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Observations

Observations

Opinion, arguments & analyses from guest experts and from the editors of Scientific American

Commercial Spaceflight Industry Drifts Back to Earth

As the brash, stylish new kid on the block, SpaceX was sure to win its share of admirers. But last week’s launch hiccup showed that the private space operator, helmed by Elon Musk, has a few issues to work out, just like stodgy old NASA.Don’t get me wrong: SpaceX has done unbelievably impressive things...

March 6, 2013 — John Matson

Meet the New Secretary of Energy Nominee: Ernie Moniz

Ernest J. Moniz, a nuclear physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who serves on Scientific American ’s board of advisors, will be President Barack Obama's pick to replace Nobel laureate Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy...

March 4, 2013 — David Biello

Googling E.T., Mind Reading and Other Crazy Ideas That Just Might Work

A talent search preceding this year’s TED conference turned up enough startlingly smart prodigies to lend an American Idol feel to the event. There was the 15-year-old who invented a better test for pancreatic cancer, the 18-year-old who presented his second nuclear reactor design, and the 13-year-old who strung flickering light-emitting diodes around his family’s livestock to keep the lions away...

March 4, 2013 — Fred Guterl

Comedy about Isaac Newton Enlightens

Isaac Newton, the giant of classical physics and co-inventor of calculus, was a pill. His anti-social and arrogant ways are well documented, providing a small comfort to people today who might feel daunted by the towering achievements of this 17 th -century genius...

February 28, 2013 — Robin Lloyd

Young Scientists Encourage the Public to Demand Peer Review

It seems that more and more policy makers, advocacy groups, advertisers and media pundits are making claims based on science: this kind of potion is good for your health, that chemical is bad for the environment, this new technology can reduce crime...

February 27, 2013 — Mark Fischetti

Can Children Teach Themselves?

Sugata Mitra gave street kids in a slum in New Delhi access to a computer connected to the Internet, and found that they quickly taught themselves how to use it.

February 27, 2013 — Fred Guterl

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