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Observations

Observations

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

Lasers at the cutting edge of science

"When you flash a laser for the first time…it's like you've created something magical." Tom Baer, executive director of the Stanford Photonics Research Center, said this to me recently when I asked him why he's spent the past three decades both studying and developing the technology.Aesthetics aside, Baer says he's seeing a "renaissance" in laser technology in recent years...

May 14, 2010 — Larry Greenemeier

NASA gears up shuttle Atlantis for its last scheduled trip to space

Space shuttle Atlantis stands at the launchpad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, nearly ready to begin its 32nd journey into space. That trip, slated to begin May 14, will also be Atlantis 's final planned mission, as the shuttle program winds down with just two more launches, of sibling orbiters Discovery and Endeavour, booked for later this year...

May 13, 2010 — John Matson

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Self-Awareness or Illusion?

Self-Awareness or Illusion?

Solving the “Hard Problem”