Science  27 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5688, pp. 1219

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  1. EXHIBIT: Crick Sampler

    Francis Crick, who died last month, co-discovered the double helix and helped shepherd the field of molecular biology through its youth. You can peruse a selection of his early manuscripts, letters, notebooks, and photos at The Crick Papers from Britain's Wellcome Trust. The exhibit includes gems such as a draft of the 1953 paper that elucidated DNA's structure and the 1962 telegram informing him of his Nobel Prize.

  2. RESOURCES: You Can Get There From Here

    Although its name conjures up fallen arches and jet lag, the traveling salesman problem (TSP) is a mathematical conundrum that requires calculating the cheapest route among a selection of cities. The problem intrigues mathematicians because it can provide insight into theoretical questions and help with a host of practical puzzles, from manufacturing microchips to mapping the genome. Uncover more at Solving TSPs, hosted by Georgia Tech University in Atlanta. Newbies can trace the idea's development—its origins are uncertain, but it inspired a parlor game in the 1800s—or peruse images of famous or attractive shortest routes. Experts will find free software for cracking problems. In background, the optimal route for visiting 666 of the world's most famous sights.

  3. DATABASE: The Science of Supplements

    Research on the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements is more plentiful than you might think, judging from this refurbished site from the National Institutes of Health. Aimed at researchers and the public, the database supplies titles and in most cases abstracts for more than 730,000 studies, news articles, and other publications. For example, you'll find more than 160 entries on the weight-loss preparation ephedra, which the Food and Drug Administration recently banned because it can trigger heart attacks and strokes.

  4. EDUCATION: Home Sweet Home

    The wasp and the fig tree isn't one of Aesop's lesser-known fables, it's the true story of an interkingdom partnership essential for producing the tasty fruit. Discover the details of this intricate, reciprocally beneficial relationship—what ecologists call a mutualism—at this site from the Iziko Museums in Cape Town, South Africa. The tree's flowers are tucked inside the fig, whose alluring scents draw female wasps. The minute insects wriggle into the fruit's interior, where they lay their eggs and pollinate the flowers. Newly hatched wasps munch on the fig then fly away, carrying pollen to another tree. The site features photos and artwork illustrating fig and bug adaptations. Cheaters can prosper in this situation—this species of Otitesella injects its eggs into the fig without spreading pollen.

  5. EXHIBIT: The First Eureka Moment

    Historians usually rank Archimedes as one of the three greatest mathematicians for achievements from refining estimates of pi to laying the groundwork for calculus. This archive from Chris Rorres, an applied mathematician at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, brims with lore and trivia about Archimedes (circa 287 B.C.E.-212 B.C.E.), who was also an engineer and scientist (Science, 20 August, p. 1102).

    Animations and reconstructions show how some of his devices might have worked. For example, you can study the mechanics of Archimedes' claw, a huge crane for upending enemy ships designed to defend his home of Syracuse, a Greek city-state. As the site relates, Archimedes' most famous “discovery” might be apocryphal. He was supposedly bathing when he figured out how to determine if the king's golden crown contained silver; thrilled, he reportedly ran through the streets naked shouting, “Eureka!” Scholars, however, note that his solution—comparing the volume of water displaced by the crown and by an equal mass of pure gold to see if they had the same density—doesn't display his usual creativity and would have required precise measurements hard to obtain at the time.∼crorres/Archimedes/contents.html