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Science  14 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5613, pp. 1659
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5613.1659c

The Nobel seat. Look for Stanford University physicist Douglas Osheroff to make his mark on the blue-ribbon panel investigating the space shuttle Columbia disaster. The newly appointed Osheroff is already being compared to another physics Nobelist, Richard Feynman, who in 1986 famously dropped an o-ring into a glass of cold water to demonstrate why the shuttle Challenger blew up.

“I'm not in the same league as Feynman,” says Osheroff, who won a Nobel Prize in 1996 for his work on how materials behave at low temperatures. “But I think I have something to contribute. Everybody wants to know why debris keeps falling off the external fuel tank. Well, that's a low-temperature physics problem. And I'm a pretty good experimentalist.”

Battle of titans. Harvard and MIT are jockeying for the possession of famous cognitive scientist Steven Pinker. Harvard's made him an offer that he says is tempting because unlike MIT, it has a rich collection of expertise in fields of psychology and evolution. MIT is fighting back with what he calls “generous and creative” terms that would allow for visiting scholars in those areas. “It's a hard choice,” says Pinker, who has been at MIT for 21 years.

Resettled. Molecular biologist Arnold Levine has a new job as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick. Levine, best known for his role in the discovery of the p53 tumor suppressor gene, resigned as president of Rockefeller University in February 2002 after an incident involving a graduate student (Science, 15 February 2002, p. 1209).

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