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On the Cover

May-June 2004 Volume 92, Number 3

Southeast Asia's Mekong River hosts about a dozen catfish species in the family Pangasiidae. Overfishing threatens some of these species, including the Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas), which the World Conservation Union recently ranked as critically endangered. ...


FEATURE ARTICLES

The Imperiled Giants of the Mekong

M. Jake Vander Zanden, Zeb Hogan, Peter Moyle, Bernie May, Ian Baird

Ecologists struggle to understand—and protect—Southeast Asia's large migratory catfish


The Structure of the Human Brain *

John Allen, Joel Bruss, Hanna Damasio

Precise studies of the size and shape of the brain have yielded fresh insights into neural development, differences between the sexes and human evolution


The Shadow Effect and the Case of Félix Tisserand *

William McLaughlin, Sylvia Miller

The most eminent astronomer who never came to popular attention was lost in the shadow of his countryman, Pierre-Simon Laplace


Leaves, Flowers and Garbage Bags: Making Waves *

Eran Sharon, Michael Marder, Harry Swinney

Rippled fractal patterns on thin plastic sheets and biological membranes offer elegant examples of the spontaneous breaking of symmetry


Optically Trapped Fermi Gases *

John Thomas, Michael Gehm

A few hundred thousand atoms, chilled to near absolute zero, mimic the physics of other extreme systems, including neutron stars and superconductors


* access restricted to members and subscribers


DEPARTMENTS

COMPUTING SCIENCE

g-OLOGY

Brian Hayes

The decades-long quest for the elusive physical constant g

MACROSCOPE

Engineering and the Human Spirit

Domenico Grasso

A well-rounded curriculum might produce a more diverse engineering workforce

SIGHTINGS

Black-Light Sandwich

Felice Frankel

A "black-light sandwich" transforms optical interference patterns into radiant bull's-eyes

MARGINALIA

A Palaeontological Puzzle Solved?

Keith Stewart Thomson

Ripples of controversy surround a curious Scottish fish

ENGINEERING

Pyramids as Inclined Planes *

Henry Petroski

A recent theory reconsiders how the pyramids of Egypt were constructed

SCIENCE OBSERVER

Descending Scales

Greg Ross

Did the first snakes appear on land or at sea?

V838 Mon: A Stellar Mystery

Michael Szpir

The peculiar behavior of a red supergiant star at the outer edges of our galaxy has yet to be explained

No Use Moving the Cheese

Christopher R. Brodie

Deleting a gene turns a normal mouse into an olfactory superhero

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Rite Stuff

Green-Eyed Monster

Uncommon Tragedy

Small World

Nile Marker

Supply or Demand?

FROM THE PRESIDENT


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