Friday, 11 October 96 Washington, DC
1. NOBEL PRIZE AWARDED FOR DISCOVERY OF SUPERFLUIDITY IN HELIUM-3
The 1996 Physics Prize was shared by David M. Lee, Douglas D. Osheroff and Robert C. Richardson. Lee and Richardson are at Cornell University where the discovery was made in 1972. Doug Osheroff, who is now at Stanford, was a graduate student at Cornell when the discovery was made. Superfluidity was detected during a search for an antiferromagnetic phase in solid helium-3. In 1981, the three were awarded the Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize of the American Physical Society and it has been widely assumed that the Nobel Prize would follow.
2. CHEMISTRY PRIZE AWARDED FOR THE 1985 DISCOVERY OF FULLERENES.
The 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was shared by Richard F. Curl, Harold W. Kroto and Richard E. Smalley for the discovery of this new form of carbon. Curl and Smalley are at Rice University where the discovery was made. Kroto is now at the University of Sussex. Two graduate students, J.R. Heath and S.C. O'Brien, were also involved in the experiments. Smalley is Professor of Physics, as well as Chemistry, and is a Fellow of the APS.
3. FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW, BUDGET CUTS FAIL TO MATERIALIZE.
The Nobel prizes, of course, are an indication of where we were-- in the case of physics, where we were a quarter of a century ago. According to an AAAS analysis released this week, total R&D is up 4.1% in the FY 97 budget that was just completed (WN 4 Oct 96). Total R&D is $74B, but that's not much of a clue to the health of science -- the basic research part is only about $15B. Still, basic research is up 2.7%, which is a lot better than we had any reason to expect, based on the budget resolution passed by Congress. The winner was NIH with a 6.4% jump in basic research to $6.9B; NSF basic research was up an anemic 2.5% to $2.1B.
4. APPLICATIONS INVITED FOR SUMMER 1997 MASS MEDIA FELLOWSHIPS.
The APS is sponsoring two ten-week summer fellowships to work in mass media organizations. Priority will be given to graduate students in physics or closely related fields, but outstanding undergraduates and postdoctoral researchers will be considered. The fellows will receive a stipend of $4,000, a travel allowance and hands-on experience in communicating complex science issues to the public. The deadline for completed applications is January 15, 1997. For more information, write to
5. BIOELECTROMAGNETICS: NEW PRODUCTS LET YOU HAVE IT EITHER WAY.
There is a revolution underway. Anyone who is still terrified at the thought of a magnetic field penetrating your body can buy a BioElectric Shield for $139.95 that protects against "magnetic poisoning." But more and more people now use magnets to improve their health; for them there is a new Magnetic Bed Pad at $299.95 that "stimulates circulation and increases oxygen absorption."