APS News

January 2005 (Volume 14, Number 1)

Members in the Media

"We have great ideas at what we need to do… But it's an experimental science, so we have to go out there and measure things and to measure those things, we have to build facilities,"
—Pier Oddone, remarks on being appointed director of Fermilab, Chicago Sun Times, November 21, 2004

"What physicists bring to economics is not new concepts but rather the determination to put these concepts to quantitative tests."
—Eugene Stanley, Boston University, San Jose Mercury News, November 26, 2004

"Look at light, electricity, TV waves, and X-ray. Everything we enjoy comes from basic research. But the return of a basic research is sometimes 20 to 30 years. Industries are now turning to projects that can make profits in three or five years. The government should make more investment to support basic researches."
—Jerome Friedman, MIT, The Korea Herald, November 23, 2004

"I've got big plans. I'm going to change the way everyone learns science."
—Carl Weiman, University of Colorado, on being named Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Denver Post, November 18, 2004

"We have always been open to proposals that have scientific merit as determined by peer review. We have never closed the door to cold fusion proposals."
—James F. Decker, DOE, on the DOE's review of cold fusion, The New York Times, December 2, 2004

"This was a very, very scientific, very levelheaded, review by everybody," But "I don't think we've made much progress since '89 in really nailing down the parameters that make it reproducible."
Kirby Kemper, Florida State University, on the DOE review of cold fusion (Kemper was one of the reviewers), The New York Times, December 2, 2004

"I don't think anyone has considered that extrasolar planets would be in our own solar system."
Scott J. Kenyon, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, on the possibility that objects in our solar system could have originated in another solar system that collided with ours, The New York Times, December 2, 2004

"Massive computing does not provide the answers so much as it provides an extension of our imagination. For some years there has been talk of computing as being the third 'leg' of science: theory, experiment, computer simulations."
David Arnett, University of Arizona, on a computer simulation of a supernova, The New York Times, November 9, 2004

"For the first time, we will be observing [bursts] when they are really bright. Swift is fine-tuned to quickly locate these bursts and study them in several different wavelengths before they disappear forever."
Neil Gehrels, NASA, on Swift, a recently launched telescope for observing gamma ray bursts, Los Angeles Times, November 21, 2004

"The thing that matters is not the mass, it's the mass times the velocity squared. You never get past three or four yards per second when you're a lineman. With a running back you're up to 10 yards per second. So right there you're talking 10 times more kinetic energy. It's that V-squared that's a killer."
—Timothy Gay, University of Nebraska, explaining why relatively lightweight running backs and receivers tend to be injured in collisions more often than huge linemen, The New York Times, November 16, 2004

"It's beyond most people's imagination that we can support something that weighs over 50 tones on something as soft as a pillow."
Sheldon Weinbaum, City College of New York, on his study showing that it is possible to overcome friction by exploiting the properties of porous surfaces, New Scientist, November 13, 2004

And finally, some comments on the American Institute of Physics list of top physics stories of the year (see http://www.aip.org/pnu/2004/split/711-1.html) in the San Francisco Chronicle, December 6, 2004:

"The detection of large galaxies located a t a very early period in the history of the universe was over-hyped" in original news coverage.
Joel Primack, UC Santa Cruz

"I have the impression that physics is actually accelerating. This is because of powerful new tools that are becoming available, such as the magnetic resonance force microscope used in the (list's) top discovery…On the theoretical side, powerful new computers are enabling physicists to solve problems that were previously intractable."
Chris McKee, University of California, Berkeley

"We have as yet no idea what…95% of the universe is made of or what its properties are. This means that all of the physics we know—and this includes all the…subjects selected by the (institute)—are only the properties of 5% of the universe. It is a sobering and exciting thought, how much we still have to learn."
Gerson Goldhaber, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

"Many of the stories (on the list) are about things I don't understand-physics is a very large field nowadays."
Richard Taylor, Stanford University

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