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Your search has returned 390 articles:
  • The Science Life

    Movie viewers’ exhaled chemicals tell if scene is funny, scary

    Spoiler alert: Scientists can gauge a film’s emotional tenor from the gasps of its audience. Sure, the audible sounds are a cue, but so are the chemicals exhaled with each sigh and scream. These gases could point the way to a subtle form of human communication.

    “There’s an invisible concerto going on,” says Jonathan Williams, an atmospheric chemist at the Max Planck Institute for...

    06/14/2016 - 09:00 Chemistry, Science & Society
  • News

    Pygmy blue whales deepen their moans

    SALT LAKE CITY — In the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sri Lanka, pygmy blue whales are changing their tune — and they might be doing it on purpose.

    From 2002 to 2012, the frequency of one part of the whales’ calls steadily fell, marine bioacoustician Jennifer Miksis-Olds reported May 25 at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. But unexpectedly, another part of the whales’ call...

    06/03/2016 - 09:00 Animals
  • News in Brief

    Lip-readers ‘hear’ silent words

    NEW YORK — Lip-readers’ minds seem to “hear” the words their eyes see being formed. And the better a person is at lipreading, the more neural activity there is in the brain’s auditory cortex, scientists reported April 4 at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. Earlier studies have found that auditory brain areas are active during lipreading. But most of those studies...

    04/06/2016 - 10:57 Neuroscience
  • The Science Life

    Uncovering the science of sand dune ‘booms’

    It starts as a hum, barely audible above the howl of the winds shimmying between sand dunes. Then it builds. Within seconds, the sound resembles a World War II–era prop plane flying low overhead. But there’s nothing there. “It’s very mystical and eerie,” says Nathalie Vriend, a mechanical engineer and geophysicist at the University of Cambridge.

    This resounding roar, called a boom, has...

    12/17/2015 - 16:00 Physics, Earth
  • Science Ticker

    Ancient hominid ears were tuned to high frequencies

    South African hominids that lived between around 2.5 million and 1.5 million years ago had an ear for high-frequency consonant sounds, anthropologist Rolf Quam of Binghamton University in New York and colleagues report September 25 in Science Advances.

    Using CT scans and digital technology, Quam’s team reconstructed the ear anatomies of two Australopithecus africanus skulls and one...

    09/25/2015 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Ancient hominid ears were tuned to high frequencies

    South African hominids that lived between around 2.5 million and 1.5 million years ago had an ear for high-frequency consonant sounds, anthropologist Rolf Quam of Binghamton University in New York and colleagues report September 25 in Science Advances.

    Using CT scans and digital technology, Quam’s team reconstructed the ear anatomies of two Australopithecus africanus partial skulls and...

    09/25/2015 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Human laugh lines traced back to ape ancestors

    Laughter’s evolutionary story may be written on chimpanzees’ faces.

    Chimps at play make open-mouth facial expressions while either laughing out loud or staying silent, say psychologist Marina Davila-Ross of the University of Portsmouth in England and her colleagues. These results suggest for the first time that a nonhuman primate can use facial expressions to communicate without making a...

    06/10/2015 - 14:00 Anthropology, Psychology, Human Evolution
  • News

    A new spin on guiding sound waves along a one-way route

    An array of miniature turntables could offer a powerful new way to control the flow of sound.

    The proposed device, reported in the March 20 Physical Review Letters, would channel sound waves in a protected one-way thoroughfare along its edge. The structure is an acoustic version of a hotly researched class of materials called topological insulators. As the name suggests, these materials...

    03/27/2015 - 15:36 Materials, Physics
  • Feature

    Noise made by humans can be bad news for animals

    I keep looking over my shoulder at the dark wall of roadside trees that passing headlights make slightly less black. Muggers are less of a worry than some suburban samaritan materializing out of the winter gloom to ask if everything’s OK with a reporter down on her hands and knees in front of a parked car, caressing the pavement.

    Explanation would not be easy. This is not an obvious...

    02/09/2015 - 13:00 Ecology, Animals, Conservation
  • News

    Single photon detected but not destroyed

    Physicists have seen a single particle of light and then let it go on its way. The feat was possible thanks to a new technique that, for the first time, detects optical photons without destroying them. The technology could eventually offer perfect detection of photons, providing a boost to quantum communication and even biological imaging.

    Plenty of commercially available instruments can...

    11/14/2013 - 14:05 Physics