Science  15 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5400, pp. 305

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  1. Physicists Thank Monica

    A complex chain reaction has resulted in a politician popular with some physicists becoming the new speaker of the House of Representatives. Maury Goodman, a physicist at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, explained it this way in the Long-Baseline Neutrino News, an e-mail newsletter: “Monica did her thing, and Ken Starr went after Clinton, so Larry Flynt decided to go after Republicans. His first victim was Speaker-designate [Robert] Livingston (R-LA), who resigned, leaving open the position for Dennis Hastert (R-IL), the congressman who represents [the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois]. The same day Clinton was impeached, the headline said Hastert's speakership will be good for Fermilab.”

    Some statisticians, however, aren't so sanguine about the new Republican leader. In 1997, as chair of the House committee that oversees the 2000 census, Hastert doggedly opposed the use of statistical sampling to estimate the U.S. population (Science, 11 December 1998, p. 1969). So far, however, sampling proponents aren't blaming Lewinsky.

  2. Southern Star

    Astrophysicist Catherine Cesarsky will be the next director-general of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), succeeding Riccardo Giacconi. The French researcher, currently head of a four-laboratory basic research group at the Commissariat à l'énergie Atomique near Paris, will take over at ESO headquarters in Garching, Germany, on 1 September. Cesarsky's opening challenge in a 5-year term is to keep the world's largest telescope array on schedule. The $800 million Very Large Telescope, a quartet of magnifiers, is scheduled to begin operations in 2001 in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile (Science, 1 May 1998, p. 670). Cesarsky's administrative experience should help keep the project on track, says astronomer Michael Rowan-Robinson of London's Imperial College, who applauded the appointment.

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