# Random Samples

Science  22 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5401, pp. 483
1. # Radio Guide to the Heart of the Milky Way

The clearest image yet of the turbulent core of the Milky Way—processed from 27 ground-based radio telescopes—has given astronomers a panoramic view of the action churning around the black hole believed to be at the center of the galaxy. The image, which covers a swath of sky as broad as eight full moons, was unveiled earlier this month at an American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas.

Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. reprocessed radio images from the Very Large Array in Socorro, New Mexico, that penetrate the thick veils of gas and dust shielding the core from view. “This is by far the widest field of view of the galactic center at high resolution,” says team leader Namir Kassim. The image reveals hot cradles of baby stars, ghostly outlines of ancient supernova explosions, and glowing bands revealing the paths of intense magnetic fields. It shows several new swirling gas patterns, including a supernova remnant and a bright band called the “Pelican,” for its birdlike profile at higher magnification. The Pelican lines up parallel to the plane of the galaxy, while all other bands are perpendicular, which could reflect a twisting of the magnetic field near the black hole.

The display is “magnificent,” says radio astronomer K. R. Anantharamiah of the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, India. He notes that it will serve primarily as a “finder atlas” for radio astronomers.

4. # Kinder, Gentler Plagiarism Policy?

If you're caught plagiarizing, is it punishment enough to say you're sorry? Yes, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has decided in a case that surfaced last month. An assistant professor accused of copying text verbatim from a well-known expert's work was retained on the condition that he make a public apology.

Anish Bhardwaj admits in a note in the December issue of Anesthesiology that he lifted “about 40%” of an editorial he co-authored in the journal's August issue. His source was “Brain Protection in Neurosurgery”—part of an anesthesiologists' refresher course written by James Cottrell, chair of anesthesiology at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Brooklyn.

Bhardwaj explains that he faced a tight deadline after being asked to write the editorial by his mentor, Hopkins associate professor Jeffrey Kirsch, who is listed as co-author. “I lost sight of the original source … and failed to reference” it, Bhardwaj writes. This “serious mistake,” he adds, “was committed out of a combination of carelessness, haste, and inexperience.” (Bhardwaj says he has authored many articles, but no other editorials.) Kirsch, in an accompanying note, writes that he reviewed the plagiarized editorial but didn't know of Cottrell's text. He says Bhardwaj is “an extraordinary, hard-working, and thoughtful investigator.”

Hopkins appears to feel Bhardwaj has suffered enough. Bhardwaj thinks so: This has been the “most horrendous experience of my life,” he says. Cottrell could not be reached for comment.