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  • News

    Dead pig brains bathed in artificial fluid showed signs of cellular life

    Scientists have restored cellular activity to pig brains hours after the animals’ death — an unprecedented feat. This revival, achieved with a sophisticated system of artificial fluid, took place four hours after the pigs’ demise at a slaughterhouse.

    “This is a huge breakthrough,” says ethicist and legal scholar Nita Farahany of Duke University, who wasn’t involved in the research. “It...

    04/17/2019 - 13:15 Neuroscience, Health
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Cities’ reveals common ground between ancient and modern urban life

    CitiesMonica L. SmithViking, $30

    Ancient Rome’s Monte Testaccio and modern Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market reveal a lot about the nature of cities. Monte Testaccio is a hill made of broken pottery in the middle of Rome. Around 2,000 years ago, people tossed empty wine and olive oil vessels onto what was then a garbage heap. Tokyo’s vast seafood emporium, also known as Toyosu Market,...

    04/16/2019 - 05:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • News

    NASA’s Twins Study reveals effects of space on Scott Kelly’s health

    For nearly a year, U.S. astronauts and identical twins Scott and Mark Kelly lived lives that were as separate as Earth and space — literally. While Mark enjoyed retirement in Tucson, his brother floated in microgravity aboard the International Space Station orbiting about 400 kilometers above the planet.

    Ten science teams studied the twins’ physiology, memory abilities and genes before,...

    04/11/2019 - 15:23 Health, Physiology
  • Feature

    Climate change made the Arctic greener. Now parts of it are turning brown.

    The Chugach people of southern Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula have picked berries for generations. Tart blueberries and sweet, raspberry-like salmonberries — an Alaska favorite — are baked into pies and boiled into jams. But in the summer of 2009, the bushes stayed brown and the berries never came. 

    For three more years, harvests failed. “It hit the communities very hard,” says Nathan Lojewski...

    04/11/2019 - 07:00 Climate, Ecosystems, Plants
  • News

    How scientists took the first picture of a black hole

    Black holes are extremely camera shy. Supermassive black holes, ensconced in the centers of galaxies, make themselves visible by spewing bright jets of charged particles or by flinging away or ripping up nearby stars. Up close, these behemoths are surrounded by glowing accretion disks of infalling material. But because a black hole’s extreme gravity prevents light from escaping, the dark...

    04/10/2019 - 09:57 Astronomy, Physics, Technology
  • News

    The first picture of a black hole opens a new era of astrophysics

    Editor's note: This story will be updated throughout the day as more information becomes available. 

    This is what a black hole looks like.

    A world-spanning network of telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope zoomed in on the supermassive monster in the galaxy M87 to create this first-ever picture of a black hole.

    “We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen...

    04/10/2019 - 09:10 Astronomy, Physics
  • Soapbox

    Our brains sculpt each other. So why do we study them in isolation?

    Brains have long been star subjects for neuroscientists. But the typical “brain in a jar” experiments that focus on one subject in isolation may be missing a huge part of what makes us human — our social ties. 

    “There’s this assumption that we can understand how the mind works by just looking at individual minds, and not looking at them in interactions,” says social neuroscientist Thalia...

    04/09/2019 - 07:00 Neuroscience
  • Editor's Note

    The delight of discovering an asteroid that spits

    These are wondrous times for space exploration. Just when you think exploring the cosmos couldn’t possibly get more fun, another discovery delivers a new “oh wow” moment.

    Consider the asteroid Bennu. It’s an unprepossessing space rock that drew scientists’ curiosity because it is among the most pristine objects in our solar system, and it might provide clues to the origins of life....

    04/07/2019 - 07:15 Science & Society, Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers seek answers to stories about shingles, Neandertal spears and more

    Life after shingles

    In “With its burning grip, shingles can do lasting damage” (SN: 3/2/19, p. 22), Aimee Cunningham described the experience of Nora Fox, a woman whose bout with shingles nearly 15 years ago left her with a painful condition called postherpetic neuralgia. Fox hadn’t found any reliable treatments, Cunningham reported.

    Fox praised Science News for our portrayal of...

    04/07/2019 - 07:00 Health, Anthropology, Earth
  • Feature

    Here are 5 RNAs that are stepping out of DNA’s shadow

    DNA is the glamour molecule of the genetics world. Its instructions are credited with defining appearance, personality and health. And the proteins that result from DNA’s directives get credit for doing most of the work in our cells. RNA, if mentioned at all, is considered a mere messenger, a go-between — easy to ignore. Until now.

    RNAs, composed of strings of genetic letters called...

    04/07/2019 - 06:00 Genetics