Warm waters in the Pacific Ocean have disrupted marine ecosystems and North American weather. (Credit: NOAA)

Of sardines, sea lions, and “the blob” in the Pacific

April 17, 2015

If you’ve been following the news about the Pacific Ocean, there’s a lot going on these days. First, there have been the heartbreaking deaths of thousands of starving sea lion pups along the California coast. Then,...


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), shown in pink. Photo credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

MRSA meets its medieval match

April 8, 2015

In his 1945 Nobel Prize speech, Alexander Fleming warned that misusing antibiotics would lead to resistance in microbes. Fast forward 70 years and zoom in on MRSA: It’s contagious, it’s dangerous, and it resists the antibiotics...




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Writing to Learn in the Science Classroom

March 12, 2015

Education in the United States, particularly in the K through 12 arena, has been a hotbed of public debate in the last decade, heating up more recently in controversies surrounding Common Core. While few would argue...


Here's a Landsat image of phytoplankton blooms in the Baltic Sea, which reminded NASA scientists of a Van Gogh's Starry Night painting. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/USGS)

A stunning week of #SciArt draws to a close

March 6, 2015

This week, Scientific American’s Symbiartic blog decided to try something new: they asked Twitter users to tweet pictures of scientific art — from spectacular satellite photos to science-inspired quilts — accompanied by the hashtag #SciArt. The...



Smith created arguably the first geologic map. (Public domain, Scan by the Library Foundation, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library)

A Historic Map Turns 200 Years Old

January 23, 2015

Geologic maps represent the flashier side of earth science. They depict in vibrant colors and funky shapes the rocks and sediments that cover our planet — materials which are often decidedly duller in reality. But though...


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Copper shines in fight against germs

January 20, 2015

From centuries-old time capsules to modern medical centers, copper shines as the metal of choice to preserve and protect. Case in point:  A time capsule first buried in 1795 by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams was...


Nicolaus Steno Portrait

Nicolaus Steno: An Unlikely Geology Genius

January 9, 2015

Portrait of Nicolaus Steno as a bishop. Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons Nicolaus Steno could not have guessed that he would one day be known as a father of modern geology on the fateful day in October...