Sarah Williams

All Stories by Sarah Williams

  1. Earth

    Clay That Kills: Ground yields antibacterial agents

    A special type of French clay smothers a diverse array of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains and a particularly nasty pathogen that causes skin ulcers.

  2. Anthropology

    Not So Clear-Cut: Soil erosion may not have led to Mayan downfall

    Hand-planted maize, beans, and squash sustained the Mayans for millennia, until their culture collapsed about 1,100 years ago. Some researchers have suggested that the Mayans’ very success in turning forests into farmland led to soil erosion that made farming increasingly difficult and eventually caused their downfall. But a new study of ancient lake sediments has […]

  3. Health & Medicine

    Better Than Pap: Virus test detects cervical cancer

    A new test for human papillomavirus (HPV) detects cervical cancer more reliably than traditional Pap smears.

  4. Humans

    Mice, Magnetism, and Reactions on Solids

    The 2007 Nobel prizes in the sciences recognized research in genetics, materials science, and surface chemistry.

  5. Paleontology

    Just a quick bite

    Saber-toothed cats living in North America around 10,000 years ago had a much weaker bite than modern big cats.

  6. Earth

    Iron to blame

    Typhoons that drench Madagascar and spill iron-rich runoff into the Indian Ocean account for that region's massive but sporadic algal blooms.

  7. Bugs in Space: Genes explain why salmonella grow deadlier when freed from Earth’s gravity

    Bacteria that flew on a space shuttle became deadlier than their earthbound counterparts.

  8. Health & Medicine

    Exhaust fumes might threaten people’s hearts

    Nanoparticles in diesel fumes thwart proteins that dissolve blood clots, perhaps increasing the risk of heart attacks.