Notebook

Burning Up The Track Scientists Say The Darndest Things Sunshine Science Clinical Training Prized Quarry Comparing Notes Beltway Fellows The feasibility of solar-powered cars will be on display when Sunrayce 93 takes place this summer. Starting in Texas on June 20 and going to Minnesota, the 1,000-mile, seven-day race is expected to draw hundreds of college students from 36 North American universities to determine who has designed the fastest and most efficient solar-powered vehicle. T

Jan 11, 1993
The Scientist Staff

  • Burning Up The Track
  • Scientists Say The Darndest Things
  • Sunshine Science
  • Clinical Training
  • Prized Quarry
  • Comparing Notes
  • Beltway Fellows
  • The feasibility of solar-powered cars will be on display when Sunrayce 93 takes place this summer. Starting in Texas on June 20 and going to Minnesota, the 1,000-mile, seven-day race is expected to draw hundreds of college students from 36 North American universities to determine who has designed the fastest and most efficient solar-powered vehicle. The race is sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., and seven other industry and government groups. For information, contact Sunrayce 93 Headquarters in Washington, D.C. at (202) 484-8172.

    "Why does an anteater never get sick? Because its stomach is full of antibodies." This is one of more than 150 pages of scientific jokes, limericks, and riddles appearing in the newly published Absolute Zero Gravity (New York, Fireside Books/Simon & Schuster). The paperback book, by Betsy Devine, editor of the newsletter of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and Joel E. Cohen, a mathematical biologist at Rockefeller University in New York, also includes amusing anecdotes about scientific luminaries. For example, it tells a story of Albert Einstein reposing, lost in thought, on a Princeton sidewalk, prompting a mathematician to observe: "He sits on the concrete to think about the abstract."

    The incoming Clinton administration should move quickly to reduce excessive government secrecy, says Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Secrecy & Government of the Washington-based Federation of American Scientists (FAS). In the December issue of the project's Secrecy & Government Bulletin, Aftergood says that executive orders by four presidents--Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, and Carter--to accelerate declassification of government secrets were effectively ignored by the national security bureaucracy. Under President Reagan, the goal itself of reducing secrecy was abolished, he says. Aftergood suggests that Clinton introduce authority and enforcement mechanisms to prevent excessive classification of government science. He adds that scientists have a special stake in reducing unnecessary secrecy. "In science and technology," he writes (Issues in Science and Technology, 8[4]:81-8, 1992), "the need for openness is axiomatic. Without free and open communication, the cross-fertilization of ideas that is essential to progress is inhibited and the peer-review process is crippled."

    The American Cancer Society has announced its Clinical Awards for 1994. Clinical Oncology Fellowships provide a stipend of $10,000 to support multidisciplinary training for physicians and dentists in cancer control, prevention, detection, diagnosis, therapy, and research. Clinical Oncology Career Development Awards are three- year, $90,000 stipends to develop the skills and expertise of doctors who will pursue academic careers in clinical oncology. The two-year, $55,000 Cancer Control Career Development Award for Primary Care Physicians is aimed at developing academic leaders in primary care specialties emphasizing cancer control. For more information, contact Virginia Krawiec, Professional Education Department, American Cancer Society Inc., 1599 Clifton Rd. N.E., Atlanta, Ga. 30329-4251; (404) 329-5734.

    The Paleontology Society recently awarded its Presidential Citation to the Waukesha Lime & Stone Co., a quarry operator near Milwaukee, Wis. Paleontologists Donald Mikulic of the Illinois State Geological Survey and Joanne Kluessendorf of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, pressed vigorously for the unusual honor out of gratitude for the company's help in preserving an important fossil find. One day in 1977, when the two researchers were graduate students, they noticed that quarry workers had blasted into a new geological formation. Closer study of fossils found there revealed early worms, leeches, and other animals that existed on the floor of a shallow sea 435 million years ago. Only this past July, when the team finally secured National Science Foundation funding, were they able to excavate and collect the fossils. "[The company] put a road over the area and quarried around it," Kluessendorf says. "For 15 years, they preserved the site, knowing its uniqueness and its importance to science."

    The American Council of Independent Laboratories (ACIL) has published a guide to help laboratory managers evaluate their firms' financial performance. The 1992 Laboratory Financial Management Survey Report contains comparative financial data, based on fiscal year 1991-92 reports from 141 participating laboratories. It includes figures on average revenue growth, operating income ratios, revenues per associate, and return on investment. For more information, contact ACIL, 1629 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006; (202) 887-5872.

    Applications are due February 1 for the Congressional Science Fellowship programs of the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Institute of Physics (AIP). The one-year fellowships provide a stipend of $40,000 a year for a physicist to lend technical expertise to a member of Congress or a congressional committee. Applicants are required to send copies of a letter of intent, a sum, and three letters of recommendation to both APS and AIP. For information, contact APS/AIP Congressional Science Fellowship Programs, 529 14th St., N.W., Suite 1050, Washington, D.C. 20045; (202) 662-8700.