Vol. 197 No. 1
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Science Visualized



More Stories from the January 18, 2020 issue

  1. Space

    NASA’s Parker probe has spotted the Geminid meteor showers’ source

    For the first time, we’ve spotted the trail of space debris responsible for the Geminid meteor shower.

  2. Climate

    How the Arctic’s poor health affects everyday life

    A new NOAA report features testimony from indigenous communities in Alaska who are weathering the impacts of Arctic warming.

  3. Earth

    Flooding Earth’s atmosphere with oxygen may not have needed a triggering event

    Building an oxygen-rich world doesn’t require volcanism, supercontinent breakups or the rise of land plants — just nutrient cycling, a study finds.

  4. Quantum Physics

    A new, theoretical type of time crystal could run without outside help

    The idea tiptoes closer to the original concept of time crystals, first proposed in 2012.

  5. Archaeology

    A nearly 44,000-year-old hunting scene is the oldest known storytelling art

    Cave art in Indonesia dating to at least 43,900 years ago is the earliest known storytelling art, and shows otherworldly human-animal hunters.

  6. Health & Medicine

    Surplus chromosomes may fuel tumor growth in some cancers

    Extra copies of some genes on excess chromosomes may keep cancer cells growing. Without those extras, cancer cells form fewer tumors in mice.

  7. Life

    Prions clog cell traffic in brains with neurodegenerative diseases

    Prions may derail cargo moving inside brain cells, perhaps contributing to cell death in prion diseases.

  8. Animals

    Why some whales are giants and others are just big

    Being big helps whales access more food. But how big a whale can get is influenced by whether it hunts for individual prey or filter-feeds.

  9. Quantum Physics

    Quantum jitter lets heat travel across a vacuum

    In a first, scientists observed tiny, vibrating membranes exchanging heat due to quantum fluctuations.

  10. Life

    A single-celled protist reacts to threats in surprisingly complex ways

    New research validates a century-old experiment that shows single-celled organisms are capable of complex “decision making.”

  11. Humans

    An ancient outbreak of bubonic plague may have been exaggerated

    Archaeological evidence suggests that an epidemic that occurred several centuries before the Black Death didn’t radically change European history.

  12. Humans

    A gene tied to facial development hints humans domesticated themselves

    Scientists may have identified a gene that ties together ideas about human evolution and animal domestication.

  13. Space

    NASA’s MAVEN probe shows how wind circulates in Mars’ upper atmosphere

    By using the MAVEN spacecraft to track winds in the Martian thermosphere, researchers hope to better understand how the atmosphere leaks into space.

  14. Earth

    Debate over signs of early life inspires dueling teams to go to Greenland — together

    The remote site — which may or may not contain evidence of the most ancient life on Earth — could help scientists plan how to study such signs on Mars.

  15. Space

    The sterile moon may still hold hints of how life began on Earth

    50 years ago, scientists found no signs of life on the moon. Today, lunar mission regulations may be relaxed in light of that fact.

  16. Health & Medicine

    Scientists’ brains shrank a bit after an extended stay in Antarctica

    The experience of an isolated, long-term mission at an Antarctic research station slightly shrunk a part of crew members’ brains, a small study finds.