How Steve Jobs' Passion Shaped Pixar Into an Oscar-Winning Studio

» 4/04/14 12:00pm 4/04/14 12:00pm

While Apple was Steve Jobs' first professional love, the Pixar animation studio that he helped foster was far more than a mere pet project. As Pixar President Ed Catmull explains in his upcoming book, Creativity Inc, Jobs' involvement with the studio proved a revolutionary experience for both parties. Here's a brief… » 4/04/14 12:00pm 4/04/14 12:00pm

Being a Celebrity Astronaut Is Tougher Than It Sounds

For a brief period in the American saga, the astronaut was the man of the moment. No profession commanded as much awe and admiration. Widely regarded as the personification of all that was best in the country, the first astronauts were blanketed with the adulation usually accorded star quarterbacks, war heroes, and… » 3/24/14 12:00pm 3/24/14 12:00pm

The Experimental Hypersonic Rocket Plane That Ushered in the Space Age

Chuck Yeager's historic supersonic flight in 1947 set off a firestorm of research into flight beyond the speed of sound. The most ambitious of these projects was the X-15 program, a top secret USAF program that aimed to test the limits of Mach 7. In X-15: The World's Fastest Rocket Plane and the Pilots Who Ushered in… » 2/14/14 11:45am 2/14/14 11:45am

How to Turn Burning Gas Into a Lamp Without Blowing Yourself Up

If you were a coal miner in the early 1800s, the light you used was an openflame oil lamp—even though mines were sometimes filled with "fire-damp," a volatile mixiture of air and methane gas. Explosions were inevitable, and at times, threw bodies from mine shafts like grapeshot from a cannon. Humphry Davy became a… » 5/30/13 12:01pm 5/30/13 12:01pm

The Most Badass Plane Ever Had An Equally Awesome Flight Suit

At the height of the Cold War, if you wanted a peek behind the Iron Curtain, it had to be a birds's eye view from 63,000 feet—above the reach of Soviet SAM batteries. And to fly that high, America's elite SR-71 pilots had to wear the most advanced flight suits this side of the Apollo program. » 4/12/13 1:30pm 4/12/13 1:30pm

Why the Knotted Language of DNA Sounds Like Music

Knot theory hasn't been the only unexpected math to pop up during DNA research. Scientists have used Venn diagrams to study DNA, and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The architecture of DNA shows traces of the "golden ratio" of length to width found in classical edifices like the Parthenon. Geometry enthusiasts have … » 7/17/12 2:40pm 7/17/12 2:40pm

A Billion Details and No Precedent—An Inside Look at the TSA's…

Building the TSA from scratch in the months following 9/11 seemed an insurmountable task, unrivaled in both scope and size. In Permanent Emergency, former TSA administrator Kip Hawley vividly reconstructs the breakneck pace at which this gargantuan security agency came about and how it came to be an institutional… » 4/27/12 11:00pm 4/27/12 11:00pm

How to Build Turing’s Universal Machine

Modern computers wouldn't exist without the pioneering theories posited by Alan Turing, however the famed computer scientist was never quite able to make a working model of his hypothetical device. Turing's Cathedral by George Dyson follows Hungarian mathematician John von Neumann's efforts to build a computer based on … » 3/15/12 11:00am 3/15/12 11:00am