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Your search has returned 160 articles:
  • Editor's Note

    Do you know how your drinking water is treated?

    Disinfection of public drinking water is one of the great public health success stories of the 20th century. In 1900, outbreaks of cholera and typhoid, both caused by waterborne bacteria, were common in American cities. In 1908, Jersey City, N.J., became the first U.S. city to routinely disinfect community water. Other cities and towns quickly followed, and by 1920, the typhoid rate...
    11/21/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society, Health, History of Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘18 Miles’ is full of interesting tales about Earth’s atmosphere

    18 MilesChristopher DewdneyECW Press, $17.95

    How thick is Earth’s atmosphere? Sorry, that’s a bit of a trick question: Our planet’s air simply gets thinner with altitude, fading away to nothingness somewhere far above the height at which the lowest satellites orbit. It’s a fact, though, that 99 percent of Earth’s air lies below an altitude of 18 miles. Naturalist Christopher...

    10/28/2018 - 08:00 Climate, Earth, History of Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    Explore the history of blood from vampires to the ‘Menstrual Man’

    Nine PintsRose GeorgeMetropolitan Books, $30

    The title of journalist Rose George’s new book, Nine Pints, quantifies how much blood George has flowing through her body. Her supply takes a temporary dip in the book’s opening chapter, when she donates about a pint (a story that continues on to recap the amazing accomplishment that is blood banking). This act of generosity is an...

    10/16/2018 - 09:00 Physiology, Health, History of Science
  • Film

    The Neil Armstrong biopic ‘First Man’ captures early spaceflight's terror

    First Man is not a movie about the moon landing.

    The Neil Armstrong biopic, opening October 12, follows about eight years of the life of the first man on the moon, and spends about eight minutes depicting the lunar surface. Instead of the triumphant ticker tape parades that characterize many movies about the space race, First Man focuses on the terror, grief and heartache that led to...

    10/12/2018 - 15:45 Astronomy, History of Science, Science & Society
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Sawbones’ invites readers to laugh at the bizarre history of medicine

    The Sawbones BookJustin McElroy and Dr. Sydnee McElroyTeylor Smirl (illustrator)Weldon Owen, $24.99

    Humans took a long, weird road to modern medicine. We don’t have everything figured out yet, but at least we’ve learned not to drink the feces of cholera victims and never to plug dental cavities with a lizard’s liver — unlike some of our ancestors.

    Gruesome methods like these...

    10/09/2018 - 07:00 Health, History of Science, Science & Society
  • Context

    Before his early death, Riemann freed geometry from Euclidean prejudices

    Bernhard Riemann was a man with a hypothesis.

    He was confident that it was true, probably. But he didn’t prove it. And attempts over the last century and a half by others to prove it have failed.

    A new claim by the esteemed mathematician Michael Atiyah that Riemann’s hypothesis has now been proved may also be exaggerated. But sadly Riemann’s early death was not. He died at age 39....

    09/28/2018 - 07:00 History of Science, Numbers
  • 50 years ago, a flu pandemic spurred vaccine research

    Girding against a new strain

    Flu comes in many kinds, and the current vaccine … has little effect against a newcomer that has afflicted at least 400,000 persons in Hong Kong. The Asian city was the source of the 1957 epidemic in the United States. Fears that it may provide a springboard for another one have caused the Public Health Service to ask eight pharmaceutical companies to...

    09/21/2018 - 09:00 Health, Immune Science, History of Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Accessory to War’ probes the uneasy alliance between space science and the military

    Accessory to WarNeil deGrasse Tyson and Avis LangW.W. Norton & Co., $30

    Late-night comedians skewered Vice President Mike Pence in August when he announced preliminary plans for a new branch of the U.S. military dubbed the “Space Force.” Jimmy Kimmel likened the idea to a Michael Bay action movie, while Jimmy Fallon quipped that the Space Force’s chain of command would go “E.T...

    09/04/2018 - 10:00 Astronomy, Technology, History of Science, Science & Society
  • Context

    5 decades after his death, George Gamow’s contributions to science survive

    Half a century ago, if you asked any teenage science fan to name the best popular science writers, you’d get two names: Isaac Asimov and George Gamow.

    Asimov was prominent not only for his nonfiction science books, but also for his science fiction. Gamow was known not only for writing popular science, but was also a prominent scientist who had made important contributions both to physics...

    08/28/2018 - 06:30 History of Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    The study of human heredity got its start in insane asylums

    Genetics in the MadhouseTheodore M. PorterPrinceton Univ., $35

    England’s King George III descended into mental chaos, or what at the time was called madness, in 1789. Physicians could not say whether he would recover or if a replacement should assume the throne. That political crisis jump-started the study of human heredity.

    Using archival records, science historian Theodore M...

    07/01/2018 - 08:00 Genetics, History of Science, Mental Health, Numbers