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Richard (Dick) says, "My education in science started when my sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Diehl, crushed a seemingly empty floor-wax can with atmospheric pressure alone. It continued with building a telescope, aspiring to become a weather forecaster, and then realizing in college that I wasn't going to cut it in calculus class. Thus I became a chemist, mostly in those smelly organic classes. Vietnam intervened, when I ended up tending to the smelly cargo of a U.S. Navy fleet oiler. On to grad school in oceanography, molecularly dissecting the smelly yellow goo that dissolved in seawater."

Doing science was cool, Dick says, but reporting on it seemed more appealing. After stealthily taking a couple of journalism classes, a job ad for covering geophysics at Science popped up. A week after defending his dissertation in 1977, Dick found himself in D.C. as a bona fide science writer.

"An education in science and journalism is nice to have," Dick says, "but covering a single beat—most everything nonliving from the Oort comet cloud inward—for a few decades can't be beat. And writing up 'what's new to the human experience,' as one science writer puts it, really is an unending joy."

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  • 10 Aug 1999

    WASHINGTON, D.C.--Planetary geologists examining some of the sharpest pictures ever returned from Mars are seeing the first ongoing geologic activity detected on the red planet.

  • 3 Aug 1999

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  • 30 Jul 1999

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  • 22 Jul 1999

    According to textbooks, many past climate changes, including the ice ages, closely followed the rhythmic nodding and wobbling of Earth's spin axis and the periodic stretching of its orbit.

  • 11 May 1999

    A run-in with a huge asteroid is bad enough, as movies like Deep Impact have gouged into our consciousness. Now comes an even more terrifying scenario: double impacts.

  • 29 Apr 1999

    Earth may not be the only planet with a surface forged in the same cauldron as Earth's ocean crust is formed today. Mars, it seems, once had active tectonic plates spreading away from long, narrow volcanic rifts, according to two reports in tomorrow's Science (pp.

  • 12 Apr 1999

    The "weather" in the stratosphere has for decades mysteriously matched the 11-year cycle of sunspots--dark splotches on the sun's surface that mark an increase in solar activity.

  • 22 Mar 1999

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  • 18 Mar 1999

    Scientists involved in the now-suspect discovery of signs of fossilized life on Mars say they have found evidence of past life in a second martian meteorite. But their announcement, made today at the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, has left colleagues underwhelmed.

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