Table of Contents September 1997

Discover Magazine's mission is to enable readers to lead richer lives by explaining and expanding their universe.  Each month we bring you in depth information and analysis from various topics ranging from technology and space to the living world we live in.
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The best plan in the open sea is to be gelatinous. Failing that, you should grab onto something that is.
How do you get one jupiter-size planet into a tight orbit? Start with two, spiraling in toward their sun. Then a close gravitational encounter flings one outward, the other inward. Yeah, that's a good theory, don't you think?
With each passing day our fabulous software creations--our virtual machines--grow more complex, more powerful, and more unwieldy. They will never carry us to a golden future unless we start to craft them with beauty as well as brawn.
The world craves an effective, risk-free vaccine against recalcitrant foes like AIDS and malaria. Creating mock infections with tiny rings of bacterial DNA may be the answer.


For over a century the low-browed Homo erectus has sparked scientific fascination about our origins--and not-so-scientific ramblings about the meaning of race.
Within the triangle, treasures await
If life imitates art, why can't technology imitate cartoons?
Mysterious galactic halos may be made from ordinary stars.