Leon Lederman, a Nobel Prize–winning particle physicist who lifted back the curtain to the subatomic world, died on October 3 at the age of 96.
His work revealed the existence of multiple new elementary particles — with names like the muon neutrino and the bottom quark — showing that the realm of the infinitesimal was more complex than previously thought. The muon neutrino discovery...
People often assume cats enthusiastically kill city rats, but that may be just an urban legend.
Feral cats caught on video were keen to watch rats lurking around a trash collection center in Brooklyn, says behavioral ecologist Michael Parsons. But cats rarely killed, or even chased, the rats. Cats aren’t a good choice for rat-population control, Parsons, a visiting researcher at Fordham...
Scientific disciplines, as we know them, are a fairly recent invention. As late as the 18th century, both amateur and professional scientists let their intellect range unfettered. The great Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci explored architecture, engineering, geology, botany and more. He is credited with inventing the helicopter, a diving suit and painting the Mona Lisa.
At Science News, we focus intently on the “what” of science: what’s new in fields from astronomy to zoology. But we also step back and consider the “who,” “how” and “why” of the scientific endeavor.09/26/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society
In this special issue, we profile 10 young scientists who aren’t afraid to challenge the paradigms of how science is practiced. Rather than stick to one discipline, collaborating across...
Even as the country’s attention is focused on the ongoing opioid epidemic, a new study shows that the United States has had a wide-ranging drug overdose problem for decades, and it’s growing ever worse.
Analyzing nearly 600,000 accidental drug poisoning deaths from 1979 to 2016 shows that the country has seen an exponential rise in these cases, with the number of deaths doubling...
Letters to the Editor
Fighting fake news09/19/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society, Health, Particle Physics
Computer programmers are building deception-detecting algorithms to fight the onslaught of fake news, Maria Temming reported in “People are bad at spotting fake news. Can computer programs do better?"(SN: 8/4/18, p. 22).
Reader Lou Floyd found the story compelling and troubling. “It points [to] a major problem facing us all today that affects the very foundation of...
When I think of an experiment, I think of some flasks, a pipette, maybe an incubator. But to a particle physicist, an experiment can be a machine bigger than a house, designed to study subatomic particles.09/19/2018 - 07:00 Science & Society, Particle Physics
There’s a certain charm to the fact that such vast equipment has to be constructed to study the smallest known bits of matter. The tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider has a...
Reviews & Previews
PoachedRachel Love NuwerDa Capo Press, $28
Perhaps the most unsettling scene in Poached, by science journalist Rachel Love Nuwer, comes early in the book, in a fancy restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The author and two friends sit down and are handed leather-bound menus offering roasted civet, fried tortoise, stewed pangolin and other delicacies made from rare or endangered...
A natural history museum isn’t just a place to take visiting relatives or for entertaining kids on the weekends. These museums’ collections also play a vital, but under-celebrated, role in scientific research.
That’s why, when Brazil's National Museum in Rio de Janeiro caught fire on September 2, more than just a catalog of natural and human history was lost. The museum was full of...
Jocelyn Bell Burnell first noticed the strange, repeating blip in 1967. A University of Cambridge graduate student at the time, she had been reviewing data from a radio telescope she had helped build near campus. Persistent tracking revealed the signal’s source to be something entirely unknown up to that point — a pulsar, or a rapidly spinning stellar corpse that sweeps beams of radio waves...