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VOLUME 103 | NUMBER 5 | September 2015

The Past and Future Space Suit

David P. Cadogan

These single-occupant spacecraft enable human exploration outside of Earth’s atmosphere, and new designs and materials promise even greater functionality.

Visualizing Biological Networks as Mandalas

Caryn Babaian

With an Eastern spiritual symbol and some colored chalk, a biology teacher explores the interdependence and the evanescence of all living things.

A Protective Cloak Against Earthquakes and Storms

Gregory J. Gbur

Invisibility cloaking is not close on the horizon, but shielding from other types of damaging waves may be more feasible.

Programs and Probability

Brian Hayes

Computer programs must cope with chance and uncertainty, just as people do. One solution is to build probabilistic reasoning into the programming language.

JWST's Limiting Factor

Traffic and Speed

New Location, Same Mission

Jamie L. Vernon

Fearless Symmetry

Daniel S. Silver

A brief review of Creating Symmetry: The Artful Mathematics of Wallpaper Patterns, by Frank A. Farris

One Singular Sensation

Katie L. Burke

A brief review of Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind, by David J. Linden

Enter the Dragons

Fenella Saunders

A brief review of Dragonflies: Magnificent Creatures of Water, Air, and Land, by Pieter van Dokkum

The Most Powerful Movements in Biology

S. N. Patek

From jellyfish stingers to mantis shrimp appendages, it takes more than muscle to move extremely fast.

An Incubator for Cooperation Across the Disciplines

Henry Petroski

At the Oskar von Miller Forum in Munich, the future of architecture, engineering, and design is emerging organically.

Particles Crash Again

Fenella Saunders

New Sites on the Trail of Early Humans

Sandra J. Ackerman

Using everything from high-tech imaging to handheld sand sieves, researchers are finding traces of our early human ancestors in some unexpected places.

Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Quality

Katie L. Burke


Katie L. Burke

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

Do Humans Possess a Second Sense of Hearing?

Neil Todd

The cochlea is a recent evolutionary development. Mammalian ears, including our own, still also rely on features from our early vertebrate ancestors.

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