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Margaret Wertheim

Life Begins at “Want a Cigarette?”

Illustration by Pamela JaegerPresidents and babies are usually an unimpeachable combination, but two weeks ago, when President Bush stood for a photo-op in the White House with 21 “Snowflake” children, the scene sent a chill through the scientific community. Each tiny tot was a former frozen embryo rescued from cryogenic......

Newtonianism for L.A.

“Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night,/God said let Newton be and all was light.” So runs Alexander Pope’s heroic couplet on the cranky Lincolnshire genius who unified the heavens and the Earth and brought to a triumphant crescendo the epoch known as the “scientific revolution.” Before Newton, philosophers......

The Greatest Story Never Read

Illustration by Joshua AglerIn the beginning, things started small, then, as time passed, space expanded and the scale of everything got bigger and bigger, until eventually it reached the gargantuan proportions we see today. This, in a nutshell, is how physicists describe the evolution of our universe, but it may......

Godzilla Ice

Photo by Jaime Ramos forNational Science FoundationDave Marchant is fanatical about ice. Especially ancient ice. In the Beacon Valley of Antarctica he believes he has found the oldest ice in the world, glacial substrate laid down 10 million years ago. For the past 18 years, Dr. Marchant, a professor of......

Gen-X On Ice

Photos by Brianna Arnold and Peter WestBrianna Arnold guns the ATV and it lurches forward, crashing through a mound of ice before coming to a standstill. We are driving — if that is the word for this spine-crunching stop-start process — across the frozen surface of Lake Bonney in the......

The Terrorists Within

Deep in the countryside of Thailand and Vietnam, a pernicious army is gathering strength. While our administration has been obsessing about Muslim terrorists, a far more virulent sort has been quietly massing below the radar, a species that recognizes no human boundaries, national or religious. This is not an offshoot......

When Worlds Collide

David Cronenberg recognized it first — the immense imaginative gold mine of the genetic revolution. As the seminal artist on this subject, with films such as Videodrome and eXistenZ, Cronenberg has played with themes of organic mutability in ways that both astound and disturb. It’s difficult to truly like Cronenberg’s......

The Future Is NOW

Photos by Max S. Gerber AS OUR ATMOSPHERE CHOKES on greenhouse gases and the planet’s thermostat inches up toward the danger zone, it sounds at first like a horrible idea: What if, in addition to the fossil-fuel combustors in our cars, we also put them in our computers and in......

Einstein’s Sky

Photo courtesy The Lotte Jacobi Archives In 1950, a young boy named Frank Felleman penciled a note to Albert Einstein: “I want to know what is beyond the sky. My mother said you could tell me.” This innocent query must surely have delighted the world’s most famous scientist, for in......

Water Torture

Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson/UNEP In the midsummer mayhem of The Day After Tomorrow, Manhattan is monstered by a wall of water brought on by the effects of global warming. As the giant tsunami engulfs the city, skyscrapers and stockbrokers alike are reduced to flotsam. Filmmakers love nothing more than a......
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