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  • Feature

    Venomous fish have evolved many ways to inflict pain

    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...

    04/19/2017 - 11:30 Animals, Evolution
  • 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
  • Context

    Einstein’s latest anniversary marks the birth of modern cosmology

    First of two parts

    Sometimes it seems like every year offers an occasion to celebrate some sort of Einstein anniversary.

    In 2015, everybody lauded the 100th anniversary of his general theory of relativity. Last year, scientists celebrated the centennial of his prediction of gravitational waves — by reporting the discovery of gravitational waves. And this year marks the centennial...

    04/11/2017 - 11:45 History of Science, Cosmology
  • Feature

    Competing ideas abound for how Earth got its moon

    The moon’s origin story does not add up. Most scientists think that the moon formed in the earliest days of the solar system, around 4.5 billion years ago, when a Mars-sized protoplanet called Theia whacked into the young Earth. The collision sent debris from both worlds hurling into orbit, where the rubble eventually mingled and combined to form the moon.

    If that happened, scientists...

    04/04/2017 - 06:00 Planetary Science, Chemistry
  • News

    Millions of atoms entangled in record-breaking quantum tests

    In a feat of quantum one-upmanship, two teams of scientists have staked new claims of linking whopping numbers of atoms at the quantum level.

    Researchers from Geneva demonstrated quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms, smashing the previous record of about 3,000 entangled atoms (SN Online: 3/25/2015). Meanwhile, scientists from Canada and the United States used a similar technique to...

    03/27/2017 - 07:00 Quantum Physics
  • Reviews & Previews

    Shocking stories tell tale of London Zoo’s founding

    The ZooIsobel CharmanPegasus$27.95

    When Tommy the chimpanzee first came to London’s zoo in the fall of 1835, he was dressed in an old white shirt.

    Keepers gave him a new frock and a sailor hat and set him up in a cozy spot in the kitchen to weather the winter. Visitors flocked to get a look at the little ape roaming around the keepers’ lodge, curled up in the cook’s lap or tugging...

    03/20/2017 - 07:00 Animals, History of Science
  • Feature

    Smartphones may be changing the way we think

    Not too long ago, the internet was stationary. Most often, we’d browse the Web from a desktop computer in our living room or office. If we were feeling really adventurous, maybe we’d cart our laptop to a coffee shop. Looking back, those days seem quaint.

    Today, the internet moves through our lives with us. We hunt Pokémon as we shuffle down the sidewalk. We text at red lights. We tweet...

    03/17/2017 - 12:21 Neuroscience, Health
  • News

    Distant galaxies lack dark matter, study suggests

    Very distant galaxies have surprisingly little dark matter, the invisible stuff thought to make up the bulk of matter in the universe, new observations suggest.

    Stars in the outer regions of some far-off galaxies move more slowly than stars closer to the center, indicating a lack of dark matter, astronomer Reinhard Genzel and colleagues report online March 15 in Nature. If confirmed, the...

    03/15/2017 - 14:00 Astronomy, Cosmology
  • News in Brief

    Saturn’s moon Pan looks like ravioli

    Saturn serves up the closest thing to space pasta, the latest images from NASA’s Cassini probe, released March 9, show.

    On March 7, the spacecraft snapped a series of portraits (one shown above) of Pan, Saturn’s small moon that orbits within a 325-kilometer-wide gap in one of the planet’s rings. Taken at a distance of 24,572 kilometers from the moon, these are the closest images of Pan...

    03/10/2017 - 16:30 Astronomy
  • Feature

    Virtual reality has a motion sickness problem

    Tech evangelists predicted that 2016 would be “the year of virtual reality.” And in some ways they were right. Several virtual reality headsets finally hit the commercial market, and millions of people bought one. But as people begin immersing themselves in new realities, a growing number of worrisome reports have surfaced: VR systems can make some users sick.

    Scientists are just...

    03/07/2017 - 06:00 Technology, Health, Science & Society