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  • 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.

    By the time researchers recognized in 1913 that elements should be arranged by atomic number (the number of protons in their nuclei) rather than by...

    06/13/2013 - 15:28 Chemistry
  • Reviews & Previews

    Math on Trial

    “Torture numbers and they will confess to anything,” author Gregg Easterbrook once wrote in a magazine piece on climate change. But his quip could have been thesubtitle for this new book on the abuse of numbers in the courts.

    Its authors, mother-daughter mathematicians, belong to a research group devoted to improving the use of statistics in criminal trials. Each chapter...

    06/13/2013 - 15:24 Numbers
  • Feature

    In the Eye of the Tiger

    There is no shortage of mosquitoes in North America, and adding one more variety might seem like just a minor uptick in summertime’s itchy-scratchy. But the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, comes with some particularly irritating characteristics. It’s an aggressive hit-and-run biter that frequently lives in close contact with humans. It’s a daytime feeder that dines on humans, dogs,...

    06/13/2013 - 11:19 Animals
  • Feature

    Hard times for theorists in a post-Higgs world

    At 5 a.m. last Fourth of July, Flip Tanedo rolled out of bed after an hour of repeatedly smacking his alarm clock’s snooze button. Rousting himself at dawn would be worth it, he hoped, because what he was about to hear was likely to have a huge bearing on the course of his career.

    Tanedo, a fifth-year theoretical physics Ph.D. candidate at Cornell...

    06/13/2013 - 11:02 Physics
  • Feature

    Mystery Meteorite

    There are rocks from the moon, rocks from Mars — and now, just maybe, a rock from Mercury.

    In early 2012, a nomad in the western Sahara spotted some green stones scattered on the sand. Knowing that the empty desert was a good place to find rocks from space, and that meteorite dealers would pay good money for them, he picked up about three dozen that looked related.

    By...

    06/13/2013 - 10:32 Planetary Science