My Clips from Scientific American

Below are the article I have written for Scientific American magazine and for

Scientific American Feature Articles:

Questions for the Next Million Years
What would scientists learn if they could run studies that lasted for hundreds or thousands of years—or more?
September 2012

Gather the Wind
If renewable energy is going to take off, we need good ways of storing it for the times when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing
(Also see the related online content: How Big a Battery Would It Take to Power All of the U.S.?)
March 2012

The Compass Within
Animals’ magnetic sense is real. Scientists are zeroing in on how it works
January 2012

Scientific American – Other Articles:

Wild Pollinators Are Ailing, Too
April 2009

Colliding Philosophies: Smarter Algorithms Help Find New Particles
A novel way to rummage for particles in accelerator debris
April 2009

The Dirty Side of Phosphorus
June 2009

Hypersphere Exotica: Kervaire Invariant Problem Has a Solution!
A 45-year-old problem on higher-dimensional spheres is solved–probably
August 2009

New Microscope Reveals the Shape of Atoms
Improved field-emission microscope images electron orbitals, confirming their theoretical shapes
December 2009

Warp-Speed Algebra
New quantum algorithm can solve monster-size equations
January 2010

Invasion of the Drones: Unmanned Aircraft Take Off in Polar Exploration
To study hard-to-reach places, scientists in Antarctica are relying on remote-controlled planes, including those from the hobby shop
March 2010

Supersonic Bathtub Physics
March 2010

Problem Solved, LOL
Blog comments point to a new, faster approach in math
April 2010

Look Ma, No Junctions! Novel Transistor Design Reemerges After 85 Years
June 2010

Quantum Light Switch: Single Atom Acts as a Transistor for Photons
Demonstration that an atom can control the passage of light could be crucial in quantum computing and communications
September 2010

Just How Small Is the Proton?
New findings challenge a basic theory of physics that presumably had been settled
October 2010

Hawking versus God: What Did the Physicist Really Say about the Deity?
The battle for eternity is fought on Larry King Live
November 2010

Life Unseen: Images of Magnificent Microscopic Landscapes [Slide Show]Scientific American presents this year’s winning micro-imaging entries from the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Contest
December 2010

Not Your Parents’ Carbon: A New Type of Crystalline Graphite
February 2011

The Smallest Mind
Scientists use light to make worms start, stop and lay eggs
March 2011

Cracking a Century-Old Enigma
Mathematicians unearth fractal counting patterns to explain a cryptic claim
April 2011

A Tale of Math Treasure
An exhibition traces the reconstruction of a long-missing collection of writings by Archimedes.
October 2011

Why Neutrinos Might Wimp Out
Particles that go beyond light speed? Not so fast, many theoretical physicists say
December 2011
(Also see the longer blog version: Superluminal Neutrinos Would Wimp Out En Route)

Goldbach’s Prime Numbers
A centuries-old conjecture is nearing its solution
May 2012

Is Supersymmetry Dead?
The grand scheme, a stepping-stone to string theory, is still high on physicists’ wish lists. But if no solid evidence surfaces soon, it could begin to have a serious PR problem.
May 2012

Special Issue of September 2009: Origins

The feature comprised more than 50 articles each describing the origin of something. I wrote eight of the articles: Batteries, Scotch Tape, Carbon, The Placenta, The Eye, Photosynthesis, Chocolate, and Economic Thinking.

CSI Alaska: Air crash victim identified after 60 years
March 16, 2009

Could nanotechnology save ancient books from crumbling?
March 24, 2009

From the 2009 meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco:

New Map Reveals Tsunami Risks in California
The map, released close to the fifth anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, will be helpful in emergency response planning
December 18, 2009

With One Space Observatory Down, NASA Uses Another to Map CO2
Newly released data show carbon dioxide “more lumpy” than expected
December 17, 2009

Subcontinental Smut: Is Soot the Culprit Behind Melting Himalayan Glaciers?
Greenhouse gases alone cannot explain the warming climate in the Himalayas. New studies are pointing to soot
December 15, 2009

“Quantum Microphone” Puts Visible Object in Two Places at OnceFrom the 2010 March Meeting of the American Physical Society.
This result was declared to be the breakthrough of the year 2010 by Science magazine.
May 1, 2010

Would Wiretapping Laws Spell the End of Quantum Encryption?
A new effort to ensure that the government can gain backdoor access to encrypted messages could thwart one of the most promising applications of physics for digital security
October 1, 2010

Lightning x-rays imaged for the first time [Video]
The first 30 pixels of information ever recorded of a lightning bolt in the x-ray spectrum, as presented at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union
December 15, 2010

Titan Spews: Discovery of Cold Volcanoes on Saturnian Moon May Solve Methane Mystery
Video taken by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft reveals evidence of three volcanoes that appear to be gushing liquid water through the moon’s icy surface. The activity could be a source replenishing the methane in Titan’s atmosphere, which is broken down by sunlight
December 16, 2010

Dimming city lights may help reduce smog
December 17, 2010

Affordable Orbital: Tiny Satellites Make for Democratic Access to Space [Slideshow]
Low-cost spacecraft called CubeSats are helping bring open-source, DIY culture to spaceflight
February 9, 2011

Dimension-Cruncher: Exotic Spheres Earn Mathematician John Milnor an Abel Prize
His discovery that some seven-dimensional spheres look different under the lens of calculus spurred decades of research in topology [with John Matson]
March 24, 2011

Nuke Reboot: Physicists List Lessons to Be Learned from Japan’s Nuclear Crisis
For starters, retrofits could make U.S. reactors safer–and maybe even make nuclear power more palatable
March 25, 2011

Information-age math finds code in ancient Scottish symbols
March 31, 2010

The Geoid: Why a map of Earth’s gravity yields a potato-shaped planet
April 1, 2011

Absolute Hero: Heike Onnes’s Discovery of Superconductors Turns 100 [Slideshow]
A century after the discovery of materials that conduct electricity without resistance, the applications remain disappointingly limited. That may be about to change
April 8, 2011

Let’s make a deal: Revisiting the Monty Hall problem
April 15, 2011

Tantalizing Hints of Elusive Higgs Particle Announced
Geneva, December 13, 2011
(Also see related blog post: Waiting for the Higgs, with the Man Who Built the LHC)

Has the Higgs Been Discovered? Physicists Gear Up for Watershed Announcement
December 8, 2011
(Also see related blog post: Where’s My Higgs? LHC Physicist Joe Lykken Speaks)

Interactive Features

How Maxwell’s Demon Cools a Gas to Microkelvin Temperatures
Animation of the workings of a one-way gate for atoms, as described in the article “Demons, Entropy and the Quest for Absolute Zero” by physicist Mark G. Raizen. (Flash animation by Ryan Reid.)
February 28, 2011

Faster, Smaller, Better: Does Physics Put an Upper Limit on Brain Efficiency?
An animated version of an illustration that ran with Douglas Fox’s July 2011 cover story, The Limits of Intelligence.
July 15, 2011

New York City’s 20 Years of Declining Crime
Mapping two decades of New York Police Department crime statistics precinct by precinct, to illustrate Franklin E. Zimring’s article How New York City Beat Crime.
August 4, 2011

The Elements Revealed: An Interactive Periodic Table
Part of Scientific American’s celebration of the International Year of Chemistry.
September 21, 2011

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