Your Brain06/05/2014 - 07:30 Science & Society
OPENS JUNE 14
Clamber through a two-story neural network, explore brain images and learn how scientists study the brain in the Franklin Institute’s newest, and largest, permanent exhibit.
Franklin Institute, Philadelphia
Museum at Prairiefire
OPENED MAY 12
This new museum, located in a retail development, offers a selection of exhibits created by the...
Nature abounds with perfect helices. They show up in animal horns and seashells, in DNA and the young tendrils of plants. But helix formation can get complicated: In some cases, the direction of rotation can reverse as a helix grows. The resulting structure has been dubbed the hemihelix, and you may have made one yourself by untwisting part of a telephone cord so much that it flips and spirals...
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Rush Holt, central New Jersey’s “rocket scientist” representative, thinks Capitol Hill needs more scientists. He’s leaving Congress at the end of this year, but his eight terms in office have taught him that scientists need to help craft the nation’s laws now more than ever.
Holt joined Congress in 1999, and at one point was one of three physicists there. Fifteen...
If you’ve always wanted to build your own solar system, roll up your sleeves — it’s time to see what you’ve got. SuperPlanetCrash is an online solar system simulator, set up as a game. The goal is to plop planets around a star and keep them orbiting for 500 years. Seems simple enough, but gravity is a formidable opponent. Each planet or star adds to the gravitational tug-of-war with every...
Some frogs use a little fancy footwork to get attention during mating season. A 12-year search of a 1,600-kilometer-long mountain range on India’s west coast has turned up 14 new frog species, including at least four “dancing frogs,” Indian researchers report May 8 in the Ceylon Journal of Science (Biological Sciences). This finding more than doubles the number of species in the genus...
Reviews & Previews
Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical MinimumLeonard Susskind and Art FriedmanBasic Books, $26.99
If you’re ever banished to a desert island and allowed to take just one book, here it is. Given enough time, with no distractions, you could use it to eventually master quantum mechanics.
Susskind’s latest book, this one with coauthor Friedman, is the second in a series on the...
Reviews & Previews
Citizen CanineDavid GrimmPublicAffairs, $26.99
Cats and dogs have become furry little children in the eyes of many Americans. Pet owners call themselves “mom” or “dad.” Some celebrate their animals’ birthdays and spend thousands of dollars on toys, food and veterinary care. Others even risk their lives for pets, as when owners refused to enter shelters that wouldn’t take in...
Tiny footlike protrusions that enable a cell to invade neighboring tissues. Scientists first discovered these “invasive feet” popping up on highly metastatic cancer cells grown in the laboratory (shown, yellow). It was thought that invadopodia might help cancer cells burrow into other tissues and eventually spread throughout the body. Despite more than a decade of research on these structures...
Letters to the Editor
Planetary identity crisis05/30/2014 - 15:30 Astronomy, Particle Physics, Animals
Astronomers spotted icy rings encircling the planetoid Chariklo, a 250-kilometer-wide hunk of ice and rock that orbits the sun between Saturn and Uranus. In “Icy rings found around tiny space rock” (SN: 5/3/14, p. 10), Christopher Crockett added that Chariklo may also have unseen orbiting moons keeping the rings in place.
These characteristics make Chariklo...
Neuroscience writer Laura Sanders had little idea what she was walking into when she wrote a short news story about marijuana earlier this year. The finding was interesting if not Earth-shattering: A hormone blocks some of the intoxicating effects of marijuana in rats and mice (SN: 2/8/14, p. 12). The work, she wrote, “may lead to drugs that help people curb cannabis dependence.”