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Your search has returned 103 articles:
  • Math Trek

    Winning the World Series with math

    To run the bases faster, baseball players just need a bit of mathematics, according to research by an undergraduate math major and his professors. Their calculations show that the optimal path around the bases is one that perhaps no major-league ball player has ever run: It swings out a full 18.5 feet from the baseline.

    The precise path the researchers calculated probably won’t...

    10/22/2010 - 15:10
  • Math Trek

    Spoil-Proofing Elections

    When Ralph Nader recently announced he was entering the 2008 presidential race, many Democrats groaned. It was his fault, they say, that George Bush defeated Al Gore in 2000. But Nader retorted that the Democratic Party has only itself to blame for the loss in 2000.

    Mathematicians offer a different perspective. The problem, they say, doesn't lie with Nader or with the Democrats. It lies...

    03/12/2008 - 22:28 Numbers
  • Feature

    Nurturing Our Microbes

    Each of us is a metropolis. Bustling about in everyone's body are tens of trillions of microbes. Some are descended from starter populations provided by mom during birth. Additional bacteria, yeasts, and other life forms hitchhike in with foods. By age 3, everyone's gut hosts a fairly stable, yet diverse, ecosystem.

    Most of the tiny stowaways hide out in the...

    02/26/2008 - 12:45 Biomedicine
  • Math Trek

    Checking It Twice

    Counting is hard. Neither people nor machines seem to be able to do it reliably. And that's a nightmare for election officials who need an accurate ballot count to decide elections.

    Eighteen states require officials to double-check the machine counts by hand for a portion of the ballots. But election officials have had little guidance on what to do with the recount results. If the...

    01/17/2008 - 17:24 Numbers
  • Feature

    Lettuce Liability

    Little more than a year ago, supermarkets from coast to coast stripped fresh spinach from produce aisles as a food-poisoning outbreak swept the nation. From mid-August through September 2006, virulent bacterial infections sickened at least 204 spinach consumers. Five died and 30 others suffered acute kidney failure.

    Among more than 3,500 genetically unique...

    12/03/2007 - 19:41 Agriculture
  • News

    Salmonella seeks sweets

    Salmonella enterica, a major food-poisoning germ, can enter the tissues of fresh lettuce where no amount of surface washing will evict it. The scientists who reported that finding earlier this year now think that they've gotten to the root of the issue.

    To model salmonella soil contamination from livestock wastes, the researchers seeded sterile manure with one of three toxic strains of...

    11/07/2007 - 10:28 Nutrition
  • Feature

    What Goes Up

    Jeffrey S. Gaffney, a sunburn-prone atmospheric scientist, set off one morning in March 2006 for a day of field work in Mexico City—without his hat and sunscreen. At Mexico City's altitude, 2,240 meters above sea level, sunlight beating down through the thin air delivers as much as 30 percent more ultraviolet radiation than reaches coastal regions. "I thought I'd be fried at the end of the...

    09/05/2007 - 10:13 Earth & Environment
  • News

    Uncharted atomic landscapes

    Electron microscopes can now not only image single atoms but also map the locations of different chemical elements in a sample.

    A scanning-transmission electron microscope (STEM) operates by sending an atom-thin beam of electrons through a sample. Those electrons lose energy as they kick up the energy of some of the sample's electrons. The energy losses depend on the characteristic...

    08/14/2007 - 13:46 Technology
  • News

    Vaccine Harvest: Cholera fighter could be easy to swallow

    By genetically modifying rice plants, scientists have created an edible vaccine that triggers an immune reaction capable of neutralizing cholera toxin, tests in mice show. But the researchers stress that the altered rice wouldn't be sold in stores, grown openly, or be eaten as food. Rather, they envision rice-powder capsules or pills that would deliver the vaccine.

    The bacterium...

    06/13/2007 - 11:47 Biomedicine
  • Feature

    Slime Dwellers

    Put on your snorkel gear and get close to coral—really close—and you can spy a thin layer of surface slime. Produced continually, and often in prodigious amounts, this mucus can be anything from a thick, soupy liquid to gummy gel. Corals expend significant energy making and replenishing these water-soluble jackets, but scientists have struggled to understand the payoff for this effort.

    ...
    05/25/2007 - 09:49 Ecology