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Cover of the May 4, 2024 issue of Science News

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More Stories from the May 4, 2024 issue

  1. Cosmology

    The largest 3-D map of the universe reveals hints of dark energy’s secrets

    A year of data from DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, suggests that, contrary to expectations, dark energy might vary over time.

  2. Physics

    Physicists take a major step toward making a nuclear clock

    By tweaking the energy of a thorium nucleus with a laser, scientists demonstrated a key step to building clocks based on the physics of atomic nuclei.

  3. Math

    Scientists find a naturally occurring molecule that forms a fractal

    The protein assembles itself into a repeating triangle pattern. The fractal seems to be an accident of evolution, scientists say.

  4. Artificial Intelligence

    This robot can tell when you’re about to smile — and smile back

    Using machine learning, researchers trained Emo to make facial expressions in sync with humans.

  5. Neuroscience

    Chickadees use memory ‘bar codes’ to find their hidden food stashes

    Unique subsets of neurons in a chickadee’s memory center light up for each distinct cache, hinting at how episodic memories are encoded in the brain.

  6. Ecosystems

    A new road map shows how to prevent pandemics

    Past viral spillover events underscore the importance of protecting wildlife habitats.

  7. Plants

    Plant ‘time bombs’ highlight how sneaky invasive species can be

    Sycamore maples and some other plant invaders lurked for centuries before starting to choke out native ecosystems and species.

  8. Science & Society

    Language models may miss signs of depression in Black people’s Facebook posts

    Researchers hope to use social media posts to identify population-wide spikes in depression. That approach could miss Black people, a study shows.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Immune cells’ intense reaction to the coronavirus may lead to pneumonia

    Immune cells that patrol lung tissue may play a role in the progression of a coronavirus infection to pneumonia, lab studies show.

  10. Environment

    Heat waves cause more illness and death in U.S. cities with fewer trees

    There are usually fewer trees in neighborhoods with higher populations of people of color. Planting trees could save hundreds of lives every year.

  11. Earth

    Polar forests may have just solved a solar storm mystery

    Spikes of carbon-14 in tree rings may be linked to solar flares, but evidence of the havoc-wreaking 1859 Carrington event has proven elusive until now.

  12. Health & Medicine

    50 years ago, phantom pain was blamed on misfiring nerves 

    Researchers now know that the cause of post-amputation pain is more complex, which is leading to new treatments.