COSMOS Magazine issue 49

Issue 49: Virus outbreak

OUTBREAK: As human populations multiply, new animal borne-diseases are crossing the species barrier. COSMOS looks at the 13 deadliest emerging diseases globally, and asks, we catch the next lethal virus before it catches us out? We also dive into the untapped chemical treasures in marine organisms - will they lead us to new life-saving medicines? And the risks and rewards of developing new medicines, from the lab to your pharmacy shelf. Don’t miss this special issue on the frontlines of medical research. Plus, can plants see, hear and smell? New evidence suggests plants see more than you think – from the colour of your t-shirt to where you are in the room. And, sail the frontiers of balloon astronomy, where the opportunities for new cosmic discoveries are sky high.

Inside this issue


In conversation with Peter Pringle
COSMOS chats to journalist Peter Pringle about a famous scientific rip-off that followed the discovery of a cure for tuberculosis.
Seeking the light
They can tell blue from red, night from day, and a sunny spring afternoon from the autumn gloom. Plants can see, but not quite like you and I do.
Sky-high astronomy
Sending balloons to the heady heights of the stratosphere may be a nail-biting exercise, says Ravi Sood, but the payoff in astronomical insight is worth the effort.
The perilous journey of a good idea
The path from scientific breakthrough to medical treatment is a hazardous one. Clare Pain examines how small biotech companies navigate the risks.
In pursuit of happiness
The neuroscientific nuances that shape our emotional repertoire have deep roots in evolution, writes Brett Szmajda.

Regular sections


The rise of cognitive computers is a boon for medicine, says editor-in-chief Wilson da Silva.


Readers' letters; your shots from around the COSMOS


A spectacular conjunction of ice and fire, Iceland straddles a point where a hotspot deep in the Earth meets a tectonic divide that stretches across almost half the globe. The resulting volcanism, plus the forces of ice, wind and weather, have combined to shape a unique and remarkable island, where winding rivers glow with the reflected colours of water, ash and sand. Heather Catchpole reports.


DO UNTO OTHERS: She had the same brain as me, the same curiosity and basic bad-assedness. Original fiction by Damien Broderick.


COSMOS talks to author Peter Pringle about the dramatic tale of the discovery of a cure for tuberculosis. Science writer Margaret Wertheim shares her current reading interests. We ask review the latest science books and reveal what we've been talking about at COSMOS.


THE FUTILITY OF DENIAL: We may have already passed the point where we can limit global warming to reasonable levels, and it's time to face this truth, says Lawrence M Krauss.


New, views, brain food and trivia.


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