September 5, 2000 |
Bantam Books will soon reissue its updated - illustrated - edition of Stephen Hawking's wildly popular A Brief History of Time. Beware. As part-time scientific food-taster for my readers, I can report that, having devoured Hawking's original book not once but twice, it leaves no trace. That is because it is entirely incomprehensible. Illustrating the book seems to me akin to tarting up hieroglyphics with Etruscan annotation. Want an invigorating scientific experience? I have a better idea: the new Hayden Planetarium in New York.
January 10, 2000
Faith has a way of resolving theological dilemmas Robert B. Mellert points out an apparent "core difficulty" with the monotheistic view. It is, namely, that one cannot hold to all three of the following: (1) God is omnipotent, (2) God loves us and (3) Evil exists (Commentary, Jan. 2). He suggests that "if such evils do exist and God is truly caring . . . He cannot control the events in the universe. " This "trilemma," as Mellert calls it, has been convincingly refuted by countless Christian theologians through the centuries.
January 18, 1999 |
Astronomers believe they have solved a centuries-old riddle: How old is the universe? But the answer has created a confounding new mystery. About 14 billion years ago, the universe began with the Big Bang, and it has been expanding ever since, according to astronomer Robert Kirshner and physicist Saul Perlmutter, who came to the same birthday estimate independently, using the same method of cosmic measurement. Both scientists also found, to their surprise, that the universe was not just expanding, it was doing so at an ever-accelerating pace, as though driven by some unknown form of energy.
October 11, 1998 |
Thomas B. Troehler, 62, the founder of Audubon Electronics & Cable Systems Inc., one of South Jersey's first cable television companies, died Tuesday at his Berlin Borough home. Born and raised in Audubon, he was a 1953 graduate of Audubon High School. He resided in Haddonfield and Cherry Hill before moving to Berlin. Mr. Troehler developed an interest in electronics while working with radar units in the Air Force. He earned an associate's degree in electronics from Temple University and then founded Audubon Electronics & Cable Systems in 1969 and Cable Systems Inc. in 1971.
August 11, 1997 |
Life is good for Pennsylvania State University physicist Lee Smolin. He's thought of a way to explain why the laws of nature are what they are - why electricity, gravity and the other forces are set just right to organize the universe into planets, stars and galaxies, as opposed to, say, a vast swarm of dust grains or inert rocks. He also has a theory to explain the origin of life, but he says he wants to do some more checking before he goes public with it. "I have an optimistic sense," says Smolin, 42, from one of his New York haunts, a Brazilian cafe in SoHo, near his part-time home in Brooklyn.
December 22, 1996
Like any vital field of human endeavor, science can be plagued by polemics and controversy, egos, envies and ethical quandaries. How lucky we were, then, to have Carl Sagan around for 62 years to remind us that science is also rife with joy, wit, wonder and possibility. What Mr. Sagan, who died Friday in Seattle, managed to pack into his six decades was itself a marvel worthy of scientific study. Before a rare disease shut down his revving brain, he wrote more than 20 books, won the Pulitzer Prize, composed the article on "Life" in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, designed the plaques that flew into interstellar space with the Pioneer 10 and 11 probes, worked on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project, did significant research in planetary astronomy, taught, married three times and fathered five children.
January 4, 1996 |
Promoter Don King and Lisa McClellan, the sister of boxer Gerald McClellan, got into a shouting match during a conference call yesterday concerning responsibilities for medical bills stemming from brain injuries McClellan sustained in a WBC middleweight title loss to Nigel Benn last Feb. 25 in London. At one point, King accused Lisa McClellan of being "involved with the FBI, which is a conspiracy against me. " Lisa McClellan accused her father, Emmit McClellan, of being paid by King and lying for him. "Lisa told me she talked to the FBI and they offered her $50,000 to talk against Don King," Emmit McClellan said.
May 5, 1994 |
Artist Beatrice Tana Wittels takes visitors on a celestial tour in her new exhibition, "Outer Space," on view at the Elkins Park Free Library through May 31. Wittels, 84, of Melrose Park, said the inspiration for the series came from NASA slides taken on the Apollo, Viking, Mariner, Skylab and other space missions. She will show the slides during an opening reception Saturday. The artist also will prepare the refreshments and host a drawing for a free work of her art. Wittels - her gray, almost waist-length hair pulled into a pony tail, her head covered with a baseball cap - recently oversaw the hanging of her show, making sure all the details were attended to. A smallish woman, her face framed with dark horn-rimmed glasses, she is full of anecdotes about her careers and passions.
November 22, 1993 |
Doylestown resident and former soccer all-American Scott Strasburg was recently inducted into the Bucknell University Hall of Fame. Strasburg (Class of '77) helped lead Bucknell to a 39-11-4 record from 1974 to 1977 and the 1974 East Coast Conference championship in soccer, as well as three straight appearances in the NCAA tournament. In 1975, he tied a school record with four goals in a game and graduated with a then school-record 33 goals and 20 assists. Twelve of his goals in collegiate play were game-winners.
April 13, 1993 |
If everything is metaphor, then Laurie Anderson can look in the mirror for material. The composer-writer-actor's short hair standing on end might be a natural expression of terror, for a week before she was scheduled to premiere Stories From the Nerve Bible, opening tomorrow at Zellerbach Theater, she was still writing songs, adding material, refining and ruefully cutting the length of the piece. But then, those wiry shoots could also represent the antennas with which she has scanned her cosmos for signs of life or, at least, irony as she combined composition, writing, acting and dance to become one of the world's pioneer performance artists.