This Week: Ancient water = ancient habitat?
In the News: Methane on the menu in the Gulf of Mexico?
Coming Thursday: Roaches: A lot smarter than you thought!
Synopsis: To view neutrinos from distant explosions, astrophysicists have set up thousands of detectors in pure ice at the South Pole. What are neutrinos, and what do these scientists hope to learning from them? Find the article: Chasing Neutrinos at the South Pole Illustration: The Why Files IceCube sees both cosmic rays and neutrinos from [...]
Synopsis: Native American agriculture was often a sophisticated response to a challenging environment. What were the secrets of permaculture, companion cropping and corn farming? Could these techniques contribute to modern farming? Find the article: Farming: Native American style Courtesy Eve Emshwiller, University of Wisconsin-Madison A woman in Peru’s highlands harvests oca, the white tubers in [...]
Synopsis: Hurricanes, the most powerful and dangerous storms of all, get their energy from the difference in temperature between a warm ocean and a cooler atmosphere. A century ago, hurricanes blew in with almost no warning; now they are tracked from the sky and space, and every year, warnings get a bit more useful. How [...]
How do hurricanes form? How do we predict their paths? How can we improve predictions?
Finally, an A-to-Z encyclopedia of ionizing radiation — but one that omits key topics.
“Yes, but…” is the word from the frontiers of physics. The world’s largest atom smasher has blasted protons against each other with such enormous energy that they have — apparently — appeared in the debris of decaying particles. At last, matter can have mass!
Classroom Activity Page: Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a high-pressure technique for cracking rocks and allowing natural gas to reach wells. Amid a boom in U.S. natural gas production, industry promises that fracking will bring Americans jobs and low-cost energy for decades. Opponents warn that the drilling-and-fracking process threatens to pollute air, surface water, and most importantly, groundwater. Will these concerns stymie an ongoing boom in natural gas production? Should they?
The ocean’s most valuable fish are caught in a vise. Areas known as dead zones are encroaching on their living zones and pinning them closer to the surface, where they are more vulnerable to becoming the day’s catch. The predicament is yet another side effect of climate change.
For 15 years, we’ve presented the science behind the news. The Why Files are accurate, engaging, entertaining and educational. Check our links from national science teaching standards to specific Why Files — all 750 of them! Whether it’s geology or archaeology, weather or human behavior, The Why Files has it covered.
Experiment finds Earth “dragging” spacetime, as Einstein predicted. Einstein knew his physics. Bending light, gravity lenses, shifting spacetime, spinning neutron stars: he called them all.
Earth’s orbit subtly changes over thousands of years, in complex cycles that affect the timing and delivery of sunlight to various regions of the globe. Climatologists have said that when this “Milankovitch cycle” warms the Arctic, it somehow warms the Antarctic. A new study finds that the cycle acts more directly.
High-speed movies of popping bubbles show a ring of “daughter” bubbles forming around the edge. A close look reveals a third generation of “granddaughter” bubbles. How does this happen? Does this matter to real-world medicine and climatology? And can we get paid to play with bubbles?
Adding nanotubes makes a stronger plastic, but adding several nano-structures greatly increases the benefit, according to a new study from India. Read about the frontier of material science.
Underground nuclear tests have been the biggest roadblock to a comprehensive test ban. How are these explosions detected, and how reliably?