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  • 50 Years Ago

    In 1967, LSD was briefly labeled a breaker of chromosomes

    LSD may damage chromosomes

    Two New York researchers have found the hallucinogenic drug will markedly increase the rate of abnormal change in chromosomes. [Scientists] tested LSD on cell cultures from the blood of two healthy individuals … [and] also found similar abnormal changes in the blood of a schizophrenic patient who had been treated with [LSD]. The cell cultures showed a two-fold...

    03/23/2017 - 07:00 Genetics, Neuroscience
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question supernova physics

    Supernova surprise

    Astronomers continue to learn a lot from supernova 1987A, which burst onto the scene 30 years ago. Thanks to new detectors that can pick up neutrino signals and even gravitational waves, scientists will be ready when the next nearby star explodes, Emily Conover reported in “Waiting for a supernova” (SN: 2/18/17, p. 24).

    Steve Capps wondered how neutrinos inside an...

    03/22/2017 - 12:10 Particle Physics, Robotics, Condensed Matter
  • News

    Astronomers detect oldest known stardust in distant galaxy

    Astronomers may have spotted some of the earliest stardust ever created in the cosmos.

    Astrophysicist Nicolas Laporte of University College London and colleagues detected the dust in a galaxy seen as it was when the universe was only 600 million years old. “We are probably seeing the first stardust of the universe,” Laporte says. The observations, published online March 8 in the...

    03/08/2017 - 06:00 Astronomy, Cosmology
  • 50 Years Ago

    Origin of photosynthesis may go further back than estimates from 50 years ago

    Evidence of Precambrian life

    From deep in the gold mines of South Africa’s Orange Free State has come evidence that there was some form of biologic activity on Earth at least 2.15 billion years ago. Polymerized hydrocarbon “chemo-fossils” found in the gold ores … [probably] were originally part of a rich bacterial and algal life in the Witwatersrand basin. Since the rock layers from...

    03/02/2017 - 12:00 Evolution, Microbes
  • News

    Newly identified continent Zealandia faces a battle for recognition

    Lurking beneath New Zealand is a long-hidden continent called Zealandia, geologists say. But since nobody is in charge of officially designating a new continent, individual scientists will ultimately have to judge for themselves.

    A team of geologists pitches the scientific case for the new continent in the March/April issue of GSA Today, arguing that Zealandia is a continuous expanse of...

    02/24/2017 - 06:00 Earth
  • Reviews & Previews

    Physics greats of the 20th century mixed science and public service

    The 20th century will go down in history — it pretty much already has — as the century of the physicist. Physicists’ revolutionizing of the scientific world view with relativity and quantum mechanics might have been enough to warrant that conclusion. Future historians may emphasize even more, though, the role of physicists in war and government. Two such physicists, one born at the century’s...

    02/23/2017 - 06:00 History of Science, Science & Society, Physics
  • 50 Years Ago

    Speech recognition has come a long way in 50 years

    Computers that hear

    Computer engineers have dreamed of a machine that would translate speech into something that a vacuum tube or transistor could understand. Now at last, some promising hardware is being developed.... It is still a long way from the kind of science fiction computer that can understand sentences or long speeches. — Science News, March 4, 1967

    Update 

    That 1967...

    02/16/2017 - 12:30 Computing, Technology
  • 50 Years Ago

    Germanium computer chips gain ground on silicon — again

    First germanium integrated circuits

    Integrated circuits made of germanium instead of silicon have been reported … by researchers at International Business Machines Corp. Even though the experimental devices are about three times as large as the smallest silicon circuits, they reportedly offer faster overall switching speed. Germanium … has inherently greater mobility than silicon, which...

    02/09/2017 - 11:00 Materials, Computing
  • Feature

    When a nearby star goes supernova, scientists will be ready

    Almost every night that the constellation Orion is visible, physicist Mark Vagins steps outside to peer at a reddish star at the right shoulder of the mythical figure. “You can see the color of Betelgeuse with the naked eye. It’s very striking, this red, red star,” he says. “It may not be in my lifetime, but one of these days, that star is going to explode.”

    With a radius about 900 times...

    02/08/2017 - 08:00 Astronomy, Physics
  • News

    Long-lasting mental health isn’t normal

    Abnormal is the new normal in mental health.

    A small, poorly understood segment of the population stays mentally healthy from age 11 to 38, a new study of New Zealanders finds. Everyone else encounters either temporary or long-lasting mental disorders.

    Only 171 of 988 participants, or 17 percent, experienced no anxiety disorders, depression or other mental ailments from late...

    02/07/2017 - 12:58 Psychology, Mental Health