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Intermediate-Range Nuclear Weapons

Systems of this kind, also known as long-range theater nuclear forces, fall into a "gray area" between tactical and strategic nuclear forces, adding a new dimension to the nuclear-arms race

By Kevin N. Lewis

Galileo's Sighting of Neptune

He first observed it in 1612 and thought it was a fixed star, some 234 years before it was discovered to be a planet. His data cast doubt on the accuracy of modern orbital calculations for Neptune

By Stillman Drake and Charles T. Kowal

The Cosmic Asymmetry between Matter and Antimatter

It seems the universe today is almost entirely the former. Evidence from both cosmology and particle physics (the study of the universe on the largest scale and the smallest) now suggests an explanation

By Frank Wilczek

Plasmids

These accessory genetic elements in bacteria, best known as carriers of resistance to antibiotics and as vehicles for genetic engineering, are actually subcellular organisms poised on the threshold of life

By Richard P. Novick

Early Man in Soviet Central Asia

In the Tadzhik S.S.R. deep deposits of loess have accumulated over a span of two million years. Stone tools embedded in them were made by hunter-gatherers of the Lower Paleolithic some 250,000 years ago

By Richard S. Davis, Vadim A. Ranov and Andrey E. Dodonov

Addictive Behavior

Whether the addiction is to drugs, alcohol or tobacco, the problem is self-destructive behavior. One treatment that has succeeded in restoring health is the maintenance of heroin addicts on methadone

By Vincent P. Dole

The Escape System of the Cockroach

How does the insect evade the swipe of a hand or the lunge of a toad? The mechanisms by which it does so are a simple model of those that mediate more complex forms of behavior

By Jeffrey M. Camhi

Mirror Images

The mirror image is not always a faithful reflection: it can be inverted, reversed in handedness or distorted in other ways. The transformations are analyzed through a few basic curved mirrors

By David Emil Thomas

Departments

  • 50 and 100 Years Ago, December 1980

  • Mathematical Games, December 1980

  • Science and the Citizen, December 1980

  • Letters

    Letters to the Editors, December 1980

  • Recommended

    Books, December 1980

  • Amateur Scientist

    The Amateur Scientist, December 1980

  • Departments

    The Authors, December 1980

  • Annual Index 1980

  • Bibliography, December 1980

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December 1980

Think Outside the Gift Box