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On the Cover

September-October 2006 Volume 94, Number 5

In 1992, astronomers made the first confirmed detection of planets around a star other than the Sun. Strangely, these two "exoplanets" were orbiting a pulsar—the remnant of a supernova explosion. ...


FEATURE ARTICLES

Rethinking the Fall of Easter Island

Terry Hunt

New evidence points to an alternative explanation for a civilization's collapse


Algae-Dominated Reefs *

Peter Vroom, Kimberly Page, Jean Kenyon, Russell Brainard

Numerous reports suggest that reefs must be dominated by coral to be healthy, but many thriving reefs depend more on algae


Extrasolar Planetary Systems *

Gregory P. Laughlin

Observations of distant worlds are beginning to reveal how planetary systems form and evolve


The Zebrafish Exposed *

Ralf Dahm

"See-through" mutants may hold the key to unraveling the mysteries of embryonic development


Modifying Light *

Joseph Castellano

Ubiquitous today, liquid-crystal displays are the outgrowth of more than a century of experimentation and development


* access restricted to members and subscribers


SCIENTISTS’ BOOKSHELF

Top Secret

Gregg Herken

A review of The Jasons: The Secret History of Science's Postwar Elite, by Ann Finkbeiner. Finkbeiner shines a spotlight on a hush-hush group of top scientists who since 1960 have helped the government find solutions to difficult technical problems having mostly to do with defense

See all book reviews for this issue.


DEPARTMENTS

COMPUTING SCIENCE

Connecting the Dots

Brian Hayes

Can the tools of graph theory and social-network studies unravel the next big plot?

MACROSCOPE

Beauty Is Only Feather Deep

Catherine L. Raven

Was the bald eagle really the best choice of national symbol? A closer look at the habits and evolutionary lineage of this American icon casts doubt

SIGHTINGS

Molecular Morphing

Felice Frankel

Computer-generated ball-and-stick representations of molecular structure

MARGINALIA

The Metaphor, Unchained

Roald Hoffmann

Scientists improve their craft by writing about it

ENGINEERING

On the Road *

Henry Petroski

The Interstate Highway System turns 50 this year

SCIENCE OBSERVER

Grow Your Own?

David Schneider

Would the widespread adoption of biomass-derived transportation fuels really help the environment?

Shake an Egg

Fenella Saunders

Some tadpoles hatch prematurely upon sensing a predator's vibrations

In the News

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Correct Dosage

Scientists vs. Engineers

Humanizing Science

Artificial Evolution

Low-Energy Pathways in Space

FROM THE PRESIDENT

SIGMA XI TODAY (PDF)


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