May 9, 1953 VOL. 63, NO. 19 PAGES 289-304


After 17 Years

See Page 298



Science News Lerrer for May 9, 1953

VHF Mountain Reception

Discovery of “obstacle gain” effect in paths over which high frequency waves can be propagated in mountainous

regions is reported.

> BOTH HOME television viewers and the military will benefit from the most recent discovery in “line-of-sight” radio waves re- ported to radio engineers meeting in Wash- ington.

A “tremendous increase” in transmission of very high frequency radio waves over very long paths in mountainous regions has been found. Radio experts of the National Bureau of Standards, the Signal Corps and RCA Laboratories have just begun studying these long-range paths during the last two months.

The discovery means that people in moun- tainous regions where TV and FM reception was thought impossible may now be able to receive clear pictures and signals from transmitting towers placed 200 miles and more away if the transmitters are properly placed in relation to the newly discovered radio paths. And the military can get clear reception on radio messages over the same distances in such mountainous places as Alaska, Japan and Hawaii.

Reception of high frequency signals far beyond the horizon has previously been re- ported occasionally, but investigators had dismissed such events as irregular and un- dependable.

Now the radio experts have found that the radio signal is strong, transmission loss and fading are reduced “over very long paths across mountain terrain.” They know of no other propagation phenomenon that involves such a tremendous increase in power about 10,000,000 times as much power as without the effect.

The study is so new that the scientists will not predict just how far what they call the “obstacle gain” effect will carry, but they believe it would be more than 200 miles. Nor are they sure exactly how high are the frequencies thus affected. Their experiments have been carried on in the 38 to 160 megacycle range, but calculations show the effect would be just as great for 1,000 megacycles and perhaps over that.

Although their discovery brings good news to one section of military and civilian operations, it may mean trouble for an- other: Present proposals are to use frequen- cies around 1,000 megacycles for air naviga- tion. The new long-range effect would mean interference patterns from stations too close together could be set up. These would be a considerable nuisance, and pos- sibly dangerous, to pilots navigating with radio aids using such proposed frequencies.

The experiments were conducted by Fred- eric H. Dickson of the U.S. Signal Corps, John J. Egli of the Signal Corps Engineer- ing Laboratories, Jack Herbstreit of the National Bureau of Standards and Gilbert

S. Wickizer of Radio Corporation of Amer- ica Laboratories.

The extra-long propagation path in moun- tainous areas would also apply to the ultra high frequencies to which television bands are scheduled to switch sometime in the future.

Being too close to a mountain, however, could be a disadvantage, the engineers warn. The mountain acts like a knife edge, bend- ing the radio waves around it by diffraction to give good reception over long distances out beyond the obstacle.

Daily and seasonal variations of the phe- nomenon are now being investigated by the National Bureau of Standards’ Central Radio Propagation Laboratory, Boulder, Colo.

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953



Saturday, May 16, 1953, 3:15-3:30 p.m. EDT

“Adventures in Science” with Watson Davis, director of Science Service, over the CBS Radio Network. Check your local CBS station.

Dr. Stephen J. Toth, associate professor in soils, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N. J., discusses “Recent Advances in Soil Chemistry.”

MINERALOGY New Uranium Mineral Named for Chemicals

>UMOHOITE IS the synthesized name of a newly-found natural uranium niineral announced by Prof. Paul F. Kerr of Co- lumbia University, New York. Found so far in only one Marysvale, Utah, mine, it contains 48%, uranium, compared with 50% to 65% in the usual pitchblende ore. Its name comes from the elements in it, the chemical symbols for uranium, U, molyb- denum, Mo, and hydrogen, H, and oxygen, O, in water, plus the suffix used for min- erals, “ite.”

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953

No Radioactive Cosmetics

> RADIOACTIVE CHEMICALS, or radio- isotopes, “have no place in cosmetics be- cause of the danger associated with their use,” W. B. Rankin of the U. S. Food and Drug Administration declared at the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies, Tenn.

FDA allows the use of such chemicals in drugs, however, when satisfactory evidence of their safety has been presented. Some drugs with radioactive chemicals in them are now being legally shipped in inter- state commerce.

One firm, Mr. Rankin said, is producing and distributing material quantities of radio- active iodine, called iodine 131, for use in the study and treatment of certain thyroid disorders.

The case for radioactive chemicals being put into foods or used for sterilization of foods and drugs requires more study. Cold sterilization of food by radioactivity is “an attractive goal,” Mr. Rankin said, but more information is needed on whether the irradiation would lessen the nourishing value of the food or the remedial activity of the drug. Bonds in complex compounds might be disrupted to give entirely different chemicals which might or might not be harmful.

Whether foods or drugs sterilized by irradiation are poisonous in any way, for example, whether they could produce can- cer if taken over long periods, must also be determined before such sterilization methods could be considered safe.

Use of radioisotopes as tracers in food manufacture, for example, to check the

thoroughness with which a small amount of an important ingredient is incorporated in a large mix of food, might be useful and reduce production costs. But unless it can be shown that such use of radioisotopes will not be dangerous to the consumer and that there is a manufacturing problem which can be solved only by the use of a radioisotope, such use would not be permitted. Radioisotopes can be used in treatment devices or machines legally if these have ade- quate directions for use, precautions against misuse and are used under competent medi- cal supervision. Science News Letter, May 9, 1953

CHEMISTRY List Variety of Atoms For Sale by Oak Ridge

> FOR SALE: Atomic radiation in the form of radioactive isotopes of chemical elements, more than a hundred of them. Also 175 isotopes or atomic varieties that are not radioactive but stable are on sale by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

A new catalogue, the first since 1951, shows prices as low as $5 per curie for radioactive cobalt in large quantities. This isotope is used as a substitute for radium and X-rays in industry and medicine, in- cluding cancer treatment.

Radioisotopes and stable isotopes are used in medicine, agriculture, industry and other

research. Science News Letter, May 9, 1953


Science News Letter for May 9, 1953

Wipe Out Cancer's Pain

Electrical jolt from wires in brain of cancer patient brings relief from excruciating pain, experiment with one

patient shows.

> THE HORRIBLE pain which is a result of cancer in its last stages before death has been wiped out in one patient with smal! electric currents sent through the deep regions of the brain.

Tiny electric wires, directed three inches into the brain through small holes in the skull, carried the currents to the region be- low the cerebral cortex, which is where our learning and planning activities take place. One small jolt of the current, two milli- amperes, instantly cleared away the pain.

A movie of the process was shown to science writers on a tour of cancer research centers by Dr. Robert G. Heath, professor of psychiatry and neurology at Tulane Uni- versity, New Orleans. Two hours before the movie was shot, the patient, suffering from incurable cancer of the uterine cervix, had been given a large dose of morphine. Yet her features were drawn and suffering with pain. The instant the current was ap- plied she felt relief.

“I feel wonderful,” she said. “I feel like getting up and cleaning up the whole hos- pital.”

The effect of the first small jolt lasted about two weeks. Since then, about two months ago, she has had the treatment about every four days to one week. Down to only 75 pounds in weight, unable to move from her bed before the treatment was begun, now she is up to 81 pounds, is walking around the hospital ward and hopes to be allowed out of the hospital to go to a movie soon.

Dr. Heath emphasized that this was en- tirely different from another method used on the brain of intractable pain sufferers. The other method, called a prefrontal lo- botomy, cuts away from the rest of the brain that part which can look into the future. Since much of what we call pain is actually anticipation of the next twinge, after this operation the pain still exists, but the patient no longer cares about it. How- ever, he no longer cares very much about anything else, either.

On the other hand, Dr. Heath’s patient has had no part of her brain damaged or cut off from operation. What he is trying to do, he explained, is to find a connection between the emotion of pain and what kind of chemical changes go on in the body when we feel that emotion. With his elec- tric current, he has stimulated the deep regions of the brain. Chemically, he has achieved a reaction much similar to that with which the body responds to fear. In his patient the output of the hormones from the adrenal cortex was considerably increased after application of the electric jolts. The activity of one part of the brain,

Effect lasts about a week.

as measured electrically, was also changed, the change lasting as long as the pain stayed away.

When asked whether the treatment had affected the patients cancer in any way, Dr. Heath said: “I don’t know.”

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953


Tornado Birth Caught By Radar Movie Camera

> FOR THE first time, the birth and growth of a Midwestern tornado has been recorded by a radar movie camera.

The movies, taken of the TV-like screen of the radar tracking the storm, were shown to the American Meteorological Society Meeting in Washington. Two striking things were seen in the movie by Glenn E. Stout, senior meteorologist for the Illinois Water Survey which took the movies. First, he said, the tornado, which developed out


of a thunderstorm, started in the rear edge of the storm, rather than the leading edge. Second, just before the tornado developed, the trailing edge of the thunderstorm was sharp and clear, indicating that turbulence existed there.

The tornado developed ten miles north of the radar station at Champaign-Urbana, Ill., on April 9. The radar operator noticed that the thunder- storm developed a sort of tail which then curled into a cyclonic whirlpool.

They found that what they were track- ing and photographing was actually a tor- nado when news flashes told of destruction exactly in the path over which they tracked the curling tail.

Now the movies will be studied in efforts to learn more about the formation of tor- nadoes and to find some clues for predicting their probable occurrence.

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953



3-D Movies Find Eye Trouble Never Suspected

> SOME PEOPLE who go to see three- dimensional movies are going to find they have eye trouble they have never suspected. The trouble will not be caused by the mo- tion pictures but detected by them. “Movies of the type in which either polaroid or colored glasses are worn become






TIME- 5:16P DATE—APRIL 9, 1953

TORNADO ON RADAR—Pictured here is the first radar picture ever taken of a developing midwestern tornado. The projecting tail curled to form the tornado.


three-dimensional only if the two eyes work well together,” Dr. Franklin M. Foote of the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, New York, told Science SERVICE.

“Tf there is significant heterophoria (tend- ency to squint or for one eye to turn out or in) or if there is some loss of vision in one eye, there may be no three-dimensional ef- fect. Therefore this kind of movie will help in the detection of these kinds of unsus- pected eye conditions.

“Persons who get no three-dimension ef- fect should obtain a thorough professional eye examination,” he advised.

This probably does not apply to the large screen three-dimensional movies like “Cine- rama” because their effect is based on a per- son’s previous experience and the life-like appearance of the image.

Dr. Foote does not think that any of these movies will harm the eyes, though as with other visual tasks, fatigue will occur after long viewing.

Hollywood cameramen, directors and film technicians have been applauded for their work in developing three-dimension movies because of the aid these will be in detecting unsuspected eye troubles. This applause came from R. A. Sherman of the Bausch and Lomb Optical Co., Rochester, N. Y., who spoke at the meeting of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953


Science News Letter for May 9, 1953


Better Visibility Forecasts

> MORE AND safer bad-weather landings at crowded airports are foreseen from studies being made at Washington National Airport reported to the American Meteoro- logical Society meeting in Washington.

Better forecasts for up to about ten min- utes when visibility is bad are now being made on a trial basis using two new instru- ments, a ceilometer and a transmissometer, Wayne F. Staats of the U. S. Weather Bu- reau told the meteorologists.

The bottom of a cloud ceiling is not smooth and flat, but rough and jagged, sometimes changing as much as 300 feet in 24 seconds. Goal of the year-long studies, started last January and sponsored by the Air Navigation Development Board, is to tell the pilot just where and when he will be able to break through the overcast to see the airport and landing runway.

The ceilometer was described to the meteorologists by its inventor, Ruben H. Guenthner of the Weather Bureau. De- veloped jointly with L. W. Foskett, also of the Weather Bureau, the ceilometer is a “lightradar.” It sends a pulsed beam of light upward, then catches the reflections from the bottom of the cloud. Heights of

Parents Need Assurance

> MANY PARENTS these days are con- fused and “uneasily self-conscious” about bringing up their children. They need some reassurance from the child psychia- trists, psychologists and educators who have upset them, says Dr. Leo Kanner, director of the children’s psychiatric service at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore.

Parents have been taught over the past couple of generations that the “Mother knows best” and “Spare the rod and spoi! the child” attitude in child rearing may be harmful to the child. They have got away from letting the clock and the scales and schedules rule them and their babies. But many of them are now floundering, wait- ing for some new pronouncement or set of rules for raising children. Dr. Kanner says there has been produced a generation of parents who wail: “It is all our fault but what can we do?”

Mother may not “know best” just because she is mother, but she and father, too, must be helped to feel more self-reliant and self- confident about handling their children, Dr. Kanner points out. It should help them to read and think about and remember the following from Dr. Kanner’s report to the U.S. Children’s Bureau publication, “The Child”:

“We have learned the simple truth that any child has a good chance for satisfac- tory mental health, regardless of physical

condition and I.Q. and other circumstances, if he can from the beginning of life feel that those closest to him like him, want him, and accept him as he is.

“We have also learned that it is not only severe cerebral and endocrinologic disorders that can work havoc with the mental health and adjustment of human beings; person- ality and behavior disorders can also result from the attitudes of parents who are mark- edly rejecting, disapproving, exploiting, perfectionistic, overprotective, or overpos-

sessive.” Science News Letter, May 9, 1753

AGRICULTURE DDT Accumulations Could Harm Plants

> ACCUMULATION OF DDT in farm soils may retard plant growth, warns Dr. Joseph M. Ginsburg, entomologist with the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Sta- tion, New Brunswick.

In fields of sandy soil where an average of 50 pounds of DDT per acre had been sprayed over five years time, Dr. Ginsburg found from six to 12 pounds of DDT per acre in the top one foot of soil. Concen- trations of 12 pounds of DDT per acre could be near the danger point for many plants.

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953

` dent and Chairman of Executive

the cloud base are indicated every 24 sec- onds on a cathode ray tube.

A remote television pickup camera was also tried in an effort to lick the problem of xtreme changes in cloud base height, Louis P. Harrison of the Weather Bureau reported. Calibration difficulties must be solved before TV can be used successfully for determining airport visibility during bad weather periods.

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953


VOL. 63 MAY 9, 1953 No. 19

The Weekly Summar of Current Science, pub- lished every Saturday by SCIENCE SERVICE, Inc., 1719 N St, N. W., Washington 6, D. C., NOrth 7-2255. Edited by WATSON DAVIS.

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Board of Trustees—Nominated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science: Fer- nandus Payne, National Science Foundation; Karl Lark-Horowitz, Purdue University; Kirtley F. Mather, Harvard University. Nominated by the National Academy of Sciences: Harlow Shapley, Harvard College Observatory; R. A. Millikan, California In- stitute of Technology; Homer W. Smith, New York University. Nominated by the National Research Council: Leonard Carmichael, Smithsonian Institu- tion; Ross G. Harrison, Yale University; Duane Roller, Hughes Aircraft Co. Nominated by the Journalistic Profession: A. H. Kirchhofer, Buffalo Evening News; Neil H. Swanson, Baltimore Sun Papers; O. W. Riegel, Lee Memorial Journalism Foundation. Nominated by the E. W. Scripps Estate: John T. O'Rourke, Washington Daily News; Charles E. Scripps, E. W. Scripps Trust; Edward J. Meeman, Memphis Press-Scimitar.

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Science News Letter for May 9, 1953

SIMULATE RADAR BOMBING—To give a navigator-bombardier trainee

the effect of actual flight over terrain represented by map, a simulated air-

plane moves over a submerged relief map in the tank room of this new trainer device.


Pinpoint-Bombing Trainer

Ultrasonic sounds from a simulated radar antenna bounce off a relief map submerged in water. The resulting picture is realistic, even to scudding clouds.

> AN ELECTRONIC machine has been developed for the Air Force to increase the pinpoint bombing skill of experienced bombardiers.

The complex instrument, which is housed in an entire building of its own, makes it possible to “bomb” actual targets anywhere in the world without leaving the ground.

Designed and built by American Machine and Foundry Company under supervision of technicians at the Wright Air Develop- ment Center, Dayton, Ohio, the trainer uses a large relief map of the area being “flown” over by the plane. The map, representing a 360,000-square-mile area, is submerged in a tank of purified, temperature-controlled water.

A simulated radar antenna is submerged in the water and emits ultrasonic sounds instead of regular radar waves. The an- tenna represents the plane’s antenna as it scans the countryside below.

Meanwhile the student is tucked away in a special booth outfitted to resemble his posi- tion in a bomber having the latest model bombsight. The student watches the prog- ress of the plane on his radar scope. When the target is reached, he can release his “bombs” in the customary manner. He can see on his instruments a corresponding view of what he would see if he were actually

flying. Even scudding clouds can be added to the picture.

While all this is going on, the machine makes records showing the flight path of the plane, the time the bombs were released and the curve followed by the falling bombs. In figuring out the bomb curve, the machine takes the wind speed into consideration. The records can help the trainee improve his accuracy.

Since some bombardiers also are navi- gators, the simulator also is equipped to reproduce “friendly” radio beacon signals. If the instructor desires, he can introduce “enemy” radar jamming to make the prob- lem more realistic.

The technical key to the machine lies in the fact that ultrasonic waves travel through the water only 1/200,000 as fast as radar waves speed through air. By using the water tank and an ultrasonic “radar” antenna that slowly moves through it, engi- neers could shrink the map to 1/200,000 the size of the area it represents.

Ultrasonic waves behave in the water exactly as radar waves behave in air. They are bounced back by the features of the relief map. They are converted into a conventional picture which the bombardier sees on his radar screen.

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953


MEDICINE Raise Blood Pressure To Help MS Patients

> TREATMENT TO raise the blood pres- sure and stimulate the circulation was ad- vised for multiple sclerosis patients in a report by Dr. I. Mark Scheinker of Cornell University Medical College at a confer- ence of the New York Academy of Sciences and the National Multiple Sclerosis So- ciety in New York.

This so far incurable disease of the central nervous system afflicts a quarter of a mil- lion people in the 20- to 45-year-age group. Destruction of the fatty sheaths around nerve fibers in various parts of the brain and spinal cord causes the symptoms which range from double vision to such severe muscle incoordination that patients may become bedridden.

Although the cause is unknown, Dr. Scheinker believes that paralysis of the walls of small blood vessels and their engorge- ment with stagnant, clotting blood plays a part. He found about two-thirds of all early, microscopically small multiple sclerosis dam- age spots located close to blood vessels in the paralyzed and engorged condition.

Out of 250 multiple sclerosis patients, 134, more than half, had markedly low blood pressure.

These two findings led him to the idea of treatment designed to raise blood pressure and stimulate circulation so as to counter- act the blood vessel trouble that results in stagnation of blood and slowing down the flow to the brain.

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953

ELECTRONICS Electronic “Brain” Plans Supply Problems Faster

> BETTER AND faster planning of Navy supply problems is foreseen through use of a new logistics computer unveiled recentiy at George Washington University.

Such weapons as radar, guided missiles, rockets and jets have tremendously in- creased the paper work involved in put- ting and keeping them in operation. The staggering record-keeping job is, however, less important than that of relating produc- tion material requirements to national re- sources.

The logistics computer will greatly speed up the handling of such data. It was de- veloped jointly by the University, the Office of Naval Research and Engineering Re- search Associates, Inc.

It operates in a manner quite typical of all computers. Data are put into the “brain” by coded punched tape. An arith- metical unit performs the desired calcula- tions, storing intermediate results as they are computed. The result comes out of the computer on punched tape and is con- verted to typewritten data by a tape read-

ing machine. Science News Letter, May 9, 1953



Science News LETTER for May 9, 1953

Academy Elects Members

Thirty scientists are elected to membership in National

Academy of Sciences.

Wilder Penfield is one of the two

foreign associates elected this year.

> THIRTY MEMBERS, two foreign asso- ciates and two new members of the Council were elected at the National Academy of Sciences annual meeting in Washington.

The newly elected members of the Acad- emy are: Lars V. Ahlfors, professor of mathematics, Harvard University; Percival Bailey, professor of neurology and neuro- surgery, University of Illinois School of Medicine; H. Albert Barker, microbiologist, University of California; Hugo Benioff, pro- fessor of geophysics, California Institute of Technology; J. H. Bodine, professor of zoology, University of lowa; Leon Brillouin, director of electronics education, Interna- tional Business Machines Corporation; M. J. Buerger, professor of mineralogy and crystallography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; H. E. Carter, professor of bio- chemistry, University of Illinois; J. P. Den Hartog, professor of mechanical engineer- ing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; David M. Dennison, professor of physics, University of Michigan; Jesse W. M. Du- Mond, professor of physics, California In- stitute of Technology; Carl Eckart, director of Marine Physical Laboratory, University of California; Robert Emerson, research professor in botany, University of Illinois; John F. Enders, chief of the division of in- fectious diseases, Children’s Hospital, Bos- ton; Paul J. Flory, professor of chemistry, Cornell University; G. Gamow, professor of theoretical physics, George Washington University; Viktor Hamburger, professor of zoology, Washington University; Einar Hille, professor of mathematics, Yale Uni- versity; Joseph Oakland Hirschfelder, pro- fessor of chemistry, University of Wiscon- sin; James G. Horsfall, director of the Con- necticut Agricultural Experiment Station; Edwin H. Land, president of Polaroid Cor- poration; David P. C. Lloyd, member of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research; Henry W. Nissen, associate director, Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology; David Rittenberg, associate professor of biochem- istry, Columbia University; J. F. Schairer, physical chemist, Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution; Theodore Shedlovsky, member of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research; J. C. Street, professor of physics, Harvard University; M. Tishler, di- rector of development research department, Merck and Company, Inc.; Harland G. Wood, head of department of biochemistry, Western Reserve University; and R. B. Woodward, professor of chemistry, Harvard University.

New foreign associates elected are: Jan Hendrik Oort, director, Observatory of

Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands, and Wilder Penfield, professor of neurology and neurosurgery, McGill University, and direc- tor, Montreal Neurological Institute, Mont- real, Quebec, Can.

Dr. George W. Corner of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Baltimore, was elected vice-president for a four-year term beginning July 1, 1953. He succeeded Dr. Edwin B. Wilson.

In addition to the vice-president, other officers of the Academy, all of whom are members of the Council, are: president, Detlev W. Bronk; home secretary, Alexan- der Wetmore; foreign secretary, Roger Adams; treasurer, William J. Robbins.

Drs. Edwin B. Wilson, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and Hugh L. Dryden, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, Washington, were elected to membership on the Council of the Academy to serve for three years. Other members of the Council are Drs. J. W. Beams, Robert F. Loeb, W. W. Rubey, E. C. Stakman, and Wendell M. Stanley.

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953


Setback to Defense If Research Diverted

> THE NATION’S defense program will suffer a severe setback if Defense Secretary Charles Wilson does not give in to the ex- pected demands by Defense Department agencies to have their research programs at the National Bureau of Standards con- tinued.

He has ordered the military not to place any more scientific research projects with the bureau or other government agencies without clearance from him.

Secretary Wilson’s action will probably precipitate a slow but steady loss by the bureau of its top scientists and technicians. Cutting down on the bureau’s work on de- fense projects means a scattering of the scientific teams that have proposed, planned and worked together on promising research programs.

Bureau personnel continually receive tempting offers from industrial companies such as Westinghouse and Hughes Aircraft Corp. Most such offers are turned down because the scientists have a high sense of loyalty to the government and to their work. With such an uncertain future on their projects, enhanced by the furor sur- rounding the dismissal and reinstatement of Dr. Allen V. Astin as bureau chief, it

is understandable that the scientists should look with more favor on such offers. Recent job offerings, representative of these constantly being received at the bu- reau, have been: a jump of $20,000 a year to a man now making about $10,000, an increase of $7,000 to a man making $8,000 and a raise of $4,500 to a man making

$9,500. Science News Letter, May 9, 1953

GENERAL SCIENCE Academicians Back Astin in Standards Fight

> THE NATIONAL Academy of Sciences, the top organization in American science, has aligned itself firmly behind Dr. A. V. Astin and the National Bureau of Standards in the now famous attempt of the Eisen- hower administration to inject political pres- sure in this important government bureau. The academicians at their annual meeting in Washington approved overwhelmingly the action of their president, Dr. Detlev W. Bronk, in urging that “the integrity of scientific effort and the national interest would best be served by asking Dr. Astin to continue as director of the National Bu- reau of Standards” at least until scientific

committees study the issues involved. Science News Letter, May 9, 1953


Patented TV Color Tube Uses Gridwork on Screen

> A TELEVISION picture tube has been patented which uses a gridwork of phos- phorescent chemicals and metal to repro- duce full-color images of video shows on its screen.

The color tube’s gridwork consists of tiny lines of phosphors that glow red, green and blue, respectively, when bombarded by elec- trons from the tube’s “gun.” Tiny strips of metal separate the groups of phosphors.

As the picture is received, the electron beam sweeps the appropriate phosphor lines. For instance when red appears in the pic- ture, electrons are released which strike the “red” phosphors. When viewed as a whole, the gridwork produces a color picture on the screen.

The system hinges upon making the elec- tron beam travel straight across the screen along the narrow phosphor lines. If the beam gets off the proper phosphor, the color picture will not be as it should.

To keep the electron beam in register with the phosphors, tiny strips of metal are interposed between groups of three phos- phors. When the electron beam “jumps the track” and strikes a metal strip, correc- tions are fed into an auxiliary deflection system of the tube to position the beam where it should be.

Inventor Hunter C. Goodrich of Collings- wood, N. J., assigned his patent, No. 2,634, 326 to the Radio Corporation of America.

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953

ELECTRONICS Rest, Shock Operate To Make “Brains” Work

> WHEN THE socalled electronic “brains,” which are actually computers of various sorts, stop or balk or become cranky or difficult, the engineers who run them treat them somewhat the way a psychiatrist handles a human mental patient.

First, a “brain” is given a rest, that is, it is stopped. Then it is slowly and carefully put back into operation. This may make it stop making mistakes or remedy its other- Wise not operating correctly.

If such gentle “rest cure” tactics are not effective, the operators may resort to a shock treatment, just as some kinds of mental ill- ness are aided by electric shock treatments. The machine is actually given a sudden overvoltage. This may set it to working again.

Sometimes a swift, positive kick will jolt it back into proper operation.

Such treatments failing, the engineers may have to resort to the mechanical or electronic equivalent of surgery. They may tear out a part or several parts and replace them or repair them, with even greater facility and ease than a surgeon can operate on the human body.

Sometimes machines fail to operate for very simple reasons. Beside a complex mechanism in a government laboratory this advice is posted: “Plug it in. Turn it on.

Check the fuses.” Science News Letter, May 9, 1953

ASTRONOMY Stars and Moon Now Photographed Clearly

> CLEAR PICTURES of the moon in its exact position against a background of stars have now been made by a new method de- veloped by Dr. William Markowitz of the U. S. Naval Observatory.

With the new type of camera, astrono- mers are now able, without blurring, to photograph the moon as it races through the sky along with fainter, more stationary stars. It is essential for accurate measure- ments that the moon and the background stars be photographed simultaneously and without blurring.

Both the moon and the stars are tracked by the new instrument during the 15 sec- onds or so needed to get the fainter stars to show up on a photographic plate. A dense, tilting filter that cuts out most of the moon’s relatively bright light is the key part of the device.

It eliminates all but a thousandth of the moon’s light so that the surrounding stars show up clearly. The filter rotates at a regular speed and apparently makes the moon stand still with respect to the stars long enough to get them to show up in detail on the time exposure.

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953

Science News Letzer for May 9, 1953


STARFIRE’S NEW LOOK—Plastic surgery has given a new shape to the nose of Lockheed’s F-94C Starfire jet interceptor. The change-over increased air speed five miles an hour.


Mental Ills Can Be Cured

One authority believes that 85% of the Americans suffering from mental illnesses could be cured if they were given proper treatment in time.

> AT LEAST nine million Americans, one in every 16, are suffering from a mental or emotional disorder. Nearly 700,000 victims of serious mental disease crowd our hos- pitals.

Most of them, as many as 85°% accord- ing to one authority, could be cured if they could be given the proper treatment early enough.

These facts and figures among other shocking ones were noted by the National Association for Mental Health which spon- sors national Mental Health Week during May. The association and its 250 affiliates throughout the country are conducting their first nation-wide fund-raising campaign this year. The money raised—the goal is $5,- 000,000—will go to improving conditions in mental hospitals, sponsoring new mental health clinics, supporting research and pro- ducing materials for mental health educa- tion.

This money and these efforts should help to restore some of the millions of mentally sick to health and to prevent mental break- down in others.

A big part of the preventive work should begin with our children. Parents and other relatives, teachers and the neighbors can all do their share, but first they must learn something of what is needed for a child’s mental development to be healthy. On this point Dr. Arnold Gesell of the Gesell In- stitute for Child Development says:

“Each and every baby has basic traits which declare themselves in patterns of be- havior and ways of growth. Every child

must do his own growing but we can do much to guide and to direct that growth. By assisting his growth we make him healthier in mind and happier.

“For this reason mental health begins at home. The whole household helps to give the new life a good start. Fathers are tak- ing a new attitude toward problems of child care and discipline. They want to know what makes a young child ‘tick.’ They look a little less severely upon the shortcomings and the immaturities of early development. This leads to better under- standing, and a greater respect for the dignity of the individual even in the tender

years.” Science News Letter, May 9, 1953

TECHNOLOGY Compensation Claims May Run Into Billions

> AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL companies are facing a multi-billion dollar bang made up of compensation claims for hearing loss from noise, Dr. C. Richard Walmer, man- aging director of the Industrial Hygiene Foundation, Pittsburgh, warned at the In- dustrial Health Conference in Los Angeles. He urged industry to meet the threat by

better and wider efforts to control noise. Science News Letter, May 9, 1953

During the winter of 1952-53, about 34%, more waterfowl remained in Canada than during the previous winter.


BIOCHEMISTRY Missing Link May Be Pernicious Anemia Factor

> A MISSING link in a nutritional chain involved in the manufacture of red blood cells may be an important factor in perni- cious anemia.

This is suggested in work by doctors of the University of California at Los Angeles Medical School and the Los Angeles Vet- erans Administration Center.

In the research a substance known as the B-12 binding factor, which is present in the gastric and duodenal contents of normal subjects, could not be found in the duo- denum of persons with pernicious anemia.

Although the exact role of the binding factor is still unknown, it is thought that it may be essential in the absorption and utilization of vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 plays an important role in the manufacture of red blood cells, and thus the lack of the binding factor could interfere with this process.

The study also indicated that persons who have had their entire stomachs removed by surgery may not be able to absorb enough B-12 for normal nutrition. The binding factor was not found in duodenal contents of such patients examined in the investiga- tion.

Conducting the research were Drs. Ma- rian E. Swendseid, Herbert Shapiro and James A. Halsted.

Science News Letter, May 9, 1953

ENGINEERING George Washington Bridge Takes Top Honors

> THE GEORGE Washington bridge has been pegged the number-one engineering “wonder” of metropolitan New York.

The Brooklyn bridge and Empire State building captured second and third places, respectively, in a membership poll of the metropolitan section of the American So- ciety of Civil Engineers.

Ranking the “seven wonders” of the area, the engineers listed these other four: