Volume 430 Issue 7001, 12 August 2004


  • Editorial |

    The laboratory that gave birth to the nuclear bomb is caught in an unsettling downward spiral of weak leadership and dwindling staff morale.

  • Editorial |

    No one is taking responsibility for tracking the pathological aftermath of inconclusive trials of an Alzheimer's vaccine.


News in Brief


  • News Feature |

    Did a great flood once surge into the Black Sea, forming the basis of a Biblical tale? Quirin Schiermeier investigates a computer model that has added weight to the idea.

    • Quirin Schiermeier
  • News Feature |

    Last month, a handful of scientists who have toyed with the idea of writing for the movies were given a masterclass by Tinseltown's finest. Jonathan Knight joined them.

    • Jonathan Knight



  • Commentary |

    The Copenhagen Consensus neglects the need to tackle climate change.

    • Jeffrey D. Sachs

Books and Arts



  • Essay |

    Heterogeneous catalysis: just as for enzymes, flexibility and mobility are emerging as key features of catalytically active metal surfaces.

    • Gabor A. Somorjai

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    A mathematical analysis of a pendulum system reveals the relevance to quantum systems of the classical concept of ‘monodromy’ — why a falling cat always lands the right way up.

    • Ian Stewart
  • News & Views |

    Pinyon jays seem to work out how to behave towards an unfamiliar jay by watching it in encounters with members of their own flock. The findings provide clues about how cognition evolved in social animals.

    • Sara J. Shettleworth
  • News & Views |

    The baseline level of gene expression varies from person to person, but how is this determined genetically? The answer may improve our understanding of complex traits, including some genetic diseases.

    • Nancy J. Cox
  • News & Views |

    To explore their surroundings, cells use probes of various shapes. Whether the probes are broad and flat, or long and thin, seems to be regulated by proteins at the growing ends of actin filaments.

    • Dorothy A. Schafer
  • News & Views |

    Nature exploits the unique chemistry of molybdenum in many reactions. Structures of the enzyme Cnx1 reveal unexpected mechanisms for slotting the metal ion into its reactive position in the cofactor Moco.

    • William N. Hunter
  • News & Views |

    Climate models are usually tuned to match observations. A new approach, in which the models are detuned instead, increases our confidence in projections of future warming.

    • Thomas F. Stocker
  • News & Views |

    A method for preparing aluminate glasses and glass–ceramic composites opens up new possibilities for generating mechanically strong structural components and high-hardness coatings.

    • Paul F. McMillan

Research Highlights

Brief Communications





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