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On the Cover

November-December 2004 Volume 92, Number 6

Plant perfumes such as roses, cut grass or cloves are instantly recognizable and, for most people, quite pleasant. But for the plants themselves, scents are a serious business, playing critical roles in reproduction and defense: Flowers use odor to attract specific pollinators, and many plant species synthesize pungent, toxic compounds to discourage herbivores. ...


FEATURE ARTICLES

Plant Scents *

Eran Pichersky

What we perceive as a fragrant perfume is actually a sophisticated tool used by plants to entice pollinators, discourage microbes and fend off predators


The Decline of the Blue Crab *

Richard Lee, Marc Frischer

Changing weather patterns and a suffocating parasite may have reduced the numbers of this species along the Eastern seaboard


Relative Pitch and the Song of Black-Capped Chickadees

Ron Weisman, Laurene Ratcliffe

Chickadees, like people, have a strong sense of relative pitch. These birds use skillful, precise pitch changes to advertise their quality and attract mates


Heavy-Metal Nuclear Power *

Eric Loewen

Could an unconventional coolant enable reactors to burn radioactive waste and produce both electric power and hydrogen?


The Puzzling Origins of AIDS

Jim Moore

Four rival theories provide some interesting lessons


* access restricted to members and subscribers


SCIENTISTS’ BOOKSHELF

Science at the Bar

Jennifer Mnookin

Tal Golan's engaging history of expert evidence in the courtroom, Laws of Men and Laws of Nature, is an extremely able account of the tangled, troubled connections between the world of law and the world of science

See all book reviews for this issue.


DEPARTMENTS

COMPUTING SCIENCE

Ode to the Code

Brian Hayes

Is the genetic code a "frozen accident," or is it still subject to natural selection?

SIGHTINGS

Watching Water Channels

Felice Frankel

The work of computational biophysicist Emad Tajkhorshid reveals the inner dynamics of molecules

MARGINALIA

Growing up Neandertal

Pat Shipman

Studies of fossils show that Neandertals matured differently and more quickly than humans

ENGINEERING

Past and Future Failures *

Henry Petroski

Footbridges provide the latest example of a 30-year cycle of bridge failures

SCIENCE OBSERVER

It Came from Outer Space?

David Schneider

A recently discovered impact crater in Italy could be just an old watering hole

Beauty and the Brain

Greg Ross

A neurobiologist visits the art museum

The New Wealth of Nations

Amos Esty

Does Bhutan have a better way to measure national progress?

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Perceiving Intentions

More than Amazing

Wavy Gravy

FROM THE PRESIDENT


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