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October 2011

Volume 25 Issue 10

The Scientist October 2011 Cover

Cover Story

Our silver anniversary issue celebrates a quarter century of covering major advances in the life sciences—some in fields that didn’t even exist when we first went to press—and looks ahead to future research milestones.

Featured Articles

image: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Looking Back, Looking Forward

By | October 1, 2011

In celebration of major conceptual advances in biology and the revolutions just over the horizon

image: Neuroscience

Neuroscience

By | October 1, 2011

Read about beginnings of neuroscience through the eyes of Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel, and how researchers today envision the future of the field.

image: Omics

Omics

By , and | October 1, 2011

Early sequencing evolved into the publication of genomes for myriad species, including our own, within the span of two and a half decades. Bioinformatician Stephen Friend opines on what's in store as the next quarter century of omics takes shape.

image: Funding

Funding

By , and | October 1, 2011

Explore the past and present of US research funding, compare the investment priorities of the United States and Europe, and read an opinion from Research!America president Mary Woolley on what scientists need to do to secure the financial future of the US research enterprise.

image: A Not-So-Short Circuit?

A Not-So-Short Circuit?

By | October 1, 2011

As neuroscientists look to the future of their field, they are beginning to delve into more complex factors that define our emotions and intentions.

image: A Small Revolution

A Small Revolution

By | October 1, 2011

In fewer than 15 years, nanomedicine has gone from fantasy to reality.

image: Nanomedicine

Nanomedicine

October 1, 2011

At the nanoscale old materials acquire new properties that International Institute for Nanotechnology Director Chad Mirkin thinks will change the way medicine is practiced.

image: Opinion: Evolving Engineering

Opinion: Evolving Engineering

By | October 1, 2011

Exploiting the unique properties of living systems makes synthetic biologists better engineers.

image: Opinion: Research and Debt Reduction

Opinion: Research and Debt Reduction

By | October 1, 2011

Investing more federal dollars in life science research may save the US economy.

image: Opinion: Synthesizing Life

Opinion: Synthesizing Life

By | October 1, 2011

Designing genomes from scratch will be the next revolution in biology.

image: Opinion: Thinking Outside the Genome

Opinion: Thinking Outside the Genome

By | October 1, 2011

By extending its reach beyond science, the field of omics will change the way we live our lives.

image: A Quarter Century of Fueling Science

A Quarter Century of Fueling Science

By | October 1, 2011

History repeats itself, and so do trends in research funding.

image: Conserving Our Shared Heritage

Conserving Our Shared Heritage

By | October 1, 2011

Reversing catastrophic threats to our planet’s biodiversity is not optional: our lives depend on it.

image: Data Deluge

Data Deluge

By | October 1, 2011

Large-scale data collection and analysis have fundamentally altered the process and mind-set of biological research.

image: Interview: Speaking of Memory

Interview: Speaking of Memory

By | October 1, 2011

Considered a renegade by his peers, Nobel Prize-winner Eric Kandel used a simple model to probe the neural circuitry of memory.

image: Opinion: Exploring a Little-Known Planet

Opinion: Exploring a Little-Known Planet

By | October 1, 2011

Cataloging the staggering richness of Earth’s species will have multiple payoffs.

image: Opinion: Miniaturizing Medicine

Opinion: Miniaturizing Medicine

By | October 1, 2011

Nanotechnology will offer doctors new ways to diagnose and treat patients, boosting efficiency and slashing costs.

image: Tinkering With Life

Tinkering With Life

By | October 1, 2011

A decade’s worth of engineering-infused biology

image: Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology

By , , and | October 1, 2011

Learn about the field’s first genetic circuits and read forecasts by George M. Church and J. Craig Venter of a future where man-made organisms pump out novel fuels, drugs, and therapies.

image: Biodiversity

Biodiversity

By | October 1, 2011

Ecosystems are failing and extinction rates are soaring. Thomas E. Lovejoy and Edward O. Wilson weigh in on why cataloging existing species, discovering new ones, and maintaining a balanced and diverse global ecosystem are critical for ensuring a habitable environment for all.

Departments

Bio Business

New Tech Boosts Science

From iPhone apps to cloud computing, everyday digital technologies are helping advance drug discovery, conduct clinical trials, and improve medical care.

Contributors

Contributors

Meet some of the people featured in the October 2011 issue of The Scientist.

Editorial

. . . And Many Happy Returns

To the great scientific leaps witnessed during our first 25 years, and the game changers yet to come.

Alive and Kicking

The publication I launched a quarter century ago has come further than anyone ever expected.

Foundations

The Scientist, Inaugural Issue, 1986

Twenty-five years later, the magazine is still hitting many of the same key discussion points of science.

The Human Genome Project, Then and Now

An early advocate of the sequencing of the human genome reflects on his own predictions from 1986.

Infographics

Research and Development Funding, By the Numbers

Government and industry are the biggest funders of research, basic and otherwise. Here is how science funding in the US and European Union has shaped up in the past two and a half decades. 

Swallowing the Surgeon

In fewer than 15 years, nanomedicine has gone from fantasy to reality.

Infographics

Designing Genetic Circuits

Near the turn of the millennium, James Collins and Stanislas Leibler independently undertook rather similar projects: design what would become synthetic biology’s seminal genetic circuits. And they came up with strikingly similar action plans.

Lab Tools

Charting the Course

Three gene jockeys share their thoughts on past and future tools of the trade.

Notebook

Gorilla Warfare

As ecotourism becomes more popular, wild apes are succumbing to human diseases.

Double Blind

The mother of disabled twins doggedly pursued the root of her children's illness and found it in their genome profiles.

Evolution, Tout de Suite

Epigenetic perturbations could jump-start heritable variation.

Marauding Moths

Dried plant specimens reveal the origin of an insect pest that has spread throughout Europe.

Reading Frames

Going Viral

The promise of viruses as biotech tools will help molecular biology fulfill its true potential.

Beyond Nature vs. Nurture

Researchers studying differences in how individuals respond to stress are finding that genes are malleable and environments can be deterministic.

Slideshows

Newly Discovered Species

Life on Earth is mind-bogglingly diverse with estimates of the number of existing species in the tens of millions. Over the last 4 billion years, many species have gone extinct; and because of the actions of humans, many existing species are now endangered.

Saving Rwanda's Gorillas

In late June 2009, a small group of mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park began to fall ill. One by one, 11 of the dozen apes started exhibiting severe respiratory problems. 

Speaking of Science

Speaking of Science

A selection of quotes from past issues of The Scientist.

The Literature

Traffic Cops

Editor's Choice in Cell Biology

Early Warning Signs

Editor’s choice in Ecology

Light on Leaves

Editor’s choice in Plant Biology

Videos

Kandel on Neuroscience

Eric Kandel, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his work on signal transduction in the nervous system, chats about the ever-changing field of neuroscience, funding, his students, and what he hopes science will accomplish.

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