For much of the last year, the most-read story on sciencenews.org 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,...
Letters to the Editor
To edit or not
A controversial paper about modifying genes in fertilized human eggs raised some serious ethical concerns. Tina Hesman Saey covered researchers’ arguments for and against this type of...
They’ve appeared on television and in magazines — Katy Perry, Johnny Depp and other celebrities vaping electronic cigarettes. The high-tech gadgets, marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, seem to be available everywhere, from Internet suppliers and specialty vaping shops to 24-hour convenience marts.
E-cigarettes have become the fashionable new electronic toy....
Reviews & Previews
The Science of TV's the Big Bang Theory
ECW Press, $17.95
Math, science, history — science writer Dave Zobel unravels the mysteries in The Science of TV’s the Big Bang Theory.
Hopefully after next week we will never again hear about Deflategate, the controversy surrounding the role of underinflated footballs in January’s conference championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. On June 23, the NFL commissioner will hear the appeal of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, one of the punishments that resulted from the...
Tiny, far-flung Pluto is about to have a visitor — at least for a few hours.
On July 14, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will reach the dwarf planet and try to learn all it can about Pluto and its five known moons. Then the probe will leave Pluto behind, vanishing into the frigid darkness beyond the planets.
In its wake, New Horizons will...
50 Years Ago
Invasion of classroom by gadgets foreseen — Machines that may teach the students of the future are attracting both industrialists and educators. One gadget enables each student in the classroom to take tests that are corrected as they are given,...
When Alán Aspuru-Guzik was in college, he really got into SETI@home, the project that uses home computers to speed the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He was less interested in finding aliens in outer space, however, than in using fleets of computers to search molecular space. He wanted to find chemical compounds that could do intelligent things here on Earth.
His mind was beautiful, but troubled. His math was just beautiful.
John Forbes Nash Jr., who died in a traffic accident on May 23, gained more fame than most mathematicians, though not only on account of his math. His battle with schizophrenia, described artfully by...
Certain images conjure up intense emotion: crying children, a bloody face, a snake rearing for a strike. When people take in pictures that hold deep meaning for them, they actually see the images more vividly. For them, emotion gives the world an extra burst of Technicolor and increases the odds that they will remember the scene.
But the amount of visual boost — called emotionally...