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The Development of Software for Ballistic-Missile Defense

What some call a "Star Wars" defense would depend on computers to control an unprecedentedly complex array of weapon systems. Developing reliable software for such a defense may be impossible...

By Herbert Lin

Optical Phase Conjugation

In everyday experience time always moves forward. The situation is qualitatively different, however, in the case of wave motion: light waves can be "time-reversed" and made to retrace their trajectories...

By Vladimir V. Shkunov and Boris Ya. Zel'dovich

Cricket Auditory Communication

The female's ability to recognize the male's calling song and to seek out the source of the song can be used to study how nervous-system activity underlies animal behavior

By Franz Huber and John Thorson

The Immune System in AIDS

The AIDS virus alters the growth and function of T4 lymphocytes, a class of white blood cells that is crucial to the immune system. New knowledge of how the virus does so may lead to treatments and perhaps a vaccine...

By Jeffrey Laurence

Polar Wandering on Mars

Regions at the planet's equator seem once to have been near a pole; possibly the entire lithosphere has shifted in relation to the axis of spin. This theory explains many puzzling features and processes...

By Peter H. Schultz

The Enormous Theorem

The classification of the finite, simple groups is unprecedented in the history of mathematics, for its proof is 15, 000 pages long. The exotic solution has stimulated interest far beyond the field...

By Daniel Gorenstein

China's Food

After the many disruptions of recent decades the output of China's farms about equals the need for food. Whether the balance can be maintained depends on how the nation copes with some problems...

By Vaclav Smil

The Construction Plans for the Temple of Apollo at Didyma

The nature of the "blueprints" from which the Greeks built their temples has long eluded archaeologists. A recent discovery shows they were drawn on stone surfaces of the very temple they depict...

By Lothar Haselberger


  • 50 and 100 Years Ago: December 1985

  • Science and the Citizen, December 1985

  • Letters

    Letters to the Editors, December 1985

  • Recommended

    Books, December 1985

  • Amateur Scientist

    The Amateur Scientist, December 1985

  • Departments

    The Authors, December 1985

  • Computer Recreations, December 1985

  • Annual Index 1985

  • Bibliography, December 1985

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