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THE LIFE SCIENCES their acquisition and maintenance, which have inhibited, if not prohibited, their utilization for a variety of studies in which they could be extraordi- narily useful. In contrast, millions of species currently go unstudied, and many others are under scrutiny by only one or two investigators. When, from time to time, such an investigator directs attention to some unique or remarkable attribute of a seemingly esoteric species, it can rapidly claim the attention of many other scientists, an incident that has recurred many times in the past. Thus, the bacterium Escherichia cold has become the most thoroughly studied of all cells, while both neurophysiologists and molecular biologists have recently seized upon the tiny marine organism Aplysia because of its easily studied giant nerve cells. In any case, the diversity of species under study demands an equal diversity of laboratory accommodations for their culture or maintenance. This may engender substantial expenditures and contribute much to the cost of scientific investigation, particularly in ex- treme instances. Elaborate facilities are required for the conduct of research employing cells in culture. Inadequate accommodations, overcrowding, or infestation can render a colony of dogs or rodents useless to the investi- gator and give rise to misleading data. Humane considerations demand that larger domestic mammals-cats, dogs, and primates-be housed in decent quarters, be wellnourished, and be subjected to the minimum of trauma commensurate with the purposes of study. This in turn creates further serious financial requirements, which should be borne by some institutional mechanism and not met by taking funds from personal research grants made to individual investigators. Certain plants and animals require carefully controlled environments; a continuing supply of virus may require a colony of host animals, a large-scale fermenter, or a large tissue-culture facility. Most importantly, all these demand substantial expenditures merely to assure a supply of the biological entity to be studied before the research proper can be undertaken. WHAT FACILITIES AND Toors Do LIFE SCIENTISTS USE? The classic image of the biologist is an aging gentleman, wrapped in a dirty laboratory apron, in a musty laboratory surrounded by museum jars, an ancient, battered microscope, staining jars for microscope slides, and perhaps an unwashed dissecting table. If that image ever corresponded to reality, it no longer does. As the questions we ask of nature become more sophisticated and the information we seek becomes more remote from that which we can acquire with our naked senses, the requirements for the
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THE WORLD OF BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH conduct of research in the life sciences become more complex. Today, in order to achieve his ends, the investigator may have to travel thousands of miles from his home base, armed with telemetering equipment, tape re- corders, or remote sensors. He may require a floating laboratory, a deep- submersible vessel, a reconnaissance plane, or even a satellite equipped with infrared sensors. He may utilize the gadgetry of modern biochemistry- ultracentrifuges, equipment for optically following the course of kinetic processes on the scale of milliseconds or of molecular-relaxation times (10-9 see), for the quantitation of visible or ultraviolet light or radio- activity. His laboratory may be what amounts to a small electronics plant equipped with the complex electronic apparatus needed for the study of neurophysiology, and his experiment may be guided by an on-line computer. Increasingly, the tools of any biological subdiscipline tend to become the tools in many other areas of biology. As we have noted repeatedly, this is particularly true of the tools of the biochemist, which have become the tools of all biologists. Specialized Biological Research Facilities Table 16 summarizes the replies from respondents whose completed ques- tionnaires usefully indicated their utilization of specialized research facili- ties. The spectrum of such activity is broad indeed. For example, we were surprised at the high rate of utilization of controlled field areas, which seemingly are employed by participants in each of the research areas. Computer centers are available to and utilized by a strikingly high fraction of all life scientists, and general animal care facilities appear to be utilized by almost half the scientists covered by our survey. Indeed, it is difficult to correlate specific types of facilities with specific research areas. Notable exceptions include the 87 percent of all systematists and 44 percent of ecol- ogists who utilized taxonomic research collections, the 51 percent of cell biologists who employed cell- or tissue-culture facilities, and the 76 percent of all pharmacologists who made use of general animal care facilities. The existence of the specialized facilities listed here was known to the Survey Committee, but the extent of use was not anticipated. Rarely can the cost of acquisition and maintenance of such facilities be justified by the research program of a single investigator; hence, no small or medium-sized institution can hope to have a complete selection of these opportunities for conduct of research. This has the effect of either limiting the capabilities of the staff of such institutions or so affecting their recruit- ment patterns that, at each institution, there are clusters of investigators whose research requires easy access to the same major research facility.
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256 THE LIFE SCIENCES For smaller institutions, this fact, in turn, may well prevent the assembly of a staff broadly representative of biology. Major Instruments Table 17 displays the utilization of major instruments by life scientists during 1966-1967. Like Table 16, this table is limited to those respondents whose replies to the questionnaire were found adequate to the purpose. And, as in Table 16, what is impressive is the extent of use of the wide variety of instruments listed and the relative amount of use without regard to specific research areas, again with a few notable exceptions. This table well illustrates how the tools developed for biochemical studies have be- come the tools of biology in general; this is evident in the use pattern of centrifuges, gas chromatography, amino acid analyzers, scintillation counters, infrared and ultraviolet spectrophotometers, as well as electro- phoresis apparatus. These common tools of the biochemical laboratory are now the common tools of the biological laboratory. Specialized uses of instruments will, however, be found in the table. For example, large-scale fermenters are used largely by biochemists; multichannel recorders are required by physiologists and pharmacologists; small special computers by physiologists. Biochemists are pioneering in the use of ultrasonic probes, and electron paramagnetic resonance and nuclear magnetic resonance spec- trometers, as well as instruments for measuring circular dichroism. The physiologists are the major users of infrared carbon dioxide analyzers, and the clinicians interested in disease mechanisms utilize complex electronic systems for monitoring human physiology, while systematists use telemetry and sensitive tape recorders. The utilization of the electron microscope is particularly revealing. This instrument, slowly introduced into biological laboratories in the years fol- lowing World War II, is now used by investigators in every research area. In absolute numbers, those interested in molecular biology and biochemistry, cellular biology, disease mechanisms, and physiology are the principal users. But 48 percent of all those studying morphology and 44 percent of those studying cellular biology made use of this instrument. The great expense of acquisition and maintenance of these instruments prevents the figures for utilization from approximating 100 percent of those in both of the latter research areas. One should not leave the subject of instruments without a tribute to the instrument-manufacturing industry. This highly competitive industry has frequently been a jump ahead of most life scientists. In general, instrument manufacturers have recognized needs and potential uses before the scien
Representative terms from entire chapter: