Most Popular Articles, 2015
In compiling a top-10 list of the year’s most popular articles on American Scientist, we decided to look at what you—our readers—have been searching for, not only among our most recent issues but in our archives as well. So here are the most popular articles on our website for 2015.
New evidence points to an alternative explanation for a civilization’s collapse. (September–October 2006 by Terry Hunt)
A window on data can be a window on discovery.
(July–August 2009 by Howard Wainer and Shaun Lysen)
Data-dependent analysis—a “garden of forking paths”—explains why many statistically significant comparisons don’t hold up.
(November–December 2014 by Andrew Gelman and Eric Loken)
Untangling this constant from Le Gran K could provide a new definition of the gram.
(November–December 2014 by Ronald Fox and Theodore Hill)
These ambling, eight-legged microscopic “bears of the moss” are cute, ubiquitous, all but indestructible, and a model organism for teaching science.
(September–October 2011 by William R. Miller)
Few remember the man who discovered the “molecule of life” three-quarters of a century before Watson and Crick revealed its structure.
(July–August 2008 by Ralf Dahm)
Three communities in the world of computation are bound together by common interests but set apart by distinctly different aims and agendas.
(January–February 2015 by Brian Hayes)
At one time or another, most of us have proved empirically, and painfully, the old mother’s tale that it’s possible to get sunburned on a cloudy day.
(May–June 2006 by David Schoonmaker)
If the reader is to grasp what the writer means, the writer must understand what the reader needs.
(November–December 1990 by George Gopen and Judith Swan)
Having babies isn’t easy—and the standard explanation may be wrong.
(November–December 2013 by Pat Shipman)
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May 4, 2016
Plants with shorter lifespans tend to be better studied in evolutionary biology and population ecology, because research lasting longer than five years takes, patience, planning, perseverance after setbacks... and reliable funding. But the scientists who tackle long-term studies can reach an unexplored territory where scientific breakthroughs happen.
Aug 6, 2015
Finding a dead body within a suspected area is challenging, and new tools can help forensics teams cast a wider net.
Feb 5, 2016
Archaeologist and anthropologist Todd Surovell, freshly back from fieldwork in Mongolia, uses artifacts to understand why people choose certain locations to do various behaviors. In this Q&A, he talks about how his work is informed by observations of existing hunter-gatherers in order to determine how people decide where to do what they do, and how such decisions may be manifested spatially in the archaeological record.
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