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On the Cover

November-December 2003 Volume 91, Number 6

Specialized Strepomyces bacteria, similar to these S. coelicolor mutants, produce most of the antibiotics used for human and veterinary medicine, plus many other commercially relevant drugs and enzymes. Current molecular technology allows almost any protein to be used as a potential therapeutic or industrial compound, but many require some re-optimization before they can be used outside of their normal cellular environment. ...


FEATURE ARTICLES

The Centers of Planets *

Sandro Scandolo, Raymond Jeanloz

In laboratories and computers, shocked and squeezed matter turns metallic, coughs up diamonds and reveals Earth's white-hot center


Aging: A Biological Perspective

Robert Arking

A variety of techniques extend the lives of model organisms, and similar approaches might help human beings stay healthy longer


Survival of the Fittest Molecule *

Willem Stemmer, Brett Holland

Biochemists harness a novel form of evolution to sculpt new compounds for the fight against dengue fever, cancer and other modern plagues


The Origin of Gold in South Africa

Jason Kirk, Joaquin Ruiz, John Chesley, Spencer Titley

Ancient rivers filled with gold, a spectacular upwelling of magma and a colossal meteor impact combined to make the Witwatersrand basin a very special place


Moving Up in the World *

Mark Aldenderfer

Archaeologists seek to understand how and when people came to occupy the Andean and Tibetan plateaus


* access restricted to members and subscribers


SCIENTISTS’ BOOKSHELF

Butterflies as Bioindicators

Henry Horn

The superb Butterflies: Ecology and Evolution Taking Flight contains much to interest those with a background in science and an amateur’s love of lepidoptera

See all book reviews for this issue.


DEPARTMENTS

COMPUTING SCIENCE

A Lucid Interval

Brian Hayes

Brian Hayes on the pluses and minuses of interval arithmetic, an error-controlling alternative to familiar floating-point computation

SIGHTINGS

DNA in Action

Felice Frankel

Felice Frankel on a historic glimpse of life's machinery in action—the first electron micrograph of genes during transcription

MARGINALIA

We Are All Africans

Pat Shipman

Pat Shipman reviews the mounting evidence that the first modern humans evolved in Africa

ENGINEERING

Hotel Design *

Henry Petroski

Henry Petroski explores the inevitable compromises of design, using Edinburgh's Point Hotel as an example

SCIENCE OBSERVER

First in Flight?

David Schneider

Were the Wright brothers really the first human beings to fly?

Gaul in the Family

Greg Ross

An English geneticist constructs an evolutionary "tree" of European languages

"Black" and "White" Not Quite Right

Christopher R. Brodie

In Brazil, racial appearances can be deceiving

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Suspension of Belief

Political Science

Timely Argument

Set Photons for 'Mail'

Worm's-Eye View

FROM THE PRESIDENT


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