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  • News

    A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work

    Scientists are vigorously debating how, and if, they can put the human gene-editing genie back in the bottle.

    There is widespread agreement that it’s currently “irresponsible” to make heritable changes in human cells. Gene editors, even the much lauded CRISPR/Cas9 molecular scissors, have not yet been proven safe and effective enough to use to alter genes in the human germline; embryos,...

    04/02/2019 - 07:00 Genetics, Science & Society
  • Teaser

    A single-dose antidote may help prevent fentanyl overdoses

    Synthetic opioids outlast current antidotes. A nanoparticle-based alternative could fix that.

    A newly developed single-dose opioid antidote lasts several days, a study in mice shows. If the results can be duplicated in humans, the treatment may one day help prevent overdoses from deadly drugs like fentanyl.

    Normally, a dose of the opioid antidote naloxone passes through a person’s...

    03/31/2019 - 05:00 Health, Chemistry
  • News

    Students worldwide are striking to demand action on climate change

    For the past several months, growing numbers of students around the world have been cutting class — not to play but to protest.

    The topic driving them is the same: Earth’s changing climate, as evidenced by increasing wildfires and droughts, rising seas and more extreme weather. As the students see it, governments have not done enough to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases, such as...

    03/14/2019 - 08:00 Climate, Science & Society
  • Feature

    What happens when the Bering Sea’s ice disappears?

    Peggy’s data were a bit of a shock.

    From an anchored vantage point in an expanse of the southeastern Bering Sea west of Alaska, Peggy, or mooring M2, had monitored conditions in the water for 25 years. A line of sensors extended down more than 70 meters to where Peggy was tethered to the seafloor, collecting information on temperature, salinity and other properties of the water.

    ...

    03/14/2019 - 06:45 Climate, Oceans, Ecosystems
  • News in Brief

    An origami design helps this robot lift delicate and heavy cargo

    A new robotic gripper is a strong “hand” with a soft touch.

    The bell-shaped gripper has a silicone rubber skeleton with an intricate origami design, wrapped in an airtight, latex rubber skin. When a vacuum sucks air out of the gripper, the skin constricts, forcing the origami skeleton to collapse into a narrow funnel. The bunched-up gripper’s ridged interior and rough latex skin help it...

    03/14/2019 - 00:05 Robotics, Technology
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Skeleton Keys’ unlocks the history and mysteries of bones

    Skeleton KeysBrian SwitekRiverhead Books, $26

    At this very moment, voracious cells are eating away at your bones. Not to worry, though — that’s just a normal part of bone maintenance in healthy adults. The formation of new bone cells balances out the removal of old bone cells. Although bone-making cells rev up when a bone breaks or disease sets in, eventually bone-eating cells kick...

    03/08/2019 - 06:00 Animals, Anthropology, Cells
  • News

    Sleeping in on the weekend can’t make up for lost sleep

    If the weekend is your time to catch up on sleep, you may want to rethink your strategy.

    In young adults, using the weekend to make up for lost sleep during the workweek can lead to increased late-night munchies, weight gain and a lowered responsiveness to insulin, researchers report February 28 in Current Biology. 

    “The take-home message is basically that you can’t make up for...

    03/01/2019 - 07:54 Health
  • Feature

    Extreme elements push the boundaries of the periodic table

    The rare radioactive substance made its way from the United States to Russia on a commercial flight in June 2009. Customs officers balked at accepting the package, which was ensconced in lead shielding and emblazoned with bold-faced warnings and the ominous trefoil symbols for ionizing radiation. Back it went across the Atlantic.

    U.S. scientists enclosed additional paper work and the...

    02/27/2019 - 06:00 Chemistry, Physics
  • News

    Hayabusa2 just tried to collect asteroid dust for the first time

    The Hayabusa2 spacecraft has quickly tapped the surface of asteroid Ryugu, making the first of three planned attempts to grab a pinch of dust. Analysis of the sample could shed light on the origins of planets or even on the possibility of life elsewhere in the solar system.

    But scientists won’t know for sure how much dust Hayabusa2 succeeded in grabbing until the craft returns to Earth...

    02/22/2019 - 15:07 Planetary Science
  • Feature

    Robots are becoming classroom tutors. But will they make the grade?

    Pondering a tablet screen displaying a town scene, a pre-K student tilts her head to the side and taps her lip thoughtfully.

    “What are we trying to find?” asks the plush, red and blue robot called Tega that’s perched on the desk beside the girl. The bot resembles a teddy bear–sized Furby.

    “We are trying to find lavender-colored stuff,” the girl explains. Lavender is a new...

    02/12/2019 - 06:00 Robotics, Technology, Science & Society