Contemplating the Optiverse
October 10, 1998 | Volume 154 | Number 15
Cover: Mathematicians have worked out a new, elegant solution to the problem of turning a sphere inside out. That optimal sphere eversion, or optiverse, is now the star of a computer-generated video. (Image: John Sullivan et al./University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
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News of the Week:
Infrared Camera Goes the Distance
Peering deeper into space and farther back in time than ever before, the Hubble Space Telescope has discovered several galaxies that may be the most distant known in the universe.
RNA folding process reveals a new twist
RNA molecules can rearrange their internal structures even as they fold into their final, three-dimensional shapes.
Fossil jaw tells tale of whale evolution
Paleontologists claim to have found the oldest and most primitive whale fossil.
Epstein-Barr deaths tied to faulty protein
A rare, deadly complication of Epstein-Barr virus is caused by a defective immune-system protein.
Stopgap measure could limit stroke damage
The puzzling brain damage that continues for days after a stroke may depend on conduits between brain cells called gap junctions.
Orphanages improve image in child care
Children raised in two African orphanages show good emotional adjustment, challenging traditional developmental theories.
Pfiesteria blamed unfairly for fish sores?
Bloody sores emblematic of fish kills may have been unfairly blamed on Pfiesteria toxins when the real culprits could be fungi.
Tabulating an enormous assortment of knots
Two teams of mathematicians have tabulated all knotted loops having 16 or fewer crossings, coming up with 1,701,936 different knots.
Ancient childs burial on the Nile
A childs skeleton discovered in a Stone Age rock quarry in Egypt may represent the oldest known human burial in Africa.
Two stars, two planetary embryos
Although theorists have reasoned that stars that occur in pairs are less likely to be surrounded by disks of gas and dustthe embryonic material from which planets arisenew observations reveal that a close stellar partnership may actually hasten the birth of planets.
More water on the moon
The Lunar Prospector, the tiny robot that has been orbiting the moon since January, may have discovered much more water buried beneath the lunar poles than researchers originally believed.
Gene interplay may govern spread of cancer
A well-known cancer gene may control other genes that determine if the cancer can spread.
The human genome race heats up
The Human Genome Project has moved up, by 2 years, its schedule to decipher the whole human genome to 2003.
War on drugs enlists an antibody
Antibodies that chew up cocaine are tested in mice.
A soapy solution to the math puzzle of turning a sphere inside out
Mathematicians have worked out a geometrically optimal transformation that minimizes the energy required to exchange a sphere's inside and outside surfaces.
Science catches up with the shimmering sound of steel drums
Scientists are using metallurgy research to divine the secrets of the Caribbean steel drum's celestial sound.
Letters: A Selection from Letters to the Editor