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  • News

    ‘Nanobot’ viruses tag and round up bacteria in food and water

    NEW ORLEANS — Viruses engineered into “nanobots” can find and separate bacteria from food or water.

    These viruses, called bacteriophages or just phages, naturally latch onto bacteria to infect them (SN: 7/12/03, p. 26). By tweaking the phages’ DNA and decking them out with magnetic nanoparticles, researchers created a tool that could both corral bacteria and force them to reveal...

    03/27/2018 - 11:36 Microbiology, Chemistry, Health
  • News

    How bees defend against some controversial insecticides

    Honeybees and bumblebees have a way to resist toxic compounds in some widely used insecticides.

    These bees make enzymes that help the insects break down a type of neonicotinoid called thiacloprid, scientists report March 22 in Current Biology. Neonicotinoids have been linked to negative effects on bee health, such as difficulty reproducing in honeybees (SN: 7/26/16, p 16). But bees...

    03/22/2018 - 14:41 Toxicology, Chemistry, Conservation
  • News

    Extreme cold is no match for a new battery

    A new type of battery can stand being left out in the cold. 

    This rechargeable battery churns out charge even at –70° Celsius, a temperature where the typical lithium-ion batteries that power many of today’s cell phones, electric cars and other devices don’t work. Batteries that withstand such frigid conditions could help build electronics that function in some of the coldest places on...

    03/02/2018 - 07:00 Chemistry, Materials, Technology
  • News

    Household products make surprisingly large contributions to air pollution

    AUSTIN, Texas — To reduce your impact on air quality, you might expect to trade in your gas-guzzling clunker of a car — but you can also unplug those air fresheners. 

    In urban areas, emissions from consumer goods such as paint, cleaning supplies and personal care products now contribute as much to ozone and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere as do emissions from burning gasoline...

    02/15/2018 - 14:00 Chemistry, Pollution
  • News

    5 ways the heaviest element on the periodic table is really bizarre

    The first 117 elements on the periodic table were relatively normal. Then along came element 118.

    Oganesson, named for Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian (SN: 1/21/17, p. 16), is the heaviest element currently on the periodic table, weighing in with a huge atomic mass of about 300. Only a few atoms of the synthetic element have ever been created, each of which survived for less than a...

    02/12/2018 - 09:00 Physics, Chemistry
  • Teaser

    New textile weathers temperature shift

    Weather changes, but thanks to a new high-tech textile, someday you may not have to switch out your outfit.

    Materials scientists and engineers at Stanford University have developed a multilayered textile that traps body heat on one side and passively radiates heat away from the body when flipped inside out. The material kept artificial skin within a comfortable range of 32° to 36°...

    02/02/2018 - 11:27 Materials, Technology, Chemistry
  • News

    The secret to icky, sticky bacterial biofilms lies in the microbes’ cellulose

    To build resilient colonies, bacteria make a surprising tweak to a common substance found in cells.

    A  biochemical addition to the cellulose produced by E. coli and other species of bacteria lets them create colonies that are resistant to disruption, researchers report in the Jan. 19 Science. Called biofilms, these microbial colonies can form on medical devices or inside the body,...

    01/18/2018 - 14:31 Microbes, Chemistry
  • News

    Ultrathin 2-D metals get their own periodic table

    A new version of the periodic table showcases the predicted properties of 2-D metals, an obscure class of synthetic materials.

    Arrayed in 1-atom-thick sheets, most of these 2-D metals have yet to be seen in the real world. So Janne Nevalaita and Pekka Koskinen, physicists at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, simulated 2-D materials of 45 metallic elements, ranging from lithium to...

    01/17/2018 - 16:34 Materials, Physics, Chemistry
  • News

    Electric eels provide a zap of inspiration for a new kind of power source

    New power sources bear a shocking resemblance to the electricity-making organs inside electric eels.

    These artificial electric eel organs are made up of water-based polymer mixes called hydrogels. Such soft, flexible battery-like devices, described online December 13 in Nature, could power soft robots or next-gen wearable and implantable tech.

    “It’s a very smart approach” to...

    12/13/2017 - 13:22 Technology, Chemistry, Materials
  • News

    A potential drug found in a sea creature can now be made efficiently in the lab

    A seaweed-like marine invertebrate contains a molecule that has piqued interest as a drug but is in short supply: Collecting 14 tons of the critters, a type of bryozoan, yields just 18 grams of the potential medicine. Now, an efficient lab recipe might make bryostatin 1 easier to get.

    Making more of the molecule could help scientists figure out whether the drug — which has shown mixed...

    10/12/2017 - 17:47 Chemistry, Biomedicine, Clinical Trials