Speaking. Breathing. Eating. The da-dum, da-dum, da-dum of your heart. The vagus nerve (aka Cranial Nerve X or, more poetically, the Wandering Nerve) plays a crucial role in all of these essential functions, linking brain and organs in what’s called the nervous system’s...
Letters to the Editor
The feature “Bright Young Minds,” which profiled 10 promising scientists doing high-caliber research, earned mostly praise and a few criticisms (SN: 10/3/15, p. 20).
Some readers thought the feature inspired hope and optimism. “In...
In 1665, English scientist Robert Hooke published Micrographia, a book full of drawings depicting views through what was then a novel invention: the microscope. Peering at a slice of cork through a scope much like the one below (right), Hooke noticed small, boxlike partitions that he called cells (drawing above).
Now, 350 years later, cutting-edge microscopes enable biologists...
Reviews & Previews
The Planet Remade
Princeton Univ., $29.95
The plans sound like something out of the handbook of a James Bond villain: generate artificial volcanic eruptions,...
Airs December 2
Saving the world can be a beautiful thing.
In Racing Extinction, director Louie Psihoyos lays out the case that the world is already in the midst of a sixth mass extinction. In just a...
With outposts in nearly every organ and a direct line into the brain stem, the vagus nerve is the nervous system’s superhighway. About 80 percent of its nerve fibers — or four of its five “lanes” — drive information from the body to the brain. Its fifth lane runs in the opposite direction, shuttling signals from the brain throughout the body.
Doctors have long exploited the nerve’s...
50 Years Ago
Major energy cosmic? — Previous ideas on how long and how far [cosmic rays] travel in interstellar space were probably incorrect. It now appears that either these nuclei are younger and have passed through less of the Milky Way galaxy than previously thought ... or...
BALTIMORE — The greatest extinction in Earth’s history might not have been so great after all. A suspected colossal die-off of roughly 75 percent of land species didn’t accompany the Permian extinction around 252 million years ago, a team of geologists contend.
That divisive result comes from new work in South Africa that redates the demise of Dicynodon — a mammal relative whose...