In this issue of
American Scientist Update
• Engineered Molecules for Smarter Medicines
• Social Media Monitors the Largest Fish in the Sea
• The Challenge of Manufacturing Between Macro and Micro
• Simulating Star Formation on the Galactic Scale
• Twisted Math and Beautiful Geometry
See below for more about the exciting content in the the March - April 2014
Have an iPad? Get American Scientist on our
Engineered Molecules for Smarter Medicines
Specially designed polymers can dodge the body’s immune defenses.
The human body has many ways of defending against potentially harmful foreign substances, but sometimes, those defenses can interfere with drug treatments. In this feature article, Darlene K. Taylor and Uddhav Balami write about molecularly engineered substances that can safely carry a drug dosage to a target site within the body.
Social Media Monitors the Largest Fish in the Sea
Snap-happy tourists can help researchers understand and conserve whale sharks.
If you’re ever snorkeling or diving, remember to grab your camera if you to see a whale shark! Because of their declining numbers and the difficulties in monitoring them, whale sharks can be challenging for scientists to study. In this feature article, Tim K. Davies describes methods for tracking whale sharks using tourists’ photographs shared through social media.
The Challenge of Manufacturing between Macro and Micro
Classic ways of paper folding inspire millimeter-scale machines.
Children’s pop-up books are one source of inspiration for engineers as they develop small devices that are manufactured flat, cut, and then folded into 3D shapes. In this feature article, Robert J. Wood gives detailed descriptions of how his group uses this technique to build electromechanical devices that are just millimeters wide.
Simulating Star Formation on the Galactic Scale
Powerful calculations provide an extraordinary view of stellar birthplaces.
In the past, it has been difficult to link large-scale dynamics of galaxies with small-scale processes of star formation. In this feature article, Clare Dobbs writes about the growing ability to study star formation in a galactic context because of increased computing power and simulations that cover a range of scales.
Twisted Math and Beautiful Geometry
Four families of equations expose the hidden aesthetics of everyday objects.
The logarithmic spiral, the cycloid, and epicycloids are a few of concepts of geometry that can be found in many places within nature. In this feature article, Eli Maor and Eugen Jost review these geometric shapes and demonstrate how their equations can uncover hidden aesthetics.
senior editor Sandra J. Ackerman asks Dr. Nicholas Schiff about the possibility of latent brain capacity in seemingly unresponsive patients.
column, Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann entreats readers to remember that even though strong chemical bonds and energetic reactions seem to be more captivating, smaller-scale atomic and molecular interactions occur in the world around us and inside us, as well.
column, Lee S. Langston discusses how the pebble-bed nuclear reactor, a novel but tested technology, can make fission energy safer for the ever-growing demand for energy.
column describes more than half a century of Earth’s change recorded by satellites. These high-tech satellites are capturing after-effects of natural and anthropogenic processes, including volcanic eruptions that are large enough to change Earth’s surface and the accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide over certain regions of the globe.
column, Brian Hayes discusses commonly accessible information that can be used to identify you online, bringing to light the changing meaning of privacy in an increasingly connected world.
column, Leila Christine Nadir explores the science behind artist Brandon Ballengée’s idea of changing the way we humans see the insects that share our world. Eye-catching blue canvases that begin to glow with ultraviolet lights at sunset invite all sorts of creeping and fluttering creatures to gather at what Ballengée calls
Love Motels for Insects.
section, you’ll find brief book reviews on topics including awe-inspiring destinations in the universe, great extinctions and their effects, and a 1945 medical student’s journal of his unforgettable experiences during the liberation of a concentration camp in Germany.
eNewsletter to receive an email that lists noteworthy reviews of books about science and mathematics from a variety of venues, as well as other news from the world of science books.
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 sustaining members in 100 countries. For more information about Sigma Xi, or to inquire about membership, please
visit our website.
American Scientist Update
alerts you to new content and other news from
American Scientist, an illustrated bi-monthly 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.
: Jennifer Dorff,
Subscribe, unsubscribe or change your email address:
American Scientist Online.
Problems? Comments? Write to us: