Friday, 15 Oct 1993 Washington, DC
1. SENATE PREVAILS IN CONFERENCE WITH HOUSE ON THE SUPERCOLLIDER!
There was little suspense yesterday when conferees on the FY 94
Energy and Water appropriations bill took up the SSC. Back in
June, the House had voted by a two-to-one margin to kill the SSC
(WN 6-25-93). But after
Speaker Tom Foley (D-WA) appointed the 11
House conferees on Tuesday, the outcome was predictable--they had
all voted for the SSC in June. The full $640M in the Senate bill
(WN 10-1-93) was agreed to by the
conferees. The agreement must
still be approved by both houses. SSC opponents, angered by the
failure of the Speaker to appoint any conferees representing the
majority House view, promised a battle on the floor. Sherwood
Boehlert (R-NY), co-author of the amendment to terminate the SSC,
which passed so easily four months ago, promised, "We're going to
whip their ass." The bill will reach the House floor next week.
2. JOSEPH H. TAYLOR, JR. AND RUSSELL A. HULSE SHARE NOBEL PRIZE.
The 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery in
1974 of a decay in the periastron of a binary pulsar due to the
emission of gravity waves. It was a stunning confirmation of a
key prediction of general relativity. Taylor was a professor at
the University of Massachusetts at the time, and Hulse was his
student. Now professor of physics at Princeton, Taylor graduated
from Haverford in 1963; his PhD is from Harvard in 1968. Hulse
is a research physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.
3. INFLUENCE OF YOUNG PHYSICISTS SEEN IN APS COUNCIL ELECTIONS!
The tally is not even official yet, but an article in Science
magazine this week discloses that two of the four newly-elected
members of the Council had been nominated by petition, rather
than by the Nominating Committee. The necessary signatures were
collected by volunteers from the Young Scientists Network. In
fact, one of the successful candidates, Kevin Aylesworth, was the
founder of the YSN. The group was founded to publicize the over-
supply of physicists at a time when some policy makers were still
forecasting a huge shortfall. When asked to explain his victory,
Aylesworth said he owed it all to Erich Bloch, former director of
NSF, who used flawed projections of a scientist shortage to argue
for doubling the NSF budget (WN 4-10-92). But the youth movement
was not confined to the YSN candidates. Only one new councilor
is over 40, whereas the average age of the losers is 56.
4. YOUNG-AT-HEART CANDIDATE J. ROBERT SCHRIEFFER IS ELECTED V-P.
Schrieffer is University Professor of the State University System
of Florida and Chief Scientist of the National High Magnetic
Field Laboratory at Florida State University. He won the Oliver
E. Buckley Solid State Physics Award of the APS and the Comstock
Prize of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1972, he shared the
Nobel Prize in Physics with John Bardeen and Leon Cooper for the
microscopic theory of superconductivity. Current research centers
on strongly correlated fermions and magnetic effects in solids.