Vol. 185 No. 5 Archives

Reviews & Previews

Science & Society

Naturalists at Sea

For centuries after Columbus, the flora and fauna of the New World remained a mystery to Europeans. But in the 1600s and 1700s, explorers began to visit and describe what were then considered remote corners of the Earth.

Science Visualized



  • Cataloging the connections

    Though a complete map of the brain’s connections is many years away, the mathematical theory of networks can help fill in some of the blank spots.

  • Brain shot

    Deciphering how the brain’s circuitry produces thought and behavior is an ambitious and enticing goal on the scale of the Apollo Program or the Human Genome Project. But the neuroscientists involved in a new federal effort have many challenges ahead.

More Stories from the February 22, 2014 issue

  1. Astronomy

    Unusual three-star system promises new test of gravity

    A unique stellar threesome could help astronomers test the leading theory of gravity to unprecedented precision.

  2. Psychology

    Migraines respond to great expectations

    Patients get more pain relief from drug and placebo labeled as headache busters than from those labeled as dummy pills.

  3. Health & Medicine

    Pacemaker treats sleep apnea

    Experimental device works for many patients who can’t use breathing machines.

  4. Astronomy

    Kepler’s surprise: Planet hunter also found supernovas

    NASA's now-defunct Kepler space telescope captured five stellar explosions as they happened.

  5. Ecosystems

    Trees’ growth keeps climbing with age

    Older trees pack on weight faster, making them potentially the best carbon collectors.

  6. Animals

    Swimming dolphins don’t need to cheat

    Dolphins swimming through bubbles burst old notion of underpowered muscles.

  7. Neuroscience

    Thinking hard weighs heavy on the brain

    A balance measures the tiny changes in force due to blood flow behind a person's thoughts.

  8. Life

    Pigment pas de deux puts stripes on zebrafish

    Interactions between color-producing cells generate patterns on fish fins.

  9. Archaeology

    Stone Age fishing spear found on Southeast Asian island

    Notched piece of bone found near Indonesia illustrates surprisingly complex tool making 35,000 years ago.

  10. Physics

    Laser builds mirror by pushing beads together

    The light technique may one day be used to build giant telescopes in space.

  11. Planetary Science

    Old rover finds new evidence of water on Mars

    Opportunity’s analysis of rocks at Endeavour crater reveals chemistry that could have supported life.

  12. Humans

    Small fetal size early on might carry risks later

    A smaller size in first trimester of pregnancy has been linked to heart-health warning signs in childhood.

  13. Genetics

    Stone Age Spaniard had blue eyes, dark skin

    Genetics of 7,000-year-old skeleton suggests blond hair, pale skin came later.

  14. Materials Science

    Etched glass stops cracks in their tracks

    Adding wavy lines to glass reduces the material’s notorious brittleness.

  15. Astronomy

    Clouds on nearby brown dwarf mapped

    A study of clouds on a nearby brown dwarf reveals partial cloud cover.

  16. Life

    A little acid or a tight squeeze can turn a cell stemlike

    Stresses send mouse cells into primordial state capable of making any tissue.

  17. Planetary Science

    Moon like blue cheese?

    The lunar surface turns out to have more grit than scientists thought.

  18. Physics

    Levitating objects with sound

    Physicists have levitated milli­meter-sized objects. Now, the objects can levitate and move in all directions.

  19. Climate

    Biggest climate warmers

    The United States, China, Russia, Brazil, India, Germany and the United Kingdom are responsible for more than 60 percent of the 0.74 degree Celsius rise in global average temperature observed from 1906 to 2005.

  20. Psychology

    Lend an ear to science

    Pop music hit maker Clive Davis knows a catchy song when he hears one. Now an app aims to define that elusive quality more concretely.

  21. Earth

    The Sixth Extinction

    On only five occasions in Earth’s long history has a large fraction of the planet’s biodiversity disappeared in a geological instant. But, journalist Kolbert reminds us in her new book, we are well on our way to making it six.