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  • News

    Dengue fever spreads in a neighborly way

    Dengue is a bit of a homebody. By mapping the spread of the virus across Bangkok, scientists found that infections were most likely to occur within a few minutes’ walk of the home of the first person infected.

    Pinpointing where dengue is likely to be transmitted can better focus efforts to stop the spread of the disease, the researchers report in the March 24 Science.

    “We often...

    03/23/2017 - 14:00 Health, Immune Science
  • Growth Curve

    Touches early in life may make a big impact on newborn babies’ brains

    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...

    03/22/2017 - 12:30 Human Development, Health
  • Editor's Note

    Lab tests aren’t the answer for every science question

    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’...

    03/22/2017 - 12:15 Neuroscience, History of Science, Science & Society
  • Science Visualized

    Colorful pinwheel puts a new spin on mouse pregnancy

    View slideshow of other winners

    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. 

    ...

    03/22/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Immune Science, Science & Society
  • Feature

    Cancer cells cast a sweet spell on the immune system

    Shrink yourself small enough to swoop over the surface of a human cell, and you might be reminded of Earth’s terrain. Fats, or lipids, stay close to the surface, like grasses and shrubs. Proteins stand above the shrubs, as mighty oaks or palm trees. But before you could distinguish the low-lying lipids from the towering proteins, you’d see something else adorning these molecules — sugars.

    ...
    03/21/2017 - 12:00 Cancer, Immune Science
  • News in Brief

    Close pass by sun didn’t radically alter comet 67P’s landscape

    At least one of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s dusty outbursts was the result of a landslide. But such changes to the surface of the comet haven’t radically altered its appearance, suggesting it has had roughly the same look for decades — or longer.

    Images from the Rosetta spacecraft taken before its demise show what happened to the comet as it passed close to the sun in 2015. Cliffs...

    03/21/2017 - 10:30 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    Life on Earth may have begun as dividing droplets

    NEW ORLEANS — In a primordial soup on ancient Earth, droplets of chemicals may have paved the way for the first cells. Shape-shifting droplets split, grow and split again in new computer simulations. The result indicates that simple chemical blobs can exhibit replication, one of the most basic properties of life, physicist Rabea Seyboldt of the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex...

    03/21/2017 - 07:00 Biophysics, Chemistry
  • Science Visualized

    Under lasers, a feathered dino shows some skin

    What happens when you shoot lasers at a dinosaur fossil? Some chemicals preserved in the fossil glow, providing a nuanced portrait of the ancient creature’s bones, feathers and soft tissue such as skin.

    Soft tissue is rarely preserved in fossils, and when it is, it can be easily obscured. A technique called laser-stimulated fluorescence “excites the few skin atoms left in the matrix,...

    03/20/2017 - 14:40 Paleontology
  • Reviews & Previews

    Shocking stories tell tale of London Zoo’s founding

    The ZooIsobel CharmanPegasus$27.95

    When Tommy the chimpanzee first came to London’s zoo in the fall of 1835, he was dressed in an old white shirt.

    Keepers gave him a new frock and a sailor hat and set him up in a cozy spot in the kitchen to weather the winter. Visitors flocked to get a look at the little ape roaming around the keepers’ lodge, curled up in the cook’s lap or tugging...

    03/20/2017 - 07:00 Animals, History of Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    To understand rivers, let physics be your guide

    Where the River FlowsSean W. FlemingPrinceton Univ.$26.95

    Spend an hour wandering along a river and you may wonder why the water rushing by chose this particular path over any other. While many nature writers might offer philosophical musings on the subject, Where the River Flows author Sean Fleming has physics on his side.

    Physics isn’t the lens through which most people think...

    03/19/2017 - 08:00 Physics, Earth