Vol. 164 No. #28
Archive Issues Modal Example

More Stories from the December 20, 2003 issue

  1. Humans

    Science News Challenge

    Try the Science News current-events crossword puzzle.

  2. Humans


    Letters from the Dec. 20 & 27, 2003, issue of Science News.

  3. Physics

    Dune leapfrogging is deciphered

    Some wind-propelled sand dunes can pass right through each other if their relative sizes are right, new computer simulations indicate—although the sand grains of one dune don't actually penetrate through the other dune.

  4. Tech

    Glow with the flow

    Potentially usable electricity flows when water is forced through millions of ceramic tubes thinner than a human hair.

  5. Planetary Science

    Did rivers once run on the Red Planet?

    A fan-shaped region of debris on Mars is providing new evidence that some places on the Red Planet, now bone-dry, once had long-lasting rivers or lakes.

  6. Warning issued for trauma debriefing

    Efforts to get survivors of a variety of life-threatening situations to vent their emotions in debriefing sessions may do no good, or even cause harm in some cases, a research review finds.

  7. Anthropology

    Baboons demonstrate social proficiency

    Wild baboons exhibit a richer, more complex social life than scientists have often assumed, according to two new studies.

  8. Health & Medicine

    Hard mattresses not best for back pain

    People sleeping on medium-firm mattresses report less pain than those sleeping on firm mattresses, contradicting a long-held belief that harder is better.

  9. Materials Science

    Drug particle delivers insulin on demand

    Injectable polymer nanoparticles could store insulin in the body over several days and release the medication precisely when blood sugar concentrations change.

  10. Materials Science

    New materials take the heat

    Researchers have devised a way to prevent an innovative solar cell material from degrading under high temperatures and prolonged exposure to light.

  11. Astronomy

    Cool Cosmos: Orbiting telescope views infrared universe

    Astronomers unveiled the first images and spectra taken by the most sensitive and highest-resolution infrared observatory ever sent into space.

  12. Health & Medicine

    Cardiac Connection: Lupus patients exhibit signs of heart disease

    Lupus patients have more signs of atherosclerosis than do healthy people, suggesting that the inflammation that causes many lupus symptoms also damages blood vessels.

  13. Earth

    Ash Clouds: Severe storms can lift smoke into stratosphere

    New field observations, satellite images, and computer models suggest that a severe thunderstorm, enhanced by heat from forest fires, can boost soot, smoke, and other particles as far as the lower stratosphere, an unexpected phenomenon.

  14. Materials Science

    Crystal Clear: Liquid crystal sensor plays nature’s game

    By fixing the components of a cell membrane to a liquid crystal, researchers devised a sensitive and high-speed sensor for detecting chemical and biowarfare agents.

  15. Archaeology

    Bones of Invention: German cave yields Stone Age figurines

    Three ivory figurines found in southwestern Germany may belong to one of the world's oldest known art traditions, dating to more than 30,000 years ago.

  16. Tech

    Gel Bots? Vibrated goo mimics slithery motions

    The ability of soft, jellylike hydrogels to move as do snails, snakes, and inchworms may point the way to a new class of squishy robots that promise to be simple, quiet, and versatile.

  17. Ecosystems

    Brazil Nut Loss Looms: Harvest may be too heavy to last

    A study of 23 spots in Amazonian forests has raised the question of whether the collection of Brazil nuts—praised as a model of gentle forest use—has reached such levels that it may not be sustainable.

  18. Math

    Bookish Math

    Statistical tests and computation can help solve literary mysteries surrounding the authorship of well-known works.

  19. Humans

    Undignified Science

    Research advances in 2003 heralded a string of unexpected scientific indignities that will occur in the future, at least in the fevered imagination of one writer.

  20. Science & Society

    Science News of the Year 2003

    A review of important scientific achievements reported in Science News during the year 2003.