The Aqua satellite detected hot spots where the King Fire burned through scrublands early last week. (Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.)

Fighting fires with science

September 26, 2014

The King Fire blazed across headlines earlier this month when it morphed from a minor incident near the hamlet of Pollock Pines, California, into a massive wildfire that has since scorched more than 140 square miles of parched, rugged...


Good news on ozone layer should spur climate action

September 16, 2014

For the first time since 1980, the ozone layer that shields us from harmful radiation is repairing itself after being eaten away over decades by human-produced chemicals. The good news comes just in time to celebrate...

Researcher with skeleton of Dreadnoughtus schrani

Meet Dreadnoughtus and Dendrogramma, New Species Great and Small

September 14, 2014

Last week, scientists announced two incredible discoveries of new species, one an enormous land animal and the other a tiny marine creature. Researcher Kenneth Lacovara with the skeleton of Dreadnoughtus schrani. Image: Kenneth Lacovara Measuring nearly...

Chemistry Safety

Safety in the Chemistry Lab

September 1, 2014

After a series of tragic accidents related to the “rainbow experiment” in high school chemistry labs, the United States Chemical Safety Board (CSB) took the unprecedented step of releasing a video safety message to warn educators...

Sinkhole downstream from Mosul Dam (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, US Army Corps of Engineers)

Inside the science of sinkholes

August 25, 2014

Sinkholes aren’t new, but they certainly make news, causing millions of dollars of damage, contaminating water supplies, and even claiming lives. This latest monster under the bed appears often without warning and with potentially catastrophic results, as...

Southern Ocean phytoplankton

Pieces of an Atmospheric Puzzle

August 17, 2014

Take two breaths. One came from the ocean. More specifically, it came from microscopic plant-like organisms known at phytoplankton, which produce half of Earth’s oxygen as they drift around the ocean (and other water bodies). Together...

"Toxic Algae Bloom in Lake Erie" by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon - NASA Earth Observatory. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Water Quality Concerns in the Great Lakes. Again.

August 5, 2014

Since the 1970s, when limnologist David Schindler and his colleagues began actively publishing the results of their work in the Experimental Lakes Area, there has been conclusive evidence that a steady flow of excess phosphorus in...

"An opened pomegranate" by Anton Croos - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Discovery of a new organelle: Introducing the tannosome

July 28, 2014

With all the advances in scientific technology over the last 50 years, sometimes it’s hard to believe there are still discoveries to be made. Particularly in areas that have already received a lot of study, like...

A reviewer at the National Institutes of evaluates a grant proposal. (Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health)

Peer review: New approaches to an old system

July 23, 2014

A scientist’s reputation and funding for research can hinge on recommendations by other scientists in the centuries-old peer review process. To ensure a credible body of scientific knowledge, research papers and proposals are evaluated by other...