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  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers concerned about cancer’s sugary disguise

    Sugarcoated

    A new wave of potential immune therapies aims to target the network of complex sugars that coat cancer cells, Esther Landhuis reported in “Cancer’s sweet cloak” (SN: 4/1/17, p. 24). Some of these sugars, called sialic acids, help tumors hide from the immune system.

    “Are the offending sugars referred to in this article the ones we are eating or are they the result of...

    05/03/2017 - 11:20 Cancer, Technology, Animals
  • News

    Collider data hint at unexpected new subatomic particles

    A handful of measurements of decaying particles has seemed slightly off-kilter for years, intriguing physicists. Now a new decay measurement at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva has amplified that interest into tentative enthusiasm, with theoretical physicists proposing that weird new particles could explain the results. Scientists with the LHCb experiment reported the new result on April 18...

    04/20/2017 - 15:47 Particle Physics
  • Scicurious

    How the house mouse tamed itself

    Got a mouse in the house? Blame yourself. Not your housekeeping, but your species. Humans never intended to live a mouse-friendly life. But as we moved into a settled life, some animals — including a few unassuming mice — settled in, too. In the process, their species prospered — and took over the world.

    The rise and fall of the house mouse’s fortunes followed the stability and...

    04/19/2017 - 07:00 Archaeology, Animals
  • Feature

    There’s still a lot we don’t know about the proton

    Nuclear physicist Evangeline Downie hadn’t planned to study one of the thorniest puzzles of the proton.

    But when opportunity knocked, Downie couldn’t say no. “It’s the proton,” she exclaims. The mysteries that still swirl around this jewel of the subatomic realm were too tantalizing to resist. The plentiful particles make up much of the visible matter in the universe. “We’re made of them...

    04/18/2017 - 08:00 Physics, Particle Physics, Quantum Physics
  • News

    Scientists seek early signs of autism

    Soon after systems biologist Juergen Hahn published a paper describing a way to predict whether a child has autism from a blood sample, the notes from parents began arriving. “I have a bunch of parents writing me now who want to test their kids,” says Hahn, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. “I can’t do that.”

    That’s because despite their promise, his group’s results,...

    04/10/2017 - 07:00 Human Development, Neuroscience
  • News

    Cephalopods may have traded evolution gains for extra smarts

    Octopus, squid and cuttlefish don’t always follow the rules laid out in their DNA. Straying from prescribed genetic instructions may have increased the cephalopods’ thinking prowess, but comes at a cost, a new study suggests.

    Once genes have been copied from DNA into RNA, these cephalopods heavily edit the genes’ protein-making directions, researchers report April 6 in Cell. The study...

    04/06/2017 - 12:00 Genetics
  • Editor's Note

    If there are curious young minds, science will survive

    One evening last month at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., 40 high school seniors dressed in formal wear and nibbling hors d’oeuvres showed off their scientific research to a crowd of more than 500 people. Positioned at their posters, the students enthusiastically described their efforts to improve quadcopter flight control, study implicit bias and gender stereotypes, and...

    04/05/2017 - 10:40 Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question mental health research

    New normal

    People who stay mentally healthy throughout life are exceptions to the rule, a small study suggests. Only 17 percent of study participants experienced no bouts of anxiety, depression or other mental ailments from late childhood to middle age, Bruce Bower reported in “Lasting mental health may be unusual” (SN: 3/4/17, p. 7).

    Reader Lou Floyd found the article disturbing and the...

    04/05/2017 - 10:39 Mental Health, Animals, Physics
  • Feature

    CRISPR had a life before it became a gene-editing tool

    It is the dazzling star of the biotech world: a powerful new tool that can deftly and precisely alter the structure of DNA. It promises cures for diseases, sturdier crops, malaria-resistant mosquitoes and more. Frenzy over the technique — known as CRISPR/Cas9 — is in full swing. Every week, new CRISPR findings are unfurled in scientific journals. In the courts, universities fight over patents...

    04/05/2017 - 09:00 Cells, Microbiology, Molecular Evolution
  • Soapbox

    It’s time to redefine what qualifies as a planet, scientists propose

    Pluto is a planet. It always has been, and it always will be, says Will Grundy of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Now he just has to convince the world of that.

    For centuries, the word planet meant “wanderer” and included the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Eventually the moon and sun were dropped from the definition, but Pluto was included, after its...

    03/23/2017 - 09:00 Planetary Science