Astrophysicist, co-winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics
"One of the most powerful scientific tools ever invented is the telephone," Mather says. When inspiration falters, he dials up his colleagues to brainstorm. Or he tries explaining what's stumping him to his wife, a ballet teacher. "It makes the problem clearer to me because I have to go back to the beginning and question all the basic assumptions." But, he adds, there's nothing like fear of failure to catapult the brain into action. "When you have a deadline or when you know that your equipment is about to go up in a rocket and you won't have another chance to fix it, your mind works in a way that it otherwise never would."
At the peak of the transatlantic slave trade, 80,000 slaves were transported from Africa to the new world. Now, New York Times human rights columnist Nicholas Kristof reports that more than 10 times as many women and girls are being forced into brothels o
Our December issue features Oprah's Favorite Things—as well as your chance to win them all! You'll also find our easy holiday declutter plan, Dr. Oz's guide to sleeping better (starting tonight) and the ultimate holiday menu.