Friday, 19 February 1999 Washington, DC
1. HENRY KENDALL DIES DURING AN UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY DIVE.
The tragic death of Henry Way Kendall at 72 is a loss to the world.
Only death could still his voice. One of the great physicists of
our time, his stature as a scientist allowed him to be a powerful
advocate for responsible science policy. As Chairman of the
Union of Concerned Scientists since 1973, he strongly opposed SDI
and challenged the belief that a secure defense against missiles
was possible. He helped mobilize scientific concern over global
warming in connection with the 1997 Kyoto accord. A member of
the Physics faculty at MIT since 1961, he shared the 1990 Nobel
Prize in Physics with Jerome Friedman of MIT and Richard Taylor
of Stanford for their discovery of the quark structure of the
proton. Their research, carried out at the Stanford Linear
Accelerator between 1967 and 1973, spurred the development of the
"standard model" of the structure of matter. He was named as the
J.A. Stratton Professor of Physics at MIT in 1991. A Fellow of
the APS, he was honored with the 1981 Leo Szilard Award.
2. R&D TAX CREDIT: BIPARTISAN BILL WOULD EXTEND IT PERMANENTLY.
The bill, H.R.760, is cosponsored by James Sensenbrenner (R-WI),
Science Committee Chair, and Ranking Democrat George Brown (D-CA)
The credit, extended by Congress nine times in the past 18 years,
is due to end this summer. Sensenbrenner referred to a study by
accounting giant Coopers and Lybrand, which predicted that U.S.
companies would spend $41B more on R&D in 1998 as a result of the
tax credit. Moreover, the tax credit would ultimately pay for
itself from increased tax revenues generated by new products.
3. STEM CELL RESEARCH: LAWMAKERS SEEK TO BLOCK HHS RULING.
A 1996 law prohibits the use of undifferentiated cells taken from
embryos in federally funded research. Last month, NIH Director
Harold Varmus announced that the law does not apply to research
on stem cells cultured from embryonic tissue in private labs.
This week 70 congressional opponents of abortion wrote to HHS
Secretary Shalala demanding the ruling be rescinded. Stem cell
research is strongly supported, however, by Sen. Arlen Specter
(R-PA), who heads the appropriations subcommittee that funds NIH.
4. CASSINI: ANTI-NUKE ACTIVISTS OPPOSE AUGUST FLYBY.
swoop by on 18 August to pick up speed for the Saturn trip
(WN 29 Aug 97).
Along with the usual bad science,
opponents who want it redirected to the Sun posted a
warning from Nostradamus on their
web site. He predicted in 1558 that "The year 1999 seven months,
From the sky will come the great King of Terror." He must have
used the Julian calendar, they say, and clearly was referring to
Cassini. James Randi, author of "The Mask of Nostradamus," says
he won't be hiding under the bed. NASA puts the possibility of
hitting Earth at "less than one in a million." Bob Mitchell at
JPL, the Cassini program manager, says it's much, much less.