Notre Dame ReSources

Author: Dennis Brown and Cynthia Day

Notre Dame ReSources
July 13-19

p. Notre Dame faculty are available for additional comment on these people and events in the news:p. “Contact”: The recently released motion picture “Contact” focuses on the conflict between religion and the concept of extraterrestrial life, a debate that “has been going on for a long time,” says Michael Crowe, a professor of liberal studies at Notre Dame and author of the book “The Extraterrestrial Life Debate, 1750-1900: The Idea of a Plurality of Worlds from Kant to Lowell.” “This isn’t a new issue, though some will think so because of the movie,” Crowe says. “The debate between religion and extraterrestrials has a long and complicated history and is an issue that is important and worthy of discussion.” (219) 631-6212
p. James Earl Ray: Inconclusive results from tests on the rifle and bullet that killed Martin Luther King, Jr., are of little consequence and in no way exonerate James Earl Ray, says G. Robert Blakey, professor of law at Notre Dame and chief counsel to the 1977-79 House Select Committee on Assassinations. “We were not able to correlate bullets we fired from the rifle either,” says Blakey, who added it is a “layman’s myth” that forensic tests always can match bullets to guns. “The (murder) bullet cannot be excluded from the rifle either, therefore the tests are of no significance.” (219) 631-5717
p. Sand castles: For kids on the beach, building sand castles is a delightful way to have fun in the summer sun. For Peter Schiffer and Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, it is a research subject. The two Notre Dame physicists have determined precisely what physical phenomenon is at work that allows damp sand to hold its shape in the construction of sand castlessurprisingly, a scientific question that never before had been addressed. The study has more practical application in the study of the structural strength of medicinal tablets or the concrete in bridges and buildings. The findings are published in the June 18 issue of the science journal Nature. Schiffer can be reached at (219) 631-7262 ; Barabasi at (219) 631-5767
p. Title IX: On the 25th anniversary of the adoption of Title IX of the Education Code, it would be helpful for all parties to “tone down the inflammatory rhetoric that increasingly crops up in discussions” of gender equity in athletics, says Debbie Brown, head volleyball coach at Notre Dame, in an op-ed in USA Today. “While women’s programs worry over the lack of progress and men’s bemoan budget cuts, both should remember this is an evolutionary process.” (219) 631-6307 p.

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