THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:8 April 19, 1993 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) Articles publ

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

Skeptic Tank!

THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:8 April 19, 1993 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) =============================================================== Articles published in THE SCIENTIST reflect the views of their authors and not the official views of the publication, its editorial staff, or its ownership. ================================================================ *** THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE SCIENTIST WILL APPEAR ON *** *** MAY 3, 1993 *** *** *** ******************************************************* THE SCIENTIST (Page numbers correspond to printed edition of THE SCIENTIST) FOR SEARCHING PURPOSES: AU = author NEXT = next article PG = page TI = title of article, TY = type, TY : CONTENTS PG : 3 ===================================================================== ASSESSING HEALY'S TENURE: As the end of her relatively brief tenure as head of the National Institutes of Health draws near, scientists, policy advocates, and former NIH officials reflect on the lasting impact of Bernadine Healy's often-tumultuous stewardship PG 1 STAYING POWER: The ability of Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler to stay on in the Clinton administration is a major feat, one his supporters in science and industry chalk up to his vigorous management and refocusing of the agency. Others, however, credit his retention more to superior political skills PG 1 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: Researchers and officials in academia, industry, government, and private institutions report employment prospects for investigators in environmental science outdistancing those in more traditional disciplines PG 1 STARTUP SURVIVAL: The second part of a two-part series on new biotechnology firms examines the fundamental as well as day-to- day challenges faced by these nascent businesses--both scientifically and commercially--and how these firms are facing up to them PG 1 RETURN TO UNESCO: Indications from the White House and other sources point to the United States' return to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization after a decade of absence, due largely to political disagreements with the organization. The move would allow the organization to hire American scientists once again for its various programs PG 3 IGOR SHAFAREVICH VS. NAS: Russian migr writer and historian Semyon Reznik says the National Academy of Sciences was right in asking Russian mathematician Igor Shafarevich to resign his foreign associate membership, even though the specifics of the NAS letter to Shafarevich were problematic PG 11 COMMENTARY: The problem of redundant publishing of research findings has plagued the science community for a long time, but, as Eugene Garfield points out, resources such as the Institute for Scientific Information's Science Citation Index have been available to root out offenders and should be used PG 12 HOTTEST OF THE HOT: Of all the research published in 1992, papers addressing the role of beta-agonist bronchodilators in the treatment of asthma drew the greatest number of citations, according to data from the Institute for Scientific Information reported in Science Watch, which examined last year's hottest fields PG 14 HOT PAPERS: A microbiologist discusses his study of a key process in the conversion of wood pulp PG 16 REDUCING THE HAZARDS: With research dollars in short supply, scientists must minimize the cost and time expended in controlling and disposing of hazardous waste. Several techniques, services, and new products are available to help. (See also Hazardous Waste Disposal Products and Services Directory on page 31) PG 17 YOUNG SCIENTISTS: Are high school students who garner top honors in such prestigious competitions as the Westinghouse Science Talent Search marked for future scientific success, or do the competitions motivate youngsters to pursue greatness in research? Scientists, teachers, and the students themselves contend that it's a little bit of both PG 21 CHARLES CHAMBERS, executive director of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, has been named president of Lawrence Technological University in Houghton, Mich. PG 23 NOTEBOOK PG 4 CARTOON PG 4 LETTERS PG 12 CROSSWORD PG 13 HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DIRECTORY PG 31 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : Environmental Science Job Prospects Healthier Than In Other Disciplines Growing awareness of environmental challenges keeps employment outlook relatively bright in this diverse research area AU : BY MARCIA CLEMMITT TY : News PG : 1 Despite the current economic uncertainty in the United States, career opportunities seem to be proliferating for environmental scientists, far outpacing those for researchers in many other disciplines. According to experts in this professional market, there is reason for optimism based on a combination of factors--mostly a heightened public concern about environmental threats along with stepped-up vigilance by environment-monitoring governmental agencies. Robert Baillod, professor and head of the department of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, says that while environmental jobs have suffered from a slow economy, the environmental engineers his department trains continue to have an easier time finding positions than do most other engineers and scientists. "A couple of years ago, 100 percent of our graduates found jobs immediately, while other disciplines may have had 90 percent success at best," Baillod says. "Today, we still have 70 to 80 percent placed right away, while most other disciplines seem to have dropped to around 60 to 70 percent. There's a pretty big demand for those with environmental training." The demand is a byproduct of the unusual diversity of job opportunities outside of academia for researchers with environmental training, scientists say. Federal and state research and regulatory agencies, such as state fish and wildlife agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Defense, all employ environmental researchers, as do environmental consulting firms and fuel, chemical, and other manufacturing companies. A host of other organizations, including nonprofit environmental groups and international bodies, such as the World Bank, also hire these scientists. But many observers caution that though the market for environmental researchers will probably stay healthier than most, it, too, is subject to economic and political constraints, which may cause companies and government agencies to redirect the research focus of current staff rather than taking on new hires. These observers also point out that the diversity of employers means a diversity of job requirements, which young scientists would do well to consider before they leap into the field. A Growing Field Investigators from a variety of disciplines have long pursued environmental topics, such as the physics and chemistry of atmosphere and oceans, the biology of rare plant and animal species, and technologies for cleaning up radioactive and chemical wastes. And while the number of scientists pursuing such research is impossible to determine precisely, it clearly is in the many thousands, with environmental researchers making up all or part of the membership of many scientific societies. Among those are the 6,000-plus-member Ecological Society of America, the 3,000-member Society for Conservation Biology, a large portion of the 12,000-member Soil and Water Conservation Society of America, up to a quarter of the 12,000-member American Meteorological Society, and varying fractions of many other chemical, physical, biological, engineering, and even medical science organizations. Over the past two decades, expanding knowledge in all areas of environmental research and the advent of computer modeling to study environment systems have fostered heightened awareness of the interconnections among the atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere. Researchers have learned that even an engineer focused on cleaning up a particular chemical at a specific waste site needs an understanding of the large-scale air, soil, water, plant, and animal systems in the area. This growing recognition of the need for interdisciplinary work in environmental research plus mounting public interest in questions of species extinction; air, soil, and water pollution; and global climate changes are causing a highly diverse group of researchers to enter environmental science. "It's a new field that's now moving from a hodgepodge to a very professional and unique training," says Orie Loucks, a researcher in applied ecosystems studies at Miami University in Ohio. "Environmental science isn't so much a single research discipline as an approach to knowledge." Central to that approach, say Loucks and others, is "a ravenous appetite for synthesizing knowledge from your own and related disciplines." But most of the employment possibilities lie outside academia, scientists say. "A large number of students have an image of being professors at research universities," says Ronald Pulliam, professor and director of the University of Georgia's Institute of Ecology in Athens. Pulliam says these expectations are not realistic for most, since university staffs are not expanding. However, Pulliam says, "the field does have a large number of jobs for those who have broad interests in more applied science areas and have done solid work." According to Pulliam, most of those jobs are in federal and state agencies, international agencies, and private environmental organizations, with a modest but escalating number in environmental consulting companies. Industry Consultants Chemical, fuel, and manufacturing corporations also employ environmental scientists and engineers to develop technologies to treat wastes and emissions and, increasingly, to create new products and production processes that are environmentally safe during manufacture and use. But while interest in environmental research is intensifying throughout these industries, observers of the field say that focus is unlikely to translate into a great number of industry environmental research jobs in the near future. Many industry officials say their R&D divisions will grow slowly or not at all in the near future, but John Carberry, director of research and development for Wilmington, Del.-based E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., points out that some aspects of corporate restructuring may provide new opportunities for environmental scientists outside corporate labs. Companies do need to do more environmental research, industry officials say, and many companies are redirecting some of their traditional environmental tasks, such as waste treatment and cleanup, to environmental consulting and engineering firms. That move, says Carberry, is designed to free up internal scientists to concentrate on the environmental aspects of product development and process improvement. University scientists across the U.S. report that environmental science and engineering consulting firms are hiring more of their Ph.D. graduates. Consulting companies are providing "a continuing rapid expansion in opportunities" for those with environmental training, says Miami University's Loucks. And, to the surprise of some, Loucks says, consulting firm jobs often provide scientists with excellent opportunities to build their research reputations. "These people have to publish three or four [peer-review-quality] papers a year," Loucks says. Companies that hire environmental consultants are usually seeking to change or clarify a government regulation that covers a broad question and for which scant or no previous data exist, Loucks explains. "Getting something reviewed [by a regulatory agency] is a function of the credibility of research the consultant can bring to bear. So highly specialized consulting companies are recruiting the best young environmental researchers," Loucks says. Private Research Groups Not only consulting firms but also many private environmental organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C., and the Arlington, Va.-based Nature Conservancy are expanding their research staffs, scientists say. Such groups are looking for scientists "with real-world problem- solving skills, field experience, communication skills, leadership, and cross-disciplinary interests," says Susan Jacobson, director of the conservation education and resource management program at the University of Florida in Gainesville, who polled environmental organizations on their hiring needs on behalf of a university consortium developing environmental programs. The Nature Conservancy's director of biological management, Robert Unnasch, says his organization is "definitely still in a growth phase. We do expect to bring in new Ph.D.-level staff." The Nature Conservancy is an environmental organization whose objective is to locate key areas of land where plant and animal species need protection, acquire that land, and then protect and maintain it. Unnasch points out that his team of researchers pursues the basic work of managing the conservancy's lands. But his interest extends to potential hires with practical problem-solving interests, field experience, and detailed knowledge of one traditional scientific field along with an interdisciplinary approach, similar to that of other environmental organizations. "We receive applications from people who got their Ph.D.'s in problem-based research. But when we ask them, `What do you know about plants, about insects?' the answer is often, `Nothing,'" Unnasch says. "Their training is in identifying interesting research questions, and that's inappropriate for us. We're on our hands and knees getting our fingernails dirty. We have insect questions, not general forest questions like `What are the fractal dimensions of forest fragments?'" Government Agencies Federal and state governments as well as international organizations have employed environmental researchers in increasing numbers over the past two decades. And university environmental science departments report that state environmental agencies are currently stepping up recruitment on their campuses. Many federal officials say that interest in environmental questions is on the rise in their agencies, though current budget concerns and the uncertainties of life under a new presidential administration make them reluctant to predict how many researchers the government will hire over the next few years. A spokesman for the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C., for example, says that environmental questions are "a significant and increasingly important component" of that organization's research and cites examples such as studying the physics and chemistry of droplets to minimize environmental damage from fuel spills and developing remote sensors to detect changes in the ozone layer. He adds that it's likely that "significant opportunities for new environmental researchers will continue to arise" at NRL. Robert Van Hooks, director of the environmental sciences division at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., says research agendas currently being put forward at his and other government laboratories "could definitely translate into new opportunities for ecologists and others with environmental training." In particular, van Hooks sees bright prospects for researchers in environmental risk assessment and for environmental engineers, of whom he says "there are simply not enough coming out of schools." But, says van Hooks, the government job market for environmental researchers is unpredictable at present since "like every other program in this economy, ours have to stand in line for funding and hope to be seen as a priority." Uncertain Future Environmental researchers say their field will continue to grow in prominence and significance. But there's disagreement about the extent to which that growth will translate into jobs overall. To some, like Garry Brewer, dean of the school of natural resources and environment at the University of Michigan, an influx of new jobs and money into environmental research seems imminent. Brewer, whose school is forming research and educational partnerships with the university's business and engineering schools, says corporations are now showing a real commitment to putting money and action into environmental questions. There's "a new understanding that these questions are important and they aren't going to go away," Brewer says. But others worry that government and industry concern with getting answers to environmental questions may not be strong enough to withstand budget pressures and the stubbornness of researchers who want to protect their established turf. "It's not that government and business aren't interested. But a lot of businesses have a wait-and-see attitude because there's been erratic enforcement [of environmental regulations]," says Carl White, senior research associate in biology at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. "And while the national labs are picking up the words `environment,' `ecology'... it seems to me they're mostly restructuring with regard to [job] titles. In the end, you may find out that people are less concerned with real change than with their own employability." AU : Marcia Clemmitt is a freelance science writer based in Washington, D.C. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : NIH's Healy: Although Her Impact Has Been Powerful, Questions Remain About Her Long-Term Influence Praise for some of her achievements is tempered by ongoing concern over future NIH strategies AU : BY FRANKLIN HOKE TY : News PG : 1 What will be the long-term impact of Bernadine Healy's brief two years as the first woman director of the National Institutes of Health? With her recently announced resignation, effective June 30, the fate of projects and issues she has pressed for or influenced becomes less clear. Among these are her creation of a women's health office at the institutes, her development of a strategic plan for NIH research, and her impact on scientific integrity investigations in the biomedical community. According to scientists, former NIH officials, and policy advocates, Healy's lasting influence will be significant-- impressively so, in light of the relatively short duration of her tenure--although it may not be exactly what she might have hoped for in every case. In a statement released at the time of her resignation, Healy herself cites her strategic plan, promotion of women's health issues, and efforts to extend the Human Genome Project as among her top achievements. At press time, she had not responded to an interview request for this story. According to some observers, besides the specific events and efforts that have defined her time as director, there are political or cultural ramifications of Healy's leadership tthat may persist. For example, Cynthia Pearson, program director of the National Women's Health Network in Washington, D.C., is "cautiously optimistic" that, with the vigilance of groups like hers, the Women's Health Initiative will remain in place after Healy's departure. Also, Pearson says, there have been other, more subtle changes at NIH of importance to women. "There's talk on the researcher grapevine," Pearson says, "about this proposal and that proposal, which would have been funded three years ago, but got turned down [because the proposals] needlessly left women out." But one former NIH official who was involved in the institutes' scientific integrity investigations and who requests anonymity says that Healy's most lasting legacy will be an "arrogance of power and disdain for coalition building" that will linger on after her departure. "That legacy is inspired by the people she's going to leave at NIH," the ex-official says. "She has surrounded herself with a sort of inner sanctum of princes. Interestingly, they're all male. And they remain." Healy's characteristic candor, focus, and energy on behalf of her programs has encouraged strong reactions at times, both pro and con. But as to whether her efforts will outlast her in specific areas, policy advocates and scientists offer differing views. "Her launching of the health initiative is particularly important to older women [and] is probably one of her greatest legacies from our perspective," says Joan Kuriansky, executive director of the Older Women's League, a Washington group that lobbies for improved health care access and other issues important to mid- life and older women. "On the other hand, we do not have yet the mandated structure of the Office of [Research on] Women's Health because that was to be put into law through the NIH reauthorization act [in 1992]--and Dr. Healy was not an advocate of the act. Right now, the office is there at the discretion of an individual director." The Business Of Science Several sources, while satisfied with the increased overall attention to women's health during Healy's tenure, also say that women's health was an issue whose time had come, whoever was in the director's job. Some use a business image to describe Healy's contribution to the process, crediting her with having "packaged and sold" the Women's Health Initiative well. Like her "packaging" of the Women's Health Initiative, Healy's effort to create a strategic plan for NIH research also is often described--whether positively or negatively--in a vocabulary more common in the corporate world than in the laboratory. Many sources--but not all--do not expect the strategic plan to last under Clinton's choice for the next NIH director. "I probably am on the other side of the angels on this one, but I thought her strategic plan concept was very important," says Dani Bolognesi, director of the Center for AIDS Research at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C. "We are, in many ways, like a business. The NIH is the steward of a lot of funds that go to support basic and clinical research. In order to maintain that stewardship, there has to be a plan to ensure that Congress and everyone connected with providing those funds is excited enough about the progress being made to continue funding. She was trying to package what NIH is doing [so Congress] could really understand the importance of it. I think that strategy is essential, and I hope to see it go on in spite of the fact that she's not there." William Brinkley, dean of the graduate school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, however, sees problems for scientists in Healy's version of a strategic plan and does not see it surviving, as is, under the next director. "The strategic plan was, in most basic scientists' opinion, a top-down type of management, a corporate-type plan," Brinkley says. "[But] it was the individual investigator's ability to do untargeted research that made American science great. I felt [the plan] was a master plan to make a corporate structure for research in America, and that's just not what we want." Brinkley adds: "It's good for every organization to have a strategic plan, but I hope that it will be salvaged and revised to the point that it focuses on the individual scientist, and not on what we can do for one disease group or another disease group." Healy's role in at least one high-profile investigation, that of top NIH AIDS researcher Robert Gallo, also concerns some scientists because of its potential lingering impact on the scientific integrity investigations apparatus. After a preliminary report from the NIH Office of Scientific Integrity (OSI) found Gallo guilty of scientific misconduct, then-OSI investigator Suzanne Hadley charged that Healy had asked for the report to be rewritten. In the end, Hadley withdrew from the case, and the findings of the final report were softened. A National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel under chairman Fred Richards of Yale University reviewed the OSI investigation, finding errors in some aspects of the investigation, but also finding, according to one report (John Crewdson, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 6, 1992, page 1), that Gallo's actions amounted to "intellectual recklessness" and more. Healy chose to "ignore" the NAS panel's view, according to this account. OSI has since been disbanded, and the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created to take over NIH misconduct investigations. On Dec. 30, 1992, ORI released its findings that Gallo had indeed engaged in scientific misconduct. "The way she handled the Gallo case worried me a good deal," says John Edsall, an emeritus professor of biochemistry at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. "It's pretty clear that [Richards] and members of his panel feel that they were very much pushed aside by the NIH, and that Bernadine Healy simply overruled them and backed them into a corner, which essentially came close to suppressing their report." Richards would not comment on the case for this story because, he says, he expects to be called to testify during Gallo's appeal of the ORI findings. Mary Jane Osborn is a professor of microbiology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington and was a member of the Richards panel. She calls some of Healy's criticisms of the OSI investigation "absolutely justified," but was displeased with Healy's rejection of the panel's review efforts. "Eventually, the ORI, I think, issued a good final report," Osborn says. "As a member of the Richards group, I felt to a degree vindicated by that report." Osborn adds: "The fundamental problem, which has shown up in many cases, is the difficulty in investigating oneself. So, from that point of view, I think it's probably better having [the investigative office] out of the NIH." "In the long run, perhaps it is just as well that [the investigative office] left NIH and went downtown [to HHS]," says Donald Fredrickson, NIH director from1975 to 1981 under President Jimmy Carter. "At the time, I didn't think so, but it may be much simpler if it remains down in that department and outside NIH." Scientist Politician Viewed alternately as either bold and assertive or unnecessarily combative, Healy touched strongly held beliefs in the biomedical community, engendering passionate interactions that tended to polarize the community, several observers say. "It's hard to find people who don't feel strongly, one way or the other, about her," says the former NIH investigations official. Healy also managed to bring politics and the Congress into the NIH director's office to a greater degree than any of its previous occupants, some scientists say. "I would characterize her tenure as being, to a degree we'd not seen before, involved with political process," says Connecticut's Osborn. "What that does, in the long run, is make NIH even more vulnerable to congressional micromanagement, the Disease-of-the- Month Club, and so on." "Because of her vigorous stances and visibility, the NIH may have been politicized unnecessarily," agrees Arthur Kornberg, a professor of biochemistry at Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif., and the 1959 Nobel Prize winner in physiology or medicine. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : At FDA: A Study In Staying Power AU : Ron Kaufman TY : News PG : 1 The ability of David Kessler, the 41-year-old commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to survive the purge of Bush appointees by the Clinton administration is an achievement being greeted with praise by some in the pharmaceutical, food, and biotechnology industries; and measured disappointment by some manufacturers of medical devices. Kessler was asked to retain his position by the Clinton administration in February. He took the reins of the agency in December 1990, and at that time announced he would engage in major reorganizing efforts to revitalize and reinvigorate the agency. Previously, FDA had been criticized for its slow enforcement of laws and regulations. But whether or not those efforts, which included appointing new section heads and reorganizing major departments, are perceived as successful depends on one's industry segment, says John Villforth, director of the Food and Drug Law Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that monitors FDA. According to Villforth, the passage of user-fee legislation in the 102nd Congress, with the strong support of Kessler, is giving these industries hope that in the future, FDA approval times will considerably lessen. User fees amount to a payment of $100,000 this year, increasing to $233,000 in five years, to accompany each approval application, enabling FDA to hire 600 additional staffers to speed up the process (Susan L-J Dickinson, "FDA User Fees To Speed Drug Review," The Scientist, Dec. 7, 1992, page 3). "For biotechnology," says Richard Godown, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Industrial Biotechnology Association, "we are pleased David Kessler remains on the job . . . we're especially glad he's going to be around to see the fruition of the directive that is encapsulated in the user-fee legislation." In a public statement issued in response to the Kessler reappointment, Gerald Mossinghoff, president of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, also in Washington, D.C., expressed his gratitude for Kessler's support of the user- fee bill. He said Kessler "provided the quid pro quo for the industry's willingness to pay substantial user fees to FDA." Conversely, some say Kessler's retention by the Clinton administration was due not to FDA's progress in some areas, but to his political savvy. "David Kessler is the single most politically astute FDA commissioner in history," asserts Howard Palefsky, president of Collagen Corp. in Palo Alto, Calif., which makes injectable collagens for the treatment of cosmetic defects. Palefsky says Kessler has teamed up with Rep. John Dingell (D- Mich.) to openly attack the medical device industry. The approval rate for medical devices, he says, has steadily declined from 56 approvals in 1989 to only 12 last year. "I know of many people in the biotechnology industry that are big fans of David Kessler because he's been good to the biotech world. But in the medical device arena, there is no question that he has declared war. . . Palefsky suggests that Kessler, who in the early 1980s worked with conservative Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, switched his political orientation soon after assuming the job at FDA and "forgot who appointed him." Villforth agrees, adding that the support Kessler got from Dingell and many consumer advocacy groups created the feeling among those closely watching the agency that his attitudes and philosophies were more in tune with the Democrats in Congress than with the Republican president who appointed him. "Prior to the election," Villforth says, "there was a joke running around FDA that `If you want to keep Dr. Kessler on as commissioner, you better vote Democratic.'" Kessler declines all comment on his reappointment. Kessler received an M.D. from Harvard Medical School (1979) and a law degree from the University of Chicago (1978). From 1981 to 1984 he was a consultant to the health staff of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. From 1984 to 1990 he was medical director of the Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y. AU : --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: Editor's Note: In this second part of a two-part series on biotechnology startups, entrepreneurs discuss a variety of factors challenging the scientist-entrepreneur of today. The first part, focusing on the financing of new biotech firms, appeared in the April 5, 1993, issue of The Scientist. TI : Biotech Startups' Business And Science Missions Must Be Crystal Clear From Day One, Experts Say A smarter consumership and rigid demands from investors leave little room for fuzzy thinking in entrepreneurial plans AU : BY RICKI LEWIS PG : 1 Despite recent setbacks in drug approvals, the mounting campaign for cost-cutting in the health care industry, and ongoing tribulations in the United States and global financial markets, the domestic biotechnology startup world is apparently holding its own. As the industry at large matures, analysts say, new entrants are learning from the highly publicized mistakes of their predecessors, with an outlook on the future that requires their being more versatile, yet more goal-oriented, than were startups in the past. This means that a company can't afford to focus on one project, they say, but must support several research projects, which ideally will follow a trajectory toward development of a product or device that a scientist or clinician can use--and pay for. These and other qualities are not only desirable, but also necessary now, analysts and entrepreneurs say, because competition is stiff. William Timberlake, vice president for research at Myco Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., sums up the requirements for today's successful biotech startup: "a high level of creativity, novel ideas, solid initial investment, and careful organization and planning for the long term." Biotech companies have come and gone with a considerable amount of clangor in the decade since Genentech Inc.'s highly successful product debut. When the South San Francisco, Calif., firm's human insulin came on the market in 1982, the startup floodgates opened--with a second wave of more than 30 companies forming in 1982-83. And despite research and product-approval setbacks, net growth has been impressive over the years. Currently, firms basing their product plans on recombinant DNA technology alone number 1,231, according to the New York-based accounting firm of Ernst & Young Inc., with the biotech industry overall employing 79,000 scientists at all levels. The pharmaceutical market tops $4 billion in the U.S., with 13 therapeutic products approved to date, but with hundreds of others in development. The number of agricultural biotech companies more than doubled in 1992 to 140, according to Ernst & Young. It's upon this foundation that the latest startups are building. Smarter Consumers Among the factors having considerable impact on new firms, some entrepreneurs contend, is that investors are much better informed than in times past. Telling a potential backer that Project A targets Disease B isn't good enough--now, the investor is likely to know all about existing therapies for Disease B, and how a new entrant will compete. "It used to be that a good idea and a name scientist were all that was needed to start a company," says Mimi Hancock, one of four cofounders of Avigen Inc. in Alameda, Calif. Today, she says, an idea has to be closer to the "D" of R&D than previously, and scientists have to convince potential investors that their invention or insight will translate into a saleable product or process. "Investors and venture capitalists are now commonly hiring people with scientific backgrounds who are better able to evaluate potential technology and ask a lot more questions," adds Hancock. A new biotech firm needs to have its science and business bases covered right from the beginning, according to Keith Brownlie, regional director of life sciences industry services in Ernst & Young's Princeton, N.J., office. "You have to have a great management team, so people with the funding know they're not dealing with a scientist who has no experience in getting a product to market," he says. "In addition to investors and scientists, having business personnel who have done this before is almost a prerequisite these days." Origins Biotech startups are conceived and gestated in several ways now, involving different alliances of academic and industrial scientists, says William Sharp, vice president of ESCAgenetics Corp. of San Carlos, Calif. A generation ago, a group of university biologists getting together to turn their research into a commercial enterprise was most unusual; today it is commonplace, he says. "Or, a new biotech company can be sloughed off of an existing company," adds Sharp, who has extensive experience with the evolution of biotech companies. From a position as director of pioneer research at the Campbell Soup Co. in Camden, N.J., from 1979 to 1981, he cofounded the spin-off cell culture company DNA Plant Technologies Corp. of Cinnaminson, N.J., in 1981, and was executive vice president at Branford, Conn.-based DNA Pharmaceuticals Inc. He moved to ESCAgenetics in 1992. Today there are many firms spun from established ones. For example, Genentech gave rise to Genencor Inc. of Rochester, N.Y., which targets industrial applications of biotechnology. Genencor then spawned Mountain View, Calif.-based Gen-Pharm Inc., to develop transgenic animals for the health care industry, and GlycoGen Inc., which was recently bought by Cytel Inc. of San Diego. Spinning out new companies helps the parent company focus, and gives the new venture a jump start. Another trend proliferating in the biotech arena is the creation of new business entities through mergers. The one between Perkin- Elmer Corp. of Norwalk, Conn., and Applied Biosystems Inc. of Foster City, Calif., put the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the ligase chain reaction (LCR), the two most popular gene amplification systems, under one roof, although Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. in Nutley, N.J., retains PCR rights in health care applications. Similarly, Genzyme Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., is absorbing many of its smaller competitors in genetic testing, such as Vivigen Inc. of Albuquerque, N.Mex. Positioning Whatever its origin, according to Avigen's Hancock, a biotech startup "must look for a niche and show that what they plan to do is well thoughtout." A perusal of classified advertisements from bio-tech startups recruiting staff in scientific newspapers and journals reveals that companies now tend to advertise and focus on areas that are currently hot in biological research, rather than describe their interests in such broad terms as "cancer," "infection," or "autoimmunity." The acronym in Durham, N.C.-based ICAgen Inc., for example, stands for ion channel advances, an important area of cell biology, but not necessarily directed toward a particular disorder--yet. Other new biotech companies are targeting the blood-brain barrier, the extracellular matrix, and inherited disorders whose genes have recently been identified. For example, at least four companies are developing treatments for amyotropic lateral sclerosis, an estimated $450 million market. There is often plenty of room to diversify, biotech officials say, even if a company's stated goal is one type of illness. This is the case at OsteoArthritis Sciences Inc., also of Cambridge. "We are focusing on a particular pathology, as opposed to having anti-inflammatory mediators," or monoclonal antibodies whose targets are unknown, says Nelson Campbell, vice president for business development. "We are working on understanding how cartilage breaks down in osteoarthritis. That is the core idea that is the foundation of our research. Yet at the same time, we are thinking of every which way to attack the problem of cartilage damage. Do we repair it, lessen the damage, or slow the degradation?" Campbell says there are many ways to approach a single pathology. "This is where the diversity comes in," he says. "Is it a biochemical process? That is our hypothesis. But you can take an opposite focus--that is, that [osteoarthritis] is a mechanical process. Then you take the cartilage, grow it in the lab, and implant it"--and, indeed, some companies are doing this. Maintaining this diversity is a must for biotech startups, many industry experts agree. They note, for example, that although Centocor Inc. of Malvern, Pa., has been pummeled with setbacks in approval of its highly touted Centoxin, an anti-septic shock drug, the company earns $50 million a year in infectious disease diagnostics, and has active research projects in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and cardiovascular disease. "Some people say that if your focus is too narrow, and the product is not approved, which we have seen happen, then $100 million is invested and you go nowhere if there are no backups," says Ernst & Young's Brownlie. "Or, some people feel that if a company takes too wide a focus, they won't get anything through the pipeline. It seems that the most successful approach is to have flagship research plus several alternatives, such as applications of that technology, or other products." A general formula for a biotech company is to apply a process-- such as gene targeting or transgenic technology--to obtaining a product that will solve a problem. But with 10 to 12 companies attacking the same disease with basically the same set of tools, a new approach to an old problem can put a company out in front, biotech officials say. "Startups need an enabling technology where the founders feel they have a leadership position," says ESCAgenetics' Sharp. Avigen, for example, is using an adenovirus vector for its gene therapy for sickle cell disease, hoping it will prove safer than a bone marrow transplant, another route of gene therapy for this disorder that carries a 15 percent mortality risk. Locale Is Important Almost as important as what a company does is where it does it, say both startup entrepreneurs and scientists at more established facilities. It is hardly coincidence, they note, that biotech companies have sprung up around academic hubs. "Academic centers provide one of the best sources for creativity and novelty," says Myco Pharmaceuticals' Timberlake. Myco's location at One Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass., puts it in easy reach of Boston's finest institutions. Adds neighboring OsteoArthritis Sciences' Campbell, "There is a lot of basic research in a variety of institutions in Boston. Cambridge is one stop [on the mass transit system] to Massachusetts General Hospital, and one stop in the other direction to Harvard Medical School." Osteo- Arthritis Sciences currently collaborates with eight universities in the area. On the West Coast, Avigen's Hancock also extols the advantages of locating near academic centers. Avigen's San Francisco Bay area locale is near, for example, the University of California, Berkeley, and dozens of other biotech companies. "The applicant pool, particularly for technical help at the entry level, offers more to choose from, and the company doesn't have to pay exorbitant fees for the employees to relocate," she says. "Also, we have access to university seminars and discussions with scientists. A startup has to be very conscious, and very conscientious, about how they spend funds. We're much more inclined to take a trip across the bay than across the country," she says. Staffing Considerations Traditionally, a biotech startup often begins simply with a couple of researchers and an exciting idea. In 1983, for example, Rutgers University biochemists Frank Davis and Abraham Abuchowski founded Enzon Inc., South Plainfield, N.J., to commercialize their "pegnology" technique of hooking therapeutic enzymes to polyethylene glycol, which keeps them in a patient's circulation long enough to correct a deficiency (Leah Beth Ward, The Scientist, Oct. 1, 1990, page 1). At the beginning, the founders often wear many hats, says OsteoArthritis' Campbell, answering phones, talking to attorneys, doing secretarial and janitorial chores, and, maybe, some science, as the facilities are built. Additional staff tends to come from word-of-mouth hires in which a cofounder scouts a university with which he or she has been associated for talent. Jobs fairs at national meetings also match biotechnologists to companies. Also, Hancock says, many academic scientists are lured to biotech startups by a combination of frustration with university life and the seeming freedom of the corporate environment. "The forces drawing academic scientists into industry haven't changed much over the past few years. The competition for funding, the amount of time they have to spend doing that and administrative tasks is very high. In this time, they feel, they could be doing science at a company," she says. Eventually, when the time nears for a potential drug to begin clinical or field testing, and permission from the appropriate regulatory agency is needed, newer biotech companies need to hire staff who can handle regulatory affairs and submissions for approval to government agencies, says Sharp of ESCAgenetics. "A small company has a difficult time at this. There have been a lot of failures because small companies do not have all the talents," Sharp says. When a small or start-up biotech company is absorbed into a large pharmaceutical firm, it is sometimes because of a lack of regulatory expertise, he adds. Looking To The Future The modern biotech industry dawned in sunnier economic times. Today's product-minded startups, entrepreneurs say, must keep in mind the current health care cost-cutting trend, which is likely to continue. "Companies will be forced to look at whether or not they can make a drug cost-effective," says Hancock. "In those cases where a company makes a new drug where treatment exists, they must analyze how to be competitive with what the patient population already spends." Unfortunately, say industry officials, the few biotech-derived drugs that are costly because of their methods of manufacture-- such as Genzyme Corp.'s Ceredase to treat Gaucher's disease at $100,000 per year per patient--make more headlines than the 60- plus DNA probe-based diagnostic tests and the hundreds of monoclonal antibody-based diagnostics approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Experts agree that the rapid and expanded diagnoses possible with these tests will ultimately lower health care costs by providing earlier, and therefore more treatable, detection of infections, cancer, and degenerative and inherited illness. Compared to their predecessors, today's biotech startups have far more starting materials, as well as methodologies, to choose from. The biotech companies of a decade ago were based on just a trio of technologies--recombinant DNA, monoclonal antibodies, and cell culture. Today that repertoire also includes gene targeting, transgenic technology, antisense technology, and the polymerase chain reaction. New research directions are being revealed by the Human Genome Project, and from ecosystems being preserved because of a renewed interest in biodiversity. Plus, rational drug design based on gene discoveries and natural products uses ever more sophisticated computer modeling capabilities, enhancing further the potential for new discoveries in biotech. Ricki Lewis is a freelance writer based in Scotia, N.Y. She is the author of a biology textbook and has just completed a human genetics text. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : Sources Indicate A U.S. Return To UNESCO Is Likely AU : BY RON KAUFMAN TY : NEWS PG : 3 A recently proposed congressional resolution and statements by President Clinton are giving some scientists and diplomats the feeling that the United States will soon return to UNESCO after a decade of absence. If so, the group would once again be allowed to hire Americans for scientific, teaching, and administrative positions. UNESCO--the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization--was abandoned by the Reagan administration in December 1983 for what were seen as largely political reasons. One year later, both Great Britain and Singapore followed suit, withdrawing staff, funding, and support. "Right now, things are bubbling," says Jack Fobes, who was a deputy director of the organization from 1971 to 1978. He says a number of high officials in the Clinton administration, such as Vice President Al Gore, science adviser John Gibbons, and deputy Secretary of State Clifton Warden have indicated that they would consider reestablishing ties with UNESCO. Cutting Ties The U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO was chiefly prompted by three factors, says Gregory Newell, assistant secretary of state for multilateral policy in the Reagan administration. Newell, who now does international corporate consulting from his home in Provo, Utah, says the factors that caused him to advise President Reagen to cut ties with UNESCO were: * the extraneous politicization of the agency, as evidenced by its attempted expulsion of Israel because of the Palestinian issue; * an endemic hostility toward Western ideals; * significant management problems and budgetary increases larger than those of other U.N. institutions. Newell remains opposed to U.S. membership, although he believes that the 1987 election of Director-General Federico Mayor Zaragoza, a Spanish biochemist, eased some of the hostility toward Western values. Nevertheless, programs that he objected to a decade ago are still in place and, he contends, little good science is done under UNESCO auspices (see story on page 9). "I would be very resistant to rejoining," he says, "because I think it's wrong. We didn't leave because people were spitting on the American flag; we left because the programs and policies were bad." Those who are encouraging resumed U.S. participation point out that, since his election as director-general, Mayor has attempted to resolve the many political, budgetary, and managerial problems cited by the U.S. and the U.K. as their reasons for withdrawal. For example, in a few months he will be traveling to Israel as a goodwill gesture toward that country. UNESCO's scientific programs include the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program, the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere (TOGA) program, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), and the International Commission of Scientific Unions (ICSU). The organization also provides a coordinating structure for six global scientific information networks. Though these programs grew slightly in the last decade despite the absence of the U.S. and Great Britain, the additional funding and scientific expertise these countries could provide would greatly strengthen the agency. The return of two of the world's major powers would mean a significant increase in funding for UNESCO. Estimates put the U.S. contribution at around $55 million a year and the U.K.'s between $11 million and $13 million per year. When the U.S. left 10 years ago, UNESCO's annual operating costs were $400 million. Tom Forstenzer, a UNESCO consultant at the Paris office, laments the absence of what he terms "the U.S. and U.K. scientific, intellectual, and artistic communities" during recent years. "We can't really do our job without the full participation of major communities like that." While the increase in funding helps, he says, the most important impact of reentry by the U.S. and U.K. would be intellectual. Some people remain from before the pullout, but, he says, it's a declining number and an aging group. Philip Hemily, a former UNESCO consultant and currently a staffer at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), suggests that another possible impact of renewed participation would be to strengthen UNESCO's role in the following up on the June 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Fobes, who is chairman of Americans for the Universality of UNESCO (AUU), a Washington, D.C., group of former UNESCO diplomats that has monitored the organization since the U.S. withdrawal, says the sympathetic view of many in the Clinton administration makes a return likely. However, Fobes cautions that the administration will make no official statements about UNESCO until an assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs is confirmed by Congress. Clinton's nomination of National Public Radio CEO Douglas Bennet for this position was announced March 5, but a confirmation hearing has yet to be scheduled. In Congress, Rep. Esteban Torres (D-Calif.), who was the U.S. ambassador to UNESCO under Jimmy Carter, is introducing a House resolution in the next few months that will, if passed, express the willingness of Congress to return. Because reentering UNESCO is solely an executive decision, this piece of legislation is symbolic and cannot force Clinton to act. Along with Torres, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Committee on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs' Subcommittee on International Development, Finance, Trade, and Monetary Policy, which would handle UNESCO funding, maintains that the agency has made significant reforms and that the Clinton administration should reconsider U.S. membership. In Great Britain, a group of scientists, educators, and artists called Friends of UNESCO has been holding meetings during the past few months to try to prod their government to rejoin. "There has been no official action in the British government, but much behind-the-scenes activity," says Maurice Goldsmith, chairman of the London group and president of the International Science Policy Foundation. "I understand that the Americans have already made it clear in private deliberations that they propose to reenter. Because Britain would probably not like to go in following on the coattails of the U.S., if an announcement is made, they will probably make it together." However, those watching the organization say a time limit exists. In October, the UNESCO general conference will convene at the group's headquarters in Paris, at which time a six-year direction plan will be adopted and a new director-general will be elected. Mayor has not stated whether he intends to run. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : SOME QUESTION UNESCO'S SCIENCE AU : Ron Kaufman TY : News PG : 9 Though some of those familiar with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) eagerly support a return to the organization by the United States and Great Britain, others say such a move would have no scientific merit. "By going back we'd only get good will--maybe," says Gregory Newell, the assistant secretary of state for U.S. multilateral policy from 1982 to 1985 and the architect of the U.S. decision to withdraw from UNESCO. "Scientific work does not happen with UNESCO anymore." Newell says the original reasons for leaving and the only reasons for going back to UNESCO would be political, not scientific: "Is there scientific value to rejoining? Absolutely not." He says there are other U.N. organizations the U.S. can cooperate with that are more effective than UNESCO. When UNESCO was formed in 1945, the agency played a key role in smoothing intercontinental correspondence among scientists, says Newell. He says in the early years, UNESCO was helpful in standardizing communications and convening international scientific meetings or seminars. But because information-exchange systems have advanced, he says, "a scientist from MIT no longer needs UNESCO to hook him up with someone in Mongolia or Nepal. He can now do this on his own or through more specialized organizations." Geophysicist Fred Singer concurs: "Scientifically we certainly would not get our money's worth." According to Singer, currently the director of the Science and Environmental Policy Project in Arlington, Va., an environmental monitoring group, no scientific reason exists for rejoining. "UNESCO has no competence in meteorology or oceanography," he asserts. "The only reason for rejoining would be to demonstrate solidarity or good will." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : NOTEBOOK PG :4 TI : Patently Special Two Merck & Co. Inc. researchers have been named cowinners of the Inventor of the Year award, given by Intellectual Property Owners, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit association that represents owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Gary H. Rasmusson and Glenn F. Reynolds will share the $5,000 award, presented at an April 15 ceremony in Washington, for Proscar, a new drug used to treat benign prostate enlargement. Also honored, with Distinguished Inventor Awards, were a team of seven engineers, designers, and chemists from the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. of Akron, Ohio, for their Aquatred tire, which improves braking on wet surfaces, as well as four researchers for Affymax Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., who developed a tool for synthesizing and screening large numbers of different compounds on a microchip. All of the winning inventions were patented. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : NOTEBOOK TI : To Russia With A Rebuke PG : 4 The scientific community continues to react to Russian mathematician Igor Shafarevich's book Russophobia, which has been interpreted by many readers as an anti-Semitic treatise (see Opinion, page 11, and Letters, page 12). C.K. Gunsalus, who chairs the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, sent Shafarevich an April 1 letter saying: "We wish to express repugnance at and condemnation of your anti-Semitic writings as conveyed in `Russophobia.' Your prestige as an eminent mathematician gives credence and special weight to your singling out one group for special opprobrium. . . . The Committee finds it regrettable that a mathematician of your stature has disseminated such unfounded and vile characterizations in your writings." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : NOTEBOOK TI : More Messages For Coloradans PG : 4 Another issue that still deeply concerns many activists in the scientific community is Colorado's Amendment 2, which outlaws local antidiscrimination laws protecting homosexuals. At the American Physical Society meeting on March 21, APS's Committee on International Freedom of Scientists passed a resolution stating: ". . . We deplore the action of the majority of voters in Colorado. . . . We recommend that the Council of the APS not approve APS sponsorship of any further meetings in Colorado while language similar to that of the Amendment . . . remains in the Constitution of Colorado...." Committee chairman Joseph Birman, Distinguished Professor of Physics at the City College of New York, says the matter is especially relevant to physicists because the 14th International Conference on High-Pressure Science and Technology, to which APS has lent its imprimatur, is slated to take place in Denver June 28-July 2. While the committee does not plan to call for cancellation or moving of the conference, Birman says, "We want the organizers of the meeting to be aware of this resolution, and for some way to be found to bring it to the attention of persons planning to attend this meeting." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : NOTEBOOK TI : New Molecule On The Block PG : 4 Move over, buckyballs. Researchers at the University of Michigan have synthesized the world's largest pure hydrocarbon molecule, composed of 1,134 carbon atoms and 1,146 hydrogen atoms--100 times the volume of buckminsterfullerene, the molecule made up of 60 carbon atoms. According to Jeffrey S. Moore, an assistant professor of chemistry and macromolecular science and engineering, these giant molecules might be combined to form a device, similar to a solar cell, that can focus energy from sunlight and transform it into chemical energy. He also believes the molecule has potential applications as a drug delivery system. The chemical structure of the molecule has been verified with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, according to Moore. Moore and postdoc Zhifu Xu described the molecule during a presentation at the recent American Chemical Society meeting in Denver. A complete description of the molecule will be published in the Journal of the German Chemical Society (Angewandte Chemie). (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : NOTEBOOK TI : Stairway To The Stars PG : 4 The Astronomical Society of the Pacific offers a set of 40 slides, plus an accompanying booklet, as a teaching aid for lessons about the most prominent constellations of the Northern Hemisphere. For more information, contact the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Constellation Slide Set Orders, 390 Ashton Ave., San Francisco, Calif. 94112; (415) 337-1100. Fax: (415) 337-5205. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : NOTEBOOK TI : Skin Care PG : 4 Applications are now being accepted for the four categories of academic research awards offered by the Dermatology Foundation. The Leader Society Clinical Career Development Award is a $40,000-per-year stipend (renewable for two years) intended to advance the research of a dermatology faculty member pursuing a clinical investigation intended to approve clinical dermatology. The Career Development Award in Skin Research is designed to assist junior investigators in the early stages of their careers. Available to dermatology faculty members, the stipend is also $40,000 per year. One fellowship is also awarded in the area of skin photobiology. One-year fellowships of $25,000 are available to support research training in dermatology and cutaneous biology. One-year grants of $10,000 to initiate research into dermatology, cutaneous biology, skin cancer, dermatologic surgery, and other skin-related areas are also being awarded. The deadline for all applications is August 1. For details and applications, contact: Medical and Scientific Committee, Dermatology Foundation, 1560 Sherman Ave., Suite 302, Evanston, Ill. 60201; (708) 328-2256, Fax: (708) 328-0509. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : On Shafarevich And NAS: Tolerance Vs. Indifference AU : Semyon Reznik TY : OPINION PG : 11 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Editor's Note: Last July, National Academy of Sciences president Frank Press and foreign secretary James Wyngaarden sent an unprecedented letter to Russian mathematician Igor R. Shafarevich, head of the V.A. Steklov Institute in Moscow, suggesting that he resign his membership as a foreign associate of NAS because of "anti-Semitic writings" contained in Russophobia, a book by Shafarevich. The letter further alleged that Shafarevich "used [his] position to interfere with the careers" of young Jewish mathematicians. Shafarevich, denying that Russophobia is an anti-Semitic work and that he interfered with anyone's career, refused to resign from the academy. When word of the letter spread through the scientific community, several mathematicians and NAS members from all over the world criticized the academy's action. For one thing, they said, NAS had not previously criticized a member for holding unpopular beliefs, although numerous precedents existed. Furthermore, several Jewish former students of Shafarevich reported that he had helped to advance, not hinder, their careers; those objecting to the Press-Wyngaarden letter said that the NAS officials should not have based their allegations on hearsay evidence, but should have first checked the facts themselves. On the other hand, some researchers expressed support for the sentiments expressed in the NAS letter, even though a number of them said they believed that the wording used was problematic. They contended that anti-Semitism is a grave problem in Russia and that Shafarevich, through his high standing as an eminent mathematician, was encouraging widespread religious intolerance in the country, potentially leading to violence. The academy, they said, had an obligation to express its disapproval for such intolerance, and they were glad that some action was taken, regardless of the specifics of the language in the letter. Shafarevich, widely acknowledged by his colleagues to be a brilliant mathematician, was a vocal critic of the Soviet government in the 1970s. In retaliation for his activities as a dissident, he was ousted from the Steklov's Scientific Council. He was elected a foreign associate of NAS in 1974. Some contend that his anti-Soviet politics played a role in his election; yet the academy's bylaws state that nominees are to be judged only on the basis of their scientific achievements. In the following essay, Russian migr writer and historian Semyon Reznik reacts to two articles in The Scientist describing the Shafarevich affair (Barbara Spector, The Scientist, Sept. 28, 1992, page 1; Dec. 7, 1992, page 4). Reznik says that the main issue in the discussion should be the mathematician's "hatred against Jews, liberal intellectuals, and everybody else whose so- called patriotism does not go as far as Shafarevich wishes," rather than the text of the academy's letter. The fact that NAS distanced itself from Shafarevich's views, Reznik says, is "of great moral importance." ---------------------------------------------------------------- A chapter in my latest book The Red and the Brown: Russian Nazism in the Past and Present, which was published in Russian (Washington, D.C., Challenge Publication, 1992) but is yet to be published in English, is devoted to the literary and public activities of Igor Shafarevich. Thus, the two articles by Barbara Spector dealing with Shafarevich (The Scientist, Sept. 28, 1992, page 1; Dec. 7, 1992, page 4) are in the framework of my professional interests. Both articles cover an extensive discussion among United States scientists provoked by a letter that Frank Press, president of the National Academy of Sciences, and James Wyngaarden, NAS foreign secretary, had sent to Shafarevich, who is a foreign associate of NAS. In this letter, the NAS leaders condemned their Russian colleague for his anti-Semitic activities and asked him to resign from the academy. I was pleased to learn from Spector's articles that the American scientific community is so concerned about the rise of anti- Semitism in Russia, but at the same time I was surprised that some participants in the discussion concentrated more on the letter than on Shafarevich's activities. Such an emphasis focused the discussion on the academy's response--not on the reasons for the response. More than two decades ago, when Shafarevich--together with Andrei Sakharov, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Pyotr Grigorenko, and other dissidents--started to speak out against human rights violations in the Soviet Union, the support of Western intellectuals helped them to survive in that cruel and repressive environment. In 1974, Shafarevich was elected a foreign associate member of NAS, primarily in recognition of his outstanding achievements in mathematics. His prestige had dramatically increased, and even the KGB could not ignore that fact. Authorities forbade him to teach at Moscow University, but he was never fired from the Steklov Institute of Mathematics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Shafarevich never was arrested, tried, exiled, or searched, as were many other active dissidents. Unfortunately, the Soviet dissidents were united only on the issues of what they stood against. When time came for them to define what they stood for, it became increasingly obvious that for some of them, like Sakharov, democracy was the only alternative to the communist regime, while for others, like Shafarevich, democracy was an even greater evil than communism. The latter group dreamed about replacing a bad form of dictatorship with a "good" one, based on an ideology of Russian chauvinism, which they preferred to define as "patriotism." Shafarevich started to promote a so-called Russian idea, which does not differ much from the "German idea" under the Third Reich. Shafarevich expressed his views in his book Russophobia, in which he developed a theory of "the small people"--including Jews and liberal intellectuals under Jewish influence--and "the big people," or the majority of Russians. According to this theory, the small people have nothing in common with the big people: The small people do not understand--and despise--traditional values and the beliefs and lifestyles of the big people, and seek to introduce, by force, values and lifestyles borrowed from the West. According to Shafarevich, these "russophobic" activities of the small people are very dangerous for the big people, so patriots should do everything possible to stop them. After publication of Russophobia in 1989, Shafarevich dramatically increased his public activities. In numerous articles and interviews published in different Russian newspapers or broadcast on radio and television, he continued to press the same point: that the Jews and liberal democrats are inside enemies of Russia and the Russian people. Shafarevich was among the authors of the anti-Semitic "Letter of 74 Writers" that was widely quoted in the American press in 1990, when a group of anti-Semitic Russian writers, some of whom also signed this document, traveled throughout the U.S. (Washington Post, April 17, 1990, page 1). Shafarevich was also one of the instigators of a campaign of obstruction against a Russian liberal literary journal, Oktyabr, that dared to publish a few works forbidden by Soviet censorship for decades. While the communist ideologists considered these works to be anti-Soviet, Shafarevich labeled them "russophobic." One of the characteristic realities of today's Russia is the unification of communists (the "Red") and radical nationalists (the "Brown") in order to fight against democracy. Following this trend, Shafarevich put aside his previous differences with communists and actively began cooperating with them in right-wing organizations like the Russian National Sobor ("Gathering") and the Russian Salvation Front, which were created last year. The main goal of these organizations is to "save" Russia from democratic reforms, which, they claim, are introduced by Jews, liberal intellectuals, and "russophobes." Shafarevich joined the editorial board of Nash Sovremenik, a Russian journal that is a champion of anti-Semitic and anti- democratic propaganda. Until recently, he was also a member of the editorial board of the Den ("The Day") newspaper, which is especially active in bringing together the "Red" and the "Brown," including leaders of the August 1991 coup against democracy. This newspaper demands the restoration of the Russian state "within the 1985 borders"--that is, the return of all former Soviet republics and East Europe back to Moscow rule. Promoting such ideas in modern Russia is especially dangerous because that nation's traditional xenophobia is rapidly intensifying in the ongoing crisis there--a crisis that is not only political and economic, but also spiritual--which leads to the loss of all human values. Escalation of hatred against Jews, liberal intellectuals, and everybody else whose so-called patriotism does not go as far as Shafarevich wishes incites ethnic clashes and bloody pogroms. Thousands of people of different nationalities have already been killed in the violence, and millions have managed to save their lives only by fleeing in panic from their native countries, cities, villages, and homes. They have been left in despair, without shelter, food, and jobs, helpless and neglected. Shafarevich, together with other "patriots"--not only Russian, but also Georgian, Azarian, Tadzhikian, Osetian, and so on--have to share direct and indirect responsibility for this nightmare. Russian chauvinists are active on a wide international arena as well. They work hard to undermine good relations between Russia and the West because a renewal of the Cold War-style confrontation with the U.S. would help them to achieve their domestic goals--to restore a militant, totalitarian regime in the former USSR. While Serbian extremists have been condemned by the whole civilized world as war criminals, Russian hard-liners, including Shafa revich, are strongly supporting their "Slav brothers" in their violent activities, including ethnic cleansing. At the same time, they support their "Moslem brothers" in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. During the Gulf War, one "patriotic" paper covered it under a headline: "Thanks to Iraq for bombarding Israel! The kikes deserve it!!!" (emphasis as in the original). Surely, Shafarevich personally does not use such language, but it is obvious to me that he shares similar views. In late January of this year, a leading Russian TV program, "Vremya" ("The Time"), announced a major event: Shafarevich expressed his sympathy and support to Saddam Hussein, and criticized the Russian government for adopting the Security Council sanctions against Iraq and for taking what he considered to be "the wrong side" in the Gulf war. With his public activities Shafarevich has put himself beyond the borders of civilized society, but his international reputation as a mathematician is still very high and contributes to his influence--thanks especially to his NAS membership. And there is no Iron Curtain available to guard the NAS from that unpleasant reality. Tolerance of independent thinking is one of the most precious values of the world culture, but if it becomes boundless, it turns into indifference. Probably a more adequate form could be found to denounce Shafarevich's activities than the one used by Press and Wyngaarden. I think their letter would have been more convincing if they had said more about Shafarevich's writings and did not touch on his alleged participation in discriminating against Jewish mathematicians in the Steklov Institute. (The late academician Ivan Vinogradov, the longtime director of the institute, cynically enforced a policy of squeezing all Jews out of the institute--and mathematics at large. Many others were enthusiastic about helping him, but Shafarevich's personal involvement in these activities is difficult to prove.) Despite these problems with Press and Wyngaarden's letter to Shafarevich, the very fact that they publicly detached the NAS from his cannibalistic "patriotism" is of great moral importance. Practically, NAS has no other choice if it wants to remain on the side of humanity. Semyon Reznik is a Washington, D.C.-based Russian migr historian and writer, author of 11 books and hundreds of articles. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : COMMENTARY AU : Eugene Garfield PG : 12 Citation Searches Can Be Powerful Tools In Combating Redundant Publication Recently in The Scientist ("Vigilant Science Journal Editors Fight Redundancy," March 8, 1993, page 1), writer Paul McCarthy focused on a widespread and apparently growing concern among publishing professionals: the attempt by some scientists, as McCarthy put it, to "add heft to their c.v.'s" by getting two or more articles into print that are based on a single research finding. He made the point that today's highly competitive job market has exacerbated the ongoing duplicate publishing problem by making many of these investigators downright gluttonous in their efforts to rack up long lists of publishing credits. The article correctly pointed out that the problem is by no means a new one. This situation has existed for a long time; it can't simply be chalked off as a transient byproduct of a depressed job market, reduced grants, or the increasing number of scientific journals being published. Actually, the problem of redundant publication--intentional and otherwise--has been plaguing the science community for more than a quarter-century, and its presence certainly has not been confined to the United States. Its prevalence in Great Britain, for example, was the subject of a classic 1964 study by John Martyn, then research director of the Association of Special Libraries and Information Bureaux. In Martyn's survey, 25 percent of U.K. scientists reported unwitting duplication of research already reported in the literature (J. Martyn, "Unintentional duplication of research," New Scientist, 377:388, 1964). To me, the problem of redundant and even plagiaristic publication was evident back in the 1950s, when I was launching the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). In fact, it motivated some of my earliest experiments with the Science Citation Index (SCI) (E. Garfield, "Citation Indexes for Science," Science, 122:108-11, 1955). Ten years later, my follow-up report in Science (144:649- 54, 1964) referred to a published apology in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (237:3315, 1962) by R.H. Mazur, a researcher specializing in the detection of peptides, nucleotides, and other compounds. Mazur had the distasteful task of stating publicly that he and his colleagues had inadvertently published a duplication of a detection method reported in 1958 by D.P. Schwartz and M.J. Pallansch in Analytical Chemistry (30:219). Subsequently, in an essay published in the July 28, 1971, edition of Current Contents, I showed how Mazur and his associates--or their editor- could have used the SCI to determine the prior publication's existence. Had they used any of six papers cited in common as starting points for both research reports, a citation search would have exposed the duplication. Authors and editors today could perform a similar procedure using the SCI to significantly reduce the occurrence of redundancy, be it intentional or unwitting. Even better, compared with the old days, the double-checking could be accomplished much more easily using either the SCI's on-line version, SCISEARCH, or its CD-ROM version. In the case of putative plagiarism or similar outright duplications, conducting a boolean search of several cited references would retrieve a series of related records. This process is easy enough and should be part of the journal editor's routine preparation of a text for publication; it also would serve authors well, in my opinion, to run such a search prior to submitting a paper to a journal--or, better yet, before fully embarking on a research project. In the Current Contents essay mentioned previously, I remarked: "No reputable scientist wants to duplicate unwittingly the work of another.... There is little enough time and money to learn the endless mysteries of nature without unintentionally repeating work already done." My advice, of course, is directed at those reputable scientists. As for the few disreputable investigators who thrive on redundant publication--they probably won't listen in any case. But they might consider that the failure to cite other authors might mean that their own work will be missed in a citation search. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : LETTERS TO THE EDITOR TI : Cryptozoology TY : Letter PG : 12 Paul McCarthy's story about cryptozoologists (The Scientist, Jan. 11, 1993, page 1) left me wondering why these researchers are so scorned by other scientists and by funding agencies when evolutionary biologists engage in the same activity. McCarthy noted that French zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans coined the term "cryptozoology" to describe the study of unverified animals. Of course, that's what evolutionists do when they speculate about undiscovered transitional fauna in the fossil record. Recently it has become fashionable to ascribe the absence of transitional forms to the sudden development of new species. Yet in The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin sharply criticized speculation that species could suddenly arise, thereby leaving no fossil trail. Those who claim God had a hand in any of this are ridiculed even more than the cryptozoologists. With as many as 10 million undiscovered insect species alone, science needs fewer cryptozoologists and more traditional naturalists. The ongoing destruction of old-growth habitat by loggers and impoverished farmers, and of museum specimens by biologists questing for DNA, mandate a prompt end to the neglect of collecting and classifying undiscovered species. AU : FORREST M. MIMS III Editor, Science Probe Seguin, Texas (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : AMS Condemns Russophobia TY : Letter PG : 12 The article by Barbara Spector in the Sept. 28, 1992, issue of The Scientist [page 1] reported on actions taken by the National Academy of Sciences with regard to one of its foreign associates, the eminent Russian mathematician Igor R. Shafarevich. In brief, Shafarevich had written a book, Russophobia, which many readers interpreted as a thinly veiled anti-Semitic diatribe. NAS president Frank Press, speaking on behalf of NAS, had protested Shafarevich's words of hatred and had written a letter to him in which he suggested that Shafarevich resign from NAS. In the Dec. 7, 1992, issue of The Scientist [Barbara Spector, page 4], there was a follow-up article, reporting on reactions to the NAS action within the scientific community, and including a response from Shafarevich to the September 28 article [page 11]. The American Mathematical Society is the principal United States organization of research mathematicians. Its members use Shafarevich's books and theorems in their daily work. They also have a direct chain of human contacts that brings them close to the problem in a very immediate and personal way. His behavior is, in that sense, their "family problem." At its annual winter meeting, held on Jan. 12, 1993, the AMS Council passed the following resolution: "Resolution: The Council of the American Mathematical Society expresses its condemnation of the anti-semitic writings of I.R. Shafarevich, as expressed in Russophobia. Dr. Shafarevich has used his highly respected position as an eminent mathematician to give special weight to his words of hatred, which are contrary to fundamental standards of human decency and to the spirit of mathematics and science." AU : JOAN S. BIRMAN Professor of Mathematics Barnard College of Columbia University New York Member of the Executive Committee and Council, American Mathematical Society (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : Undergraduate Research TY : Letter PG : 12 Laura Mays Hoopes's commentary (The Scientist, Feb. 22, 1993, page 10) sets the stage for listing several advantages of the "practicum" or "special problem" in the undergraduate curriculum. A research problem allows for observation of experimental materials over time; too often, students graduate perceiving research as a series of studies designed, carried out, and interpreted during two-hour lab periods. A well-designed practicum can provide an opportunity for the student to integrate information from several courses, and make use of diversely located space and research instrumentation not available in large, regularly scheduled labs. Finally, a good research problem affords a student an opportunity to recognize a real problem of importance, learn how to survey literature and formulate hypotheses, develop research objectives, develop research plans and techniques, learn to record and analyze data, and get tutored experience in interpreting data and in writing scientifically. AU : KURT C. FELTNER Executive Director North Central Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors Manhattan, Kans. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) WHERE TO WRITE: Letters to the Editor THE SCIENTIST 3501 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. Fax: (215)387-7542 Email: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764,2561@compuserve.com THE SCIENTIST welcomes letters from its readers. Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication. Please include a daytime telephone number for verification purposes. ================================ NEXT: RESEARCH TI : Science Research In 1992: What Fields Were The Hottest Of The Hot? TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 Editor's Note: Among all research fields last year, papers addressing the role of beta-agonist bronchodilators, such as albuterol, in the treatment of asthma attracted a higher bimonthly average of citations than did any other single area of scientific investigation, according to data from the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Based on this criterion, ISI's monthly newsletter Science Watch put this area of scientific study at the top of its list of last year's seven hottest research fields, and--using citation analysis--also identified the 31 most cited research papers of the year. Examined together, the lists provide a fascinating glimpse of where the world of science has been heading in the recent past--and where it may be heading in the near future. In a December 1992 article, Science Watch presented the lists along with an illuminating commentary on them. Following is the article, reprinted with the permission of ISI. Science Watch searched ISI's exclusive "Hot Papers" database to compile a list of 31 of 1992's superstar papers; all had attracted at least 20 citations by the end of the year. From this group, seven red-hot fields emerged: six in the biological sciences and one in the physical sciences (see accompanying chart). The fields identified in the chart are ranked by the average bimonthly citations of the hot paper or papers in each field. This measure allows reports published later in the year to compete with those that appeared earlier and had more time to collect citations. Still and all, most are from the first half of the year. Each of the 31 papers in the group is listed in the table on page 15, ranked by total citations. As usual, Science Watch elected to pass over the year's highly cited reviews, electing to focus instead on the year's most-cited discovery accounts. In last year's study of the hottest papers, research on C60 and the other fullerenes all but stole the show. Buckyball papers, in fact, accounted for nearly half of the 23 papers that were then highlighted (Science Watch, 3[1]:1-2, January 1992). The current crop, however, produced no buckyball battalion. In fact, only one C60 paper managed to make the list of 1992's most cited reports. According to the measure of average bimonthly citations, 1992's hottest paper was a Canadian study (see item No. 3 in the table) on the use of inhaled beta-agonist bronchodilators in the treatment of asthma. The study compared a group of patients who had suffered fatal or near-fatal asthmatic events with a control group of asthmatics who had not experienced such adverse events. The regular use of inhaled beta-agonists, such as albuterol and fenoterol, was associated with an increased risk of death from asthma. According to lead author Walter O. Spitzer, McGill University, Montreal, the study has had a major impact on asthma treatment. "This paper very clearly showed that the first line of defense in the management of asthma should be topical steroids, and not beta-agonists. Beta-agonists should be a backup drug for breakthrough symptoms and should be used parsimoniously," he says. Another of 1992's hottest hits reported further research on the cystic fibrosis gene (No. 6). The cloning of this gene in 1989 attracted wide and sustained interest (Science Watch, 2[1]:5, January/ February 1991). As part of the continuing effort to understand the structural and functional properties of the gene, researchers in Toronto and Birmingham, Ala., purified its protein product, known as cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR). Previously, it was not entirely clear whether regulated ion channel activity was a property of the CFTR molecule itself; results in this paper suggest that it is. The authors note that the purified protein should be very useful for subsequent research: "We will be able to directly assess the functional consequences of biochemical and genetic modification of CFTR. A completely in vitro system for the study of CFTR should also prove useful for study of drugs that may alter the activity of the protein." A Japanese team fielded another of 1992's hottest papers (No. 9), which discusses a family of metabotropic glutamate receptors. Glutamate acts as a major excitatory neurotransmitter, and the neurotransmission of glutamate is believed to play a central role in many neuronal functions, including memory and learning, as well as in conditions such as epilepsy and stroke. Researchers at Kyoto University isolated three novel metabotropic glutamate receptors from rat brain, bringing the known membership of this receptor family to four. The family's unique structural architecture, the authors note, includes a large extracellular domain. "No functional role of this conserved domain has been elucidated yet," they point out, "but it may have some important functions such as interaction with a specific protein involved in the regulation of glutamate neurotransmission." Six papers in all (Nos. 2, 4, 7, 8, 12, and 17) pertain to still another of 1992's hot areas: identifying and characterizing the genetic flaw in myotonic dystrophy. Seven different research groups--six working in concert under the auspices of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and another group that took up the chase independently--were pursuing the defect. All the groups published their results within a month of one another in Nature, Cell, and Science. The defect, a repeating triplet of cytosine, thymine, and guanine on chromosome 19, proved to be very similar to the expanding nucleotide triplet repeat seen in another genetic disorder, Fragile X syndrome (Science Watch, 3[7]:5, September 1992). Suspecting the possibility that a similar mechanism might underlie other heritable diseases, geneticists are beginning to scrutinize diabetes, Huntington's disease, and Alzheimer's, among others (R. Nowak, Journal of NIH Research, 4[4]: 49-55, April 1992). The next hottest subject of 1992 involved nuclear retinoid receptors. In fact, in terms of total citations, this topic accounted for 1992's most cited paper. Published in Cell, the No.1 paper, by Pierre Chambon and colleagues, reports the purification and cloning of a retinoid X receptor (RXR) protein that stimulates binding of thyroid hormone receptors and retinoic acid receptors (RAR) to various response elements. The authors also comment on the contributions of RAR-RXT heterodimers to such functions as transcription and signaling. The other hot 1992 paper on this topic (No. 11) discusses a specific retinoic acid that acts as a ligand for RXR. "Our observations suggest that a better understanding of retinoid metabolism may provide new insights into physiology," note the authors. After turning up in the 1991 list, amyloid proteins stayed near the top of the hot topics in 1992, with two papers weighing in. One paper (No. 5) reported on the processing of the amyloid beta precursor protein (betaAPP) by the endosomal-lysosomal system. Results supported the hypothesis that dysfunctional processing in this system may play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's (Diana Steele, The Scientist, April 5, 1992, page 15). The second paper (No. 26) examined the activity of beta-amyloid in human cortical neurons. Among the other topics treated by 1992's red-hot biomedical reports: the cloning of the transforming growth factor-beta type II receptor, a sequence identification of human brain genes, and the cloning of inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthase from mouse macrophages. The role of Ras in nerve growth factor function was another hot topic, as was that perennial favorite, the tumor suppressor gene p53. The physical sciences, despite the falloff in fullerene fervor, still managed a respectable showing in this 1992 tally. At the top for physics, quite suitably, is a paper discussing the top quark. The hunt for this elusive particle--the last of 12 fundamental units of matter recognized by physicists--has been going on for more than a decade. In paper No. 10, the Collision Detector Facility (CDF) Collaboration at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory's Tevatron Collider presented its analysis of data collected during 1988-89. Although the CDF team failed to cop the top quark, it was able to posit a lower limit on the particle's mass. A year later, the world still awaits confirmation of the top quark, although events in the CDF in the fall of 1992 had physicists buzzing. Other heavy hitters in physics included 1992's sole entry from the buckyball brigade: a report (No. 21) on structural phase transitions in C60. Physicists also sought enlightenment concerning the source of visible photoluminescence in porous silicon. A paper on this topic by a German team (No. 22) burned brightly in 1992. A key 1990 paper on photoluminescence in silicon recently arose as a fixture in Science Watch's physics Top 10, as well (Science Watch, 3[6]:6, August 1992). (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : 1992'S HOTTEST RESEARCH PAPERS TY : RESEARCH PG : 15 RANK PAPER CITATIONS 1 M. Leid, et al., "Purification, cloning, and RXR identity of the HeLa cell factor with which RAR or TR heterodimerizes to bind target sequences efficiently," Cell, 68(2): 377- 95, 24 January 1992. 58 2 J.D. Brook, et al., "Molecular basis of myotonic dystrophy; Expansion of a trinucleotide (CTG) repeat at the 3 end of a transcript encoding a protein kinase family member," Cell, 68(4):799-808, 20 February 1992. 47 3 W.O. Spitzer, et al., "The use of beta-agonists and the risk of death and near death from asthma," NEJM, 326(8):501-6, 20 February 1992. 42 4 H.G. Harley, et al., "Expansion of an unstable DNA region and phenotypic variation in myotonic dystrophy," Nature, 355(6360):545-6, 6 February 1992. 41 5 T.E. Golde, et al., "Processing of the amyloid protein precursor to potentially amyloidogenic derivatives," Science, 255(5045):728-30, 7 February 1992. 41 6 C.E. Bear, et al., "Purification and and functional reconstitution of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR)," Cell, 68(4):809-18, 21 February 1992. 39 7 C. Aslanidis, et al., "Cloning of the essential myotonic dystrophy region and mapping of the putative defect," Nature, 355(6360):548-51, 6 February 1992. 39 8 J. Buxton, et al., "Detection of an unstable fragment of DNA specific to individuals with myotonic dystrophy," Nature, 355(6360):547-8, 6 February 1992. 37 9 Y. Tanabe, et al., "A family of metabotropic glutamate receptors," Neuron, 8(1):169-79, January 1992. 36 10 F. Abe, et al., "Lower limit on the top-quark mass from events with two leptons in pp collisions at = 1.8 TeV," Phys. Rev. Lett., 68(4):447-51, 27 January 1992. 35 11 R.A. Heyman, et al., "9-Cis retinoic acid is a high affinity ligand for the retinoid X receptor," Cell, 68(2):397-406, 24 January 1992. 33 12 Y.-H. Fu, et al., "An unstable triplet repeat in a gene related to myotonic muscular dystrophy," Science, 255(5049):1256-8, 6 March 1992. 31 13 K.W. Wood, et al., "ras mediates nerve growth factor receptor modulation of three signal-transducing protein kinases: MAP kinase, Raf-1, and RSK," Cell, 68(6):1041- 50, 20 March 1992. 28 14 H.Y. Lin, et al., "Expression cloning of the TGF-beta Type II receptor, a function transmembrane serine/ threonine kinase," Cell, 68(4):775-85, 21 February 1992. 27 15 M.D. Adams, et al., "Sequence identification of 2,375 human brain genes," Nature, 355(6361):632-4, 13 February 1992. 27 16 S. Matsuda, et al., "Xenopus MAP kinase activator: identification and function as a key intermediate in the phosphorylation cascade," EMBO J., 11(3):973-82, March 1992. 27 17 M. Mahadevan, et al., "Myotonic dystrophy mutation: an unstable CTG repeat in the 3 untranslated region of the gene," Science, 255(5049):1253-5, 6 March 1992. 26 18 Q.-W. Xie, et al., "Cloning and characterization of inducible nitric oxide synthase from mouse macrophages," Science, 256(5054):225-8, 10 April 1992. 25 19 A.D. Federman, et al., "Hormonal stimulation of adenylyl cyclase through Gi-protein beta gamma subunits," Nature, 356(6365):159-61, 12 March 1991. 24 20 L.A. Donehower, et al., "Mice deficient for the p53 are developmentally normal but susceptible to spontaneous tumours," Nature, 356(6366):215-21, 19 March 1992. 24 21 W.I.F. David, et al., "Structural phase transitions in the fullerene C60," Europhys. Lett., 18(3):219-225, 21 February 1992. 24 22 M.S. Brandt, et al., "The origin of visible luminescence from `porous silicon': a new interpretation," Solid State Comm., 81(4):307-12, January 1992. 23 23 C.R. Lyons, G.J. Orloff, J. M. Cunningham, "Molecular cloning and functional expression of an inducible nitric oxide synthase from a murine macrophage cell line," J. Biol. Chem., 267(9):6370-4, 25 March 1992. 23 24 S.M. Thomas, et al., "Ras is essential for nerve growth factor and phorbol ester-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of MAP kinases," Cell, 68(6):1031-40, 20 March 1992. 22 25 C.T. Baldwin, et al., "An exonic mutation in the HuP2 paired domain gene causes Waardenburg's syndrome," Nature, 355(6361):637-8, 13 February 1992. 22 26 M.P. Mattson, et al., "Beta-amyloid peptides destabilize calcium homeostasis and render human cortical neurons vulnerable to excitotoxicity," J. Neurosci., 12(2):376- 89, February 1992. 21 27 W.J. Fanti, et al., "Distinct phosphotyrosines on a growth factor receptor bind to specific molecules that mediate different signaling pathways," Cell, 69(3):413- 23, 1 May 1992. 21 28 D.P. Gearing, et al., "The IL-6 signal transducer, gp130: an oncostatin M receptor and affinity coverter for the LIF receptor," Science, 255(5050): 1434-7, 13 March 1992. 21 29 C.A. Midgley, et al., "Analysis of p53 expression in human tumors: an antibody raised against human p53 expressed in Escherichia coli," J. Cell. Sci., 101(1):183-9, January 1992. 21 30 A. Kashishian, A. Kazlauskas, J.A. Cooper, "Phosphorylation sites in the PDGF receptor with different specificities for binding GAP and PI3 kinase in vivo," EMBO J., 11(4):1373-82, April 1992. 20 31 S. Dalton, R. Treisman, "Characterization of SAP-1, a protein recruited by serum response factor to the c-fos serum response element," Cell, 68(3):597-612, 7 February 1992. 20 SOURCE: Science Watch/Institute for Scientific Information (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: HOT PAPERS (The articles listed here, all less than two years old, have received a substantially greater number of citations than others of the same type and vintage, according to data from the SCIENCE CITATION INDEX of the Institute for Scientific Information, Philadelphia. Why have these research reports become such standouts? A comment following each reference, supplied to THE SCIENTIST by one of the authors, attempts to provide an answer.) TI : CELL BIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH PG : 16 S.A. Kliewer, L. Umesono, D.I. Mangelsdorf, R.M. Evans, "Retinoid X receptor interacts with nuclear receptors in retinoic acid, thyroid hormone, and vitamin D signalling," Nature, 355:446-9, 1992. Steven Kliewer (The Salk Institute, La Jolla, Calif.): "Vitamin D, thyroid hormone, and all-trans retinoic acid are essential cofactors in development, differentiation, and homeostasis. The effects of these endocrine signals on target gene expression are mediated through nuclear hormone receptors (VDR, TR, and RAR), which function as ligand-activated transcriptional regulators by binding to specific DNA sequences, termed hormone response elements (HREs). Work from several laboratories had indicated that VDR, TR, and RAR require auxiliary nuclear factors for high- affinity binding to their cognate HREs. However, the identity of these factors was unknown. In addressing this issue, we have shown that, surprisingly, each of these receptors binds cooperatively to its HRE through the formation of a heterodimer with the retinoid X receptor (RXR), itself a receptor for the novel hormone 9-cis retinoic acid. More recently, we showed that RXR forms an additional heterodimer with peroxisome proliferator- activated receptor, a receptor activated by fatty acids and hypolipidemic drugs such as clofibric acid (S.A. Kliewer, et al., Nature, 358:771-4, 1992). Thus, RXR serves a unique, central regulatory role in hormonal signaling. "Our finding that RXR serves as a common heterodimeric partner for the VDR, TR, and RAR has received attention because it demonstrates the convergence of retinoic acid, thyroid hormone, and vitamin D signaling through a shared fourth pathway. This coupling provides a means for cross-talk between hormonal networks that is likely critical during all phases of development. Recently, several isoforms of RXR (alpha, beta, gamma) have been identified. Thus, the combinatorial possibilities generated through interactions between multiple species of RXR and the various isoforms of TR, RAR, and VDR are also likely to be essential in creating the diversity and specificity necessary to regulate the myriad hormone-responsive genes." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: HOT PAPERS TI : A.C. Rapraeger, A. Krufka, B.B. Olwin, "Requirement of heparan sulfate for bFGF-mediated fibroblast growth and myoblast differentiation," Science, 252:1705, 1991. TY : RESEARCH PG : 16 Alan Rapraeger (University of Wisconsin, Madison): "The gratifying aspect of this work has been its appeal to a wide group of scientists, owing to its relevance to cell-matrix interactions, cell growth and differentiation, and cell signaling mechanisms. The broad appeal of the work is partly because of the blending of my interests in the role of syndecans in cell-matrix interactions with the interests of Brad Olwin, a coauthor on the paper also at UW-Madison, in FGF signaling during muscle differentiation. "The fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) have been envisioned to signal via tyrosine-kinase receptors, and these receptors and their variants are now being described in detail. However, the affinity of these growth factors for heparan sulfate has suggested an important role for heparan sulfate-bearing proteoglycans in FGF signaling. These proteo-glycans, particularly cell surface forms, are close neighbors to the FGF receptors where the signaling must originate. "Recent molecular work has demonstrated that there are families of these cell surface proteoglycans, such as the syndecans, which made us realize that the roles of respective family members are not understood. The finding that heparan sulfate proteoglycans are a clear requirement for FGF signaling defines one role. "Heparan sulfate binds a variety of molecules in vitro, but the degree to which the binding is biologically significant often remains as a haunting question. Here is a case in which depletion of heparan sulfate in a biological system has dramatically blocked FGF signaling in every case that we have examined. Furthermore, A.M. Yayon and associates showed the binding requirement in a completely different way (Cell, 64:841, 1991), and D.M. Ornitz and colleagues have more recently confirmed its effect on biological activity (Molecular and Cellular Biology, 12:240, 1992). This now provides the opportunity for biologists to examine the role of specific proteoglycans and their heparan sulfate moieties in a biological activity that is easily quantifiable. "The finding also stresses the concept of coreceptors. Two heterologous receptor molecules must collaborate; the availability of the proteoglycan in time and space, which may be regulated by matrix and cytoskeletal anchorage, will have a profound influence on the proliferation and differentiation of the cell." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: HOT PAPERS TI : MICROBIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH PG : 16 F.C. Michel, S.B. Dass, E.A. Grulke, C.A. Reddy, "Role of manganese peroxidases and lignin peroxidases of Phanerochaete chrysosporium in the decolorization of kraft bleach pulp," Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 57:2368, 1991. Frederick C. Michel, Jr.: (Michigan State University, East Lansing): "Lignin, a major structural polymer of vascular plants, is second only to cellulose as the most abundant renewable organic polymer in the biosphere. Microbial removal of lignin has important biotechnological applications in the conversion of wood to food, fuels, and chemicals and in the manufacture of paper pulp. Wood-rotting fungi have attracted worldwide attention not only for their ability to degrade lignin but also for their ability to degrade a wide variety of xenobiotic compounds, such as PCBs and dioxins. Two families of extracellular enzymes, the manganese-dependent peroxidases (MNPs) and the lignin peroxidases (LIPs), are thought to be key components involved in lignin degradation by the wood-rotting fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium. "A number of laboratories have demonstrated the decolorization of pulp bleach plant effluents (BPE) using white-rot fungi. However, the involvement of the LIPs and MNPs in this process was not known. By manipulating culture conditions and using mutant strains, we investigated the relative roles of the LIPs and MNPs in the degradation of soluble chlorolignins present in BPE. This research, which was conducted under the overall direction of C.A. Reddy, showed for the first time that MNPs play a dominant role in BPE degradation by P. chrysosporium. "Our research is important because it demonstrates that immobilized enzyme systems based on MNPs could now be engineered for on-site decolorization of BPE and thus alleviate a major effluent disposal problem faced by the pulping industry. The importance of MNPs in BPE decolorization has recently been confirmed by two other laboratories. Moreover, more recent research done at Canada's Pulp and Paper Institute has shown that MNPs are also important in the delignification of wood pulp." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : Cutting Hazardous Waste Disposal Costs In Lab Research AU : BY CAREN D. POTTER TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 17 Few laboratory researchers would question the need for hazardous materials in certain experimental procedures. The radioactive isotope P32, for instance, is vital in DNA research, and hazardous solvents such as xylene and methylene chloride are virtual staples of organic chemistry and biochemistry. But the cost of disposing of such materials now routinely exceeds their purchase price, adding significantly to expenses in already-tight research budgets. And this cost is rising, driven largely by a host of federal, state, and local regulations designed to protect lab workers and the environment. "Research dollars are in short supply, and scientists have to fight hard for their grants," says Rebecca Jehorek, program director for Chemical Safety, a firm that produces waste management software in Richmond, Calif. "And in the last two years, they've had to spend a great deal of money that they didn't spend before on waste disposal." As a result, across the United States, scientists in commercial and academic laboratories of all sizes are looking for ways to cut waste disposal costs. For the most part, this means shopping carefully for products and services to help them contain and dispose of their lab wastes. More and more, however, lab researchers are turning to minimizing the amounts of hazardous materials used as a part of their disposal strategies. Efforts in this direction range from the elementary to the technically complex, but regardless of method, minimization tactics make sense, says Jeff Sacre, industrial health and safety manager at the Center for Hazardous Materials Research (CHMR) in Pittsburgh. "There is a great opportunity to reduce hazardous lab waste, which is good for the environment, but it also makes good economic sense," says Sacre. "It takes a little effort initially, but in the long run it's very cost-effective." @BODY SUBHEAD = Hazardous Material Everywhere Hazardous waste disposal is a complex issue for research labs. There are different categories of hazardous waste: chemical, radioactive, biomedical (assumed to be infectious), and so-called mixed waste (a combination of two or more kinds of hazardous materials). For each category of hazardous waste, there is a corresponding regulatory agency. When asked to enumerate the agencies that New York City-based Rockefeller University deals with regarding hazardous waste, Edward L. Gershey, the university's director of laboratory safety, reels off a list that includes: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Department of Transportation (DOT). This is a lengthy roster, but these are only the federal agencies that regulate Rockefeller's waste. "The state and city have their counterparts," Gershey explains. "New York state and city health departments have bureaus that deal with radiation control. There are state and city environmental conservation agencies; a state OSHA; state and city DOT counterparts, and so on." Each agency exerts some measure of control over how Rockefeller disposes of its waste, and, unfortunately, federal, state, and city regulations do not always agree with each other. "If you're dealing with one facility in one location, keeping up with all the hazardous waste-related regulations is a job," says Sacre of CHMR. "But if you're dealing with an organization that has facilities in different states or in different EPA regions, it becomes more of a nightmare than a job." Disposal methods for hazardous lab waste vary according to the regulations of the different governmental jurisdictions as well as according to waste type. The options for disposing of radioactive waste, for example, include holding it on-site until it decays and then shipping it to a commercial burial facility. (There are only two such facilities in the United States, one in South Carolina and one in Washington state. Only the site in South Carolina is able to receive waste from states outside the northwest region.) Not all labs have the option of shipping radioactive waste off- site, however. Radioactive waste generated by 1,065 labs at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor must be stored indefinitely, since the state has no low-level radioactive waste disposal facility of its own, and because no other site will take waste generated in Michigan. "This state chose not to participate in long-range federal planning for radioactive waste disposal," says Joseph Owsley, director of news and information services for the university. "We have nowhere to send our waste." Medical waste can often be treated on-site so that it is no longer regulated as hazardous waste. After being autoclaved or soaked in chlorine, for example, liquid medical waste can usually be discarded via the sewer and solid waste can be destroyed by shredding and disposed of as regular trash. Here, too, local regulations dictate the final disposal method. Many states have regulations against burial of medical waste, so in those states it must be incinerated. How does a researcher or lab administrator keep up with all of this? It's not easy, these individuals say. "If your job is research, it's very difficult to keep up with all regulatory requirements," says Sacre. Cutting Back With all of this in mind, strategies for minimization of hazardous lab waste make increasing sense. The first step, according to several sources, should be to "get the big picture," taking a look at the lab from the perspective of hazardous materials. It wouldn't hurt to have an outside consultant do this, according to Sacre. "It's good to have a fresh set of eyes take a look at what's going on in a lab," he says. "There have been breakthroughs in chemical substitutions and treatment processes that the people in a lab might not be aware of." Next, experts advise, scientists should make a comprehensive inventory of all hazardous materials in use and in storage. Says Chemical Safety's Jehorek, "When you can follow the life cycle of a chemical from when it enters your facility until it leaves, you can make effective minimization efforts. When you see only a piece of this picture, you'll be ineffective." Sacre agrees with the importance of an inventory. "The most critical thing you can do is inventory the chemicals coming in and the waste going out. That's important to ensure that disposal is appropriate. If you're not finding the waste coming out of the lab that you should, it might be going down the drain or into the trash or up a vapor hood." There is software that helps with the task of cataloging and managing hazardous materials. One package, Environmental Management System (EMS) from Chemical Safety, keeps track of hazardous materials and prints out reports needed by the different regulatory agencies. The program also permits users to search an electronic database of materials safety data sheets (MSDS). Searching a materials database is useful because it simplifies the task of finding alternatives to hazardous materials--another minimization strategy. The EMS package works in conjunction with the MSDS database put out on CD-ROM by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. This MSDS database is comprehensive and updated quarterly, according to Jehorek. It is also reasonably priced, at about $300 for a single yearly subscription. Rigorous waste labeling and segregation procedures can also help reduce the amount of hazardous waste that must be disposed of. Labeling is critical because many places require unlabeled materials to be treated as hazardous waste. Kevin Creed, director of environmental health compliance at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., tells the story of a small, unlabeled gas cylinder that cost $4,700 to dispose of because the paper label had disintegrated. Waste segregation doesn't exactly reduce the amount of hazardous waste that is produced, but it does prevent different types of hazardous materials from combining to form mixed waste. Mixed waste increases disposal costs because it requires the more rigorous form of disposal. For example, if a radioactive isotope comes into contact with waste chemicals, those chemicals must then be disposed of as radioactive waste. Hazardous waste minimization strategies, like the topic of hazardous waste itself, are not entirely simple and straightforward. What might be acceptable in one state may be highly regulated--or even illegal--in another. A case in point involves recycling equipment that recovers hazardous solvents such as xylene and purifies them for reuse. These are distilleries, basically, and they have several advantages. They not only can eliminate the cost of disposing of hazardous solvents, but also can save money on the cost of replacements, because the recovered material is 99.9 percent pure. However, according to Creed, researchers should look carefully into local regulations before considering this route. Some states require a special permit for treatment of hazardous waste, he says. Keith Brody, president of Black Rhino Recycling Inc. of Pittsburgh, which sells and rents chemical recovery systems, says that although the federal EPA does not require a special permit for a hazardous waste generator to reclaim its solvents on-site, different states have different regulations. "People are bombarded with regulations," he says. "They assume that solvent recovery will require another permit. The state of Pennsylvania actually offers a 25 percent reimbursement grant to labs that recover their own solvents." There are a number of other practical ways to minimize hazardous wastes. (See box on page 17.) Any actions that minimize hazardous waste are worthwhile, for their impact both on the environment and on a lab's budget. As Gershey says, "Hazardous waste minimization results in one of the few tangible gains of an environmental health and safety operation." Caren D. Potter is a freelance writer based in McKinleyville, Calif. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : WAYS TO MINIMIZE HAZARDOUS LAB WASTE AU : Caren D. Potter TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 17 Scientists and lab directors say that there are many ways to cut down on hazardous waste. These include the following measures: * Substitute a safe chemical for one that is hazardous. Non- hazardous degreasers have been developed to replace xylene, for example. * If a safe alternative is not available, a less-hazardous chemical, such as toluene, can sometimes be used in place of a very hazardous one, such as benzene. * Practice microscale laboratory techniques whenever possible. * Purchase analytical instruments that are sensitive to small volumes. * Segregate hazardous materials and label with care. In some places, unlabeled materials must be treated as hazardous waste. Mixed waste requires the more costly disposal route. * Use secondary containment procedures--dishpan under bottles of chemicals; seismic braces on shelves. Spilled chemicals must be treated as hazardous waste in many places. * Share surplus materials. A central stockroom and an up-to-date hazardous materials inventory are key ingredients in this effort. * Buy only in volumes you need. Initial purchase savings on large quantities are often offset by disposal costs. * Review current practices and revise where possible. For example, establish detergent and hot water as the routine glassware cleaning materials and use chromic acid only when absolutely necessary. --C.D.P. TI : HELP WITH HAZARDOUS WASTE TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY Below is a sampler of resource organizations for labs that work with hazardous waste: BLACK RHINO RECYCLING INC./FRESH CHEMCO P.O. Box 18044 Pittsburgh, Pa. 15236 (800) 633-6030 Fax: (412) 655-4034 CANADIAN CENTRE FOR OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY 250 Main St., E. Hamilton, Ontario L8N 1H6 (416) 572-2981 Fax: (416) 572-2206 CENTER FOR HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RESEARCH (CHMR) 320 William Pitt Way U. of Pittsburgh Applied Research Center Pittsburgh, Pa. 15238 (412) 826-5320 Fax: (412) 826-5552 CHEMICAL SAFETY 1301 S. 46th St., Bldg. 180 Richmond, Calif. 94804 (510) 231-9490 Fax: (510) 231-9520 CHEMICAL WASTE MANAGEMENT INC. (subsidiary of Waste Management Inc.) 3003 Butterfield Rd. Oak Brook, Ill. 60521 (708) 218-1500 Fax: (708) 572-3094 FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY 500 C St., S.W. Washington, D.C. 20472 (202) 646-4600 ROLLINS ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES INC. P.O. Box 2349 Wilmington, Del. 19899 (302) 426-2700 Fax: (302) 426-3873 SAFETY KLEEN CORP. 777 Big Timber Rd. Elgin, Ill. 60123 (800) 323-5040 (708)697-2783 (See also the Hazardous Waste Disposal Productsand Services Directory on page 31.) (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : Do High School Science Competitions Predict Success? AU : BY LINDA MARSA TY : PROFESSION PG : 21 When the winners of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search were announced at an awards banquet in Washington, D.C., last month, two young women had taken the top slots in the prestigious precollege competition. Elizabeth Pine, 17, of Chicago finished first for her experiments linking two different types of fungi; Xanthi Merlo, also 17, placed second for demonstrating the role a specific protein may play in prolonging blood clotting. "After they announced the first five of the top 10, I didn't expect to win--I was truly shocked when I heard my name," Merlo said minutes after winning the $30,000 scholarship. Like Pine, Merlo, whose parents own an auto parts store in Racine, Wis., plans on getting a Ph.D. and pursuing a career in biological research. These two teenagers, along with the eight other finalists, are members of an exclusive club. Of the 2,080 finalists in the Science Talent Search since its inception in 1942, five have won Nobel Prizes; two have won Fields Medals for distinguished work in mathematics; eight have been awarded MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, the so-called genius awards; 28 have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences; and three are members of the National Academy of Engineering. Clearly, being a Westinghouse finalist carries an inestimable cachet. And growing research evidence--including studies done by Harriet Zuckerman, a professor of sociology at Columbia University, and Benjamin S. Bloom, an education specialist now retired from the University of Chicago--suggests that the participation of high school students in such extracurricular competitions as the Westinghouse Science Talent Search (STS); the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the "World Series" of science, now in its 44th year; or the Math Olympiad, which began in 1972, are indicators of characteristics like originality, persistence, and dedication, which are important for success in a scientific career. But does winning the Westinghouse or any of these other prestigious competitions accurately predict future success in science? Or is it the experience merely of entering such a contest that encourages a young person to pursue a career in science? In fact, many of these young people already have impressive resumes when they graduate high school: summer stints at research universities, numerous awards and scholarships, prizes from the regional science fair circuit, and even papers published in refereed journals. So what factors determine which ones eventually become scientists and which pursue other careers? "There are so many other variables as to whether someone will succeed in science, including whether that young interest persists or whether you discover new things in college you had no awareness of before," says Nina Tabachnik Shor, who won first place in the 1972 STS, and was the first female participant to capture first place among finalists of both sexes. She is now a cancer specialist at the University of Pittsburgh. "I would have gone into medically related research regardless of what happened in the competition," she says. "But it did give me a vote of confidence that I could do this at a very early stage." There is one ongoing longitudinal study of the 300 semifinalists in the 1983 STS. It's too soon to draw any statistically significant conclusions, but the preliminary data are intriguing, according to Rena F. Subotnik, an associate professor of educational foundations at Hunter College of the City University of New York, who conducted the study. Her research is scheduled to be presented in the forthcoming book Beyond Terman: Contemporary Longitudinal Studies of Giftedness and Talent, edited by Subotnik and K.D. Arnold, to be published by Ablex Publishing Corp. of Norwood, N.J. The book's namesake, Lewis Madison Terman (1877-1956), was a child psychologist who did pioneering studies on gifted children in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Out of the original group of 300 semifinalists, 98 have continued to participate in Subotnik's study: 60 men and 38 women. By 1990, 49 of the remaining 60 male participants, or nearly 82 percent, could be categorized as scientists or mathematicians from their field of study or employment in scientific research or an applied discipline; of these 49, 21 are currently in graduate school. Of the 38 women, 25 are still in science; 10 of these are in graduate school. Thus far, a much higher percentage of STS participants than the norm for U.S. high school students are still on the research track, although it is important to note that people who would enter the talent search are by definition more motivated than the average student. One-third of the 1 million new students entering four-year colleges each year express an interest in natural science or engineering. About 20 percent of that one-third get baccalaureates in science and engineering, 7 percent of those go to graduate school, and fewer than 1 percent of that portion complete advanced degrees, according to a 1989 report from the Office of Technology Assessment, entitled "Higher Education for Science and Engineering." So, clearly, there is some correlation between doing well in the Talent Search and pursuing science. But Subotnik believes the attrition rate would be even lower if these gifted young people were identified and encouraged throughout their college years. "Winning the Westinghouse allowed many of them to go to a more prestigious college than they would have normally," says Subotnik. "But once they got to college, they were all thrown in with everyone else and the fact that they won the Westinghouse was lost. The more dedicated ones stayed in science, but many dropped out because they weren't encouraged. This is especially problematic for women, who tend to react to any kind of negative reinforcement, and are more easily discouraged and more easily seduced by other disciplines." In fact, other studies suggest that, when it comes to predicting science success, winning major contests is not what counts--the mentoring relationship that evolves of necessity through the process of entering a competition seems to be the key ingredient. As Chicago's Bloom noted from interviews of talented performers in a variety of disciplines, special experiences are important for the development of talent. "No matter what the initial characteristics (or gifts) of the individuals, unless there is a long and intensive process of encouragement, nurturance, education, and training, the individuals will not attain extreme levels of capability in these particular fields," noted Bloom in Developing Talent in Young People (New York, Ballantine Books, 1985). In other research, Columbia's Zuckerman analyzed the career paths both of Nobel laureates and of occupants of the "41st chair"-- scientists who did research of Nobel quality but were not awarded the prize. They are analogous, according to Zuckerman, to "the `immortals' who happened not to have been included among the cohorts of forty in the French Academy" (Harriet Zuckerman, Scientific Elite: Nobel Laureates in the United States, New York, Free Press, 1977, page 42). Zuckerman found that virtually all of the individuals whom she studied showed promise very early in their careers--which, in turn, opened up more opportunities for intellectual development. Most laureates, for example, attended the most distinguished universities (10 universities produced 55 percent of the laureates), where they apprenticed with previous laureates. What is equally significant is that the high achievers actively created these opportunities. In other words, it wasn't just intelligence and ability--it was drive, determination, and a host of other intangibles that pushed them ahead of their peers. What can be distilled from all of this research, experts say, is that the various competitions--as well as summer research programs and the new science-oriented "magnet" high schools that are popping up across the U.S.--are extremely important. That's because they create enhanced learning environments enabling gifted young people to become acquainted with science, they force them to be enterprising, and they hook them up with mentors, who are most often the catalysts for guiding youngsters into scientific careers. "Teachers matter a lot," says Roald Hoffmann, a chemistry professor at Cornell University and a winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize in chemistry. During his senior year at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, Hoffmann took top honors at the STS in 1955 for a project analyzing the tracks of cosmic rays. "This new phenomenon of these science academies in various states is good because they create that stimulating hothouse environment--like Stuyvesant did for me," says Hoffmann. "It's a very good climate for young people because it shows them the reality of what science is about." Tessa Walters, a chemistry major at Harvard University who placed sixth in the 1991 STS, agrees, although she didn't attend a magnet school. Preparing with her teacher for the STS project was tremendously valuable, she says. "There is an incredible workload in science at Harvard," Walters says. "If I hadn't had the research experience in high school, it's quite possible I would have been diverted into another field." The science magnet program at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., is a prime example of what can be done with generous funding--its annual budget for equipment and materials is about $78,000, more than twice that of the school's regular science department--and a program that emphasizes hands-on bench work under the guidance of a faculty adviser or an outside mentor. This year, Montgomery Blair, which started its science magnet program in 1985, produced three of the top 10 finishers in the 1993 STS. Another program for the gifted, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), was launched by Julian C. Stanley, a professor of psychology at Johns Hopkins University, in 1971 in order to identify 12- and 13-year-old adolescents who possess exceptional mathematical abilities, and then ascertain the factors that contribute to their educational and vocational development. The program has since evolved into a vast network that searches for verbally as well as mathematically talented teenagers. Those who score in the top 1 percent for their age group on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, recently renamed the Scholastic Assessment Test--and about 50,000 young people do each year--are invited to participate in summer enrichment programs at six different universities across the U.S. Many of the gifted young mathematicians in the SMPY program are among the nearly 40,000 junior and senior high school students who take tests each year to qualify for the 24 berths on the USA Math Olympiad. Out of these two dozen adolescents, six are then chosen to compete in the International Math Olympiad. On other fronts, 19 of the U.S.'s outstanding high school science students are selected each year to participate in the Dr. Bessie F. Lawrence International Summer Science Institute at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, a leading research center in that country (Barbara Spector, The Scientist, July 9, 1990, page 4). Now in its 24th year, this international program brings together 71 students from 19 countries for five weeks of lectures and laboratory work. STS semifinalists are invited to apply to the Bessie Lawrence program as part of the recruitment effort for the program. "We get a lot of really talented kids applying for this, but if they haven't done an independent research project, they don't qualify," says Margaret Brewer, director of the Bessie Lawrence program. "We know that the Westinghouse kids have [done independent research], so we invite semifinalists to apply." Not all of these young prodigies end up in science, however. Those who enter other fields have varied reasons for doing so, but most say it's just because they discover other interests. "You always have a few people who are just plain maladjusted--who have mental health problems or aren't ambitious," says Stanley of Johns Hopkins. "But we haven't had any real failures, though there were a few college drop-outs who got bored in their early years of school and never did recover." One SMPY math whiz, for example, is now a nationally ranked player on the racquetball circuit. Another became a financial analyst on Wall Street. And Jim Scott, who scored 720 on his math SAT at age 12 and could multiply two-digit numbers by two-digit numbers in his head when he was four years old, chose to forgo math: He majored in history and economics at the University of Virginia. "I assumed I'd be a mathematician and attend MIT or Caltech," says the 23-year-old Scott, who won more than $149,000 in 1991 on the television game show "Jeopardy." "But I just hit a brick wall when I took calculus--I barely scraped through. It was very frustrating, but," he wryly adds, "I think things have worked out pretty well for me." He plans to use his winnings to pay for law school. "Competitions are usually stimulating, but I'm not sure how much of a predictor of future success they are," concludes Hoffmann. "If you took a cohort of about 40 scientists around the age of 55, you'll find that perhaps one or two did well in the Westinghouse. The other 38 probably came up in different ways." Linda Marsa is a freelance science writer based in Los Angeles. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: PEOPLE TI : Two From France To Get Wolf Prize In Mathematics AU : Ron Kaufman TY : PROFESSION PG : 23 Two mathematics professors based in France, Mikhael Gromov of the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IEHS) in Bures-sur- Yvette and Jacques Tits of the Collge de France in Paris, will share the 1993 Wolf Prize in Mathematics. Since 1978, the Israeli-based Wolf Foundation has been granting four $100,000 prizes annually for individual achievements among the five fields of agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics, and the arts. No prize in medicine will be awarded this year. The prizes will be presented May 16 by Israeli President Chaim Herzog at the Knesset building in Jerusalem. Gromov, who spends one semester a year teaching at the University of Maryland, College Park, is being honored for his work in symplectic and Riemannian geometry and the geometry of groups. "The Wolf Prize is pleasant to have, but it's not the aim of my research," says Gromov, 49. "It's helpful to give us some publicity and focus public attention to not only geometry, but mathematics in general." Gromov, a native of Russia, received his Ph.D. in 1969 from the University of Leningrad. He emigrated to the United States and worked as a professor of mathematics at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, from 1974 to 1981. In 1982, he became a permanent fellow at IHES in France. He began his appointment at Maryland in 1991. Tits, a native of Belgium, is receiving the prize for his "contributions to the theory of the structure of algebraic and other classes of groups and in particular for the theory of buildings," according to the award citation. Tits, 62, received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Brussels in 1950. From 1957 to 1963 he was a professor at Brussels, and from 1964 to 1973 he taught at the University of Bonn. He came to the Collge de France in 1973. AU : Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: PEOPLE BRIEFS TI : Five Researchers Receive King Faisal Prizes In Science And Medicine TY : PROFESSION PG : 23 The King Faisal Foundation, located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, recently announced the recipients of the 1993 King Faisal International Prizes. The awards were presented at a ceremony in Riyadh on April 10. Herbert Walther, director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Munich, Germany, and a professor of physics at Munich University, and Steven Chu, chairman of the physics department at Stanford University, have been selected as recipients of the King Faisal International Prize for Science. Jean-Claude Chermann, director of the laboratory of retroviruses and associated diseases of the Institut Nationale de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM) in Marseilles, France; Luc Montagnier, a professor at the viral oncology unit of the Pasteur Institute, Paris; and Francoise Barre-Sin-oussi, head of the retrovirus biology laboratory at INSERM, have been named as recipients of the King Faisal International Prize for Medicine. The foundation cited these researchers for being "the first to discover and characterize the virus that is responsible for AIDS." Montagnier, the leader of the lab in which both Chermann and Barre-Sinoussi work, has been embroiled in controversy since 1984 with National Cancer Institute researcher Robert Gallo over who was the first to discover the HIV virus. The topic of this year's International Prize in Science was quantum optics. According to the award citation, the prize was given to Walther for being "the first to investigate fundamental quantum phenomena involving single atoms and photons" and to Chu for "developing the technique of optical cooling and trapping of atoms." The 17-year-old King Faisal Foundation presents prizes in the fields of science, medicine, Arabic literature, Islamic studies, and service to Islam. This year, however, no prize in Arabic literature will be given. The foundation has been presenting the awards in science and medicine since 1982. The awards include a gold medallion and a cash prize of $93,333, an amount the co-winners share. Recent winners of the science prize include Caltech professor of chemical physics Ahmed Zewail (1989) and Texas A&M chemistry professor Frank Albert Cotton (1990). (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : AIBS Executive Director Named President Of Lawrence Technological University AU : Ron Kaufman TY : PROFESSION PG : 23 Charles Chambers, currently executive director of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), will assume the position of president of Lawrence Technological University in Southland, Mich., on July 1. Located about 25 miles northwest of Detroit, Lawrence Tech is a 5,000-student private university specializing in design work and applied research in robotics, aviation, and automotive systems. The school offers 30 day and evening programs in science, engineering, architecture, and business at the graduate, bachelor's, and associate level. The university was started in the early 1930s under the auspices of the Ford Motor Co. Eighty- one percent of its graduates are located in Michigan. Chambers, 51, says one of his main intentions as president is to broaden the geographic area from which the university draws its students. "I hope to be able to add two or three times as many master's programs, each one carefully crafted to focus on a particular need in the high-tech area of the upper Midwest," he says. "The university has served the local needs very well, but is now at a point where we can, with these master's programs, serve a broader four- or five-state area." Chambers received his B.S. (1962) and Ph.D. (1964) in physics from the University of Alabama. From 1977 to 1983 he was vice president of the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation in Washington, D.C. Since 1983, Chambers has been executive director of AIBS in Washington, D.C. His responsibilities there have included heading the American Foundation of Biological Sciences, a consortium affiliated with AIBS, as well as being the publisher of the AIBS publication Bioscience. AU : Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #8, April 19, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank