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On the Cover

January-February 2011 Volume 99, Number 1

DNA is an exotic polymer that measures on the atomic scale in one dimension (width) and the human scale in the other (length). ...


FEATURE ARTICLES

Fractures and Bindings of Consciousness *

Don M. Tucker, Mark D. Holmes

Observing how awareness breaks down in epileptic seizures provides clues to its normal workings in the brain


From Treasury Vault to the Manhattan Project *

Cameron Reed

The U.S. War Department borrowed 14,000 tons of government silver in its drive to make the world’s first atomic bomb


Chromatin Evolving *

Gregory A. Babbitt

Despite our long familiarity with the chromosome, much about its function and evolution remains a mystery


Galaxies

Harlow Shapley, Virginia Trimble

An American Scientist classic article


* access restricted to members and subscribers


SCIENTISTS’ BOOKSHELF

Crossing the Danube

Peter Pesic

A review of Dance of the Photons: From Einstein to Quantum Teleportation, by Anton Zeilinger. In a tour de force of exposition, Zeilinger explains with verve and charm how quantum effects are made visible and measurable in experiments

See all book reviews for this issue.


DEPARTMENTS

MACROSCOPE

Spectator at the Disaster

Nature in violent action can be spectacle, tragedy and object of scientific wonder all at once

John Dvorak

COMPUTING SCIENCE

Flights of Fancy

How birds (and bird-watchers) compute the behavior of a flock on the wing

Brian Hayes

ENGINEERING

Bridges of the Mediterranean*

Living by the water often entails crossing it

Henry Petroski

MARGINALIA

The Biology of What Is Not There

Is it only natural selection that guides the shapes seen in nature?

Robert L. Dorit

ETHICS

A Troubled Tradition

It's time to rebuild trust among authors, editors and peer reviewers

David B. Resnik

SLIDE SHOW

Coffee-Table Books

Review images from some of our favorite science-related coffee-table books of the past year.

Anna Lena Phillips

SIGHTINGS

Mapping Macromolecules in Cells

Advanced biophotonics helps researchers observe the inner workings of living cells

Catherine Clabby

SCIENCE OBSERVER

Cracking Cellular Motion

By applying biophysical principles to a simulated slice of a cell, researchers uncover molecular speed limits

Catherine Clabby

Get a Grainy Grip

Robot hands may work better if they look more like beanbags than fingers

Fenella Saunders

Unauthorized Reproduction Not Prohibited

Fatherless boa litters extend the realm of parthenogenic vertebrates

Morgan Ryan

In the News

LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Engineering Real Energy Solutions

Poetry and Science Still Talk

Getting Science Education Right

Teach Us Teachers

SIGMA XI TODAY (PDF)


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