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On the Cover

May-June 2000 Volume 88, Number 3

Nanotechnology developed by engineers contrasts with the bionanotechnology used in living cells: DNA strands are typical of bionanotechnology, with unusual, organic shapes and complicated patterns of interaction. A hypothetical bearing, shown wrapped around a DNA strand, takes an engineering-inspired approach, with a rigid, diamond-like lattice of atoms rolled into a perfect cylinder. ...


FEATURE ARTICLES

Superconducting Cosmic Strings *

Alejandro Gangui

These relics from the early universe could be the answer to many astrophysical conundrums


Biomolecules and Nanotechnology

David Goodsell

Evolution has forced innovative solutions to biomolecular problems. Some may inform the growing field of nanotechnology


Vision and the Coding of Natural Images *

Bruno Olshausen, David Field

The human brain may hold the secrets to the best image-compression algorithms


Reengineering the Electric Grid

Thomas Overbye

Deregulation places new demands on one of the world's largest engineered structures—and presents new opportunities for educated consumers


Mitochondrial DNA and the Peopling of the New World *

Theodore Schurr

Genetic variations among Native Americans provide further clues to who first populated the Americas and when they arrived


* access restricted to members and subscribers


DEPARTMENTS

COMPUTING SCIENCE

"The Nerds Have Won"

Brian Hayes

Geeks, suits and Internet destiny

MARGINALIA

Huxley, Wilberforce and the Oxford Museum

Keith Stewart Thomson

In 1860, a historic debate over evolution

ENGINEERING

Making Headlines *

Henry Petroski

Distinguishing between science and engineering

SCIENCE OBSERVER

Splendor on the Grass

Michelle Hoffman

Using the lawn as photographic film

Free-Floating Planets

David Schneider

Orion's Trapezium cluster may house 13 wandering worlds

Whetstone Gravestones

David Schoonmaker

Indiana cemeteries become a geological hunting ground

Identified Flying Objects

Michael Szpir

A NASA Web site maps orbiting spacecraft

Speed Chills

William Cannon

Tracking the world's fastest glacier

Giving a Damn about Traffic

Michael Szpir

A "traffic temperature" map for Atlanta commuters

FROM THE PRESIDENT


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