Chemical & Engineering News

Published by American Chemical Society
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When recombinant DNA science entered the scene, the scientific community worried publicly over the safety of the new technology. To remedy those concerns, a set of guidelines for conducting experiments was prescribed, but recently those guidelines have been recommended virtually out of existence. A vast majority of scientists judge this research safe.
 
In 10 days, Massachusetts Institute of Technology president Paul Gray will be heading a team of five MIT representatives to a closed but crucial three-day meeting with four other research university presidents at Pajaro Dunes resort in Watsonville, Calif. The meeting will be about money and morals. Critics fear that the priorities will fall in just about that order.
 
Tucked away in the labyrinthine National Academy of Sciences is the Medical Follow-up Agency. That agency is conducting a survey for another academy entity, the Board of Toxicology & Environment, which will interpret the data for the U.S. Army. Subject of the survey: the possible long-term health (actually, morbidity) effects of chemical agents used in a two-decade-long human testing program.
 
Pharmaceutical companies see opportunities in DNA recombinant work, and think they can meet federal laws better than other labs.
 
Compared to some such sessions, which have been marked with contention, last month's two-day meeting of the advisory committee to the director of the National Institutes of Health examining revisions in guidelines on recombinant DNA research seemed like a well-organized picnic. Special witnesses representing industrial and academic research, labor, and environmental groups convened with committee members to review the proposed changes. Though none of the changes seems momentous in itself, the net effect is to reduce the stringency of the guidelines.
 
The National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules have been revised again, and already a clamor has been raised to revise them further.
 
The World Health Organization should "strongly support genetic studies involving the artificial recombination of DNA." Although "fully recognizing possible risks involved, [these] can be sufficiently minimized to justify continued activity for the benefits of research in this field." This is the nub of the findings of WHO's Advisory Committee on Medical Research after carefully weighing the pros and cons of recombinant DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) studies. The committee has drawn up a nine-point recommendation for consideration by the WHO director-general, Dr. Halfdan Mahler. Items covered range from the desirability of establishing an ACMR subcommittee to keep tabs on safety problems in connection with manipulating microorganisms and cells used in such research to designating WHO "collaboration centers" where scientists could meet periodically to exchange views and "assist in carrying out the work involved." Dr. Martin Kaplan, director of WHO's office of research promotion and development, detailed the recommendations and the reasoning behind them in Geneva late last ...
 
The long-awaited federal guidelines proposed early this month to detail what programs companies may have to institute to protect workers from reproductive hazards without unfairly discriminating against women in job placement are not likely to find much favor with the chemical industry. The guidelines, issued jointly by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, say that programs set up to protect workers against reproductive hazards may not discriminate in hiring or work assignments on the basis of sex, including pregnancy or childbearing potential. Women, or men, may be temporarily excluded from a particular work area where a special hazard to them is thought to be present. However, this may happen only if the hazard is well documented, there is no evidence of a similar hazard to the nonexcluded sex, and the company establishing the policy also begins, within six months, animal studies that will demonstrate, within ...
 
The sub-prime mortgage debacle. The Great Recession. Derivatives and hedge funds. The effective bankruptcy of Greece and the subsequent collapse of the euro. China’s imminent bubble. The catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Weeds resistant to glyphosate. Bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Global climate change. The common factor? Humans want too much. We are addicted to growth. The problem with being addicted to growth is that we live on a finite planet. In the new book “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet” Bill McKibben argues that anthropogenic climate change is already well advanced. It is not a problem for future generations. It is a problem for us. McKibben insists that we should be able to create social structures and an economic system that does not depend on growth. We will need to get smaller and less centralized, to focus not on growth but on maintenance, on a controlled decline from the perilous heights to which we’ve climbed.
 
Poloragraphy is the electrochemical technique most commonly used in the solution of analytical problems [ Anal. Chem. 37, 27A (1965)]. But besides such practical applications, polarography can be used to solve fundamental problems. Its importance in inorganic chemistry, especially in studying complex compounds, is already recognized, and polarography is accepted by inorganic chemists as a useful technique. This acceptance is probably the result of the fact that the first important contributions that polarography made in this field were published during the renaissance of inorganic chemistry, when new physical methods were readily accepted.
 
Passive x-ray and gamma-ray analysis was performed on UC Berkeley's EH&S Sample S338. The object was found to contain Pu-239 and no other radioactive isotopes. The mass of Pu-239 contained in this object was determined to be 2.0 +- 0.3 micrograms. These observations are consistent with the identification of this object being the 2.77-microgram plutonium oxide sample described by Glenn Seaborg and his collaborators as the first sample of Pu-239 that was large enough to be weighed.
 
IntroductionPhase Equilibria and SolubilityProperties of Hydrothermal SolutionsKinetics of Hydrothermal CrystallizationAddition of Impurities under Hydrothermal ConditionsCompilation of Crystals Grown Hydrothermally
 
Corporate managements are in the midst of an upheaval which some future historian might label the "information revolution." This is not the "information explosion," but rather the culling of information needed to run various levels of a business. At the heart of it is the very definition of information, its flow through an organization, and its use to obtain planned ends. The prime tool in this assault on information is what Max Ways of Fortune aptly calls "a new style of public and private planning, problem solving, and choosing." This is management by systems, a technique that blends materials and energy (equipment and people) with information to solve the big and complex problems facing industry, as well as government and society. The very existence of the systems concept today is due to the enormous growth in size, complexity, and diversity of business and government in the past 20 years. One ...
 
A PHRASE ON THE LIPS of many businesspeople in 2010 was “the new normal.” It refers to slower economic growth, higher unemployment, and more constrained credit coming out of the Great Recession than in the heady years before it. The term doesn’t promise an inspiring future, but after facing their own mortality in 2008 and 2009, most chemical executives will take it over a recession and financial crisis any day. The year’s main theme for the chemical industry was one of recovery. Sales started to come back. Earnings saw a strong rebound. And after two years of spending dormancy, companies signed takeover deals and planned for new capital investment, even in the U.S. Fine and custom chemical makers began to experience a pickup in sales. Cleantech firms continued to attract both government and private capital as they rushed to cash in on the trend for all things green. New and legacy environmental mishaps continued ...
 
THE PAST YEAR has been one of devastating job loss for working people in the U.S., who are now experiencing nearly 10% unemployment. Although chemical scientists are faring better than the public-at-large, they are also out of work at record levels. According to data collected by ACS for its 2009 salary survey, which will be published next year, ACS members are experiencing unemployment at 3.8%, up from 2.3% last year, and 2.4% in 2007. In the nearly 40 years the society has been collecting employment information from its members, unemployment has never been so high. Slightly more than half of ACS members work in manufacturing, and their situation is considerably worse than it is for their peers in academic or other industrial positions. The national unemployment rate for chemical manufacturing climbed from 2.9% in 2007 to 4.3% in 2008 to 7.7% as of this past March. If every cloud has a silver lining, it’s ...
 
A MILESTONE IN ELECTRON microscopy—the first direct sub-angstrom imaging of a crystal lattice—has been reported by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Nion, a company in Kirkland, Wash., that specializes in advanced electron-microscope optics { Science , 305 , 1741 (2004)}. The researchers fitted a 300-kV scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) at ORNL with a Nion aberration corrector and made a number of other technical enhancements to the system, producing what they believe to be the highest resolution electron microscope in the world. In their images of a silicon crystal, they are able to distinguish columns of atoms that are 0.78 Å apart. The actual resolution limit of the microscope is 0.6 Å, according to team leader Stephen J. Pennycook, who heads ORNC's Electron Microscopy Group. This is a huge improvement over the resolution limit of 1.3 A that they had before the aberration corrector was installed, he adds. The team, which includes ...
 
Within the next few months, final international standards for environmental management systems (EMSs) will emerge from years of discussion and negotiation. The first standard in the ISO 14000 series is expected to be published this summer. And there won't be any surprises for the chemical industry, which is playing a significant role in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards-writing process. As the ISO 14000 standards have been evolving, chemical companies have been familiarizing themselves with the standards and have formed strong opinions. The chemical industry already has bought heavily into similarly structured ISO 9000 standards, which deal primarily with plant operations and management. Also developed by the Geneva-based group, the ISO 9000 standards are used worldwide as an operating norm for quality systems management. But chemical companies are uncertain about the ultimate value of the ISO 14000 standards. In ISO 14000 standards' favor, more than 60 countries have been involved in their ...
 
Pfizer is having a great year, in this, its 150th anniversary. Listen to company executives and they'll tell you that, although business is great for now, success is a journey, not a destination. The journey, they'll say, is a matter of balancing high risks that yield either tremendous successes or tragic disappointments, and Pfizer has experienced both. When C&EN visited the company's headquarters in New York City, the reception area was filled with salespeople, job seekers, and visitorsall clamoring their way to the reception desk. Other people were waiting in the lobby next to a waterfall bearing the company logo, and still others were hustling into open elevators. They're all hoping to get inside the 33-story building where they can intertwine with Pfizer's success, which during the 1990s lifted it from the world's 13th largest drug firmin terms of pharmaceutical revenuesat the start of the decade to third place last year, behind Merck & Co. ...
 
START WITH a small, low-energy laser pulse. Split that into 48 beams and amplify them to about 5J apiece. Then, split the 48 into 192 beams, each about 40 cm2, and amplify again until they reach about 20 kJ each. Run the beams to a spherical chamber— half to circle the top hemisphere, half to circle the bottom. Angle them into the chamber, convert them from infrared to ultraviolet light, and converge them on a target to deliver 1.8 MJ of energy to a sample a mere 2 mm in diameter. And do it all so that the beams hit the target, about one millisecond after the initial pulse, within 10 picoseconds of each other. That’s what’s done at NIF, the National Ignition Facility located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The goal of NIF is high-energy-density research, including experiments to understand both the workings of massive planets and the stars. Experiments at NIF ...
 
A chemist is a chemist is a chemist—is a what? A Ph.D. doing or directing basic research of his own choosing— that's "what"—at least in the eyes of many individuals. All those words are rather carefully chosen, including "his." But is a chemist only that? What about chemists at Du Pont, for example, who have titles such as account manager, adhesives; business analyst; director of production; or shift supervisor, manufacturing? How about myself, a Ph.D. inorganic chemist with the title personnel administrator? In trying to look ahead at the profession of chemistry and the people who will compose it in the 1980's, it is extremely important to recognize the breadth of opportunity available to someone who starts with a formal education in chemistry—the heart of my definition of a chemist—and goes on to work in an environment in which that training is important. From that point of view, the coming decade should afford exciting challenges ...
 
♦ Career Opportunities for Chemical Professionals The employment market for chemical professionals was more robust this year than at any time in the recent past. Recruiters report that there seemed to be more jobs, particularly for B.S. and M.S. chemical engineers and Ph.D. chemists, than there are candidates to fill them. As a result, both chemists and chemical engineers are getting higher salaries. Furthermore, some companies even began to offer bonuses to new graduates who accept job offers. Also, companies believe they may need to hire more foreign graduates who do not have permanent residency status in the U.S. And more job candidates this year have been bidding one firm against another for salaries. ♦ Industry Strives To Increase Science Graduates ...
 
For the biotechnology industry, last year's worries were epic in more ways than one. The most public exposure of the technology, unfortunately for the industry, was in movie theaters with the film "Jurassic Park." Even worse, while biotechnology was depicted in a bad light on the big screen, health care reform was the real life Tyrannosaurus rex running rampant over the industry's parkland. Fearful of the health care reform behemoth, investors at times were scared away from buying biotech stocks. Stock prices neared all-time highs and plummeted to all-time lows. And, while a few new products made their debut on the market, others long considered very promising faced significant setbacks. Despite the downturns, however, the year had an upbeat ending with hopes that things would get better in 1994. Now early into the year, it is not clear that they will. In many ways, 1993 differed little from 1992 (C&EN, March 29, 1993, page 17). ...
 
Last year, the biotechnology industry's stock performance was strong for the first time in a few years. Throughout 1995 and into early 1996, stock prices of and investments made in small companies have heated up. But it's not clear what is fueling this success because company earnings and the number of new products approved have yet to increase significantly. For the year, C&EN's biopharmaceutical stock index climbed nearly 85% between January 1995 and February 1996 as the market capitalization of the 11 companies it tracks rose dramatically. For comparison, the Dow Jones industrial average rose only 44%. The biopharmaceutical index reached a high of 407 in the second week of February 1996 after starting 1995 near 220 (close 1990 = 100). Previously, the highest peak was in early 1992 when the stock index skirted 260. As stock prices rose in 1991 to reach the 1992 peak, the industry also had ...
 
FMC Corp. and the Environmental Protection Agency have negotiated an agreement to phase out by 1995 most uses of granular carbofuran, an insecticide/nematicide widely used on field, vegetable, and fruit crops. Produced only by FMC's Agricultural Chemical Group, it has been sold under the tradename Furadan for 23 years. The granular form, under special review by EPA since late 1985, is acutely toxic to birds. However, EPA notes, "the complete human health database generally does not show any human health concerns." Just before the agreement, Virginia moved to ban sale and use of granular carbofuran effective June 1, and is the first state to do so. Before its action, FMC offered to voluntarily end sales in Virginia. Under the agreement, as of Sept. 1 EPA will withdraw statewide registrations in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Virginia, and in the coastal counties of North and South Carolina, Oregon, and ...
 
The year 1995 was probably the most trying year ever for the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. The new Republican majority in Congress labeled the agency one of the most hated by business and set out to cut OSHA's authority and budget. The Clinton Administration even developed a plan to reinvent OSHA to make it more efficient. The result of. such massive criticism was the lowest level of activity by OSHA since its inception in 1971. Health and safety inspections were down almost one-third from 1994, and assessed fines for infractions of OSHA rules decreased more than 25%. The rate of regulations proposed or finalized by OSHA also slowed a lot as the agency underwent a long period of internal reorganization. It seemed the agency had nearly disappeared. This year will be another challenge, as additional budget cuts and substantial reform legislation are considered in Congress. But by all appearances, OSHA is trying to make ...
 
If the first quarter of 1999 sets the pace for the rest of this year, then pharmaceutical producers have much prosperity ahead. The trend of overall double-digit sales and earnings growth has continued in yet another quarter. However, not all companies are equally prosperous. Individual drug and biopharmaceutical producers have been showing increasingly mixed results. Combined first-quarter 1999 sales for 15 global pharmaceutical companies rose 12% from last year's first quarter to nearly $54 billion. Net earnings, reported by 13 of those companies, rose an overall 16% to $8.13 billion. Profitability—measured as aftertax earnings as a percentage of sales—remained healthy, inching up to 18.3% from 18.0% in the first quarter of 1998. Most gains were based on volume, and not price, increases. Looking more closely at company results shows that two—Madison, N.J.-based American Home Products (AHP) and Switzerland's Novartis—had decreases of 1% in sales. For both companies, a downturn in their agricultural product ...
 
President Clinton has submitted as fiscal 1999 research and development budget of $78 billion, up 3% from fiscal 1998. Nondefense R&D in the federal budget totals $37.8 billion—a 5.8% increase over the current year. It is the biggest civilian science and technology budget in history and fulfills the wildest wishes of the research community, especially that served by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, which are slated to receive major increases. "You add it all up," says White House science adviser John H. Gibbons, "and what the budget does is set the stage for a new century of progress, of learning and discovery." Such rhetoric is common for the unveiling of budgets. But the mood of jubilation may well be excused this time. Two years ago, the tone was drenched in gloom as the Republican Congress attempted to kill favorite Clinton Administration programs. But there are caveats. ...
 
PAPER AS A MEDIUM FOR Displaying information has served humanity well for almost 2,000 years. But early in the 21st century it may be supplanted by electronic paper, an emerging plastic technology that combines the best features of ordinary paper and computer displays. Like traditional paper, e-paper would be mechanically flexible, rugged, lightweight, and easy to view from just about any angle under a wide range of lighting conditions. But unlike ordinary paper, the information displayed on e-paper wouldn't be static and immutable: It could easily be changed, or even animated, at little cost in power. This could open the door to new conveniences. Imagine, for example: • A newspaper that wirelessly updates or changes its stories throughout the day • A handheld computer display that is thin and flexible enough to be rolled up and placed in your pocket. • Wallpaper with colors and patterns that can be changed in an instant. • Business cards that are automatically updated with each job change. Anywhere you see a conventional, bulky rigid display such as in Palm Pilots and e-books, there could be advantages to replacing them with a lightweight, flexible display, says John A. Rogers, ...
 
President Clinton's fiscal 2000 budget is somewhat disappointing for research and development following substantial increases in most R&D programs for fiscal 1999, but it does have some positive initiatives. Overall, the President's proposal has R&D funding authority actually falling 1% to $78.2 billion, despite the expectation of significant budget surpluses and strong support for R&D in Congress. The funding levels proposed for individual agencies present a mixed bag for next year, with a few significant cuts mixed in with solid increases (C&EN, Feb. 8, page 8). The culprit for the funding decline can be traced directly to a cut in development research at the Department of Defense. This funding is down about $3 billion from fiscal 1999 and represents a large chunk of the total federal package. This cut lowers defense R&D (including defense- related research at the Energy Department) for the first time in memory to a level less than 50% of the government's ...
 
Global competitiveness, empowerment of people, social equity, a respected status in the family of nations. This mantra spills out of the lips of Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos any time he has a chance to repeat it. It is his list of what the Philippines should achieve as a newly industrializing country by 2000. Part of his strategy to attain these goals is to upgrade the country's scientific and technological capabilities. Early in his term, Ramos set in motion a pragmatic science and technology (S&T) agenda to focus R&D so that when he leaves office in 1998 the Philippines could be well on its way toward its goals for 2000. In economic terms, Ramos' vision translates to an annual growth rate in gross national product (GNP) of 6 to 8%, exports of $23 billion, per capita GNP of $1,250, and a poverty incidence of 30% or less by 2000. Those targets could be within reach. ...
 
News stories often appear quickly. Like flashes of light in the night, they disappear quickly too, sometimes never to be seen again. In the next eight pages, C&EN casts new light on some of the significant chemical research stories we covered in the year 2000. Our selections are subjective and are not intended to be comprehensive. The stories we look back at here are not the winners of a contest; they do not represent a "best" list. In fact, looking through a year's worth of chemical research stories, one has to be impressed at the totality of research progress made over a year's time and at the tremendous number of such developments that are indeed important. C&EN selected a necessarily small subset of these many breakthroughs to review here. We approached the principal investigators on these studies to find out what had happened to their projects since they were initially disclosed and reported on in ...
 
The second session of the 106th Congress began last week with two main items on its agenda—money and the fall election. Budget surpluses last year and even larger surpluses projected this year have prompted major arguments over how to distribute them. Still, there are indications that, this year, science and technology programs may be awarded some significant increases if Congress can decide how to ignore previously passed limits on discretionary spending. Behind much of the maneuvering will be concerns about this fall's national elections. The Senate, with a 55-to-45 Republican majority, is not expected to change party leadership next year. In the House, however, the slim six-vote majority held by Republicans is much more vulnerable. Thus Democrats may be less likely to compromise on Republican-backed legislation if they believe the House leadership will revert to Democratic in 2001. Legislators will also have to be efficient and businesslike if they are ...
 
TO CALL 2001 MERELY A DIFFICULT year for the chemical industry downplays the severity of events that eventually influenced general economic, business, political, and social circumstances. The repercussions of terrorist attacks late in the year only made a tough situation worse. The industry was already in a downturn at its start. This spawned an increasing number of job reductions, production cutbacks, business divestitures, and company mergers in the days that followed. For the first time in several years, a handful of companies declared outright bankruptcy, failing to find a way to survive the hard times. High energy and raw material prices were significant factors early on, only to come full circle and end the year at dramatically lower levels. Weakening international economies, slackening demand, overcapacity, the strong dollar, and a squeeze on prices and margins contributed to some of the poorest financial results in years. Chemical sales and earnings continued to decline. Mergers and acquisitions ...
 
SCIENTIFIC DEVELOPMENTS REPORTED IN THE MEDIA are often impressive advances with significant potential importance, not only to science but also to society at large. In the next pages, C&EN remembers some of the major developments we covered in the year 2001. Our annual review of research highlights doesn't pretend to be a comprehensive list of significant scientific advances. Our selections are generally restricted to research in the field of chemistry, to stories we've already reported on, and to developments reported in the primary scientific literature through November. So there are undoubtedly many essential advances that are not included, and we apologize if we've left out some of your favorites. But despite inevitable flaws in the selection process, we believe that recalling the major chemical advances of the year is a worthwhile endeavor. Although individual developments may often seem incremental, it's amazing to see how much is actually accomplished over the course of an entire year. ...
 
THE FIRST SESSION OF THE 1O7TH U.S. CONGRESS opened a week ago amid dour predictions about its ability to function and to pass meaningful legislation. Among the first issues debated will be tax cuts, health care and prescription drug costs, and improvements in education. And, as always, money will be a major topic. The results of last year's election loom large over Congress, particularly the Senate. For the first time in history the chamber is split 50-50, and the Democrats and Republicans have agreed to equal committee seats. Although Republicans retain the committee chairs, this level of equity is unprecedented. On the House side, the GOP retains a razor-thin six-seat majority. Whether this will lead to more or less polarization among members is unknown, but the legislative impact should be clear. No bills with extreme right- or left-wing programs will be able to be pushed through this Congress. Only legislation with moderate aims and moderate ...
 
SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES returned to Washington, D.C., last week for the second session of the 107th Congress with a load of work left undone from last year. Completing that work is going to be difficult this year because of a combination of factors. Since neither party has a significant majority in either the House or the Senate, compromise is a necessity Unfortunately, this Congress has had little success with compromise, and the preliminary outlook for this year is not good. Energy policy legislation, a high-priority issue, remains controversial. The advance of last year's tax cut and passing the much-touted economic stimulus package are other areas where partisanship will make success hard. Thrown on top of this is the distraction caused by numerous hearings on the collapse of energy trader Enron Corp. Debates on bills to improve national security and protection from terrorism will be prominent as Congress continues to react to the attacks of Sept. ...
 
AS THE ECONOMY SLOWED LAST year, major chemical companies slowed funding for research and capital improvements. And while they wait for the economy to take a turn for the better, chemical producers indicate they will be making only the most prudent investments this year So it should come as no surprise that a C&EN survey of 18 U.S. chemical companies finds capital investment plans will barely keep pace with inflation. The group estimates that it will spend $7.2 billion this year—a 2% increase above 2001. And C&EN predicts that capital spending as a percent of sales will be 6.3%—a decade low—assuming a 2.5% increase in sales for the group in 2002. The companies C&EN surveyed about research expect to cut R&D spending this year by more than 3%. This group of 15 chemical producers plans to spend only $4.9 billion this year compared with almost $5.1billion in 2001. And C&EN predicts that R&D as a percent of ...
 
WHILE IT'S EASY TO SAY THE CHEMICAL INDUStry has seen it all before—cyclical markets, lagging demand, overcapacity, high costs, and poor economic conditions—2002 was, in fact, entirely different. For in this year, the business climate was in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Thus, every action taken by industry and its executives, employees, and companies at their facilities resonated with implications for physical and economic security, safety, and stability Whether prospects for the chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries have turned a corner still is uncertain. A few positive indicators that the situation is improving—such as a slight upturn in earnings and a better performing stock market—have emerged at the end of this year. Nevertheless, the economy remains volatile, easily unhinged by threats of war, unresolved issues of corporate credibility, and erratic consumer confidence. So it may not be until 2004 or later that recovery takes hold. Besides these added challenges, traditional ...
 
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH has appointed prostate cancer expert Andrew C. von Eschenbach, a researcher at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, as director of NIH's National Cancer Institute. The NCI directorship is a presidentially appointed position that does not require Senate confirmation. Von Eschenbach replaces Richard D. Klausner, who had led NCI since 1995. Acknowledging Bush's White House announcement, von Eschenbach said, as NCI director, "I will be devoted to nurturing and promoting the paradigm of discovery through basic research." But he also recognized that "scientific discovery, although essential, is not sufficient. We cannot rest until we translate our new understanding of cancer into interventions that will detect cancer, new drugs that treat and even prevent cancer." Von Eschenbach is a professor of surgery and a consulting professor of cell biology and biology at M. D. Anderson; a professor of urology at the University of Texas Medical Center, Houston; and director of M. D. ...
 
THIS YEAR'S PITTSBURGH CONFERENCE & EXPOSITION on Analytical Chemistry & Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon)—"the world's greatest exposition and technical conference on laboratory science," according to its organizers—reflected the times in which it was held The U.S. conflict with Iraq was a common topic of conversation among attendees at the conference—which was held this year for only the second time in sunny Orlando, Fla., a venue that belied such serious talk with its squeaky-clean andgood-natured artificiality. There was an increased emphasis onbioterrorismat thisyear's conference, according to 2003 Pittcon President Mildred B. Perry who is also a physical scientist and senior analyst at the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh. Despite a generally poor economy, a then-looming war in Iraq, and cutbacks in business travel budgets, Pittcon registration figures held up fairly well. Total registration was 22,628—down less than 3% from 2002, when 23,270 people attended. The number of exhibiting organizations was up 10% to ...
 
BY THIS TIME LAST YEAR, THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY was hoping, even cautiously predicting, that 2003 would finally bring a rebound. The optimism even continued into early 2003. However, the situation didn't actually improve much over time, and companies continued to struggle with high costs for energy and raw materials and declining earnings. So, instead of brighter prospects, the industry faced yet another challenging year. Among the challenges were many external issues that gained strength and momentum. These included litigation related to past products and pollution, security initiatives, product bans, charges of pricefixing, and European regulatory and U.S. energy policies. Meanwhile, the more mundane aspects of chemicals manufacturing—namely production, pricing, demand, and trade—remained decidedly mixed. To cope with structural problems, many chemical companies underwent extensive changes, especially at Dow Chemical, DuPont, and Bayer. Many major firms instituted management shifts while cutting jobs broadly across the industry's employee base. Asset sales, mergers ...
 
THIS NEW CONGRESS FACES SOME daunting tasks right off the mark. Budget matters are the highest priority, as members scramble to finish up this year's budget before they are required to consider fiscal 2004. And they will have to deal with President George W. Bush's economic plan, spending on the possible war with Iraq, and already large, looming deficits. The second major task is the organizing, overseeing, and funding of the Department of Homeland Security How the many congressional committees with pieces of this new entity will cooperate on getting the department up and running is still unknown. When Congress gets around to science and technology issues, it is going to debate action on global climate change, prescription drug relief for senior citizens, and the banning of all human cloning procedures. Research budgets are not going to be a priority. Still, the 108th Congress has a full plate of issues ...
 
SINCE THE PREVIOUS ACHEMA IN 2 0 0 0 , THE WORLD has witnessed the terrible events of Sept. 11,2001, other horrifying acts of terrorism, the conflict in Iraq, aglobal downturn in the economy and, most recently worldwide outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Yet these and other adverse factors did not prevent manufacturers and users of chemical plants, equipment, components, and apparatus from flocking in droves to Germany's weeklong triennial chemical technology exhibition in Frankfurt last month. ACHEMA is a German acronym for chemical engineering exhibition and congress. The series is organized by DECHEMA, the Frankfurt-based German Society for Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology ACHEMA2003, the 27th in the series, focused on chemical engineering, environmental protection, and biotechnology It comprised 12 wide-ranging exhibition groups, a congress consisting of symposia on 12 diverse topics, and other events such as a recruitment forum. The 3,819 exhibitors from 48 countries this year represented a 7.9% drop from ...
 
JULIA A. JAMES, AN ACS SCHOLAR studying immunology who is now a 2004 Rhodes Scholar, wanted to be a great American novelist. "Julia came here as an English major," says her mentor Carol A. Parish, associate professor of chemistry at Hobart & William Smith Colleges. Parish says that James took a single freshman course in chemistry to "get it over with" and was immediately hooked. "She's amazing," Parish says. "She attended a presentation I gave on undergraduate research and approached me within a week afterward with very creative ideas. We started doing research together in her second year and have worked together ever since." James and Parish's research focuses on HIV/AIDS, a topic selected by James. They are currently working to understand the difference in molecular flexibility of protease inhibitor drugs approved by the Food & Drug Administration to design a template for a good protease inhibitor. James, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y, has ...
 
THE 55TH PITTSBURGH CONFERence on Analytical Chemistry & Applied Spectroscopy blew into Chicago earlier this month, propelled as usual by the winds of change. This year's incarnation of one of the world's premier instrument shows was marked by an improved business climate for instrument makers and a number of innovative new products, particularly in the vibrational spectroscopy and chromatography areas. Total registration was 25,025—a bit more than half of which were conferees and a little less than half, exhibitors. Overall registration was up a healthy 11% from 2003's figure of 22,628, and the increase in conferees alone was even better, at 18%. "We were pleased that the number of conferees rose almost 20% over last year and that we had the most conferees since 1999," said this year's Pittcon president, research chemist John P. Baltrus of the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory Electroanalytical chemist Larry R. Faulkner, now president of the University of ...
 
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