The Johns Hopkins Gazette: November 29, 1999

November 29, 1999
VOL. 29, NO. 13

The D.C. role of JHU president
Lighting up Homewood
Supercomputer will help engineers study brain, heart
SAIS names new executive director of Nanjing Center
Woman's Club revives library for neighborhood school
Belafonte, Watkins to be honored at Heartfest 2000
Baltimore's historic houses celebrate the holidays
In Brief
Employment Opportunities
Classified Ads
Weekly Notices
Weekly Calendar
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Daniel Nathans, esteemed scientist, professor, former interim president of the university and recipient of the Nobel Prize, died in his sleep Nov. 16 from leukemia. He was 71.
   Funeral services were private. The date for a memorial service will be announced soon.
   University Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the School of Medicine, where he was a faculty member for more than three decades, Nathans also was senior investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Hopkins. He served as interim president of the university from June 1995 until August 1996. In addition to being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1978, Nathans was a 1993 recipient of the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific award. Full story...

Alphabet's history rewritten by finding
Sometime during the beginning of the second millennium B.C., long before ancient biblical times, a traveler passing through a desert valley of what is now southern Egypt stopped at a rock and inscribed on it his name, his title and probably a short prayer for safe passage.
   The discovery of this traveler's ancient calling card, and another similar one found on a rock nearby, offers new clues to the origins of the alphabet, said Kyle McCarter Jr., the William Foxwell Albright Chair in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies and an expert in epigraphy, or the study of ancient writings. The inscriptions indicate that the first alphabet--from which all modern alphabets have evolved--is centuries older than previously believed and was probably invented in Egypt, not, as previously believed, in the Levant region, or what is now modern-day Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Until now, scholars believed that the forefather of written Hebrew, Arabic, Greek--virtually all alphabets, including ours--was invented in the 1700s B.C. The Egypt inscriptions now point the alphabets' origins toward the 1900s B.C. Full story...

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