Space: The Wizard of IKI

Wearing a stylish pinstripe, double-breasted suit, Roald Sagdeyev, the director of the Soviet Space Research Institute, began by disarming the group of Cornell astronomers during a recent U.S. tour with a folksy story about a Russian woodsman. Then, in a voice strained from singing When the Saints Go Marching In to Soviets and Americans gathered at the Chautauqua Institution, he discussed the dangers of nuclear weapons and the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), or Star Wars. Finally, the trim, 5-ft. 8-in. physicist, who rarely drinks and never smokes, concluded with his vision for a joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. mission to Mars. The performance...

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