Reviews & Analysis

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  • An array of air bubbles in a rubber-like material can be made to block the transmission of sound. This finding might help in the design of soundproof walls for music rooms and urban apartments.

    • Edwin L. Thomas
    News & Views
  • Observations of star clusters in the Milky Way show that collisions between stars as well as mass flow within binary systems can explain how the peculiar family of blue straggler stars came to be born.

    • Melvyn B. Davies
    News & Views
  • Dietary restriction promotes longevity but impairs fecundity in many organisms. When the amino acids in a diet are fine-tuned, however, lifespan can be increased without loss of fecundity — at least in fruitflies.

    • Thomas Flatt
    News & Views
  • Transistors have been made from single molecules, where the flow of electrons is controlled by modulating the energy of the molecular orbitals. Insight from such systems could aid the development of future electronic devices.

    • James Kushmerick
    News & Views
  • DNA transfer across membranes is a fundamental life process. The structure of part of a protein channel that performs this task offers insight into the mechanism of DNA passage through bacterial cell envelopes.

    • Peter J. Christie
    News & Views
  • A merger of data and modelling using a probabilistic approach indicates that sea level was much higher during the last interglacial than it is now, providing telling clues about future ice-sheet responses to warming.

    • Peter U. Clark
    • Peter Huybers
    News & Views
  • Tagging of DNA-damage-associated proteins by ubiquitin is key to coordinating the DNA-damage response. The ubiquitin-related protein SUMO is revealed as a crucial regulator of ubiquitylation in DNA repair.

    • Simon J. Boulton
    News & Views
  • An imaging technique has been demonstrated that blends the principles of conventional light and electron microscopy. It renders images with nanometre and femtosecond space-time resolution.

    • F. Javier García de Abajo
    News & Views
  • Flat microstructures can be designed to spontaneously fold into three-dimensional shapes. Computer simulations of water droplets on sheets of carbon atoms now extend this concept to the nanometre scale.

    • Vincent H. Crespi
    News & Views
  • Imaging of brain structures in living mice reveals that learning new tasks leads to persistent remodelling of synaptic structures, with each new skill associated with a small and unique assembly of new synapses.

    • Noam E. Ziv
    • Ehud Ahissar
    News & Views
  • The hunt for Earth-like worlds has taken a major step forward with the discovery of a planet only 2.7 times larger than Earth. Its mass and size are just as theorists would expect for a water-rich super-Earth.

    • Geoffrey Marcy
    News & Views
  • When the replication machinery copies DNA, it must unwind the double helix in one direction while synthesis of one of the strands proceeds in the other. Making transient DNA loops may solve this directional dilemma.

    • Nicholas E. Dixon
    News & Views