Reviews & Analysis

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  • Gigantic cosmological γ-ray bursts have fallen into a dichotomy of long and short bursts, each with a very different origin. The discovery of an oddball burst calls for a rethink of that classification.

    • Bing Zhang
    News & Views
  • The PCP theorem encapsulates the idea that randomization allows the immediate verification of any mathematical proof. A simple route to this striking result was proposed earlier this year.

    • Bernard Chazelle
    News & Views
  • The intestinal bacteria in obese humans and mice differ from those in lean individuals. Are these bacteria involved in how we regulate body weight, and are they a factor in the obesity epidemic?

    • Matej Bajzer
    • Randy J. Seeley
    News & Views
  • Detailed investigation of a molecule involved in an inherited type of deafness reveals a fresh facet to the mammalian auditory system — a hitherto unknown way for synapses to put calcium in a bind.

    • Thomas D. Parsons
    News & Views
  • That neutrons can be transmuted to protons, electrons and antineutrinos through the process of beta decay is old hat. That photons sometimes also get in on the act was suspected, but until now never confirmed.

    • Nathal Severijns
    News & Views
  • The intricate process of ageing involves numerous physiological pathways, together with genetic and environmental factors. Insight into this complex biology could come from studying a disorder that accelerates ageing.

    • Tom Kirkwood
    News & Views
  • Proteins are made of amino acids. But amino acids are made of atoms. Exploration of this self-evident principle opens up fresh perspectives on the evolution of biological membranes and multicellular life.

    • Peggy Baudouin-Cornu
    • Dominique Thomas
    News & Views
  • Leukaemic cells and normal blood-producing cells relate differently to their surroundings. This concept has now been extended to leukaemic stem cells, suggesting a fresh approach to therapy.

    • David A. Williams
    • Jose A. Cancelas
    News & Views
  • Nerve impulses that convey pain signals to the brain are produced by sodium channels in the neuronal membrane. Studies on people who are unable to feel pain identify one specific sodium channel as essential to the process.

    • Stephen G. Waxman
    News & Views
  • Fabricating large-scale semiconducting surfaces for the flexible screens of the future is a bothersome business. A simple technique for growing single-crystal organic semiconductors brings new vision to the field.

    • Paul Heremans
    News & Views
  • Observations of a phenomenon known as the magnetic fountain effect in superfluid helium are not just beautiful experiments, but could also supply a tool for studying many other exotic magnetic phenomena.

    • Shaun Fisher
    • George Pickett
    News & Views
  • Inhibition of the insulin-signalling pathway leads to insulin resistance, an early step in the development of type 2 diabetes. A novel family of protein activators seems to act near the pathway's inception.

    • Catherine Jackson
    News & Views
  • How much momentum does light transfer to a material through which it passes? This is a surprisingly opaque matter, contested for almost a century, that is still the object of theory and experimentation.

    • Ulf Leonhardt
    News & Views
  • Crystal structures show that botulinum toxins bind simultaneously to two sites on neurons. This dual interaction allows them to use a Trojan-horse strategy to enter nerve terminals, with deadly effect.

    • Giampietro Schiavo
    News & Views