Pluto is a planet. It always has been, and it always will be, says Will Grundy of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Now he just has to convince the world of that.
For centuries, the word planet meant “wanderer” and included the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Eventually the moon and sun were dropped from the definition, but Pluto was included, after its...
50 Years Ago
LSD may damage chromosomes
Two New York researchers have found the hallucinogenic drug will markedly increase the rate of abnormal change in chromosomes. [Scientists] tested LSD on cell cultures from the blood of two healthy individuals … [and] also found similar abnormal changes in the blood of a schizophrenic patient who had been treated with [LSD]. The cell cultures showed a two-fold...
When choosing more attractive guys, girl guppies with larger brains have an advantage over their smaller-brained counterparts. But there’s a cost to such brainpower, and that might help explain one of the persistent mysteries of sex appeal, researchers report March 22 in Science Advances.
One sex often shows a strong preference for some trait in the other, whether it’s a longer fish fin...
The standard dinosaur family tree may soon be just a relic.
After examining more than 400 anatomical traits, scientists have proposed a radical reshuffling of the major dinosaur groups. The rewrite, reported in the March 23 Nature, upsets century-old ideas about dinosaur evolution. It lends support to the accepted idea that the earliest dinosaurs were smallish, two-legged creatures. But...
Many babies born early spend extra time in the hospital, receiving the care of dedicated teams of doctors and nurses. For these babies, the hospital is their first home. And early experiences there, from lights to sounds to touches, may influence how babies develop.
Touches early in life in the NICU, both pleasant and not, may shape how a baby’s brain responds to gentle touches later, a...
In the second half of the 17th century, the chemist and polymath Robert Boyle and philosopher Thomas Hobbes engaged in a divisive debate centered on a temperamental, mechanical contraption known as an air pump. In a series of famous experiments, Boyle used the air pump, which has been called “the cyclotron of its age,” to test basic scientific principles such as the relationship between a gas’...
Letters to the Editor
Supernova surprise03/22/2017 - 12:10 Particle Physics, Robotics, Condensed Matter
Astronomers continue to learn a lot from supernova 1987A, which burst onto the scene 30 years ago. Thanks to new detectors that can pick up neutrino signals and even gravitational waves, scientists will be ready when the next nearby star explodes, Emily Conover reported in “Waiting for a supernova” (SN: 2/18/17, p. 24).
Steve Capps wondered how neutrinos inside an...
Pluto may get its smattering of red spots from the fallout of its hazy blue skies, researchers say.
Haze particles from the dwarf planet’s atmosphere settle onto all of Pluto’s surfaces. But some regions may become redder and darker than others because parts of the atmosphere collapse, exposing those spots to more surface-darkening radiation from space, researchers report March 22 at the...
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This rainbow pinwheel of mouse placentas isn’t just an eye-catching, award-winning image. The differences in color also provide researchers with new clues to how a mother’s immune system may affect her or her baby’s health during pregnancy. The work could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of preeclampsia, a common pregnancy complication.