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Strategic Defense and Directed-Energy Weapons

The cochairmen of the American Physical Society panel summarize the group's findings concerning the developmental gap that stands between the laboratory and a decision to deploy such weapons...

By C. Kumar, N. Patel and Nicolaas Bloembergen

The Large-Scale Streaming of Galaxies

The Milky Way is traveling through the universe in concert with a swarm of other galaxies. The source of the impetus may be a remote concentration of mass on a scale that challenges current theory...

By Alan Dressler

Reverse Transcription

Years ago a group of viruses was found to convert RNA into DNA, reversing the usual sequence of molecular events. Now it appears this process is native to other viruses and many higher organisms...

By Harold Varmus


In this new class of crystalline materials, trapped electrons take the place of negatively charged atoms. The electrons interact in complex ways, leading to unusual optical and electronic properties...

By James L. Dye

Mimicry in Plants

There are flowers that look like insects and weeds that masquerade as crop plants. Mimicry in plants results from natural selection: it attracts pollinators or deters predators

By Spencer C. H. Barrett

The Swahili Corridor

In the 10th century Swahili sailors of the East African coast forged a route that brought gold, ivory and quartz to Europe. Their efforts contributed to the flowering of the Middle Ages

By Mark Horton

How Children Learn Words

The key is to see words in intelligible contexts. A dictionary is often misunderstood, but an interactive video display can mobilize the natural ability of a child to learn from context

By George A. Miller and Patricia M. Gildea

Coal-Fired Power Plants for the Future

Existing plants can be improved to generate electricity more cleanly and economically. Future plants incorporating technologies expressly developed to minimize both costs and emissions will do even better...

By Kurt E. Yeager and Richard E. Balzhiser


  • 50 and 100 Years Ago: September 1987

  • Chemical Warfare

  • Two Steps Forward ...

  • Big-Bang Bashers

  • All is Flux

  • Currents in Plastics

  • Plain Sense

  • Butterfly Catcher

  • High-Tech Horses

  • Beeboppers

  • Potato Eaters

  • Bespoke Bactericide

  • Never a Right Age

  • Radical Therapy

  • Electric Eyes

  • Letters

    Letters to the Editors, September 1987

  • Amateur Scientist

    The Amateur Scientist, September 1987

  • Departments

    The Authors, September 1987

  • Computer Recreations, September 1987

  • Books, September 1987

  • Bibliography, September 1987

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