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  • Letters to the Editor

    Letters to the editor

    Bohr no boor As described in “When the atom went quantum,” (SN: 7/13/13, p. 20), Bohr’s willingness to travel both paths when different viewpoints seemed to clash, yet both seemed to fit the data, was crucial to the development of quantum mechanics. Yet that willingness cannot be equated with acceptance of all possible views. Having investigated the paths indicated by classical physics, he...

    08/09/2013 - 12:42
  • Key to Other Worlds

    Neutrinos, nature’s most elusive atomic particles, could serve as a key to detecting other “suns” in the universe made of anti-matter, the opposite of the kind of matter found on earth, and in our sun. This possibility was suggested by Dr. Bruno Pontecorvo, [who] fled from England to Russia in 1950 and is now a Soviet citizen, considered one of Russia’s top physicists….  Anti-...

    08/09/2013 - 12:30 Physics
  • Reviews & Previews

    The Attacking Ocean

    The threat of rising seas is not new. Since the last Ice Age began windingdown 15,000 years ago, the ocean has ascended 120 meters in a series of pulses. But when the world was thinly populated, small bands of hunter-gatherers could pick up and go when the sea surged. Now that hundreds of millions of people are settled in crowded coastal cities, the rising seas predicted for a...

    08/09/2013 - 12:25 Climate
  • Reviews & Previews

    The Autistic Brain

    For one little girl profiled in Grandin’s latest book, putting on pink sunglasses makes shopping trips tolerable. Like many with autism, she finds stores visually overwhelming: Shining lights appear to shoot streams of sparks, and words on signs jiggle. Tinted lenses can quell the sensory overload.

    The lens trick is one of many that Grandin highlights in this review of autism...

    08/09/2013 - 12:22 Neuroscience
  • Feature

    Impactful Distraction

    “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.”

    The late rock and roll singer Jim Morrison was not a poster boy for public safety — and was no authority on safe driving. After all, later in “Roadhouse Blues,” he has beer for breakfast. But the opening line of that Doors’ song still resonates as sound guidance.


    08/09/2013 - 12:15 Science & Society
  • Feature

    On the Rebound

    In the summer of 2008, Jan Kirschner led an expedition to the highlands of southeastern Kazakhstan in search of a dandelion. Not just any dandelion: He was hunting kok-saghyz, a flower much like the common roadside weed that flourishes all over the world. But kok-saghyz (pronounced “coke-suh-GEEZ”) grows only in remote valleys of the Tien Shan Mountains.


    08/09/2013 - 11:00 Technology
  • People

    A glowing green thumb

    After Neil Armstrong’s small step onto the moon, generations of children played with toy rockets and dreamed of exploring space. Omri Amirav-Drory hopes a tiny glowing plant will inspire future generations of kids to play with genomes and dream up new forms of life.

    Drory is a scientist and businessman leading a project to genetically engineer plants to make light-producing firefly...

    08/09/2013 - 10:41 Genetics
  • News

    Flu researchers plan to repeat controversial work

    After stirring up controversy by creating airborne-transmissible versions of one deadly bird flu virus, scientists intend to do it again with another. This time, the experiments will involve H7N9, a new strain of avian influenza that infected 134 people in China this year, killing 43.

    The experiments involve mutating the virus or mixing it with other flu viruses to create ones that can...

    08/07/2013 - 12:33 Science & Society, Immune Science
  • News in Brief

    One sleepless night weakens resolve in the face of doughnuts

    An all-nighter tweaks the brain, weakening people’s willpower and making them more likely to succumb to double bacon cheeseburgers, a new study suggests. The results help explain the link researchers have noted between sleep loss and obesity.

    After staying awake through the night in a sleep lab, 23 people looked at pictures of food while undergoing brain scans. When calorie-laden foods...

    08/06/2013 - 11:57 Neuroscience
  • News

    Evolution of mammalian monogamy remains mysterious

    Why some mammalian species choose to spend their lives with the same mates has long baffled scientists — and will probably continue to do so as two new massive studies present contradictory results.

    One group of researchers says monogamy evolved in primates to counter the threat of males killing babies to boost their siring success. The other team concludes that mammals, including...

    08/02/2013 - 10:47 Evolution, Animals