50 Years Ago

  1. a photo of clouds
    Microbes

    50 years ago, scientists suspected microbes flourished in clouds

    In 1970, scientists presented early evidence that microbes in clouds may be alive and kicking.

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  2. earthquake damage in Magna, Utah
    Earth

    50 years ago, scientists were looking for ways to predict earthquakes

    Though earthquake prediction remains elusive, early warning systems can help keep people safe.

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  3. the libido-boosting drug Addyi
    Health & Medicine

    50 years ago, an experimental drug hinted at serotonin’s many roles in the brain

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  4. a microscopic image of Naegleria fowleri
    Microbes

    50 years ago, scientists were on the trail of a brain-eating amoeba

    In 1970, scientists were studying a brain-eating amoeba that had been implicated in a newfound disease. Today, infections by the parasite are still poorly understood.

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  5. electric car charging
    Health & Medicine

    50 years ago, scientists were trying to develop a low-emission car

    Electric cars have surged in popularity, but the vehicles still contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

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  6. antarctic ice
    Earth

    50 years ago, scientists clocked the speed of Antarctic ice

    Today’s instruments offer a more precise view, and reveal the effects of climate change.

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  7. Protest at Mauna Kea in 2019
    Astronomy

    50 years ago, Mauna Kea opened for astronomy. Controversy continues

    Current plans to build a new telescope on the volcano sparked the latest conflict.

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  8. a photo of Skylab
    Space

    50 years ago, NASA prepared to launch America’s first space station

    In 1970, NASA was building Skylab. The orbiting laboratory led to many scientific firsts but was plagued by technical difficulties.

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  9. a photo of livestock cows

    50 years ago, scientists first investigated antibiotic resistance in livestock

    In 1970, scientists began investigating the effects of feeding antibiotics to livestock. 50 years later, we know it can be harmful for humans.

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  10. Earth

    50 years ago, scientists were getting a better glimpse inside storms

    In 1970, experts were harnessing technologies that provided a three-dimensional picture of the inside of a storm.

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  11. a photo of a papyrus boat
    Archaeology

    50 years ago, explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s Atlantic crossing hit a snag

    Explorer Thor Heyerdahl followed an aborted Atlantic voyage with a second trip that indicated ancient Egyptians could have traveled over long distances by sea.

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  12. a superconductor being squeezed between two diamonds
    Physics

    50 years ago, superconductors started feeling the pressure

    Today, high-pressure superconductors are a hot topic. 50 years ago, scientists were just starting to explore the possibilities.

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