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Volume 507 Issue 7493, 27 March 2014

Can you keep secrets safe from eavesdroppers? Yes you can, say Artur Ekert and Renato Renner. They argue that recent developments in quantum cryptography, coupled with the fact that we still possess free will, suggest that truly private communication will always be possible, even in a world with access to as yet undiscovered code-breaking technologies. The answer lies in new insights into the nature of randomness and non-local correlations. Thus equipped it should be possible to outsmart even the most powerful surveillance procedures. Cover: Andy Potts


  • Editorial |

    New views of quantum theory that can be tested and have practical applications bring welcome echoes of physics past.

  • Editorial |

    Growth in yields of the cereal must double if the Green Revolution is to be put back on track.

  • Editorial |

    The decay at ancient Pompeii is symbolic of a deeper malaise in Italy’s heritage.

World View

Research Highlights

Seven Days

  • Seven Days |

    The week in science: Ebola kills dozens in Guinea, the top quark become more precise, and Japan hands over nuclear material.



News Feature


Books & Arts


News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Our brains create a stable view of the world even though our eyes dart around. A study of how the brain might compensate for eye movements reveals an unexpected twist in the vision-stabilizing mechanism. See Letter p.504

    • John A. Assad
  • News & Views |

    The discovery of a second resident in a region of the Solar System called the inner Oort cloud prompts fresh thinking about this no-man's-land between the giant planets and the reservoir of comets of long orbital period. See Letter p.471

    • Megan E. Schwamb
  • News & Views |

    A meta-analysis of methane emissions at the ecosystem level reveals a simple exponential dependence on temperature, despite the complex array of factors that control this process. See Letter p.488

    • Tori M. Hoehler
    • Marc J. Alperin
  • News & Views |

    Climate simulations suggest that multi-decadal periods of high and low variability in the phenomenon known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation in the tropical Pacific Ocean may be entirely unpredictable.

    • Pedro DiNezio
  • News & Views |

    What guards the aged brain against neurodegeneration? A study finds that the REST protein has a central role in protecting ageing neurons from death and in maintaining cognitive capacity in the elderly. See Article p.448

    • Li-Huei Tsai
    • Ram Madabhushi
  • News & Views |

    A marriage between theory and experiment has shown that ultracold erbium atoms trapped with laser light and subjected to a magnetic field undergo collisions that are characterized by quantum chaos. See Letter p.475

    • Paul S. Julienne
  • News & Views |

    Increased influx of zinc into chondrocytes — the cells that make up cartilage — has been found to activate matrix-degrading enzymes that cause the destruction of cartilage in osteoarthritis.

    • Virginia Byers Kraus


  • Perspective |

    Developments in quantum cryptography show that it is possible to protect secrets — from those with superior technology, those who profess to provide our security and even those who manipulate us without our knowledge — under surprisingly weak assumptions.

    • Artur Ekert
    • Renato Renner


  • Article |

    REST, a developmental regulator, is markedly induced in human neurons during ageing but is lost in Alzheimer’s disease; REST represses genes that promote neurodegeneration, is neuroprotective in animal models, and is associated with cognitive preservation and longevity in humans.

    • Tao Lu
    • Liviu Aron
    • Bruce A. Yankner
  • Article |

    A study from the FANTOM consortium using single-molecule cDNA sequencing of transcription start sites and their usage in human and mouse primary cells, cell lines and tissues reveals insights into the specificity and diversity of transcription patterns across different mammalian cell types.

    • Alistair R. R. Forrest
    • Hideya Kawaji
    • Yoshihide Hayashizaki



  • Letter |

    The discovery of the distant dwarf planet 2012 VP113, with its large perihelion like that of the dwarf planet Sedna, shows that Sedna is not isolated and may be part of the putative massive inner Oort cloud, which extends far beyond the observable Solar System.

    • Chadwick A. Trujillo
    • Scott S. Sheppard
  • Letter |

    An ultracold gas of erbium atoms is shown to have many scattering resonances whose quantum fluctuations exhibit chaotic behaviour resulting from the anisotropy of the atoms’ interactions.

    • Albert Frisch
    • Michael Mark
    • Svetlana Kotochigova
  • Letter |

    The discrepancy between the components of the oceanic carbon budget — export of carbon from the surface and its conversion into carbon dioxide by water-column biota at depth — is reconciled using field data and a steady-state model which indicates that synergy between microbes and zooplankton is an important factor.

    • Sarah L. C. Giering
    • Richard Sanders
    • Daniel J. Mayor
  • Letter |

    Meta-analyses show that the temperature dependence of methane fluxes scales consistently across populations of methanogens, microbial communities and whole ecosystems, and that this temperature dependence is higher than for respiration and photosynthesis; this indicates that global warming may impact the relative contributions of CO2 and CH4 to total greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Gabriel Yvon-Durocher
    • Andrew P. Allen
    • Paul A. del Giorgio
  • Letter |

    Global maps constructed using climate-change velocities to derive spatial trajectories for climatic niches between 1960 and 2100 show past and future shifts in ecological climate niches; properties of these trajectories are used to infer changes in species distributions, and thus identify areas that will act as climate sources and sinks, and geographical barriers to species migrations.

    • Michael T. Burrows
    • David S. Schoeman
    • Elvira S. Poloczanska
  • Letter |

    Tamisiocaris borealis, an Early Cambrian member of the anomalocarids—giant, predatory marine stem arthropods—probably used its frontal appendage to trap microscopic, planktonic animals.

    • Jakob Vinther
    • Martin Stein
    • David A. T. Harper
  • Letter |

    Saccadic eye movements cause substantial shifts in the retinal image as we take in visual scenes, but our perception is stable and continuous; here, visual receptive fields are shown to shift dramatically towards the saccadic goal, running counter to the long-standing hypothesis of receptive field remapping as the basis of perceived stability.

    • Marc Zirnsak
    • Nicholas A. Steinmetz
    • Tirin Moore


Career Brief

  • Career Brief |

    Success rate for UK government grants is lower for women, analysis reveals.

  • Career Brief |

    Erasmus Plus grants off-limits for student exchanges in and out of Switzerland.

  • Career Brief |

    US public universities give higher salary increases than do private universities, finds poll.


  • Futures |

    Time well spent.

    • George Zebrowski
Nature Briefing

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