Sid Perkins' Articles

  • Reviews & Previews

    What Makes a Hero?

    Stories of heroes are all over the news: First responders and even concerned passersby put themselves in harm’s way to help others, going against every instinct for self-preservation. What could explain such selfless acts? Even Charles Darwin struggled to understand the evolutionary upside of self-sacrifice.

  • Reviews & Previews

    A Tale of Seven Elements

    The periodic table, which arranges elements based on chemical behavior and physical properties, is a triumph of science. Yet the first table, developed in the late 1860s, was riddled with gaps created by undiscovered elements.

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  • People

    Embracing the swarm

    Entomologist Michael Raupp is enjoying Swarmageddon. The giant batch of cicadas began emerging from the ground in late April and will be heard in some northeastern states through June.
  • Reviews & Previews

    The Girls of Atomic City

    In late 1942, less than a year after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government began snapping up property in eastern Tennessee. Within a matter of months, approximately 59,000 acres of farms and orchards, homesteads and hovels just south of the Black Oak Ridge hosted immense construction sites that became the home of supersecret facilities used to enrich uranium for the Manhattan Project. Kiernan chronicles the fascinating lives of some of the young women who lived and worked in this fenced-in town, helping to develop the first atomic bombs.

  • Reviews & Previews

    Mirror Earth

    According to one popular notion, everyone has a twin somewhere. Who knows, maybe the same is true for planets. Maybe there’s even a doppelgänger Earth orbiting at just the right distance from a sunlike star to support life. In his latest book, science writer Lemonick provides a behind-the-scenes look at the decades-long search for just such a planet. The endeavor, long considered a scientific back­water with little chance of success, is now one of the hottest fields in astronomy.

  • Reviews & Previews

    The Last Lost World

    The Pleistocene epoch — lasting from 2.6 million to about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago — was an exciting time: Continent-sized ice sheets advanced and retreated multiple times, and several varieties of humans inhabited Earth. During warm interglacial episodes, hyenas and hippos lived as far north as England; in colder periods, exotic species rendered Europe, in the words of this father-daughter writing team, “a woolly Serengeti on steroids.”