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Scientists' Nightstand

Not One for Chit-Chat, Naive in Politics, Wheeler Was a Dealer in Big Ideas

Chris Impey

A review of Geons, Black Holes, and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics, by John Archibald Wheeler with Kenneth Ford.


Tremors and Eruptions All Around—Especially in California

José A. Rial

A review of The Earth in Turmoil: Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Their Impact on Humankind, by Kerry Sieh and Simon LeVay.


Splish Splash: Excerpts from Fresh Water, The Ocean, Our Future and Encyclopedia of Fishes


Neptune's Wrath

John Ward

A review of Salt, Diet and Health: Neptune's Poisoned Chalice, by Graham A. MacGregor and Hugh E. de Wardener.


Encyclopedia of the Solar System, Reasoning with the Infinite and more . . .


Strange Animal

Tim Tokaryk

A review of The Garden of Ediacara: Discovering the First Complex Life, by Mark A. S. McMenamin.


Moonlit Monks

Stephen Maran

A review of Astronomies and Cultures in Early Medieval Europe, by Stephen C. McCluskey.


Play Time

Lee Dugatkin

A review of Animal Play: Evolutionary, Comparative and Ecological Perspectives, edited by Marc Bekoff and John A. Byers.


Uneven Beat

Samuel Petuchowski

A review of The Quantum Beat: The Physical Principles of Atomic Clocks, by F. G. Major.


Those Magnificent Men and Their Macromolecules

Tim Royappa

A review of Inventing Polymer Science: Staudinger, Carothers, and the Emergence of Macromolecular Chemistry, by Yasu Furukawa.


Simple Minds

Corey Lafferty

A review of Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds, by Daniel C. Dennett.


Memory Refreshed

Lynne Baker-Ward

A review of Memory Development Between Two and Twenty, 2nd ed., by Wolfgang Schneider and Michael Pressley.


Illuminating Tales

Thomas Isenhour

A review of To Light Such a Candle: Chapters in the History of Science and Technology, by Keith J. Laidler.


Muddling by Example

Mark Browning

A review of Inscribing Science: Scientific Texts and the Materiality of Communication, edited by Timothy Lenoir.


Lessons from Russia

Alexander Gurshtein

A review of What Have We Learned About Science and Technology from Russian Experience? by Loren R. Graham and Soviet Science under Control: The Struggle for Influence, by Jeffrey L. Roberg.


Resetting the Clock

David Morrison

A review of Nuclear Weapons: The Road to Zero, edited by Joseph Rotblat and The Gift of Time: The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons Now, by Jonathan Schell.


World-Class Mathletes and Their Open Brains: Excerpts from The Cambridge Companion to Galileo, My Brain is Open and The Geometric Universe


Moon over Chicxulub: Will Night Finally Fall on the Dinosaur-Extinction Debate?

Kirk Johnson

A review of Night Comes to the Cretaceous: Dinosaur Extinction and the Transformation of Modern Geology, by James Lawrence Powell.


A God Who Does Not Itemize Versus a Science of the Sacred

Edward Davis

A review of Belief in God in an Age of Science, by John Polkinghorne and Skeptics and True Believers: The Exhilarating Connection between Science and Religion, by Chet Raymo.


Phantoms in the Brain, The De-Voicing of Society and more . . .


Famed Physiologist's Self-Portrait Is More than Meets the Camel's Nose

Sentiel Rommel

A review of The Camel's Nose: Memoirs of a Curious Scientist, by Knut Schmidt-Nielsen.


Fun with Fungus

Gary Fine

A review of Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds: The Remarkable Story of the Fungus Kingdom and Its Impact on Human Affairs, by George W. Hudler.


Doolittle Too Early

Peter Bowler

A review of Charles Doolittle Walcott, Paleontologist, by Ellis L. Yochelson.


Coming to Terms

Mary Peet

A review of Climate Change and the Global Harvest: Potential Impacts of the Greenhouse Effect on Agriculture, by Cynthia Rosenzweig and Daniel Hillel.


When Marine Reptiles Ruled

Peter Dodson

A review of Ancient Marine Reptiles, edited by Jack M. Callaway and Elizabeth L. Nicholls.


Heat's Bouncer

Randall Black

A review of Maxwell's Demon: Why Warmth Disperses and Time Passes, by Hans Christian von Baeyer.


Colliding Paths

Richard Cook

A review of Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics, by Peter Galison.


Your Inner Ferengi

Donald Mershon

A review of Star Trek on the Brain: Alien Minds, Human Minds, by Robert Sekuler and Randolph Blake.


Kuru Culture

Donald McGraw

A review of The Trembling Mountain: A Personal Account of Kuru, Cannibals and Mad Cow Disease, by Robert Klitzman.





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Alvin Sub

Happy Birthday to Alvin! August 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Alvin, the submersible that has been so influential in ocean research, including the discovery of hydrothermal vents. In 2014, a retrofitted Alvin also took its first test cruise.

Heather Olins, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, studies microbial ecology at deep sea hydrothermal vents with the help of Alvin, and shares her personal tribute to the submersible on these landmark occasions.

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