The October 2006 issue covered the technological and theological, the massive and minuscule, the provocative and controversial. In "Impact from the Deep," Peter D. Ward took a fresh look at the earth's past with a theory that terrestrial heat and gases, not asteroids, most likely caused several mass extinctions. In "Viral Nanoelectronics," Philip E. Ross described how viruses coated with selected substances can be wrangled into self-assembling as liquid crystals, nano?wires and electrodes.

Controversially, "Darwin on the Right," by Michael Sher?mer, and "Let There Be Light" [SA Perspectives], both about reconciling science and religion, drew the lion's share of reader reaction. Although some welcomed a peaceful coexistence, more readers' opinions were closer to that of Michael C. Brower of Andover, Mass.: "To minimize the conflict between science and religion misses the point. If scientific laws are correct, God must be remote and removed. Religious Americans believe in a God who is engaged in human affairs. Science challenges their core belief. It does not help the cause to gloss over that fact."