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The 2004 Scientific American 50 Award
The Sciences

The 2004 Scientific American 50 Award

Our third annual salute to the people and institutions brightening our future recognizes accomplishments in stem cells, nanocomputers, mini fuel cells and more

The Case of the Pilfered Planet

The Case of the Pilfered Planet

Did the British steal Neptune?

By William Sheehan, Nicholas Kollerstrom and Craig B. Waff

Optics and Realism in Renaissance Art

A much publicized assertion holds that 15th-century painters achieved a new level of realism with the help of lenses and mirrors. But recent findings cast doubt on that idea

By David G. Stork
The Brain's Own Marijuana

The Brain's Own Marijuana

Research into natural chemicals that mimic marijuana's effects in the brain could help to explain--and suggest treatments for--pain, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias and other conditions

By Roger A. Nicoll and Bradley N. Alger

Are Viruses Alive?

Although viruses challenge our concept of what "living" means, they are vital members of the web of life

By Luis P. Villarreal

The Dinosaurs of Arctic Alaska

Seventy-five million to 70 million years ago, a group of hardy dinosaurs thrived in the harsh climate of what is now northern Alaska

By Anthony R. Fiorillo


  • Marijuana Research

  • Letters


  • Advances

    Stormy Weather

  • Firing on Half-Cylinders

  • Nanosize Me

  • The Beat Goes On

  • So Much for Green Salvation

  • A Mini Human Species

  • Stressing Violence

  • Wave-Riding Electrons

  • Excluding Inclusion Bodies

  • Recommended

    Orangutan Technology

  • Skeptic

    Common Sense

  • Anti Gravity

    Number One

  • 50, 100 & 150 Years Ago

    Necessary Protein -- Wild Herbs -- Unfiltered Water

  • In Brief

    Brief Points: December 2004

  • By the Numbers

    Thwarting Big Brother

  • Technicalities

    More Than Just Music

  • Working Knowledge

    Crowded Skies

  • Insights

    Geographer of the Male Genome

  • Ask the Experts

    Ask the Experts

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December 2004

Science for the Modern World