In the recent days of mourning after the space shuttle Challenger explosion, many people have likened the national outpouring of emotion to the same outpouring after the assassination of John Kennedy. Today, Kennedy's children Caroline and John Jr. will join their uncle Sen. Edward Kennedy and travel from Washington to Houston for the memorial service for the seven astronauts. A spokesman for the senator's office said last night that the Kennedy children decided to go because "they have an empathy with sudden loss . . . This has been a time of national sadness." In addition, it was their father who gave the initial impetus to the manned space program, and the space center from which the shuttle was launched is named after him. Califano's Anti-Smoking Crusade
You have to give former Health, Education and Welfare secretary Joseph Califano credit -- he's consistent. During Cabinet years he was steadfast in his opposition to smoking. And now that he's back in the private practice of law, he's still fighting the offensive, health-endangering cigarette. In a recent memorandum to all the Washington employes of the Dewey, Ballantine law firm, Califano said that in light of the surgeon general's report on the health hazards of smoking in the work place, the company has adopted a tough goal of a smoke-free office by Oct. 1.
Califano said yesterday there are 40 lawyers and economists in the firm and none smoke. Several members of the support staff do at present, however, so there is a smoking room and a smoking cafeteria. While working for President Johnson, Califano understandably became a three-pack-a-day smoker. Now a confirmed nonsmoker, he said his ambition is to extend the no-smoking status to the entire 1775 Pennsylvania Ave. building where the firm is located. Staff members will be given time off to take smoke cessation programs with the firm paying the cost for those who stay away from smoking for six months, as well as a $250 bonus.
In the two weeks since the memo has been issued, Califano said there have been no complaints and the Oct. 1 deadline seems to be realistic. "It's because it's a common effort," he said. "Everyone who smokes wants to quit and this helps them find the reason to do it." Hammer Prize to Dr. Rosenberg
Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, the National Cancer Institute chief of surgery, shared a $100,000 Hammer Prize for cancer research with Japanese scientist Dr. Tadatsugu Taniguchi of the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology at Osaka University. The 1985 award was presented yesterday by Armand Hammer, chairman and chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum Corp. and the chairman of the President's Cancer Panel.
Rosenberg and Taniguchi were honored for Rosenberg's development of the therapy for cancer patients called Interleukin-2. Taniguchi and his colleagues succeeded in isolating the gene for Interleukin-2, cloning it and making it possible to produce large amounts of it artificially. Hammer announced that the $100,000 prize will be awarded annually for the next six years and said that $1 million will be awarded to the scientist or scientists who achieve a cure for cancer similar to the cure for polio discovered by Dr. Jonas Salk. End Notes
The paparazzi are now warned. Bad-mannered actor Sean Penn, who isn't fond of photographers, and is also known as the husband of Madonna, may be coming to the Kennedy Center this summer. The unpredictable Peter Sellars, artistic director of the American National Theater, is talking with Penn and the multitalented actor/director John Malkovich to appear in Sellars' version of the late beat writer Jack Kerouac's "On the Road." That probably also means that Madonna will be in town . . .
Clint Eastwood filed yesterday to run for mayor of Carmel, Calif. The actor has a home and owns the Hog's Breath Inn in Carmel, an affluent coastal town of 5,000. City Clerk Jeanne Brehmer said the actor submitted papers of candidacy with the required signatures of 20 citizens. Eastwood faces three opponents in the April 8 election, including two-term incumbent Charlotte Townsend, who refused to comment . . .
When Ford's Theatre unveils the new chairs Monday, it will also be putting the old ones up for sale for a cool $500 each. That's some price for a used chair designed to look authentic and patterned after the originals . . .