"The Rumour of the Bomb"
Contemporary history: The Berlin historian Rainer Karlsch claims that the Nazis carried out a total of three nuclear arms tests in 1944/45, on the island of Rügen and in Thuringia. This would be a real sensation, because ever since the Allies took control of the laboratories of the Third Reich and interrogated the brilliant Werner Heisenberg and his assistant Carl-Friedrich von Weizsäcker, it has been considered an established fact that Hitler's researchers were still a long way from setting off a nuclear explosion. However Karlsch is unable to prove his theory. The contemporary witnesses he relies on are not credible or else they resort to hearsay; the purported key documents can be interpreted in a number of different ways; and the readings of the soil samples at the detonation sites give "no indication of the explosion of an atom bomb" either, according to Gerald Kirchner of the Federal Bureau for Radiological Protection.
"The Bird Must Be Destroyed"
Nuclear smuggling: In South Africa, charges have been filed against the German engineer Gerhard Wisser. New evidence corroborates the suspicion that he helped build Libya's nuclear programme. The German now faces the world's first trial of an alleged member of the nuclear smuggling ring set up by Pakistani scientist Abdul Quadeer Khan. Khan supplied the technology necessary for building the bomb not only to Libya's dictator Muhammar Gaddafi and to Iran - as admitted by Pakistan last Thursday - but possibly also to North Korea.
"The Victory of Practice"
The anti-terrorism laws, centrepiece of the security policy of Germany's Red/Green coalition government, were rushed through parliament in record time. Never before in the history of the Federal Republic have tougher laws existed, never before have the police and intelligence services had greater powers. But in the three years since the laws were passed, the intelligence services have so far only made use of their new measures for the surveillance of bank accounts, mobile phones, post office boxes and travel movements, against 150 suspects; in 2364 cases, the Federal Migration Office reported suspicious foreigners to the authorities for internal security. So is this all just a lot of fuss about nothing? Or is it proof that democracy is far more firmly established in this country and that Germany treats infringements of civil rights more responsibly than many critics are willing to admit?
"The Leviathan Question"
Civil rights: Do key elements of European cooperation violate the German Constitution? Critical judges in Karlsruhe want to examine this thoroughly. Is the European Union-wide cooperation of the judiciary a step toward a "European superstate"? Is the "continuous transfer of competencies" to institutions in Brussels leading to a "desiccation" of the member countries and a deprivation of its citizens' rights? Experts in criminal law, such as Munich professor Bernd Schünemman, are criticising that the "principle of reciprocal recognition", on which the European arrest warrant is based, will lead to the "European-wide executability" of the severest penal standards in each case. If the state no longer protects its own citizens from persecution by other powers, citizenship loses its key function: as the taxable membership of a protective association. The classical idea of the state as a leviathan that protects weak individuals through its power alone, will then be as impossible to uphold as the state monopoly on the use of force that it justifies.
"Totally at Loggerheads"
Telecommunications: The argument between Telekom and its French competitor Vivendi over a Polish mobile phone company is escalating. Meanwhile the quarrel has even reached government level.
"Those Who Don't Talk are Guilty"
Freedom of the press: In the United States, public prosecutors have recently started forcing journalists to reveal their sources and informers in court. Those who refuse to cooperate are labelled as criminals and risk imprisonment. Publishers and press associations are now calling for a national right to refuse to give evidence.
"The Concentrated Intelligence of Atoms"
SPIEGEL cover story: Engineers are rapidly penetrating deep into the microcosm, where they are encountering a world in which there are only clouds instead of particles, and probabilities instead of certainty. Their aim is to build a supercomputer based on quantum mechanics. Will it be able to help establish what reality is?
"The World is Bizarre"
SPIEGEL in-depth interview with British quantum computer pioneer David Deutsch about parallel universes, time travel and the biggest scandal in 20th century physics:
"Our universe is just one of very, very many. Everything that is physically possible happens in at least one of these universes. ... What I regard as the biggest scandal in 20th century physics is the fact that, unlike all other physical theories, physicists entirely fail to regard quantum theory as a true description of the world. They only enquire about its experimental testability and then talk about "interpreting" quantum theory. That is a fundamental mistake! It has held back physics for a long time and thrown a spanner into the works of the philosophy of science. ... Information processing will be revolutionised by time machines - at least as fundamentally as it was by the invention of the computer."
"The Sorcerer of Vienna"
Quantum physics: Anton Zeilinger's "beaming" experiments have turned the physicist into a media star. It all started seven years ago when an astonishing laboratory experiment propelled Zeilinger to instant fame. In it, his team had succeeded in extinguishing a photon and making the particle of light reappear - abracadabra - simultaneously a few meters away. His team includes a striking number of young scientists, who are working flat out to develop this beaming technology further. The quantum phenomenon underling beaming could soon make possible the totally secure encryption of confidential data. Banks and insurance companies have already indicated an interest in such quantum cryptography.
"The Harshest Form of Racism"
Interview with Somali ex-model Waris Dirie, 39, about the Western obsession with beauty, parallel societies and her new book:
"No one wants to see female circumcision as a problem within their own society. The people who come here have few other links with European society anyway. People remain silent everywhere, so I decided to research this book here in Europe. ... Wanting to respect foreign traditions is often put forward as an argument in order not to have to deal with issues such as female circumcision. ... There is a close kinship between the painful beauty ideals in the West and in our cultures. And I don't just mean surgery: in the model business I have seen women who almost starved themselves to death."
"From Soap Boxes to Limousines"
Cars: General Motors is causing confusion with a grotesque marketing stunt: cheap Korean cars made by its subsidiary Daewoo are in future to be sold under the Chevrolet label. While the specialist press is already describing the move as a "branding disaster" (Auto, Motor und Sport) the German head of Chevrolet imports Günther Sommerlad is demonstrating subtle self-irony: "Louis Chevrolet wasn't an American at all," he jokes in broad Hessian dialect. The company founder actually came from Switzerland.
Alps: With climate change driving ski tourists away from lower-lying areas, the last glaciers are now to be developed. More lifts are to grant access to untouched parts of glaciers, while additional cable railways are to increase the capacity for ski tourism in the eternal ice. Thus the Alps are facing an about-turn in the way their high mountain regions, which are actually meant to be protected, are being treated.