50, 100 and 150 Years Ago.; October 1998; Scientific American Magazine; by Staff Editor; 1 Page(s)
OCTOBER 1948 RED SCARE--During the past year, the federal government has found scientists and technical personnel increasingly unwilling to accept or continue in government jobs. For instance, all but 15 of the 150 outstanding scientists engaged in wartime atomic research have quit the government since the end of the war. This situation is due (in the words of President Truman) to ¿attacks on scientists in the ostensible name of security.¿ The president denounced ¿the creation of an atmosphere in which no man feels safe against the public airing of unfounded rumors, gossip and vilification¿ as ¿the most un-American thing we have to contend with today.
PSYCHOSURGERY--Based on the initial work of Egaz Moniz and Almeida Lima in Portugal, 2,000 persons in North America have been operated on by leucotomy [now termed lobotomy] or related techniques. This severing of the connecting fibers between the prefrontal region and the thalamic center in the brain stem apparently releases the ¿new¿ brain of the prefrontal region from the emotional dominance of the ¿old¿ brain of the cerebral stem. Whatever the mechanisms involved, there have been amazing transformations of violently insane persons into seemingly normal ones. Adverse changes can also result, however, which can cause a deterioration in personality.