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  • Feature

    Depression among new mothers is finally getting some attention

    On the hormonal roller coaster of life, the ups and downs of childbirth are the Tower of Power. For nine long months, a woman’s body and brain absorb a slow upwelling of hormones, notably progesterone and estrogen. The ovaries and placenta produce these two chemicals in a gradual but relentless rise to support the developing fetus.

    With the birth of a baby, and the immediate expulsion of...

    03/11/2018 - 05:00 Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers muse about memory, magnetic monopoles and more

    Memory lane

    Inspired by flatworm memory experiments from the 1950s, researchers are on the hunt for the elusive engram — the physical mark that a memory leaves on the brain — Laura Sanders reported in “Somewhere in the brain is a storage device for memories” (SN: 2/3/18, p. 22).

    Readers flooded Science News with their thoughts and questions on the topic.

    Elizabeth Elliott...

    03/09/2018 - 10:20 Neuroscience, Animals, Particle Physics
  • News

    Some meteorites contain superconducting bits

    LOS ANGELES — In the search for new superconductors, scientists are leaving no stone — and no meteorite — unturned. A team of physicists has now found the unusual materials, famous for their ability to conduct electricity without resistance, within two space rocks.

    The discovery implies that small amounts of superconducting materials might be relatively common in meteorites, James...

    03/07/2018 - 17:04 Condensed Matter, Astronomy
  • It's Alive

    In a pack hunt, it’s every goatfish for itself

    The only fish known to hunt with wolf pack moves may not be true team players, just lemon-yellow me-firsts.

    Yellow saddle goatfish (Parupeneus cyclostomus) do more than school together as they dart over Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Like wolves, the goatfish take different roles in a pursuit. One or two fish may rush straight toward prey as the others shoot to the sides, blocking escape....

    03/06/2018 - 07:00 Animals, Evolution
  • Introducing

    A new species of tardigrade lays eggs covered with doodads and streamers

    What a spectacular Easter basket tardigrade eggs would make — at least for those celebrating in miniature.

    A new species of the pudgy, eight-legged, water creatures lays pale, spherical microscopic eggs studded with domes crowned in long, trailing streamers.  

    Eggs of many land-based tardigrades have bumps, spines, filaments and such, presumably to help attach to a surface, says...

    02/28/2018 - 17:31 Animals
  • News

    A rare rainstorm wakes undead microbes in Chile’s Atacama Desert

    Chile’s Atacama Desert is so dry that some spots see rain only once a decade. Salt turns the sandy soil inhospitable, and ultraviolet radiation scorches the surface. So little can survive there that scientists have wondered whether snippets of DNA found in the soil are just part of the desiccated skeletons of long-dead microbes or traces of hunkered-down but still living colonies.

    A rare...

    02/27/2018 - 14:33 Microbiology, Astrobiology
  • 50 years ago, early organ transplants brought triumph and tragedy

    Kidneys lead the field

    While the drama of human heart transplants has grasped the public interest, kidney transplants are ahead in the field…. Although only three little girls are now surviving liver transplants, the liver is a promising field for replacement…. The donor, of course, must be dead; no one can live without his liver. — Science News, March 2, 1968

    Update

    Kidney...

    02/22/2018 - 07:00 Health
  • Feature

    How to build a human brain

    In a white lab coat and blue latex gloves, Neda Vishlaghi peers through a light microscope at six milky-white blobs. Each is about the size of a couscous grain, bathed in the pale orange broth of a petri dish. With tweezers in one hand and surgical scissors in the other, she deftly snips one tiny clump in half.

    When growing human brains, sometimes you need to do some pruning.

    The...

    02/20/2018 - 15:30 Human Development
  • News

    Ants practice combat triage and nurse their injured

    View the video

    No wounded left behind — not quite. Ants that have evolved battlefield medevac carry only the moderately wounded home to the nest. There, those lucky injured fighters get fast and effective wound care.

    Insect colonies seething with workers may seem unlikely to stage elaborate rescues of individual fighters. Yet for Matabele ants (Megaponera analis) in sub-Saharan...

    02/16/2018 - 14:14 Animals, Evolution, Ecology
  • News

    What will it take to go to Venus?

    There’s a planet just next door that could explain the origins of life in the universe. It was probably once covered in oceans (SN Online: 8/1/17). It may have been habitable for billions of years (SN Online: 8/26/16). Astronomers are desperate to land spacecraft there.

    No, not Mars. That tantalizing planet is Venus. But despite all its appeal, Venus is one of the hardest places in the...

    02/13/2018 - 07:00 Planetary Science, Exoplanets