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Physical sciences/Physics/Mathematical physics/Statistical physics

Determining if a fire is accidental or due to arson is a process often plagued by poorly understood science, subjective judgments on the part of investigators and inadequately trained personnel, according to a new AAAS report on the quality of fire investigation in the United States.

Nobel laureate Phillip A. Sharp, institute professor at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, has been chosen to serve as president-elect of AAAS. He will begin his one-year term as president in February 2013, at the close of the 179th AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.

It’s been a busy summer for University of Illinois professor Lynford Goddard. The physics researcher showed off his photonics lab to high school girls and helped them to build a cell phone in an electrical engineering camp, and taught statistics in sports to elementary school students participating in the “Brain Fitness Friday” science camp on campus.