November 1964
Hemoglobin Protein “In its behavior hemoglobin does not resemble an oxygen tank so much as a molecular lung. Two of its four chains shift back and forth, so that the gap between them becomes narrower when oxygen molecules are bound to the hemoglobin, and wider when the oxygen is released. Evidence that the chemical activities of hemoglobin and other proteins are accompanied by structural changes had been discovered before, but this is the first time that the nature of such a change has been directly demonstrated. Hemoglobin's change of shape makes me think of it as a breathing molecule, but paradoxically it expands, not when oxygen is taken up but when it is released. —M. F. Perutz”

Perutz shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work.

Food Bubbles “The bubbles made by waves at sea have been found to make a vital contribution to the oceanic food chain. Molecules from the vast supply of organic chemicals dissolved in seawater adhere in large numbers to the air bubbles' two-dimensional boundary layers. In the process they form clumps of organic matter that are eaten by the smallest members of the marine animal population. The discovery of the new food-producing mechanism resulted from the dissatisfaction of some marine biologists with the traditional view of the pyramid of oceanic life. It was pointed out that the quantity of organic matter in suspension or in solution in the oceans is at least 50 times greater than that contained in all living plankton.”

November 1914
The Wounded in This War “That the wound made by the modern high velocity bullet, covered with its nickel jacket, is more or less aseptic, and that a large proportion of the wounds made by them are not of a serious nature, and give but little trouble, has been demonstrated. In this respect the work of the army surgeon of the present day has certainly been simplified, and the percentage of fatalities from bullet wounds in the present war will show a material decrease [see photograph above].”

Water for Transport “One of the large industrial problems of the times is the transportation of raw material. In the case of timber logs, they will often be cut far up on the mountain side, or in a swamp or exceedingly distant from the sawmill. Impelled, no doubt, by considerations such as these, Capt. H. R. Robertson undertook thirty years ago to construct a raft of logs in Nova Scotia, and then to bring it to New York in care of a towing tug. Capt. Robertson has now transferred his operations to Coal Creek. Here rafts are still built and floated out to sea via the Columbia River. They are towed down the coast to San Francisco—a distance on the sea of 500 or 600 miles. The material that is brought in this way consists only of timbers suitable for piles.”

A slide show of images from our 1914 archives on the use, control and engineering of water is at ScientificAmerican.com/nov2014/water-control

November 1864
Presidential Election “ABRAHAM LINCOLN, of Illinois, has been re-elected President of the United States by a large popular majority; and ANDREW JOHNSON, of Tennessee, has been chosen Vice President, to succeed Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine. The election passed off peaceably and without the necessity of military interference; and it now becomes citizens of all parties to yield a willing and cheerful obedience to the authorities thus constituted by the popular suffrages. Under our constitutional Government such obedience is absolutely requisite to the permanent safety and prosperity of the Republic; for unless this Government be upheld by the united strength of the people its destruction will ensue; order will give place to anarchy, and anarchy will be succeeded by a despotic power supported by military force and violence. We have already witnessed the dire-ful consequences of a rebellion against the rightfully-chosen leaders of this nation, the sad effects of which will exist for a generation at least.”

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN ONLINE

Find original articles and images in the Scientific American archives at ScientificAmerican.com/magazine/sa