional leaders, which resulted in the formation of working groups. These groups, in turn, hammered out the fine points needed to make scientific notions palatable to religious leaders and their followers. "Each group has to embrace the issues within their own religious framework," Gorman acknowledges. "They needed this relationship with the scientific community so there could be an informed response." The partnership coalesced in May of last year, backed by the U.S. Catholic Conference, the National Council of Churches in Christ, the Consultation on the Environment and Jewish Life, and the Evangelical Environmental Network. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a nonprofit organization devoted to influencing public policy, will supply a staff member and make its nationwide network of scientific contacts available to religious congregations. A three-year commitment to be involved in the project has been made by UCS, the religious groups, and the scientist volunteers; pledges for $4.5 million in funding from various external sources have been received. "If this program is a success, it should have an important effect on what it means to be religious," says Gorman. "In fact, environmental stewardship should become a significant aspect of what it means to be religious." For information, contact the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, 1047 Amersterdam Ave., New York, N.Y. 10025; (212) 316-7441. Edward R. Silverman is a freelance writer based in Millburn, N.J. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------- TI : Dana Awards Honor Scientific Innovators AU : NEERAJA SANKARAN TY : NEWS PG : 3 The Charles A. Dana Foundation presented its annual Charles A. Dana Awards for Pioneering Achievements in Health and Education at a dinner ceremony last month at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. This year, the New York-based foun- dation's health awards honored seven scientists and educators who won or shared four awards--two in health and two in education. Three neuroscientists who made significant breakthroughs in brain research and applied their findings to clinical disorders won health awards. Among the four education award recipients were two professors who created a new approach to teaching introductory physics. The foundation established these annual prizes in 1986 to honor people who have made significant contributions toward improvements in health and education worldwide. David Mahoney, chairman and CEO of the foundation, presented the four $50,000 awards at the dinner. In the afternoon preceding the ceremony, the recipients met for a symposium at New York's Museum of Modern Art to share their ideas and research accomplishments. Brain Cell Transplants Anders Bjorklund, a professor of histology at the University of Lund in Sweden, and Fred H. Gage, a professor of neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, shared one of the health awards for pioneering cell- transplantation techniques to treat brain damage in neurodegenerative diseases once thought to be irreversible. The two scientists have worked, both in collaboration and independently, to develop brain cell-replacement techniques and gene therapies to treat Parkinson's disease, which is characterized by the gradual impairment of patients' motor functions. Says Gage, "The patients still have the ability to move--the damage is such that they are slow to respond to the brain's commands. So, once a patient begins something, it is difficult to stop." For instance, he explains, a person with Par-kinson's will walk into a wall because he or she is unable to either stop or turn away in time to avoid it. "The brain cells that are damaged are like the clutch of a car," Bjorklund said at the symposium. "The engine is okay, but the patient has difficulty in switching the gears." The "clutch" consists of neurons that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that allows communication between different parts of the brain in order to coordinate movements. Bjorklund's research has concentrated on grafting neurons into the brain to replace dead and dying dopamine-producing brain cells. Until he showed that this was possible, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's were considered completely irreversible. In a parallel line of research, Gage has been working on genetically engineering the donor cells to endow them with specific properties. He has developed a method to alter easily obtainable cells from the patient's own skin, and introduce these into the brain. Currently, Bjorklund is heading clinical trials in Sweden, testing the brain cell-transplantation techniques in patients with Parkinson's disease. In describing the trials at the conference, he said that the early results have been very promising. Bjorklund received his M.D. in 1969 from the University of Lund, and has been with the neurobiology section of the department of cell biology there since 1966. He has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences since 1989. Gage, a professor of neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1976. Before his appointment there in 1985, he served on the faculty of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and the University of Lund. Memory Research The second health award went to Larry R. Squire, also of UC- San Diego, for his research on the brain and human memory. The members of the nominating committee for the health awards cited his investigations as laying the groundwork for understanding how memory is affected by factors such as aging, trauma, and disease. He was among the first researchers to show that memory was not a single faculty of the brain, and in fact comprises several systems that involve different parts of the organ. "Memory is not just in the hippocampus any more," he said at the symposium, with reference to previous attempts to correlate brain functions with specific areas of the brain. Through his research with amnesiacs, Squire has classified the very process of memory into two types of functions-- declarative and nondeclarative--and related these to different parts of the brain. While the hippocampus and associated parts are responsible for learning and remembering facts and events (declarative memory), nondeclarative memory functions such as the acquisition of skills and habits were shown to be independent of this area. Using newly developed brain-imaging techniques on patients with amnesia, Squire and his colleagues were the first to observe damage in the hippocampus. That these patients still possessed normal capabilities for skills and habits validated Squire's belief that the two types of memory were independent. Squire came to UC-San Diego in 1970 as a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience and is currently also a staff research scientist at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 and did postdoctoral studies at Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y. He is the president-elect of the Society for Neuroscience, which he served as secretary in 1988-90. Precollegiate Education The education awards this year honored people whose work has influenced precollege education. Priscilla W. Laws, a professor of physics at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., and Ronald K. Thornton, a professor of research in physics and education at Tufts University, Medford, Mass., jointly received an award for developing a program--Workshop Physics--to teach the fundamentals of physics in the classroom, which has, according to the award citation, boosted achievement rates in the subject. Instead of using the traditional lecture and laboratory-based approach, the program involves sophisticated computer tools and interactive workshops to induce students to grasp, through experience, fundamental concepts and gain the skills necessary for learning physics. Marie M. Clay, a professor, emerita, of developmental psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and Gay Su Pinnell, an associate professor in the Ohio State University College of Education, received an award for the development and dissemination of an early-intervention program called "Reading Recovery" to improve learning skills in young children. Awardees are nominated by a committee of leading researchers in the respective fields. The final selections are made by an independent panel of jurors, who are also prominent researchers in the given areas of interest. Recently the foundation made a $25 million commitment to neuroscience. Keeping with this focus, it has, since last year, channeled the health award to researchers who have made significant contributions in applying basic research in neuroscience to the problems of human health and disease. Neeraja Sankaran is a science writer at the Cancer Research Institute in New York City. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: NOTEBOOK ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : A `Best-Kept' Secret TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Several attendees at--and one recipient of--the 1993 John Scott Awards, presented annually by the Board of City Trusts of the city of Philadelphia (see People, page 22), voiced concern over the lack of publicity for the award. At one point during his acceptance speech, honoree Richard E. Smalley, Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry at Rice University, remarked, "This is the only time I've received an award, or heard of one, when all efforts made to get a list of previous awardees have failed." Lewis Padulo, president and CEO of Philadelphia's University City Science Center, shared Smalley's sentiment, calling the Scott Award "one of the best-kept secrets in Philadelphia, maybe in American science." Padulo also urged his colleagues in the Philadelphia science community to "put our thinking caps on" and "see if there's some way we can't get more attention and recognition for this outstanding advisory committee that gives the Scott Award and works so hard to pick these good people." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Broadening Experience TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation offers post-resident physicians an opportunity for two years of graduate-level study and research in non-biological sciences important to medical-care systems through its Clinical Scholars Program. The program covers such disciplines as biostatistics, medical information sciences, anthropology, the social sciences, law, ethics, and the humanities. Applications, including on-site interviews with participating institutions, must be completed between January 1 and April 1. For information, contact program assistant Sheila Libassi, Clinical Scholars Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, P.O. Box 2316, Princeton, N.J. 08543; (609) 243-5919. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Women's Work TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Just in time for the holidays (or the spring semester), the National Women's History Project has come out with another in its series of educational materials, this time for children in grades four through eight. Science is Women's Work: Photos and Biographies of American Women in the Sciences is a 56-page booklet profiling the lives and work of 26 prominent women scientists of the past and present, representing 18 fields of science or mathematics, each of whom had to overcome social biases to rise in their profession. Among the scientists featured are 19th- century astronomer Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), nuclear physicist and National Medal of Science winner Chien-Shiung Wu (born 1912), and Nobel Prize-winning pharmacologist Gertrude B. Elion (born 1918). For information, contact the National Women's History Project, 7738 Bell Rd., Dept. P, Windsor, Calif. 95492; (707) 838-6000. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Robotiquette TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Some day, University of Rochester graduate student Ray Rimey hopes his robot will impress scientists with its ability to scan a scene and independently zero in on the most important information--a difficult problem in artificial intelligence. But for now, Rimey's robot should at least give a thrill to etiquette aficionados. The device can survey a table and, by way of visual clues like the nature of the place settings, analyze and draw conclusions such as whether the table is set for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; whether a dinner is formal or informal; how many guests are coming; and even whether the table is messy or the guests have begun eating. Rimey programmed his robot--whose research and development earned him his Ph.D. in computer science--using decision theory and mathematical constructs known as Bayes Nets. A key advantage to his robot is that it doesn't bother itself with needless details, selectively taking note of the most pertinent information before it. Although this process might make sticklers like Miss Manners balk, Rochester computer science professor Christopher Brown applauds it as one that surmounts a problem for artificial intelligence scientists. "Most computer vision work develops methods of image processing, but when it comes to which methods the computer should do in what order--well, that's usually programmed into the application," says Brown, Rimey's adviser. "Rimey has built a general framework for using prior knowledge and information discovered along the way to choose the best method to apply next." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : What's In A Name? TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Given the multitude of scientific and political challenges that the space station Freedom project has had to overcome to remain viable, a newly encountered dilemma--NASA's plan to rename the station--seems rather minor, but not to a grass-roots organization having to deal with it. The Space Station Freedom Fighters, a Houston-based volunteer lobbying organization, will probably have to change its name when the project's new moniker is announced at the end of the year; and that has a few members worried. "We'll have to wait and see what the new name will be," says volunteer Cynthia Griffin. "The station is being temporarily called the `Alpha Station,' but we don't want to be called the `Alpha Bits.' " The organization is soliciting name suggestions to pass along to NASA. To suggest a name or for information, contact the Space Station Freedom Fighters, 16582 Space Center Blvd., Houston, Texas 77058; (718) 488-4075. Fax: (713) 488- 7903. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : For Returning Scholars TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The Association for Women Geoscientists Foundation has announced that it will award at least two Chrysalis Scholarships to women geoscience master's or Ph.D. candidates to cover expenses associated with finishing their theses. The $750 scholarships are for candidates who have returned two school after an interruption of their education of at least one year, and may be used for anything necessary to assist in finishing the thesis. Applications and related materials are due by March 1. For information, contact the Chrysalis Scholarship, Association for Women Geophysicists Foundation, Macalester College Geology Department, 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul, Minn. 55105-1899; (612) 696-6448. Fax: (612) 696-6183. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Bigger, Better Shrimp TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 A biologist at the University of Connecticut has put some more jumbo into jumbo shrimp by developing a method of introducing a reproductive hormone into the feed of shrimp, to produce a larger, tastier variety in commercial hatcheries. The process has earned Hans Laufer, a professor of molecular and cell biology, and the university a U.S. patent and, they hope, some commercial success down the road. Laufer and colleagues discovered methyl farnesoate, a hormone that stimulates reproduction and growth in crustaceans, in 1987, and later synthesized the hormone through biotechnology and added it to shrimp feed. Laufer's patent is for his work with Penaeus vannamei, a Pacific white shrimp. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: OPINION ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Luc Montagnier On Gallo And The AIDS Virus: `We Both Contributed' TY : OPINION PG : 11 Editor's Note: "Science is the dominant metaphor of the twentieth century," says author Thomas A. Bass in the introduction to his new book, Reinventing the Future: Conversations with the World's Leading Scientists (New York, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1994). "Science is the knowledge in which we place our faith, the solution to our problems, the way out, the way up." Bass's admittedly worshipful respect for science, along with his quest to understand it more fully, has prompted him over the past several years to conduct personal interviews with men and women who, given their research achievements, have played major roles in shaping the international science community of today. His book presents 11 of these interviews, touching on subjects as diverse as molecular biology, genetics, chaos theory, and drug research. Among Bass's interviewees are behavioral biologist Sarah Hrdy, neuroscientist Bert Sakmann, archaeologist Farouk El-Baz, and RU 486 developer Etienne-Emile Baulieu. Of all Bass's subjects, none, perhaps, has achieved more renown than Luc Montagnier, the French biochemist who laid claim in 1983 to discovering the AIDS virus at his Institut Pasteur laboratory in Paris--a claim that was also subsequently made by United States researcher Robert Gallo, head of the National Cancer Institute's laboratory of tumor cell biology in Bethesda, Md. Acrominious debate over who discovered the virus and who, as a result, deserves to receive royalties on the AIDS blood test has raged for the better part of the past decade. According to Bass, the American press has branded Montagnier as "patrician and aloof." What he discovered in his interview with the biochemist, however, was a candid, friendly researcher, willing to give his supposed rival Gallo abundant praise as a scientist, while at the same time determined to retain for himself the distinction of having isolated the AIDS virus. Following is an excerpt from Bass's interview with Montagnier. Q The American press describes you as proud and ambitious to the point of arrogance. Are you? A It depends on the day. When you're climbing a mountain, the last thing you want to do is look behind you and say, "Oh my, it's too high, what am I doing up here?" Even if I keep my eyes fixed on the summit, I realize I'm a long way from the top--in fact, there is no summit! In science there are always new problems. If it weren't AIDS, it would be something else. I'm a gambler out for the big killing. Like a roulette player at the table, I'm addicted to getting results out of my laboratory. Q You've said many times, "I have lots of enemies." A I do! In France we're very egalitarian, so if you get out ahead of the pack, they shoot at you. I'm a target. This comes not only from my scientific success, but also from my success in the media, which is something new for a scientist in France. From the start, AIDS has been a show-business disease. The press and media have been fascinated by it. People are making major discoveries in other domains, but they receive none of the attention accorded to AIDS, while I'm being barraged with invitations to appear on TV around the world. Q To set the record straight, did you discover the AIDS virus? A There's no debate about this point. The argument with Robert Gallo had to do with proving causality. Did the virus I discovered cause the disease? I don't think Gallo disputes that we were the first to isolate the virus and publish our findings in May 1983. All he has ever claimed is that he isolated the virus at roughly the same time. He wasn't able, however, to characterize it. Q What was your reaction when Gallo announced that he had discovered the virus? A I remember quite well the day he came to my office in April 1984. He . . . told us he had discovered the virus that causes AIDS, which he was calling HTLV-3. It was obvious his virus was close, if not identical, to ours. My reaction was altogether positive. He was confirming our work. Q Even though he was claiming all the credit for himself? A We both contributed to the discovery of the virus. The difference between science and religion is that in science everyone has to agree. For a fact to be a fact, it has to be reproducible. Miracles, by definition, are not reproducible. So if we were capable of isolating the virus that causes AIDS, it's not surprising that others could do it, as well. Q What was Gallo's contribution? A He found a way to grow the virus in continuous cell cultures. We developed a similar technique at the same time, but our cell lines were less productive than his. Later we found one equally as good, but in the beginning his line was better. This was important for developing the AIDS blood test. We also owe to him the idea that AIDS was caused by a retrovirus. Q Some people say that Gallo owes his discovery to samples of virus you sent him in July and September of 1983. A I don't want to stir up the past. All the details are given in the chronology we published together in Nature [R.C. Gallo, L. Montagnier, 326:435-6, 1987]. It says I sent him the virus. These shipments must have been useful to Gallo, and I don't think he denies it. Q Is it possible that Gallo's cell lines might have became contaminated with your virus, which would explain why he reproduced it so faithfully? A These accusations were made by the Institut Pasteur. And Gallo himself did not exclude this possibility. Q Because of his ability to mass-produce the virus, Robert Gallo has been called the Henry Ford of AIDS research. A Gallo is not someone who has merely perfected other people's discoveries. Many important findings have come from his laboratory, things like interleukin-2, the growth factor that allowed us to isolate the AIDS virus. He generates a lot of creativity. He's not merely a Henry Ford, a biological mechanic. Gallo and I have worked together in the past, and we'll probably do so again. The unhappy period that he and I lived through was distorted way out of proportion by the press and by the politics of the disease. Q What was your reaction to the political pressures surrounding AIDS research in the United States? A I was particularly furious that our patent for the blood test was ignored until Gallo's was accepted. That's what pushed me into starting legal proceedings. A Scientists in the United States are forced to produce results, which sometimes warps their sense of ethics. Q Were you surprised by the nature of American science? A No, I really don't object to the aggressivity of the Americans. I object to the passivity of the French, who met my work with incomprehension and indifference. Thanks to this research, France could be making breakthroughs in biotechnology, but it's letting the opportunity slip through its fingers. Q Were you pleased with the legal agreement you and Gallo signed in 1987? A Yes, I thought from the start there had to be a compromise. No one should be made to look as if he were losing face. The only solution was to split the royalty money 50-50 and establish a foundation for spending it. I was probably happier about the settlement than Gallo, because it was my idea. The affair caused a lot of ill will, and AIDS is too important for the problem to have remained unsolved. It was giving certain scientists--and science itself--a bad name. Not to have fought would have created a bad precedent. It would have signaled that one can get away with anything in science, which isn't true. Q Are you under a gag order that prevents you from talking about the details of the accord? A It's not exactly a gag order, although it's stated in the agreement that no one will reopen the scientific argument. There were actually two agreements: a legal accord between the American government and the Institut Pasteur, and a scientific accord between Gallo and me, which was published in Nature. Now Gallo and I are getting along quite well. We respect each other .... I bear no grudge against him. My rancor is reserved for the people who are still trying to get in the way of my research. I have a reputation for being an imperialist, an expansionist, because I ask for a lot of money. But this is what it takes to do research on AIDS. AIDS is not an affair that's going to last 50 years. It's going to be settled in 10 years, and if you want to put the package together, you can't drag your feet. Q Do you deserve a Nobel Prize for discovering the AIDS virus? A It's not for me to say. The Nobel committee might want to give the prize to the discoverer of the vaccine, although it was the discovery of the virus itself that allowed for its detection in blood and the development of public health measures that can limit the epidemic, even without a vaccine. The contribution of the American team is also important, so I doubt the prize will go to only one of the virus' co-discoverers. If someone develops a miracle drug against AIDS, that, too, would merit a Nobel Prize.... AIDS is a terrible malady, and I don't want to suggest that scientists are reaping their honors at other people's expense. I haven't changed because of my notoriety, but there's tremendous pressure from the media and the public, who think of us as a cross between magicians and movie stars. Reprinted from Reinventing the Future: Conversations with the World's Leading Scientists, by Thomas A. Bass. Copyright c1993 by Thomas A. Bass. Used by permission of Addison- Wesley Publishing Co. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: COMMENTARY ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : How An Understanding Of Science History Is Useful, Enriching, And Rewarding AU : EUGENE GARFIELD TY : OPINION (COMMENTARY) PG : 12 It was gratifying to publish Franklin Hoke's article titled "History Of Science Societies Sprout Up Nationwide, With More Researchers Studying Lessons Of The Past" (The Scientist, Nov. 15, 1993, page 1). The dramatic proliferation of these societies is a very healthy trend. Throughout my career--in fact, since my early adolescence--I have been fascinated by the history and sociology of science. Indeed, it's quite likely that a book my uncle gave to me at the end of my freshman year in high school--John D. Bernal's The Social Function of Science--was the spark that ignited my incipient interest in research and influenced my eventual decision to make a career for myself in the science community. As a Columbia University undergraduate, I wrote a paper on biblical treatments of medical problems; later, as a young chemist at Johns Hopkins University--where my investigations of information retrieval were launched--I worked under Sanford V. Larkey, a physician-librarian with an abiding interest in Elizabethan medicine; and at the Institute for the History of Medicine, I met scholars like Richard H. Shryock, the "dean" of American medical history. Chauncey D. Leake--pharmacologist, dean, medical historian, and one of the leading mentors in my life--introduced me not only to the subtleties of review writing, from which my ideas on citation indexing sprung, but also to Egyptian medical papyri, Leonardo da Vinci, and a host of other science history subjects. Later, I became closely associated with Derek J. de Solla Price--the creative pioneer of scientometrics--and Robert K. Merton, the quintessential sociologist/historian of science. In 1958, at the International Conference on Scientific Information in Washington, I met John Desmond Bernal himself, the man whose work had stimulated me first as a teenager and later at the Welch Indexing Project at Johns Hopkins. (After his death about a decade ago, I was happy to sponsor the J.D. Bernal Annual Award of the Society for the Social Study of Science.) Why has the study of the history of science remained so compelling for me? What prompted some of the people I've mentioned previously, and countless others, to devote the bulk of their professional lives to learning, teaching, and writing about it? What is its practical value to the researcher of today? And why do I so warmly greet the news that interest in the subject appears to be spreading rapidly? There are many ways to address these questions. I think it is safe to say, for instance, that each of us, no matter what our role may be, gains from the understanding that the daily tasks we perform, petty and routine as they often may be, contribute to the composition over time of a larger pattern and more elevated purpose than is immediately perceptible to us. The study of history not only provides a glimpse of the ennobling grand scheme, but also reinforces our sense of community with our colleagues, with those who have preceded us in time, and with those who are to follow. Hoke's article quoted a longtime associate of mine, Gerald Holton, a Harvard University professor of physics and the history of science and past president of the 4,000-member History of Science Society. "For understanding the 20th century," Holton contends, "it is a requirement to be able to understand what science is about, how it works, and what influence it has had." This is especially applicable today, he says, in light of the fact that "something like half the bills in Congress have scientific or technological implications." Perhaps the most strikingly poetic justification was provided by the Belgian-born George Sarton, author of the mammoth Introduction to the History of Science and often referred to as "the father" of the field. In the mid-1920s, Sarton--founder and editor of Isis--organized the History of Science Society. At the first George Sarton Medal ceremony in 1955--the year before his death--he said: "The past cannot be separated from the present without grievous loss. The present without the past is insipid and meaningless; the past without the present is obscure. The life of science, like the life of art, is eternal, and we must view it from the point of view of eternity." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: LETTERS ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Animal Welfare AU : SUSAN E. PARIS TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 I am sure many of your readers join me in disagreeing with the accusations made by Marjorie Anchel in her Sept. 20, 1993, letter to The Scientist [page 12]. To say that "laboratories are exempt from the anti-cruelty laws" is to ignore the fact that the biomedical research industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the United States. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) sets standards for the humane treatment of laboratory animals. This act has specific requirements for housing, feeding, sanitation, and ventilation. Many amendments were added to this 1966 bill that also govern the amount of living space, proper exercise, and psychological well-being of the animal. In fact, with all these regulations, some animal research laboratories cost more to build than hospitals. Additionally, many institutions voluntarily adhere to even stricter laboratory guidelines, such as those of the American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC). Medical scientists strive to avoid excessive regulation, which does nothing for animal welfare but costs researchers time and money. These costs translate into paying more for health care and waiting longer for new treatments. Furthermore, Quakers, who, according to Anchel's letter, "found themselves involved with animal protection as naturally as temperance and antislavery" were also meat eaters and used these same animals to work their fields, a lifestyle vehemently opposed by the "animal rights" movement. I believe Anchel is confusing animal welfare, which all responsible scientists support, with animal rights. Animal rights is an indefensible stance that equates the life of a rat or any research animal with the life of a human being. If we had followed the animal rights philosophy 50 years ago, our children would still be suffering from diphtheria, whooping cough, and measles. And we'd still be dying from polio and rabies. SUSAN E. PARIS President Americans for Medical Progress 1735 Jefferson Davis Highway Suite 907 Arlington, Va. 22202-3401 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Fetal Tissue Research AU : ALFRED E. HARPER TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 The article on resumption of National Institutes of Health support for investigations involving the use of fetal tissue (M.E. Watanabe, The Scientist, Oct. 4, 1993, page 1) was heartening. It would have been more heartening if, in their comments, the researchers interviewed about the effects of the ban had emphasized less their deprivation of funds and delayed progress and more the restriction imposed on their freedom. It was encouraging, in any event, that three scientists made reference, even though obliquely, to the ban's being based on moral or political, not on scientific, grounds. It would have been more encouraging if they had stated flatly that imposition of the ban was neither a moral nor a political issue, but a religious issue. It is a serious threat to freedom when, in a country whose constitution requires separation of church and state, funding for a valuable component of medical research can be banned because some aspects of it are considered not to conform with precepts certain religious organizations assert are ordained by divine revelation. The conflict between religion and science is not dead, or of only historical significance, as many would have us believe. It is as real as it was when Galileo was forced to recant. The conflict is less physically threatening now than it was in Galileo's time because the power of religious hierarchies has waned. Violence, nonetheless, is still countenanced by organizations that try to force the entire population to conform with their religious beliefs about reproduction and creation. Although the current political leadership is disposed more strongly toward protecting freedom than abridging it, to ensure continuity of the policy will require scientists to stand firmly against actions that subordinate the autonomy of reason to the doctrines of a church. ALFRED E. HARPER 381 N.W. 112th St. Seattle, Wash. 98177-4840 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: RESEARCH ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Failure Of Landsat 6 Leaves Many Researchers In Limbo AU : MYRNA E. WATANABE TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 On its launch this past October 5, the Landsat 6 remote- sensing satellite crashed into the Indian Ocean--a sourly disappointing turn of events for researchers in several scientific fields. These scientists have grown increasingly dependent on the space device, which scans specific electromagnetic wavelengths from Earth, to supply them with unique data on the ever-changing planet. For these researchers, this latest setback is representative of the roller-coaster history of the two-decade-old Landsat satellite program, and their experience with it. It is a history marked, on one hand, by the spectacular research applicability of the satellite, far exceeding its initial expectations, and, on the other, by administrative and political decisions that eventually priced the data it collected out of the reach of most researchers, forcing them to abandon it as a viable tool. A recently passed federal law revived the hopes of many of these scientists that they might again use the satellite in their studies, but the October crash and federal budgetary problems have left those hopes, at the very least, in limbo. The first Landsat satellite, launched in 1972, was expected to be used primarily to aid geologists in their monitoring of the Earth's surface from space on a repetitive basis with sophisticated sensors. It wasn't long, however, before scientists in many other fields--geographers, ecologists, biologists, environmental scientists, and others --realized that remote sensing of the Earth's surface could provide them with invaluable information. Use of the medium blossomed; suddenly, Landsat imagery was conveying startling data--in the form of striking and informative color and black-and-white images-- about crop yields, irrigation, ecological recovery from brush fires and volcanoes, siltation and diversion of rivers, and other phenomena. And the price was right. A data tape produced from the satellite could be obtained for $250, a black-and-white print for $10. But 12 years later, in 1984, the Reagan administration moved the Landsat program from governmental auspices to the private sector. Run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the Department of Commerce in the early 1980s, the satellite's operation and development were put under the aegis of a private company, Lanham, Md.- based Earth Observation Satellite Co. (EOSAT), a joint venture of Camden, N.J.-based RCA Corp. and Hughes Aircraft Co., Los Angeles. Almost immediately, prices for the satellite-generated imagery skyrocketed: The computer- compatible tape now cost $4,400; the price of the $10 black- and-white print soared to $2,700. Some investigators made do with pre-EOSAT imagery to continue their studies, while others reduced their research, exploited expensive and non-comparable imagery from European satellites, or began making the best of imagery obtained from conventional aircraft. Understandably, they had reason to be hopeful when, in October 1992--after much congressional lobbying by them and sympathetic politicians--a law was passed that will eventually see the return of Landsat to governmental supervision and affordability. The Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992, signed by President George Bush, requires that Landsat be turned over to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Defense from EOSAT. The law sets up a procedure that will make data available at cost to specific researchers. The process of buying back Landsat has begun, but NASA does not yet have the budget to buy its share; however, it has bought some Landsat data from EOSAT and has made them available to researchers. But then came the Landsat 6 debacle, a loss of valuable resources that many were quick to blame on the ineptitude of NOAA, which handled the launch, and EOSAT, which had built the satellite. Once again, the scientists whose work depended on this remarkable device are concerned about the prospects of continuing their studies. The next generation of Landsat satellite, Landsat 7, is scheduled to be launched in 1998, although plans to speed up the process in the wake of the Landsat 6 crash have been discussed. In the meantime, scientists must wait or find alternatives. Many Applications There is no way of monitoring large-scale environmental degradation and global change except through remote sensing. For example, the University of New Hampshire's David Skole and his colleague Compton Tucker of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., used the data to determine rain forest loss in Brazilian Amazonia. Their results (Science, 260:1905-10, 1993) showed much less of a loss than environmentalists expected. They based their assessment on a massive amount of Landsat- generated information obtained from the Brazilian space agency, which has a monitoring station to receive data directly from satellites. These stations, in countries throughout the world, pay EOSAT for access--the privilege of turning on the satellite and collecting and processing the data themselves. Skole and Tucker used approximately 250 Brazilian scenes at $250 per scene, Skole says. He calculates that the same scenes, if available from EOSAT, would have cost $1.1 million. Victor Klemas, a professor of marine studies and director of the Center for Remote Sensing at the University of Delaware in Newark, uses remote sensing imagery to assess erosion and pollution. This is important not only to assess water quality, but also to prepare for possible oil spills in the region, according to Klemas. Klemas has purchased data from EOSAT from grant money for some of his projects. "All in all, the research has suffered because of the high price structure," he says. He sees himself in a bind as a result of the loss of Landsat 6. "We all counted on Landsat 6 data for continuity," he says, referring to the need for repetitive coverages and images in similar formats to those taken by Landsat before. Another use of Landsat remote sensing data is for monitoring resources. According to Janine Stenback, a remote sensing specialist with the State of California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in Sacramento, her state specifically is looking at the conversion of wild lands to urban lands, monitoring threatened and endangered habitats, and mapping and monitoring wetlands. California, however, cannot afford EOSAT's prices and was looking forward to receiving relief under the new Landsat 6 pricing structure. According to Stenback, California has been relying on aircraft-acquired data--which are in similar wavelengths as the data from Landsat--from NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain Home, Calif., for emergency response situations, such as quickly locating and assessing the scope of brush fires. This coverage is both frequent and rapid, and, in emergency situations, the data were provided free of charge. But these data are limited in use, Stenback says. It is hard, for example, to put the images together to form a continuous mosaic; and images may differ, depending upon the altitude of the aircraft. Donald Rundquist, a geographer who is a professor of conservation at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, says that he relies on Landsat remote sensing imagery for many studies, most of which are related to the agricultural emphasis of his school. These include irrigation monitoring; crop classification, identification, and mapping; and water- quality assessment. His group had to cut back on the imagery after EOSAT raised the prices. Now, he is considering alternatives. Alta Walker, a geologist with the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va., used contemporary Landsat imagery in the early 1980s to determine the extent of remaining natural habitat for the endangered Chinese alligator. This required imagery from several different years and seasons, and would be prohibitively expensive now. Walker now limits her research to geology and geological history, which do not require time-sensitive images, trading old Landsat tapes with other researchers and the government. Meanwhile, Fred Koontz, curator of mammals at the Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Park in New York, has used satellite tracking systems to follow movements of radio- collared elephants in Africa. He had hoped to use Landsat remote sensing imagery for on-site field research and wildlife conservation programs, but under EOSAT, such imagery has been out of financial reach. And now he foresees a "data gap" until Landsat 7's proposed 1998 launch. Bridging The Gap Since EOSAT took over the Landsat program, consumption of Landsat data by academics dropped precipitously. In 1976, researchers purchased 34,000 scenes, an all-time high; in 1990, only 450 scenes were purchased, says Koontz. Even the scientific literature suffered. Geophysicist Paul Lowman of the Goddard Space Flight Center says that very little has been published on use of remote sensing imagery in the last several years. The new pricing structure that will be worked out as a result of the 1992 law was expected to lead to immediate increased demand for Landsat 6 data. Given the crash and ongoing negotiations to repurchase the program, this will not happen. How can the many researchers hope to continue their work? Right now, there are only two barely functioning Landsat satellites: Landsat 4, which has been shut down because of communication difficulties, and Landsat 5. Both of these are long overdue for replacement, and both of them can fail at any moment. Although some existing Landsat data will be provided at cost to certain researchers and organizations under the new law, current data will be available only as long as the two satellites last. Archival data, now maintained on tapes in storage centers by NOAA, have the disadvantage of being dated; moreover, they tend to not be in the best of shape. According to Skole, much previously obtained material is located in coun- tries outside the U.S. that have their own tracking stations. In fact, Skole points out, no one knows exactly what data are available worldwide. Alternatives Those who can afford to are considering alternatives, but nothing seems to be ideal. California is looking into using data from the French-European Systme Probatoire pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT) satellite. But SPOT data are not cheap, and, California's Stenback says, the differences in resolution and format may make it difficult to compare Landsat and SPOT imagery of the same area. Rundquist is considering using imagery from the Japanese JERS-1 satellite for work on changes in the aquifer in four western lakes in Nebraska. These data also are expensive-- about $1,000 for a computer-compatible tape--but significantly cheaper than EOSAT's data. New Hampshire's Skole questions the use of Japanese imagery. "It's of dubious quality," he says. The best solution seems to be to move up the launch of Landsat 7. Landsat 7 is not a panacea; its technology, according to Nebraska's Rundquist, is dated. But it still will provide affordable data to U.S. researchers. Researchers such as Koontz are concerned that national budgetary problems may further hinder the project. Koontz adds, however, that President Clinton and Vice President Gore support the Landsat program. "The government is going to have to step in and follow through on some of these ideas, or the U.S. will lose its leadership position," Koontz states. Myrna E. Watanabe is a biotechnology consultant based in Yonkers, N.Y. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : LANDSAT EVOLUTION TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 The first of the Landsat series of satellites was launched by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1972. The program was a direct outgrowth of the use of hand-held Hasselblad cameras by the astronauts in the Mercury and Gemini space programs to photograph the Earth from space, according to Paul Lowman, a geophysicist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. These space photos enthralled geologists. The Landsat program was a concerted effort to monitor the Earth from space on a regular and repetitive basis with sensors that detect radiation in select wavelengths, providing information that geologists could use to study landforms, land movement, and the Earth's geological history. These satellites repeat coverage of the same area approximately once every 16 days. The digital data obtained can be analyzed by computer and can be used to make black- and-white or multicolored images of the Earth. Landsat 2 was launched in 1975, Landsat 3 in 1978, Landsat 4 in 1982, and Landsat 5 in 1984. Landsat 4 and 5 have improved sensors and produce images with increased resolution, but the resolution is inferior to that of the French-European Systme Probatoire pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT) satellite, an alternative available to researchers. The average lifespan of Landsat 1 through 3 was six years. Landsat 4 and 5 are still aloft, but Landsat 4 has been shut down because of communication difficulties and Landsat 5's transmissions are weak. Scientists expect that Landsat 7, to be launched in 1998, will carry sensors with greater resolution equivalent to SPOT, but Tony Janetos of NASA in Washington, D.C., explains that if the launch is moved up, this improvement may have to be scrapped. --M.E.W. SUGGESTED READING: P.D. Lowman, Jr., Geologists and Ideas: A History of North American Geology, E. T. Drake and W. M. Jordan eds., Geological Society of America Centennial Special, Vol. 1, pages 481-519, 1985. T. Nishidai, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 14:18- 25, 1993. D.C. Rundquist, et al., Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 55:587-90, 1989. D.C. Rundquist and S.A. Samson, in, Introduction to Remote Sensing of the Environment, ed. B.F. Richason, Jr., 2nd ed., Kendall-Hunt Publishers, pages 317-37, 1983. N. M. Short and R. W. Blair, Jr., eds., Geomorphology from Space. (Washington, D.C., NASA, 1986). (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: HOT PAPERS ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : MEDICINE TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 16 C.P. van Schayck, E. Dompeling, C.L.A. van Herwaarden, H. Folgering, A.L.M. Verbeek, H.J.M. van der Hoogen, C. van Weel, "Bronchodilator treatment in moderate asthma or chronic bronchitis: continuous or on demand? A randomised controlled study," British Medical Journal, 303:1426-31, 1991. Constant P. van Schayck (Department of General Practice, Nijmegen University, the Netherlands): "We investigated the effects of chronic, continuous use of bronchodilators in asthma and chronic bronchitis. The possibly adverse effects of bronchodilators on the prognosis of asthma and chronic bronchitis is a topical subject nowadays. Long-term studies on this subject are scarce. These studies have begun to appear in the last few years, and they do not seem to justify the fear (or even panic) among patients and doctors of using these bronchodilators. "It is true that several publications have pointed to the possibly adverse effects of these drugs. However, none of these publications have real-ly proved that bronchodilators are dangerous in the long run. In several epidemiological studies an association was found between the prescription of b2-adrenergic drugs and asthma mortality (J. Crane, et al., Lancet, 1:917-22, 1989; W.O. Spitzer, et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 326:501-6, 1992). These epidemiological studies cannot provide evidence for a causal relationship-- that is, that the bronchodilators themselves were the cause of an increase in asthma mortality. It is more probable that overdependence on the b2-adrenergic drugs delays the use of necessary anti-inflammatory agents and might therefore be a cause of asthma mortality. "The only way to prove the deleterious effects of the bronchodilator itself is to perform clinical trials in which the treatment regimen is randomized. In this paper, we published the changes caused by continuous bronchodilator treatment compared with treatment on demand. The decline in lung function was 72 ml per year during continuous use and 20 ml per year during treatment on demand (p 0.05). Another prospective study showed an increased bronchial hyperresponsiveness during continuous use of a bronchodilator (M.R. Sears, et al., Lancet, 226:1391-6, 1990). On the basis of these studies it has been recommended that if asthmatic patients need to inhale a bronchodilator more than once daily, it is advisable to add anti- inflammatory medication. "A follow-up study by our group investigated whether a rapid progression in lung function of patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease could be reversed or slowed by additional anti-inflammatory treatment (E. Dompeling, et al., Annals of Internal Medicine, 118:770-8, 1993). It was shown that the initial annual decline in FEV1 of 160 ml per year was decelerated to 100 ml per year during the use of the inhaled steroid. On the basis of these observations it is recommended to avoid overreliance on bronchodilators. The use of anti-inflammatory treatment (inhaled steroids or cromoglycate) should be given serious consideration when a bronchodilator is used daily." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : GENETICS TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 16 S.H. Devoto, M. Mudryj, J. Pines, T. Hunter, J.R. Nevins, "A cyclin A-protein kinase complex possesses sequence-specific DNA binding activity: p33.MDSU/cdk2 is a component of the E2F-cyclin A complex," Cell, 68:167-76, 1992. Joseph R. Nevins (Section of Genetics, Duke University Medical Center, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Durham, N.C.): "A series of experiments performed in 1991 led to the realization that the cellular transcription factor E2F, previously studied as a component of transcription of an early adenovirus gene, was a target for the action of the retinoblastoma gene product. This finding coalesced studies directed at understanding the action of E1A as a transcriptional regula- tory protein, through the activation of E2F, together with studies directed at E1A's oncogenic role, by binding to proteins such as Rb. In short, it appeared that the binding of E1A to Rb was a consequence of the action of E1A to disrupt the E2F complex and activate E2F. "At the same time that the E2F-Rb connection was made, it became clear that there was an additional E2F complex that contained the cell cycle regulatory protein cyclin A, another protein previously shown to be bound by adenovirus E1A. The E2F-cyclin A interaction was shown to accumulate in S phase of the cell cycle, coincident with the accumulation of the cyclin A protein. Although these findings were quite unexpected and striking, they were also perplexing to those in the cell cycle field, since previous studies had detailed the role of cyclin A as a cofactor for the cdc2 family of protein kinases. "It was difficult to imagine a scenario in which cyclin A would interact with a kinase on the one hand and a transcription factor on the other. In this regard, the work of Steve Devoto, which demonstrated that the E2F-cyclin A complex also contained the cdk2 kinase as well as the Rb- related p107 protein--a result also described by Ed Harlow and colleagues at the same time (L.M. Cao, B. Faha, M. Dembski, et al., Nature, 355:176-9, 1992)--was important in placing the interaction in a more comfortable perspective. In short, this paper returned the cyclin A protein to its proper place--an association with the cdk2 kinase--but, in so doing, added an interesting twist: As a consequence of the presence of E2F, this kinase complex possessed sequence- specific DNA binding activity. I suspect that this aspect is responsible in part for the extensive citations. "Although the ultimate significance of the association of a cyclin-dependent kinase with a transcription factor is still to be determined, these findings raise the interesting possibility that E2F might serve as a chaperone for the kinase complex, targeting the kinase to a site on DNA that may contain a substrate for the kinase. Whether this is significant for transcription or, alternatively, DNA replication, or even some other DNA-associated event, must await future studies." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : CELL BIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 16 S. Shirodkar, M. Ewen, J.A. DeCaprio, J. Morgan, D.M. Livingston, T. Chittenden, "The transcription factor E2F interacts with the retinoblastoma product and a p107-cyclin A complex in a cell cycle-regulated manner," Cell, 68:157- 66, 1992. Thomas Chittenden (Immunogen Inc., Cambridge, Mass.): "This work was done in the lab of David M. Livingston at the Dana- Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The retinoblastoma protein (Rb) belongs to a class of growth regulatory proteins, termed tumor suppressors, which function to prevent tumorigenesis. Livingston's laboratory has been interested in understanding, at a molecular level, how Rb negatively regulates cell growth. In 1991 several groups, including our own, demonstrated that Rb forms a complex with the cellular transcription factor E2F. E2F contributes to the cell cycle-dependent transcription of a multitude of genes involved in DNA synthesis and cell proliferation. "This work is an effort to understand how the activity of E2F is coordinated with the cell cycle. We show that regulation of E2F involves an interaction with Rb in G1, whereas in S phase, E2F forms a complex with an Rb-related protein, p107, and cyclin A. Similar findings were reported simultaneously by several other laboratories. "The interest in this paper most likely reflects a convergence of several areas of intensive research: Rb (tumor suppressors), E2F (transcription factors), and cyclins (components of the cell cycle machinery). These findings provide evidence that different members of the Rb protein family (Rb and p107) have distinct functions in the cell cycle. The presence of cyclin A, a known regulator of S phase, in a DNA-binding transcription factor complex is provocative to many investigators. "Subsequent studies by a number of groups have pointed to additional complexity in virtually every component of E2F regulation. The recent isolation of cDNA clones for E2F has revealed that E2F is actually a family of proteins. At least one other cyclin, cyclin E, interacts with E2F, but with kinetics that are distinct from cyclin A. There is also evidence that yet additional members of the Rb protein family interact with E2F. Despite the incredibly rapid pace of research in this area, the central challenge remains to determine how all of these components are integrated to provide appropriate cell cycle-dependent transcription of E2F-responsive genes." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : New Disrupters Help Cell Biologists Retrieve Products AU : RICKI LEWIS TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 18 Many experiments in cell biology require researchers to break open cells and then retrieve their contents. For example, the production of recombinant proteins in biotechnology relies on cell and tissue cultures--and cell disruption is essential to retrieving sought-after cell products. The technology used must be powerful enough to disrupt cell membranes and, possibly, cell walls, yet gentle enough so that the organelles and macromolecules inside the cells are not smashed, shattered, or boiled away. Today, researchers have quite a selection of cell-disruption tools to choose from, including relatively familiar sonicators, rotor-stator systems, blenders, and bead mills, as well as several innovative newcomers. "The method selected will depend on its capability to process samples of a certain size or to be able to process multiple samples in a reasonable period of time," says Timothy R. Hopkins, a biochemist and president of BioSpec Products Inc. in Bartlesville, Okla. "Other considerations are the availability, cost, and general utility of the disruption equipment. "In a research environment, purchase of an expensive cell disrupter which processes a wide variety of cell types may be easier to justify than a specialized disrupter," he adds. "And if the long-term goal is to scale up, the choice of disruption methods narrows considerably." Some techniques that can easily process a few milliliters of cell sample in a researcher's lab are of no use when the sample is scaled up to several liters. Another key consideration in selecting a cell disrupter is cell type. "Some cells are more difficult to rupture than others," says Carol Ostrom, marketing manager at Microfluidics Corp. in Newton, Mass. "For example, mammalian cells, in many methods, are easier. Yeast are really hard to penetrate." In her company's Cell Disruption Microfluidizer, cells caught at the point where two high-speed and highly pressurized streams of proprietary liquids meet are ruptured. Mammalian cells, relatively delicate because they lack cell walls, rupture with one pass at a pressure of 2,000 psi, while insect blood cells require three passes at 5,000 psi or one pass at 15,000 psi. The notoriously tough yeast cells can require two passes at 20,000 psi, Ostrom says. The advantage of the device, according to Ostrom, is that "the whole product is treated in a uniform manner, making it easy to scale up from research and development to production." While Microfluidics emphasizes the ability of its device to rupture the toughest cells, a Cell Disruption Bomb from Parr Instruments Co. in Moline, Ill., targets delicate mammalian cells and works on the principle of nitro- gen decompression. This is the same phenomenon feared by deep- sea divers and known as "the bends," in which nitrogen in the blood bubbles out of solution as the divers ascend from great depths. With the Cell Disruption Bomb, nitrogen is dissolved in cells in a high-pressure vessel. A sudden release of the pressure sends the nitrogen into bubbles, and the cells burst. The technique is fast and uniform, and handles large samples without generating heat. "It is physically and chemically quite gentle and can be used to recover delicate biochemicals with high metabolic activities," says Sherman Hamel, vice president of sales and marketing at Parr. "The disruptive action can also be closely controlled to release intact nuclei and functional mitochondria from most mammalian cells." Traditional Disrupters Bead milling is another effective way to disrupt the tough- to-crack yeast cells, other fungi, cyanobacteria, microalgae, and spores. In a shaking-type bead mill, electromechanical forces agitate glass beads in a container of cell-rich fluid. Speed, duration, and bead size are chosen to suit the particular cell type and the type of material the researcher wants to collect. It takes one to five minutes to disrupt bacterial cells, for example, says Hopkins. After movement stops, the beads settle immediately to the bottom of the container and the broken cells can be removed from the material on top. The shaking type bead mill can handle samples up to 3 ml. A rotor-type bead mill, in which a moving rotor provides the shearing force, can process samples up to 250 ml. Another common cell-disrupting tool, the rotor-stator homogenizer, tears cells by applying turbulence and shearing generated by forces between a stationary component, the stator, and a moving component, the rotor. "The stator is a hollow tube, and the rotor is a blade inside it that turns swiftly," says Alison Lippincott, marketing coordinator at Omni International Inc. in Gainesville, Va. "The stator has slots," Lippincott says. "When the rotor spins, it sucks the sample up and cuts it while it is rotating. When the sample is pushed out of the windows [slots], it is cut further. Outside [of the slots], the sample meets a pressure differential, which shears it even further." Ultrasound is the basis for another widely used cell- disruption technology. Devices based on ultrasound are called sonicators and work on the principle of cavitation. An electrical current is converted to mechanical vibrations, which traverse a device called a horn, which intensifies the vibrations. This establishes pressure waves. When the horn contacts a liquid, millions of microscopic bubbles, or cavities, form in the presence of the resulting positive and negative forces generated by the pressure waves. As the bubbles expand under negative pressure and implode, or collapse, under positive pressure, they send a powerful shock wave through a probe tip, which shears cells it contacts. The cavitation actually occurs just in front of the probe's tip. Vendors supply ultrasound devices and a variety of horns, probe tips, cooling jackets, and sound- proofing modifications. "Every unit does the exact same thing," says Anthony Borrelli, assistant marketing manager at Sonics and Materials Inc., Danbury, Conn. "With higher wattages, you can go with a higher volume. A couple of models have more whistles and bells." While ultrasound manufacturers highlight the efficiency and speed of sonicators, many life scientists are wary of the devices. "Ultrasound generates a tremendous amount of heat, which is a great disadvantage in biology," says Stefan Surzycki, a professor in the Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology at Indiana University, Bloomington. Heat, he explains, can destroy organelles and unravel biological molecules. Birth Of BioNeb Surzycki's dissatisfaction with cell disrupters on the market led him to invent a new entrant into this rather classical field. "Ultrasound leads to heat, which is uncontrollable," he says. "Systems that use a blade shatter everything. With many methods, you just smash everything and hope you don't smash what you want." Surzycki, along with fellow Indiana biology professor Robert Togasaki and associate Masahiko Kitayama, embarked on building a better cell disrupter. The technique they settled on takes advantage of a natural phenomenon called nebulization--basically, the formation of droplets. The aspect of nebulization that is important to the process is similar to what happens in a capillary tube, Surzycki explains. "If you have a very small capillary tube, flow is in layers," Surzycki says. "The center flows faster and layers towards the side of the tube are much slower. If you put a cell in the area of differential speed, it is broken because one end of the cell is flowing faster than the other. The cell stretches and breaks." Engineering a capillary tube small enough to hold a cell and facilitate this process proved a daunting challenge. Enter nebulization. Nebulization "occurs when you blow a gas over a surface of a liquid, following the same principles as a perfume sprayer or air-painting device," Surzycki says. The gas flow causes droplets to form--but not instantaneously, he explains. "For a moment they are connected to the liquid, with the neck size about half the diameter of the droplet," he adds. For a millisecond, that "neck" between liquid surface and emerging droplet resembles a tiny capillary tube. In Surzycki's device, called BioNeb, cells are sheared within that neck because of the differential flow. BioNeb works well on a variety of cell types and sources, including cyanobacteria, E. coli, yeast, algae, and plant and mammalian cells, its manufacturer says. One convert to BioNeb from sonicators and a high-pressure device called a French press is David W. Krogmann, a professor of biochemistry at Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind. "We have used the BioNeb to break open cells of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis, an especially difficult cyanobacterium to break," he says. He adds that the two methods he had been using broke only 40 percent of the cells in his samples over repeated cycles, compared with 60 percent or more in a single pass with BioNeb. And Wendy Boss, a professor of botany at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, uses BioNeb to open carrot cells gently enough so that she can ease out and collect their nuclei. Surzycki points out another major advantage of this gentle approach--it is time-independent. If a user runs it a bit too long, the sample isn't ruined. With other systems, the longer you operate, the more you destroy. The device is also cool and very fast, handling a liter of cells in two to three minutes. "It uses low pressure, so hazards are much less," says Raymond Rickert, president of Glas-Col Apparatus Co. in Terre Haute, Ind., which is entering the biotechnology market with the BioNeb Cell Disruption System. "You can turn it over to an assistant without worrying about blowing up the lab." Ricki Lewis is a freelance science writer based in Scotia, N.Y. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : SELECTED CELL-DISRUPTION PRODUCTS TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 19 The following companies are among those providing research- scale cell-disruption technologies. BioSpec Products Inc. P.O. Box 722 Bartlesville, Okla. 74005 Phone/Fax: (918) 336-3363 Products: Mini Beadbeater, $988; Biohomogenizer (rotor-stator), $485 Cole-Parmer Instrument Co. 7425 North Oak Park Ave. Chicago, Ill. 60648 (708) 647-7600 Fax: (708) 647-9660 Products: 50-watt ultrasonic processor, $1,495; shaking bead mill, $485-530; rotor-stator generators, $500-$690 Glas-Col Apparatus Co. 711 Hulman St. Terre Haute, Ind. 47802 (812) 235-6167 Fax: (812) 234-6975 Product: BioNeb Cell Disruption System, $3,965-$4,065, depending on capacity Microfluidics 30 Ossipee Rd. P.O. Box 9101 Newton, Mass. 02164-9101 (800) 370-5452 Fax: (617) 965-1213 Product: Cell Disruption Microfluidizer, $21,690 Omni International Inc. 6530 Commerce Court Suite 200 E Gainesville, Va. 22065 (800) 776-4431 Fax: (703) 347-5352 Products: Mixer Homogenizer, $2,400, Micro Homogenizer, $1,100 Parr Instrument Co. 211 53rd St. Moline, Ill. 61265-9984 (309) 762-7716 Fax: (309) 762-9453 Product: Cell Disruption Bomb, $1,120-$7,700, depending on capacity Sonics and Materials Inc. Kenosia Avenue Danbury, Conn. 06810 (203) 744-4400 Fax: (203) 798-8350 Product: VibraCell VCX 600 Ultrasonic Liquid Processor, approx. $3,000 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: PROFESSION ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Retired Researchers Go Back To School AU : STEVEN BENOWITZ TY : PROFESSION PG : 20 Microbiologist Stanley Barban introduces fifth-graders to the "invisible world of microorganisms" by swabbing a child's hand before and after washing, then growing the removed bacteria under glass for later study. He and the class also visit a laboratory at the National Institutes of Health. Meanwhile, electrical engineer Harold Sharlin uses wires, sockets, and light bulbs to demonstrate principles of electricity to fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders. Then he takes the eager pupils on tours of the Chalk Point Generating Station in southern Prince George's County, Md. "A key to getting kids interested in science is to get them at a young age," says the 68-year-old Sharlin. "Studies have shown that interest in science takes a nosedive after the sixth grade. They have to be shown science in the context of their everyday lives." Sharlin should know; for the last five years, he has been project director for the Emeritus Scientists, Mathematicians, and Engineers (ESME) program, which links retired Washington, D.C.-area scientists, mathematicians, and engineers with local public schools. The program aims to spark the interest of inner-city youth in science and engineering careers. The ESME program originated about five years ago. Sharlin, after 25 years in academia teaching electrical engineering and the history of science--18 of them at Iowa State University--was consulting for various government agencies. He also volunteered at a local senior center, and was appalled by the notion that many regarded all elderly as frail and unable to continue to contribute to society. A friend suggested Sharlin meet Larry Mirel, a retired attorney who is founder and president of the Emeritus Foundation, a nonprofit organization of volunteer retired professionals--attorneys, accountants, social workers, and teachers--who perform community service and provide professional advice in the Washington area. Sharlin and Mirel met over lunch and discussed Sharlin's idea of organizing a group of retired scientists and engineers to help in local schools. "We knew there must be thousands of retired scientists and engineers in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area, and hundreds more like Harold--still young and vigorous and looking for something to do," Mirel recalls. Several studies had previously reported United States students' poor showings in math and science, particularly when compared with their counterparts in other industrialized countries. Locally, a recent Washington Post article had reported that the city's elementary pupils scored above average in math and science on national standardized tests, then fell to the lower third by 11th grade. Says Mirel: "That showed it wasn't a lack of ability; rather, something turns them off." Mirel and Sharlin began approaching schools with the idea of volunteer retired scientists and engineers working with teachers, providing hands-on demonstrations in the classroom to encourage young people's interest in science and technology. "When we polled the kids," Sharlin says, "everyone seemed to know about lawyers and basketball players. Hardly anyone knew what scientists did." The Emeritus Foundation supplied start-up funds for equipment, buses for field trips, and other materials. Sharlin and Mirel set about recruiting through professional organization newsletters and meetings. In September 1989, the ESME program officially got off the ground when six scientists and engineers went to work in fourth- through eighth-grade classes in two Northeast Washington, D.C., schools, Bunker Hill Elementary and Taft Junior High. "It's intergenerational," Sharlin says about the ESME program. "Retired scientists and engineers are underutilized resources. At the same time, we're addressing the poor showing of these kids in math and science. These kids see older people who have had interesting careers; it broadens their horizons." The program has been wildly popular with teachers and students alike. It has grown from two schools to seven, and from six emeriti to 29. In August 1992, it won a three-year National Science Foundation grant for more than $398,000. Mirel attributes much of the program's success to its "unique design." Teachers and emeritus scientists jointly plan the classroom lessons, ensuring that they are topical and understandable. Each scientist signs on for a unit of six hour-long classes with a concluding field trip, often to a museum, laboratory, or plant. The scientists and engineers don't teach; rather, they supplement the programs already in place with hands-on demonstrations and explanations. "We foster an ongoing relationship with the students and the teachers," Sharlin says. "It's not just one hour and out. This kind of contact makes an impression; we develop a rapport." Mirel says he has been pleasantly surprised at how the teachers have embraced the emeriti. "We knew the kids would love it," he says, "but we were a little worried about the interplay with the teachers--we didn't want anyone stepping on toes." Mirel tells the teachers and principals to treat the emeritus scientists as "high-priced consultants." They also use them as mentors. "Most of these teachers don't have much formal training in science, and it's not really fair to expect them to have much," Mirel says. "Teachers are often afraid of science themselves. They're afraid of an experiment failing, and of not understanding the material. This gives them an opportunity to learn and develop their science teaching skills, as well." Classroom Challenge Julie Simon, a fifth-grade teacher at John Eaton Elementary School in the city's Northwest section, says it's a relief to have someone in class to answer the pupils' questions, rather than "always having to look it up." Retired microbiologist Barban, who spent more than three decades at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md., speaks to Simon's class about the "invisible world of microorganisms," covering a range of topics including viruses and immunology as well as pasteurization. "The kids love it, and they ask lots of questions," says Simon. Barban, who had never taught before, now acknowledges that when he first stepped into a classroom some three years ago, "the experience was frightening." Many of the scientists are like Barban--they wonder what they'll tell a 10-year-old about science. "Translating the way scientists think in their science to something acceptable and useful to the young child can be a challenge," says William J. Condell, Jr., retired director of physics at the Office of Naval Research, who also lectured at George Washington University. He claims to spend more time preparing for lectures to sixth-graders than he did for college students. Condell, 66, says he "jumped at the chance" to work in J.F. Cook Elementary School in Washington's Northwest section because he felt that "many of these kids needed a little extra attention." He stresses principles with his sixth-graders, and attempts to "relate physics to their everyday life. "You have to understand where these kids are coming from," he says, "so you can relate the material better to them." For some classes, he'll show up with balls of various shapes and sizes--bowling balls, basketballs, and golf balls, for example--which allows the students to learn about weight, size, diameter, circumference, and friction. His classes explore Newtonian mechanics and optics, electricity, and magnetism. "I introduce them to serious mathematics and physics," he says. "It's fun, but it's also serious work." More important than what they learn, Condell says, is developing "the ability to think and question." Retired Bunker Hill principal Carolyn R. Preston credits the ESME program with helping to establish the school as a demonstration school for science, meaning, she says, that "its teachers have been determined to be highly skilled in teaching science, and that students from other area schools are brought in for science programs." When Bunker Hill, an academically rigorous public school in the city's Northeast section, decided several years ago to begin to emphasize the sciences, a regional superintendent introduced Preston to Sharlin. They found that they had several common goals, particularly showing pupils how science impacts on everyday life. "We started out making sure that the middle grades--fourth, fifth, and sixth--were exposed to areas that they could begin to think about as career choices." Preston recalls. "The emeritus teachers brought in so many materials and conducted such fun and fascinating workshops, the kids were awed. Some expressed interest in careers in these areas, such as engineering and geology." According to Preston, the General Electric Foundation of Fairfield, Conn., has stepped in and lent support to the ESME program, which in turn has helped fund and "round out the science program" at Bunker Hill, supplying equipment and other necessary materials. When the district saw that the school was committed to teaching science, it kicked in funding for a pair of science laboratories, which allowed the school to hire its first full-time science teacher. Impact And Growth The ESME program, entering its fifth year, continues to grow. It has reached into nearby Montgomery County, Md., and its organizers hope it will spread to major cities throughout the U.S. In fact, the NSF grant requires the ESME program to help establish six similar programs in other locales. One has already taken root in New York: The Long Island Forum for Technology began a pilot program in April. But will the ESME program ultimately make much of a difference in a young person's decision to pursue a career in science, engineering, or medicine? No one can say for sure. The program simply hasn't been in existence long enough. "It's hard to assess the program at this point," says Condell, adding that "many schools want emeritus scientists, but volunteers are hard to come by. "The program has received high marks from everyone-- principals, teachers, parents, and students--but it's like any other educational program: How do you know if it's better than what it replaced?" For the participating scientists and engineers, gratification is more immediate. "Every once in a while a student suddenly raises his hand--he won't look confused or bored--and blurts out: `I understand it,' " Condell says. "That's very rewarding." For more information about the Emeritus Scientists, Mathematicians, and Engineers program, contact project director Harold Sharlin at (202) 966-2122, or Emeritus Foundation president Lawrence Mirel at (202) 232-0863. The Emeritus Foundation may also be contacted by mail at 1614 20th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009. Steven Benowitz is a science and medical writer for Penn State University's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: PEOPLE ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Carlo Croce, Richard Smalley Receive 1993 John Scott Awards, Presented By City Of Philadelphia To Honor Pioneering Work AU : CRAIG MONTESANO TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 22 Carlo M. Croce, director of the Thomas Jefferson University Cancer Institute and Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and Richard E. Smalley, Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry at Rice University in Houston, have received the 1993 John Scott Awards, presented by the Board of City Trusts of the city of Philadelphia on November 19. The award is given annually for inventions that "contribute to the comfort, welfare, and happiness of mankind." Croce and Smalley each received $10,000. Croce was recognized for his pioneering research into human cancer, particularly in combining cytogenetics and gene mapping to identify the genetic mechanisms underlying abnormal cell growth. He was also responsible for the identification of previously unrecognized oncogenes in B- cell tumors. In his acceptance speech, Croce acknowledged that his research was "the logical continuation of something that happened here in the city of Philadelphia--the discovery, in 1960, of the Philadelphia chromosome." The Philadelphia chromosome, a crucial link to several types of cancer and tumors, as well as to mental retardation and other disorders, was first described by Peter C. Howell and David A. Hungerford (Science, 132:1497, 1960). Hunger-ford died last month (The Scientist, Nov. 29, 1993, page 22). Assessing that breakthrough, which presented evidence of genetic changes in cancer cells, led Croce to apply "modern technology in molecular biology to identify the genes that are involved in cancer," he said. Robert Gallo, chief of the National Cancer Institute's laboratory of tumor cell biology, says of Croce, "I've known Carlo since he was a baby--meaning when he first came to Philadelphia. He was then one of the brightest, brashest, most successful young scientists I'd known, and now he's graduated into middle age being one of the brightest, brashest, best scientists I know." Smalley was cited for "the methods and concepts that led to the realization in the laboratory of a buckminsterfullerene." Collaborating with University of Sussex researcher Harold Kroto in 1985, Smalley used a unique laser vaporization technique originally intended to generate atomic clusters. An accidental, but welcome, byproduct of their research was the discovery of a third natural form of carbon. They christened it buckminsterfullerene--after R. Buckminster Fuller (another John Scott awardee in 1979), who invented the geodesic dome in 1948. It is called buckyball because of its characteristic soccer-ball shape. "We couldn't find another title that quite so crisply said just what we wanted to say," Smalley said at the award ceremony. Theorizing on its future uses, Smalley foresaw the buckyball as a "harbinger of a whole new way of building materials on a nanometer scale," he recalled. Exactly why John Scott, a chemist in Edinburgh, Scotland, originally bequeathed $4,000 to Philadelphia in 1816 remains unclear, although it is believed that he was an admirer of Benjamin Franklin. His instructions to the city called for a cash prize, medal, and certificate to be awarded to "ingenious men and women who make useful inventions." Starting in the 20th century, however, the emphasis of the early awards on patented inventions shifted to scientific discoveries. Last year, one of the awards went to Kary Mullis, who this year received the Nobel Prize (B. Spector, The Scientist, Jan. 11, 1993, page 23). --Craig Montesano (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: OBITUARIES ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : LIPMAN BERS TY : PROFESSION (OBITUARY) PG : 22 Lipman Bers, an emeritus professor of mathematics at Columbia University and a prominent advocate for human rights, died October 29 in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 79 years old. He had suffered from Parkinson's disease and had had strokes over the last three years, according to his son. Bers, Davies Professor of Mathematics at Columbia from 1973 until his retirement in 1982 (after which he became Davies Professor, emeritus), acquired an international reputation for his contributions to mathematical analysis and geometry. He developed the theory of pseudodynamic functions. His most significant work dealt with the theory of quasiconformal mappings and their application to the theory of Riemann surfaces and Kleinian groups. In his later years, he was considered a leader in this mathematical discipline. He published almost 100 articles in mathematical journals; nearly 50 graduate students received doctorates under his direction. But Bers was at least as well known for his human rights efforts, especially on behalf of mathematicians and scientists in the former Soviet Union. He founded the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academy of Sciences and was an organizer of the International Defense Committee of Mathematicians. He helped obtain the release of Soviet mathematician Yuri Shik-hanovich in 1974, and, at the request of dissident Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov, organized mathematicians to petition Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin for the release of mathematician Leonid Plyushch. Later, he lobbied for the release of the imprisoned Sakharov. He also launched a major lobbying effort on behalf of dissident physicist Valen-tin Turchin and prominent mathematicians David and Gregory Chud- novsky and their family. Turchin and the Chudnovsky brothers eventually obtained positions at Columbia. Bers's later activism was foreshadowed by his own early political dissent. A native of Riga, Latvia, he was the son of politically active Jewish parents. In 1934, he protested the regime that took power and was hunted by the Latvian police. Escaping to Czechoslovakia, he obtained his doctorate at Charles University in Prague in 1938. He fled Czechoslovakia for Paris just ahead of the Nazis, and escaped Paris for the United States 10 days before the German occupation in 1940. He was a research associate at Brown University during World War II, and then joined the faculties of Syracuse University (1945-49), the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. (1949-51), and New York University (1951-64) before becoming a professor of mathematics at Columbia in 1964. He was math department chairman from 1972 to 1975. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : JOHN VERHOOGEN TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 22 John Verhoogen, an emeritus professor of geology and geophysics at the University of California, Berkeley, died November 8 of natural causes in Berkeley. He was 81 years old. Verhoogen's analysis, which incorporated interrelated problems of geology, geophysics, and geochemistry, changed thinking about how rocks and minerals are formed under high pressures and temperatures of the Earth's surface, contributing to the understanding of such geological processes as continental motion, seismicity, and volcanism. His 1951 book Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (2nd ed., New York, McGraw-Hill, 1960), written with Frank J. Turner, provided a thermodynamic analysis of the origin and evolution of hot magma and metamorphic rocks. During the 1950s, his studies of mineral and rock magnetism enabled his students to map magnetic reversals in the Earth's crust, providing the first evidence that large segments of the crust move, the basis of the theory of plate tectonics. He also studied the temperature and composition of lavas at numerous volcanoes throughout the world. He was the author of four books and 50 papers. Born in Brussels, Belgium, Verhoogen received mining degrees from the University of Brussels in 1933 and the University of Lige in 1934 before entering Stanford University, where he earned a Ph.D. in geology in 1936. He taught for three years at the University of Brussels, before traveling to the then-Belgian Congo (now Zaire) to study Nyamuragira, an active volcano. He remained there until 1946. He joined the UC-Berkeley faculty in 1947, and served as chairman of the department of geology and geophysics from 1963 to 1967. He retired in 1976. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #24, December 13, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank