38 articles
  • Juno over Jupiter_HERO


    Our Solar System Would Be Weird Even If It Didn’t Harbor Life

    What would our solar system look like if an alien were to spot it from another planet, orbiting a distant star? How improbable would it appear? For the first time in human history, thanks to advances in exoplanet hunting, we can now answer that question. We can even put numbers on it. If that alien […]

  • beluga whale_HERO


    Listen to the Large Hadron Collider’s Weird, Whale-Like Sounds

    To refer to the Large Hadron Collider merely as the world’s largest machine, or the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, would be to engage in prosaic understatement—the Collider is nothing less than a scientific and engineering wonder of the world. Nominally an underground ring 27 kilometers in circumference, the Collider is tasked with accelerating, in […]

  • Article Image


    Fireworks Displays Can’t Include a Perfect Red, White, and Blue

    Mother Nature can be a handful when she wants to be,” says John Conkling, the former technical director of the American Pyrotechnics Association and a professor emeritus of chemistry at Washington College. Except he used a stronger, more colorful word than “handful.” When it comes to fireworks, “she just doesn’t want to give you that […]

  • alaska duck_HERO


    Alaska Is a Perfect Place for Birds to Spread Disease Worldwide

    Last May, as wild birds from around the globe converged on Alaska’s western shores for the summer breeding season, local citizen scientists did, too. Armed with sterile polyester-tipped swabs and screw-top vials, the amateur biologists descended upon dozens of homes belonging to hunters in villages such as Kotlik, Pilot Station, Chefornak, and Eek. In exchange […]

  • Geib_HERO-1


    The Ocean Gets Big Data

    A new array of cameras, vehicles, and sensors promises to change ocean science.

  • Article Image


    How Big Can Life Get?

    An illustrated trip from smallest to biggest.