APS News

March 2005 (Volume 14, Number 3)

Members in the Media

"I see no problem with letting the darn stuff fall down the drain. Why are people so afraid of the singularity?"
Ted Jacobson, University of Maryland, on the possibility that information is lost in a black hole, New Scientist, January 22, 2005

"Most string theorists are very arrogant. If there is something [beyond string theory], we will call it string theory."
Nathan Seiberg, Institute for Advanced Study, The Guardian, January 20, 2005

"People assume that because it is familiar it is understood. But if you really probe, there are mysteries."
Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan, Harvard University, on studying how venus fly traps snap shut, Boston Globe, January 27, 2005

"In their back yards people find bones and panic, thinking it's human. Police send them for analysis, and it can take months to say it's just a dog. We could tell immediately."
Madhavi Martin, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, on a technique called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy that can be used for chemical analysis at crime scenes, Baltimore Sun, February 4, 2005

"You may look at something every day, but you may never see it until someone says, 'There's something surprising going on here.' "
Wendy Zhang, University of Chicago, on her experiments on air bubbles in pancake syrup, Chicago Sun-Times, February 2, 2005

"The gas from the outer layers can't fall in at once. It spirals around like water going down the drain, forming a "squashy doughnut shape."
Stan Woosley, UCSC, describing the collapse of some massive stars, Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 25, 2005

"These things do almost nothing. The reason that they can go all the way from Chicago to Soudan is that almost nothing happens."
Marvin Marshak, University of Minnesota, on neutrinos, Associated Press, February 11, 2005

"Modern biology is built around evolutionary theory. You can't ignore it, but you can downplay it. You can't not teach it, but you can teach it badly."
Mano Singham, Case Western Reserve University, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, February 10, 2005

And, finally, a compendium of comments on Einstein, his theories, and the World Year of Physics:

"He definitely has a persona that captures your attention. I am impressed by his total independence. He came up with these incredible theories and was not part of the academic world at the time. That takes raw brain power and imagination. He could consider what most people thought of as impossible, as real."
Robert Bluhm, Colby College, on Einstein, the Morning Sentinel (Maine), February 7, 2005

"It's very complex. It took him a decade to work it out, and he got it wrong about four times along the way."
Grant Mathews, University of Notre Dame, on general relativity, South Bend Tribune, February 4, 2005

"This is one of the hardest parts of his theory to prove because the waves we hope to see are just so incredibly weak. It's a tiny effect."
Peter Shawhan, California Institute of Technology, on gravitational waves, ABC News.com, January 24, 2005

"It's like twirling a spoon in a jar of honey. You see the honey dragging along with the spoon. It's analogous to what happens in space."
Michael Salamon, NASA, explaining frame dragging, ABC news.com, January 24, 2005

"We have a conception of space and time built into us. He for the first time made space and time a part of physics and not of metaphysics."
Steven Weinberg, University of Texas at Austin, on Einstein, Christian Science Monitor, January 20, 2005

"If ever physics had a golden age, a case could be made that it is now."
Stephen Benka, American Institute of Physics, Christian Science Monitor, January 20, 2005

"There's a typhoon headed our way."
—Gerald Holton, Harvard University, on the World Year of Physics, The New York Times, January 25, 2005

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette