Re: American Scientist Update, Vol. 10 No. 3

March 19, 2013

In this issue of American Scientist Update:

  • The Truth About Sperm and Eggs
  • An Acoustic Arms Race
  • The Promise of Perennial Grains
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: The Great Morbidity of the 21st Century
  • Join Sigma Xi in Lausanne, Switzerland, this June!
  • Sigma Xi SmartBrief
  • Sigma Xi Membership Information

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect in the upcoming issue of American Scientist magazine—slated to hit mailboxes and newsstands this April.

The Truth About Sperm and Eggs

Although they serve the same reproductive purposes, the systems of egg and sperm structure and biochemistry are far more varied across species than one might think. In addition, researchers have recently established that these genes are among the most rapidly evolving in the genome. Author Kathryn G. Claw offers a convincing and demonstrable hypothesis in her discussion of the reasons how and why animal, plant and fungal reproductive systems have developed and are evolving in this way.

An Acoustic Arms Race

Through the study of bat echolocation during predation, author Bill Conner has been able to determine that the animal kingdom still wins the day over human technological advances when it comes to sonar signaling. His investigation of the high level of sophistication in navigational hunting and defense systems, in both bats and their insect prey, reveal what he believes to be only a small portion of a brilliant dance of evolution between species.

The Promise of Perennial Grains

The domestication of small perennial plants with high yields has remained a challenge for agricultural science, despite successes in domesticating both smaller, low-yield species such as legumes, and their much larger, long-surviving counterparts like nut trees and fruit shrubs. David Van Tassel discusses the challenges inherent in attempts by scientists at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, as well as at other institutions, to develop stronger, smaller perennial grain plants, including wheat, rice and sunflower.

Alzheimer’s Disease: The Great Morbidity of the 21st Century

As the Baby Boomer generation in the United States continues to age, the search for the origins of some of the most difficult degenerative diseases gathers speed. Chief among these progressive illnesses is Alzheimer’s, which is expected to affect more than 16 million Americans by 2050. The study of therapies to increase vascularization of the brain, as opposed to previously lauded theories based on genetic tissue disorders, has yielded some very promising results in animal trials and suggests that forms of cognitive decline with aging may soon have therapeutic solutions.

Join Sigma Xi in Lausanne, Switzerland, this June!

Sigma Xi cordially invites you to attend a two-day science meeting on June 4-5, 2013, in Lausanne, Switzerland. The meeting will bring together students, professional scientists, Sigma Xi members and the public. There will be various feature sessions, including Science and Development; Science and Diplomacy; and Science, Technology and Peace Building. For further information and to register, please click here.

Sigma Xi’s SmartBrief

Sigma Xi has joined forces with SmartBrief to produce a daily e-mail newsletter, Sigma Xi SmartBrief. Each day, you’ll receive the most important and timely news stories about scientific research developments directly to your inbox. Thanks to a link-based format, you can easily read these stories or share them with colleagues and friends via the social media platform of your choice. To join and receive Sigma Xi's SmartBrief today, visit:

American Scientist's science books e-newsletter returns

This month we relaunched our e-newsletter covering reviews and other coverage of books about science and mathematics. Newly named the Scientists' Nightstand, this e-newsletter will appear at least bimonthly. Subscribe here—and if you can't wait for the next issue, view the current issue here.

Sigma Xi Membership

Do you love science? Are you dedicated to furthering scientific and engineering research in every field and every generation? If so, consider joining Sigma Xi today. We have memberships available for those both in and out of scientific fields, and the benefits of your membership are myriad.

American Scientist is the award-winning flagship publication of Sigma Xi

In 1886, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society was founded to honor excellence in scientific investigation, and encourage companionship and cooperation among researchers in all fields of science and engineering. As an honor society for scientists and engineers, Sigma Xi has become the global interdisciplinary society with nearly 60,000 sustaining members in 100 countries. For more information about Sigma Xi or into inquire about membership, please visit our website.

American Scientist Update alerts you to new content and other news from American Scientist, an illustrated bimonthly magazine of science and technology published by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. Complimentary copies of the magazine and electronic copies of articles are available to journalists upon request.

Media contact: Hallie Sessoms,

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your email address, visit American Scientist Online.

Problems? Comments?

Write to us at

If you do not wish to receive any further e-mails, please click here to manage your subscriptions.