Science News

Science newspaper is a magazine specializing in Science topics.

Articles from Vol. 150, No. 20, November 16

Brave New World of Biosphere 2?
New operators of the desert greenhouse aim to save the planet Last month, after 18 years of government service, William Harris abandoned the no-nonsense National Science Foundation for the fringes of science: He took over as director of Biosphere 2....
Cell Suicide Gets out of Control
One of the hottest topics in biology is apoptosis, the phenomenon in which a cell kills itself through a series of carefully choreographed actions (SN: 11/21/92, p. 344; 1/15/94, p. 44). Often referred to as cellular suicide, apoptosis is a widely used...
Digging into Natural-World Insights
Scientists are beginning to unravel fundamental features of commonsense knowledge about the natural world, with intriguing and ironic results. From rain forests in Guatemala to urban jungles and suburban parks in the United States, people construct...
Distant Galaxies Dazzle in the Infrared
They look like the Clark Kents of galaxies, ordinary and not very bright. But viewed in the infrared, they turn into supergalaxies, seething with a hidden fire. New findings from an orbiting infrared telescope suggest that many galaxies were star-making...
Early Kin of Vertebrates Found in China
Looking something like a tiny squashed eel, a newfound fossil from southwest China will not win any beauty contests. Yet this 530-million-year-old specimen from Earth's Cambrian period holds a special allure for paleontologists. It may be the oldest...
Explaining a Lunar Mystery
As far back as the Middle Ages, sky watchers have reported seeing bright flashes, red and blue glows, and patches of mist or fog emanating from certain sites on the moon. Researchers have proposed several theories to explain these mysterious sightings,...
Light Gets the Bends in a Photonic Crystal
Normally a straight arrow, light usually doesn't turn a corner. Now, researchers have worked out a novel way to make a beam change direction. This trick isn't done with mirrors, the usual way to send light on a new path, but with a photonic crystal,...
Oil Seals Contaminated Birds' Fates
Television and newspaper pictures of people carefully bathing and feeding seabirds caught in oil spills probably relieve many viewers concerned about the animals' fates. Not Daniel W. Anderson, Brian E. Sharp, and their colleagues. Birds cleaned and...
Pitching in to Find a Musical Gene
Among the musical elite are those with perfect pitch, the ability to identify, play, or sing a specific musical note without hearing a reference note. Hit a random piano key, and such people can instantly tell whether it was a C-sharp or a B-flat. They...
Speedy Galactic Aluminum Vexes Astronomers
Astronomers rarely make discoveries that blast a hole in their understanding of the galaxy. Now though, explosive new findings are forcing them to rethink the structure of the Milky Way. Using gamma-ray spectrometers mounted on high-flying balloons,...
The Y Copies Another Chromosome's Gene
The human Y chromosome is both a degenerate and a copycat. The first accusation is an old one. Scientists believe this male chromosome once had thousands of genes in common with the X chromosome, the other mammalian sex chromosome. Early in mammalian...
Typing Knots to Tubular Geometry
Sailors and other knot users have a large repertoire from which to choose the right knot for any purpose, whether it's tying a shoelace, mooring a boat, or knotting together bedsheets to escape from an upper story of a building. Mathematicians also tangle...
Undesirable Sex Partners; Bacteria Manipulate Reproduction of Insects and Other Species
It took a while before the medical community paid attention. The first known cases of what the tabloids gleefully called virgin births appeared, amusingly enough, in Las Vegas. Then physicians across the United States began documenting similar events....