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VOLUME 104 | NUMBER 3 | May 2016

The Path to Self-Actualization

Jamie L. Vernon

Energy–Water Nexus: Head-On Collision or Near Miss?

Kristen Averyt

Energy production requires water, and clean water requires energy. How will we overcome this feedback loop in a warming, increasingly crowded world?

Cybersecurity Is Harder Than Building Bridges

Peter J. Denning, Dorothy E. Denning

Protecting the Internet and online computerized systems from attack is a difficult, messy problem. Here’s why.

The Imprecise Search for Extraterrestrial Habitability

Kevin Heng

How can scientists hunt for alien habitats without defining life?

Microgravity's Hottest

Cuban and American Physics

Sandra J. Ackerman

As the political divide between the two countries begins to narrow, enthusiasm for scientific collaboration is running high on both sides.

Flint Water Crisis Yields Hard Lessons in Science and Ethics

Katie L. Burke

Q&A with Virginia Tech civil engineer Marc Edwards on uncovering the water crises in Flint, Michigan and Washington, DC and his efforts to keep it from happening again.

Moving Forward After Flint

Katie L. Burke

Virginia Tech graduate student Siddhartha Roy speaks about his experiences uncovering the Flint water crisis and how it has affected his outlook on science and his career.


Katie L. Burke

In this roundup, digital features editor Katie L. Burke summarizes notable recent developments in scientific research, selected from reports compiled in the free electronic newsletter Sigma Xi SmartBrief. Online:

A Fish's Armor

Robert Frederick

Clearing and staining the scalyhead sculpin reveals defensive solutions that are highly mobile.

Year one of our new view of Pluto

Traffic Signals, Dilemma Zones, and Red-Light Cameras

Henry Petroski

After almost a century of study, engineers are still debating the best ways to help drivers move as safely and efficiently as possible.

Paradoxes, Contradictions, and the Limits of Science

Noson S. Yanofsky

Many research results define boundaries of what cannot be known, predicted, or described. Classifying these limitations shows us the structure of science and reason.

The Many Faces of Fool's Gold

David Rickard

Pyrite, an iron sulfide, may be worthless to gold miners, but the mineral has great utility in everything from fertilizer to electronics.

Behind the Scenes, Between the Lines

Carolyn Beans

Geobiologist Hope Jahren’s memoir, Lab Girl, takes readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of science as she recounts the triumphs and misadventures of setting up three labs and conducting research in the Canadian Arctic, Ireland, Hawaii, and across the continental United States.

Adventures of a Spacefaring Feline

Dianne Timblin

For Professor Astro Cat's Atomic Adventure, author Dominic Walliman and illustrator Ben Newman bring an intrepid cosmic traveler back for a journey through physics' many realms.

No Rust for the Weary

Dianne Timblin

In Rust, journalist Jonathan Waldman follows a winding, oxidized path—to the Statue of Liberty, through Alaskan oil fields, into the Ball can-making factory, and well beyond—revealing how the work of corrosion engineers improves contemporary life, making it easier, more productive, and far safer.

On the Origin of Origin Stories

Ryan Seals

Through the pages of A Brief History of Creation, Bill Mesler and H. James Cleaves II trace humanity’s obsession with the origin story of life on Earth as Westerners have told it, from the philosophy of Anaximander in the 6th century BCE to a 21st-century biology lab at Harvard Medical School.

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