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Headline News, Science Views (1991)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×

HEADLINE NEWS, SCIENCE VIEWS

Edited by

DAVID JARMUL

National Research Council

National Academy of Sciences

National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1991

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Headline news, science views / David Jarmul, editor; National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, National Research Council.

p. cm.

Includes index.

ISBN 0-309-04480-4: $24.95. — ISBN 0-309-04384-0 (pbk.): $14.95

1. Science news —United States. 2. Science —Social aspects— United States. 3. Technology —Social aspects—United States.

I. Jarmul, David. II. National Research Council (U.S.)

Q225.H43 1991

303.48'3—dc20 91-7480

CIP

Copyright © 1991 by the National Academy of Sciences

No part of this book may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic, or electronic process, or in the form of a phonographic recording, nor may it be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or otherwise copied for public or private use, without written permission from the publisher, except for the purposes of official use by the U.S. government.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×

Contents

 

 

Foreword
Frank Press

 

ix

 

 

Editor's Note

 

xiii

1

 

SCIENCE AND NON-SCIENTISTS

 

 

   

Getting the Facts Straight About Science
Bill Cosby

 

3

   

Who Killed Yankee Ingenuity?
Steven L. Goldman

 

6

   

On an Antidote for Science Phobia
Ben Patrusky

 

9

   

Physics for Poets, Science for Society
Leon M. Lederman

 

11

   

Making Sense of a Risk-Filled World
John Ahearne

 

14

   

Making the Link Between Science and Politics
Thomas H. Kean

 

16

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×

2

 

TECHNOLOGY IN EVERYDAY LIFE

 

 

   

Making Our School Buses Safer
Charley V. Wootan

 

21

   

A Computer Future Without a Heart
Samuel H. Fuller and Damian M. Saccocio

 

24

   

Toward Motoring Smart
Robert D. Ervin and Kan Chen

 

27

   

Easing the Crunch at Our Airports
Joseph M. Sussman

 

30

   

Protecting Our Phones from Terrorism
John C. McDonald

 

33

   

The New Arsenal of Democracy
Robert B. Kurtz

 

35

   

Building Houses People Can Afford
Ezra Ehrenkrantz

 

39

   

Designing for an Aging America
Sara J. Czaja

 

41

   

Preparing for the Next Big Natural Disaster
Richard E. Hallgren

 

44

   

Our $1.5 Trillion Investment
Robert F. Jortberg

 

46

   

Tough Choices About Rising Sea Level
Robert G. Dean

 

48

3

 

A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

 

 

   

Uncertainty and the Greenhouse Effect
Robert M. White

 

55

   

Saving Sea Turtles
John J. Magnuson

 

57

   

Who Owns Antarctica?
Hugh Downs

 

60

   

Genetically Engineered Organisms: Monsters or Miracles?
Nina Fedoroff

 

62

   

Rethinking Radioactive Waste Disposal
Frank L. Parker

 

65

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×
   

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture
John Pesek

 

67

   

The Paradox of Pesticides
Michael R. Taylor and Charles M. Benbrook

 

69

   

Agriculture and Water Quality
Jan van Schilfgaarde

 

72

   

Exploring the Mysteries of 'Deep Ecology'
James D. Nations

 

74

4

 

THE NATION'S HEALTH

 

 

   

Food and Health
Arno G. Motulsky

 

81

   

The Spitting Image: Baseball Players and Chewing Tobacco
John C. Greene

 

83

   

Clearing Our Vision About Alcohol Abuse
Robert D. Sparks

 

86

   

Needless Infertility
Howard W. Jones, Jr.

 

88

   

Who Is Going to Deliver Baby?
Roger J. Bulger

 

91

   

Accidents Are Not Always Accidental
Susan S. Gallagher

 

94

   

Changing Behavior to Limit the Spread of AIDS
Heather Miller and Marshall Becker

 

96

   

The Dilemma of AIDS Drug Experiments
Robin Weiss and Theodore Cooper

 

99

   

Identifying What Works in Medicine
Samuel O. Thier

 

101

5

 

MAKING SENSE OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS

 

 

   

Confronting the Facts in American Race Relations
Gerald David Jaynes and Robin M. Williams, Jr.

 

107

   

Homeless Children: An Emerging Tragedy
Ellen L. Bassuk

 

110

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×
   

The Gender Wage Gap
Robert T. Michael

 

112

   

Child Care in Disarray
John L. Palmer

 

115

   

Effective Drug Treatment
Lawrence S. Lewin and Dean R. Gerstein

 

117

   

Making Sense of Statistics in the Courtroom
Stephen E. Fienberg and Miron L. Straf

 

120

   

The Economics of Reality
Richard H. Thaler

 

122

6

 

SCIENTIFIC HORIZONS

 

 

   

Knowing About Trees
John C. Gordon

 

127

   

Together to Mars—But with Deliberation
Eugene H. Levy

 

130

   

The Less-Noticed Worldwide Revolution
Peter H. Raven

 

133

   

Searching for Buried Treasure
Charles A. Bookman

 

136

   

The Energy Crisis Beyond the Persian Gulf
David L. Morrison

 

138

   

The Challenge to Human Uniqueness
Herbert A. Simon

 

141

   

Making a Map of the Human Chromosomes
Bruce M. Alberts

 

144

   

Developing New Contraceptive Options
Luigi Mastroianni, Jr.

 

146

   

Farewell to the Night Sky
David L. Crawford

 

149

   

Setting Our Science, Priorities in Order
Frank Press

 

151

7

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

 

 

   

Getting Even in International Technology
H. Guyford Stever

 

157

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×
   

The Growing International Competition for Brain Power
Peter W. Likins

 

160

   

Industrial Cooperation in Japan: It's Not What We Think
George R. Heaton, Jr.

 

162

   

Offering Tools for Soviet Democracy
Paul C. Stern

 

165

   

The Surprising Reality About Hunger
Robert W. Kates

 

167

   

Vaccines for the Developing World
Phyllis Freeman

 

170

   

Easing the Fear of Giving Birth
Julie DaVanzo

 

172

   

New Crops for South America's Farmers
Hugh Popenoe

 

175

8

 

DIFFICULT CHOICES

 

 

   

Life and Death: More Than an Expert Opinion
Ralph Crawshaw

 

181

   

The New Diagnostic and the Power of Biologic Information
Dorothy Nelkin and Laurence Tancredi

 

183

   

Harvesting Organs from Anencephalic Infants
Alexander Morgan Capron

 

186

   

HIV Screening and the Calculus of Misery
Ronald Bayer

 

190

   

Laboratory Experiments on Animals Should Continue
Norman Hackerman

 

192

   

Integrity and Science
Arthur H. Rubenstein and Rosemary Chalk

 

195

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×

9

 

THE NEXT GENERATION

 

 

   

Kindergarten Stress
Eugene E. Garcia

 

201

   

Abe Lincoln's Schoolroom
Philip and Phylis Morrison

 

203

   

What School Volunteers Can Do
Gilbert T. Sewall

 

205

   

The Challenge of Numbers
Bernard L. Madison

 

208

   

On Darwin, Bibles and Classrooms
Francisco J. Ayala

 

211

   

The Long Haul to a Doctorate
Susan Coyle

 

214

   

The 'Mommy Track' in Science
Paula Rayman

 

216

   

Dr. King and Blacks in Science
Willie Pearson, Jr.

 

219

   

The Civilized Engineer
Samuel C. Florman

 

222

 

 

INDEX

 

225

All of the articles and author affiliations in this book appear as originally published.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×

Foreword

Frank Press

President, National Academy of Sciences

We live in an era of unprecedented scientific and technical achievement. Our lives have been transformed by computers, medical breakthroughs, space probes and a host of other changes—as well as by such dangers as environmental degradation and nuclear conflict. My own field of geophysics, in which we have learned how the continents move across the globe on tectonic plates, illustrates the fantastic progress that has occurred in a wide range of scientific disciplines.

Yet, despite their importance, the many developments in science and technology remain mysterious to millions of Americans. People have little understanding of semiconductors, genetic engineering, global warming and other issues that are changing their lives. Opinion surveys and tests of U.S. students' knowledge show that public understanding of science and technology is weak. Even Americans with advanced training in non-scientific fields often know little about the revolution in biology or the amazing new materials being produced in laboratories. As science journalist Ben Patrusky writes in this book, "When it comes to science, many smart, achieving, curious and otherwise accomplished folk come down with a case of synaptic shutoff. Here we are living in what is truly an astonishing era in human history, a dazzling epoch of scientific and technological achievement—mere prelude to marvels yet undreamed of—and many of

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×

its beneficiaries are indifferent to, if not altogether bored by, the very enterprise that brought us to this most exalted station.''

This popular indifference poses a challenge to a democratic society facing important decisions about AIDS, drugs, national defense, medical technology and other issues involving science and technology. How can voters and policymakers act wisely about issues they do not understand? Our economy requires excellence in science and technology, from the factory floor to research in such cutting-edge fields as optics, biotechnology and microelectronics. International competition in both basic research and technology is increasing steadily, and people's jobs and prosperity are certain to be affected by how well our nation fares. Americans also will encounter many questions involving science and technology in their daily lives, from evaluating the risks posed by radon or pesticide residues to deciding whether to purchase safety devices for their automobiles, what to eat and how to preserve the environment. In the world of the 1990s and beyond, knowledge about science and technology is not a frill but a necessity.

The path that separates scientists from non-scientists runs both ways. Many scientists, engineers and other technical experts make an inadequate effort to explain their work and concerns to their fellow citizens. Even if their specialty bears directly on important issues of the day, these experts may be reluctant to venture beyond their classroom or laboratory to speak with public officials, journalists or even at a neighborhood gathering. Many of them, trained in the rational ways of the scientific method, find the larger world maddeningly illogical and imprecise. Yet this is precisely why more of them need to roll up the sleeves of their lab coats and share their special expertise with the larger society. Former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, writing in this volume, is correct in arguing that, ''In these days of complex problems and high-tech solutions, it is essential that those who understand the laws of nature be more involved in the making of the laws of man."

Headline News, Science Views seeks to bridge this gap between science and the rest of society. It features 75 brief

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×

essays by some of our country's most prominent scientists, engineers, physicians and other experts. The authors discuss terrorism, space travel, rising sea level, sustainable agriculture and other issues in language that is remarkably free of jargon. They outline issues in a way that makes science and technology interesting even for people who struggled to pass high school chemistry. All of the articles originally were syndicated nationally by the National Academy Op-Ed Service. The volume was edited by David Jarmul, who has directed the service since its inception in 1983. We hope Headline News, Science Views will help bring the worlds of scientists and non-scientists a little closer. Neither group is well-served if, like the continents, they continue to drift apart.

Washington, D.C.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×
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Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×

Editor's Note

The articles in this book originally appeared on the editorial and opinion pages of daily newspapers. They were distributed by the National Academy Op-Ed Service. Begun in 1983 under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council—the institutions whose reports serve as the basis for many of the articles—the service provides more than 250 newspapers with timely articles by scientific and technical experts. The papers receive the weekly articles free with exclusive rights within their cities. Among those that have published stories from the service are The Atlanta Constitution, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Detroit News, The Houston Chronicle, The Miami Herald, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Francisco Chronicle and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch .

The wonderful cartoons and drawings in this volume were published originally by editors at subscribing newspapers. The artists and editors granted us permission to reprint the illustrations here.

The service would not exist without the continued support and encouragement of the editors at the subscribing newspapers, who have helped us bring these complex scientific and technical issues into the arena of public debate.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
×

We also are indebted to hundreds of study committee members, staff officers and others within the Academy who have shared their expertise and offered advice on story ideas. The entire staff of the Academy news office supports the Op-Ed Service in many ways, from reading drafts to gathering clips; Gail Porter, former director of the office, and Patricia Worns, the copy editor, contributed to every article in this volume.

Our greatest thanks is reserved for the authors, who took time out from busy schedules to prepare these articles without pay and under tight deadlines. Making the transition from scientific text to newspaper prose was not always easy, but it was made much smoother by authors whose prominence was matched by their patience, eloquence and genuine desire to reach out beyond the scientific community to the American public.

David Jarmul

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. 1991. Headline News, Science Views. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1575.
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HEADLINE NEWS, SCIENCE VIEWS

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Many Americans want information on how to eat a healthier diet, clean up the environment, or improve their children's education. Yet, all too often, people lack the time or background to read scientific reports for answers to these questions.

Now, scientists and nonscientists alike will enjoy Headline News, Science Views, a collection of easy-to-read short articles on many of today's most important issues.

These readable essays are written by some of the country's leading scientists, engineers, physicians, and other experts. The authors discuss intriguing issues in language that is understandable and compelling...without jargon. Celebrity Bill Cosby contributes an essay on "Getting the Facts Straight About Science." Television journalist Hugh Downs asks "Who Owns Antarctica?"

Readers learn the many ways in which science and technology affect their daily lives.

This volume makes groundbreaking scientific achievement accessible, fascinating--and fun. Bridging the gap between the experts and the public, it is a "must read" for anyone concerned about the future.

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