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Sanborn C. Brown

Dr. Sanborn C. Brown was professor emeritus of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former associate dean of its graduate school.

Titles by This Author

Any shift in national priorities or the economy tends to jolt career orientations. "Too few of those who are equipped to move into new positions realize their opportunity," writes Dean Brown, "and many are cautious about entering areas whose future potential they do not fully understand."

This book, which grew out of a "Career Seminar for MIT Alumni" held at MIT in 1971, considers the many problems involved in changing career orientations while preserving the lively and informal style of discussions between speakers and audience. It is directed toward those who feel their careers are threatened by changes in national priorities and funding, as well as toward those who are advancing in their careers but have decided not to stay in the same place for the rest of their lives and are looking for information to help them make their decisions. Long-range personal career planning and training are emphasized rather than immediate job placement.

The various authors—among who are Jerome B. Wiesner, Secor D. Browne, Paul A. Samuelson, Charles A. Myers, Lee Grodzins, Paul Penfield, Jr., John Blair, Antony Herrey, and Wallace E. Vander Velde—examine the impact of changing federal funding policy on future employment opportunities, discuss the personal adjustment problems of shifting careers, and forecast overall needs for engineering, scientific, and managerial talent in the coming decade.

The Fundamental Data on Electrical Discharges in Gases

This second edition of Basic Data of Plasma Physics is, in essence, a new book, for several reasons. First, so voluminous have been the research results in this area since the first edition of 1959 that the basic data themselves are greatly changed and enlarged. Second, whereas the earlier edition presented much of the material in verbal form, this one displays almost all of it in a consistent set of graphic figures. And, finally, this new edition is one of the first implementations of computer-based information transfer, in which the basic data were searched out by means of a remote console tied into a central disk library containing an extensive collection of bibliographic information on physics literature.

This last matter deserves further amplification, since the new techniques employed here are likely to be used more and more often in the future—because of the ever more rapidly expanding volume of research results just mentioned. Professor Brown, writing in Physics Today, summarizes his aims and methods:

Any collection of data one can make these days is out of date before it is published. This is true, for example, of my Basic Data of Plasma Physics. In the book I tried to bring together in useful form the data of gaseous electronics and plasma physics upon which scientists base calculations and further work with basic parameters.

Updating this book seemed an ideal computer experiment. I used the Information Retrieval Service of the TIP (Technical Information Project) program not only to find material that has come out since publication of the book but also to arrange the program so that the computer could continue in the future to retrieve relevant information....

The Technical Information Project, upon which this experiment is based, has programmed 25 physics journals from the past few years and The Physical Review from 1959 onto the IBM 7094 operated by Project MAC. Project MAC uses a compatible time-sharing system that is available by standard telephone connections....

The TIP program contains title, author, reference and entire bibliography of every article covered by the computer.

...Entrance into the TIP system is made by choosing a key word or words most likely to be contained in the title of an article in a specific subject.

...in the revision of Basic Data of Plasma Physics the material is created in an open-ended form so that anyone with access to the computer program can search the literature for material that will appear after the report is printed. This feature of the bibliographic search by computers provides a new dimension to the published literature in book form which, without this open-ended feature, is out of date quite generally long before the actual publication date.

Titles by This Editor

Proceedings of the International Conference on Physics Education

What are acceptable modern standards of instruction in physics? In August, 1960, 86 physicists from 32 nations met at the UNESCO HOUSE in Paris to discuss individual viewpoints and draft resolutions to represent universal thought on this subject.

The speeches, papers, dicussions, exhibits, and motion pictures at the Conference mirrored the breadth and contrasts of contemporary physics instruction, vitally important to both scientifically advanced and scientifically underdeveloped nations.

Speeches on methods ranged in subject matter from individual teacher-student relations to nationally televised lectures; from preparation for the specialist to techniques for informing the general public; from revision of the traditional curriculum to provision of research facilities for teachers.

These suggestions and reports from around the world, presented in this book, will be helpful to all educators, and particularly to those with responsibility for training physicists. Its chapters deal with matters such as testing, selection of students, training of teachers, the use of audio-visual aids, and activities of professional organizations.

A Dilemma for Graduate Education

When aerospace engineers, laid off from the space program, feel lucky to find employment as manual laborers; when physics Ph.D.s, ready and willing to teach, find themselves at the end of waiting lists hundreds of names long for positions at little-known colleges and even high schools—then clearly the problem of making proper use of those with advanced education, and of giving them proper scope, is already at a critical point.

This book brings together from the universities, industry, and government a group that is knowledgeable and concerned, ex officio and as individuals. In their presentations and discussions they consider numerous aspects of the problem and several means of resolution.

In their preface the editors write, "In an attempt to convene various experts who had written in the scientific manpower field, a symposium was organized at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the title The Supply, Need, and Utilization of Graduate Scientists and Engineers and was held on May 12 and 13, 1970. This report is an edited and restructured summary of discussions held at that time, with particular emphasis on the effect of the manpower utilization problem on graduate education. It clearly points to the urgency of manpower planning on a national scale and the necessity for universities to restructure their graduate programs toward a much greater sensitivity to society's utilization of the products of their educational programs."

The Symposium was jointly sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Commission on MIT Education.

Among the invited speakers were Philip H. Abelson, Editor of Science; Charles R. Bowen, Manager, Program Development, IBM Corporation; Allan Cartter, Chancellor, New York University; Charles Falk, Head of the Office of Economic Manpower and Special Studies, National Science Foundation; Richard S. Gordon, Vice President, New Enterprises, Monsanto Company; William C. Kelly, Director, Office of Scientific Personnel, National Research Council; Herbert Pahl, Acting Associate Director for Planning and Evaluation, National Institute of General Medical Science; Elbridge Sibley, Executive Associate, Social Sciences Research Council; Guyford Stever, President, Carnegie-Mellon University; and several directors of research for large companies.

An Insoluble Task?

Given the ever-increasing acceleration of science and technology, every modern scientist is to some degree concerned about the future of his subject and, as a teacher, about how to come to terms with the interaction of science and the needs and aspirations of his students.

This book reports the proceedings of the International Congress on the Education of Teachers of Physics in Secondary Schools, held in Eger, Hungary, during September 1970. It reviews the recruitment and education of prospective physics teachers in secondary schools, considers the solutions found by some countries and attempts to aid others in solving the problems of their own local situations. The 151 participants from 28 countries represented many different educational systems and the conference's location made possible the attendance of teachers from the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Africa, the United States, and the United Arab Republic, in addition to a large group from the host country. In presenting the material, the editors have attempted to retain the conversational tone—the "free flow of information"—of the conference.

Chapter 1, "The Response to Modern Society," provides the backdrop against which all further discussions are cast—namely, a concern for the relation of physical science to culture in the most general sense and to the problems of society in particular. Subsequent chapters begin with guidelines formally adopted by each international "working group" as it pursued such specific topics as: constraints on teacher education; the recruitment, initial training, and in-service education of teachers; curriculum innovation in teacher education; the technology of physics education; procurement of low-cost equipment; and special problems of developing countries. Five appendixes provide information on papers and documents contributed to the conference, the names and addresses of participants, curriculum projects, teaching films, and the conference exhibition.

Based on Discussions at the International Conference on Physics in General Education, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1963

This volume contains a readable, condensed, and interpretive account of discussions among physicists from 26 countries from the Conference on Physics in General Education held in Rio de Janeiro in July, 1963. The meeting dealt with physics as part of a liberal education. The serious practical difficulties of teaching physics in a way that is appropriate to this purpose are now widely recognized in those countries that are highly developed scientifically, and many projects have been launched to solve them. Reports on some of these projects were given at the Conference, and still others are referred to in the book. In the comparatively underdeveloped countries, on the other hand, it is still necessary to establish the importance of including physics and other sciences in the curriculum. The book will be useful to all those who are concerned with science education. It will prove particularly useful to science educators working in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

This was the second conference on education to be organized under the auspices of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), in association with a number of other national and international organizations. The Conference material was reduced to about one-third of its volume, rearranged, and in instances largely rewritten, so as to present the essence of the formal addresses and discussions in as useful and readable form as possible.

Selected Papers of William Phelps Allis