Friday, 31 Mar 95 Washington, DC
1. HYDROGEN BILL SEEKS REPEAL OF THE 2ND LAW OF
The devotion of Bob Walker (R-PA) to development of hydrogen as
an "energy source" seems at odds with his aversion to "picking
winners and losers." Yesterday, the House Science Committee
reported out H.R.655, "the Hydrogen Future Act of 1995." The
bill points out that "fossil fuels are limited and polluting,"
whereas "hydrogen holds tremendous promise as a new and better
energy source." Source? Hydrogen is a wonderful non-polluting
fuel, since the only product of its combustion is water. Alas,
there are no hydrogen wells. Where will the hydrogen come from?
Why from water of course! The supply is "practically infinite."
2. TOP CEOs UNITE BEHIND FEDERAL SUPPORT OF UNIVERSITY
It used to be that the response of the scientific community to a
threatened cut in federal support of university research would be
an urgent plea to university presidents to use their influence on
their congressional delegations. Times have changed. Last week,
the CEOs of fifteen top U.S. technology companies united to urge
congressional support for a robust federally-supported university
research program. In a letter to members of Congress, they warned
that without adequate support university research will quickly
erode, and industry will cease to have access to basic research
results and well-educated scientists and engineers. It was signed
by heads of such companies as IBM, Dupont and General Electric.
3. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY WILL REVIEW ITS CLASSIFICATION
DOE Secretary Hazel O'Leary took her openness initiative a step
further last week with the announcement of a major review aimed
at creating a new classification policy that will maximize public
access without sacrificing critical national security needs. Al
Narath, Director of Sandia National Laboratories and a Fellow of
the APS, will chair a review panel of some 50 experts; the review
is to be completed in 12 months. Historians of the Cold War in
particular have hailed DOE's new openness, but there is concern
that Congress is preparing to cut DOE's declassification budget.
4. SHIRLEY JACKSON WILL CHAIR THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY
President Clinton has announced his intention to appoint her upon
confirmation by the Senate. Jackson, a Fellow of the APS who has
served on the APS Council and on numerous APS committees, is a
condensed matter theorist. She is currently Professor of Physics
at Rutgers and was on the staff of AT&T Bell Labs for 16 years.
5. APS PRESIDENT ENDORSES MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONS OF GALVIN
(WN 3 Feb 95). In a letter to Robert Walker (R-PA), chair of the
House Science Committee, Kumar Patel concurred with the need to
end excessive oversight and micromanagement of DOE labs, create a
knowledge base for environmental cleanup, ensure integrity of the
stockpile, and encourage interaction with industry and academia.
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY (Note: Opinions are the author's
and are not necessarily shared by the APS, but they should be.)