Friday, 4 May 1990 Washington, DC
1. THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY ENTERED A PERIOD OF TRANSITION
over last weekend. After years of discussion, the APS Council
voted to move APS headquarters from Manhattan to the Washington,
DC, area. The Council decision came during a meeting that also
saw agreement on a new constitution. The American Institute of
Physics, an umbrella organization that provides publishing and
other services for ten member societies, owns the building that
houses the APS in New York. AIP has outgrown its building and
decided to move three weeks ago. A site near the University of
Maryland campus in College Park, MD, is under consideration.
2. THE DREAM OF FIELDS LED TO HIS BANISHMENT FROM DARPA.
Fields, the visionary Director of the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency, has been transferred to an obscure job in the
Pentagon. Free-market purists in the White House, such as Darman
and Sununu, were apparently offended by his use of DARPA support
as venture capital for development of commercial technologies,
including HDTV and gallium arsenide switches. Fields recognized
that military systems are more likely to depend on spin-offs from
civilian research than the other way around. His views have
gained him many supporters in Congress and industry, but when the
furor dies down in a few days, Fields will still be banished.
3. DOES THE HELIUM ASSAY OF THE UTAH COLD-FUSION CATHODES SEEM TO
BE TAKING A LONG TIME?
By now, dozens of used palladium cathodes
from other laboratories have been analyzed without finding any He
above background; that includes cathodes from Stanford that were
said to have produced substantial excess heat. Eleven months ago,
Pons got the first helium assay from Johnson-Matthey
(WN 8 Jun 90),
but declined to make it public on the grounds that it had
not been peer reviewed. In September, Pons agreed to a double-
blind round-robin assay conducted by six qualified laboratories.
The assays were done six months ago, but have been withheld amid
rumors that the double-blind protocol was violated. Would the He
assay settle the question? Be serious. Fleischmann is said to
feel they were too hasty in labeling the effect "fusion" anyway;
the excess heat, he says, must result instead from Pd fission!
4. BROMLEY HAS MOVED INTO THE WEST WING OF THE WHITE HOUSE!
town where influence is measured by where you're seated at dinner
parties, moving from the Old Executive Office Building to the
White House marks a rise in status. Meanwhile, he has named Mary
Good, Chair of the National Science Board, to head the search for
a new Director of NSF. Erich Bloch leaves at the end of August.
5. "AT THE FRONTIERS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY," THE NEW BROCHURE
issued by the Coalition for National Science Funding, is a source
of valuable information on the role of the NSF and the need for
increased funding. If you would like to participate in the drive
to strengthen the NSF, call us at the number below for a copy.