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July-August Cover

On the Cover

July-August 2011 Volume 99, Number 4

In the past few years, virologists have discovered and characterized several families of giant viruses called, collectively, nucleo-cyto-plasmic large DNA viruses ...


FEATURE ARTICLES

Giant Viruses

James L. Van Etten

The recent discovery of really, really big viruses is changing views about the nature of viruses and the history of life


The Future of Time: UTC and the Leap Second *

David Finkleman, Steve Allen, John Seago, Rob Seaman, Ken Seidelmann

Earth’s clocks have always provided Sun time. But will that continue?


Alone in the Universe *

Howard A. Smith

Despite the growing catalog of extrasolar planets, data so far do not alter estimates that we are effectively on our own


* access restricted to members and subscribers


SCIENTISTS’ BOOKSHELF

Fun with Fysiks

Peter Woit

A review of How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival, by David Kaiser. Kaiser maintains that members of the Fundamental Fysiks Group—New Age physicists who held brainstorming sessions at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in the late 1970s—planted seeds that later blossomed into today’s field of quantum information science

See all book reviews for this issue.


DEPARTMENTS

MACROSCOPE

Aging: To Treat, or Not to Treat?

The possibility of treating aging is not just an idle fantasy

David Gems

COMPUTING SCIENCE

Quasirandom Ramblings

Random numbers have a peculiar power, even when they are only pseudo- or quasirandom

Brian Hayes

ENGINEERING

A Round Pie in a Square Box*

Mismatched pairs of simple things can inspire ingenious solutions

Henry Petroski

MARGINALIA

The Humpty-Dumpty Problem

Even when we understand their parts, living things are hard to put back together

Robert L. Dorit

SLIDE SHOW

Feynman: An Excerpt from a New Comic Biography

Read an excerpt from the new graphic-novel-style biography of Richard Feynman in this slide show

Jim Ottaviani, Leland Myrick, Hilary Sycamore

ETHICS

Making Ethical Guidelines Matter

Professional societies are uniquely positioned to develop effective codes of conduct

Michael J. Zigmond

SIGHTINGS

Turning the Lights Down Low at Galaxy M51

Telescope observations reveal the most detailed view yet of the Whirlpool Galaxy

Catherine Clabby

SCIENCE OBSERVER

Minuscule Speed Traps

Rotating molecules experience the Doppler effect

Fenella Saunders

A Walk in the Woods

Evidence builds that time spent in the natural world benefits human health

Anna Lena Phillips

In the News

LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Physical Imperfections

Is Race Real?

Energy and Population

Authorship Solutions

SIGMA XI TODAY (PDF)


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