Table of Contents October 2014

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In this issue of Discover, meet a scientist harnessing synthetic biology to build biological circuits for a sustainable future. Then, travel to the Southwest United States, where endangered species are fighting an unseen border battle as law enforcement hems in their habitat.

Our investigative report on proton beam therapy examines the evidence behind the world's most expensive medical device. It's saving the lives of cancer patients — just not always the ones it's marketed to.

Plus: the next generation of spacesuits, quantum computers' threat to online security, and how some people accomplish feats of extraordinary endurance. (Hint: It's in their heads.) From theories of the multiverse to the chaos hidden in a chicken’s eye, prepare to traverse the spectrum of science this month.

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FEATURES

bobknight

Neuroscientist Bob Knight started a kid-reviewed, kid-targeted online journal to inspire the next generation of researchers on their own terms.

jonathon-alva

Proton beam therapy can save some cancer patients — just not always the ones medical centers market it to.

nebula-raw

These artists scour NASA data for raw materials they can transform into masterpieces with modern-day wizardry. 

hemmed-in

Already endangered, Southwestern species struggle to survive in a landscape remade by fences, roads and border patrols. 

natures-technician

Bioengineer Drew Endy shares his vision to reprogram biology as a precision manufacturer — and possibly change civilization as we know it. 

DEPARTMENTS

quantum-storm

Whether or not they'll ever work, quantum computers pose a big enough threat to online security that cryptographers are already scrambling to adapt.

digeorge-syndrome

A toddler's developmental speed, distorted speech and heart defect help solve a genetic puzzle.

feats-of-will

What makes some people capable of amazing perseverance?

Web exclusive
WEB EXCLUSIVE:
planck-anamolies

Maps of radiation left over from the Big Bang may show traces of universes besides our own.

blood

Blood types aren't unique to humans: Dogs have more than a dozen. 

THE CRUX

Tomorrow's astronauts will have greater range of motion, protection and even style if this spacesuit designer has her way.

Listeners can determine if a person is tall or short based on voice alone.

Replicating the structure of a chicken's eye could lead to advances in light sensors.

Comets, meteors and other space rocks have been colliding with planets for billions of years. Is there a limit?

Scientists model the movement of ants to streamline the handling of shipping containers at international ports.

A serendipitous discovery leaves scientists thanking, and cursing, the weather.

Understanding how silver daguerreotypes corrode may help improve today's industrial materials. 

Taking a shorter course of antibiotics may be just as effective, plus do a better job at preventing antibiotic resistance.

NASA unfurls the Sunjammer, the agency's first solar sail mission to deep space.

HOT SCIENCE

bear

Try science for yourself: Join one of these citizen science projects; lab coat optional.

fighting-spirit

A new exhibit opens at the Field Museum in Chicago.

circuit-pen

A pen that allows you to create electronic circuits on printer or photo paper.

shutterstock_116458489

Head to America's dairyland for Fermentation Fest, or dig around in the dirt on National Fossil Day.

cocoon

Tod Machover explores sound and physiology. 

whatif

New releases cover therapeutic LSD, life's "what ifs," and humanity's role in shaping the planet.

dark-sky-festival

Head up to Alberta, Canada, to take part in this festival celebrating all things astronomical.

skygazer-october

This month's two most intriguing events lurk in the shadows.

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