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  • Science Ticker

    Juno will fly a mere 9,000 km above Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

    Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is ready for its close-up. On July 10, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly directly over it, providing the first intimate views of Jupiter’s most famous feature.

    The Great Red Spot is a 16,000-kilometer-wide storm that’s been raging for centuries. Juno will soar just 9,000 kilometers above the Red Spot’s swirling clouds, collecting data with its eight scientific...

    07/07/2017 - 07:00 Planetary Science
  • Editor's Note

    Dive deep to discover unexpected connections

    Readers often praise Science News for its brevity. It’s undoubtedly one of our defining features, and one of our core values. To deliver the latest news from a wide breadth of scientific subfields, our writing must be clear and concise. Our news gets to the point, with all the fascinating detail but none of the flab. Packing content in has long been the tradition at Science News — no surprise...

    07/06/2017 - 12:45 History of Science, Quantum Physics, Evolution
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers intrigued by Mars' far-out birth

    Martian mysteries

    Mars may have formed out where the asteroid belt is now, far from its planetary neighbors, Thomas Sumner reported in “New proposal reimagines Mars’ origin” (SN: 5/27/17, p. 14).

    Readers online were fascinated by Mars’ origin story. “There seemed to be evidence of actual seas on early Mars,” stargene wrote. “How can this be finessed into the idea of Mars living out in...

    07/06/2017 - 12:30 Planetary Science, Genetics, Particle Physics
  • Feature

    DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories

    One lab full of rats looks pretty much the same as another. But visiting a lab in Siberia, geneticist Alex Cagan can distinguish rats bred to be tame from those bred to be aggressive as soon as he opens the lab door.

    “It’s a completely different response immediately,” he says. All of the tame rats “come to the front of the cage very inquisitively.” The aggressive rats scurry to the backs...

    07/06/2017 - 12:00 Genetics, Animals
  • Feature

    How humans (maybe) domesticated themselves

    Long before humans domesticated other animals, we may have domesticated ourselves.

    Over many generations, some scientists propose, humans selected among themselves for tameness. This process resulted in genetic changes, several recent studies suggest, that have shaped people in ways similar to other domesticated species.

    Tameness, says evolutionary biologist and primatologist...

    07/06/2017 - 12:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Essay

    A quarter century ago, the qubit was born

    John Archibald Wheeler was fond of clever phrases.

    He made the term “black hole” famous in the 1960s. He also coined the now-familiar “wormhole” and “quantum foam.” While further pondering the mystery of quantum physics at the University of Texas at Austin during the 1980s, Wheeler repeatedly uttered his favorite interrogative slogan: “How come the quantum?” And from those ponderings...

    07/05/2017 - 11:00 Quantum Physics, Computing
  • 50 Years Ago

    50 years ago, a millionth of a degree above absolute zero seemed cold

    Lowest temperature yet

    A common pin dropped on a table from a height of one-eighth of an inch generates about 10 ergs of energy, obviously a minuscule amount. That 10 ergs raises temperature, and even that tiny amount is “much too much” to be allowed in the experiment during which Dr. Arthur Spohr of the Naval Research Laboratory reached the lowest temperature yet achieved — within less...

    07/05/2017 - 07:00 Physics
  • Feature

    Quantum computers are about to get real

    Although the term “quantum computer” might suggest a miniature, sleek device, the latest incarnations are a far cry from anything available in the Apple Store. In a laboratory just 60 kilometers north of New York City, scientists are running a fledgling quantum computer through its paces — and the whole package looks like something that might be found in a dark corner of a basement. The...

    06/29/2017 - 07:00 Quantum Physics, Computing
  • Science Stats

    Earth’s dry zones support a surprising number of trees

    Earth’s dry regions have more trees than once thought — a hopeful note in the fight against climate change.

    An analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery reveals that drylands globally have 40 to 47 percent more tree cover (an extra 467 million hectares) than reported in earlier estimates. An international team of researchers used Google Earth and Collect Earth, a program developed by...

    06/26/2017 - 07:00 Ecology
  • Reviews & Previews

    Every breath you take contains a molecule of history

    Caesar’s Last BreathSam KeanLittle, Brown and Co., $28

    Julius Caesar could have stayed home on March 15, 44 B.C. But mocking the soothsayer who had predicted his death, the emperor rode in his litter to Rome’s Forum. There he met the iron daggers of 60 senators.

    As he lay in a pool of blood, he may have gasped a final incrimination to his protégé Brutus: You too, my son? Or maybe...

    06/25/2017 - 07:00 Chemistry, Earth, History of Science