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Letters

Another Alert Reader Weighs In... .

This note relates to the Back Page article, "Discovering our Roots: The PhD Lineage Contest winners." In that piece the author used the word "geneology" or "geneologist" several times. I would like to point out that "genealogy" is properly spelled with an "a" instead of an "o", as opposed to most other "-ology" terms. This results from the "genealogy" of the word itself-it comes from a combination of two French terms, genea, meaning descent, plus logos, meaning discourse. [See Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G & C Merriam Co (1951)]. Note also that my spell checker (WordPerfect 4.2) catches the erroneous spelling. How come yours didn't?

Robert A. Levy
El Paso, Texas
Editor's Note: Is it too early to blame the error on the Y2K bug

Scientific Travel and Nuclear Proliferation

In a situation where two neighboring countries with nuclear weapons capabilities maintain a hostile posture, bringing together scientists from the two sides to discuss the situation and alleviate tensions was, in our opinion, an eminently sane and rational course of action. Therefore, as citizens and scientists belonging to Argentina, Brazil, India, Israel, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the US, we had enthusiastically welcomed the efforts of the American Physical Society to host a round-table discussion at the Atlanta Centennial Meeting to identify the role of physicists to build bridges between nations which otherwise may be having conflicting interests on nuclear issues or issues related to physics. Some of us had even arranged discussions on the same issues in our institutions to take advantage of these visitors. To our disappointment, we subsequently learned that the invited speaker from India, Dr. T. Jayaraman, was denied leave to participate in the APS discussion by the Director and the authorities of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, where he works as a theoretical physicist.

The reason given by the Institute's Director for his action was that Dr. Jayaraman's participation was not in the interests of, "...the Institute and the nation." Several appeals did not change the Director's decision. Subsequently the Director stated that as the Institute is under travel restrictions by the U.S. government, and the APS has been unable to remove these restrictions, it would not be appropriate for Jayaraman to participate in the APS panel. On the contrary, the American Physical Society has succeeded in removing such restrictions in specific cases and has continued to work for the removal of all impediments to the free circulation of scientists through both public appeals and by close interaction with U.S. governmental agencies.

We feel that the present age compels us to think in global terms and thus the denial of leave to Dr. Jayaraman to participate in the panel discussion is a violation of his academic freedom and has done disservice to the cause of promoting international peace. We urge the Director of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and the Government of India, to desist from applying such restrictions in the future.

Physicists have an important role to play as promoters of peace. Preventing open scientific exchange injures science as an instrument to advance the international scientific enterprise, to develop comity among scientists, to advance our common culture and to contribute to the welfare of nations.

Luis Masperi, Argentina; Luis Pinguelli Rosa, Brazil; T.R. Govindarajan, India; M.V. Ramana, India; Zia Mian, Pakistan; A.P. Balachandran, India; Jeeva Anandan, US/Sri Lanka; Saeed Durrani, UK/Pakistan; Avner Cohen, US/Israel; W.K.H. Panofsky, US; M.H. Engineer, India; Pervez Hoodbhoy, Pakistan; Irving Lerch, US



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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette