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Launch under Attack

This strategy calls for launching nuclear weapons on warning that attacking weapons are on their way. Pressures for its adoption are symptomatic of an increasing instability in the nuclear balance...

By John Steinbruner

The Atmospheric Effects of El Chichón

This relatively small but sulfur-rich eruption in 1982 injected into the stratosphere a fine mist of sulfuric acid droplets denser than any volcanic cloud since the great 1883 eruption of Krakatau...

By Michael R. Rampino and Stephen Self

High-Energy Collisions between Atomic Nuclei

Heavy nuclei traveling at 95 percent of the speed of light are now made to collide with target nuclei. The debris includes anomalons, mysterious fragments that collide again much sooner than expected...

By John O. Rasmussen and Wm. C. McHarris


This member of the grass family, along with wheat and maize, is one of the three on which the human species largely subsists. Advances in the genetics of the plant have greatly increased its yields per acre...

By M. S. Swaminathan

Unisexual Lizards

Populations of whiptail lizards in the southwestern U.S., Mexico and South America consist of females only. The animals are unusual among vertebrates in reproducing by parthenogenesis: virgin birth...

By Charles J. Cole

The Control of Ribosome Synthesis

The particle of the living cell that translates RNA's into protein is itself made up of three RNA's and 52 proteins. How is the assembly of ribosomes from these molecules adapted to the needs of the cell?...

By Masayasu Nomura

The Packing of Spheres

What is the densest way to arrange identical spheres in space? There has been much progress on the problem, particularly in 24 dimensions, and the results can be applied to digital signaling...

By N. J. A. Sloane

The Invention of the Balloon and the Birth of Modern Chemistry

The first manned balloon flights in France 200 years ago were inspired by basic research into the nature of gases by some of the leading chemical investigators of the day

By Arthur F. Scott


  • 50 and 100 Years Ago: January 1984

  • Science and the Citizen, January 1984

  • Letters

    Letters to the Editors, January 1984

  • Recommended

    Books, January 1984

  • Amateur Scientist

    The Amateur Scientist, January 1984

  • Departments

    The Authors, January 1984

  • Computer Recreations, January 1984

  • Bibliography, January 1984

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