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Features

World Coal Production

As oil production peaks and declines, substitute energy sources will be needed on an enormous scale. Coal could fill a large part of the gap if its production and use were encouraged by national policies

By Edward D. Griffith and Alan W. Clarke

The Assembly of Cell Membranes

The two sides of a biological membrane differ in structure and function. Studies of animal viruses and bacteria have helped to reveal how this asymmetry is preserved as the membrane grows

By Harvey F. Lodish and James E. Rothman

Guided-Wave Optics

Progress is reported in the design of devices for manipulating laser beams in thin transparent films. The goal is to providetiny, efficient components for communication by light waves

By Amnon Yariv

The Deep Structure of the Continents

The oldest parts of the continents appear to have deep root zones that travel along with the continents as the tectonic plates move. The zones may be chemically distinct from the surrounding rock

By Thomas H. Jordan

The Trajectories of Saccadic Eye Movements

In which a close examination of the rapid, sharp rotations of the eyeball known as saccades provides new information concerning the way the human brain controls eye movement

By A. Terry Bahill and Lawrence Stark

The Coupled Motions of Piano Strings

Most of the notes on a piano are sounded by two or three strings. The strings are not tuned to precisely the same frequency, a fact that contributes in unexpected ways to the tone of the instrument

By Gabriel Weinreich

The Head of the Sperm Whale

It can represent a quarter of the animal's length and a third of its total weight. The oil-filled spermaceti organ housed within it may keep the whale neutrally buoyant during dives

By Malcolm R. Clarke

Robert A. Millikan

A tireless investigator and a Nobel prize winner at a time when not many Americans were, he had a penchant for controversy in subjects ranging from cosmic rays (which he named) to the support of science

By Daniel J. Kevles

Departments

  • 50 and 100 Years Ago, January 1979

  • Science and the Citizen, January 1979

  • Bibliography, January 1979

  • Letters

    Letters to the Editors, January 1979

  • Recommended

    Books, January 1979

  • Mathematical Recreation

    Mathematical Games, January 1979

  • Amateur Scientist

    The Amateur Scientist, January 1979

  • Departments

    The Authors, January 1979

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