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  • Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx
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  • Feature

    Two daring spacecraft aim to bring asteroid dust back to Earth

    Shogo Tachibana greeted asteroid Ryugu with dread.

    The cosmochemist with the University of Tokyo had spent 10 years helping to design a mission to Ryugu’s surface. To touch down safely, the spacecraft, Hayabusa2, needs to find broad, flat stretches of fine-grained dust on the asteroid. But on June 27, when Hayabusa2 finally reached its target after a three-and-a-half-year journey (SN...

    01/15/2019 - 14:42 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • 50 years ago, scientists studied orcas in the wild for the first time

    The astonishing capture [of seven orcas off British Columbia] has made possible the first scientific study of killer whales in their more or less natural environment…. There is little doubt that the animals have a sophisticated language with which they can communicate with each other, but practically nothing is known about the complexity of their speech. — Science News, January 18,...
    01/10/2019 - 08:00 Animals
  • Feature

    150 years on, the periodic table has more stories than it has elements

    Recognize these rows and columns? You may remember a detail or two about this mighty table’s organization from a long-ago chemistry class. Elements are ordered according to their number of protons, or atomic number. Metals are mostly to the left and nonmetals to the right. The column at the far right holds the noble gases, named for their general unwillingness to interact with other elements...

    01/08/2019 - 11:29 Chemistry, Physics
  • Essay

    How the periodic table went from a sketch to an enduring masterpiece

    Every field of science has its favorite anniversary.

    For physics, it’s Newton’s Principia of 1687, the book that introduced the laws of motion and gravity. Biology celebrates Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) along with his birthday (1809). Astronomy fans commemorate 1543, when Copernicus placed the sun at the center of the solar system.

    And for chemistry, no cause for...

    01/08/2019 - 11:29 Chemistry
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Beyond Weird’ and ‘What Is Real?’ try to make sense of quantum weirdness

    Quantum physics has earned a reputation as a realm of science beyond human comprehension. It describes a microworld of perplexing, paradoxical phenomena. Its equations imply a multiplicity of possible realities; an observation seems to select one of those possibilities for accessibility to human perception. The rest either disappear, remain hidden or weren’t really there to begin...

    01/06/2019 - 08:00 Quantum Physics, History of Science
  • The Science Life

    This scientist watches meat rot to decipher the Neandertal diet

    WASHINGTON — Kimberly Foecke has a great relationship with her local butcher.

    Though she buys loads of meat, Foecke is not a chef or the owner of a small zoo. She’s a paleobiologist who studies what Neandertals ate. And that involves, in her words, “experimental putrefaction, which is a fancy way of saying, I rot meat, all day, every day.”

    Scientists know Neandertals ate a lot of...

    01/02/2019 - 06:00 Anthropology, Nutrition
  • Letters to the Editor

    These are the most-read Science News stories of 2018

    More than 11 million people visited the Science News website this year. Check out this recap of the most-read stories of 2018, and the most popular stories published this year on each of our blogs.

    Top 10 stories

    1. Male birth control pill passes a safety testMen who took a prototype once-daily contraceptive pill for about a month saw their testosterone and other reproductive hormones...

    12/28/2018 - 12:03 Astronomy, Animals, Anthropology
  • Year in Review

    What will be the big science stories of 2019? Here are our predictions

    Entire disciplines are devoted to predicting the future. Trained forecasters use data, trends, human behavior and more to predict what lies ahead.

    Exactly no one at Science News is a quantitative forecaster or futurist. But we do hear what scientists are buzzing about at meetings, on social media and while reporting stories. So when we asked our writers to predict the big science stories...

    12/28/2018 - 06:00 Science & Society
  • Year in Review

    Artificial intelligence is mastering a wider variety of jobs than ever before

    In 2018, artificial intelligence took on new tasks, with these smarty-pants algorithms acing everything from disease diagnosis to crater counting.Coming to a clinic near you

    In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permitted marketing of the first artificial intelligence that diagnoses health problems at primary care clinics without specialist supervision (SN: 3/31/18, p. 15...

    12/27/2018 - 11:46 Artificial Intelligence
  • 50 years ago, astronauts orbited the moon for the first time

    Apollo 8: Options on the way

    Just two months after the end of the successful first manned Apollo flight ... three astronauts are ready to fly this Saturday to within 70 miles of the lunar surface.... The Apollo 8 plan is for the astronauts to fly as many as 10 orbits around the moon before heading home.  — Science News, December 21, 1968

    Update

    Apollo 8 launched on December 21...

    12/27/2018 - 05:30 Astronomy, Technology, History of Science