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E.g., 12/14/2017
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  • Editor's Note

    2017 delivered humility, and proved our potential

    The Top 10 science stories of 2017, selected by Science News staff and presented in this year-end issue, have the potential to make you feel small and certainly humble. Our No. 1 story of the year takes place an unfathomably distant 130 million light-years away, where a neutron star smashup produced, by some estimates, 10 Earth masses worth of gold — wow! That’s enough for many trillions of...

    12/13/2017 - 08:46 Science & Society, Astronomy, Genetics
  • Year in Review

    The Larsen C ice shelf break has sparked groundbreaking research

    In 2015, glaciologist Daniela Jansen reported that a large rift was rapidly growing across one of the Antarctic Peninsula’s ice shelves, known as Larsen C. When the shelf broke, she and colleagues predicted, it would be the largest calving event in decades.

    It was. In July, a Delaware-sized iceberg split off from Larsen C  (SN: 8/5/17, p. 6). And researchers knew practically the moment...

    12/13/2017 - 08:30 Climate, Ecosystems, Oceans
  • Year in Review

    Worries grow that climate change will quietly steal nutrients from major food crops

    2017 was a good year for worrying about nutrient losses that might come with a changing climate.

    The idea that surging carbon dioxide levels could stealthily render some major crops less nutritious has long been percolating in plant research circles. “It’s literally a 25-year story, but it has come to a head in the last year or so,” says Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist with the U.S....

    12/13/2017 - 08:27 Nutrition, Climate, Sustainability
  • Year in Review

    Approval of gene therapies for two blood cancers led to an ‘explosion of interest’ in 2017

    This year, gene therapy finally became a clinical reality. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two personalized treatments that engineer a patient’s own immune system to hunt down and kill cancer cells. The treatments, the first gene therapies ever approved by the FDA, work in people with certain blood cancers, even patients whose cancers haven’t responded to other treatments.

    ...
    12/13/2017 - 08:27 Cancer, Immune Science
  • News in Brief

    Once settled, immigrants play important guard roles in mongoose packs

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    Immigrants, they get the job done — eventually. Among dwarf mongooses, it takes newcomers a bit to settle into a pack. But once these immigrants become established residents, everyone in the pack profits, researchers from the University of Bristol in England report online December 4 in Current Biology.  

    Dwarf mongooses (Helogale parvula) live in groups of around 10...

    12/11/2017 - 09:00 Animals, Ecology
  • News

    Narwhals react to certain dangers in a really strange way

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    When escaping from humans, narwhals don’t just freeze or flee. They do both.

    These deep-diving marine mammals have similar physiological responses to those of an animal frozen in fear: Their heart rate, breathing and metabolism slow, mimicking a “deer in the headlights” reaction. But narwhals (Monodon monoceros) take this freeze response to extremes. The animals...

    12/07/2017 - 14:41 Animals, Oceans, Physiology
  • News

    AI eavesdrops on dolphins and discovers six unknown click types

    A new computer program has an ear for dolphin chatter.

    The algorithm uncovered six previously unknown types of dolphin echolocation clicks in underwater recordings from the Gulf of Mexico, researchers report online December 7 in PLOS Computational Biology. Identifying which species produce the newly discovered click varieties could help scientists better keep tabs on wild dolphin...

    12/07/2017 - 14:00 Artificial Intelligence, Animals
  • Introducing

    This new dinosaur species was one odd duck

    It may have walked like a duck and swum like a penguin, but a flipper-limbed creature discovered in what is now Mongolia was no bird. The strange new species is the first known nonavian dinosaur that could both run and swim, researchers say.

    To compensate for a long swanlike neck, probably used for dipping underwater for fish, this dino’s center of mass shifted toward its hips, allowing...

    12/06/2017 - 13:29 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution
  • News

    Cholera pandemics are fueled by globe-trotting bacterial strains

    Cholera strains behind worldwide outbreaks of the deadly disease over the last five decades are jet-setters rather than homebodies.

    It had been proposed that these cholera epidemics were homegrown, driven by local strains of Vibrio cholerae living in aquatic ecosystems. But DNA fingerprints of the V. cholerae strains behind recent large outbreaks in Africa and Latin America were more...

    11/13/2017 - 07:00 Health
  • News

    New 3-D printed materials harness the power of bacteria

    A new type of 3-D printing ink has a special ingredient: live bacteria.

    Materials made with this “living ink” could help clean up environmental pollution, harvest energy via photosynthesis or help make medical supplies, researchers report online December 1 in Science Advances.

    This study “shows for the first time that 3-D printed bacteria can make useful materials,” says Anne Meyer...

    12/01/2017 - 14:22 Materials, Microbes, Technology