WHAT'S NEW, Friday, 15 December 1989 Washington, DC
ANDREI SAKHAROV DIED LAST NIGHT IN HIS SLEEP AT 68.
respected physicist in the world, Sakharov was a symbol of moral
integrity during the cold war. His health had been damaged by the
repeated hunger strikes that were his only means of resistance
during the long exile in Gorky, but he survived to represent the
Soviet Academy of Sciences in the Congress of People's Deputies.
Although Gorbachev was responsible for his liberation from exile,
Sakharov never hesitated to oppose Gorbachev for moving too
slowly on perestroika. He lived to see a world transformed.
. LESS IS WORSE WHEN IT COMES TO 60 HERTZ FIELDS!
released studies found deleterious effects of power line fields
to be greatest at the lowest field strengths studied. At the
Midwest Research Institute, an experimental psychologist reported
that reaction times of persons exposed to 60 Hz electromagnetic
fields for three hours were as much as 10% slower than when the
fields were left off. Remarkably, however, motor responses were
slowest at the weakest fields used, and no effect was found at
the highest fields. And at Johns Hopkins, epidemiologists found
abnormally high rates of cancer among phone cable splicers who
are exposed to fields not much greater than those found in most
homes, while studies of workers exposed to much higher fields had
found no increased incidence. While preliminary, these latest
results suggest a radically different strategy for dealing with
the 60 Hz hazard; intentionally saturating the environment with
high fields could protect workers from any stray weak fields.
3. ANOTHER "COLD FUSION SIGHTING" IS BEING HAILED AS VERIFICATION
by Pons. Scientists at Oak Ridge reported a slight heat excess in
heavy water electrolysis, correlated with neutrons counts above
background. But there are far too few neutrons to explain the
heat by fusion. Two other groups at Oak Ridge found no anomalies.
4. JOHN W. LYONS HAS BEEN NOMINATED TO HEAD NIST
Institute of Standards and Technology). Lyons, whose PhD is in
Physical Chemistry from Washington University, is currently the
Director of the National Engineering Laboratory at NIST.
5. CORETECH RECOMMENDS "PRIORITIES FOR A DOUBLED NSF BUDGET."
The Council on Research and Technology (CORETECH), a coalition of
corporations and universities established in 1987 to push for R&D
policies that encourage US competitiveness, issued a statement
endorsing a doubling of the NSF budget in current dollars. The
statement calls for tripled education programs and a fully funded
university research facilities modernization program within the
doubled budget. Support for individual investigators is described
as the appropriate core effort of NSF, while funding for centers
should be held at the current level. The statement is curiously
silent on the question of a timetable. The budget must double in
17 years just to keep up with the current rate of inflation.