Rachel Crowell

All Stories by Rachel Crowell

  1. A scanning electron microscope image of a sea urchin skeleton, showing many honeycomb-like holes

    Sea urchin skeletons’ splendid patterns may strengthen their structure

    “Voronoi” geometric patterns found in sea urchin skeletons yield strong yet lightweight structures that could inspire the creation of new materials.

  2. photo of a bumblebee on a coneflower

    Flower shape and size impact bees’ chances of catching gut parasites

    Bumblebees have higher chances of contracting a gut parasite from short, wide flowers than from blooms with other shapes, experiments show.

  3. an Anna's hummingbird flying near a flower

    High altitudes may be a climate refuge for some birds, but not these hummingbirds

    After being moved to a spot high above their typical home, Anna’s hummingbirds seemed to struggle to hover in the thin air.

  4. photo of a tractor tilling a field

    More than 57 billion tons of soil have eroded in the U.S. Midwest

    Researchers discovered startling soil erosion rates in the Midwest. Farming has worsened erosion, but no-till practices and cover crops can help.

  5. image of numbers written on a chalkboard

    How the way we’re taught to round numbers in school falls short

    A rounding technique taught in school doesn’t work well for machine learning or quantum computing, but an alternative approach does, researchers say.

  6. Castleton Tower, a sandstone formation near Moab, Utah

    How climbers help scientists vibe with Utah’s famous red rock formations

    Researchers teamed up with rock climbers to collect rare data that help them assess the seismic stability of red rock formations in Utah.

  7. columns of freshwater ice forming, spikes, scallops and pinnacles

    Freshwater ice can melt into scallops and spikes

    Ice submerged in liquid water can melt into three different shapes, depending on the water’s temperature.

  8. image of an Akoya oyster with several pearls
    Materials Science

    Researchers have unlocked the secret to pearls’ incredible symmetry

    Understanding the structural secrets of how mollusks form symmetrical pearls could inspire more optimal materials for solar panels and space travel.

  9. image of a variety of bird eggs

    An elusive equation describing bird eggs of all shapes has been found at last

    A new mathematical equation describes bird eggs of all shapes found in nature, and it could have applications in food and agricultural research.

  10. clouds in sky filled with smoke

    Clouds affected by wildfire smoke may produce less rain

    As wildfires become more frequent in the western United States, these low-rain clouds could exacerbate drought, fueling more fires.