“The problem of the stars is larger than most people realize.”
James Benford, Microwave Sciences, on the challenges of interstellar travel, The New York Times, October 17, 2011

“In the last few days we have started to send a different time structure of the beam to Gran Sasso. This will allow Opera to repeat the measurement, removing some of the possible systematics.”
Sergio Bertolucci, CERN, on efforts to recheck OPERA’s results that indicated faster-than-light neutrinos, BBCNews.com, October 28, 2011.

“In science we like surprises. We like big surprises. This one is too big to be true… We really like things that rock the boat and turn us in a new direction, but this one turns the boat upside down and fills it with water.”
Michael Turner, University of Chicago, on faster than light neutrinos, The Washington Post, November 14, 2011.

“It would mean that the underlying assumptions of Einstein’s theory are not precise, they’re just approximate.”
Lisa Randall, Harvard, on the implications of faster than light neutrinos, The Washington Post, November 14, 2011.

 “I would expect consumption in the future gets larger, but we also learn how to do things more efficiently… so the raw material consumption may well go down.”
Klaus Lackner, Columbia University, National Public Radio, November 1, 2011.

“Many people say it’s a religious question, but I’ve been trying to say it’s a scientific one.”
Lawrence Krauss, Arizona State University, on discussions about whether the universe came from nothing, BBCNews.com, November 7, 2011.

“Don’t say there’s nothing there to a physicist. Space has a seething quantum structure to it. I like to think of it as a pot of water on the stove with bubbles coming out. Space is like that. It’s always bubbling. We could see it if we had a powerful enough microscope.”
S. James Gates, University of Maryland, The Washington Post, November 8, 2011.

“[W]hen they are working on a concept and somebody says, ‘Yeah, but it’s going to cost too much for the customer in the end,’ that’s sort of like a non-issue for a government researcher… I really think that venture capital might just come in at this point and pick the best fruits off the tree and run with them.”
Richard Siemon, formerly at Los Alamos, on private fusion experiments, National Public Radio, November 9, 2011.

“When we started getting results that showed that it was not slowing ... [that] in fact it wasn’t slowing at all–it was speeding up–it was a pretty big shock…At the time, when you first get those results, it doesn’t worry you too much...because you know you haven’t finished doing the calibration. The more we did the calibration, the more the results didn’t go away.”
Saul Perlmutter, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, on discovering that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, National Public Radio, November 14, 2011.

“Over the course of Solyndra’s loan guarantee, I did not make any decision based on political considerations… My decision to guarantee a loan to Solyndra was based on the analysis of experienced professionals and on the strength of the information they had available to them at the time.”
Steven Chu, Department of Energy, testifying before Congress, CNN.com, November 17, 2011.

“So it seems like there is probably chemistry going on that we don’t know about yet.”
David Graves, University of California Berkeley, on finding that ionized plasma could be used to sterilize water and turn it into an antimicrobial solution, MSNBC.com, November 17, 2011.

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

December 2011 (Volume 20, Number 11)

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Articles in this Issue
The Physicists are Coming! The Physicists are Coming!
International Conference of Graduate Students Invades Nation’s Capital
Electronic Coalition May Save Some Texas Programs
APS Calls for Outreach Grant Proposals
APS Starts New Recognition Program for Women
Science gets Budget Boost, but Congress Slams OSTP
Plasma Meeting Features Research on High Pressures, Fusion Reactors, and Etching
Letters to the Editor
The Back Page
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
Inside the Beltway
The Education Corner
Profiles in Versatility
Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science