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Variations in Medical Care among Small Areas

The amount and cost of hospital treatment in a community have more to do with the number of physicians there, their medical specialties and the procedures they prefer than with the health of the residents

By John Wennberg and Alan Gittelsohn

The Short Life of Évariste Galois

Legend has it that the young mathematician wrote down group theory the night before he was fatally shot in a duel. More careful investigation shows that Galois's remarkable ideas took somewhat longer to mature

By Tony Rothman

Superheavy Magnetic Monopoles

Isolated north and south magnetic poles are predicted to exist but have never been observed. A new theory may explain why: such particles seem to be too massive, slow-moving and rare

By Richard A. Carrigan Jr. and W. Peter Trower

Nutrients That Modify Brain Function

They are the precursors of neurotransmitter molecules. Increasing their level in the brain amplifies signals from some nerve cells. In effect they act like drugs, and one day they may serve as drugs

By Richard J. Wurtman

Giant Molecular-Cloud Complexes in the Galaxy

Consisting almost entirely of hydrogen molecules, they are the most massive objects in the galaxy. They also give rise to most of the galaxy's stars. A decade ago their presence was unknown

By Leo Blitz

Advanced Offshore Oil Platforms

Creating structures that can withstand 100-foot waves in waters 600 feet deep calls for audacious engineering and heavy capital expense. Here four innovative offshore platforms are described

By Fred S. Ellers

A Major Earthquake Zone on the Mississippi

Three of the strongest quakes in U.S. history were not in the West but in New Madrid, Mo. They came in 1811 and 1812, and even now the area is shaken by an average of one small quake every other day

By Arch C. Johnston

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