Biotech in the lead

BIOTECHNOLOGY was the fastest growing area of scientific research in the 1980s, followed by anaesthesia and intensive care in medicine, says a report published by the Institute for Scientific Information. The report has based its conclusion on the number of papers published in each field.

The number of papers in biotechnology and applied microbiology jumped from 511 in 1981 to 2,373 in 1990 - an increase of 364 per cent. The increase in the number of published papers in anaesthesia and intensive care in the same period was just 129 per cent.

The average increase across all fields of scientific activity was 53 per cent. Mathematics showed the least movement with a mere 22 per cent increase in the number of papers over the decade. Surprisingly, immunology (which includes research on AIDS) came in only 35th on the list.