WHAT'S NEW, Friday, 28 July 1989 Washington, DC
THE US TEAM BROUGHT BACK THE GOLD FROM THE XX PHYSICS OLYMPIAD
in Warsaw! In only its fourth year in the venerable international
competition, the US team of five high school students picked up
one gold medal and two bronze medals in competition with teams
from 33 nations. A 14-year-old girl on the American team won a
special award as the youngest competitor in the Olympiad.
. NSF IS DOING POORLY IN THE FY 90 APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS.
full House approved the $2B figure for NSF recommended by the
(WN 14 Jul 89)--an increase of only 6%.
The Senate will not act on its version of the bill until Sept.
3. MEANWHILE, THE SSC IS FLYING HIGH. THE SENATE APPROVED $225M
for the project, $25M more than the House
(WN 30 Jun 89). In the
same bill, the Senate added $30M to an Administration request for
a study of global warming. Initially the money was taken from
the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron at Brookhaven, but Sen.
D'Amato (R-NY) succeeded in restoring $20M of the diverted funds.
4. THE STAGE IS SET FOR A COMPROMISE OF $3.8B FOR SDI IN FY 90.
The Administration had requested $4.9B, but put up only a token
fight. As we predicted, the House cut SDI to $3.1B
(WN 23 Jun 89). To
partially offset the severe House cut, the Senate held
the line at $4.5B, narrowly defeating a move to trim it to $3.9B.
The House and Senate are expected to split the difference.
5. THE HOUSE ALSO CUT FUNDS FOR THE B-2 STEALTH BOMBER.
to build just two in the coming year and threatened to terminate
the program completely if the cost doesn't come down. In the
Senate, both proponents and opponents thought they had won. By a
98-1 vote, the Senators approved most of the money--but delayed
any expenditure until the B-2 proves itself in tests. The House
vote came amidst revelations that Northrup is being investigated
for overbilling. Is the B-2 really stealthy? Well, it was able
to evade detection of the overbilling for several years.
6. FERMILAB WILL HELP YOU GET YOUR Zs!
SLAC looked up from the
race to pin down the mass of the Z only to find Femilab running
alongside. Both reported a mass of about 91 BeV this week. CERN
is hoping to blow them both away with a strong finishing kick.
7. A UTAH ADVISORY PANEL VOTED TO RELEASE $4.5M FOR COLD FUSION.
Last Friday the nine member panel, which is alleged to include
scientists, voted unanamously to release $4.5M in state funds to
start a cold fusion research center at the University of Utah.
The panel cited "a clear body of evidence that claims of excess
heat by Pons and Fleischmann have been duplicated," and was said
to have been reassured that safety concerns have been addressed.
There is certainly no danger from neutrons, but rumors persist of
scientists around the world laughing themselves to death.