[Currents headergraphic]

February 17, 1997


Chemist Joe Konopelski basked in his 15 minutes in the spotlight, and much more, for attempts in his lab to synthesize a potential cancer-fighting compound from a marine animal that divers can no longer find. The San Francisco Chronicle carried the story first, followed by an Associated Press article and photo that hit the front pages of papers across the country. Konopelski then fielded a string of calls from radio, TV, and print reporters both locally and nationally. A film crew from CNN also paid a visit and taped an interview for future broadcast.

A Buddhist custom of liberating captive animals may be an act of compassion, but it can also wreak environmental havoc and threaten native species. In a story on this topic, the New York Times spoke with art historian and Buddhism scholar Raoul Birnbaum, who explained the history and roots of the practice.

The Santa Cruz County Sentinel paid page-one attention to UCSC's connections to last week's launch of the space shuttle Discovery, sent skyward to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. The article featured alumnus Steve Hawley, one of seven astronauts aboard, and astronomer Harland Epps, who helped design one of Hubble's new instruments.

Mary Sue Weldon of psychology was interviewed by a reporter with Health and Fitness magazine for a story on memory. . . . Also in psychology, Veronica Tonay has been talking with Dateline NBC about a project on dreams.

The Good Times' Bruce Bratton--a longtime champion of Lou Harrison's--was delighted by the news from flutist and ethnomusicologist Leta Miller that her biography on the renowned composer has gone off to the publisher. He also noted that Miller will be writing an entry on Harrison for the next edition of the Grove Dictionary of Music. In the same column, Bratton also spoke with Shakespeare scholar Michael Warren to get an earful on Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet.

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