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Volume 480 Issue 7377, 15 December 2011

How Japan deals with the radioactive and political fallout from the natural disasters of March 2011 that wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant will have immense implications for the nuclear power industry worldwide. In a Comment piece this week, two prominent Japanese politicians, Tomoyuki Taira and Yukio Hatoyama, call for the nationalization of the plant as part of the recovery process. Only with the government in control, they say, can scientists find out what really happened and make the necessary plans to cope with the aftermath. One example of the inadequacy of the current arrangement is the redacted reactor-operator�s manual shown on the cover. Presented to a Diet committee by the plant�s operators, the document was rendered almost unintelligible by heavy redactions.


  • Editorial |

    Even Japan's political leaders struggle to get answers regarding the Fukushima disaster. It is just the latest example of the government's lack of independent scientific advice.

  • Editorial |

    The European Court of Justice was wrong to weigh in on the definition of a human embryo.

  • Editorial |

    The Durban meeting shows that climate policy and climate science inhabit parallel worlds.

World View

  • World View |

    In two decades of covering climate-change negotiations, Frank McDonald, has seen youthful hope fight dark forces, and a distant threat become a reality.

    • Frank McDonald

Research Highlights

Seven Days

  • Seven Days |

    The week in science: boost for gene therapy; EPA reports concern over fracking; and a fresh clue to ancient water on Mars.


News Feature

  • News Feature |

    South Africa is vying fiercely with Australia to host a giant radio telescope that may never be built — but the competition itself is changing the country's science landscape.

    • Michael Cherry
  • News Feature |

    Oliver Brüstle fought for more than a decade to pursue and patent human embryonic stem-cell research in Germany. Now his efforts have backfired.

    • Alison Abbott


  • Comment |

    Only by bringing the nuclear power station into government hands can scientists find out what really happened, say Tomoyuki Taira and Yukio Hatoyama.

    • Tomoyuki Taira
    • Yukio Hatoyama
  • Comment |

    Large-scale research facilities need to reduce their energy consumption and begin moving towards sustainability, says Thomas Parker.

    • Thomas Parker

Books & Arts

  • Books & Arts |

    Michael A. Goldman hails the first English translation of the three-man paper that launched molecular biology.

    • Michael A. Goldman
  • Books & Arts |

    Evan Thompson weighs up a treatise that explores the dynamics of matter and consciousness.

    • Evan Thompson
  • Books & Arts |

    Gabrielle Walker enjoys a historic exploration of the frozen continent's great mountain range.

    • Gabrielle Walker
  • Books & Arts |

    Stefan Michalowski and Georgia Smith find that a mix of unexplained equations and thunderclaps doesn't add up.

    • Stefan Michalowski
    • Georgia Smith



News & Views

  • News & Views |

    The structure of an antibody that potently neutralizes a wide range of HIV-1 strains, together with a minimal antigen mimic, is an advance towards the design of vaccines that may elicit protective responses. See Article p.336

    • Quentin J. Sattentau
  • News & Views |

    Most soft materials, such as sand, can be in either a solid-like or a liquid-like state. New experiments probe the surprisingly rich nonlinear physics that can occur in between these two states. See Letter p.355

    • Vincenzo Vitelli
    • Martin van Hecke
  • News & Views |

    A long-standing issue in nanotechnology is how to connect molecular electronic devices. A method for splicing nanoscale wires made from different materials paves the way for a solution to this problem.

    • Dario M. Bassani
  • News & Views |

    Stellar explosions known as type Ia supernovae are a significant tool in cosmology, but their exact nature is unknown. Two studies bring an understanding of these cosmic blasts a step closer. See Letters p.344 & p.348

    • Mario Hamuy
  • News & Views |

    The efficacy of the anticancer drug vemurafenib, which is used to treat metastatic melanoma, is plagued by acquired resistance. A picture of how such resistance develops is emerging. See Letter p.387

    • Hugo Lavoie
    • Marc Therrien




  • Feature |

    Student-initiated projects have the potential to change a lab's focus. But with freedom comes responsibility.

    • Robert Frederick


  • Q&A |

    Computational geneticist takes time away from academic pursuits to help kids with rare diseases.

    • Virginia Gewin

Career Brief

  • Career Brief |

    European funding blueprint includes funds for young researchers.


  • Futures |

    Living on the edge.

    • Rachel Swirsky


  • Outlook |

    Identifying the patients most likely to progress from a precancerous condition to multiple myeloma could help doctors catch the disease early and stop it taking hold.

    • Lauren Gravitz
  • Outlook |

    Drugs introduced to fight multiple myeloma in the past decade have revolutionized treatment and extended patients' lives. Are the improvements set to continue?

    • Adrianne Appel
  • Outlook |

    Stem-cell transplants are an important tool for treating myeloma. But with improved drug alternatives, doctors disagree about the best time to give the treatment.

    • Elie Dolgin
  • Outlook |

    In the fight against myeloma, researchers are investigating its interactions with molecular neighbours in the bone marrow.

    • Virginia Hughes
  • Outlook |

    Unlocking the genetic secrets of multiple myeloma could reveal new ways to attack this killer disease.

    • Courtney Humphries
  • Outlook |

    New technology to peer into the bones could help improve the treatment of multiple myeloma patients.

    • Cassandra Willyard
  • Outlook |

    Multiple myeloma begins with a benign condition before progression to full-blown cancer, and work is underway to uncover the origins of both.

    • Cynthia Graber
  • Outlook |

    Finding a treatment for the bone destruction caused by myeloma helped researchers understand the biology of bone.

    • Jennifer Berglund
  • Outlook |

    Despite its rarity, multiple myeloma is an ideal testing ground for cancer biology, says William Matsui.

    • William Matsui

Nature Outlook

  • Nature Outlook |

    Multiple Myeloma

    Despite a rash of new drugs and advances in stem-cell therapy, this rare, bloodborne cancer is still an almost certain death sentence. Although a cure remains a long way off, studies of multiple myeloma are yielding Insights into bone biology, the role of the tumour microenvironment and the origins of a whole range of different cancers.

Nature Briefing

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