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Features

The Architecture of Life

A universal set of building rules seems to guide the design of organic structures -- from simple carbon compounds to complex cells and tissues

By Donald E. Ingber

Burial of Radioactive Waste under the Seabed

Although the notion troubles some environmentalists, the disposing of nuclear refuse within oceanic sediments merits consideration

By Charles D. Hollister and Steven Nadis

Bacterial Gene Swapping in Nature

Genes travel between independent bacteria more often than once was assumed. Study ofthat process can help limit the risks of releasing genetically engineered microbes into the environment

By Robert V. Miller

The Ulysses Mission

The first space probe to be sent on a polar trajectory has made some remarkable discoveries on its first orbit around the sun

By Edward J. Smith and Richard G. Marsden

Lise Meitner and the Discovery of Nuclear Fission

One of the discoverers of fission in 1938, Meitner was at the time overlooked by the Nobel judges. Racial persecution, fear and opportunism combined to obscure her contributions

By Ruth Lewin Sime

Picosecond Ultrasonics

Brief pulses of high-frequency sound allow experimenters to probe connections inside a computer chip

By Humphrey Maris

The Placebo Effect

Colds, asthma, high blood pressure and heart disease are among the many conditions that can respond to treatment with a placebo.

By Walter A. Brown

Leonardo and the Invention of the Wheellock

Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks are full of inventions, from intricate gun parts to bicycles to automobiles. But were any of Leonardo's many creations actually made during his lifetime?

By Vernard Foley

Departments

  • Ancestral Quandary

  • Tender is the Bite

  • The Race into Space

  • From the Editor

    A Stab in the Dark

  • Letters

    Letters to the Editors, January 1998

  • 50, 100 & 150 Years Ago

    50, 100 and 150 Years Ago: The New Scientific American, Edison's Obsession and The Opium Trade

  • Wonders

    Wildfire

  • In Brief

    In Brief

  • Profile

    From Naked Men to a New-World Order

  • Mathematical Recreation

    Double Bubble, Toil and Trouble

  • Amateur Scientist

    A Kitchen Centrifuge

  • Science and the Citizen

    Extreme Science

  • Don't Stress

  • By the Numbers

    Women in Politics throughout the World

  • Working Knowledge

    Holograms--Working Knowledge

  • Connections

    Anybody Out There?

  • Departments

    The 1997 Nobel Prizes in Science

  • Cyber View

    Wearing your Computer

  • Technology and Business

    Off With its Head!

  • New Silicon Tricks

  • Laser Show

  • Roaches at the Wheel

  • In Focus

    Burying the Problem

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January 1998

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