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  • News

    Tweaking one gene with CRISPR switched the way a snail shell spirals

    A genetic spin doctor sets snail shells to swirl clockwise, new research confirms. And the twist in this story comes at the beginning — when snail embryos are just single cells.

    Though most pond snails (Lymnaea stagnalis) have shells that coil clockwise, a few have taken a left turn, curling counterclockwise. Researchers had strong evidence that a mutation in a gene called Lsdia1 caused...

    05/14/2019 - 07:00 Genetics, Development, Animals
  • News

    Apollo-era moonquakes reveal that the moon may be tectonically active

    The moon may still be kicking.

    Rumbles recorded decades ago by seismometers at Apollo landing sites are probably linked to young faults mapped by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists say. Eight of those moonquakes occurred within 30 kilometers of fault scarps, steplike cliffs on the lunar crust that mark places where one side of a fault has thrust up or slipped down. If true,...

    05/13/2019 - 11:00 Planetary Science
  • News

    A new AI acquired humanlike ‘number sense’ on its own

    Artificial intelligence can share our natural ability to make numeric snap judgments.

    Researchers observed this knack for numbers in a computer model composed of virtual brain cells, or neurons, called an artificial neural network. After being trained merely to identify objects in images — a common task for AI — the network developed virtual neurons that respond to specific quantities....

    05/13/2019 - 07:00 Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience
  • May 11, 2019

    05/11/2019 - 07:30
  • Editor's Note

    Celebrating scientists who ask big questions

    Humans are problem solvers. All day, every day, we ask ourselves questions. Should I wear socks with these shoes? Bring a phone charger? Eat the whole sandwich? Finish that assignment or watch YouTube? And that’s just an average day. When we apply the tools of science to answering big questions, we can do amazing things.

    In this double issue of Science News, we profile scientists...

    05/11/2019 - 07:15 Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers were curious about green icebergs, aliens and more

    Going green

    Researchers found iron oxides trapped in a sample of green Antarctic ice. The compounds may explain why typically blue-hued icebergs can sometimes appear green, Jeremy Rehm reported in “Tiny bits of iron may explain why some icebergs are green” (SN: 3/30/19, p. 12).

    “Since icebergs can drift for thousands of miles, and because iron is a limiting nutrient for algae, I...

    05/11/2019 - 07:00 Ecology, Astronomy, Health
  • News

    Deep-sea fishes’ eye chemistry might let them see colors in near darkness

    Some fishes in the deep, dark sea may see their world in more than just shades of gray.

    A survey of 101 fish species reveals that four from the deep sea had a surprising number of genes for light-sensitive eye proteins called rod opsins, researchers report in the May 10 Science. Depending on how the animals use those light catchers, the discovery might challenge the widespread idea that...

    05/10/2019 - 15:02 Animals, Evolution, Physiology
  • News in Brief

    Only a third of Earth’s longest rivers still run free

    Free-flowing rivers are an endangered species on Earth. Only about a third of the world’s longest rivers still flow freely along their entire lengths, unchained by dams or reservoirs, scientists report in the May 9 Nature.

    The study is the first global map of river “connectivity,” the ability of river water to move freely downstream, across floodplains and into and out of aquifers...

    05/10/2019 - 07:00 Earth, Climate
  • News in Brief

    Ancient South American populations dipped due to an erratic climate

    Ancient South American populations declined sharply as rainfall became increasingly unpredictable starting around 8,600 years ago, researchers say.

    But hunter-gatherer groups from the Andes and the Amazon to the continent’s southern tip bounced back quickly once rain returned to a relatively stable pattern about 6,000 years ago, report archaeologists Philip Riris and Manuel Arroyo-Kalin...

    05/09/2019 - 13:17 Archaeology, Climate
  • 50 years ago, scientists tried to transplant part of a human eye

    Transplants: Part of a whole eye —

    After an attempted cornea transplant failed, ophthalmologists in Houston, Tex., tried a more daring experiment to restore the vision of 54-year-old John Madden…. They transplanted an entire eye from a donor who had died of a brain tumor.… [Later, the doctor who did the surgery] announced that only the front part of the donor’s eye had been...

    05/09/2019 - 07:00 Biomedicine