1. Fly guy

    Brian Brown can discover a new kind of fly anywhere. He often takes up the search in exotic locales such as New Zealand, Chile or Taiwan, but he’s not picky. Once, he was challenged to find a new species in a Los Angeles backyard. After setting a trap and waiting, he pulled out a winner: […]

  2. Tech

    Building robots that slither

    Howie Choset is a roboticist, but his team’s creations bear little resemblance to C-3PO or R2-D2. Instead, Choset finds inspiration in nature — specifically, snakes.

  3. Science & Society

    Insect illustrator

    Taina Litwak is an “art department of one” in D.C. for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Systematic Entomology Laboratory.

  4. Humans

    The man behind Sarcastic Rover

    NASA’s newest rover, Curiosity, wasn’t alone on Mars for long.

  5. Microbes

    Protecting the planet

    Catharine “Cassie” Conley has the coolest job title at NASA: She’s the agency’s planetary protection officer. (The best title used to be “director of the universe,” but a reconfiguration a few years back eliminated that job description, she says.)

  6. Spider man fell for jumpers

    View the videos The recently named Lapsias lorax spider got its name from the Dr.Seuss character with a yellow mustache. Courtesy W. Maddison/Beaty Museum Wayne Maddison examines a tiny but venomous snake caught along with spiders shaken from tree branches. Snakes are one hazard Maddison faces in the tropics, along with leeches, wasps and more. […]

  7. Health & Medicine

    Exploring the science of cooking

  8. The volcano watcher

    Matt Patrick’s office is perched not far from the summit of Hawaii’s busiest volcano: Kilauea. When it erupts, he has a good view. Of course, it’s his job to see every possible vista of the peak, whether it’s flying over in a helicopter, hiking to fissures and along lava fields or checking webcams, seismometers and […]

  9. Creating small wonders

    Cell biologist and inventor Gary Greenberg’s career took a turn about 10 years ago when his brother sent him a canister of beach sand. Greenberg placed a pinch under a light microscope. Magnified hundreds of times, the colorful, intricate sand grains resembled beads from a necklace. “I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe that […]

  10. Saving primates with a dog and scat

    View the video Graduate student Joseph Orkin, left, follows canine field assistant Pinkerton on a hunt for primate poop. Sun Guo-Zheng Joseph Orkin has found an unusual way to study highly endangered — and highly elusive — primates in southwestern China. Orkin hikes into isolated mountaintop forests accompanied by a four-legged assistant who avidly sniffs out scat left by […]

  11. Comic strip science

    “I am so awesome.” [Smug grin.] Rosemary Mosco’s comic strips feature her favorite inspirations from nature and science. Courtesy of R. Mosco A classic method for remembering bird calls using similar-sounding words gets a new twist in Rosemary Mosco’s guide to the songs and calls of eastern North American birds. Courtesy of R. Mosco So […]

  12. Earth

    Calm, with an eye on the storm

    Tim Samaras hunts twisters despite the danger.