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On the Cover

September-October 2003 Volume 91, Number 5

The decommissioning of the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant has required the disposal of many large components, including the inner shroud of the reactor vessel, shown here. Submerged in water, the radioactive shroud produces an eerie glow as the result of Cherenkov radiation. ...


FEATURE ARTICLES

The Importance of Context in Genetics *

H. Frederik Nijhout

Genetic effects can be altered by their surroundings, and this determines the inheritance of traits such as flower color and the likelihood of cancer


The Useful Pursuit of Shadows

Graeme Stephens

The study of clouds has profoundly influenced science and human culture and stands poised to lead climate science forward again


Thorium Fuel for Nuclear Energy

Mujid Kazimi

An unconventional tactic might one day ease concerns that spent fuel could be used to make a bomb


Discovering the Edge of the Solar System *

Chadwick Trujillo

Recent discoveries suggest that planets larger than Pluto may exist in the outer reaches of our solar system


The Sweet Science of Glycobiology *

Ram Sasisekharan, James Myette

Complex carbohydrates, molecules that are particularly important for communication among cells, are coming under systematic study


* access restricted to members and subscribers


SCIENTISTS’ BOOKSHELF

"Inseparable in All Their Enterprises"

Mordechai Feingold

Robert Hooke and Sir Christopher Wren were lifelong friends who contributed individually and jointly to nearly every branch of the mathematical, physical and life sciences. Two recent biographies highlight their

See all book reviews for this issue.


DEPARTMENTS

COMPUTING SCIENCE

In Search of the Optimal Scumsucking Bottomfeeder

Brian Hayes

Brian Hayes ponders ichnospecies and the undiscovered rules that may have guided their labyrinthine burrowing in the ancient seafloor

MACROSCOPE

Science as Democratizer

Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Robert Lawrence Kuhn considers the links between scientific literacy and vigorous democracy—and the resulting implications for public policy

SIGHTINGS

Richard Feynman's Diagrams

Felice Frankel

The Caltech physicist's famously elegant figures in quantum electrodynamics replaced dense lines of algebra with intuitively accessible "pictures" of an invisible world

MARGINALIA

The Harrison-Maskelyne Affair

J. Donald Fernie

J. Donald Fernie recounts an important controversy of the eighteenth century: Is longitude best reckoned by the moon or by the clock?

ENGINEERING

Fuel Cells *

Henry Petroski

Henry Petroski on the promise and pitfalls of a cleaner automotive energy source

SCIENCE OBSERVER

Greenland or Whiteland?

David Schneider

Global warming may cause the world's largest island to grow

FROM THE PRESIDENT


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