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IT HAD A CERTAIN RING TO IT Hmmm, thought Gary Koopmann. What would be a fun assignment for my students? So the Pennsylvania State University engineering professor asked them to replicate the sound of the Liberty Bell. Using mathematical formulas and computer models, they started with a few basics: The bell weighs 2,080 pounds, is made of copper and tin, and was designed to produce a sort of combined G-sharp, E-flat, F-sharp, B-flat, and E-flat. Played through a boombox, their result sounded like ... a heavy gong. Did they get it right? Who knows? Koopman conceded. No one alive has ever heard the famous bell.

CALL THEM PRUDENT In Eastbourne, England, Mark Roberts paid $400,000 to move his family ... 55 feet. Since 1996 they've lived in a retired lighthouse, which, when it was built in 1834, stood 100 feet from a cliff. Erosion has reduced that to 15 feet. On special runners, the 850-ton structure was pushed to safety, lest it one day topple into the English Channel.

Hepburn, Wayne favored as top film stars of the century

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Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne were the greatest film stars of the 20th century, according to a public opinion poll of 1,181 adult Americans conducted earlier this month by Reuters/Zogby. Hepburn was judged best actress of the 1900s by 12.2 percent of respondents; Wayne was chosen best actor by 10 percent. The five actresses and five actors named most often as the century's best - and the percentage of respondents favoring each:

Best actress

1. Katharine Hepburn 12.2%

2. Meryl Streep 9.4%

3. Bette Davis 3.6%

4. Elizabeth Taylor 3.5%

5. Julia Roberts 3.1%

Best actor

1. John Wayne 10.0%

2. James Stewart 5.9%

3. Paul Newman 4.5%

4. Tom Hanks 4.4%

(tie) Harrison Ford

- Reuters

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