43 articles
  • whale fall


    The Strange Ecosystem in the Sea: Dead Whales

    One April day in 2013, the submersible Shinkai 6500 descended to the base of the steep São Paulo Ridge, 13,000 feet under the Atlantic Ocean. “Hang on,” Paulo Sumida, a marine biologist, radioed to the submersible pilot from the support vessel on the ocean’s surface. “Those are whale bones.”In fact, they were frozen vertebrae of an […]

  • hope crisscross applesauce


    Listen to an Exclusive Excerpt from Hope Jahren’s New Book, “Lab Girl”

    Hope Jahren, a geobiologist and geochemist, wants to speak to you. For decades, she says, she’s been speaking to the same people, her scientific peers, and now it’s time for a change. “I wanted to write this book”—her memoir, Lab Girl, published today—“in order to talk to somebody new,” she told Nautilus recently. Her subject? […]

  • alien balloon hero


    This Astrobiologist Is Collecting Unrecognizable Beings from the Stratosphere

    Milton Wainwright believes he’s seen ET. In Earth’s upper atmosphere, he claims to have found evidence for panspermia—the hypothesis that life travels through the cosmos via meteoroids and other objects. A microbiologist and astrophysicist at the University of Sheffield, Wainwright sends large balloons up to the stratosphere, as high as 25 miles above the planet’s […]

  • whitham


    This Man Is Genetically Altering Ecosystems to Save Them from Climate Change

    On a chilly afternoon last October, at a University of Northern Arizona conference, Thomas Whitham, a plant geneticist, proposed a plan to save hundreds of species from extinction. For the last several years, Whitham said, he and his colleagues had used a series of experimental gardens to study how plants are being affected by warming […]

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    What It’s Like Being a Sudden Savant

    Before her accident Heather Thompson was, by any measure, very successful. She lived just outside Seattle’s urban sprawl, was a CEO and a nationally respected business strategist, married, and had a two-year-old daughter. “I was at the pinnacle of my career,” she said. Then, on March 6, 2011, Thompson went to the grocery store and, […]

  • carl sagan interview


    Watch Carl Sagan Discuss Aliens in This Wonderfully Animated Radio Interview

    When Carl Sagan, the late astronomer and original Cosmos host, published his first novel, Contact, in 1985, Studs Terkel, the long-time radio broadcaster, asked him a month later to chat with him. Their subject, of course, was aliens, and the question of whether we’d ever establish good relations with them. In their conversation—which Blank on Blank, […]