October 7, 2015

Happy Birthday Niels Bohr

Today, October 7th, marks the 130th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s birth.  A pioneering physicist in the field of quantum theory, Bohr developed a theory of the atom where electrons traveled in specific orbits around the nucleus.  He...

An enhanced color image of recurring slope lineae (RSL) on Mars.

©NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

September 28, 2015

Water on Mars: Astrobiology Implications Must be Taken with a Grain of Salt

What do Mars, Antarctica, and the Jordan Rift Valley between Jordan, Israel, and Palestine have in common? A lot according to a new study to be published today in the journal Nature Geoscience. The answer is saltwater. Since...

The greater sage grouse. (Credit: BLM via Flickr)

September 25, 2015

The science behind sage grouse conservation

The greater sage grouse. (Credit: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr) On Sept. 22, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared that the greater sage grouse — a chicken-sized bird that inhabits the open ranges of...

The Yeung family cat (or rather, an image of the family cat) is seen at about 70,000 feet above Earth's surface.  ©Winston Yeung

September 15, 2015

Image of the Week: Cat at the Edge of Space

The Yeung family cat (or rather, an image of the family cat) is seen at about 70,000 feet above Earth’s surface. ©Winston Yeung Two bright and determined young scientists, Kimberly and Rebecca Yeung, built a helium...


September 1, 2015

Surprise electron behavior may lead to new states of matter

What happens when the metal osmium (Os) is subjected to pressure twice that found at the center of Earth? An international team of researchers has discovered a never before seen atomic phenomenon that provides surprising insights...

A lotus flower. © Peripitus

August 24, 2015

A self-cleaning leaf: the superhydrophobic Lotus

It might sound like an ad for a new product – the leaf that cleans itself!, waterproof!, 100% organic! – but the lotus plant (genus Nelumbo) really does have self-cleaning leaves.  Or, more accurately, the lotus has...

© Robert Young

August 18, 2015

The birth of a cultural meme: the “do not disturb” gesture in Mandrills

Cross-posted with the permission of Dr. Nathan H. Lents from his The Human Evolution Blog. Mandrills are, literally, one of the most colorful creatures on earth and certainly the most colorful primates. Their striking faces are matched...

The beautiful Luna moth (Actias luna) of North America.  Image from the National Park Service.

July 27, 2015

A deadly passion: moths and their attraction to artificial light

Bee to the blossom, moth to the flame; Each to his passion …. ~Helen Hunt Jackson It’s a common saying – “like a moth to a flame” – which implies a strong, perhaps even dangerous attraction to...

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent this image of Pluto taken on July 13, 2015, when the spacecraft was still almost half a million miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface. The view is dominated by a large, bright heart-shaped feature, now unofficially named the Tombaugh Regio in honor of the American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930. The feature measures approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 km) across. Credits: NASA/APL/SwRI

July 20, 2015

New Horizons brings Pluto up close and personal

All eyes are on Pluto, the latest darling of our galaxy. On the morning of July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft came within 7,750 miles of Pluto in a historic data-gathering flyby. At a brisk 31,000...

Self-driving cars use sensors to determine the flow of traffic and avoid obstacles. (Credit: Sam Churchill via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

July 7, 2015

Self-driving taxis could help commuters and climate

Today, if you need to get somewhere, you might catch a lift with another driver using a ride-sharing service like Uber. But twenty years from now, you might just catch a ride with a car —...