50 Years Ago
Drifting theories shake up geology
Continental drift, a theory often considered amusing but rarely important, seems about to become the focus of a revolution in geology. At the least, it has already split the geological community into those who find the evidence for it “formidable” and those who think it is not yet formidable enough to constitute a proof. — Science News, April 29, 1967...
Science & the Public
Lab coats aren’t typical garb for mass demonstrations, but they may be on full display April 22. That’s when thousands of scientists, science advocates and science-friendly citizens are expected to flood the streets in the March for Science. Billed by organizers as both a celebration of science and part of a movement to defend science’s vital role in society, the event will include rallies and...
For her 7th birthday, my niece received a very special gift — a compound light microscope with a set of slides. As soon as we got it out of the package, she became a diligent young investigator, studying the leg of a fly, dog cardiac muscle and onion epidermal cells. But it wasn’t the prepared slides that captivated her most. She wanted to investigate more familiar things. We plucked hairs...
Letters to the Editor
Eau de stinkbug04/19/2017 - 11:49 Animals
Stinkbugs accidentally harvested with grapes and fermented during the winemaking process release a pungent stress compound. It takes only three stinkbugs per grape cluster to ruin red wine’s taste, Elizabeth S. Eaton reported in “Red wine has stinkbug threshold” (SN: 3/18/17, p. 5).
“Does contamination of wine by the bugs’ stress compound pose any health risk to...
Biologist Leo Smith held an unusual job while an undergraduate student in San Diego. Twice a year, he tagged along on a chartered boat with elderly passengers. The group needed him to identify two particular species of rockfish, the chilipepper rockfish and the California shortspine thornyhead. Once he’d found the red-orange creatures, the passengers would stab themselves in the arms with the...
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...
Hawk moths have a sweet solution to muscle damage.
Manduca sexta moths dine solely on nectar, but the sugary liquid does more than fuel their bodies. The insects convert some of the sugars into antioxidants that protect the moths’ hardworking muscles, researchers report in the Feb. 17 Science.
When animals expend a lot of energy, like hawk moths do as they rapidly beat their wings...
Albert Einstein was a master of physics, but his talent in personal relationships was decidedly underdeveloped. A new 10-episode series, Genius, airing on the National Geographic Channel, focuses on the facets of Einstein’s life where he was anything but a virtuoso.
Genius is a dramatization, not a documentary. The series reveals the human side of the famously brainy...
Computers don’t have eyes, but they could revolutionize the way scientists visualize cells.
Researchers at the Allen Institute for Cell Science in Seattle have devised 3-D representations of cells, compiled by computers learning where thousands of real cells tuck their component parts.
Most drawings of cells in textbooks come from human interpretations gleaned by...
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,...