Science  04 Aug 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5787, pp. 595
  1. EXHIBITS: Baby Monitor

    Anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar (1909–1974) isn't a household name, but her protocol for quickly gauging a newborn's condition helped reform medical procedures in the delivery room. Read more about Apgar's life and contributions at this new exhibit from the U.S. National Library of Medicine's Profiles in Science series.

    The first female full professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Apgar grew worried about the high death rate for newborns even in modern hospitals. She proposed a list of standard criteria for recognizing that a baby is in trouble: heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, response to stimulation, and color. Today, the Apgar score still dictates whether a youngster receives emergency treatment. Along with a biography, the site offers a cache of Apgar's letters and publications, including the 1953 paper in which she first described her assessment system.

  2. RESOURCES: Gone to Seed

    The early stages of a plant's life are the bailiwick of the Seed Biology Place, a primer from botanist Gerhard Leubner of Freiburg University in Germany. From the site's 10 chapters, visitors can reap the latest information on seed evolution, dormancy, and other topics. Numerous diagrams will fertilize your understanding of seed anatomy and plant hormones' role in germination. Chapters also sprout abundant links to abstracts and full-text articles by members of Leubner's lab and other researchers. Included is a magnetic resonance image of a barley grain 15 days after pollination.

  3. EDUCATION: Pumped-Up Molecules

    To help students grasp the nuances of chemical structure, three German chemists borrowed a technique from clowns: balloon tying. They twist and knot balloons not to make poodles and giraffes but to render molecular models for the classroom. At this site, you can admire their inflatable creations and learn how to craft your own. Blowup models aren't just cheaper than the standard plastic variety; they can also be much larger, the balloon artistes note. After mastering maneuvers such as the tulip twist, you'll be ready to attempt structures as complicated as the DNA double helix.

  4. DATABASE: Mouse Cancer Central

    The widely studied C57BL/6 mouse strain is prone to cancers of the lymph system and pituitary gland, whereas lung and ovary growths predominate in the SWR strain. This database from the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, can help cancer researchers pick the right strain for their work and glean other information about the disease in mice. The site amalgamates data on tumor incidence and location from the lab's screenings, published papers, and site users. Search by tumor type to find the growth frequency of different mouse lines. Or use the genetics search to ferret out genes that go awry in multiple cancers.

  5. IMAGES: Get Disillusioned

    If, in the “Rolling Circles” illusion, the circles appear to be spinning, you don't need to update your eyeglass prescription. Instead, take a look at this Web site on optical illusions from psychologists at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain. Here you can follow step-by-step explanations of some common physical, physiological, and cognitive trompe l'oeil. The site allows visitors to manipulate the illusions until their secrets are transparent. You can battle perspective to predict line lengths in Ponzo's illusion or play with the brightness in the spinning wheels trick. The circles appear to revolve because their luminance differs from that of the background.

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