December 17, 2002

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  Molten metal in motion

Image of liquid metals

Nanoscale inclusions of lead in aluminum don't melt until they're over 100 degrees hotter than the melting temperature of lead in bulk. Then watch out! The tiny blobs of liquid careen through solid aluminum just the way Einstein described in his classic 1905 paper on Brownian motion.

In close-up: a cell's skeleton

Image of microtubule

Flexible, versatile structures made from tubulin proteins, called microtubules, form the skeleton of the cell. The most detailed image of a microtubule yet, at 8-angstrom resolution, shows the tube-shaped weave of protein that cells use to maintain their shape, transport materials, and divide.

Getting it wrong

Image of wetlands
How much oil could we recover from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Does one megawatt of electricity power a thousand homes? How much power is used by office equipment? If you depend on even respected news media for answers to these important public policy questions, you're probably getting the wrong numbers.

Image of blue LED

By adding indium to gallium nitride, LEDs emit blue and green light; the same alloy could lead to the most efficient solar cell ever created.

History teaches us that energy forecasters should learn to expect the unexpected.

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