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Letter from the editor

The best of the science made in Brazil

We are glad to present the most recent English edition of Pesquisa FAPESP, a leading science news magazine published monthly in Brazil. This special issue is the second one printed in English and exhibits some of the best articles written by our staff and collaborators between December 2002 and February 2004 – the first one was printed in 2002 and comprised articles written from March to November of that year.

The following 112 pages bring you a short overview of the Brazilian scientific production that reached 11,285 papers published in the ISI indexed journals in 2003 – almost half of Latin America scientific production and 1.55% of world scientific production – in many different areas such as genetics, physics, medicine, ecology, chemistry, materials science and biochemistry, just to mention some.

In this issue, you will discover that the preeminent Brazilian sanitarian Oswaldo Cruz, who lived in the beginning of the last century, was a promising talent since his early years when he went to study at Pasteur Institute in Paris. You will also find the most advanced results of an experimental treatment: the transplant of stem cells into the heart muscle to recover from heart failure.

Pesquisa FAPESP narrates Brazilian researchers efforts to save pernambuco wood (pau-brasil in Portuguese), the tree that named the country, from the risk of extinction and the climate alterations caused in the Amazon Forest by the use of the slash-and-burn clearance to prepare the land for cultivation. From page 72 to 75, we show the successful partnership between scientists that work at universities and scientists of the enormous Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN), one of the biggest Brazilian steel producer. At the humanities section, you can read the charming story of a researcher that organized an abundance of documents – tunes, parodies, songs and musical duels – registering popular culture that were in possession of the maestro Heitor Villa-Lobos, one of the most important Brazilian classical composer.

Pesquisa FAPESP is an effective means to diffuse the scientific knowledge discovered by the São Paulo State Research Foudation (FAPESP), the second biggest science funding agency in Brazil that has been associated for 40 years with the expansion of scientific research in São Paulo – state that produces nearly 50% of the Brazilian scientific production. Find every month at the web site of Pesquisa FAPESP ( – published in Portuguese, English and Spanish – an in-depth prospect of the most representative Brazilian studies in several scientific branches.