Category Archives: biology

A square yard of idea

After a year’s absence, I am home again in the pages of American Scientist. I want to thank the six friends and colleagues who kept the Computing Science department going while I was away. Here are their articles: A Tisket, … Continue reading

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A molecular millisecond

It was not quite a century ago that we got our first glimpse of molecules. William Lawrence Bragg, with a little help from his dad, figured out how to get molecules to sit still long enough for a portrait. First … Continue reading

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Flights of fancy

As I have mentioned in the past, I’m fascinated by the acrobatics of bird flocks, especially the big congregations of European starlings that gather in the evening at this time of year. Evidently I’m not the only one with such … Continue reading

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Argiope aurantia

It’s orb-weaving season in my part of the world. Out in the ivy, I have four webs of the golden orb weaver, Argiope aurantia, all within one square meter. The engineering talents of all the orb weavers are impressive, but … Continue reading

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Life Curves

J. John Sepkoski, Jr., was a fossil-hunter who did most of his digging in the library, sifting through the literature of paleontology to build a detailed, quantitative timeline of life on earth. Focusing on marine animals, he recorded the earliest … Continue reading

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