Vol. 186 No. 12
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cover of the December 13, 2014 issue

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Science Visualized


Assaulting ink drops for science

A pulse of laser light obliterates a free-falling ink drop in an image from the American Physical Society’s 2014 Gallery of Fluid Motion competition. The work may help engineers build the next generation of computer chips.



More Stories from the December 13, 2014 issue

  1. Life

    Gut microbes less diverse in humans than in apes

    An analysis of gut bacteria shows that humans have evolved to possess less diversity in microbe populations.

  2. Paleontology

    Ancient sea creature took to land and sea

    A primitive relative of the ichthyosaur had strong bones and big flippers.

  3. Health & Medicine

    Snakebite test correctly IDs attackers in Nepal

    A new test that swabs for traces of snake DNA around bite marks can identify the guilty serpent and may improve treatments.

  4. Astronomy

    Nearly starless galaxies found in nearby cluster

    Astronomers have found 47 galaxies with relatively few stars, something not predicted by any galaxy formation theories.

  5. Materials Science

    ‘Impermeable’ graphene yields to protons

    Graphene sheets, impermeable to all atoms and molecules, can be penetrated by protons, new study shows.

  6. Life

    Norovirus grown in lab, with help from bacteria

    Norovirus, famous for sickening cruise ship passengers, has finally been grown in human cells in a lab, offering scientists a chance to test new therapies.

  7. Life

    Epic worldwide effort explores all of insect history

    A whopper of a genetic analysis fits all living orders of insects into one genealogical evolutionary tree.

  8. Neuroscience

    Brain regions linking odors to words pinpointed

    Scientists have pinpointed two brain regions involved in linking odors to their names, with implications for why smells are hard to identify.

  9. Genetics

    Human thoughts control mouse genes

    Human brain waves trigger light that activates protein production in rodents.

  10. Genetics

    Rare mutations may protect against heart disease

    Rare mutations in a key gene seem to lower bad cholesterol and provide protection against heart disease.

  11. Climate

    Lightning strikes will surge with climate change

    Climate warming could boost lightning strikes in the United States by roughly 50 percent over the next century.

  12. Quantum Physics

    Milestone algorithm runs on quantum computer

    An algorithm proposed two decades ago that demonstrated the benefit of using quantum mechanics to solve certain problems has finally been run on a quantum computer.

  13. Environment

    Spiders enlisted as pollution sensors for rivers

    Hunting arachnids provide a better picture of chemical threats to food web.

  14. Environment

    Colorado deluge produced flood of drug-resistance genes

    Flooding in Colorado’s South Platte River Basin washed antibiotics and drug-resistance genes into pristine waterways.

  15. Planetary Science

    Two travelers from far beyond Neptune return home

    Two bodies approaching from the edge of the solar system may have been tossed out there by Jupiter over 4 billion years ago.

  16. Planetary Science

    Unseen planets sweep up dust around young star

    A large gap in the dusty disk around a young star reveals what our solar system might have looked like 4.6 billion years ago.

  17. Neuroscience

    ‘Bath salts’ reduce communication in rat brains

    The recreational drugs known as bath salts cause a loss of communication between areas in the rat brain.

  18. Environment

    DDT lingers in Michigan town

    Decades after a plant manufacturing DDT shut down in Michigan, the harmful insecticide is still found in neighboring birds and eggs.

  19. Neuroscience

    Breathing returns to paralyzed rats

    Scar tissue–busting enzyme plus rehabilitation therapy improves respiration long after rats’ initial spinal cord injuries.

  20. Planetary Science

    Comet lander’s exploration cut short

    The comet lander Philae made history with its touchdown on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, but a series of small hiccups prevented the robot from recharging its batteries, giving it only about 57 hours to explore the alien world.

  21. Earth

    Exhibit lays out principles for disaster-resistant structures

    The National Building Museum’s ‘Designing for Disaster’ exhibit showcases the science and engineering of making disaster-resistant infrastructure.

  22. Archaeology

    Magnetism paved way for excavation without digging

    In the 1960s, archaeologists used a new technique to locate and map a submerged Greek city without digging.

  23. Health & Medicine

    A look back at 2013’s disasters

    The Philippines, India and China each lost more than 1,000 lives in 2013 in mass calamities.