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E.g., 12/14/2018
E.g., 12/14/2018
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  • News in Brief

    A satellite screw-up reaffirms Einstein’s theory of gravity

    An orbital oopsie has led to new proof of Albert Einstein’s physics prowess.

    In 2014, two satellites intended for Europe’s Galileo network, the equivalent of the United States’ GPS network, were placed into orbit incorrectly, causing them to travel around Earth in ellipses rather than circles. That wasn’t ideal for the satellites’ originally intended navigational use, but scientists...

    12/10/2018 - 06:00 Physics
  • News in Brief

    Magnets make a new soft metamaterial stiffen up in a flash

    Magnetism transforms a weird new material from soft to rigid in a split second.

    This metamaterial — a synthetic structure designed to behave in ways that natural materials don’t — comprises a gridlike network of plastic tubes filled with fluid that becomes more viscous in a magnetic field, causing the tubes to firm up. The material could help make more adaptable robots or body armor,...

    12/07/2018 - 14:00 Materials
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers inquire about a Neptune-sized moon, nuclear pasta and more

    Exomoonmoon

    A sighting by the Hubble Space Telescope provides more evidence that there’s a Neptune-sized moon, dubbed Neptmoon, orbiting the exoplanet Kepler 1625b, Lisa Grossman reported in “Hubble may have spotted the first known exomoon” (SN: 10/27/18, p. 14).

    “If Neptmoon actually exists, could it possibly have moons of its own?” online reader MAdScientist72 asked. “And what...

    12/05/2018 - 05:00 Physics, Astronomy, Animals
  • News

    Scientists’ collection of gravitational waves just got a lot bigger

    Astronomers have now tallied up more gravitational wave sightings than they can count on their fingers.  

    Scientists with the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave observatories report four new sets of these ripples in spacetime. Those additions bring the total count to 11, the researchers say in a study published December 3 at arXiv.org, marking major progress since the first gravitational...

    12/04/2018 - 13:19 Physics, Astronomy
  • Reviews & Previews

    Why a chemistry teacher started a science board game company

    A physicist, a gamer and two editors walk into a bar. No, this isn’t the setup for some joke. After work one night, a few Science News staffers tried out a new board game, Subatomic. This deck-building game combines chemistry and particle physics for an enjoyable — and educational — time.

    Subatomic is simple to grasp: Players use quark and photon cards to build protons, neutrons and...

    11/25/2018 - 09:00 Particle Physics, Chemistry, Science & Society
  • News

    A new airplane uses charged molecules, not propellers or turbines, to fly

    A newly designed airplane prototype does away with noisy propellers and turbines.

    Instead, it’s powered by ionic wind: charged molecules, or ions, flowing in one direction and pushing the plane in the other. That setup makes the aircraft nearly silent. Such stealth planes could be useful for monitoring environmental conditions or capturing aerial imagery without disturbing natural...

    11/21/2018 - 13:00 Technology, Physics
  • News

    It’s official: We’re redefining the kilogram

    Out with the old — kilogram, that is.

    Scientists will soon ditch a specialized hunk of metal that defines the mass of a kilogram. Oddly enough, every measurement of mass made anywhere on Earth is tied back to this one cylindrical object. Known as “Le Grand K,” the cylinder, cast in 1879, is kept carefully sequestered in a secure, controlled environment outside Paris.

    On November 16...

    11/16/2018 - 07:22 Numbers, Physics
  • News in Brief

    Mini ‘solar panels’ help yeast shine at churning out drug ingredients

    Bionic microbes outfitted with tiny semiconductor components can generate useful chemicals more efficiently than normal cells.

    Microorganisms like fungi are commonly used in biomanufacturing to convert simple carbon-based molecules, such as sugar, into a wide range of chemical ingredients for pharmaceuticals and other products. But much of a microbe’s carbon intake typically gets used to...

    11/15/2018 - 14:00 Microbes, Chemistry, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Physicists wrangled electrons into a quantum fractal

    Physicists have created an oddity known as a quantum fractal, a structure that could reveal new and strange types of electron behaviors.

    Fractals are patterns that repeat themselves on different length scales:  Zoom in and the structure looks the same as it does from afar. They’re common in the natural world. For instance, a cauliflower stalk looks like a miniature version of the full...

    11/12/2018 - 11:00 Quantum Physics, Condensed Matter
  • News

    These fragile, futuristic batteries run longer with a little oil

    Batteries that use aluminum and oxygen normally live fast and die young. But a new design could help these high-energy devices endure.

    Aluminum-air batteries are promising candidates for a new generation of non-rechargeable batteries, because they’re super lightweight and compact. The batteries, however, aren’t widely used because their internal components quickly degrade each other. In...

    11/08/2018 - 14:00 Chemistry, Technology