Science: Bankrupt Brain Bank?

As the speeches droned endlessly on, the white-haired scientist turned in despair to a fellow dinner guest and sighed: "I have just got a new theory of eternity." Albert Einstein's ennui at a function of the National Academy of Sciences was hardly unusual. Though the prestigious organization likes to consider itself the supreme court of American science, it has all too often resembled other self-perpetuating honor societies, like baseball's Hall of Fame or Hollywood's Oscar judges.

Rigorous Scrutiny. Now the academicians of science have finally come under rigorous—and embarrassing —public scrutiny. In a carefully documented book, The Brain Bank of America: An...

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