The Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 8, 1999
Feb. 8, 1999
VOL. 28, NO. 21


In Brief

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

National conference set on African Americans and AIDS

The 1999 National Conference on AIDS and African Americans, co-sponsored by the School of Medicine and the first gathering of its kind, will be held Feb. 25 and 26 at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Hotel. Six hundred physicians and public health professionals will hear about goals for, and obstacles to, dealing with the AIDS epidemic in America's African American communities.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala and Surgeon General David Satcher are scheduled to open the conference, which will pull together the latest research on clinical management, epidemiology and social and policy issues.

Among the Hopkins faculty presenting research will be John G. Bartlett and Joel E. Gallant, who will speak about cutting-edge therapeutic strategies; Jonathan Zenilman, who will cover the connection between HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases; and Glenn Treisman, an expert in delivering psychiatric care to HIV-infected patients.

The conference, whose other sponsors include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Bristol-Myers Squibb, quickly sold out all 600 spots but can be seen and heard on the Internet at

APL proposal selected by NASA for feasibility study

The Auroral Multiscale Midex Mission, a proposal submitted by a team of institutions led by the Applied Physics Laboratory, has been selected as one of five candidates for NASA's medium-class Explorer Program, which is designed for physics and astronomy missions in support of NASA's Office of Space Science themes. APL will now receive $350,000 to conduct a four-month implementation feasibility study, which will be presented to NASA in June.

AMM will study the interaction between Earth's atmosphere and its nearby space environment. The mission would involve the placing of a closely spaced formation of four identical satellites into a near-polar orbit, enabling more accurate measurements of electric currents, auroral features and other aspects of the interaction.

"Our goal is to achieve comprehensive understanding of how the Earth's space environment--the magnetosphere--interacts electrically with the Earth's upper atmosphere and ionosphere to generate the beautifully complex northern and southern auroral lights," explains Barry H. Mauk, the project leader at APL and a magnetospheric physicist. "Our multiple-satellite, formation-flying approach would provide, for the first time, the tools needed to understand how the magnetosphere generates the electrical currents, how those currents are modified and channeled to the polar regions of the Earth's upper atmosphere and what the consequences are to the atmosphere and space. These processes are fundamental to many planetary and astrophysical environments and have practical consequences for large-scale ground and space-based engineering infrastructures on Earth, such as those concerned with power distribution, communications and navigation."

After its review of the feasibility studies, NASA will select two of the five mission proposals for full development as the third and fourth MIDEX flights. The selection is expected in September.

Appearance by Tony winner Julie Taymor is postponed

Because of the demands of her new feature film, Titus, to be released next year, Julie Taymor, the Tony Award-winning director/designer of the Broadway hit The Lion King, has postponed her presentation "Playing With Fire: The Art of Julie Taymor," originally scheduled for Saturday, March 6, in Shriver Hall. The new date will be announced. For more information about tickets, call 410-516-7157.

Odyssey goes behind the scenes of upcoming Peabody opera

On the eve of Peabody's Feb. 25 world premiere of Where Angels Fear to Tread, a new three-act opera based on the novel by E.M. Forster, the School of Continuing Studies' Odyssey Program is giving a behind-the-scenes look at the performance. The lecture will be from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 10 at Shaffer Hall, Homewood.

The program is intended for those who wish to know how an opera gets written, how a libretto differs from the book on which it is based and just what goes into staging an opera. On hand will be librettist Royer Brunyate, composer Mark Lanz Weiser, Peabody faculty members and performers.