Scientific disciplines, as we know them, are a fairly recent invention. As late as the 18th century, both amateur and professional scientists let their intellect range unfettered. The great Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci explored architecture, engineering, geology, botany and more. He is credited with inventing the helicopter, a diving suit and painting the Mona Lisa.
At Science News, we focus intently on the “what” of science: what’s new in fields from astronomy to zoology. But we also step back and consider the “who,” “how” and “why” of the scientific endeavor.09/26/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society
In this special issue, we profile 10 young scientists who aren’t afraid to challenge the paradigms of how science is practiced. Rather than stick to one discipline, collaborating across...
Letters to the Editor
Life signs09/26/2018 - 07:00 Planetary Science, Pollution, Technology
Scientists estimate that there are roughly 10 billion liters of liquid water beneath a polar glacier on Mars, Lisa Grossman reported in “Mars (probably) has a lake of liquid water” (SN: 8/18/18 & 9/1/18, p. 6).
Some online readers wondered what the detection meant for the possibility of life on the Red Planet.
Grossman wrote about the lake’s implications for life...
For the first time, astronomers may have watched a massive stellar explosion give rise in real time to a superdense dead star called a neutron star.
New observations of supernova 2012au show charged oxygen and sulfur atoms fleeing the scene of the explosion at 2,300 kilometers per second. That suggests the shells of gas surrounding the dense remains of the original star are being lit up...
News in Brief
It took a close look at crystal formation in Yellowstone’s hot springs to understand stones much closer to home. Growth and dissolution patterns found in rocks there mirror what’s going on with stones in our kidneys, says Bruce Fouke, a geobiologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, contradicting the medical dogma that kidney stones don’t dissolve.
Fouke, who usually...
Cholesterol clinched it: A group of strange Precambrian fossils are among the oldest known animals in the rock record.
Organic molecules preserved with fossils of the genus Dickinsonia confirm that the creatures were animals rather than fungi or lichen, a study in the Sept. 21 Science says. Researchers led by paleontologist Ilya Bobrovskiy of Australian National University in Canberra...
Repairing bones and cartilage may get easier thanks to newly discovered human skeletal stem cells.
Scientists found the stem cells, which give rise to bones, cartilage and the spongy bone that harbors bone marrow, in fetal bones, adult bones and fat, researchers report online September 20 in Cell. The researchers also reprogrammed adult cells into skeletal stem cells. A ready supply of...
A daily dose of aspirin? Not a good idea if you’re a healthy elderly adult.
A trio of papers based on a large-scale clinical trial finds that the drug doesn’t help to stave off heart attacks, strokes, dementia or physical disability. In fact, those in their golden years who took a low dose of aspirin daily were more likely to suffer serious internal bleeding than those who took a placebo...
Scientists have spotted the ghosts of nearly two dozen ice volcanoes on dwarf planet Ceres.
Found using topographic maps from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, the slumped remains of once-grand cones suggest that Ceres has experienced continual eruptions for billions of years, the researchers report September 17 in Nature Astronomy.
When Dawn arrived at Ceres in 2015, scientists noticed just...
Figuring out how many genes are in the human genetic instruction manual, or genome, isn’t as easy as scientists once thought. The very definition of a gene has changed since the completion of the Human Genome Project more than 15 years ago.
Genes used to be defined as stretches of DNA that contain instructions that are copied into RNA and then turned into proteins. Researchers still don’...