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  • News

    Long-lasting mental health isn’t normal

    Abnormal is the new normal in mental health.

    A small, poorly understood segment of the population stays mentally healthy from age 11 to 38, a new study of New Zealanders finds. Everyone else encounters either temporary or long-lasting mental disorders.

    Only 171 of 988 participants, or 17 percent, experienced no anxiety disorders, depression or other mental ailments from late...

    02/07/2017 - 12:58 Psychology, Mental Health
  • News

    Physicists seek neutron lifetime’s secret

    WASHINGTON — Lone neutrons quickly decay, but scientists don’t agree on how long the particles stick around before their demise. New experiments could resolve the dispute — or deepen the mystery.

    Outside of a nucleus, neutrons survive only about 15 minutes on average. They quickly decay into a proton, an electron and an antineutrino. Two methods used for measuring the neutron lifetime...

    02/01/2017 - 09:34 Physics
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers weigh in on dinos, dark matter and more

    Prehistoric tweet

    Researchers uncovered the fossilized voice box, called a syrinx, of an ancient bird that lived 68 million to 66 million years ago. The bird may have sounded like a honking duck, Meghan Rosen reported in “Ancient avian voice box unearthed” (SN: 11/12/16, p. 7).

    Online reader David Spector wondered if researchers could 3-D print the syrinx to replicate the ancient bird’s...

    01/11/2017 - 12:15 Paleontology, Particle Physics, Health
  • Feature

    What’s ahead for science in 2017?

    View the video

    As science journalists look back on the top stories of the year, scientists push on, asking the next questions and chasing fresh data. What big discoveries might they deliver in 2017? Science News writers reveal what they are watching for — and hoping for — in the year ahead. 

    Bruce BowerBehavioral Sciences

    “I look forward to seeing where the reproducibility debate...

    12/20/2016 - 09:00 Science & Society
  • Feature

    Animals give clues to the origins of human number crunching

    When Christian Agrillo runs number-related experiments in his lab, he wishes his undergraduate subjects good luck. For certain tests, that’s about all he says. Giving instructions to the people would be unfair to the fish.

    Agrillo, of the University of Padua in Italy, is finishing up several years of pitting humans against fish in trials of their abilities to compare quantities. He can’t...

    11/29/2016 - 14:00 Animals, Evolution, Neuroscience, Numbers
  • News

    Oldest alphabet identified as Hebrew

    SAN ANTONIO — The world’s earliest alphabet, inscribed on stone slabs at several Egyptian sites, was an early form of Hebrew, a controversial new analysis concludes.

    Israelites living in Egypt transformed that civilization’s hieroglyphics into Hebrew 1.0 more than 3,800 years ago, at a time when the Old Testament describes Jews living in Egypt, says archaeologist and epigrapher Douglas...

    11/19/2016 - 08:00 Language, Archaeology
  • Feature

    Dinosaurs may have used color as camouflage

    The stories of dinosaurs’ lives may be written in fossilized pigments, but scientists are still wrangling over how to read them.

    In September, paleontologists deduced a dinosaur’s habitat from remnants of melanosomes, pigment structures in the skin. Psittacosaurus, a speckled dinosaur about the size of a golden retriever, had a camouflaging pattern that may have helped it hide in forests...

    11/16/2016 - 06:00 Paleontology, Animals
  • News

    Wanted: New ways to chill air conditioners, fridges

    The hunt is on for chemicals to keep both you and the planet cool.

    A new agreement will soon begin phasing out the powerful greenhouse gases currently used in air conditioners, refrigerators and insulating foams. These gases, called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, can cause hundreds of times more global warming per molecule than carbon dioxide. The phaseout, announced by world leaders on...

    10/25/2016 - 09:00 Climate, Chemistry, Science & Society
  • News

    Latest dark matter searches leave scientists empty-handed

    Scientists have lost their latest round of hide-and-seek with dark matter, but they’re not out of the game.

    Despite overwhelming evidence that an exotic form of matter lurks unseen in the cosmos, decades of searches have failed to definitively detect a single particle of dark matter. While some scientists continue down the road of increasingly larger detectors designed to catch the...

    10/25/2016 - 05:30 Particle Physics
  • News

    Molecules for making nanomachines snare chemistry Nobel

    Motors too small to see with the eye may soon have the power to drive innovations in chemistry, biology and computing. Three creators of such nanoscopic machines were honored October 5 with the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

    Sharing the prize of 8 million Swedish kronor (about $930,000) equally are Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa. “If you had to choose three people...

    10/05/2016 - 15:47 Chemistry