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25 Years in North Carolina

For 25 years, from 1990 onward, American Scientist has been published from headquarters in North Carolina. We celebrated this anniversary by asking our past and current editors to give their favorite articles published during that period. These articles represent significant authors and findings, as well as results that warrant revisiting and give prescient insight into more recent research. Much has happened over the past 25 years—in 1990, the World Wide Web was created, the Hubble Space Telescope went into orbit, and the Human Genome Project was founded. We look forward to seeing what the next 25 years will bring.

Also, be sure to check out our page of articles about North Carolina subjects and researchers: http://www.americanscientist.org/blog/pub/celebrating-25-years-in-north-carolina

Early days in NC: 1990–1999

(Pre-1998 articles available via JSTOR.)

  • 2015-11Briggs_classicClick to Enlarge ImageExtraordinary Fossils
    By Derek E. G. Briggs. Occasionally circumstances conspire to put flesh on the bones of the skeletal fossil record, thus leaving a vivid snapshot of an ancient world. (March–April 1991)
  • A Look Inside the Living Cell
    By David S. Goodsell. No one has ever seen the molecules of life in their natural environment, but imagination aided by careful quantitative analysis can paint their portrait. (September–October 1992)

  • Mathematics and the Buckyball
    By Fan Chung and Shlomo Sternberg. The elaborate symmetries of this soccer ball–shaped molecule allow many of its properties to be calculated from first principles. (January–February 1993) Click to Enlarge Image

  • Horizontal Gene Transfer
    By Carlos F. Amábile-Cuevas and Marina E. Chicurel. Gene flow from parent to child is the basis of heredity. Gene flow between unrelated organisms, even across biological kingdoms may be a cornerstone of evolution. (July–August 1993)

  • Prediction, Parsimony, and Noise
    By Hugh G. Gauch Jr. A model can be more accurate than the data used to build it because it amplifies hidden patterns and discards unwanted noise. (September–October 1993)

  • Why Ravens Share
    Click to Enlarge ImageBy Bernd Heinrich and John Marzluff. Young ravens eat regularly, even when food is rare, because they direct one another to food bonanzas and fend off adults by feeding in large crowds. (July–August 1995)

  • How a Scientific Discovery Is Made: A Case History
    By Gerald Holton, Hasok Chang, and Edward Jurkowitz. The case of high-temperature superconductivity shows that discoveries have broad and deep root systems, hidden personal aspects, and lessons for science policy. (July–August 1996)

  • Into the 21st century: 2000–2009

  • Fishing Down Aquatic Food Webs
    By Daniel Pauly, Villy Christensen, Rainer Froese, and Maria Palomares. Industrial fishing over the past half-century has noticeably depleted the topmost links in aquatic food chains. (January–February 2000)

  • The Shape of the Universe: Ten Possibilities
    By Colin C. Adams and Joey Shapiro. Experimental evidence has hinted that the shape of the universe may be 2001-09AdamsF3.jpgClick to Enlarge Imagefound among the ten orientable Euclidean 3-manifolds.  (September–October 2001)

  • Health and Human Society
    By Clyde Hertzman. Wealthier nations are not always healthier, and efforts to improve health can be swamped by the effects of inequality and conflict. (November–December 2001)

  • Why We See What We Do
    By R. Beau Lotto, Dale Purves, and Surajit Nundy. A probabilistic strategy based on past experience explains the remarkable difference between what we see and physical reality. (May–June 2002)

  • Biofilms
    By Joe Harrison, Raymond Turner, Lyrium Marques, and Howard Ceri. A new understanding of these microbial 2005-11CeriF6.jpgClick to Enlarge Imagecommunities is driving a revolution that may transform the science of microbiology. (November–December 2005)

  • The Source of Europe's Mild Climate
    By Richard Seager. The notion that the Gulf Stream is responsible for keeping Europe anomalously warm turns out to be a myth. (July–August 2006)

  • Evolution "for the Good of the Group"
    By David Sloan Wilson and Edward O. Wilson. The process known as group selection was once accepted unthinkingly, then was widely discredited; it's time for a more discriminating assessment. (September–October 2008) (subscription required)

  • No time like the present: 2010–2015


  • Assessing Risks from Bisphenol-A
    By Heather Patisaul. Evaluating human health risks from endocrine disruptors such as BPA is difficult, but 2010-01PatisaulF2.jpgClick to Enlarge Imageanimal studies suggest trouble is afoot. (January–February 2010)

  • When Scientists Choose Motherhood
    By Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci. A single factor goes a long way in explaining the dearth of women in math-intensive fields. How can we address it? (March–April 2012)

  • Flowers and Ribbons of Ice
    By James R. Carter. Beautiful, gravity-defying structures can form when water freezes under the right conditions. (September–October 2013)

  • How to Fight Back Against Antibiotic Resistance
    By Gautam Dantas and Morten O. A. Sommer. Mapping the exchange of genes between pathogens and nonpathogens offers new ways to understand and manage the spread of drug-resistant strains. (January–February 2014) (subscription required)

  • Journey to the Solar System's Third Zone
    By S. Alan Stern. New Horizons' trip to Pluto closed one era of space exploration and opens an exciting new 2015-01SternF1.jpgClick to Enlarge Imageone. (January–February 2015)

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