Physics Today April 1997 Contents


Probing the Faintest Galaxies

An explosion of data from the Hubble Space Telescope and large ground-based telescopes is inspiring astronomers and helping to decipher the early history of the universe -- Henry C. Ferguson, Robert E. Williams and Lennox L. Cowie

Patent Basics for Physicists

In an age when scientific knowledge is increasingly being treated as a form of property, a general understanding of patents is becoming a necessity for the physicist -- A. James Richardson and Craig A. Wood

Vortex Physics in High-Temperature Superconductors

Our understanding of vortex matter in superconductors has grown dramatically in the last decade, creating new horizons in fundamental science and potential commercial applications -- George W. Crabtree and David R. Nelson


Reference Frame

Chemistry: Blithe sibling of physics --Dudley Herschbach

Search and Discovery

Atomic parity experiment has its moment. A group in Boulder, Colorado, has set a new record for precision in the measurement of an atomic transition that does not conserve parity. The experiment not only places constraints on the Standard Model of electroweak interactions but also provides evidence for the long-predicted nuclear anapole moment.

HERA group finds excess deep inelastic e+p scattering events.
Web sites referenced:
       ** Analyses of Zeus High-x and High-Q2
       ** High Q2 events of H1 group

Transient stellar x-ray sources yield evidence that black holes really do have event horizons. When we see a lot of mass crammed into a small enough space, general relativity tells us it has to be a black hole. But until now, we've never had direct evidence of an event horizon.

High-gain avalanche photodiode.

Washington Reports

After two years of budget battles on Capitol Hill, Clinton's R&D plan for 1998 gets surprising support

Coalition of science and engineering societies protests Clinton's R&D budget request and urges a 7% solution

Physics Community

New lab takes molecular approach to nuclear waste cleanup. Understanding the detailed structure and dynamics of hazardous compounds could lead to solutions to many long-term environmental problems.

Puebla site chosen for joint US-Mexican radio telescope

Interactive journal is launched on the Web

Web Watch: Preprint servers

Sites mentioned in briefs:
       ** Directory of Graduate Education in Acoustics, published by the ASA.
       ** OSA's Trends in Optics and Photonics Series (TOPS)
       ** Research Corporation announces new grants


A physical heritage of the cold war: Excess weapons plutonium -- Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky


Physics: Calculus, E. Hecht (reviewed by A. J. Kolan and A. E. Larsen)

Stalin's Captive: Nikolaus Riehl and the Soviet Race for the Bomb, N. Riehl and F. Seitz (reviewed by A. Kojevnikov)

Spiral Structure in Galaxies: A Density Wave Theory, G. Bertin and C.-C. Lin (reviewed by B. G. Elmegreen)

Peer Instruction: A User's Manual, E. Mazur (reviewed by R. C. Hilborn)

Fragile Objects: Soft Matter, Hard Science, and the Thrill of Discovery, P.-G. de Gennes and J. Badoz, translated by A. Reisinger (reviewed by M. Rubinstein)


Our regular sections: Physics Update, Letters, New Products, We Hear That, and Information Exchange.

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