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Phone :(215)243-2205 // Fax: (215)387-1266 ================= THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 8, #8 APRIL 18, 1994 (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 *** *** MAY 4, 1994 *** *** *** ******************************************************* 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 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 RETIREMENT CONSIDERATIONS: The end of mandatory retirement at colleges and universities is forcing administrators to set new policies and older faculty to make some hard decisions. Academic officials are rethinking their hiring and retirement incentive and pension positions, while individual educators must figure out when to retire PG 1 THE HEIDI CHRONICLES: A $900,000 settlement in a sex-discrimination lawsuit filed by nuclear medicine and radiology researcher Heidi Weissmann against her former employers does not include a confidentiality agreement, a development that observers say will foster a public discussion of such cases and the larger issues involved PG 1 ACADEMY HONORS: The National Academy of Sciences will honor 15 individuals at its annual meeting this month. Three of the award recipients are astronomers, including Cornell University's Carl Sagan, who will be given the academy's highest honor. PG 1 BIOLOGICAL CONVOCATIONS: Two biological societies are meeting next month; the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will gather May 21-25 in Washington, D.C., and the American Society for Microbiology will convene in Las Vegas May 23-27 PG 3 NONAGENARIAN SCIENCE: Reflecting the timelessness of science's quest for knowledge, many United States scientists are still productive in their 90s--continuing their investigations, consulting and collaborating with other researchers, publishing their research, and, in some cases, branching out into other fields PG 11 OPINION JOURNAL PUBLISHING: Throughout his long career in science, University of Miami biochemist William J. Whelan has maintained that the best research journals are those developed by scientific organizations rather than private publishers. Whelan, who is editor-in- chief of the FASEB Journal, thus encourages societies to overcome their natural conservatism and become more active in creating publications that meet the ever-changing needs of their memberships PG 12 COMMENTARY: While some scientists find awards distasteful, publisher Eugene Garfield contends that such acclaim plays a valuable role in the scientific enterprise, reaffirming the profession's pursuit of excellence and providing inspiration to young researchers with the message that, by applying their skills unfalteringly, they may be recognized by society and, more important, by their peers. PG 13 RESEARCH MUSHROOMING FIELD: New genetic techniques and increased interest from other disciplines have broadened the scope of mycology research over the past decades, including studies of fungus' potential as a herbicide, in degrading toxic waste, and as a possible cure for cancer and AIDS PG 14 HOT PAPERS: Sharka M. Prokes discusses her paper on porous silicon as an optoelectronic material; Ed Masteller discusses his long-term investigation of aquatic insects in a tropical rainforest PG 16 TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY GOING WITH THE FLOW: Flow cytometry has become a commonplace technique in biological research and medical diagnostics over the past five years. The technology, which analyzes large numbers of individual cells or subcellular structures, has been a boon to DNA sequencing, HIV research, and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study of phytoplankton PG 17 PROFESSION MICROBIOLOGIST RITA R. COLWELL, president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, has been named president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science PG 23 PHYSICIST FREEMAN J. DYSON, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, has received the 1994 Wright Prize PG 23 SHORT TAKES NOTEBOOK PG 4 LETTERS PG 13 FLOW CYTOMETRY PRODUCT DIRECTORY PG 19 NEW PRODUCTS PG 20 OBITUARIES PG 23 CROSSWORD PG 23 (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : Unusual Settlement Caps Sex-Discrimination Case Observers laud the fact that the agreement lets Heidi Weissmann and her former employers keep their controversial debate alive AU : BARBARA SPECTOR TY : NEWS PG : 1 Despite a recently announced out-of-court settlement in medical researcher Heidi S. Weissmann's seven-year-long sex-discrimination case against her former employers, each side still insists that it would have prevailed had the case gone to trial. While it is debatable whether the $900,000 settlement--notable for the large amount and the absence of a confidentiality agreement--helps or hurts the cause of women's advancement in science, most observers agree that the parties' freedom to discuss the highly publicized case may help to further a public understanding of the issues involved. Weissmann, formerly an attending physician at Montefiore Medical Center and an associate professor of radiology at Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y. (R. Kaufman, The Scientist, Sept. 14, 1992, page 1), says she hopes the settlement of her United States District Court suit against the two institutions will "let women [pursuing discrimination cases] know they can have the courage of their convictions and be successful in the end." Says Catherine Didion, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Association for Women in Science (AWIS): "The more we get this on the table--the good and the bad--the more we can be able to address it and get on with the science." According to the settlement agreement, $35,000 of the amount constitutes back pay, $540,000 compensates Weissmann for pain and suffering, and $325,000 represents legal fees and expenses. An attorney for Weissmann, Edward S. Rudofsky of New York, says that the plaintiff's lawyers "agreed to accept fixed fees instead of their time charges to accommodate the settlement and see that Dr. Weissmann received a substantial recovery for her injuries and damages." Weissmann has estimated the value of legal services rendered in her case at more than $1 million. Montefiore officials say the institution's insurance covers the entire settlement amount. The institution also paid for the legal expenses of Weissmann's former lab chief incurred in an earlier copyright-infringement suit she had filed against him, a central issue in the sex-discrimination case. Weissmann won the copyright case on appeal. As part of the settlement, Weissmann has agreed not to seek employment at Montefiore, Einstein, or any of 29 affiliated institutions. Why The Settlement? Philip R. Forlenza, an attorney for Montefiore, says that, despite the agreement to settle, he believes his clients would have won had the case gone to trial. "We wanted to be vindicated," he says. Weissmann's lawyer, Rudofsky, says District Court Judge Lawrence M. McKenna's findings in response to a motion filed by another Weissmann attorney, Eleanor Jackson Piel, "indicated that Dr. Weissmann had a very strong case and had already satisfied most of the elements. The issue was whether the other side's justification of it would stand up before a jury." Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, which supported Weissmann, says the plaintiff's success in her copyright case strengthened her claim of discrimination. "You seldom get a sex-discrimination case where the plaintiff has already won in court," Smeal says. "It was a slam-dunk case." Despite his clients' confidence that they would win, Forlenza says, the institutions decided to settle after years of failed attempts to go to trial, which he attributes to Weiss-mann's repeated changes of attorneys and other delays caused by the plaintiff. "I was convinced Dr. Weissmann was never going to take the witness stand," he says. Meanwhile, For- lenza says, Mon-tefiore and Einstein were receiving "very severe criticism launched by the people and organizations supporting Dr. Weissmann. They said, `You're waging a battle of attrition; you're wasting funds that could be put to better use.'" Faced with such criticism, which was well publicized, "the top people in the institutions went through a soul-searching exercise," ultimately deciding to settle. "But," he says, "there was unanimity in their belief that the institutions had not acted improperly." Weissmann blames the defendants for the delays. "They'll fight you to the bitter end," she says, "and if you're still around seven or 15 years later, they'll offer you a settlement. What do they lose by first trying to run you out of steam?" Smeal, whose organization provided Weissmann with funds and office space, says the group took on her cause because "we felt that she was the kind of plaintiff that was going to hang in there, no matter what." A Protracted Case Weissmann first filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in April 1987. The EEOC complaint alleged that she had not been promoted to chief of service in 1986 and had received an unfavorable performance review in January 1987 because she was female, according to court documents. Regarding Weissmann's allegations that her negative performance review was motivated by sexism, Forlenza says, "All the criticism was substantiated by documents and attendance rec-ords." Both sides acknowledge that in June 1987 Weissmann was denied a 5 percent raise given to virtually all members of the department. In a separate but related case during this time, Weissmann charged that on two occasions, her former lab chief, Leonard M. Freeman, represented a book chapter she had written as his own. She filed for a temporary restraining order in August 1987 and later filed a copyright-infringement suit in the same U.S. District Court, in New York. The court found for the defendant in May 1988. The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the decision in 1989. Later that year, Freeman's appeal to the Supreme Court was denied. In January 1988, Weissmann filed her discrimination suit against Montefiore and Einstein. Her third amended complaint, filed in September 1993, alleged that on the day of the hearing on her application for the temporary restraining order, she was escorted from her office by security guards and asked to relinquish her keys. Her attorney at the time wrote to the hospital's lawyers that the action constituted a firing. In October 1987, according to the complaint, Weissmann received a dismissal letter from Montefiore, which maintained that the key episode was not a discharge and that her failure to return to work constituted a resignation. Weissmann alleged in her complaint that the incident and the denial of the raise were retaliation for the EEOC filing and the copyright suit. That same month, it was announced that Freeman, now chief of nuclear medicine and radiology at Einstein, had been promoted. Montefiore denied Weissmann's charges, noting that the raise would have been given retroactively when she submitted a grant application she was to have been writing. Mon-tefiore further maintained that Weissmann was asked for her keys because the hospital had evidence that she was removing patient rec-ords from her office. Damaging To Feminism? Letty Lutzker, a former colleague of Weissmann and Freeman's who is now chief of nuclear medicine at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., says the case damages the feminist cause. "There was no discrimination; there was no exploitation of a young scientist as far as I can see," says Lutzker. "Dr. Freeman is not someone who exploits people; he's one of the most gender-neutral people I have known." Adds another former colleague, Corine Yee, physician in charge of nuclear medicine at Kaiser-Los Angeles, "I know that there is discrimination that is more covert than overt, but you can't just turn around and cry discrimination at every turn if you don't get what you want. I think what she was asking for was unreasonable." Lutzker and Yee, who confirm Montefiore's assertion that they were first offered the chiefship that Weissmann contended she was denied because she was a woman, say the plaintiff's professional advancement was hindered because she had not completed her boards in nuclear medicine or radiology. Says Rudofsky, Weissmann's attorney: "Dr. Weissmann was board eligible; documents discovered in the hospital files indicated that she was being billed as a specialist. "She claimed she was not encouraged to take the boards; in effect, she claimed, she was programmed for failure. Board certification only became an issue when she complained about discrimination." Weissmann says Montefiore's department chairman did not fill out the forms she needed to take the boards in time to meet the deadline. Forlenza, Montefiore's attorney, denies the charge, saying that the chairman had urged her to take the boards for several years. The Terms According to Rudofsky, Weiss-mann's refusal to accept a confidentiality agreement was "a major impediment to settlement." Had it not been for this stumbling block, he says, the case might have been settled as early as 1989. "I don't doubt that cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars," says former National Institutes of Health fraud researcher Walter Stewart. "It proves that she's a public hero, not just someone with a private grievance." "I don't think these things should be kept confidential," says former Montefiore researcher Yee. "Montefiore is not at a disadvantage for having something open like this." A 1989 settlement offer from the institutions, under which Weissmann would have been paid $150,000, included a provision that neither side disclose the terms. In speaking to others, each party would have been required to use a statement saying that the dispute was "caused largely by inadequate communication." "They wanted me to make a public, written statement exonerating Dr. Freeman and to vacate the [copyright] judgment against him," says Weissmann. "My integrity and First Amendment rights were not for sale," she says. "I couldn't live with accepting what they wanted." Regarding the statement and proposed confidentiality agreement, she says, "I could not accept money and become part of their whitewash and coverup." Forlenza, calling the 1989 confidentiality agreement "very, very standard," says the institutions had no problem deleting the provision from the final settlement. "The first time [Weissmann and her lawyers] complained about it, we backed off," he says. According to the Feminist Majority, the $900,000 payment is one of the largest for a single plaintiff in a sex-discrimination case against a medical institution. Nonetheless, Rudofsky says, "I would have liked to see her reinstated, and to recover more for direct and indirect losses." Houston attorney Thomas H. Padgett, Jr., who represents plaintiffs in sex-discrimination suits, speculates that Weissmann might have been awarded more had the case gone to trial. In one discrimination case he handled involving a medical researcher, he says, the jury awarded $100,000 more than the plaintiff had asked for. "Where did that extra hundred come from? Just from them being mad," Padgett says. "That's the same kind of thing that could have happened in this case." Smeal says it's disturbing that Montefiore's insurance covers the settlement as well as Freeman's expenses in the copyright case, even though Weissmann sued him as an individual. "Why does the university feel obligated to support him if he made a mistake?" she asks. "The person who's aggrieved has a tremendous financial burden in fighting the case." Weissmann's supporters contend that, in light of her previous accomplishments--she did pioneering research in biliary imaging, receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1980 and the Tetalman Memorial Award of the Society of Nuclear Medicine in 1982--it is unfair for Montefiore to insist that she not apply to any of its affiliates. "We as American taxpayers should question why a scientist who obviously has excellent qualifications and obviously did not bring a frivolous lawsuit should not be allowed to work for them again," Smeal says. Montefiore's attorney, Forlenza, says that an agreement not to seek reemployment is "a very common provision in these kinds of cases." Noting that the list includes several nursing homes and similar facilities, Forlenza says, "Most of these are small operations; there are scores of institutions she can apply to." The Aftermath Weissmann says the case has hurt her prospects of returning to her field. "For seven years, I have not been able to get a job in private practice, academia, or industry," she says (see accompanying story). Freeman, who was cleared in three internal investigations by Einstein and Montefiore (a fourth was disbanded before reaching a conclusion), says that, other than the consumption of an "inordinate amount" of his time, "in terms of my relationships with people, [the case] has had no impact whatsoever. People have felt it important to rise to the occasion and come to my assistance, to refute these allegations," he says. "The scientific community, I think, realized it was a minor, trivial type thing blown out of proportion." Noteworthy, Freeman says, is that "women have been among my greatest supporters." Freeman, coeditor of Seminars in Nuclear Medicine and editor of Nuclear Medicine Annual, says that "I have no problems getting people to write articles for my journals. I almost find people more anxious--to show that there's no change" in the way he's regarded. Furthermore, he says, "I have received two major awards from people well aware of what's going on." In June 1993 he was presented with the Society of Nuclear Medicine's Distinguished Educator Award; in 1990, he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honorary fraternity. An Imperfect Remedy AWIS's Didion cautions female researchers who feel they have been discriminated against not to be too hasty in following in Weissmann's footsteps. "We don't necessarily feel that litigation is the avenue that women should explore," she says. Noting the length of Weissmann's case, Didion says, "She had the stamina and the emotional and financial support to stay this long. Most women don't realize the type of commitment that is. We counsel women to be as informed as possible about what the costs are and what the alternatives are." Furthermore, she says, if highly publicized discrimination cases persist, men may overreact by declining to interact with women in mentorship or collegial roles: "We need to be careful that we don't allow this to be the only example of women in science." ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : WHAT'S NEXT FOR HEIDI WEISSMANN? AU : BARBARA SPECTOR TY : NEWS PG : 5 Now that her seven-year-long sex-discrimination case against her former employers, Bronx, N.Y.-based Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has been settled, nuclear medicine and radiology researcher Heidi S. Weissmann must decide what to do with the rest of her life. Although she has not yet been successful in finding a job in her field, Weissmann says, "things are slowly progressing in a positive direction": Since last January, she says, she has been invited to give talks in her field to professional groups, such as the Society of Gastrointestinal Radiologists; last year, she was also asked to lecture at a teaching hospital. In addition, Weissmann says, "I have been invited to lecture on issues of medical ethics, scientific misconduct, and the glass ceiling." Weissmann says she intends to use a portion of her settlement money "to establish a network and resource center for other women who find themselves in a situation [similar to the one] I found myself in, and [to help] men and women who were whistle-blowers." --B.S. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : With End Of Mandatory Retirement, U.S. Schools Face New Challenges As change in law allows science faculty to keep working after age 70, academia must rethink its personnel policies AU : BILLY GOODMAN TY : NEWS PG : 1 The end of mandatory retirement for faculty at United States colleges and universities--a policy change that became effective on January 1 of this year--is placing a new burden on the schools as well as individual faculty members. While the end of the longstanding policy has not brought about--as some administrators had feared--a deluge of complaints from young job candidates concerned about a dearth of future job openings, it is causing schools to take a hard look at their retirement incentive plans. At the same time, professors are now finding that they have to make independent decisions about when to stop working. When Congress passed the 1986 amendments to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, prohibiting mandatory retirement on the basis of age for most workers, it included several temporary exemptions, notably one for tenured faculty in higher education. That exemption expired Dec. 31, 1993. The strongest sentiment for preserving mandatory retirement for tenured faculty came from a few major U.S. research universities, where the majority of faculty retirements have come at the mandatory age. That, say some administrators, is evidence that many professors may choose to stay at their institutions past the age of 70. These administrators, joined by many faculty members at research universities, have opposed ending mandatory retirement, fearing that the result will be a drastic reduction in employment opportunities for young scientists and a consequent decline in vigor and new ideas at their institutions. Ernst Benjamin, general secretary of the Washington, D.C.-based American Association of University Professors (AAUP), acknowledges that some of these institutions could have trouble if they don't encourage early retirement or restructure pensions, which are generally based on years of service and involve yearly contributions. But many older faculty, Benjamin says, "are very valuable, and institutions are unhappy to lose them." At the University of Chicago, where administrators and faculty have been deeply concerned about the effects of the so-called uncapping of mandatory retirement, Stephen Stigler headed a faculty committee that looked into the repercussions. Stigler, a professor of statistics, says, "We came to the con- clusion that the effect on our university would be substantial and costly." In addition, Stigler studied retirement patterns at five other institutions and concluded that "absent mandatory retirement, the rate of retirement would be very slow at major research universities. By the turn of the century, about 10 percent of the faculty would be over 70." Not all administrators are so sure that uncapping will lead to a postponement of retirement by large numbers of faculty members. Jeremy Knowles, dean of the faculty at Harvard University, says, "Without a fixed point, the decision of an individual to retire becomes a more personal and deliberate one." Historically, the rationale for mandatory retirement in academia was based on two notions. First, colleges and universities need to be able to hire new, usually young, faculty as a source of new ideas and as a way for a department to enter new research areas. Second, some administrators have feared that it would be difficult without mandatory retirement to remove elderly, tenured professors who had become ineffective. Natural Experiments It seems inevitable that some faculty members will now remain employed after 70, postponing new hiring. But the magnitude of this effect is unclear, administrators say. One source of evidence is from natural experiments: institutions that uncapped long ago, usually as a result of state law. The University of Wisconsin, Madison, uncapped about 10 years ago, but the change "does not seem to have affected the average age of retirement," says Phillip Certain, dean of the College of Letters and Science. He says the effect on hiring at the university has been minimal, dwarfed by many other budgetary problems plaguing colleges and universities broadly. Some universities, such as Chicago and Stanford, expect a far greater percentage of their faculty to remain employed after age 70. When the mandatory retirement age was changed in 1982--by earlier amendments to the ADEA--from 65 to 70, the median age of faculty retirement at both institutions increased from 65 to 70. "It is as if the federal government had required us to hire 50 new faculty members over the next eight years, all over 70, all at the highest salary scales, and all based on their performance 35 years ago," says Stigler. For Chicago professors, apparently, emeritus status is not as attractive as it is at many other colleges and universities where teaching loads are much heavier, such as at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Bryn Mawr provost Judith Shapiro says, "We don't have quite the same problems where the preretirement life might not be much different from the postretirement life." Does Youth Equal Vigor? The central issue of whether younger faculty are the primary source of new ideas is controversial, with little evidence either way. Many faculty members, both young and old, interviewed by The Scientist feel there was at least some truth to the assertion. Marsha McNutt, a 41-year-old geophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, puts it this way: "The vitality of any research organization is dependent on turnover, and on the need to bring in new people with new ideas." A National Research Council committee charged with looking into the consequences of ending mandatory retirement concluded that there was little evidence that scholarship diminishes with age. In a commentary on the NRC committee's 1991 report (Ending Mandatory Retirement for Tenured Faculty: The Consequences for Higher Education), Saunders Mac Lane, an 84-year-old emeritus professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago, disputed that conclusion. The evidence was not based on professors over 70 years old, he wrote, because "[under] previous retirement rules such faculty were not present." He also suggested that these matters are not easily studied quantitatively: "Careful observation of the qualitative features of academic life suggests that older faculty, while providing continuity and some insights, are usually not energetic enough to engage in forefront research, in new courses, and in dynamic and inspired teaching." Without doubt, there are exceptions to Mac Lane's assertions. The NRC committee reported on a study that found "individuals over the age of 75 who maintain their cognitive [abilities] at a level overlapping with the average performance of individuals under 35." "Doubtless correct," wrote Mac Lane, but colleges and universities are not interested in hiring "average" individuals: "The tests for these abilities have little relation to the activities of faculty in providing inspiring teaching or original research." Before uncapping, universities sometimes used mandatory retirement to avoid having to dismiss unproductive faculty members. Wait- ing for mandatory retirement to remove unproductive faculty is no longer an option, so many universities are revising their post-tenure review programs. The University of California system already had a policy of reviewing tenured faculty at least every five years, says Ellen Switkes, assistant vice president for academic advancement. Professors who were not doing well often deferred that review, she says, adding that they no longer can do that. The university also reviewed its termination policy. Pruning The Deadwood Faculty members and administrators were nearly unanimous on one point: Professors can become "deadwood" at any age. A corollary is that "high performers go on being high performers," says Brett Hammond, who was the staff director for the NRC committee. Committee member Donald C. Hood, James F. Bender Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, says that "if you take a look at people who are not performing well, chances are they haven't been performing well since they were 55 or younger." Geraldine Richmond saw her mentor at UC-Berkeley struggle with impending mandatory retirement, although he was active in both research and teaching. "It seemed a shame, when he was so active and I saw younger people just made professor who were putting their feet up," says the 41-year-old University of Oregon chemistry professor. Many universities have used incentive programs to encourage early retirement. Many more are likely to institute them. The University of Chicago has, according to Colum-bia's Hood, one of the best articulated plans. Henry S. Webber, associate vice president for administration at Chicago, says one of the most important incentives is the cash bonus professors can receive if they retire between 65 and 70. The largest bonus, if one retires at 65, is equal to twice the average of the final three years' salary. The bonus declines to zero if the professor retires at 70. Chicago and other universities are trying to eliminate an incentive for faculty members to stay on a year or two past 70; in many cases, a professor's pension, paid out as an annual annuity, increases dramatically with just an extra year or two of service. This is in part because many pensions are defined contribution plans--the university makes a contribution each year to the pension. Chicago has instituted a cap on the amount a faculty member can accumulate under the defined contribution plan. "The spirit of the plan," says Stigler, "is not to keep paying into the retirement plan for an 85-year-old." Another way to encourage retirement is to use disincentives. "One method of discouragement our department uses all the time in a non-age-discriminatory way is space al- location," says MIT's McNutt. "If [the chairman] decides you're not using the space and keeping grants funded, it is in his power to reassign the space." On the other hand, one retirement incentive is attractive emeritus status. Bryn Mawr's Shapiro says her college does its best to make retired faculty feel a part of the place; for example, it allows them to teach and includes them in the annual faculty publications record. A few faculty who just missed the cutoff, turning 70 just before the exemption expired, tried to sue their institutions, but none was successful in challenging age-based mandatory retirement, to AAUP's knowledge. Others who celebrated their 70th birthdays on or near last December 31 had to deal with conflicting sentiments about the value of mandatory retirement. One emeritus professor who says he favors mandatory retirement in principle is Val Fitch, who retired last June--six months before the uncapping--from Princeton Univer-sity's physics department at 70. Mandatory retirement, he says, is "an excellent idea and removes arbitrariness from the situation. But when you find yourself having to retire and have colleagues epsilon months younger than you that don't have to retire, it makes it hard." Billy Goodman is a freelance science writer based in Upper Montclair, N.J. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : NAS Honors Sagan And 14 Other Science Achievers AU : NEERAJA SANKARAN TY : NEWS PG : 1 The National Academy of Sciences will honor 15 individuals--a dozen men and three women--for their contributions to science at a ceremony to be held on April 25, in Washington D.C., at the academy's 131st annual meeting. Three of the 13 awards this year are going to astronomers, including the academy's highest honor--the Public Welfare Medal--which is being given to Carl E. Sagan, 59, David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Every year, NAS presents this medal (the only award without an accompanying cash prize) to an individual who has made extraordinary use of science for the public good. Perhaps best known as the creator and producer of the popular science television series Cosmos (a public TV offering that has won both the Emmy and Peabody awards), Sagan is being honored for "communicating the wonder and importance of science." "His ability to capture the imagination of millions and to explain difficult concepts in understandable terms is a magnificent achievement," said Peter H. Raven, NAS home secretary and the chairman of the 1994 selection committee, in a statement. "This award is given for outstanding contributions to the public, not for individual scientific achievements," says Thomas Gold, a professor, emeritus, of astronomy at Cornell University and himself a full member of NAS. "He [Sagan] is absolutely terrific at what he does--bringing science to the public and keeping their interest in it alive." (For more information on Sagan, see story on page 7.) Unlike the recipient of the Public Service Medal, the other two astronomers were awarded prizes that always go to scientists in that field, though not on an annual basis. Donald E. Brownlee, 50, a professor of astronomy at the University of Washington, Seattle, will be receiving the J. Lawrence Smith Medal (and $20,000 for investigations of meteoric bodies), for his studies on interplanetary dust particles, which are an important source of information about both asteroids and comets. "They offer a different window into the early solar system," says Brownlee, "because the original properties of the materials--from the time that our solar system first came into being 4.6 billion years ago--are still preserved." His group was the first to collect this material from the outer layers of the Earth's atmosphere, using high-altitude balloons and U2 airplanes. He has received many honors; for example, he is the namesake of the Asteroid 3259 Brownlee, named in 1991. The James Craig Watson Medal with a cash award of $15,000 is going to Yasuo Tanaka, the deputy director general and planning and coordination director of the Institute of Space and Aeronautical Sciences in Kanagawa, Japan. Tanaka was named for his contributions to X-ray astronomy and for his role in establishing the U.S.-Japanese collaboration in the ASCA mission. ASCA is an X-ray satellite built by the Japanese and launched by the Americans. Says Virginia Trimble, a professor of physics at the University of California, Irvine, "It is producing fantastically good results about clusters of galaxies and other things in space." The Brain At Work A second discipline that features prominently among this year's awards is neuroscience; in addition to the NAS Award in the Neurosciences and the annual Troland Research Awards for quantitative and physiological studies in psychology, the 1994 NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing honors this field. Thomas Jessell, 43, of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, has been cited for "bridging the fields of developmental neurobiology and developmental biology," by writing and editing reviews. Recent important review papers by Jessell include: "Synaptic transmission: a bidirectional and self-modifiable form of cell-cell communication," Cell (v72) / Neuron Review Supplement, 10:1-30, 1993; and "Diffusible factors in vertebrate embryonic induction," Cell, 68:257-70, 1992. The two Troland Research Awards, each a prize of $35,000, are being given to Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine, and David D. Lavond of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, in the quantitative and physiological research categories, respectively. Hoffman, 38, cited by the academy for his research in the area of human visual perception, has developed mathematical and computational models for the manner in which humans convert the two-dimensional images from their retinas to three-dimensional pictures. "We [the viewers] are computing depth from flat images," explains Hoffman. According to his model, "The three-dimensional picture we see is actually a theory: the best inference based on data--2-D images--and assumptions. The visual system is very much like a scientist." While he has built specific models for various visual abilities, such as deducing depth from motion, shape from shading, and stereo vision, Hoffman's main contribution to the field has been to develop a general framework for perceptual inference. "Our claim is that there is a common, formal structure underlying the theories of each ability, limited not only to visual capacities but also to other perceptions, such as touch and localization by hearing," he says. These hypotheses are detailed by Hoffman and his colleagues, mathematicians Bruce Bennett at UC- Irvine and Chetan Prakash at California State University, San Bernardino, in two major publications: a book titled Observer Mechanics: A Formal Theory of Perception (New York, Academic Press, 1989) and an article, "Unity of perception" (Cognition, 38:295-334, 1991). Lavond, 41, is among the first scientists to have used a new reversible cooling technique in the study of structure-function relationships in the brains of mammals. "Until now, the only way to localize functions was to create lesions in the brain that resulted in permanent damage," says Lavond. "There was no way to reverse the lesion and see if a function could be restored. Using this new technique, we can prove the involvement of any given region in a specific activity." The method introduces a probe into the desired location and temporarily inactivates the region by cooling the cells. Recording electrodes attached to the probe keep tabs on the activity of the cells. When the coolant is removed, the cells are restored to their normal temperatures and activity. Lavond has applied this technique to localize certain memory and learning behaviors to two specific regions of the brain. "The technique adds another dimension to the study," explains La-vond. "Because of the recording devices we attach to the cooling probe, we are able to record the brain activity of both regions at the same time--thus determining the type of participation of each region in any given activity." Walle J.H. Nauta, an emeritus professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, had been named the recipient of the neurosciences award, a gold medal with a cash prize of $15,000. After the announcement was made, however, Nauta, who was 77, died of a blood infection on March 24, having been hospitalized for a few days in Cambridge, Mass. The award will be given posthumously. Test-Tube Evolution Sharing the NAS Award in Molecular Biology, which recognizes recent notable discoveries by young scientists, are Gerald F. Joyce, 37, an associate professor at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif., and Jack W. Szostak, 41, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, Boston. Working independently but simultaneously, both awardees have produced ribozymes--RNA molecules with specific enzymatic or catalytic properties--using principles of natural selection rather than synthetic processes. "We are observing Darwinian evolution in the test tube and making new molecules that do not, as far as we know, exist in nature," says Joyce, whose laboratory has produced populations of ribozymes that cleave DNA molecules and some that use calcium ions to cleave RNA molecules instead of the normally used magnesium ions. The method involves introducing very large populations--10 to 100 trillion RNA molecules--in a test tube to a target chemical reaction. "We rig the system so that any RNA molecule acquiring the desired cleavage property is tagged chemically," explains Joyce. These tagged molecules are picked up and amplified and subjected to mutations; progeny RNA molecules are cycled through the selection-amplification-mutation steps several times and at each level, the molecules' function, efficiency, and structure are assessed, allowing the scientists to follow the evolution of the enzymes in a stepwise fashion. Szostak's laboratory has produced ribozymes that can join small pieces of RNA together, which he describes as "something between a polymerase and a ligase." Visionaries The NAS Award for Initiatives in Research, awarded annually to young scientists to encourage investigations that will likely lead to new capabilities for the benefit of humanity, goes to Joanne Chory, 38, at the plant biology laboratory of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego. Chory is receiving the $15,000 prize for her research in uncovering the genetic and molecular events that determine how seedlings make developmental decisions in response to light. "We are studying a very fundamental problem that could eventually lead to practical applications in agriculture," she says. The academy has also selected six other noteworthy individuals from a number of specialties to be honored at the April 25 meeting: Botanist Elisabeth Gantt, 59, of the University of Maryland, College Park, is being awarded the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal and a cash prize of $15,000 for published research on marine or freshwater algae. Gantt discovered a new type of light-harvesting complex called phycobilisomes, unique to red and blue-green algae. The Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal and $25,000 go to Donald Metcalf of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, for his work on the clinical applications of blood-cell growth factors. Recently, Metcalf, 65, also received the prestigious Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award (B. Spector, The Scientist, Oct. 18, 1993, page 1) and Columbia University's Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (N. Sankaran, The Scientist, Feb. 7, 1994, page 23) Koji Nakanishi, 73, Centennial Professor in the department of chemistry at Columbia University, is receiving the NAS Award in Chemical Sciences, a bronze medal and $10,000 in cash. Nakanishi does research on bioactive compounds produced by plants and animals, and has isolated and determined structures of a vast array of these compounds. The academy has also cited him for his contributions in vision research, particularly in finding the role of the compound retinal. The John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science, for noteworthy and distinguished accomplishments in a subject within the academy's charter, goes to Marina Ratner, 55, a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. She is receiving the $25,000 prize for providing proofs for a group of mathematical results called the Ragunathan conjectures. The G.K. Warren Prize, an award of $6,000, is going to Claudio Vito-Finzi, a professor of geology at University College, London, England, for his field investigations and resulting contributions to fluvial morphology. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : BRINGING SCIENCE TO THE PUBLIC AU : NEERAJA SANKARAN TY : NEWS PG : 7 At 59, Carl Sagan, recipient of the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences this year, continues to play an important role as a communicator of science, wearing different hats--writer, teacher/lecturer, and laboratory scientist--to do so. The author, coauthor, or editor of more than 20 books written for lay audiences, he is a prolific writer with more than 600 publications--including scientific papers as well as popular articles--to his credit. He is a regular contributor to the magazine Parade, a Sunday supplement to many newspapers across the United States. "I take [writing this column] very seriously, as it is an important vehicle to keep the public informed about science," says Sagan. "The magazine goes out to several million people and is the most widely read publication of its kind in the United States, if not the world." In 1978 Sagan received the Pulitzer Prize for his Dragons of Eden (New York, Random House Inc., 1977). His most recent book, cowritten with his wife, Ann Druyan, is Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search for Who We Are, (Random House, 1992). He has just finished a new book that is scheduled for publication later this year, called Pale Blue Dots: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. The title, says Sagan, is based on pictures of Earth taken from beyond Neptune, by the spacecraft Voyager. Echoing his perennial and well-known pronouncements characterizing Earth's inhabitants as voyagers on a vast sea of time, Sagan--who played important roles in the Neptune and other outer-space expeditions--says about the photographs and his new book: "It gives an idea of how small and insignificant the Earth seems in comparison to the rest of the universe." Sagan received all of his higher education at the University of Chicago, graduating with a master's degree in physics in 1956 and a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics in 1960. Since 1968 he has been at Cornell University, where, he continues to teach both graduate and undergraduate courses in astronomy, space sciences, and critical thinking. He is an active scientist as well; research interests over the years have included topics such as the greenhouse effect on Venus, seasonal changes on Mars, the long-term environmental consequences of nuclear war, and the origin of life on Earth. In addition, he is the director of Cornell University's Laboratory for Planetary Studies, a facility that Cornell President Frank H.T. Rhodes has called "universe-class--due in large part to Carl's contributions." --N.S. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : Two Biology Societies To Meet Next Month AU : KAREN YOUNG KREEGER TY : NEWS PG : 3 Considering the vast number of life scientists expected to attend two major United States meetings during the coming weeks, someone, somewhere, might well have designated May as "National Biological Research Month." An estimated 11,000 of these researchers, representing dozens of disciplines and presenting thousands of papers and poster sessions, will be gathering at annual get-togethers of the nation's leading life sciences professional societies: Members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) will meet in Washington, D.C., May 21-25; and, starting just two days later, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) will convene in Las Vegas for a five-day meeting that will run through May 27. As many as 3,000 researchers will take part in the ASBMB conference, to be held at the Washington Convention Center. Nearly 100 presentations, 1,400 posters, and an exhibition with 300 booths rep- resenting more than 100 organizations are scheduled. The scientific sessions of the 1994 ASBMB program are organized into four thematic headings--Protein Targeting and Membrane Traffic; Structural Aspects of Signal Transduction; The RNA World; and DNA: Packaging, Replication, and Expression. The theme format is a new concept for ASBMB meetings. General features of past meetings, such as the poster sessions and the exhibition, will be retained, say organizers. Two days after the start of the ASBMB meeting--and nearly 2,000 miles away--microbiologists from diverse subdisciplines including medical mycology, immunology, and bacteriophage biology will gather at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 94th general meeting of ASM. Five mini-themes--molecular detection and identification of microorganisms; emerging infections; molecular pathogenesis and molecular interactions at the prokaryote-eukaryote interface; cyto-kines; and regulation of gene expression--will link the 21 topical divisions for scientific presentations, according to a letter from Judith Domer, chairwoman of the program committee. The letter was distributed along with the ASM prelim- inary program. Over 2,500 papers in more than 150 sessions are expected. Seminars, poster sessions, round-table discussions, workshops, and an exhibition make up the varied offerings for the anticipated 8,000 attendees. Biochemists Go To Washington Jack Dixon, ASBMB program chairman and a biochemist at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, points to two new aspects of the 1994 meeting: an explicit effort to "include women and younger investigators in the role of session chairs [and] speakers, and with the planning of the conference" and the inclusion of a special session called "The Washington Connection" (see accompanying story). According to Dixon, this session will address the "important role that Washington has on biomedical research." Alexandra Newton, a scheduled speaker at the structural aspects of signal transduction session and an associate professor in the chemistry department at Indiana University, Bloomington, says the wide array of session topics will be useful to her and to several students from her lab who are accompanying her. "I think it's great that [the meeting] is so diverse, representing many research interests, from RNA to protein signal transduction" as well as being "a great place for students to get to know other people working in similar areas," she says. Robert Schimke, organizer of "The Washington Connection" session and a molecular biologist at Stanford University, says that this is the first time ASBMB has had such a formalized symposium on public affairs. The purpose of this session, he says, "is to get our scientists involved in dealing with some of the policy issues, such as education and technology transfer, that impact on us." "My anticipation is that in future years we will change the subject" and attempt to "bring other people and institutions into the dialogue," Schimke says. It is ASBMB's goal, he says, to organize symposia that deal with policy issues when the society meets in Washington. Two satellite meetings--smaller conferences on highly specialized, emerging topics scheduled one to two days before the start of the annual meeting--will also be part of the overall ASBMB offerings, adds Dixon. He explains that the satellite meeting "Structure and Function of Kinases and Phosphatases," to be held at the Washington Convention Center May 20-21, "is going to be spectacular because [it represents] an effort to put structural biology and signal transduction together in some interesting ways." Newton, also a chairwoman of one of the sessions at the kinase and phosphatase satellite meeting, says that scheduling this symposium with the main ASBMB conference makes it easier, time- and funding-wise, for her "to send students to two meetings at the same time and place," rather than going to separate meeting locations. The second satellite meeting--"The Cytochromes P450: Structure, Function, Regulation And Genetics," held in conjunction with the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics--is slated for May 21-22 at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel. Microbiologists Meet Although a relatively large meeting such as ASM's, with many concurrent presentations and special sessions, might be fraught with scheduling conflicts for attendees, frequent ASM meeting-goers agree that the wide variety of scientific and professional offerings are beneficial. Helene Marquis, chairwoman and presenter at a microbial pathogenesis session and a postdoctoral fellow in the microbiology department at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, finds little difficulty in shaping her meeting schedule. Although she plans to go to seminars led by well-known people--for example, the president's forum, "The Future of Biomedical Research: What Should We Expect," which features speakers Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health and Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences--Marquis primarily attends talks related to her research on intracellular pathogens, such as "bacterial pathogens and infectious diseases." Marquis also finds the peripheral services at the ASM meeting helpful. For example, she used the job placement program at an ASM meeting two years ago and found it "very efficient and well-organized." She adds that the publishers' stalls at the exhibition "are a good way to see what's on the market instead of buying from a catalogue," because attendees are allowed a first-hand look at texts. Phillip Fedorak, a professor of microbiology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, finds the large size of the ASM meeting advantageous. Fedorak, a frequent attendee of ASM meetings, says that he feels somewhat professionally isolated in Alberta and "what I appreciate the most is that this is a large meeting and that most people that you want to talk to you can track down." He will be attending the meeting with three of his students, one of whom will be presenting a poster on the microbial metabolism of sulfur compounds in petroleum and creosote. Fedorak mentions that making professional connections at the ASM meeting is also important for his students, noting that some have found doctoral and postdoctoral positions from contacts made at the ASM meeting. "The scientific content [of the ASM meeting] is always good, but in many ways, for us, it's the personal contacts that are important." Attending the 1994 ASM meeting will be a first for Karen Dierkson, a doctoral student in the microbiology department at Oregon State University in Corvallis, who will be presenting a poster on stress responses in E. coli. In addition to scientific sessions about food microbiology, she plans to attend some of the ASM roundtable discussions (see accompanying story). As a graduate teaching assistant, Dierkson is especially interested in the education seminars--"Preparing Graduate Teaching Assistants for the 21st Century" and "Interactive Multi-Media Instruction in Microbiology," for example. "Any further information I can get on teaching and education is always of value to me," Dierkson explains. She adds that microbiologists have much more than basic techniques like gram-staining and growing colonies of bacteria on agar plates to impart to students, so she hopes to add to her repertoire of teaching strategies by attending these sessions. Dierkson is also looking forward to the roundtable session entitled, "Classical and Alternative Pathways to Career Satisfaction: Options for Diversity." She anticipates that the speakers will discuss different ways "for both men and women in science to find a balance" between their careers and personal lives. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : AT A GLANCE TY : NEWS PG : 9 AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY * Charles Hancock, executive officer * Martin Gellert, president Nearly 3,000 members of ASBMB will attend the society's annual meeting May 21-25 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Presentations include almost 100 talks and more than 1,400 posters, as well as an exhibition. Meeting Highlights "The Washington Connection," a series of public affairs sessions featuring: * "Science and Early Education," Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences, chairman (Sunday, 6:00 P.M.) * "Science and Technology Transfer," Daniel Vapnek, senior vice president for research, Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif., chairman (Monday, 6:00 P.M.) * "Science and Public Policy," Howard Schachman, professor, emeritus, of molecular biology, University of California, Berkeley, chairman (Tuesday, 6:00 P.M.). Speakers will include Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health, and Neal Lane, director of the National Science Foundation. AT A GLANCE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MICROBIOLOGY * Michael Goldberg, executive director * Gail Cassell, president More than 8,000 attendees are expected to convene for the 94th ASM meeting, slated for May 23-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Over 2,500 scientific papers and special sessions, as well as more than 25 workshops, will be offered. Meeting Highlights Roundtable sessions held throughout the meeting: * The Art of Seeking Employment and the Science of Finding It * Managing Your Graduate Education: Preparation, Direction, and Resources * Preservation and Biodi-versity * The Postdoctoral Fellow Dilemma: Nowhere To Go? ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: NOTEBOOK ------------------------------------------------------- TI : Mathematics Awareness Week TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 "Mathematics and Medicine" is the theme for this year's Mathematics Awareness Week, April 24-30. Organizers hope to draw attention to the critical but often overlooked role of mathematics in many areas of biomedicine. Important examples, they say, are the use of mathematics in genetic studies and DNA analysis; the reliance on mathematics of such medical-imaging technologies as computerized axial tomography (CAT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET); the construction of mathematical models for studying the immune system; and development of the algorithms that underlie computer molecular modeling. Colleges, universities, and research laboratories are sponsoring lectures, demonstrations, exhibits, and other special events to celebrate. The event is coordinated and funded by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics in Washington, D.C., representing the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, with additional funding from the U.S. Army Research Office. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : Garden Party TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The University of California, Los Angeles, Extension is organizing a tour of its diverse botanical gardens in the southeast corner of the university's main campus on May 8, hosted by Mildred E. Mathias, in whose honor the gardens have been named. The day-long program includes a lecture by Mathias, currently a professor, emerita, of botany at UCLA, who will conduct a guided walk in the gardens. Mathias, 87, was a professor of botany at UCLA until her retirement in 1974, and now organizes nature study tours for UCLA Extension in various parts of the world. The eight-acre gardens include a deep canyon and offer a variety of climates, which allow the university to maintain some 4,000 species of plants from various parts of the world. They also house a herbarium with 170,000 dried plant specimens. For information, contact The Sciences, UCLA Extension, 10995 LeConte Ave., Suite 714, Los Angeles, Calif. 90024; (310) 825-7093. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : Wool And Oil Do Mix TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced a new twist on an age-old product. Because of a myriad of qualities--inexpensiveness, biodegradability, and toughness, for example--low-grade wool is being developed into the latest environmental clean-up tool. A consortium of industry and academia is investing more than $700,000, along with an additional $700,000 from USDA, to turn wool into the booms, pads, and socks used in swabbing spilled and leaked oil. Developers expect that their wool pads will involve a lower cost to the environmental clean-up industry and will be reusable, after oil is removed and eventually broken down into polypeptides and amino acids, as a protein concentrate. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : Arts And Sciences TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 "Natural History Illustration in New York State," an exhibition of the works of scientific and natural history illustrators, is currently on display at the New York State Museum in Albany. Recognizing the importance of illustrations in augmenting the results of scientific discoveries and research, the exhibit contains several works executed in a variety of media that reflect the unique alliance between art and science. All the 46 artists whose works are on display are either from the state of New York themselves, or work with scientists from the state. Running from April 13 through June 19, the exhibition complements the New York Natural History Conference III, held from April 13 to 16. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : Underwater Astronomy TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 A team of researchers is converting a 5 million-gallon reservoir in the New Mexico mountains into an observatory that will act "like a camera whose shutter is always open," to detect violent cosmic events. Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory; New York University; the University of Maryland; George Mason University; and the University of California's Santa Cruz, Riverside, and Irvine campuses expect by 1997 to equip the giant pond with more than 400 submerged and sensitive light detectors, with an additional 200 detectors along the edges. The observatory is designed to record signals from high-energy cosmic emissions as it surveys, for example, the explosive deaths of evaporating black holes, the centers of active galaxies, and gamma ray bursters. The detectors will be sensitive to a range of gamma rays--high-energy photons--and will sense the arrival of air showers when gamma rays, descending through the upper atmosphere, collide with air molecules. A cover on the pool will block outside light from entering, permitting only gamma ray-generated particles through. The $2.5 million project is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : A Fungus Below Us TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 A petroleum engineer in Texas has a suggestion for what to do with miles of tunnel constructed for the now-defunct superconducting supercollider, but it has more to do with high-energy gastronomy than physics. According to an Associated Press report, Naresh Vashisht believes the concrete-sealed, 200-foot-deep tunnel would be ideal for growing mushrooms. Vashisht says he'd like to use the tunnel because of its nearly perfect mushroom-growing conditions: total darkness, high humidity, and a steady 70-degree temperature. Vashisht notes that in Pennsylvania, mushrooms are grown in old limestone mines, and that the tunnel is constructed from a similar stone, Austin chalk. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------ TI : Brain Food? TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 A University of North Carolina School of Public Health study may confirm some parents' worst fears and isn't likely to make the fast-food industry very happy, either. According to the study, pregnant women who eat hot dogs at least once a week appear to double the risk that their children will develop brain tumors, while children who consume the same amount also double their risk of brain cancer. In addition, kids who eat hamburgers that frequently are twice as likely to contract lyphocytic leukemia, says David A. Savitz, a UNC professor of epidemiology, and his former graduate student, Sara Sarasua. In the study, Savitz and his colleagues focused on certain processed meats that contain high levels of nitrites. They found the highest risk for contracting cancer among groups in which the children did not take vitamin supplements and consumed the most processed meats. Savitz says the study does not prove that nitrites cause cancer or that people should stop eating hot dogs and hamburgers. "Evidence like this should encourage us to moderate the amount of processed meat we feed our families and underscores the value of vitamin C and other vitamins, especially in fruits and vegetables," he says. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------ TI : Nonagenarians Stay Active AU : STEVEN BENOWITZ TY : NEWS PG : 11 Generally, when a reader sees a reference to a work published in 1926 or 1927, years in which Tadeus Reichstein published some of his earliest papers, he or she assumes that the author has long since departed this earth. But this is a false assumption in the case of Reichstein, who at age 95 is still publishing. Reichstein, who shared the 1950 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discoveries relating to the hormones of the adrenal cortex, is still hard at work at the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the University of Basel, Switzerland, actively participating in international collaborations. His 1992 paper "The phloroglucinols of Dryopteris stenolepis" (C.J. Widen, P. Ayras, T. Reichstein, Annales Botancici Fennici, 29[1]:41-54), for example, was coauthored with Finnish researchers from the University of Helsinki and the University of Turku. In the United States, a change in a federal law may make nonagenerian researchers like Reichstein more common on university campuses. January 1 of this year marked the end of the exemption for university faculty to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which in essence will prohibit mandatory retirement for professors (see story on page 1). Now that U.S. faculty members don't have to retire at age 70--the mandatory age at many schools before the law went into effect--they can continue to work indefinitely. And, indeed, scientists who are remaining vital and active into their 90s can already be found on American soil. It's hardly surprising; scientists, after all, possess a boundless curiosity. Their quest for new knowledge is timeless. New Providence, N.J.-based R.R. Bowker Co.'s directory American Men and Women of Science lists more than 350 scientists who are 90 years old or older and living in North America. Many are no longer actively involved in their profession. Many are in poor health. But a select few continue to defy time. While most interviewed for this article acknowledge that they don't quite get around the way they used to--they rarely attend conferences or give lectures, for example--they all agree that they continue to work because they love what they do. "I'm a scientist, and I keep working because I enjoy it," says ornithologist and evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr, the Alexander Agazziz Professor of Zoology, Emeritus, at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology, who will turn 90 in July. "I'm interested in science, in finding new things out, and in communicating with the public. Why shouldn't I continue to work?" Making Room For Others Their continued high productivity notwithstanding, many of these active nonagenarians approve of a mandatory retirement age. They contend that scientists can continue their work in other venues, and that retiring is often necessary to allow younger researchers and scholars the opportunity to make their own marks. Take Mayr, for example. His official university retirement in 1975 "has been a godsend" to him, he says. He's busier than ever lecturing, consulting, and writing. In fact, says Mayr--who received the National Medal of Science in 1969 and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)--since age 64 he's published nine books, and he has two more that will go to the publisher this year. He still writes some five to 10 scientific papers a year. This past January, Mayr spent the month as a visiting scientist at the Archbold Biological Station in Lake Placid, Fla. "I have a very active mind," says Mayr. "Any person worth his salt should know what to do when he retires; if he doesn't, he probably wasn't any good in the job to begin with. People should retire so young people can have opportunities." Mayr has written some 17 books. His latest, One Long Argument (Harvard University Press, 1991), focuses on the philosophical founda- tions of Charles Darwin's theories of evolution. A Household Name Few scientists' careers rival that of 93-year-old Linus Pauling, winner of two Nobel Prizes (for chemistry in 1954 and for peace in 1962). His 1970 book, Vitamin C and the Common Cold (New York, W.H. Freeman & Co.), helped make him a household name. When he was 73, he founded the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto, Calif., where he has continued studying vitamins and disease. He maintains a rigorous schedule, despite having been diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago. "I don't lecture much anymore, but I continue to write and collaborate with colleagues at the institute on their research on vitamins," says Pauling, speaking from his ranch at Big Sur, some 200 miles from the Palo Alto institute, where he spends most of his time. He likes to devote two or three weeks of "high energy" at a time to a project. Last year, he published the second edition of his book Cancer and Vitamin C (Philadelphia, Camino Books), and he's currently collaborating on a second edition of his 1986 book, How to Live Longer and Feel Better (New York, W.H. Freeman & Co.). "Age 70 may be too early for people to retire, with people living longer and healthier," Pauling says. "The previous policy seemed a good one. But a professor who is retired at one university is occasionally offered a job by another university . . . the rule never prevented another university from hiring you. "Professors who were handicapped by age could retire; others, if they were healthy and wanted to continue to work, could [do so]," Pauling says. He retired from Stanford University when he was 73 rather than further abuse the university's retirement policy, he says. "There was no pressure on the administrators that way." Why does Pauling continue to work? He has few financial worries; he's paid a salary from the institute under a lifetime appointment. He also receives a pension from his days on university faculties at the California Institute of Technology, Stanford, and the University of California, San Diego. Pauling, an NAS member, contends there's little else left for him to do, save visiting with family. "I've always been interested in learning new things, and have always liked research," he says. "I've always taken pleasure in discovering something new and thinking of something that no one else had." Today, he keeps up with major scientific journals; in February, he published a "Technical Comment" in Science ("Triethylsilyl cations," Science, 263:983). He continues to be interested in the fields of atomic structure and nuclear physics. Life After Research John T. Edsall, 91, a professor, emeritus, of biochemistry at Harvard University, still walks to work daily in Cambridge, Mass., weather permitting. But when the biochemist-physician officially retired in 1973 from teaching at Harvard, he decided not to continue his bench research. "I had seen other people who continued their research into their old age, but it inevitably was less significant than in their youth," says Edsall. Edsall's retirement from the classroom hardly seems to have slowed him down. He has turned to the history of science, an old interest of his. Edsall also has written extensively on the history of the study of blood and hemoglobin. His latest publication came out this past December: a review of a biography of Nobel laureate Hans Krebs for Nature (366:417-8). Like Pauling, Edsall has been deeply involved in social issues. In 1973, the American Association for the Advancement of Science asked him to help develop its proposed Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, which he later chaired. Edsall, an NAS member, also serves on the academy's committee that addresses human rights violations. Edsall's expertise is in the chemistry and structure of blood and muscle proteins. During the 1940s, he and his colleagues helped develop new uses of blood plasma proteins and blood fractionation processes in medicine and surgery. Edsall says he's "somewhat concerned" about the abolition of mandatory faculty retirement. "Older faculty may want to hang on," he worries. "There may be too many holding on and not enough opportunities for young people." Historical Insight Mathematician Dirk J. Struik, who will turn 100 in September, has little doubt he could still teach a college class in calculus. However, he no longer does mathematical research. Though early in his career he focused on tensor analysis and differential geometry, in the 1960s he turned to the history and sociology of mathematics and science. "Creative mathematics is for the young," he says, "but historical insight can last till the end." Struik, an emeritus professor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, taught at MIT from 1926 to his retirement in 1960, save the five-year period during the McCarthy era when he was accused of subversive activities and suspended from the faculty. Struik continues to work every day, "perhaps three hours, answering calls from colleagues and students, writing letters or articles and book reviews, as well as some biographical notes" for a planned autobiography. He remains an associate to the history of science department at Harvard. "Tons of people can do good work after age 70 or 75," says Struik. "I didn't necessarily want to retire when I did, but I had to. Of course, it goes the other way, too. There are those who should retire at age 50." A Life's Work "We spend a lifetime in a career doing something [we] like, and you don't just give that up," says Ernest R. Hilgard, a professor, emeritus, of psychology and education at Stanford who will turn 90 in July. Hilgard, who retired from teaching in 1969, continued an active research program for another decade. Today he attends a conference every so often and lectures on occasion. His most recent books include a history of psychology in the United States, which was published in 1987 (Psychology in America: A Historical Survey, San Diego, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc.). Hilgard, a member of both NAS and the American Philosophical Society, sees nothing wrong with mandatory retirement. "If you want to continue to work, the university will almost always let you," he says. "I liked the option of a formal retirement. That way the administration doesn't have to make the decision." Pioneering plant physiologist Paul J. Kramer, James B. Duke Professor of Botany, Emeritus, at Duke University, who will celebrate his 90th birthday in May, believes that the ending of mandatory retirement will "create an embarrassing situation" for university administrations. "It was easy for administrations; once you turned 70, they could say it's time to retire," he says. "Now they will have to give a great deal of thought to this." Kramer, an NAS member and one of the founders and past presidents of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, currently is collaborating on a fourth edition of his 1949 textbook Water Relations of Plants (New York, McGraw-Hill Inc.). An Individual Decision Meanwhile, in Canada, Gerhard Herzberg believes that retirement should be left to the individual, although, he says, "it's perfectly acceptable to have an age of retirement--say, 65 or 70." Herz-berg is Distinguished Research Scientist at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Ottawa, which is a member institute of the National Research Council of Canada. He won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1971 for his pioneering work in spectral analysis and molecular structure. Herzberg plans to retire when he turns 90, on Christmas Day. Although there is no longer a mandatory retirement age for Canadian government workers, there was a mandatory age of 65 at the time of Herzberg's 65th birthday. (In Ontario, university faculty currently must retire at age 65, though other provinces may differ.) The mandatory age notwithstanding, Herzberg has kept on working past his 65th year. He was still discovering new molecules when he was 75. "There should be allowances in special circumstances for some people to continue working," says Herzberg. In his own case, the Nobel Prize was just the ticket. Steven Benowitz is a science and medical writer for Penn State University's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: OPINION ------------------------------------------------------ TI : Societies Should Provide The Journals That Scientists Need AU : WILLIAM J. WHELAN TY : OPINION PG : 12 ******* Editor's Note: In a career spanning nearly 50 years, William J. Whelan--now a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Miami--has published some 250 research papers and edited more than 20 scholarly books, his main interest being the biogenesis of polysaccharides and action patterns of the polysaccharide enzymes of metabolism. Throughout his career, Whelan also has served as editor and developer of more than a dozen scientific journals, including the Biochemical Journal, Trends in Biochemical Sciences (TIBS), and FEBS Letters, a publication of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Since 1987, he has served as the first editor-in-chief of the prestigious FASEB Journal, published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Eugene Garfield, publisher of The Scientist and founder of the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), has known Whelan since the 1950s. "My association with Bill goes back to a FASEB meeting in Atlantic City," he recalls, "where I was handing out sample copies of an early Current Contents issue on the boardwalk. Over the years, I've come to know Bill as a unique entrepreneur. He chose not to personally benefit financially from his journal-publishing endeavors. I certainly do not denigrate publishers who, like myself, chose the for-profit route, but Bill's idealistic commitment to journal publishing is commendable and all too rare." In this essay, Whelan tells about several failures by professional societies to meet the ever-changing needs of their members. "In that connection," says Garfield, "I'm reminded of an effort about 20 years ago by a group of biochemistry journal editors to place a moratorium on the launch of new publications. Needless to say, this misplaced hubris was doomed, and new journals have kept coming out. All dynamic research fields will eventually `twig,' just as biochemistry and genetics developed into molecular biology; that comes inevitably with the growth of established disciplines. "Bill Whelan is astute enough to recognize that scientific societies, while inherently conservative, need to overcome their natural resistance to change." A version of this essay originally appeared under the title "Publish or Perish" in FASEB Journal (7:1423, December 1993). It is presented here with FASEB's permission. ******* AU : WILLIAM J. WHELAN In the early 1960s, a proposal was made to the American Chemical Society (ACS) by some members of its Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry to publish a journal devoted to that subject. The society, presumably through its committee on publications, turned down the proposal. The proponents of the publication were nevertheless convinced that they had a worthwhile proposition, and a commercial publisher eventually was found. The journal Carbohydrate Research proved to be highly successful. Now having published its 250th volume, it would have been an adornment to ACS. I learned of what happened because I had been invited to join the editorial board of Carbohydrate Research. I declined, however, because by that stage in my career I had decided to work only for publications produced by scientific organizations--societies and so forth--and recommended that such a publishing umbrella be pursued despite the initial rebuff by ACS. But my recommendation was to no avail. Two decades later--in the spring of 1983--I wrote the prospectus for a review journal on behalf of the Committee on Genetic Experimentation of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). Again, my recommendations were to no avail, and the project "escaped." I will not expand on what happened, but suffice it to say that when a journal of the same name was brought out in January 1985 by a commercial publisher, the launch was later described as the most successful in that publisher's history. I have had a certain amount of experience in launching journals on behalf of scientific organizations. I also have been the secretary general of three international biochemical organizations of societies and national academies, with the task, among others, of raising funds to support their many worthy aims, such as fellowships, symposia, workshops, and lectureships. I soon came to realize that there is a limit to the amount of money that can be cajoled from members, industry, and government. To raise more money, one has to go out and earn it. And what better way than by royalties or profit-sharing from publications? It is my thesis that scientific journal publication should mainly be in the hands of scientific organizations, thereby ensuring built-in continuity, quality control, independence, and the highest standards of reporting. This is not to say that these attributes are lacking in the entrepreneurial efforts of private publishers, but there can be no guarantee. What I have come to believe represents, in most cases, the best of both worlds is the journal whose copyright is owned by a scientific organization but that is published, promoted, and managed by an expert commercial publisher under an agreement that provides an income to both parties (ideally, profit-sharing). In such arrangements, the copyright holder is free to change the publisher, such opportunity to be considered at the end of each contract period. When sufficiently confident and experienced, the scientific organization may become its own publisher. The Company of Biologists in Cambridge, U.K., is to my mind the model of this type of publisher. It has been my privilege to have been involved in launching journals that have reflected these attributes and have achieved the successes expected of publications of scientific organizations. So far, the three most successful--because they are the oldest members of the stable--are the European Journal of Biochemistry, FEBS Letters, and TIBS, the first two published for FEBS and the latter for the then International Union of Biochemistry. The first two helped put the fledgling FEBS on the map. They brought the European biochemical community together and their combined income return to FEBS must by now, in dollars, run into eight figures. For this reason, FEBS, a regional organization, is wealthier than the worldwide International Union of Bio- chemistry and Molecular Biology. Why is this kind of success story not more common? True, there are already many such examples, but in the publication explosion of the last two decades, especially in biology, the pace has been set by the private, entrepreneurial publisher--and generally to the detriment of the optimal progress of science. The proliferation of low-circulation, high-priced, subject-overlapping journals with no quality control is allowed to happen because when it comes to launching new journals, societies are their own worst enemies. Their publication committees procrastinate. They are very conservative. Such committees need only one or two members to say that the world does not need another journal and the project founders. The accepted default position is to do nothing. But if there is anything in the idea, you can be sure, as was the case with Carbohydrate Research and others, that the journal will be off and running in private hands, a valuable piece of property--something that might have been a real service to science, that might have burnished the organization's image, and provided a financial return in support its aims--lost to the society forever. I have written elsewhere of the wall of opposition that I and my colleague Prakash Datta (respectively the secretary general and treasurer of FEBS) encountered when, in 1967, we proposed the publication of FEBS Letters. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to have given up. Had we done so, FEBS would have been immeasurably poorer. So, my plea is that scientific organizations rethink their traditional conservatism in launching new periodicals. If the project is worth doing, it will be done by someone--if not the organization, then by a private publisher. Take good care of your intellectual property and do not let it escape to the private sector by default, lack of vision, or negligence. Once lost, the opportunity may never return. You owe it to your members to protect, enhance, defend, and exploit those property rights. We owe it to our colleagues to facilitate exploration of new vistas of scientific communication. William J. Whelan is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Fla. 33136. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: COMMENTARY ------------------------------------------------------- TI : Although Some Achievers Are Overlooked, Awards Are Healthy For Scientific Enterprise AU : EUGENE GARFIELD TY : OPINION (COMMENTARY) PG : 13 The Scientist extends its congratulations to the men and women who will be honored by the National Academy of Sciences next week at the organization's annual meeting. Their achievements and the reasons for this moment of special recognition by the academy are recapped in Neeraja Sankaran's front-page report. For some of these scientists--those who tend to keep a low profile as they go about their work--such highly visible acclaim may make them uncomfortable. They simply aren't used to the fanfare. For others (astronomer, author, and TV personality Carl Sagan comes immediately to mind), garnering awards and being in the public eye is old hat. But however the individual honorees carry their celebrity, you can bet they're all getting a lot of satisfaction from the recognition. Sagan--as used to stardom as he must be--told Sankaran that he is "delighted" to receive the academy's highest award, which honors his mastery over the years as a communicator of science to the public. I'm aware that some in the science community have a distaste for awards in general, usually on the grounds that they create a potentially corrupting "star system." They feel that the pursuit of recognition can become an overriding motivation for an individual and thus a distraction from the pure pursuit of research. I disagree. By recognizing exemplary individuals, the annual NAS awards--like the Nobels, Gairdners, Laskers, and others--reaffirm science's pursuit of excellence. Awards provide inspiration to young researchers with the message that, if they apply their skills unfalteringly, they, too, may someday find their place in the glow of public recognition. Even more important--as with the NAS awards--they may gain the recognition of their peers. It doesn't always work that way, of course; excellence is rarely rewarded by public recognition. Consistent with the view of Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset is the fact that the great machinery of science is fueled by the persistent energy of thousands of men and women who may never be singled out for their accomplishments. Indeed, examples abound even of researchers with monumental achievements who, mysteriously, have been underrecognized--either overlooked altogether when it came to the big prizes or forced to wait many years before appropriate recognition came their way. The 1940s Rockefeller Institute team of Oswald Avery, Colin MacLeod, and Maclyn McCarty is a perfect example of the former; plant geneticist Barbara McClintock of the latter. As covered extensively in a recent edition of The Scientist (J. Lederberg, Feb. 21, 1994, page 11), the Avery team's discovery a half-century ago that genes are made of DNA "transformed" the study of genetics. To many observers, it is a mind-boggling puzzle why they never received a Nobel Prize or why the prize is still denied the great team's lone survivor, McCarty. Barbara McClintock, on the other hand, is a special case of delayed recognition. McClintock was indeed given a Nobel for her discovery of mobile, or "jumping," genes in plants. But although she had been elected to NAS, the Nobel award came to her in 1983, many decades after her work began leading the way for a generation of younger researchers. With the Avery team, McClintock, and countless others, underrecognition or delayed recognition may be attributable to an individual's lack of charisma and a disinclination for self-promotion. In a recent issue, we quoted Nobelist Alfred Hershey's remark on why Avery and his collaborators did not win more widespread and visible acclaim for their work. "It was due to their modesty," he said. "They refused to advertise." To explain the underrecognition phenomenon, the following irony also is worth considering: Recognition in the form of prestigious prizes often is awarded as a result of recommendations from scientists in the recipient's field; but it is frequently the case that the truly knowledgeable scientists in any given field are simply too busy at their lab benches to spend time making recommendations to awards committees. Thus, a meritorious candidate is apt to be overlooked now and then. Overall, I support wholeheartedly the special tokens of recognition--the NAS awards, the Nobels, and so forth. In my opinion, they play a valuable role in the scientific enterprise. I only wish there were a mechanism to ensure that all of those who deserve such awards would at least be considered to receive them. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: LETTERS ------------------------------------------------------- TI : Rolling The Credits AU : JOHN LASZLO TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 13 I was very pleased to read the Commentary urging scientists to give the National Institutes of Health proper credit for the funding of their research (S.C. Silverstein, et al., The Scientist, Nov. 15, 1993, page 12). This is also an immense problem for not-for-profit agencies such as the American Cancer Society. Our credibility largely depends upon reporting back to the American public the progress in cancer research that was made possible by their generous donations. The vast majority of research that we support is of a very fundamental nature and does not make headlines. However, some of it does--some of our grantees win prestigious prizes and receive national, and even worldwide, publicity. When publicity is available, it's a golden opportunity to mention the sponsoring agency or agencies. We generally learn about these press conferences or other potential opportunities after they have passed. Admittedly, the press often ignores the supporting agency, even when it was properly listed at the bottom of the press release. Further, some scientific journals are ruthless in ignoring sponsorship when it comes to press conferences based on articles published in their own journals. It is terribly important for us to pull together on these matters and to make plans for publicity and proper attribution before the article or the press conference is completed. If we want to encourage public support of research, this "nicety" must not be overlooked. JOHN LASZLO American Cancer Society 1599 Clifton Rd., N.E. Atlanta, Ga. 30329-4251 ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : Achievement Tests AU : CINTHIA SCHUMAN TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 13 The Scientist did an excellent job reporting FairTest's recent study demonstrating that the lion's share of National Academy for Science, Space, and Technology (NASST) scholarships went to boys because of reliance on American College Testing (ACT) exam scores to choose winners (F. Hoke, Jan. 10, 1994, page 1). However, the reaction statements attributed to spokesmen for ACT contain such significant errors of fact and logic that further clarification is necessary. For example, the statement by ACT's Kelley Hayden that the test has a predictive validity of 95 percent for both males and females is not supported by a single piece of data. The test-maker's own research shows that ACT scores have a correlation of about 0.4 with first-year college grades, the only outcome the test claims to predict. That means the ACT explains less than 20 percent of the variance in grades. Moreover, ACT admits that young women receive higher college grades, despite their lower test scores. Equally wrong is ACT vice president Thomas Saterfiel's logic in claiming that the 3:1 male/female scholarship ratio is justified because the gender breakdown of college graduates in science, engineering, and math is similar. In fact, his argument reverses the causal chain and ignores the possibility that the low percentage of female science students is partly a result of test-based admissions and financial aid decisions. FairTest does agree with Hayden that the ACT was never intended to be used as the sole criterion for scholarships and that "test scores should not be used alone to make high-stakes decisions." Why, then, did ACT allow its scores to be used in the NASST program, and why does ACT continue to allow test scores to be the sole factor in determining freshman eligibility under the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Proposition 48? It is true that Congress, not ACT, mandates use of test scores. But ACT apparently complied without hesitation. The entire incident demonstrates that relying on unaccountable testing companies to police the use of their products is insufficient. CINTHIA SCHUMAN FairTest 342 Broadway Cambridge, Mass. 02139 ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: RESEARCH ------------------------------------------------------- TI : Many Disciplines Focusing On Fungus AU : MYRNA E. WATANABE TY : OPINION PG : 14 With the advent of new molecular genetics techniques, the field of mycology--the study of fungi--has changed dramatically in the past two decades, its scope advancing rapidly. Until the 1970s, mycology was essentially an observational science. A mycologist was trained in traditional taxonomic techniques: making gross and microscopic observation of specimens, comparing them with samples in museum and research collections and illustrations in books, and classifying them by morphological characteristics. Although the field traditionally has branched into the study of fungi species that cause disease, mycologists say their field now encompasses molecular biology, ecology, chemical-extraction techniques, and other specialties and skills not usual for the traditional mycologist. The research emanating from laboratories studying fungi is diverse, including investigations of biological control of pest plants, production of new strains of edible mushrooms, and degradation of toxic materials, as well as the search for cures for cancer and AIDS. Fields Of Interest The object of mycologists' interest, fungi, according to Amy Rossman of the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) in Beltsville, Md., comprise these groups: lichenized fungi or lichens; mushrooms, truffles and false truffles; plant-associated fungi, including rusts, smuts and mildews; and insect- and animal-associated fungi, a category that encompasses insect and animal pathogens. The recent advances in biochemical techniques and the surge in concern for the environment have resulted in rapid expansion in the types of scientists taking an interest in the properties of these organisms. For example, systematic mycologist Rossman, a research leader of the systematic botany and mycology laboratory at USDA-ARS, works with a team that includes a molecular systematist on classification of fungi. Rossman explains that, in many laboratories, molecular systematists who can identify fungi from their DNA are uncomfortable attempting to identify them by using morphological characteristics. Paul Rygiewicz of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Environmental Research Laboratory-Corvallis (ERL-C) in Oregon, a project leader in a study of mycorrhizal fungi--the network of fungal mycelia that is intimately associated with tree roots--trained as a tree physiologist and now works as a soil biologist/soil ecologist. Meindert de Jong of the Centre for Agrobiological Research (CABO) in Wageningen, the Netherlands, is a plant pathologist. He is using a silvicidal fungus to control noxious forest weeds. And chemist Steven Aust of Utah State University in Logan has started a company that will sell licenses for technology using white rot fungus to degrade toxic materials. Environmental Aspects Among the lines of research involving fungi is field ecology. As decomposers, fungi are essential for making soil nutrients and nutrients from dead organisms available to plants for growth. Investigators are discovering that medical applications of fungal-derived materials may not be limited to antibiotics, like penicillin, or such antifungals as griseofulvin, which historically have been produced from fungi. Pharmaceutical companies and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are screening compounds derived from fungi for drug activity. EPA's Rygiewicz is studying how plants and their symbiotic mycorrhizae will adapt to changes in carbon availability. Climate change is expected to yield increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the air. According to Rygiewicz, as much as 50 percent of the carbon assimilated by trees and going below ground might pass through mycorrhizal fungi. Once processed by the mycorrhizae, the carbon becomes available for use by other organisms in the soil. Among the questions Rygiewicz's group is asking is, if carbon availability in the atmosphere increases, will the plant become more dependent on fungi to sustain growth, or will it increase root growth? What effect will a change in reliance on mycorrhizae have on the other portions of the soil food web? The New York Botanical Garden's Roy Halling, in cooperation with colleagues at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, is surveying mushrooms and other fungi in Costa Rica's relatively young (approximately 350,000 years old) oak forest. The concern is that if the oak forest were destroyed, the nutrients that are recycled through the system by the fungi would leach out and be lost. When you destroy the forest, Halling says, "not only do you wipe out the nice charismatic macrofauna; you destroy a heck of a lot more." Utah State's Aust got the idea to start his company, Intech One-Eighty Corp., when, at Michigan State University, a graduate student approached him with a fungus that could degrade toxic material. Aust recognized the enzymes that caused the white rot fungus, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, to degrade lignin in wood. He has been working with the fungus ever since. In a recent paper (D.P. Barr, S.D. Aust, Environmental Science and Technology, 28:78A-87A, 1994) Aust explained that because this degradation is extracellular, the fungus also is capable of degrading many pollutants, including cyanides; polycyclic aromatics, such as pyrene and anthracene; pesticides, such as DDT and chlordane; and munitions, such as TNT. CABO's de Jong expects that "biological control of weeds, pathogenic fungi in crops, and harmful insects may have a bright future." He now is studying use of the naturally occurring fungus Chondrostereum purpureum, a common wood saprophyte and sometimes parasite, to control resprouting of poplar stumps in poplar plantings in a newly reclaimed polder--an area that had been under water--in the Netherlands. Prior to this, de Jong used this fungus to control the North American black cherry, Prunus serotina, an introduced weed that competes with naturally occurring species. Magic Mushrooms Systematic mycologists like Richard Kerrigan, director of research for Sylvan Research, a Cabot, Pa.-based mushroom spawn supplier, have also gained from molecular biological advances. Kerrigan has been studying wild species of Agaricus, the genus that contains the cultivated button mushroom, A. bisporus. Kerrigan explains that A. bisporus "has [predominantly] a closed sexual cycle, in which only a single parent is needed to give rise to each new generation of offspring." This makes crossbreeding very difficult, he says. Along with French colleagues, Kerrigan described a wild variety of this species that can be crossbred with the cultivated variety (P. Callac, et al., Mycologia, 85:835-51, 1993). This may lead to more genetic variability within cultivated mushrooms. Several amateur mycologists tout mushrooms as curing many ills, including hypertension, cancer, and AIDS, although this is not a burgeoning area of research at present. One of the most visible proponents of the medicinal use of mushrooms is Paul Stamets, an entrepreneur who established a mushroom company, Fungi Perfecti, in Olympia, Wash. Much of the research Stamets relies on regarding health claims of mushrooms was carried out in China and Japan. David Newman, a chemist with the Natural Products Branch of NCI, screens natural compounds, including many varieties of fungi, for activity against HIV and cancer. He says, "Although a large number of aqueous extracts of fungi show initial activity in the HIV screen as it is run at NCI-FCRDC [Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center], the activity almost in all cases is due to the presence of soluble polysaccharides." He points out that these high-molecular-weight polysaccharides "are not useful as drug entities." One reason for this, he explains, is that there is no way to deliver such large molecules into the body. Many of the molecules discovered in Chinese and Japanese research, he says, are high-molecular- weight polysaccharides. NCI is, however, supporting clinical trials of a ketone isolated from Fusarium javanicum, a fungus that grows on yams. Phase I clinical trials in patients with nonsmall-cell carcinoma of the lung are being carried out at the NCI-Naval Oncology Branch, while phase II clinical trials in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma have been approved and are expected to begin soon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Rygiewicz and de Jong see increasing environmental involvement by mycologists in the future. Aust, in describing detoxification of environmental contaminants, says, "One of the interests in this field is that it has potential in the market." Research in the field is supported in many ways, but not extravagantly. The National Science Foundation funds taxonomic research in mycology. Investigators such as Rossman and Rygiewicz are financed by their agencies. Aust's work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, EPA, and corporate sources. Halling is encouraged that NSF will begin a program for training taxonomists, particularly in fields in which they are underrepresented, such as mycology. He also is glad that the National Biological Survey (NBS), a new unit of the Department of the Interior, has made fungi a high priority. "If we really want to get a handle on the old-growth forests, we better start looking at what's going on underground with mycorrhizal fungi," according to a statement by Gene Hester, acting NBS director. Thus, although the field has widened, mycologists are still wondering where the jobs will be and how research will be supported. "The future is bright," says Halling, "but at present, it's kind of bleak." Myrna E. Watanabe is a biotechnology consultant based in Yonkers, N.Y. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: HOT PAPERS ------------------------------------------------------- TI : PHYSICS TY : RESEARCH PG : 16 S.M. Prokes, O.J. Glembocki, V.M. Bermudez, R. Kaplan, L.E. Friedersdorf, P.C. Searson, "SiHx excitation: An alternate mechanism for porous Si photoluminescence," Physical Review B, 45:13788-91, 1992. Sharka M. Prokes (Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.): "Silicon has many attractive properties, such as abundance, a stable passivating oxide, and good thermal and mechanical properties, which make it one of the most important materials in the electronics industry. Unfortunately, bulk silicon is a very poor optoelectronic material because its electronic structure is such that only inefficient light emission in the infrared can be produced. This occurs because the optical process is second-order in nature, involving both photons and phonons. "Porous silicon is produced by electrochemical etching, and differs from bulk silicon in that it consists of interconnected silicon structures, some on the order of several nanometers. The discovery of strong, visible luminescence (approximately 1.7 eV) from porous silicon generated significant interest, and it was believed that the recombination of electrons and holes within these nano-crystallites was the source of this light emission (L.T. Canham, Applied Physics Letters, 57:1046, 1990). If correct, this would make it possible to tune the color of light emission by choosing the appropriate silicon particle sizes. "The study by our group was the first to show that the light-emission energy was dependent on the presence of surface species, such as hydrides or oxyhydrides, and not on the particle size. A competing model for the light-emission process was suggested, based on the surface properties of this material, and independent of particle size. Interestingly, more recent work (Y. Kanemitsu, et al., Phys. Rev. B, 48:2827, 1993) showed that the 1.7 eV light emission does not correlate with the silicon particle sizes. Furthermore, high-temperature laser heating experiments (S.M. Prokes, et al., Phys. Rev. B, 49:2238, 1994) have shown the 1.7 eV light emission to be temperature-independent, indicating that the emission process cannot be a property of the silicon crystallites, but may be a property of oxide-related color centers present at the surface of the silicon nanostruc-tures." ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------- TI : ENTOMOLOGY TY : HOT PAPERS PG : 16 E.C. Masteller, K.M. Buzby, "Composition and temporal abundance of aquatic insect emergence from a tropical rainforest stream, Quebrada Prieta, at El Verde, Puerto Rico: Introduction," Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 66:133-9, 1993. Ed Masteller (Division of Science, Behrend College, Pennsylvania State University, Erie): "Long-term investigations were conducted in an island tropical rainforest with an aseasonal environment using an emergence trap to collect adult aquatic insects. This study involved six specialists of different aquatic insect groups and produced the following six papers in J. Kansas Entomol. Soc.: one (O.S. Flint, Jr., et al., 66:140-50) on caddisflies (Trichop-tera); one (M.L. Pescador, et al., 66:151-60) on mayflies (Ephemero-ptera); one (J.K. Gelhaus, et al., 66:160-6) on crane flies (Tipulidae); one (L.C. Ferrington, Jr., et al., 66:167-80) on midges (Chirono-midae); one (R.H. Wagner, et al., 66:181-86) on mothflies (Psychodidae); and one (E.C. Masteller, et al., 66:187-91) on dance flies, biting midges, and black flies (Empididae, Ceratopogonidae, Sim-uliidae). "The technique of long-term collecting with an emergence trap gave results that provided a number of significant insights into tropical aquatic insect fauna: a better understanding of biodiversity and phenology of tropical headwater streams; evidence that headwater streams in an insular environment are less diverse than temperate habitats; the occurrence of seasonality patterns in specific groups of insects; and knowledge of geographic affinities of Caribbean aquatic insects. Many aquatic insect adults tended to be smaller in size in the tropics. Support for the seasonality of caddisflies was presented in a three-year continuation of our research in Puerto Rico in E.C. Masteller, et al., Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Trichoptera (Leiden, the Netherlands, Backhuys Publishing, 1993), pages 65-71. "Impacts of this study are: providing baseline data for comparison with other Neotropical habitats and Nearctic streams; and identifying trophic niches for many species. Comparisons of two zoogeographic regions (E.C. Masteller, J. Kansas Entomol. Soc., 66:192-9, 1993) using identical sampling methods is one of the first of its kind. "Robert B. Waide, director of the terrestrial ecology division at the University of Puerto Rico and Head of the LTER (Long-term Ecological Research) site at El Verde, stated: `This study was a comprehensive effort involving numerous scientists collaborating their efforts and utilizing the facilities of an LTER site to further our understanding of the aquatic ecosystem at a Neotropical habitat.'" ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY ---------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Flow Cytometry Expanding In Clinical And Research Labs AU : REBECCA KRUMM TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 17 Flow cytometry, a rapid and powerful technique for biological research and medical diagnostics, has been evolving since the late 1960s. But it has been only in the last five years that flow-cytometry devices have become commonplace in basic research and clinical settings. These sophisticated instruments use lasers, fluorochrome dyes, and photomultiplier tubes to analyze large numbers of individual cells or subcellular structures. A significant strength of the technology lies in its ability to rapidly characterize individual cells by recording and correlating several pieces of data about each one. Cells or cell particles can be counted and even physically sorted according to multiple parameters. Fluorescence And Lasers As the name implies, flow cytometry (or simply "flow," as users call it) analyzes cells or cell particles flowing in a stream of liquid. First, the cells are stained with fluorochromes, dyes that emit light in various colors when illuminated by a laser beam. Some flow cytometers are equipped with up to four lasers, although instruments with one or two are more common. The most widely used lasers in flow cytometry are argon lasers, but helium-neon lasers are also used. The choice of fluorochrome used depends somewhat on the laser that will be illuminating it. Fluorescein, a commonly used dye, fluoresces green when hit by an argon laser, while phycoerythrin fluoresces orange. Additional laser types broaden the range of fluorochromes that can be used in flow cytometry. One by one, the fluorescently stained particles, in a fluid suspension, pass through a laser beam. As each particle fluoresces, the light is picked up by a photodetector, which converts the light signal to an electrical impulse. In addition to fluorescence, laser light scattered by the particles can also be measured. A flow cytometer usually includes several photodetectors. Through the use of filters and mirrors, different-colored light signals can be sent to specific photodetectors, which then send the information to a computer, where it is stored for analysis. For any one particle, the data for each parameter are stored discretely, so that statistical correlations are possible between parameters. If the particles are to be sorted, the machine puts an electrical charge, either positive or negative, on the droplet of fluid containing the cell, and the charged droplet is deflected into a test tube. By using both positive and negative charges, a researcher can sort two distinct populations of cells. Although the technology involved in flow cytometry is itself not new, it took a while to catch on, according to Alice L. Givan, codi-rector of the cell analysis laboratory at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center's Norris Cotton Cancer Center, in Lebanon, N.H. Flow cytometry was developed during the late 1960s by researchers in several locations, but much of the work that went into present-day flow cytometry took place in the 1970s at Stanford University in California, and at Los Alamos and Lawrence Liver-more national laboratories, in New Mexico and California, respectively. At that time, says Givan, "it was a fairly rarefied technique with a few experts building their own instrumentation." By the early 1980s, commercial flow cytometers were available. However, "these were pretty difficult instruments to use. They required a lot of care and feeding and constant alignment and things of that sort." It was not until the late 1980s that flow cytometry really caught on. "The field really exploded because `black box' flow cytometry became available," says Givan. Flow cytom-eters "became much more foolproof, much easier to use. They didn't require quite the high-tech technical support." At this point, she says, "they moved fairly rapidly into hospital labs, and into research labs," more or less on a lab bench, where people could use them fairly easily. Givan points out that flow cytometry instrumentation has grown in two different directions. One is that the simpler, more accessible "black box" machines have made flow cytometry a routine technique in the clinical lab. In addition, increasingly sophisticated machines are being developed with faster sorting capabilities, multiple color analysis capabilities (determined by the number of photodetectors), and multiple lasers, machines that can be configured for many different types of experiments. Paul Ginouves, United States product manager for cytometry research and instrumentation at Miami-based Coulter Corp., one of the leaders in flow-cytometry instrumentation, says that Coulter's current crop of flow cytometers extends these advances in the technique. For example, he says, the Coulter EPICS XL, introduced in 1992, is the first four-color analyzer available in a benchtop system. The EPICS XL has many automated features, useful in the clinical laboratory. Its four-color capability makes it an important research tool, says Ginouves, as long as multiple lasers and sorting are not required. The XL sells for $89,500 to $122,500, depending on the configuration. Coulter's other flow cytometer on the market is the EPICS Elite ESP. The ESP also has some automated functions, and can sort between 10,000 and 20,000 cells per second, and use up to four lasers. The cost of the ESP ranges from $153,000 to $300,000. Another major player in flow-cytometry instrumentation is Becton Dickinson Immunocytometry Systems of San Jose, Calif. Becton Dickinson offers an assortment of instruments, with laser capabilities ranging from one to three, and color capabilities from two to four. Fluorescent reagents for use in flow cytometry are available from many suppliers, including Coulter and Becton Dickinson. Others include Sigma Chemical Co. in St. Louis; Indianapolis-based Calbio-chem-Novabiochem Corp.; and Molecular Probes Inc. in Eugene, Ore. PCR And Flow Some of the most powerful applications of flow cytometry involve combining it with molecular biological techniques, such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Last May, researchers at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago published a paper describing a methodology they developed to discern very small sequences of DNA and messenger RNA within a cell using PCR and flow cytometry (B.K. Patterson, et al., Science, 260:976-9, 1993). By detecting single copies of DNA, the researchers pushed the lower limits of detection possible in flow cytometry from repetitive sequences of DNA several hundred thousand bases long to single-copy genes of less than a thousand bases. This work had important ramifications in the understanding of the HIV infection, says study coauthor Chuck Goolsby, an assistant professor of pathology at Northwestern. First, explains Goolsby, the Northwestern team performed PCR, using primers directed against the desired sequences, keeping the PCR product within the cell membrane. They were looking for HIV proviral DNA, which indicates that the cell is infected, and HIV messenger RNA, found in cells that are not only infected, but also actively expressing the HIV viral genes. In addition to using cell samples from individuals, which may have contained multiple copies of the DNA, they used cultured cell lines that contained only one copy of the HIV DNA. They then stained the cells using fluorescent DNA probes directed against the sequence of interest, and analyzed them via flow cytometry. The researchers successfully detected the desired nucleic acids. In addition, they showed that, in HIV-positive people, while only a small percentage of cells actively express the gene, a significant percentage of cells are latently carrying the HIV genome, acting as a reservoir for long-term maintenance of the infection. Also working with HIV is Philip McCoy, an associate professor of pediatrics and director of flow cytometry at Cooper Hospital/University Medical Center in Camden, N.J. McCoy is using flow to analyze helper T lymphocytes in HIV infection. The HIV virus, McCoy explains, infects only a small proportion of the helper T (CD4+) cells at any given time. McCoy is trying to determine upon what basis the virus selects CD4+ cells to infect. He believes that selection may be based on one part of the T-cell receptor, the beta chain. To test this, he is surveying cells from a large number of HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals, staining the cells with fluorescently conjugated antibodies to CD4, CD8, and T-cell receptor variable beta chains. The cells are then being analyzed through molecular biological techniques for presence of the HIV virus. If McCoy and his colleagues do find a correlation between HIV-infected helper T cells and variable beta chain expression, they hope to eventually develop a clinical assay based on this. Oceangoing Flow One of flow cytometry's innovative nonbiomedical applications is in oceanography. Researchers are performing flow-cytometric analyses of sea water to study phytoplankton. Similar to leukocytes swimming in blood, plankton easily lend themselves to the fluid nature of flow-cytometry measurements. Phytoplankton contain pigments that fluoresce on their own, so there is no need to dye them, says Sallie Chisholm, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. The chlorophyll in photosynthetic plankton fluoresces red, while the phycoerythrin that naturally occurs in cyanobacteria fluoresces orange. By combining fluorescence data with light scatter data, Chisholm can identify and sort various populations of plankton. In addition to studying the distribution of phytoplankton populations, Chisholm uses fluorescence signal intensity to measure the amount of pigment per cell, which corresponds to the amount of light reaching the organism. She and other researchers are currently using these data to make deductions about surface ocean water mixing. Chisholm, who directs MIT's part of a joint educational program with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., has been doing flow cytometry at sea for more than 10 years. In 1988, she and colleague Robert Olson, an associate scientist at Woods Hole, discovered a new species of phytoplankton using the technology. "We had a flow cytometer on a ship, and we were actually studying the little orange-fluorescing cyanobacteria," recalls Chisholm. "We noticed some signals that were coming from things smaller than them, but had red fluorescence. At that time, there was no known organism that would have those qualities." They were living organisms, however, and were dubbed Prochlorococcus marinus. It turns out that Prochlorococcus marinus are more abundant than any other plankton known, and, in the equatorial region, the species accounts for 40 percent to 50 percent of total chlorophyll in the sea. "They're just so small that people couldn't see them with a microscope," says Chisholm. Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, where many flow-cytometry techniques were first developed, are still focal points for the advancement of flow technology. Researchers at both locations are pushing the lowest limits of detection possible in flow systems, as well as increasing sorting speeds, and are applying this work to molecular biological research, including chromosome sorting for the Human Genome Project. The laboratory is working on the development of a "fast kinetic" flow-cytometry system, which would allow the measurement of enzyme kinetics within the cell. "With the kinetic system," says James Jett, a program manager at Los Alamos, "we can measure enzyme levels by looking at how fast products are produced." Other applications include the possibility of looking at assembly of macromolecular structures in cells, processes that happen on sub-second time frames. Some of the most promising work taking place at Los Alamos involves bringing the limit of detection in flow cytometry down to the single-molecule level, says Jett. At present, single-molecule detection has been accomplished using molecules of fluorescent dyes in solution, without cells or other biological material. Based on this, says Jett, researchers have developed a technique for measuring the length of individual DNA fragments using flow cytometry. While this is traditionally done by electrophoresis, a method that requires several hours and significant quantities of DNA, Jett and his colleagues use very little DNA and finish the job in about three minutes. In ongoing work based on single-molecule detection, researchers at Los Alamos, in collaboration with Life Technologies Inc. in Gaithersburg, Md., are developing a new approach to DNA sequencing. The plan, says Jett, is to label DNA so that each of the four constituent bases has a different, base-specific tag. The labeled bases will then be cleaved individually into the flow, and they will be identified as they pass through the laser beam. Rebecca Krumm is a freelance science writer based in Audubon, Pa. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ---------------------------------------------------------------- TI : SUPPLIERS OF FLOW CYTOMETRY INSTRUMENTS, EQUIPMENT, AND REAGENTS AU : REBECCA KRUMM TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 17 The following companies offer flow cytometry instruments, equipment, and/or reagents for clinical and laboratory purposes. Please contact the companies directly for more information concerning specific products. AMAC Inc. 160B Larrabee Rd. Westbrook, Maine (207) 854-0426 Fax: (207) 854-0116 Bangs Laboratories Inc. 979 Keystone Way Carmel, Ind. 46032 (317) 844-7176 Fax: (317) 575-8801 Becton Dickinson Immunocytometry Systems 2350 Qume Dr. San Jose, Calif. 95131-1807 (800) 223-8226 Fax: (408) 954-2009 The Binding Site Inc. 5889 Oberlin Dr. Suite 101 San Diego, Calif. 92121 (619) 453-9177 Fax: (619) 453-9189 Biological Detection Systems 15200 Omega Dr. Suite 105 Rockville, Md. 20850 (301) 990-0100 Fax: (301) 990-8391 BioSource International Inc. 950 Flynn Rd. Suite A Camarillo, Calif. 93012 (800) 242-0607 Fax: (805) 987-3385 Boehringer Mannheim Biochemicals Inc. 9115 Hague Rd. Indianapolis, Ind. 46250 (800) 428-5433 Fax: (317) 576-7317 Calbiochem-Novabiochem Corp. 10394 Pacific Center Court San Diego, Calif. 92121 (800) 854-3417 Fax: (619) 453-3552 Coulter Corp. P.O. Box 169015 Miami, Fla. 33116-9015 (800) 526-6932 Fax: (305) 380-6881 DAKO Corp. 6392 Via Real Carpinteria, Calif. 93013 (800) 235-5743 Fax: (805) 566-6688 Duke Scientific Corp. 2463 Faber Rd. P.O. Box 50005 Palo Alto, Calif. 94393 (415) 962-1100 Fax: (415) 424-1158 Dynal Inc. 5 Delaware Dr. New Hyde Park, N.Y. 11042 (516) 326-3270 Fax: (516) 326-3298 Frederick Research Center 431 Aviation Way Frederick, Md. 21701 (301) 694-3232 Fax: (301) 694-7223 Gen Trak Inc. 5100 Campus Dr. Plymouth Meeting, Pa. 19462 (610) 825-5115 Fax: (610) 941-9498 INAMCO Chemicals & Lab Equipment 78-44 Parsons Blvd. Flushing, N.Y. 11366 (718) 969-0926 Fax: (718) 591-4453 Jackson Immuno Research Labs 872 W. Baltimore Pike P.O. Box 9 West Grove, Pa. 19390 (610) 869-4024 Fax: (610) 869-0171 Life Technologies Inc. P.O. Box 6009 Gaithersburg, Md. 20884-9980 (301) 840-4150 Fax: (301) 670-8539 Molecular Probes Inc. 4849 Pitchford Ave. P.O. Box 22010 Eugene, Ore. 97402 (503) 344-3007 Fax: (503) 344-6504 New Brunswick Scientific (UK) Ltd. Edison House 163 Dixons Hill Rd. N. Mymms, Hatfield AL9 7JE Phone: 07072-75733 Fax: 07072-67859 PharMingen 11555 Sorrento Valley Rd. Suite E San Diego, Calif. 92121 (619) 792-5730 Fax: (619) 792-5238 R & D Systems Inc. 614 McKinley Place, N.E. Minneapolis, Minn. 55413 (800) 328-2400 Fax: (612) 379-6580 Research Organics Inc. 4353 E. 49th St. Cleveland, Ohio 44125 (216) 883-8025 Fax: (216) 883-1576 Riese Enterprises Inc. 2267 Old Middlefield Way Mountain View, Calif. 94043 (415) 968-2922 Fax: (415) 965-2660 Sigma Chemical Co. 3050 Spruce St. St. Louis, Mo. 63103 (800) 325-3010 Fax: (314) 771-5750 Vector Laboratories Inc. 30 Ingold Rd. Burlingame, Calif. 94010 (415) 697-3600 Fax: (415) 697-0339 VWR Scientific Inc. 1310 Goshen Pkwy. West Chester, Pa. 19380 (610) 431-1700 Fax: (610) 429-9340 Zymed Laboratories Inc. 458 Carlton Court South San Francisco, Calif. 94080 (415) 871-4494 Fax: (415) 871-4499 ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: NEW PRODUCTS ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Westing Software's Bookends Pro Makes Debut TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 Westing Software of Tiburon, Calif., has released Bookends Pro, a bibliography management system for professionals who track and cite reference information. Designed for the Macintosh, the software collects, manages, and formats references, citations, and quotes. In addition, it automatically generates bibliographies and footnotes that conform to publication specifications. Users can import reference information from a variety of online database services, including Medline, Dialog, and BRS, as well as from CD-ROMs and delimited text files. Bookends Pro also offers enhancement features, including previous-entry "peeking" and quick selection from a journal glossary or from a keyword or author list. The system includes more than 90 predefined formats for generating references and footnotes that conform to journal specifications. While these include many major required formats, the user can also customize the reference style to his or her specifications. Once a format is chosen, Bookends Pro offers a scan-and-replace feature to automatically scan manuscripts for reference and footnote citations, replace them with properly abbreviated citations, and generate a fully formatted bibliography in the process. Users can also save formatted bibliographic material as a word-processing file, print from a menu, or paste directly into documents using the copy-and-paste option. --------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Two Companies Collaborate On Search Software TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 Galactic Industries of Salem, Mass., and Bio-Rad Sadtler of Cambridge, Mass., have teamed up to produce the IR Search/Sadtler software package, which supports Bio-Rad Sadtler Digital FT-IR search libraries. The IR Search/Sadtler option displays chemical structures and enables the user to display and search chemical and physical property information contained in Sadtler libraries. Additionally, the system can search either Galactic or SearchMaster user libraries. IR/Search Sadtler supports multiple-search algorithms, including full-spectrum, peak, and text/information searches. Users can define new algorithms with Galactic's Array Basic programming language. A special feature allows researchers to include or exclude multiple regions of a spectrum during a search. A "hit report" is generated for each search, and the system's Auto-Subtract feature enables users to automatically subtract out the library spectrum from the unknown and re-search the results. ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Keithley MetraByte Unveils TestPoint TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 Keithley MetraByte of Taunton, Mass., has introduced TestPoint, a multitasking, object-oriented software package designed to simplify the creation of custom test, measurement, and data-acquisition applications in the Microsoft Windows environment without using conventional programming techniques. The package, which supports a wide array of hardware, develops test routines, creates custom user interfaces, modifies applications processes, displays data, creates report files, and exchanges information with other Windows applications. The package provides hundreds of library programs for controlling popular test and measurement instruments, including Keithley's Model 2001 Digital Multimeter and the Model 182 Sensitive Digital Voltmeter. The program also supports Keithley's KPC-488.2AT IEEE cards and many Keithley MetraByte DAS data-acquisition boards, including the DAS-1800, DAS-1600, DAS-1200, DAS-800, and DAS-TC boards. ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Perkin-Elmer Fluorescent Dye Phosphoramidites Provide Alternative To Radioactive Compounds TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 The Applied Biosystems Division of Perkin-Elmer Corp. in Norwalk, Conn., has announced three new fluorescent dye phosphoramidites, 6-FAM, HEX, and TET, which enable direct 5'-end labeling of primers and probes at coupling efficiencies greater than 90 percent. Designed as an alternative to radioactive compounds, fluorescently labeled oligonucleotides pose no environmental threat in use, storage, and disposal, according to the company. The products can facilitate gene analysis on the Model 373A DNA Sequencing System equipped with 672 GENESCAN software. They can also be used for in-situ hybridization, cell-uptake studies, target sequence identification, and other applications that would otherwise involve radioactivity. The fluorescent dye phosphoramidites dissolve completely in acetonitrile and attach to all Perkin-Elmer synthesizers. In addition, the products are compatible with the four-color, one-lane detection technology of the Model 373A. Dye-labeled primers yield correspondingly labeled polymerase chain reaction products that can be sized and quantified by GENESCAN software. According to Perkin-Elmer, this system is ideal for linkage, gene expression, forensic studies, and all other applications in which accurate, consistent genetic analysis is essential. --------------------------------------------------------------- TI : World Precision Instruments' Multi-Channel Voltage Clamp TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 Sarasota, Fla.-based World Precision Instruments introduces the EVC-4000, a voltage and current clamp that allows clamping of up to four epithelial membranes simultaneously. The product uses moderate voltages on wire leads and is modular, housing from one to four amplifiers. Each module, with its companion preamplifier and potentiostat, operates independently, actively maintaining one surface of the test membrane at zero potential relative to the ground under all operating conditions. Each module can operate as a voltage clamp, a current clamp, or an open circuit potential. ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Gilson FC 205 Fraction Collector For Basic Time/Drop Collection TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 Gilson Inc., based in Middleton, Wis., has released the FC 205 Fraction Collector, designed for applications requiring routine collection in time or drop modes. Up to 10 collection windows can be added in either mode to divert non-desired eluent to waste, thus optimizing use of collection tubes. It can be as a stand-alone instrument or integrated with Gilson high-performance liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography systems, or systems built by other manufacturers. Features of the FC 205 include a stationary rack system, x-y stepper motor technology, metal internal drive components, and a chemically resistant keypad and case. To adapt to changing conditions, collection parameters can be edited during runs, with the most recent set of parameters automatically stored in the memory. In addition, 23 different rack options, capability for 10, 12, and 13 mm test tubes, standard and deep-well microtiter plates, microcentrifuge tubes, scintillation vials, and Teflon funnels are available. An optional multi-column adapter permits simultaneous collection from up to eight separate columns. An optional three-way diverter valve facilitates collection at high flow rates, or into small-diameter tubes or plates. ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : ATCC Offers Pneumococcal And Meningococcal Purified Polysaccharides TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 The American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), located in Rockville, Md., offers 25 types of purified pneumococcal polysaccharides, including components of the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae and one type of menigococcal polysaccharide, W-135. The pneumonal polysaccharides are available as 2, 10, or 200 mg/vial, and the menigococcal polysaccharide is available as 25 or 200 mg/vial. According to ATCC, the use of these polysaccharides as model antigens has greatly extended the understanding of basic immune responses. In addition to their use in assaying for type-specific antibody, these antigens are useful in the analysis of other immune responses and immunodeficiency studies. ------------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Carl Zeiss's MCS System TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 The MCS high-precision, non-contact coating and film thickness measuring system, from Carl Zeiss Inc. of Thornwood, N.Y., uses a fiber-optically coupled thickness measurement technique to provide repeatable measurements of optically transparent coatings and films from 0.5 micron to 150 microns. A non-destructive, non-contact method that provides on- and off-line precision measurements and calculations in less than 0.1 second, the MCS system is applicable to packaging films, protective coatings, photoresists, and liquid films. White light is reflected off the front and back surfaces of the film or coating layer. Interference effects are measured and analyzed with software and firmware on an IBM PC or compatible computer. ------------------------------------------------------------------ TI : CSPI's Scanalytics Division Acquires AMBIS Line TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 CSPI, located in Billerica, Mass., announces the acquisition of the AMBIS line of radioisotopic detecting and imaging systems to be marketed through its Scanalytics Biological Imaging Division. AMBIS instruments feature systems for analyzing radioactive electrophoretic gels and thin-layer chromatography plates using isotopes such as 14C, 32P, 35S, 125I, and other beta and gamma emitters by directly detecting radioactive emissions from sample surfaces. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: PEOPLE ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : AAAS Names Rita Colwell President-Elect AU : KAREN YOUNG KREEGER TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 23 Rita R. Colwell, a microbiologist and president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, has been named president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She assumed the title on February 24, directly after AAAS's annual meeting in San Francisco. Colwell, who will become the president in 1995, is the seventh woman president-elect of AAAS, the world's largest general scientific organization. "The goals that they've [AAAS] set for themselves are goals that I fully endorse," says Colwell, referring to the organization's objectives for the future, such as developing a series of forums on science policy and future directions for science and technology. Colwell says that when she becomes president, one of her key roles will be to find ways to more broadly communicate to researchers, policymakers, and AAAS members some of the less well-known programs of the organization. "Everyone thinks of Science magazine, but AAAS is active in many [other] areas," says Colwell. She cites as examples work in international collaborations, science education, and science policy. Colwell says she also wants to promote the role that AAAS can play in shaping science-education reform and science policy for the future. "There's an understanding [among AAAS members] that there's a need for long-range planning. Somewhere people have to come together to deliberate [on where to head] five to 10 years down the road." Colwell received her B.S. (1956) and M.S. (1958) from Purdue University and her Ph.D. in marine microbiology from the University of Washington in 1961. She serves on numerous editorial boards and government advisory councils. Her research centers on marine biotechnology, microbial systematics, and environmental microbiology. Colwell has received much recognition for her contributions to research and economic development in the field of biotechnology, including the International Institute of Biotechnology Gold Medal, the National Scholar Award from Phi Kappa Phi, and the Pate Award, Maryland's highest honor for contributions to economic development. --Karen Young Kreeger ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Freeman Dyson Receives 12th Wright Prize AU : CRAIG MONTESANO TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 23 Freeman J. Dyson, a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., has received the 1994 Wright Prize, awarded by Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif. Named after industrialist and former college trustee H. Dudley Wright, the prize honors those who have made exceptional contributions to science through cross-disciplinary study or research. The award ceremonies and accompanying lecture, given by Dyson and entitled "Away From the Mainstream: New Directions in Applied Physics," were held at Harvey Mudd on February 21. The award was the 12th Wright Prize conferred since its creation in 1979. The prize includes a $20,000 stipend and a bronze sculpture. Dyson has been on the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study since 1953, arriving there after spending two years as a professor of physics at Cornell University. He received a B.A. in physics from the University of Cambridge in England in 1945. During World War II, Dyson served as a civilian, doing operations research at the headquarters of the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command from 1943 to 1945. Dyson is best known in physics research for demonstrating mathematically that theories on quantum electrodynamics developed by Nobel laureates Richard Feynman and Julian Schwinger are equivalent. A former student of J. Robert Oppenheimer, he has also been recognized for his work in nuclear energy, arms control, space travel, science ethics, and biology. The author of five books, including Disturbing the Universe (New York, Harper & Row, 1979), and Weapons and Hope (Harper & Row, 1984), Dyson is a fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. The Dyson sphere concept, a theory he developed from an idea first advanced by science fiction writer Olaf Stapledon, envisions the technology needed for the creation of artificial biospheres in solar orbit. This element of Dyson's work has been used in numerous works of science fiction, including the popular television series "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Dyson says he was "very happy" about receiving the Wright Prize and the chance to interact with students. "I spent three days with the Harvey Mudd students, preaching the gospel of diversity," he says, noting that he advised them "not to specialize too narrowly--but to keep their options open so they can find useful work to do." Past recipients of the award include Jonas Salk, Robert D. Ballard, Francis Crick, Edward Purcell, Luis Alvarez, and Edwin Land. --Craig Montesano ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #8, April 18, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================


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