Exploring a volcano

Exploring a volcano

Watch volcanologists track a giant volcanic field in Chile — site of the fastest uplift on Earth. Laguna del Maule could change our climate. Scientists are racing to understand a strange unrest. What is the threat from this bizarre landscape? More »

Wolf mystery solved at last!

Wolf mystery solved at last!

And how did it traverse 460 kilometers of ocean? Apparently by crossing a narrow band of ice during the last Ice Age. A new study echoes evolutionary giants Darwin and Wallace and highlights the role of sea level in animal migration. More »

Boasting about the boson

Boasting about the boson

Award follows last year’s sighting of elusive boson at world’s largest atom smasher. At last, matter can have mass, and physics can understand why! More »

Denial of science, science of denial

old color engraving
Tobacco and cancer. CFCs and ozone. Vaccines and autism. And evolution through natural selection, acid rain and global warming. Why do the facts get lost in a cacophony of argument, falsehood and outright denial? A conference looks at why the media get taken for a ride, and how they can improve. More »

Patent wars!

Patent wars!

How do patents work? What is “new, non-obvious and useful”? What will happen after the biggest change in patent law in 60 years? More »

Bird migration: Key explanation skewered!

Bird migration: Key explanation skewered!

How do homing pigeons find their way on their amazing migrations? Scientists thought iron-bearing nerve cells in the beak can detect Earth’s magnetic field. But those iron granules are in immune cells. How do they do it? More »

Shaking it up: Maverick scientist dies

Shaking it up: Maverick scientist dies

Sometimes, scientists feel the need to leave the lab and warn the public about onrushing hazards. Rowland warned about ozone, but others are warning about warming. Does scientific culture encourage or hinder going public? Does the helpful response to ozone depletion suggest we’ll succeed in confronting global warming? More »

Reading magma, predicting giant eruptions

Reading magma, predicting giant eruptions

Volcanic eruptions are unpredictable, but here’s a new view of the historic eruption of a Mediterranean monster. About 3,500 years ago, Santorini’s eruption left a giant caldera and 60-meter layers of pumice. A new study of tiny crystals tracks movement of molten magma before the cataclysm. More »

Cattle, wildlife: No real conflict?

zebra in foreground, cattle in background

In African savannas, cattle graze the same grass as zebras, elephants and gazelles. Obviously, wildlife are stealing food from the mouths of cattle, and from the people who depend on cattle. But new data show that in the wet season, grazing wildlife actually benefit cattle! More »

Science on the road!

Science on the road!

Hitting the road? What could be more enlightening than gawking at a cave, exploring a desert, or eyeballing the largest telescope in the world? Need proof that science is not just books and websites or equations and software? Get moving! More »

The importance of being Einstein

Black and white photo: closeup of Einstein's face with blackboard in background

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. More »

Climate: Simple = beautiful?

Climate: Simple = beautiful?

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. More »

Maggots, leeches, parasitic worms

Maggots, leeches, parasitic worms

Meet three gross “biotherapies”: Leeches suck blood after surgery. Maggots clear dead tissue from wounds. Parasitic worms fight ulcerative colitis. Back to the future, here we go! More »

Stem cell battle resumes

Black and white image of woman in wheelchair seen from the back in a hospital hallway

A federal court has thrown the field of embryonic stem cell research into confusion. Last week, research that destroys embryos could not get federal bucks — even if those embryos were doomed or destroyed years ago. This week, it can. How is the legal yo-yo affecting researchers — and desperate patients? More »