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When Methane Made Climate

Today methane-producing microbes are confined to oxygen-free settings, such as the guts of cows, but in Earth's distant past, they ruled the world

By James F. Kasting

The Shapes of Space

A Russian mathematician has proved the century-old Poincaré conjecture and completed the catalogue of three-dimensional spaces. He might earn a $1-million prize

By Graham P. Collins

The Extraordinary Deaths of Ordinary Stars

The demise of the sun in five billion years will be a spectacular sight. Like other stars of its ilk, the sun will unfurl into nature's premier work of art: a planetary nebula

By Bruce Balick and Adam Frank

Magnetic Field Nanosensors

Tiny devices that take advantage of a recently discovered physical effect called extraordinary magnetoresistance could be used in blazingly fast computer disk drives with huge capacities and in dozens of other applications involving the sensing of magnetic fields

By Stuart A. Solin

Gene Doping

Gene therapy for restoring muscle lost to age or disease is poised to enter the clinic, but elite athletes are eyeing it to enhance performance Can it be long before gene doping changes the nature of sport?

By H. Lee Sweeney

Detecting Mad Cow Disease

New tests can rapidly identify the presence of dangerous prions--the agents responsible for the malady--and several compounds offer hope for treatment

By Stanley B. Prusiner

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