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On the Cover

July-August 2006 Volume 94, Number 4

To a mathematician, the iconic soccer ball is a sphere made of polygons—12 pentagons and 20 hexagons. By using a mathematical construction called a branched covering, soccer-ball patterns can be mapped onto other surfaces, such as the knotted torus on the cover. ...


FEATURE ARTICLES

Protecting Ourselves from Shellfish Poisoning *

Mary Silver

Molecular probes deployed by California scientists are just the latest weapons in our species' long battle with harmful algae


Constructing Animal Locomotion from New Thermodynamics Theory *

Adrian Bejan, James Marden

Although running, flying and swimming appear to be distinctly different types of movement, they may have underlying physics in common


Sleep to Remember *

Matthew Walker

The brain needs sleep before and after learning new things, regardless of the type of memory. Naps can help, but caffeine isn't an effective substitute


The Topology and Combinatorics of Soccer Balls *

Dieter Kotschick

When mathematicians think about soccer balls, the number of possible designs quickly multiplies


The Source of Europe's Mild Climate

Richard Seager

The notion that the Gulf Stream is responsible for keeping Europe anomalously warm turns out to be a myth


* access restricted to members and subscribers


SCIENTISTS’ BOOKSHELF

In the Twinkle of a Fly

Rudolf Raff

A review of Coming to Life: How Genes Drive Development, by Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard. Nobel laureate Nüsslein-Volhard provides an engaging introduction to what developmental biologists now understand about how embryos work

See all book reviews for this issue.


DEPARTMENTS

COMPUTING SCIENCE

The Semicolon Wars

Brian Hayes

Every programmer knows there is one true programming language. A new one every week

MACROSCOPE

Science and the Theft of Humanity

Geoffrey Harpham

In science's renewed interest in the human condition, a humanist sees the promise of a dialogue and a new golden age

SIGHTINGS

Talking Pictures

Felice Frankel

Harvard astronomer Alyssa Goodman on the visual representations in her work

MARGINALIA

Six Months in Ascension

J. Donald Fernie

Thanks in part to his intrepid wife, David Gill made the observations that metered the 19th-century solar system

ENGINEERING

A Great Profession *

Henry Petroski

Mining engineer and president Herbert Clark Hoover captured the nature of engineering with an economy of words

SCIENCE OBSERVER

Smart as We Can Get?

David Schneider

Gains on certain tests of intelligence are ending in some places

Enforcing the Generation Gap

Amos Esty

Juvenile chameleons have a well-justified fear of their elders

Going Against the Flow

Fenella Saunders

Sometimes particles prefer to propel themselves uphill

In the News

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Political Science

Toes Unstuck

Regarding Einstein

Guessing About Gauss

FROM THE PRESIDENT

SIGMA XI TODAY (PDF)


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