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Features

Can Advanced Technology Save the U.S. Steel Industry?

Emerging technologies that reduce the costs of making iron and steel may help smaller American mills to counter stiff foreign competition, but entirely new processing techniques are needed for the long term

By Julian Szekely

The Molecules of Visual Excitation

When a rod cell in the retina absorbs light, a cascade of reactions results in a nerve signal. That cascade has now been worked out in molecular detail. A key intermediate is a protein called transducin

By Lubert Stryer

The Rings of Uranus

Why are they so narrow and dark? Findings trom the Voyager 2 encounter suggest that the austere ring system may be only a fleeting stage in a continuing saga of creation and destruction

By Jeffrey N. Cuzzi and Larry W. Esposito

Beaches and Barrier Islands

Most manmade structures designed to protect these landforms along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the US. eventually fail. It might often be wiser not to interfere with the course of natural events

By Harry Lins and Robert Dolan

Lyme Disease

A bacterium transmitted to human beings by the bite of a deer tick causes this hazard of summertime. Interleukin-l, an immune-system regulator, may mediate its potentially serious arthritis-like symptoms

By Gail S. Habicht, Jorge L. Benach and Gregory Beck

Cold Nuclear Fusion

The electronlike particles called muons can catalyze nuclear fusion reactions, eliminating the need for powerful lasers or high-temperature plasmas. The process may one day become a commercial energy source

By Johann Rafelski and Steven E. Jones

Aerodynamics of Wind Pollination

Many plants are almost perfectly engineered to capture pollen from the wind. Cones, flower clusters and other structures channel the airflow-and sperm-producing pollen-toward reproductive surfaces

By Karl J. Niklas

Arches and Vaults in the Ancient Near East

Working with sun-dried mud brick and mud mortar, masons in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Levant built arches and vaults that were graceful as well as durable. Their methods are worth studying today

By Gus W. Van Beek

Departments

  • 50 and 100 Years Ago: July 1987

  • Science and the Citizen, July 1987

  • Letters

    Letters to the Editors, July 1987

  • Recommended

    Books, July 1987

  • Amateur Scientist

    The Amateur Scientist, July 1987

  • Departments

    The Authors, July 1987

  • Computer Recreations, July 1987

  • Bibliography, July 1987

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July 1987

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