Vol. 163 No. #13 Archives

More Stories from the March 29, 2003 issue

  1. Math

    Prime Finding: Mathematicians mind the gap

    Mathematicians have taken a significant step toward proving the twin-prime conjecture by simplifying formulas for estimating the average spacing of primes.

    By
  2. Uncertainty fires up some neurons

    In monkeys, a small set of brain cells that transmit the chemical messenger dopamine to various neural destinations works as an uncertainty meter.

    By
  3. Earth

    Composted sewage captures dirt’s lead

    Lead-contaminated soil in urban parks, gardens, and schoolyards could be made safer by adding composted organic waste.

    By
  4. Health & Medicine

    Protein protects rat brains from strokes

    Neuroglobin, a protein related to hemoglobin, may protect the brain during strokes.

    By
  5. Astronomy

    By the light of a starry eruption

    Astronomers calculating the brightness of a supernova explosion witnessed in the 11th century estimate that it was likely the most brilliant stellar event in recorded history.

    By
  6. Earth

    Dust up north

    Strong northeasterly winds blowing across coastal regions of southern Alaska recently exposed by melting snow launched massive clouds of dust over the Gulf of Alaska.

    By
  7. Animals

    At last, a bird that nails killer chicks

    For the first time, researchers have found a bird species—Australia's superb fairy-wren—that reacts when all its own chicks disappear and a giant imposter takes their place.

    By
  8. By a Nose? Human sperm may sniff out the path to an egg

    A man's sperm appear to possess a primitive kind of nose that enables them to navigate to a woman's egg by scent.

    By
  9. Animals

    Secret Signal: Fish allurement that predators don’t see

    In a rare demonstration of secret messaging in animals, a swordtail fish uses ultraviolet courtship signals that are invisible to a predator.

    By
  10. Earth

    Clean Casualties: Everyday chemicals may shift ecosystems

    Trace amounts of the chemical concoctions used to battle bacteria in kitchens and bathrooms may kill off algae, an effect that researchers say may have far-reaching consequences.

    By
  11. Earth

    Dioxin Dumps: Burning exposed trash pollutes soil

    The practice of burning refuse in the open in many underdeveloped countries creates prodigious quantities of harmful polychlorinated compounds.

    By
  12. Materials Science

    A Hard Little Lesson: Squeezed nanospheres grow superstrong

    A substance not known for its hardness—silicon—becomes one of the hardest of materials when formed into ultrasmall spheres.

    By
  13. Paleontology

    Fine Toothcomb: New fossils add to primate-origins debate

    The discovery of 40-million-year-old teeth and jaw fragments belonging to ancient forms of lorises and bushbabies doubles the age of the fossil record for a major primate group.

    By
  14. Health & Medicine

    Morbid Mystery Tour: Epidemic from China is encircling globe

    An outbreak of deadly pneumonia that apparently began in southern China spread in March to at least two other continents, including North America.

    By
  15. Computing

    Pictures Only a Computer Could Love

    New, unconventional lenses shape scenes into pictures for computers, not people, so that computer-equipped microscopes, cameras, and other optical devices can see more with less.

    By
  16. After West Nile Virus

    As biologists try to estimate the impact of West Nile virus on wildlife, it's not the famously susceptible crows that are causing alarm but much rarer species.

    By