Table of Contents July/August 2013


This special double issue of DISCOVER Magazine focuses on our invisible planet and the science we don't see. A foldout spread in the center gives you a panoramic view of life under the Antarctic ice. Meet Earth's unlikely hero, the mushroom man, and discover the future of nanobots and x-ray vision apps. Read about cancer's hidden history and solve baseball's most painful puzzle. Plus, explore the shadow galaxy and gravity's weird mysteries.

Stories from this issue will be published online over the course of June and July, so stay tuned and subscribe for early access.

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Crusading mycologist Paul Stamets says fungi can clean up everything from oil spills to nuclear meltdowns.

Scientists hunt for clues about Earth's climatic past and possible future in one of the world's most remote landscapes.

A team drills thousands of feet into the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to reach a lake buried for millennia.


The idea that cancer is a modern disease is a common misconception — one that the fossil record reveals to be untrue, as explained in this excerpt from The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery.


Physicist and novelist Paul McEuen says one day nanobots will carry medicine through your bloodstream and rebuild your brain's circuitry. 


This maverick researcher wants to replace conventional death statistics with data on how well we live.


More than half of America's dirtiest cities are in California, and rates of illness there are rising. Is it too late to reverse the trend?


Catch the latest in wearable technology, mark somber anniversaries in atomic history, and learn to scuba dive. 

Scientists are uncovering how nitrogen migrates underground with the help of sensors that continuously measure nitrate concentration and water flow.

Unbeknownst to him, the patient has hosted a huge colony of larval tapeworms for decades.

Scientists search for the cause, and treatment, of a mathematical learning disability called dyscalculia.

As researchers learn more about dark matter's complexities, it seems possible that our galaxy lives on top of a shadow galaxy without us even knowing it.

July is the best month to catch sight of our galaxy's Great Rift, including incubators of stars yet to be.

A smartphone makes you hear voices in your head, data pioneer Ivan Sutherland wants to clean your (computer's) clock and Mayans turn up in Minnesota.

The apple of Newton's eye and the focus of Einstein's work, gravity is weaker than you probably think and weirder than you probably imagined.



The country is offering whole genome sequencing to every citizen who wants it — a project that will chart the way for the future of genomic medicine.


An acoustics engineer finds out how to avoid a batter's painful hand vibrations.


Templeton grants fund important research — but they also go to projects on extraterrestrial power, faith healings and the afterlife.


Although rhinoceroses are endangered, legalizing the trade in rhino horns may be the best way to protect them from poachers.


Scientists overturn the long-held belief that young chimpanzees wean once their back teeth start coming in.


New tetrahertz computer chips could be used to create smartphone sensors that can detect gestures and screen for cancer.


Fast population growth has littered our genomes with five times as many rare gene variants as would be expected.