Science: Tepee

Page one headlines trumpeted last week what may be a major breakthrough in the problem of detecting missile launchings and nuclear explosions anywhere in the world. The news: a radio-monitoring method—called Project Tepee—reported to be so sensitive that it can track Russian bomb tests and rocketry from stations within the U.S.

Tepee is the brainchild of young (33) Physicist William John Thaler (pronounced Thayler) of the Office of Naval Research. Thaler's primary field is nuclear weapons effects. But two years ago, he had a sudden notion that certain characteristics of the behavior of...