Too many people?

Never before has the human population been so large. Never before has the gap between rich and poor countries yawned so wide. Never before have so many cultures found themselves in such close contact.

These are some of the issues that Joel E. Cohen, professor of populations and head of the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University, New York City, will tackle in the Frontiers of Science lecture at the University of Utah on Wednesday, March 11.

The free public lecture starts at 7 p.m. in the U.'s Fine Arts Auditorium. It seems certain to be a challenging and interesting evening.

Wake up call

Just as the State Board of Education has been thinking about yanking the requirement that all ninth-graders take a science class, the National Science Foundation has released sobering statistics.

According to Neal Lane, director of the NSF, "The news is not good regarding the performance of U.S. 12th-graders in math and science in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study."

The trend does not bode well for U.S. dominance in this vital area. Utah officials may undermine students' ability to compete in the sciences if they let youngsters put off exposure to the field.

Chew for your life

Chewing an aspirin at the first sign of a heart attack - such as chest pain, nausea or pain in your left arm or shoulder - could save your life, according to the Mayo Clinic New Bureau.

"This is especially good advice for women, who die from heart attacks twice as often as men," says the clinic's Liza Lenz.

Aspirin acts as a blood thinner that can prevent blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots. Blood clots in vessels cause most heart attacks and strokes.

Slow atoms at WSU

Physics students at Weber State University, Ogden, are planning to build a laser cooling device that will let them slow down atoms so they can study them in detail.

At room temperature, atoms in the air travel at nearly 2,500 mph, but the device should cool them to minus 450 degrees, where they move at less than one mph.

"For a brief moment the chilled atoms will form a glowing sphere about the size of a pea," said WSU physics professor John Sohl, who is supervising the project. "Our students will be able to study individual atoms in a state of suspension."

Construction of the device should be completed by this fall.

Prostate cancer

The American Cancer Society hosts a monthly education and support group meeting for men who have been diagnosed with prostate caner. The meetings, held at the society's Salt Lake City office, 941 E. 3300 South, are free and open to anyone interested in the topic.

"A special invitation is extended to spouses and significant others who wish to participate," said the society's Char Peterson. For information about the sessions, call the society at 483-1500.