Thomas Sumner

All Stories by Thomas Sumner

  1. Chemistry

    Minuscule machines earn trio 2016 chemistry Nobel

    The creators of mini machines including chains, axles and motors have earned the 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

  2. Earth

    Glass bits, charcoal hint at 56-million-year-old space rock impact

    Glassy debris and the burnt remains of wildfires suggest that a large space rock hit Earth near the start of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum warming event around 56 million years ago.

  3. Paleontology

    Ancient microbe fossils show earliest evidence of shell making

    Armor-plated, 809-million-year-old fossilized microbes discovered in Canada are the oldest known evidence of shell making.

  4. Animals

    Barnacles track whale migration

    The mix of oxygen isotopes in the shells of barnacles that latch on to baleen whales may divulge how whale migration routes have changed over millions of years.

  5. Climate

    Methane didn’t warm ancient Earth, new simulations suggest

    Scarce oxygen and abundant sulfate prevented methane from accumulating enough to keep Earth warm hundreds of millions of years ago, reviving the faint young sun paradox.

  6. Earth

    Nuclear blasts, other human activity signal new epoch, group argues

    A group of scientists will formally propose the human-defined Anthropocene as a new epoch in Earth’s geologic history within a few years, probably pegging the start date to nuclear tests.

  7. Earth

    Natural ally against global warming not as strong as thought

    Soils may take in far less carbon by the end of the century than previously predicted, exacerbating climate change.

  8. Oceans

    Melissa Omand’s clever tech follows the fate of ocean carbon

    Drawn to the water early, oceanographer Melissa Omand now leads research cruises studying how carbon and nutrients move through the seas.

  9. Earth

    Primordial continental crust re‑created in lab

    Compressing rocks from an ocean plateau at high temperatures and pressures re-creates the formation of Earth’s first continental crust.

  10. Climate

    Arctic sea ice shrinks to second-lowest low on record

    A warm summer helped shrink sea ice in the Arctic Ocean to a statistical tie with 2007 for the second smallest sea ice minimum on record.

  11. Oceans

    First U.S. ocean monument named in the Atlantic

    A region of ocean off the coast of Cape Cod has become the first U.S. marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean, President Barack Obama announced.

  12. Paleontology

    Greenland may be home to Earth’s oldest fossils

    Dating to 3.7 billion years ago, mounds of sediment called stromatolites found in Greenland may be the oldest fossilized evidence of life on Earth.