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May 17, 1985 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1985-05-17

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OPINION

4

Page 6
Vol. XCV, No. 1-S
95 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by Students at
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
Zoning battle
T HE ANN ARBOR Planning Commission should be
applauded for its 5-3 approval of the special exception
use for Collegiate Sorosis. Pending City Council approval,
the sorority will be able to construct a two story addition
with sleeping rooms, kitchen and dining area to accom-
modate 39 women and one house director. The sorority's
battle for an addition to an existing house at 903 Lincoln
Street has been long and heated. Unfortunately, the
Sorosis proposal became entangled in a conflict that is
much bigger, a conflict between providing adequate
student housing in Ann Arbor and preserving the charac-
ter and quality of residential life in the city.
Some members of the community feel that the Sorosis
proposal is setting a precedent that will start a "domino
effect. They feel that single and two family housing con-
versions to cooperative student residences, such as frater-
nities and sororities, will increase.
The city and the University need to establish criteria for
what constitutes a residential neighborhood. They need to
research whether property values decline as students
move-into traditionally non-student neighborhoods in or-
der to act appropriately in response to resident concerns.
The result of this effort should provide a basis of com-
munication from which students and non-students can
assess their mutual need for an adequate and desirable
living environment.
Spring Ahead
ARRIVING WITH the birth and growth of spring, the
Daily promises reliable coverage of news, arts, and
sports for the Ann Arbor community. The new spring staff
looks forward to reporting the news in the 95-year-old
tradition of Daily excellence and editorial freedom. Count
on the Daily for an up-to-date list of happenings around
town, a preview of the Ann Arbor Art Fair, and newly
released records, movies, and books. This spring, the
Daily continues to follow campus events, capture athletes
in action, and interview interesting personalities.
The Daily appreciates reader support and urges car-
toonists as well as writers and others who want to express
their viewpoints to submit their work for publication. The
Daily hopes to stimulate student response to policies,
ideas, and trends which affect University life. These con-
tributions significantly enhance the quality of the paper by
offering a diversity of opinion and providing insight to
student concerns. Such input helps the paper maintain a
fair representation of the multi-faceted student
population. The Daily encourages readers to utilize the
paper as a forum for public thought.
Letters to the Daily are welcome and should be typed,
triple-spaced, and signed. Authorship is always recognized
except under very extenuating circumstances.

Friday, May 17, 1985
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/0

Momentum vanishes

By Franz Schurmann
The most memorable words uttered
during the recent Spacelab mission
were those of astronaut and physicist
Taylor Wang. "Somewhere along the
line the momentum has been
dissipated," Wang observed in utter
surprise. "where it is I don't under-
stand yet."
Wang was describing the results of
an experiment with drops of liquid
being performed in weightless space
He discovered that when struck by
sound waves the drops began spinning
and deforming-a fact that was in-
teresting by itself. But when the sound
waves were turned off, the drops
stopped almost dead in their tracks.
That, as Wang knew, should not have
happened according to the conser-
vation laws that form the basis of all
contemporary physics.
CONSERVATION laws hold that
the universe operates through a fun-
damental symmetry; for every "this"
in nature there must be a "that"
which exactly balances it. Thus, as
most high school students of physics
learn, energy can neither be created
nor destroyed, and for every action
there has to be an equal reaction.

What surprised Wang was that the
momentum of the spinning drop
seemed to have vanished in defiance
of this most fundamental of physical
laws.
In recent years, physicists believe
they may have come close to nailing
down the fundamental orderliness of
the entire universe. They have
reduced all forces to four: the strong
that binds protons andwneutrons of
atomic nuclei; the weak through
which electrons interact with other
particles; the electromagnetic; and
the gravitational.
THROUGH A sophisticated
mathematical theory supported by
strong experimental data, they have
unified the weak and electromagnetic
forces. They have hopes of roping in
the strong force, leaving only gravity
outside the grand unified theory.
Nevertheless, there has been a
strong undercurrent of uneasiness
among many physicists that grand
unification will once again prove as
elusive as it was to Einstein during his
later years. There are too many
strange things out there.
For example, physicist James
Trefil has speculated that there might

be "tachyons," particles moving
faster than the speed of light, way out
there in the cosmos. Recently some
astronomers reported observing what
they think might be such tachyons.
But Einstein's relativity theory
argued that nothing could move faster
than the speed of light-a theory that
forms a most vital part of the sym-
metry of the universe.
THEORY IS the lifeblood of scien-
ce. It has been closely linked to
technology since Galileo's time.
At the same time, science has
always been closely linked to
philosophy. Now philosophy is
declining and science is fighting hard
to keep its historic role.
Failure of the conservation laws to
work in space could have serious
practical consequences-such as fatal
malfunctions in the proposed space-
based "strategic defense." It could
also have serious theoretical con-
sequences as the gravest challenge
yet to Newtonian physical laws.
Schurmann wrote this piece for
Pacific News Service. He teaches
history and sociology at the
University of Claifornia, Berkeley.

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