Seed Magazine Issue Number 22: The Last Experiment

The Last Experiment

Table of Contents

A Library of Lungs

Scorpion “book lungs” are revealed in a series of scanning electron micrographs.

Frontier: Bad Memories

Eyewitness testimony is both highly fallible and irreplaceable. How can we know when to trust it?

Pharyngula: The Deepest Links

Though evolutionarily distinct, the limbs of vertebrates and insects share a homologous genetic machinery. By PZ Myers

Europe: Continental Drift

Anti-migration rhetoric highlights the need for “knowledge nomads.”
By James Wilsdon

Design: A New Map

As the gravitational center of design shifts, ideas are taking precedence over products. By Paola Antonelli

What We Know: Critical Mass

For particle physicists who study phase transitions, a traffic jam is simply a solid made up of idling cars. By Jonah Lehrer

The Big Idea: The Extinction Oscillator

Sometimes, something kills nearly all life on the entire planet. The cause remains mysterious, but may lie in the movements of the stars.

On My Mind: Marcelo Gleiser

The astrophysicist discusses the origins of asymmetry in biology.


Space elevators, artificial fingertips, and China’s fault lines.

The Seed Salon: Thomas E. Lovejoy and Mitchell Joachim

The tropical biologist and the urban designer discuss ecology-inspired infrastructures, making nature more tangible, and how to avoid being preachy.

The Last Experiment

The leading models for combating global warming are no longer coming only from climatology laboratories; the physical science is in. It’s now up to social science to make us act. Can we trick ourselves into saving ourselves? By David Zax

Why Environmentalism Needs High Finance

Conservationists may wish money were no object, but if nature is to survive, economic incentives and biological imperatives must align.

The Political Scientist

Paul Ehrlich believes that provocation and speculation lie within the bounds of good science, that scientists should tell us not only the facts, but also what we should do with them. By Steve Olson

Sites of Impact: A Photo Essay

Craters transcend the purely documentary and intersect the sublime in photographs taken over a six-year journey around the world. By Stan Gaz

Love’s Labors and Costs

When research shows that more stuff doesn’t lead to more happiness, what drives humans to endlessly acquire? By Jonathan Gottschall

Seed Picks

The universe on DVD, botanical atrocities, deconstructing epidemics, and Darwin in rhyme.


A home for the California Academy of Sciences and A Case of Conscience revisited.

Web Extras

universe in 09
The Seed Salon: Lovejoy + Joachim

Biodiversity expert Thomas E. Lovejoy talks with architect and urban planner Mitchell Joachim.


  • Ideas

    I Tried Almost Everything Else

    John Rinn, snowboarder, skateboarder, and “genomic origamist,” on why we should dumpster-dive in our genomes and the inspiration of a middle-distance runner.

  • Ideas

    Going, Going, Gone

    The second most common element in the universe is increasingly rare on Earth—except, for now, in America.

  • Ideas

    Earth-like Planets Aren’t Rare

    Renowned planetary scientist James Kasting on the odds of finding another Earth-like planet and the power of science fiction.

The Seed Salon

Video: conversations with leading scientists and thinkers on fundamental issues and ideas at the edge of science and culture.

Are We Beyond the Two Cultures?

Video: Seed revisits the questions C.P. Snow raised about science and the humanities 50 years by asking six great thinkers, Where are we now?

Saved by Science

Audio slideshow: Justine Cooper's large-format photographs of the collections behind the walls of the American Museum of Natural History.

The Universe in 2009

In 2009, we are celebrating curiosity and creativity with a dynamic look at the very best ideas that give us reason for optimism.

Revolutionary Minds
The Interpreters

In this installment of Revolutionary Minds, five people who use the new tools of science to educate, illuminate, and engage.

The Seed Design Series

Leading scientists, designers, and architects on ideas like the personal genome, brain visualization, generative architecture, and collective design.

The Seed State of Science

Seed examines the radical changes within science itself by assessing the evolving role of scientists and the shifting dimensions of scientific practice.

A Place for Science

On the trail of the haunts, homes, and posts of knowledge, from the laboratory to the field.


Witness the science. Stunning photographic portfolios from the pages of Seed magazine.

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