APS News

January 2006 (Volume 15, Number 1)

Members in the Media

"Frequently, brains would win the day. You had to outthink your opponent, so it always reinforced to me as a kid that being smart was a positive, that it was a superpower in a way. And there are superheroes where their superpower is intelligence."
–Jim Kakalios, University of Minnesota, on his book on the physics of superheroes, the Star Tribune, (Minneapolis) November 11, 2005

"The morale here is abysmal. People's lives have been wrenched apart by the political games that have been played. You can't hold people's careers by the heels out over the balcony without them feeling threatened and cheapened."
–Brad Lee Holian, Los Alamos National Lab, on morale at LANL, San Francisco Chronicle, November 17, 2005

“People ask, 'Why bacteria?' And the reason is very simple. It has to do with the fact that bacteria are the most fundamental organism. So if we want to understand the differences between animate and not-animate matter then ... we want to consider the bacteria, because they are the first organism, the first transition from nonliving to living cells.”
–Eshel Ben-Jacob, Tel Aviv University, on why he studies bacteria, The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC, November 28, 2005

"There's a feeling that we could find a way to really use solar energy on a large scale within 10 to 15 years. The scientists are really jazzed up about this. It really does take a state-of-the-art science and apply it to a world problem that really matters. There's a lot of energy and idealism."
–Paul Alivisatos, UC Berkeley, on applying nanotechnology to solar energy, San Mateo Times, November 28, 2005

"If we don't fix things, we'll slide right into Third World status. But the problem is soluble. I'm a physicist, and physicists have to be optimistic, otherwise we'd never try to understand the nature of dark energy."
–Leon Lederman, Fermilab, on the state of science education, Chicago Tribune, November 19, 2005

"It's craziness. What's in this package actually makes the waste problem worse unless you invest huge amounts in recycling this stuff. This would increase the amount of nuclear-weapons materials loose in the world, and that's the last thing we need right now."
–Frank von Hippel, Princeton University, on a proposal for reprocessing nuclear fuel, The Tri-Valley Herald, November 21, 2005

"We want to understand how nature reaches these energies. The energies of the particles that we'll be observing with this detector are millions of times more powerful than we can produce with particle accelerators on Earth. In principle these particles will give us the possibility of testing physics that we can't test in our laboratories. What happened at the beginning of the universe is the same that you could try to probe by reaching higher and higher energies."
–Angela Olinto, University of Chicago, on a new cosmic ray detector in Argentina, Chicago Tribune, November 9, 2005

"What COBE told us, once and for all, was that the theory behind the big bang was right after all."
–John C. Mather, NASA, the Baltimore Sun, November 11, 2005

"That's got to be tough out in the heat and dirt. That or some sort of forensic job would be unpleasant. Trying to understand how somebody was killed. That's yucky stuff."
–Thomas Sanford, Sandia National Labs, on fossil hunting in hot weather and forensic work, which he thinks would be some of the worst jobs in science, Albuquerque Tribune, November 17, 2005

"In today's world, you will either be a nerd or end up working for a nerd."
–Vernon Ehlers, US House of Representatives, on why we should teach kids to be nerds, the Grand Rapids Press, November 22, 2005

“I'm betting that we just haven't yet gotten the full view of the story. Once we start getting these really high-quality data coming in, more and more of it, I'm really hoping that somebody steps way back and says 'Oh, we were just looking at it the wrong way,' and it'll turn out not to be a dark energy. It'll turn out to be some other way of just seeing the problem."
–Saul Perlmutter, UC Berkeley, on dark energy, SEED Magazine, November 30, 2005

"If one thinks of a nanomaterial as a house, our approach enables a scientist to act as architect, contractor and day laborer all wrapped up in one. We design the components of the house ... so that they will interact with each other in such a way that, when you throw them together randomly, they self-assemble into the desired house."
–Salvatore Torquato, Princeton University, on a new approach to manipulating nanomaterials, United Press International, November 30, 2005

"The main educational benefit is in their effect on the students' attitude toward the course. It creates a more relaxed classroom ... and makes the professor more approachable."
–Walter Smith, Haverford College, on singing songs about physics in class, Wired News, December 2, 2005

"Cyclotrons are not nuclear reactors. Probably the worst thing that could happen with small cyclotrons is that the operators might electrocute themselves."
–Roger Dixon, Fermilab, on an Alaska man who plans to assemble a cyclotron in his Anchorage house, Wired News, December 1, 2005

In insects, "the morphology (shape) of the wing has almost no role. What matters is not the shape of the wing but how the insect moves it. That's very different from conventional (airplane) aerodynamics, where the shape of the wing is everything."
–Michael Dickinson, Caltech, on how bees fly, San Francisco Chronicle, November 28, 2005

"Of course, you know how scientists are. We study things because they're there and there's a lot of interest in Mars these days because of the potential for flying humans there and the fact that Mars has a lot of similarities to Earth."
–Donald Gurnett, University of Iowa, on studying Mars, Iowa City Press-Citizen, December 1, 2005    

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff

January 2006 (Volume 15, Number 1)

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Articles in this Issue
Executive Board Passes Resolution on Office of Science Budget
What's in a Logo?
Dallas To Host 2006 APS April Meeting
Hydrodynamics, Small-Scale Flows Highlight 2005 DFD Meeting
And the Textbook is Thi-i-is Thick....
New APS President Highlights Research Funding, Upcoming Changes in APS Personnel
Second Successful Joint DNP/JPS Meeting Held in Hawaii
Senators Express Concern Over Layoffs and Run Times at RHIC and Jefferson Lab
Council Passes Memorial Resolution for John Bahcall
SESAPS Holds Annual Fall Meeting
The Mandelbrot Set
Pay Attention or I’ll Collapse Your Wavefunction
The Back Page
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
Washington Dispatch
Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science
International News