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Observations

Observations

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

The coming shortage of helium

LINDAU, Germany—Quick: What do MRI machines, rockets, fiber optics, LCDs, food production and welding have in common?They all require the inert, or noble, gas helium for their use or at some stage of their production...

June 30, 2010 — Mariette DiChristina

How did life begin on Earth?

LINDAU, Germany—What steps led to the origin of life on Earth? Scientists may be zeroing in on that most profound of questions. “We’ve gone a long way to showing” the processes that “set the stage” for cellular life on Earth, Jack Szostak said Tuesday here in his talk at the 60th annual Nobel Laureate Lectures at Lindau.Recent findings—such as that life seems to be everywhere on Earth—have encouraged scientific inquiries into the nature of life’s beginnings, said Szostak...

June 29, 2010 — Mariette DiChristina

What happens when coal is gone?

LINDAU, Germany--What’s the best way to address a politically charged topic such as the future of energy? Remove the politics. “We’re going to skip over the politics,” Robert P...

June 29, 2010 — Mariette DiChristina

How close are we to catastrophic climate change?

As you may have noticed, scientists remain convinced that humans are altering the global climate with an excess of greenhouse gas emissions—soot, methane and the ever-present carbon dioxide we pump out from our lungs and coal-burning power plants...

June 28, 2010 — David Biello

60th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting opens

LINDAU, Germany--An astronomer once told me about how he was often miserable growing up as the picked-on nerd. Nobody, he said, had ever told him the big secret: that if you stick with science, you win...

June 28, 2010 — Mariette DiChristina

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