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  • News

    These genes may be why dogs are so friendly

    DNA might reveal how dogs became man’s best friend.

    A new study shows that some of the same genes linked to the behavior of extremely social people can also make dogs friendlier. The result, published July 19 in Science Advances, suggests that dogs’ domestication may be the result of just a few genetic changes rather than hundreds or thousands of them.

    “It is great to see initial...

    07/19/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Animals
  • Essay

    A quarter century ago, the qubit was born

    John Archibald Wheeler was fond of clever phrases.

    He made the term “black hole” famous in the 1960s. He also coined the now-familiar “wormhole” and “quantum foam.” While further pondering the mystery of quantum physics at the University of Texas at Austin during the 1980s, Wheeler repeatedly uttered his favorite interrogative slogan: “How come the quantum?” And from those ponderings...

    07/05/2017 - 11:00 Quantum Physics, Computing
  • Growth Curve

    Here’s how a child sees a Van Gogh painting

    One of the best things about having young children is that they give you a new way to see the world — a total cliché, yes, but true. Rainbows in water fountains are mesmerizing. Roly-poly bugs are worth stopping for. Bright blouses on strangers are remarked on, loudly. It’s occasionally embarrassing but always fun to see how this gorgeous world captivates children.  

    An inventive new...

    07/02/2017 - 08:00 Child Development
  • Feature

    Quantum computers are about to get real

    Although the term “quantum computer” might suggest a miniature, sleek device, the latest incarnations are a far cry from anything available in the Apple Store. In a laboratory just 60 kilometers north of New York City, scientists are running a fledgling quantum computer through its paces — and the whole package looks like something that might be found in a dark corner of a basement. The...

    06/29/2017 - 07:00 Quantum Physics, Computing
  • News

    Kepler shows small exoplanets are either super-Earths or mini-Neptunes

    Small worlds come in two flavors. The complete dataset from the original mission of the planet-hunting Kepler space telescope reveals a split in the exoplanet family tree, setting super-Earths apart from mini-Neptunes.

    Kepler's final exoplanet catalog, released in a news conference June 19, now consists of 4,034 exoplanet candidates. Of those, 49  are rocky worlds in their stars'...

    06/19/2017 - 18:39 Exoplanets, Planetary Science
  • Feature

    Live antibiotics use bacteria to kill bacteria

    The woman in her 70s was in trouble. What started as a broken leg led to an infection in her hip that hung on for two years and several hospital stays. At a Nevada hospital, doctors gave the woman seven different antibiotics, one after the other. The drugs did little to help her. Lab results showed that none of the 14 antibiotics available at the hospital could fight the infection, caused by...

    06/13/2017 - 10:49 Health, Microbiology, Biomedicine, Immune Science
  • Feature

    For babies exposed to opioids in the womb, parents may be the best medicine

    The first thing you’ll notice is the noise. Monitors beep steadily, relentlessly, ready to sound a car-alarm blare if a baby is in trouble.

    The air has an astringent odor — not clean exactly, but reminiscent of an operating room (there’s one next door). Ceiling lights shine fluorescent white. Half are off, but glare from the monitors throws out extra light. It’s midday on a Friday, but...

    05/31/2017 - 15:30 Health, Science & Society, Biomedicine
  • Feature

    The opioid epidemic spurs a search for new, safer painkillers

    Last year, Joan Peay slipped on her garage steps and smashed her knee on the welcome mat. Peay, 77, is no stranger to pain. The Tennessee retiree has had 17 surgeries in the last 35 years — knee replacements, hip replacements, back surgery. She even survived a 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that sickened her and hundreds of others, and killed 64. This knee injury, though, “hurt like the...

    05/30/2017 - 13:00 Health, Chemistry, Biomedicine
  • Screentime

    Citizen scientists join the search for Planet 9

    Astronomers want you in on the search for the solar system’s ninth planet.

    In the online citizen science project Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, space lovers can flip through space images and search for this potential planet as well as other far-off worlds awaiting discovery.

    The images, taken by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer satellite, offer a peek at a vast region of...

    05/29/2017 - 07:00 Planetary Science, Science & Society
  • News

    Hybrid protein offers malaria protection

    Dogged genetic detective work has led scientists to a hybrid red blood cell protein that offers some protection against malaria.

    Reporting online May 18 in Science, researchers describe a genetic variant that apparently is responsible for the fusion of two proteins that protrude from the membranes of red blood cells. In its hybrid form, the protein somehow makes it more difficult for the...

    05/18/2017 - 14:19 Genetics, Evolution, Immune Science, Biomedicine