Friday, 29 Apr 94 Washington, DC
1. FERMILAB TAKES A DEEP BREATH--AND ANNOUNCES EVIDENCE OF TOP!
A world-wide search for the top has been underway for 17 years.
Either it doesn't exist, which would be pretty ugly, or it's very
heavy, which is a big clue to something. In a paper submitted to
Physical Review D last Friday, the Collider Detector at Fermilab
(CDF) collaboration is just about certain the missing top quark
has been spotted in northern Illinois. If the result holds up,
as seems likely, it is a stunning achievement. CDF figures the
mass at around 174 GeV, or about as heavy as a gold atom! The
almost discovery should give impetus to the main injector upgrade
(WN 28 Jan 94), since it almost guarantees
something to look at.
2. APS IS CONCERNED OVER EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PHYSICISTS.
People with degrees in physics generally seem to have done well
in all sorts of careers, which is a good thing considering the
current job market in physics. At its meeting on Saturday, the
APS Council urged physics departments and individual faculty to
make their students aware of the realities of today's job market,
and to encourage them to prepare for a broad range of careers.
3. SUDOPLATOV'S "MEMOIRS" ARE "THE COLD FUSION OF THE COLD WAR,"
according to Stanley Goldberg, a physicist who is writing a
biography of Leslie Groves, the military head of the Manhattan
Project. At a press conference on Tuesday, APS Past-President Don
Langenberg, read a Council statement deploring unsubstantiated
claims of a Stalin era "spymaster" that some of the most eminent
physicists of this century passed bomb secrets to Russian agents
(WN 22 Apr 94). The book was savaged by a
panel of scientists
and historians. Norman Ramsey, who helped to develop the bomb,
remarked that if such errors were found in an article of his he
would withdraw it at once. Bill Lanouette, biographer of Leo
Szilard, characterized "Special Tasks" as "check-book history."
4. COMPETITION IS EXPECTED TO BE KEEN FOR "THE FLYING PIG AWARD."
The Clinton Administration is against all things nuclear, so NASA
has asked the Lewis Research Center to find a non-nuclear energy
source to replace radioisotope generators on deep space probes,
such as the mission to Pluto. The solution? NASA Lewis is trying
a couple of electrochemical cells from Hydrocatalysis Power Corp.
It works like cold fusion, but Randy Mills of HPC explains that
the energy comes from hydrogen atoms dropping into a state below
the ground state! Meanwhile, MIT's "Technology Review" hit the
stands with a cover story by Los Alamos chemist Ed Storms: "Cold
Fusion Heats Up." Reports of cold fusion, he says, are pouring
in from around the world. In the premier issue of "Cold Fusion"
magazine, Storms predicts true believers will profit when the
world discovers the truth. To thank the skeptics, he proposes an
award for the best job of scoffing at cold fusion; the name comes
from a scoff by physicist Steve Koonin: "Pigs don't have wings."