Volume 389 Issue 6648, 18 September 1997

Opinion

  • Opinion |

    Discussions about art and science can be frustrating but occasionally stimulating. The Editor explains why this issue includes the first of a series of artistic and art-historical contributions to Nature.

    • Philip Campbell

News

  • News |

    washington

    A $250 million research collaboration between Intel and the Department of Energy is under fire from US suppliers of semiconductor-makingequipment, who fear that it will hand over American technology to their Japanesecompetitors.

    • Colin Macilwain
  • News |

    munich

    The European Commission in Brussels has approved its restructured science advisory group, ESTA (European Science and Technology Assembly).

    • Alison Abbott
  • News |

    new delhi

    India has decided to throw open two of its power reactors for inspection by international experts. It has also invited the International Atomic Energy Agency to review the design of its new 500-MW reactors — the first such request in the 40 year history of the country's nuclear programme.

    • K. S. Jayaraman
  • News |

    paris

    France is set to abandon controversial plans to turn the world's largest anthropology museum — the Musée de l'Homme (Museum of Mankind) in Paris — into a museum of fine arts.

    • Declan Butler
  • News |

    washington

    NASA has embarked on a sweepingreview of its research grants programme to make it moreefficient and responsive to the agency's needs as well as theacademic community's concerns about timely grantpayments.

    • Tony Reichhardt
  • News |

    montreal

    Representatives of more than 100 signatorycountries to the Montreal Protocol on Substances thatDeplete the Ozone Layer are gathering in Montreal thisweek to celebrate signing of the protocol exactly 10 yearsago — and consider ways of strengthening it.

    • David Spurgeon
  • News |

    montreal

    One of the first scientists to have pointed outthe potential threat of chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs) to theatmosphere in the mid-1970s said he had been bothsurprised and impressed by the success of the Montrealprotocol in restricting CFCs.

    • David Spurgeon
  • News |

    sydney

    Australian astronomers will re-attempt joining asix-country initiative to build twin 8-metre telescopes inHawaii and Chile, following their failure to join the Geminitelescope project as a replacement for Chile.

    • Peter Pockley
  • News |

    sydney

    Vicki Sara, newly appointed as Chair of theAustralian Research Council (ARC) and the first woman inthe influential post, says her first challenge is to maintainAustralia's international competitiveness in research.

    • Peter Pockley
  • News |

    london

    The unveiling of a bronze statue of theseventeenth century physicist Sir Isaac Newton, hasre-ignited a debate over the origins of the statue's design,inspired by a painting by the 18th century poet and artistWilliam Blake.

    • Ehsan Masood

News in Brief

Correspondence

Commentary

  • Commentary |

    Partnerships between insurance companies and climate scientists are a model for how academic science can provide value to business. These partnerships benefit both businesses and scientists, as well as the wider public.

    • Anthony Michaels
    • , Ann Close
    • , David Malmquist
    •  & Anthony Knap

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    When compared with the blood circulation systems of birds and mammals, those of certain air-breathing fishes and most reptiles appear to be primitive and inefficient. There may, however, be a good physiological reason — delivery of oxygenated blood direct to the heart muscle — why they are designed the way they are. The principles concerned could inform clinicians who treat heart disease.

    • Elizabeth Brainerd
  • News & Views |

    There are hundreds of known sub-atomic particles, most of them short lived hadrons made of two or three quarks, bound together by gluons. In many of these the quarks are excited to high energies, but so far none have been discovered in which the gluon binding is itself excited. Now a team at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York is claiming a detection of one such `exotic' meson; but it is not certain exactly what they are detecting.

    • Frank Close
  • News & Views |

    Chromosomes are made of chromatin which, in turn, consists of protein-DNA complexes known as nucleosomes. Exactly how the protein and DNA is arranged at the atomic level can now be seen, thanks to the first high-resolution (2.8) crystal structure of the nucleosome core.

    • Daniela Rhodes
  • News & Views |

    Why is life left-handed? Protein amino acids on Earth are almost entirely L-enantiomers, rather than right-handed D-enantiomers. When an excess of L-amino acids was discovered on the Murchison meteorite, it seemed that our chemical bias might have had an extraterrestrial origin; but then questions were raised about contamination of the samples. Now the extraterrestrial nature of this excess has been confirmed, re-igniting speculation that an astrophysical process of some sort decided our chemical handedness.

    • Christopher F. Chyba
  • News & Views |

    We know that stereopsis — or binocular vision — is the perception of depth that we have owing to differences in the positions of images on the retina of each eye. But what brain mechanisms are involved in generating these images? Two research groups have used different techniques to study the involvement of the primary visual cortex of the brain in the generation of stereoscopic images.

    • Ian P. Howard
  • News & Views |

    p53 protein is a central player in the process that results in the repair or in the death by apoptosis of potentially cancerous cells. New work unveils several genes that are controlled by p53. It gives a tantalizing view of the way in which cell death may be mediated by p53-induced, death-specifying transcripts, which generate a burst of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on the mitochondrial membrane. In turn, ROS activate the final killing mechanism of apoptosis. Further research will show whether this seductive scheme is a true reflection of what happens in p53-determined cell death.

    • Andrew Wyllie
  • News & Views |

    Howling babies can be soothed by rocking or by the sound of heartbeats — both features of an earlier, blissful time in the womb. DREADCO will take this environmental reconstruction further by adapting intra-uterine contraceptive devices to carry a microphone, so that either before or after pregnancy a mother can record a tape to be played back in the cradle, wrapping fractious babies in uterine surround-sound.

    • David Jones
  • News & Views |

    The concept behind gene therapy is simple — by delivering corrective genetic material to the cells of a patient the symptoms of disease can be alleviated. But seven years after the first clinical trials on gene therapy began, how far have we come? Gene therapy has not lived up to many of its promises, but the main problem has been in designing efficient delivery vehicles ('vectors'). Nonetheless, the prospects are good — by the year 2010, gene therapy may be as routine a practice as heart transplants are today.

    • Inder M. Verma
    •  & Nikunj Somia

Scientific Correspondence

Book Reviews

Article

Letters

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