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Observations

Observations

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

Thousands of new drug leads identified in the fight against malaria

Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is behind a majority of those deaths. Although newer drug combinations (of artemisinins) proved effective after resistance to widely used treatments appeared, hints of resistance to this newer therapy are also beginning to emerge, creating a darkening cloud over a field already beset with challenges...

May 19, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Japanese space agency set to make history with launch of the solar-sailing IKAROS probe

The Japanese space agency is preparing to launch what could become the first spacecraft to sail across the solar system on sunlight. IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun), piggybacking on the launch of a Venus climate orbiter, is scheduled for a May 20 liftoff at 5:58 P.M., Eastern Daylight Time, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)...

May 19, 2010 — John Matson

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

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