APS News

June 2014 (Volume 23, Number 6)

Members in the Media

“All I can say is we’re kept very securely...away from central DC and we have excellent communications should they be required. And that’s really as far as we can go. Other than that we had a steak dinner as we watched the State of the Union speech.”
Ernest Moniz, Department of Energy, on being the administration’s “designated successor” for the 2014 State of the Union–the person who becomes acting president in the event of catastrophe, Time Magazine, April 22, 2014.

“We didn’t explain the Higgs in any real thorough way. But people came out of the movie and said, ‘My God, that was the best explanation I’ve ever heard!’ If you go back, no it wasn’t. We tricked people into thinking they understood a lot more than they did because they digested it in an emotional context.”
David Kaplan, Johns Hopkins University, on his film “Particle Fever” about the hunt for the Higgs Boson,” The Los Angeles Times, April 25, 2014.

“The whiteboards the characters use for equations have actually changed into something where real scientists pitch me their latest results and ask if they can appear on them. It’s sort of become a thing to get on the whiteboards.”
David Saltzberg, University of California, Los Angeles, on working for the TV show “The Big Bang Theory,” The Washington Post, May 5, 2014.

“When the ability to convert biology to data and data into biology becomes that cheap, that agile, that easy to do, what are the consequences?”
Neil Gershenfeld, MIT, on the potential dangers of synthetic biology, The New York Times, May 9, 2014.

“I would guess there’s about a 60 percent chance that I’m not going to die of old age, but from some kind of human-caused calamity. Which would suggest that I should spend a significant portion of my time actually worrying about this. We should in society, too.”
Max Tegmark, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on why he thinks artificial intelligence is one of the greatest existential threats to human kind, TheAtlantic.com, May 9, 2014.

“There are several issues that arise, ranging from climate change to artificial intelligence to biological warfare to asteroids that might collide with the earth…. They are very serious risks that don’t get much attention. Something like climate change is of course a very serious problem. I think the general feeling is that already gets a lot of attention. Where we could add more value is in thinking about the potentials of artificial intelligence.”
Frank Wilczek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on why he and other scientists founded the “The Future of Life Institute,” TheAtlantic.com, May 9, 2014.

“This is a really important article — the impression I get is that it’s almost unethical to be lecturing if you have this data.”
Eric Mazur, Harvard University, responding to a study that found college lectures are less effective than other means of teaching, PBS NewsHour, May 12, 2014.

“I don’t care if Oprah is a neighbor, but if she is going to cut off access to trails, I don’t find that acceptable.”
Charles D. Goodman, Tulane, on suing the media magnate over blocking access to public hiking trails, The Denver Post, May 15, 2104.

“They have very nice measurements of something. We don’t know what that something is…. We can’t tell if BICEP2 has measured dust or has measured gravity waves.”
Uros Seljak, University of California, Berkeley, raising concerns about the March announcement of evidence of cosmic inflation, The Washington Post, May 16, 2014.

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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Michael Lucibella
Art Director and Special Publications Manager: Kerry G. Johnson
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik

June 2014 (Volume 23, Number 6)

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Articles in this Issue
APS Elections Now Open
Physicists Widen the Search for Dark Matter Particles
More Basic Research at the National Ignition Facility
Alpha Particles Target Cancer
Leadership Changes at Top US Science Organizations
APS Bridge Program Selects New Sites
Golden Goose Award for Unorthodox Research
Finding New Physics Among Earthquake Lights
Letters to the Editor
Members in the Media
This Month In Physics History
Diversity Corner
Inside the Beltway
Profiles in Versatility
Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science
The Back Page