Vol. 175 No. #11
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More Stories from the May 23, 2009 issue

  1. Space

    Blob may signal monster galaxy feeding

    Researchers have found a giant blob of gas and stars, the fourth most distant object known in the universe. The blob may offer the earliest snapshot of a very young galaxy caught in the act of gobbling up material for growth.

  2. Humans

    Rapid emotional swings could precede violence

    A tool from physics helps link the patterns of psychiatric patients’ symptoms and the likelihood they will commit violent acts.

  3. Space

    Smallest exoplanet yet is found

    Finding a planet just under twice Earth's size puts astronomers closer to discovering an Earth counterpart.

  4. Life

    New neurons don’t heal

    New neurons produced in the brain after a stroke don’t grow into all the cell types needed to heal the wound.

  5. Agriculture

    News from Experimental Biology

    Senior editor Janet Raloff blogs from the 2009 meeting gathering dozens of societies together in New Orleans

  6. Earth

    Fossil of a walking seal found

    A fossil skeleton discovered in the Canadian Arctic could represent a missing link in pinniped evolution.

  7. Earth

    A little air pollution boosts vegetation’s carbon uptake

    Aerosols bumped up world’s plant productivity by 25 percent in the 1960s and 1970s, new research suggests.

  8. Chemistry

    Yeast bred to bear artificial vanilla

    Researchers have co-opted fungi to produce the flavor more efficiently.

  9. Plants

    Oops, missed that tree

    Until now, an acacia common in its African homeland had no scientific name

  10. Psychology

    Males, females swap sex-role stereotypes

    Analysis finds that mating strategies are not universal

  11. Life

    Mimivirus up close

    Scientists get a closer look at the structure of mimivirus, the largest virus in the world.

  12. Health & Medicine

    New weapon fights hepatitis C

    Taking the experimental drug telaprevir with standard medications for hepatitis C clears the virus from patients’ blood better than the standard combination alone.

  13. Life

    Birds bust a move to musical beats

    Parrots and possibly other vocal-mimicking animals can synchronize their movements to a musical beat, two new studies suggest.

  14. Life

    Expansive genetic diversity in Africa revealed

    Largest genetic study of African populations yields clues about the origin of modern humans and the ancestry of African-Americans

  15. Science Future for May 23, 2009

    June 4–6 Organization for the Study of Sex Differences annual meeting in Toronto. See www.ossdweb.org June 6 The annual Galaxy Ball held in Arlington, Va. See www.foge.org July 22 Get to eastern Asia to watch the total solar eclipse. 
Visit eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov

  16. The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets by Alan Boss

    A renowned astronomer details, by day, the history of planet hunting, and argues that alien life is common and will soon be found. Basic Books, 2009, 227 p., $26. THE CROWDED UNIVERSE: THE SEARCH FOR LIVING PLANETS BY ALAN BOSS

  17. Book Review: The Day We Found the Universe by Marcia Bartusiak

    Review by Elizabeth Quill.

  18. Enjoy the indelible experience of emulating Galileo

    I was tickled when Rick Fienberg, then editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, stood up at a special session at the August 2006 meeting of the International Astronomical Union in Prague, grabbed the microphone and proclaimed that every person on Earth should look at the night sky through a telescope in 2009, as Galileo did […]

  19. Timeline: Seeing better

    In 400 years, telescopes advance from rooftops to mountains to orbit.

  20. Eyes on the sky

    A roster of new and proposed telescopes

  21. Gazing deeper still

    Four hundred years ago, Galileo and his telescope brought the heavens into focus, setting the stage for modern astronomy.

  22. Astronomy

    Beyond Galileo’s universe

    Astronomers grapple with cosmic puzzles both dark and light

  23. Astronomy

    New eyes on the cosmos

    The next constellation of telescopes will dramatically extend and sharpen scientists’ view of the universe.

  24. Science Past from the issue of May 23, 1959

    NUCLEAR-POWERED BLIMP — America’s first nuclear-powered aircraft could very well be a huge blimp, about three times the size of those now being used by the U.S. Navy for submarine and plane spotting…. The blimp’s length would be 540 feet, making it possible to locate the atomic reactor far enough away from the craft’s control […]

  25. Astronomical Spectrographs and their History by John Hearnshaw

    Astronomers have used these instruments to explore the heavens since the 19th century. Cambridge Univ., 2009, 240 p., $140. ASTRONOMICAL SPECTROGRAPHS AND THEIR HISTORY BY JOHN HEARNSHAW