American Scientist

Articles from Vol. 106, No. 3, May/June

Chapter Spotlight: Prairie View A&M University
Yolander Youngblood, president of the recently revitalized Prairie View A&M University Sigma Xi Chapter, shares news about the chapter's research symposium, how the chapter helps to improve diversity in research, and how Sigma Xi can improve diversity...
Connecting Research and the Public
Sigma Xi Affiliate Circle member Todd Boyette is director of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.How did you learn about the Sigma Xi Affiliate Circle?Richard Watkins, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill...
Cool Customers
Cool Customers REFRIGERATOR: The Story of Cool in the Kitchen. Helen Peavitt. 224 pp. Reaktion, 2017. $27.Most of us rely on our refrigerators without giving them a second thought-at least until a power outage or compressor failure. But as Helen Peavitt,...
First Person: Susan Coppersmith
Researchers are constantly developing ways to decrease the size of transistors in order to increase the power and portability of computers, phones, and other electronic devices. As engineers approach the theoretical limits of size in traditional silicon...
Follow the Evidence
It might be easy to presume that substance abuse patients would be relieved to hear that their addiction is, in essence, a brain disease. After all, that means their predicament cannot be of their own making. But in reality, the label can leave them...
From the President
Sigma Xi's LifelineA lifeline, as defined by the Collins English Dictionary, is "something that enables an organization or group to survive or to continue...." For Sigma Xi, the lifeline is retaining existing members and inducting new ones, creating...
Letters
Atomic Bomb DialogueTo the Editors:In the March-April issue's Perspective column, "The Ongoing Story of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" by Bruce Cameron Reed, I find it curious that the mention of Israel among other cited nuclear weapon states is omitted at...
Life's a Gas
Life's a Gas DOES IT FART? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence. Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti. Illustrated by Ethan Kocák. 144 pp. Hachette, 2018. $15."Do snakes!" my three-year-old nephew piped up. I scanned the book's contents and flipped...
Nerve Agents: What Are They and How Do They Work?
The former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter are still in critical condition (at the time of publication) in a hospital in Salisbury in the United Kingdom, following exposure to an unknown nerve agent. Several locations in the city have been...
Origami-Inspired Medical Implants
When Katerina Mantzavinou began her postdoc in the laboratory of materials scientist Michael Cima at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one project she joined was working on implants that could constantly deliver an even dose of chemotherapy...
Researching the Lives of Slaves
In the 1690s through the 1790s, more than 15,000 free and enslaved Africans found their final resting place at a burial ground in what is today lower Manhattan. Their graves, and lives, were forgotten until 1991, when the cemetery was rediscovered. In...
Sigma Xi's Pathway to the Future
Sigma Xi is conducting a tour across the United States to share the plan for the Society's future. The following are excerpts from Executive Director and CEO Jamie L. Vernon's remarks at the tour stop during the American Association for the Advancement...
Signature from First Stars
A dip in radio waves from the early universe reveals that the first stars showed up about 180 million years after the Big Bang and that the early universe was much colder than expected. Theory predicts that the first stars formed from neutral hydrogen...
Supporting Women in STEM
For Women's History Month in March, Sigma Xi spotlighted its support for women in science, technology, engineering, and math. Three members shared the advice, lessons, and people that helped them build their careers.Sudharshana ApteResearch scientist...
The Chinese History That Is Written in Bone
There is a legend in China of a 19thcentury barber named Li Cheng, who lived in Xiaotun, a small village close to what is now the city of Anyang, about 500 kilometers south of Beijing. Li, the story goes, was plagued by a horrifying skin condition, his...
The Evolution of the Nursing Home
If you've helped an ailing friend or relative navigate the decentralized, multitiered system of medical facilities that treat most acute- and chronic-care patients in the United States-or if you've journeyed through the system yourself--you know that...
What We Do (and Don't) Know about Novichok Agents
Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned on March 4. On March 13, the British government revealed that it is believed that a type of Novichok agent was the chemical culprit behind the attempted murder. Novichok agents are organophosphate nerve...
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