Vol. 185 No. 10
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Science Visualized



  • Written in bone

    Researchers are reconstructing the migrations that carried agriculture into Europe by analyzing DNA from the skeletons of early farmers and the people they displaced.

  • The ice of a distant moon

    Jupiter’s moon Europa hides a liquid ocean, and conceivably life, under kilometers of ice. The challenge for engineers is how to penetrate that frozen barrier with technology that can be launched into space and operated remotely.

More Stories from the May 17, 2014 issue

  1. Health & Medicine

    Celiac disease linked to heart problems

    Inflammation may explain the link between celiac disease, a digestive disorder, and coronary artery disease.

  2. Neuroscience

    Brain’s growth, networks unveiled in new maps

    Two large-scale efforts describe human and mouse brains in detail.

  3. Neuroscience

    Paralyzed mouse legs move with burst of light

    Neural patch makes leg muscles twitch in paralyzed mice when blue light shines.

  4. Earth

    Tiny minerals may have shaped Earth’s first plate boundaries

    Simulations link weakened rock minerals to the origin of plate tectonics on Earth.

  5. Paleontology

    La Brea Tar Pits yield exquisite Ice Age bees

    Ancient bee pupae snug in leafy nest give clues to Pleistocene climate.

  6. Astronomy

    Neutrinos from space rain down from all directions

    Using Earth as a filter, scientists detect thousands of neutrinos from beyond the solar system.

  7. Life

    In a crisis, fruit flies do stunt turns

    An elaborate monitoring system reveals that fruit flies can execute sophisticated flying maneuvers in the face of danger.

  8. Cosmology

    Galaxy’s gamma-ray glow may expose dark matter

    An excess of gamma rays at the center of the Milky Way could be a signature of dark matter.

  9. Genetics

    Five mutations could make bird flu spread easily

    Handful of alterations can turn H5N1 bird flu into virus that infects ferrets through the air.

  10. Particle Physics

    Exotic particle packs a foursome of quarks

    Tetraquarks could help physicists understand the universe’s first generations of matter.

  11. Climate

    Reef fish act drunk in carbon dioxide–rich ocean waters

    In first test in the wild, fish near reefs that bubble with CO2 lose fear of predators’ scent.

  12. Health & Medicine

    Triclosan aids nasal invasions by staph

    The antimicrobial compound triclosan, commonly found in soaps and toothpaste, may help Staphylococcus aureus stick around.

  13. Health & Medicine

    Possible measles drug tests well in animals

    Compound that saves ferrets from viral infection might someday lead to measles treatment.

  14. Genetics

    Gene activity sets humans apart from extinct hominids

    Differences in gene activity caused by DNA methylation distinguish modern people from Neandertals and Denisovans.

  15. Neuroscience

    Poor slumber is bad for young flies’ brains

    A child's sleep deprivation could alter brain development and adult behavior, a study of fruit flies suggests.

  16. Astronomy

    Earth-sized planet found in star’s habitable zone

    Astronomers have found a potentially habitable Earth-sized planet around a cool red star.

  17. Materials Science

    Blender whips up graphene

    Easy recipe makes large quantities of graphene using kitchen blender.

  18. Planetary Science

    Mountains on Saturn moon may have come from space

    A mountainous ridge around the equator of Iapetus, one of Saturn’s moons, may have formed from cosmic debris.

  19. Science & Society

    Anti-leukemia vaccine reported hope of future

    Fifty years ago, Science News Letter reported on the promise of a vaccine to prevent leukemia. No preventive vaccine has come to pass, but leukemia vaccines as treatments has yielded promising results.

  20. Animals

    How to milk a naked mole-rat

    For the sake of science, Olav Oftedal has milked bats, bears and a lot of other mammals. But a naked mole-rat was something new.

  21. Earth

    Huge space rock rattled Earth 3 billion years ago

    An asteroid almost as wide as Rhode Island may have plowed into Earth 3.26 billion years ago, leaving a trace in South Africa’s Barberton greenstone belt.

  22. Physics


    Getting excited can kick a person’s energy to a higher level. At the nanoscale, strange almost-particles called excitons do the same trick.

  23. Cosmology

    See the sky in a different light

    An interactive map lets you explore the galaxy with infrared light.

  24. Physics

    Gravity’s Ghost and Big Dog

    Sociologist Harry Collins chronicles the occasionally heated (and often arcane) debates among scientists studying gravitational waves.

  25. Math

    The Improbability Principle

    The laws of mathematics and physics suffice to explain a world of coincidences, statistician David J. Hand argues.