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  • Food for Thought

    Troubling Meaty 'Estrogen'

    Women take note. Researchers find that a chemical that forms in overcooked meat, especially charred portions, is a potent mimic of estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. That's anything but appetizing, since studies have linked a higher lifetime cumulative exposure to estrogen in women with an elevated risk of breast cancer.

    Indeed, the new finding offers a "biologically...

    10/17/2007 - 01:38 Nutrition
  • News

    Champion of strength is forged in mighty anvil

    A newly created form of carbon has captured the crown of world's strongest known material. A team of researchers in Germany and France made the new material using a specialized, multijawed anvil that simultaneously squeezed and heated a powder of all-carbon molecules known as buckyballs.

    At 200,000 times atmospheric pressure and a temperature of 2,500 kelvins, the powder...

    09/13/2005 - 12:18 Physics
  • Feature

    Mastering the Mixer

    Part of the fun of experimenting with granular materials, says Stephen W. Morris, is the showmanship. In one stunt that he has demonstrated in settings ranging from high school classrooms to television studios, the University of Toronto physicist loads clear plastic tubes with white table salt and black sand and starts them rotating. What transpires in the tubes usually knocks the socks off...

    07/20/2003 - 13:13 Physics
  • Feature

    Herbal Lottery

    Echinacea is a commercial success. The dietary supplement–made from the flowers, stems, and leaves of the purple coneflower–has become a popular and lucrative over-the-counter cold remedy. It's also one of the few nutraceuticals–natural products with medicinal reputations–that have substantial scientific evidence to support its purported functions: Various studies suggest that echinacea...

    06/02/2003 - 18:34 Nutrition
  • News

    Answer blows in wind, swirls in soap

    Besides using up energy to move sand dunes, create waves, and otherwise rearrange the scenery, winds exhaust their force on inner processes, too. Collisions between gas molecules, for instance, convert kinetic energy to heat in so-called viscous processes.

    Using a soap film that mimics the atmosphere of Earth or other planets (SN: 8/22/98, p.118), physicists now have measured how...

    04/21/2003 - 20:13 Physics
  • Feature

    Hot Flashes, Cold Cuts

    Andrei V. Rode didn't flinch recently when enough power to run 2,000 homes blasted his fingertip. Although staccato bursts of laser light vaporized tiny dots of his flesh, he kept his finger in harm's way. Rode, a physicist at Australian National University in Canberra, was testing something he'd been told: That the lasers he works with blast materials in such a novel way that they can...

    11/12/2002 - 18:56 Technology
  • Feature

    Less Massive than Saturn?

    Planet hunters Geoffrey W. Marcy and R. Paul Butler have become frequent visitors to a telescope atop Hawaii's Mauna Kea. They come to search for alien worlds but often feel like they've landed on one. Rising 14,000 feet above the palm trees and lush vegetation, the windswept summit of this extinct volcano is nearly as pockmarked as the moon and as strewn with reddish rocks as Mars.

    ...

    09/24/2002 - 18:14 Astronomy
  • News

    Lasers act on cue in electron billiards

    A sharp burst of laser light striking an atom can yank away an electron, ionizing the atom. If the laser pulse is extremely intense, the rapid oscillations of its electric field pull off multiple electrons, one after another. In the mid-1980s, however, amazed researchers discovered that moderately intense laser beams dislodge multiple electrons at a rate up to a million times higher than...

    06/21/2002 - 15:47 Physics