For a scientist, conducting a scientific study is walking into a minefield of potential biases that could detonate all over the results. Are the mice in the study randomly distributed among treatment groups? Does the person evaluating an animal’s behavior know what treatment the mouse got — and thus have an expectation for the outcome? Are there enough subjects in each group to reduce the odds...
A preschool classroom is an ecosystem unlike any other. Scents of glue and snack time waft through the air. Bright, clunky art papers the walls. Fun-sized furniture makes visiting adults feel like awkward giants. In the name of science, a team of psychologists spent an entire year inside two such rooms, meticulously documenting changes in preschoolers’ personalities.
By the end of the...
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WASHINGTON — Deaf children who learn to sign early may boost their brainpower in ways unrelated to language.
“Most deaf children are born to hearing families, and most hearing parents do not sign with their newborn deaf children,” clinical neuropsychologist Peter Hauser, who is deaf, explained February 12 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “...
Reviews & Previews
Summer has flown by. As the school year begins, three recently published books can pique kids’ curiosity about science and get them experimenting. The books, newly out in paperback or revised edition, offer a wealth of ideas for budding naturalists, physicists or chemists.
Many at-home, do-it-yourself physics books boast that their experiments can be done with household items, but then...
The tree of life might seem like a stable design, appropriate for indelible ink. Plenty of people think so. An Internet search for “phylogenetic tattoos” turns up some showy skin art.
But the branches are shifting. Since a radial diagram based on 1990s genetics inspired a rush for tree-of-life tattoos, technical diagrams of life’s ancestral connections have been redrawn. And the...
50 Years Ago
Invasion of classroom by gadgets foreseen — Machines that may teach the students of the future are attracting both industrialists and educators. One gadget enables each student in the classroom to take tests that are corrected as they are given, with the student “talking back” to the teacher. Typewriters operated by the student will admonish and inform the learner when a wrong answer to a...
If you ever want to open a chemistry theme restaurant, you should be sure to furnish it with 118 tables — one for each element. Note that it could not be a Greek restaurant, because then the number of tables would be limited to four. Yours, instead, would be a geek restaurant. You could call it The Periodic Tables.
Anybody who has ever had an encounter with chemistry should get the joke...
Even when a woman is confident in her abilities, it can be a chilling experience to be the only woman in the room. Suddenly her voice sounds higher in her ears. She begins to worry she’ll be talked over. And in male-dominated careers, it might end up meaning a woman never speaks up in the first place.
In some situations, it really does help to have other women around. A new study finds...
View the video
Lights, camera, kaboom! With snapshots from a high-speed camera, chemists can finally explain why sodium and other alkali metals blow up in water.
Just before the explosion, spikes burst from the metal’s smooth surface, setting off a chain reaction that ignites the metal. The blast’s film debut, appearing online January 26 in Nature Chemistry, offers a long-awaited...