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  • News

    Biology may provide just the right chemistry for new drugs

    NORTH BETHESDA, Md. — Chemists are struggling to develop new drugs these days — and biologists may have just the pill for that.

    By tapping natural enzymes and tweaking microbes, researchers may find and make new drugs more easily, says biological engineer Vikramaditya Yadav of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Yadav says he has developed a method to make a complicated...

    07/20/2015 - 09:57 Chemistry
  • News

    Swimming bacteria remove resistance to flow

    Water flows best when it’s chock-full of synchronized-swimming bacteria.

    By coaxing billions of E. coli to work together, French researchers got a small sample of a bacteria-laden solution to have no resistance to flow, or zero viscosity. Such effortless motion is usually reserved for superfluids like liquid helium that are kept at frigid temperatures.

    “The results are...

    07/13/2015 - 08:00 Physics, Biophysics
  • Feature

    The arrow of time

    In T.H. White’s fantasy novel The Once and Future King, Merlyn the magician suffers from a rare and incurable condition: He experiences time in reverse. He knows what will happen, he laments, but not what has happened. “I have to live backwards from in front, while surrounded by a lot of people living forwards from behind,” he explains to a justifiably confused companion.


    07/10/2015 - 14:23 Physics, Cosmology
  • Context

    Science is heroic, with a tragic (statistical) flaw

    First of two parts

    Science is heroic. It fuels the economy, it feeds the world, it fights disease. Sure, it enables some unsavory stuff as well — knowledge confers power for bad as well as good — but on the whole, science deserves credit for providing the foundation underlying modern civilization’s comforts and conveniences.

    But for all its heroic accomplishments, science...

    07/02/2015 - 11:29 Numbers, Science & Society
  • Editor's Note

    E-cigarette reports provide science that society craves

    For much of the last year, the most-read story on was not about a faraway exoplanet or a cunning creature’s adaptations to an exotic locale. It was a short report, in some ways unsurprising. In 26 different weeks since it appeared in June 2014,...

    07/01/2015 - 09:14 Health, Technology, Cancer
  • July 11, 2015

    07/01/2015 - 09:13
  • Feature

    Quantum dots get a second chance to shine

    Warren Chan helped invent a research field and then watched it nearly die.

    The chemist and biomedical engineer at the University of Toronto specializes in quantum dots, tiny semiconductor particles that glow in a rainbow of colors when zapped with a laser. Fifteen years ago, quantum dots were all the rage....

    06/29/2015 - 16:29 Quantum Physics
  • News

    When baboons travel, majority rules

    Baboons don’t follow the leader. When a troop of these monkeys splits up and starts moving in two dramatically different directions, animals gravitate toward the more popular choice, a new study finds.

    When traveling baboons branch off in only moderately conflicting directions, the animals compromise by taking an in-between path, say quantitative and computational biologist Ariana...

    06/18/2015 - 14:00 Animals, Psychology, Anthropology
  • Reviews & Previews

    Max Planck, originator of quantum theory, tormented by war and personal loss


    06/13/2015 - 09:00 History of Science, Physics
  • News

    Rogue waves don’t always appear unannounced

    Sailors have long told remarkable stories of monstrous, ship-damaging waves that seem to come out of nowhere. But new research analyzing these rogue waves in and out of the ocean reveals that at least some of them are foreseeable.

    A telltale set of conditions precedes the appearance of bright flashes in tabletop laser experiments that are similar to...

    06/08/2015 - 06:00 Physics, Oceans