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E.g., 06/20/2018
E.g., 06/20/2018
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  • Experiences

    What I actually learned about my family after trying 5 DNA ancestry tests

    Commercials abound for DNA testing services that will help you learn where your ancestors came from or connect you with relatives. I’ve been interested in my family history for a long time. I knew basically where our roots were: the British Isles, Germany and Hungary. But the ads tempted me to dive deeper.

    Previous experience taught me that different genetic testing companies can yield...

    06/13/2018 - 14:41 Ancestry, Genetics
  • Feature

    DNA testing can bring families together, but gives mixed answers on ethnicity

    Michael Douglas, a new resident of southern Maryland, credits genetic testing for helping him find his heritage — and a family he knew very little about.

    Douglas, 43, is adopted. He knew his birth mother’s name and had seen a birth certificate stating his birth name: Thomas Michael McCarthy. Over the years, Douglas had tried off and on to find his birth family, mostly by looking for his...

    06/13/2018 - 14:36 Genetics, Ancestry, Science & Society
  • Feature

    In her short life, mathematician Emmy Noether changed the face of physics

    On a warm summer evening, a visitor to 1920s Göttingen, Germany, might have heard the hubbub of a party from an apartment on Friedländer Way. A glimpse through the window would reveal a gathering of scholars. The wine would be flowing and the air buzzing with conversations centered on mathematical problems of the day. The eavesdropper might eventually pick up a woman’s laugh cutting through...

    06/12/2018 - 10:00 Physics
  • News

    This theory suggests few workers were needed to cap Easter Island statues

    The story of how some of the massive stone statues on Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, ended up wearing stone hats involves ramps, ropes and remarkably few workers, a contested new analysis suggests.

    No more than 15 people were needed to manipulate ropes that rolled stone cylinders, or pukao, up ramps to the top of forward-leaning statues, say archaeologist Sean Hixon of Penn State...

    06/08/2018 - 07:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • Soapbox

    At-home telomere testing is not a reliable marker of aging, researcher says

    Stay younger, longer. Great idea. But direct-to-consumer test kits that promise to gauge a person’s biological age by analyzing a drop of blood are not worth the $100 or so investment, says oncologist Mary Armanios. The tests measure the length of telomeres, the bits of DNA that cap and protect the ends of chromosomes. But the consumer tests are unreliable and can be misinterpreted, Armanios...

    06/07/2018 - 10:00 Health, Genetics, Cells
  • Exhibit

    ‘Outbreak’ puts the life cycle of an epidemic on display

    In 1918, a pandemic of Spanish flu killed as much as 5 percent of the world’s population. A hundred years later, scientists know much more about how to prevent and treat such diseases. But in some ways, the threat of a global outbreak is greater than ever. All it takes is one plane ride for a few localized cases of a disease to become an epidemic.

    A new exhibit at the Smithsonian...

    06/04/2018 - 07:00 Health, Microbes, Animals
  • Feature

    What consumer DNA data can and can’t tell you about your risk for certain diseases

    Results from Family Tree DNA, a genetic testing company, helped Lara Diamond find a branch of her family she thought had been lost in the Holocaust. Those 2012 results brought dozens of new people into her life.

    Eager to find more relatives, Diamond, now 42, a professional genealogist in Baltimore, decided to try out all the companies that offer geneaological DNA testing to see what else...

    06/03/2018 - 06:00 Genetics
  • News

    Mysterious neutrino surplus hints at the existence of new particles

    Pip-squeak particles called neutrinos are dishing out more than scientists had bargained for.

    A particle detector has spotted a puzzling abundance of the lightweight subatomic particles and their antimatter partners, antineutrinos, physicists report May 30 at arXiv.org. The finding mirrors a neutrino excess found more than two decades ago. And that match has researchers wondering if a...

    06/01/2018 - 15:45 Particle Physics
  • Feature

    Future smart clothes could pack serious gadgetry

    In the future, leaving your phone charger at home will mean only one thing: You forgot to put on pants.

    Just as smartphones untethered users from their desktop computers, smart clothing is poised to bring personal electronics out of our pockets and onto our sleeves.

    The current generation of wearable technology that includes smart glasses and watches is still more marginal than...

    06/01/2018 - 10:57 Technology, Materials
  • News

    Never-before-seen dunes on Pluto spotted in New Horizons images

    Pluto’s heart-shaped plains are striped with sand dunes, where the sand is made of solid methane ice, a new study finds.

    Images from the New Horizons spacecraft’s July 2015 flyby of Pluto show 357 linear ridges that planetary scientist Matt Telfer of the University of Plymouth in England and colleagues interpret as dunes that have been shaped by a novel process, the team reports in the...

    05/31/2018 - 14:01 Planetary Science