The Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica. (Credit: NASA.)

May 23, 2014

Making Sense of West Antarctic Melting

  Two new studies unveiled last week require revising estimates of future sea-level rise upward. Together, the studies — which concern melting of Antarctic ice — suggest that oceans could rise by as much as 11...

white lab mouse

May 16, 2014

Fixing (the Other) Gender Bias in Scientific Research

You’ve probably heard about research indicating that–despite significant progress–there is still a gender gap in science. Women are underrepresented in many STEM fields. They may face subtle biases from professors and potential mentors. And, on average,...


May 5, 2014

Understanding Diversity through Birding

Twitchers, birders, avian habitués of the Northern Hemisphere… It is that magical time of year, again: Spring migration. It’s a time of opportunity for adding to life-lists, for early morning sloshes in muddy wetlands and clambering...

Credit: NASA

April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014: Following the carbon footprint to the sea

Where are we now, 43 years after the first nationwide Earth Day was celebrated in the US? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints a grim picture in its latest assessment report, AR5, announcing that...


April 10, 2014

Frequency Fingerprints

News of radio signals emanating from the bottom of the Indian Ocean provided a much-needed clue to the whereabouts of the missing Malaysian Airlines jet that disappeared from radar screens a little more than one month...

In 1912, five British scientists and explorers set out to reach the South Pole.

April 4, 2014

Tragedies in Science: The Terra Nova Expedition

On March 29, 1912, Captain Robert Falcon Scott made the final entry in his journal, which concluded: We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot...


March 17, 2014

New State of Matter Discovered

One of the foundations of physics and chemistry is the concept of states of matter. While many have been discovered, in reality we only tend to pay attention to the big three: solids, liquids, and gases. Plasma...

Garrett Augustus Morgan, inventor and entrepreneur, March 4, 1877 - July 27, 1963

March 10, 2014

“What-if” Thinking and the Spirit of Invention: Garrett Morgan

From the first spark of an idea to concrete invention, the path of every great innovator is paved with “what-ifs.” A prime example of “what-if” thinking is seen in the life and achievements of Garrett A. Morgan,...

A downhill skier races in the 2010 Olympic games. (Credit: Jon Wick)

February 26, 2014

Putting Error Bars on Olympic Gold

This past weekend, the 22nd Olympic winter games drew to a close in Sochi, Russia, capping off 16 days of sweat, glory, and tears. Nearly 3,000 athletes from 88 countries competed in almost 100 different events,...

Space Shuttle photograph of Greenland, March 1992, showing winter snow and ice cover and a highly reflective surface. Image courtesy of NASA.

February 21, 2014

Reflections on the Arctic Climate

The world takes on a brilliant, luminous quality on a sunny snow-covered day. Light seems to emanate from every direction and it’s almost painful to be outside without sunglasses. That’s because snow reflects most of the...