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  • 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
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Cannibalism’ chronicles grisly science of eating your own

    CannibalismBill SchuttAlgonquin Books, $26.95

    Until recently, researchers thought cannibalism took place only among a few species in the animal kingdom and only under extraordinary circumstances. But as zoologist Bill Schutt chronicles in Cannibalism, plenty of creatures inhabit their own version of a dog-eat-dog world.

    Over the last few decades, scientists have observed...

    02/05/2017 - 08:00 Animals, Anthropology
  • Context

    In 20th century, astronomers opened their minds to gazillions of galaxies

    WASHINGTON — Before astronomers could discover the expansion of the universe, they had to expand their minds.

    When the 20th century began, astronomers not only didn’t know the universe was expanding, they didn’t even care.

    “Astronomers in the late 19th century and the very start of the 20th century were very little interested in what we would call the broader universe or its...

    02/02/2017 - 07:00 Astronomy, History of Science
  • News

    LSD’s grip on brain protein could explain drug’s long-lasting effects

    Locked inside a human brain protein, the hallucinogenic drug LSD takes an extra-long trip.

    New X-ray crystallography images reveal how an LSD molecule gets trapped within a protein that senses serotonin, a key chemical messenger in the brain. The protein, called a serotonin receptor, belongs to a family of proteins involved in everything from perception to mood.

    The work is the...

    01/31/2017 - 14:00 Chemistry
  • News

    Rogue antibody linked to severe second dengue infections

    The playground ditty “first the worst, second the best” isn’t always true when it comes to dengue fever. Some patients who contract the virus a second time can experience more severe symptoms. A rogue type of antibody may be to blame, researchers report in the Jan. 27 Science. Instead of protecting their host, the antibodies are commandeered by the dengue virus to help it spread, increasing...

    01/27/2017 - 15:55 Health, Immune Science
  • Editor's Note

    Endings make way for new beginnings for Earth and SN

    Life on Earth has survived at least five major extinction events, but it is the dinosaurs’ mass die-off that most captures our imagination. It appears to have been a dramatic one, as Thomas Sumner writes in "Devastation detectives try to solve dinosaur disappearance" (SN: 2/4/17, p. 16). A fiery asteroid impact carved out a chunk of what’s now below the Caribbean Sea, killing many animals...

    01/25/2017 - 15:06 Animals, Paleontology, Evolution
  • Science Visualized

    Bony head ornaments signal some supersized dinosaurs

    Dinosaur fashion, like that of humans, is subject to interpretation. Bony cranial crests, horns or bumps may have served to woo mates or help members of the same species identify one another. While the exact purpose of this skull decor is debated, the standout structures tended to come with an even more conspicuous trait: bigger bodies.

    Terry Gates, a paleontologist at North Carolina...

    01/25/2017 - 13:46 Paleontology, Evolution
  • News

    New molecular knot is most complex yet

    View the video

    One hundred and ninety-two atoms have tied the knot.

    Chains of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms, woven together in a triple braid, form the most complex molecular knot ever described, chemists from the University of Manchester in England report in the Jan. 13 Science.

    Learning how to tie such knots could one day help researchers weave molecular...

    01/12/2017 - 14:00 Chemistry, Materials
  • News

    Pain promoter also acts as pain reliever

    A protein that sounds the alarm when the body encounters something painful also helps put out the fire.

    Called Nav1.7, the protein sits on pain-sensing nerves and has long been known for sending a red alert to the brain when the body has a brush with pain. Now, experiments in rodent cells reveal another role for Nav1.7: Its activity triggers the production of pain-relieving molecules....

    01/11/2017 - 16:09 Neuroscience, Cells
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers weigh in on dinos, dark matter and more

    Prehistoric tweet

    Researchers uncovered the fossilized voice box, called a syrinx, of an ancient bird that lived 68 million to 66 million years ago. The bird may have sounded like a honking duck, Meghan Rosen reported in “Ancient avian voice box unearthed” (SN: 11/12/16, p. 7).

    Online reader David Spector wondered if researchers could 3-D print the syrinx to replicate the ancient bird’s...

    01/11/2017 - 12:15 Paleontology, Particle Physics, Health