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Features

The High Fidelity of DNA Duplication

Generation after generation, through countless cell divisions, the genetic heritage of living things is scrupulously preserved in DNA. Why are so few mistakes made when the DNA is copied?

By Miroslav Radman and Robert Wagner

Measuring Crustal Deformation in the American West

Continental crust is actively deforming as the Pacific and North America plates slide past each other. Direct measurements of the process rely on extraterrestrial reference points such as quasars

By Thomas H. Jordan and J. Bernard Minster

Beyond Truth and Beauty: A Fourth Family of Particles

Three families of the fundamental particles called quarks and leptons are known. Recent experiments hint that there is one more family, but there are probably no more than five

By David B. Cline

Light-Activated Drugs

A patient ingests an inert substance. The substance is removed from the body in a small amount of blood and activated by light. The result? Effective treatment for a stubborn cancer

By Richard L. Edelson

Perceiving Shape from Shading

Shading produces a compelling perception of three-dimensional shape. One way the brain simplifies the task of interpreting shading is by assuming a single light source

By Vilayanur S. Ramachandran

X-Ray Imaging with Coded Masks

A variant of the pinhole camera that has many apertures arranged in a peculiar pattern can image high-energy X-ray sources, such as plasmas in reactors and black holes in space

By Gerald K. Skinner

Dr. Atanasoff's Computer

The men who for decades were credited with inventing the first electronic digital computers were not, in fact, first. That honor belongs to a once forgotten physicist named John V. Atanasof

By Allan R. Mackintosh

Departments

  • 50 and 100 Years Ago: August 1988

  • B-2 or Not B-2

  • Report from Stockholm

  • K.A.L. 007

  • Complexity Counted?

  • What Price Cost Controls?

  • Going for Gold

  • A Match Made in Heaven

  • A Better Crystal Ball

  • Truth or Consequences?

  • So Long, Lefty

  • Son of Rubber

  • Robots Rampant

  • The Challenge of Acid Rain

  • Picture Computation

  • Sunny Prospects?

  • Testing Sales

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit

  • Books, August 1998

  • Letters

    Letters to the Editors, August 1988

  • Amateur Scientist

    The Amateur Scientist, August 1988

  • Departments

    Computer Recreations, August 1988

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August 1988

Think Outside the Gift Box