November 1997 Physics Today Contents


Amorphous Semiconductors Usher in Digital X-Ray Imaging

The same photoconducting materials that made photocopying possible in the 1960s are now poised to provide a basis for convenient, fully digital radiography -- John Rowlands and Safa Kasap

The Cosmic Rosetta Stone

Microkelvin variations in the cosmic microwave background encode a wealth of information about the origin and composition of the universe -- Charles L. Bennett, Michael S. Turner and Martin White

Marietta Blau: Between Nazis and Nuclei

Though all but forgotten, the Austrian physicist Marietta Blau was a pioneer in the field of nuclear emulsions. Her life and career tragically disrupted by World War II, she maintained a lifeline to the physics community through the simple, portable technique she helped to create -- Peter L. Galison
       ** This article is excerpted from Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics, published by the University of Chicago Press. The book is reviewed in our December issue


Search and Discovery

Fractionally charged quasiparticles signal their presence with noise. Two experimental groups have detected the distinctive pitter-patter of quasiparticles with charge e/3 tunneling across a narrow region of a fractional quantum Hall system.

Tunneling experiments in high-Tc superconductors resolve a puzzle. Like the pea that disturbed the sleep of the fairy-tale princess, a Josephson tunneling experiment upset the consensus favoring a d-wave pairing of the electrons in high-temperature superconductors. Further studies of the tunneling behavior have now resolved the discrepancy.

A hint of T violation in a high-Tc superconductor.

Stanford wants to build a TeV linear collider with Japan. As the small test accelerator for the proposed 20-km electron-positron collider nears completion, SLAC and KEK have drafted a memorandum of understanding.

Washington Reports

Congress accepts better idea generated by scientists and raises basic research budgets for fiscal 1998

Washington Dispatches: Seeking the Senate's critical mass; Demise of the killer laser; Travails of stockpile stewardship; Engineering laureate; R&D tax credit redux

Washington Ins & Outs: New faces at OSTP and ONR

Physics Community

Senior scientists on soft money feel pinch of tight US research budgets. There are no hard numbers, but anecdotal evidence suggests that there is increasing pressure to cut research faculty in some subfields of physics.

Web site brings work of women physicists to light

Physics and politics mix on Capitol Hill

Scientists immigrating to US dropped sharply in 1994

Enrollment in US physics graduate programs, 1968-96

Ibbott is AAPM president-elect for 1998

OSA seeks new executive director

Web Watch: The Table of Isotopes; Teachers On Ice; Aero Space Jobs; Fermilab's library catalog


Communications in physics -- Benjamin Bederson


Near-Field Optics: Theory, Instrumentation, and Applications, M. A. Paesler and P. J. Moyer (reviewed by A. Lewis)

Chaos: An Introduction to Dynamical Systems, K. T. Alligood, T. D. Sauer and J. A. Yorke (reviewed by J. D. Crawford)

Classical Field Theory: Electromagnetism and Gravitation, F. E. Low (reviewed by R. M. Wald)

Yerkes Observatory, 1892-1950: The Birth, Near Death, and Resurrection of a Scientific Research Institution, D. E. Osterbrock (reviewed by W. T. Sullivan III)

An Introduction to X-ray Crystallography, M. M. Woolfson (reviewed by I. Robinson)

Scaling and Renormalization in Statistical Physics, J. Cardy (reviewed by D. Thouless)

The Physics and Applications of Photorefractive Materials, L. Solymar, D. J. Webb and A. Grunnet-Jepsen (reviewed by S. Ducharme)

Fundamentals of Semiconductors: Physics and Materials Properties, P. Y. Yu and M. Cardona (reviewed by L. J. Sham)


Announcements of an essay contest and a call for humorous items

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

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