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  • News

    Clever way to break the nitrogen-nitrogen bond

    To break some chemical bonds you need to know a guy, who knows a guy who knows a compound. Scientists ordered just such a hit and have broken two of the toughest bonds in chemistry in the laboratory equivalent of broad daylight. The reaction yields a new chemical connection and could lead to more direct routes for making various drugs or other biologically important compounds.

    In the...

    12/13/2010 - 13:01 Chemistry
  • Feature

    2009 Science News of the Year

    Brevity is in. If what you have to say can’t be delivered in 140 characters or less, you should reconsider your message — or so it seems in a world agog with texting and Twitter. Compiling Science News’ annual list of scientific highlights brought home the good and bad of this trend. Indeed, some of this year’s best stories are easily conveyed in a handful of words: a surprising human...

    12/18/2009 - 17:48
  • Feature

    2009 Science News of the Year: Numbers

    The stats on fielding Astute baseball fans know who has the golden glove, but assigning a number to a player’s defensive merits has been tricky. Benjamin Baumer, a statistician for the New York Mets, suggests that new methods could offer a fuller picture (SN: 8/29/09, p. 16). The long-used formula for measuring a player’s fielding ability doesn’t give credit for superior range,...

    12/18/2009 - 17:35 Numbers
  • Feature

    2009 Science News of the Year: Genes & Cells

    Cancer-fighting roles Scientists have discovered a new role in cancer protection for an already well-known tumor suppressor protein. The protein, called p53, protects cells from becoming cancerous by sensing stress and either shutting down cell division or triggering cell death. Researchers at the University of Tokyo and colleagues have discovered that p53 also plays a role in slicing...

    12/18/2009 - 17:07 Genes & Cells
  • Feature

    2009 Science News of the Year: Molecules

    New bond in the basementBasements house hidden treasures — including a chemical bond never before seen in living things. Scientists have discovered that collagen fibers in the basement membrane — a tough, structural layer of cells that surrounds most tissues in animals — are connected by a sulfur-nitrogen bond (SN: 9/26/09, p. 5). Basement membranes anchor cells, provide a...

    12/18/2009 - 17:06 Chemistry
  • Feature

    2009 Science News of the Year: Nutrition

    That yeast smells good

    Yeast has long been pressed into service for making beer and bread. Now the fungus has been tapped for a loftier flavor: vanillin, vanilla’s dominant compound (SN: 5/23/09, p. 9). Natural vanilla comes from the pods, or beans, of two orchid species, and the extract can be costly. So the majority of vanillin is synthesized in chemistry labs, a process...

    12/18/2009 - 17:05 Nutrition
  • Feature

    2009 Science News of the Year: Life

    Gentler winters shrink sheepWarming has trumped the benefits of fat to shrink sheep on the remote North Atlantic island of Hirta, a new analytical approach has revealed (SN: 8/1/09, p. 12). Weights for wild female Soay sheep dropped about 5 percent during the past two decades, says Tim Coulson of Imperial College London’s campus in Berkshire. He and his colleagues teased apart the...

    12/18/2009 - 17:03 Life & Evolution
  • Feature

    2009 Science News of the Year: Matter & Energy

    First programmable quantum computer Ultracold beryllium ions are at the heart of the first programmable quantum computer, an advance that brings scientists closer to harnessing the power of quantum systems for general computing. The new system, researchers report in Nature Physics, flexed its versatility by performing 160 randomly chosen processing routines (SN: 12/19/09, p. 13). 


    12/18/2009 - 17:02 Matter & Energy
  • Feature

    2009 Science News of the Year: Body & Brain

    H1N1 strikes and spreads Like the years 1957 and 1968, 2009 will be known as a pandemic flu year. The springtime eruption of a novel H1N1 swine flu strain in Mexico was followed by its rapid spread throughout the world (SN Online: 4/27/09). Early signs that the H1N1 flu virus might be amenable to vaccine development (SN: 6/20/09, p. 12) proved to be correct, and scientists and...

    12/18/2009 - 17:01 Body & Brain
  • Feature

    2009 Science News of the Year: Earth

    Feathered dinosaur predates oldest birdPaleontologists have unearthed a long-sought treasure — evidence of a feathered dinosaur older than Archaeopteryx, the 150-million-year-old creature often considered to be the first known bird (SN: 10/24/09, p. 8). The newly described species, the peacock-sized Anchiornis huxleyi, lived in what is now northeastern China between 151 million and...

    12/18/2009 - 16:58 Earth