Vol. 183 No. #7

More Stories from the April 6, 2013 issue

  1. Health & Medicine

    Surgery shows promise in treating persistent heartburn

    Ring-shaped device around esophagus prevents acid reflux so that patients can stop taking drugs.

  2. Space

    New home for runaway black hole

    Galactic merger and ejection may have sent a cosmic wanderer through deep space.

  3. Earth

    Moderate climate warming could melt permafrost

    Ancient cave formations in Siberia reveal effects of warmer past on frozen ground.

  4. Earth

    Nutrients matter in tropical forests

    Soil nutrients and rainfall predict tree species range in Panama’s tropical forests.

  5. Health & Medicine

    Mouse brain cells live long and prosper

    Mouse neurons live twice as long as usual when transplanted into rat brain, suggesting that brain deterioration may not necessarily accompany long life.

  6. Life

    Impact craters may have been a toasty home for early life

    The heat generated during a cosmic crash could have nurtured ancient organisms.

  7. Space

    Radiation ring around Earth mysteriously appears, then dissipates

    Space probes detect temporary transition from two radiation belts to three, possibly in response to solar activity.

  8. Life

    Sperm swim against the current

    Human and mouse sperm both follow upstream currents to the egg.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Baby may be cured of HIV

    Only viral traces remain after prompt treatment of newborn, suggesting no working virus is left in the girl’s body.

  10. Life

    Camel ancestors lived in the Arctic

    Fossils on Ellesmere Island suggest famous desert dweller got its start in cold regions.

  11. Physics

    Vortex gets tied in knots

    Physicists use 3-D printing and tiny bubbles to capture twisted-up water.

  12. Space

    No vacancy around stars

    The Milky Way’s planets pack tightly around their stars, according to simulations using data from the Kepler space telescope.

  13. Life

    Mice get brain boost from transplanted human tissue

    An experimental transplant of what have long been considered just support cells shows they may play a role in memory and learning.

  14. Life

    Alga borrows genes to beat the heat, acid and toxic metals

    Such genetic theft from bacteria and archaea is unusual among eukaryotes.

  15. Planetary Science

    Distant planets’ atmospheres revealed

    Telescopes get first direct glimpse of gases on exoplanets.

  16. A genetic exhibitionist

    Harvard geneticist Joseph Pickrell is part of a new generation of scientists talking about their data not just over the lab bench, but in conversations online. Pickrell uses the Internet to open himself, his research and his thoughts about others’ work to public scrutiny. Geneticist Joseph Pickrell posted his DNA sequence and some identifying tags, […]

  17. Upcoming events

    April 8–27 Join ornithologist Paul Sweet on birdwatching walks through New York City’s Central Park during spring migration. See bit.ly/SFAMNHsweet April 29 The National Academy of Sciences hosts a public symposium in Washington, D.C., to honor the society’s 150th anniversary. See bit.ly/SFnas150

  18. SN Online

    ATOM & COSMOS Curiosity finds minerals consistent with habitability. See “Life-friendly environment confirmed on Mars.” JPL-Caltech/NASA BODY & BRAIN Scientists meld rat minds in “Rats do tasks while connected brain-to-brain.” CULTURE BEAKER See Rachel Ehrenberg’s column on website comments, “Trolls bad news for scientific discourse.” ON THE SCENE BLOG Kids build plasma guns and more […]

  19. Humans

    Students honored for research

    The 40 finalists in this year’s Intel Science Talent Search received a total of $630,000 in awards for their research. The top 10 received $20,000 or more.

  20. Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent by Gabrielle Walker

    A science writer takes readers on a journey to the bottom of the Earth through firsthand accounts of her travels with scientists. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, 388 p., $27

  21. Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are by Carlin Flora

    Citing studies on evolution and psychology, this exploration of the nature of friendship shows the importance of making and keeping friends. Doubleday, 2013, 288 p., $25.95

  22. Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know by Robert Peter Gale and Eric Lax

    A medical doctor and a writer team up to dispel misconceptions about radioactivity and explain the risks of everyday exposures. Knopf, 2013, 270 p., $26.95

  23. Alien Life Imagined: Communicating the Science and Culture of Astrobiology by Mark Brake

    See how humans’ fascination with the possibility of extraterrestrial life has evolved over the centuries. Columbia Univ., 2013, 279 p., $35

  24. BOOK REVIEW: Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science by Christoph Irmscher

    Swiss-born Louis Agassiz was the most famous naturalist in America in the mid-19th century. When he died in 1873, people across the United States mourned the loss of their favorite scientist. Today, Agassiz is largely forgotten outside academia. After reading his biography, it’s not hard to understand why people may have wanted to forget him. […]

  25. BOOK REVIEW: The Kingdom of Rarities by Eric Dinerstein

    Armchair naturalists will delight in following Dinerstein as he treks the globe to find uncommon species and figure out why they are rare. Through field investigations and other research, this conservation biologist with the World Wildlife Fund comes to a rather startling conclusion: The majority of Earth’s nonmicroscopic species are rare — and probably always […]

  26. Genetics

    From Great Grandma to You

    Epigenetic changes reach down through the generations.

  27. Physics

    As Erebus Lives and Breathes

    The Antarctica volcano’s long-lived lava lake coughs up clues to the physiology of volcanoes .

  28. Letters to the editor

    Get a grip The article “Pruney fingers get better grip” (SN: 2/9/13, p. 11) indicated that skin wrinkling in response to extended exposure to water was the result of constricting blood vessels. I was waiting to read about the possibility that this was the body’s response to prevent heat loss. Water has a high heat […]

  29. Patents of the week

    A new printing invention, electrostatic printing, is expected to have a major impact on the nation’s second largest industry because good quality and inexpensive impressions can be made on virtually any material, from building bricks to fresh fruits and vegetables. In the new process dry ink particles instead of wet ink are screened onto the […]

  30. The Enlightenment Vision: Science, Reason, and the Promise of a Better Future by Stuart Jordan

    A physicist reviews the Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries — considered the “rise of reason” — and the progression of scientific knowledge since. Prometheus, 2013, 295 p., $26