SCIENCE-WEEK -- ABSTRACTS: December 22, 2000 -- Vol. 5 Number 51

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SCIENCE-WEEK -- ABSTRACTS: December 22, 2000 -- Vol. 5 Number 51
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--advertisement--
FACULTY POSITIONS: Adjunct Assistant Professor (2). The
Department of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Veterinary
Medicine at Iowa State University is seeking two Adjunct
Assistant/Associate Professor faculty members to teach physiology
and/or pharmacology courses to undergraduate, graduate, and DVM
students. They will also be expected to register for and pursue a
PhD in a major area (physiology, pharmacology, neuroscience,
toxicology, or anatomy) of the Department of Biomedical Sciences.
Salary is negotiable, depending on the experience, training, and
accomplishments of the candidate. A DVM (or equivalent) degree is
required. An MS degree and 1-year of veterinary practice is
preferred. Applications will be processed as received, and review
of candidates will begin February 1, 2001. E-mail applications
cannot be accepted. Send: 1) signed letter of application, 2)
curriculum vitae, 3) statement of career goals, 4) 3 letters of
reference, and 5) DVM transcript to: Dr. Richard J. Martin,
Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Sciences, College
of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
50011-1250. telephone 515-294-2470 e-mail: rjmartin at iastate.edu
Iowa State University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity
employer.
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SCIENCEWEEK BOOK NOTICE - BIOLOGICAL AND MEDICAL SCIENCES:
Paul R. Ehrlich: _Human Nature: Genes, Cultures, and the Human
Prospect_
Island Press, 2000, 576pp., Hardcover US$29.95 (Amazon: US$23.96)
A tour from bipedalism to environmentalism, this is a systematic
introduction to evolutionary anthropology, a thorough review of
human evolution. The text serves as a readable mini-encyclopedia
of modern evolutionary anthropology, with 100 pages of references
and index. Contains nearly every pertinent fact and conclusion
appearing in the anthropological, psychological, and sociological
literature of the past generation relevant to human evolution.
The author is a Professor of Population Biology at Stanford
University (US) and a member of the US National Academy of
Sciences. Vaclav Smil (University of Manitoba, CA) comments on
this book: "Readers from outside the book's main disciplines will
get the greatest reward, as they will learn a great deal in a
commendably interlinked fashion... A spirited, valuable, and
enjoyable contribution to an interdisciplinary understanding of
our complex natures." Published Fall 2000. Available for
immediate shipment. To order this book:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/155963779X/scienceweek

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SCIENCE-WEEK -- ABSTRACTS: December 22, 2000 -- Vol. 4 Number 51

Below are brief abstracts of new reports appearing in the current
issue of ScienceWeek. The current issue of ScienceWeek contains
complete summaries, explications, glossaries, background material
for the following:
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1. EXPERIMENTAL PHYSICS: ON BOSE-EINSTEIN CONDENSATES
In an atomic Bose-Einstein condensate, several thousand atoms
essentially become a single atom, a "superatom", and this effect
has been observed experimentally with atoms of rubidium and
lithium, the atoms trapped and cooled by special methods. The
excitement in contemporary physics concerning Bose-Einstein
condensates derives from the expectation that these manipulable
real systems can illuminate the fundamentals of quantum
mechanics, superfluidity, superconductivity, the properties and
interactions of atoms, laser physics, and nonlinear optics, i.e.,
some of the most important research areas in modern physics.

2. THEORETICAL PHYSICS:
JOHN ARCHIBALD WHEELER ON QUANTUM PHYSICS
John Archibald Wheeler is one of the grand old people of physics.
It was Wheeler who introduced the term "black hole" to describe
the cosmic singularities that result from the gravitational
collapse of supermassive stars. Now, in a new essay, Wheeler says
the greatest mystery in physics is still the question, How come
the quantum? 100 years after its birth, the underpinning of
quantum physics is still murky. Nevertheless, despite all the
uncertainty surrounding it, quantum physics is both a practical
tool and the basis of our understanding of much of the physical
world. It has explained the structure of atoms and molecules, the
thermonuclear burning that lights the stars, the behavior of
semiconductors and superconductors, the radioactivity that heats
the Earth, and the comings and goings of particles from neutrinos
to quarks.

3. PLANETARY SCIENCE: ON THE SEDIMENTARY ROCKS OF EARLY MARS
An analysis of Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera
photographs indicates that in the Martian Noachian period (the
period prior to 3.5 billion years ago) Mars may have been warm
enough to be wet enough to sustain bodies of liquid water on its
surface. The evidence suggests that the materials in craters and
chasms considered for 20 years to be younger than 3.5-billion-
years-ago in age (i.e., in the Amazonian period) were instead
formed in the Noachian period, that there are many more outcrops
of these materials than previously known, that they could indeed
represent sediment deposited in lakes, and that they are a small
part of a substantially more complex and previously unanticipated
Martian history.

4. DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY:
ORIGINS OF ENDOTHELIAL CELLS AND MUSCLE CELLS IN BLOOD VESSELS
Compared to our knowledge of the development of other tissues,
very little is known about the development of blood vessels. The
conventional notion has been that in blood vessels the
endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells arise from separate
precursor cells through a series of cell divisions and
specialization (differentiation). But this idea has now been
overturned by discovery of a type of blood vessel precursor cell
from which both endothelial and smooth muscle cells can derive in
both tissue culture and mice. Which type of specialized cell is
produced depends on exposure of the precursor cell to a specific
growth factor.

5. MEDICAL BIOLOGY:
USE OF NEURAL STEM CELLS IN COMBATING BRAIN TUMORS
Neural stem cells have been recently recognized for their
remarkable ability to migrate throughout the central nervous
system, become normal constituents of the host neural tissue
architecture (cytoarchitecture), and disseminate bioactive
molecules expressed a result of neural stem cell genetic
engineering. New evidence indicates a powerful tropic interaction
between neural stem cells and intracranial pathology, and
suggests that exogenous neural stem cells, genetically engineered
_ex vivo_ and strategically implanted, may provide a platform for
the dissemination of therapeutic genes and/or gene products to
previously inaccessible infiltrating tumor cells.

6. MEDICAL BIOLOGY: ON THE P-53 TUMOR SUPPRESSOR GENE
The p53 gene, first described in 1979, was the first tumor-
suppressor gene to be identified. It was originally believed to
be an oncogene, but genetic and functional data obtained 10 years
after its discovery demonstrated that p53 is a tumor-suppressor
gene. It is now known that the p53 protein does not function
correctly in most human cancers: in approximately half of these
tumors, the p53 protein is inactivated directly as a result of
mutations in the p53 gene; in many other cancers, the p53 protein
is inactived indirectly through binding to viral proteins, or as 
a result of alterations of genes whose products interact with p53
or transmit information to or from p53.

7. IN FOCUS: CONCEPTUAL CHANGES IN PHYSICAL THEORIES

8. FROM THE SCIENCEWEEK ARCHIVE:
ON TWO CULTURES FORTY YEARS LATER

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The current issue of ScienceWeek contains complete summaries,
explications, glossaries, background material for the above
reports. See http://scienceweek.com/subinfo for subscription
information. A subscription to the complete edition of
ScienceWeek is available for only $20 a year -- 52 issues
containing over 400 reports in the sciences.

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