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Volume 478 Issue 7368, 13 October 2011

The Arctic ice is melting, and with it goes many of the old assumptions about how science should be conducted in the Arctic Circle. In a series of News Feature and Comment pieces in this issue, we chart the changing picture of Arctic science, as well as the political and environmental consequences of the retreating ice.

Postdoc Journal


  • Editorial |

    The continued imprisonment of a French-Algerian physicist highlights the need for scientists to defend the human rights of all colleagues.

  • Editorial |

    Steve Jobs and Apple revolutionized the way scientists render their work.

  • Editorial |

    The bizarre-looking naked mole rat is a worthy member of the genome club.

World View

  • World View |

    Global economics, not declining sea ice, is driving ships to the Arctic Ocean. Only international regulation will protect the region, says Lawson Brigham.

    • Lawson Brigham

Research Highlights


Seven Days

  • Seven Days |

    The week in science: plan to clean up Gulf Coast; Europe approves dark-energy mission; and a report says researchers should pay egg-donors.



News Feature


  • Comment |

    Academic collaboration is essential for creating a sustainable future for Arctic development, says Lars Kullerud.

    • Lars Kullerud
  • Comment |

    Encourage dialogue between the producers and consumers of scientific knowledge in the north to keep the region conflict free, says Oran R. Young.

    • Oran R. Young
  • Comment |

    Indigenous knowledge is maturing as a science, says Henry P. Huntington. But more work is needed to give the field the respect it deserves.

    • Henry P. Huntington

Books & Arts

  • Books & Arts |

    Kevin Finneran hails a timely take on the debate raging over biotechnology breakthroughs in the United States.

    • Kevin Finneran
  • Books & Arts |

    Alison Abbott enjoys a German exhibition charting how the human head is revered by cultures worldwide.

    • Alison Abbott
  • Books & Arts |

    As the new director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Joichi Ito brings his knowledge of Internet start-ups — including Flickr, Twitter and licence provider Creative Commons — to the lab that developed the ideas behind the game Guitar Hero and Amazon Kindle's E-Ink technology. Ito talks about the value of playfulness and freedom in scientific discovery.

    • Jascha Hoffman


News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Some fruit odours sexually arouse male fruitflies. The response is mediated by olfactory neurons that are sensitive to food smells and plug into the brain's neural circuit for sexual behaviour. See Letter p.236

    • Benjamin Prud'homme
    • Nicolas Gompel
  • News & Views |

    Sources of incandescence emit their radiation across a broad spectrum. The finding that metamaterials can be used to tune the sources' emission spectrum makes these emitters an attractive prospect for some applications.

    • Jean-Jacques Greffet
  • News & Views |

    Tumours increase their consumption of the amino acid tryptophan to evade immune control. But how does this work? A study shows that the main product of this consumption binds to a receptor involved in the immune system. See Article p.197

    • George C. Prendergast
  • News & Views |

    A model proposes that falling sea levels shifted the make-up of volcanic gases on the early Earth, triggering a chain of events that may have allowed photosynthesis in the ocean to oxygenate the atmosphere. See Letter p.229

    • Timothy W. Lyons
    • Christopher T. Reinhard
  • News & Views |

    Quantum computing architectures based on hybrid systems require strong coupling and information exchange between their constituent elements. These two features have been achieved in one such hybrid setting. See Letter p.221

    • Irinel Chiorescu





  • Feature |

    What the novice peer reviewer needs to know before combing through a submission.

    • Virginia Gewin

Career Brief

  • Career Brief |

    Pay falls short of expenses for some European PhD candidates.

  • Career Brief |

    Survey uncovers frustrations with career uncertainties in the United Kingdom.


Brief Communications Arising


  • Outlook |

    Biophysicist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Shared 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for knowledge of the structure and function of the ribosome — the intracellular machine that builds proteins from instructions carried by RNA. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1940. The oldest of five children, Steitz has admitted to being an average student in high school, until motivated to compete against his youngest brother who was getting better grades. Steitz was a keen musician and chorister, and considered a career in music before finally choosing to pursue science.

    • Thomas Arthur Steitz
  • Outlook |

    Biochemist at Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology in Haifa. Shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of the ubiquitin system, which mediates protein degradation in all plant and animal cells by destroying proteins that are denatured, misfolded or no longer needed. Family moved from Poland in the 1920s, and he was born in Haifa in 1947. The following year the state of Israel was established.

    • Aaron Ciechanover
  • Outlook |

    Biochemist at the University of Washington in Seattle, he won a share of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries concerning reversible phosphorylation: a regulatory mechanism that activates and deactivates enzymes in the vast majority of living cells. Fischer was born in Shanghai, China, in 1920.

    • Edmond Henri Fischer
  • Outlook |

    X-ray crystallographer currently at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. She won a share of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on the structure and function of the ribosome. Yonath was born in 1939 in Jerusalem to a poor family. Her father died when she was 11 years old, and Yonath helped support her mother and younger sister. Yonath was the first Israeli woman to win a Nobel prize and the first woman in 45 years to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

    • Ada Etil Yonath
  • Outlook |

    Chemist at the University of Strasbourg in France. Shared the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for development and use of molecules that recognize and interact with each other. Coined 'supramolecular chemistry', it is an area of chemistry that exploits non-covalent interactions. Born in 1939 in Rosheim in France, Lehn was the son of a baker who later became the city's organist. Music is Lehn's main passion other than science.

    • Jean-Marie Lehn
  • Outlook |

    Biochemist at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, he shared the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that nitric oxide acts as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system, prompting blood vessels to relax. Murad was born in Whiting, Indiana in 1936. His American mother was only 17 years old when she eloped with his father, an Albanian immigrant. His parents ran a restaurant, where he and his two brothers worked. Murad used to memorize customers' orders and mentally tally their bills, which he believed trained his memory and maths skills.

    • Ferid Murad
  • Outlook |

    Virologist at German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg. Joint winner of 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovery of the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in causing cervical cancer. zur Hausen was born in 1936 in Gelsenkirchen-Buer in Germany, an area that was heavily bombed during the Second World War.

    • Harald zur Hausen
  • Outlook |

    Elizabeth Blackburn gave the first lecture at the 2011 Lindau meeting, describing her Nobel prizewinning work on telomeres. These chromosomal caps are known to play a role in cancer and are implicated in ageing — but their full biological utility remains a mystery.

    • Michael Eisenstein
  • Outlook |

    The United States publishes more biomedical research papers than ever before, yet drug development is stagnating. Several new initiatives aim to turn this knowledge into new remedies.

    • Amy Maxmen
  • Outlook |

    In Lindau, a colloquy between a Nobel laureate and three students encouraged the young researchers to grapple with some of the biggest challenges in drug development.

    • Kat McGowan

Nature Outlook

  • Nature Outlook |

    Medical Research Masterclass

    Each year, the world's finest scientific minds, from Nobel laureates to aspiring young researchers, meet on the picturesque German island of Lindau to engage one another about the practice of their craft. Nature Outlookexamines the areas of biomedical science that challenge and inspire these pre-eminent investigators.

Nature Briefing

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