Leading science journalists provide a daily minute commentary on some of the most interesting developments in the world of science. For a full-length, weekly podcast you can subscribe to Science Talk: The Podcast of Scientific American . To view all of our archived podcasts please go to www.scientificamerican.com/podcast
Mind and Body Benefit from Two Hours in Nature Each Week
People who spent at least two hours outside—either all at once or totaled over several shorter visits—were more likely to report good health and psychological well-being. Jason G. Goldman reports.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Canada to Kenya, including one about how humans thousands of years ago in what is now Argentina butchered and presumably ate giant ground sloths.
At the third Scientific American “Science on the Hill” event, “Solving the Plastic Waste Problem”, one of the issues discussed by experts on Capitol Hill was biodegradability.
In his memoirs, the womanizing writer Giacomo Casanova described suffering several bouts of gonorrhea—but researchers found no trace of the microbe on his handwritten journals. Karen Hopkin reports.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Liberia to Hawaii, including one on the discovery in Northern Ireland of soil bacteria that stop the growth of MRSA and other superbugs.
At an April 9th event sponsored by the Kavli Foundation and produced by Scientific American that honored Nobel and Kavli Prize winners, neuroscientists James Hudspeth and Robert Fettiplace talked about the physiology of hearing and the possibility of restoring hearing loss.
Nobelist Says System of Science Offers Life Lessons
At an April 9th event sponsored by the Kavli Foundation and produced by Scientific American that honored Nobel and Kavli Prize winners, economist Paul Romer talked about how the social system of science offers hope for humanity and for how we can live with each other.
Tracking the location and mood of 15,000 people, researchers found that scenic beauty was linked to happiness—including near urban sights like bridges and buildings. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Solar Jets Cause Standing Waves in Earth's Magnetic Field
When jets of charged particles from the sun hit our magnetosphere, some of the ensuing ripples travel toward the northern and southern poles and get reflected back. The resulting interference allows standing waves to form, like on a drumhead.
"<i>Mona Lisa</i> Effect" Not True for <i>Mona Lisa</i>
The Mona Lisa effect is the illusion that the subject of a painting follows you with her gaze, despite where you stand. But da Vinci's famous painting doesn't have that quality. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Economics Nobel Highlights Climate Action Necessity
William Nordhaus shared the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, "for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis,” with Paul Romer, "for integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis."
Nobel in Chemistry for New and Useful Chemical Entities via Evolutionary Principles
Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith and Gregory P. Winter share the 2018 chemistry Nobel for developing evolutionary-based techniques that lead to the creation of new chemical entities with useful properties.
Computerized Chemical Toxicity Prediction Beats Animal Testing
Researchers programmed a computer to compare structures and toxic effects of different chemicals, making it possible to then predict the toxicity of new chemicals based on their structural similarity to known ones.
A multifactorial analysis finds that the ignition of a flu epidemic stems from a blast of colder weather striking an otherwise warm, humid, urban environment, and driving people indoors into close quarters.
Siting solar panels over rooftops, parking lots, reservoirs and contaminated land could generate heaps of energy—with minimal effects on agriculture or the environment. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Nobel in Chemistry for Seeing Biomolecules in Action
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution.
In patients with severe eczema, Staphylococcus aureus strains dominated the skin microbe population—suggesting that certain types of bacteria could worsen eczema flares. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Quantum bits, aka qubits, can simultaneously encode 0 and 1. But multicolored photons could enable even more states to exist at the same time, ramping up computing power. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Ecologists say wolves should be allowed to roam beyond remote wilderness areas—and that by scaring off smaller predators like coyotes and jackals, wolves might do a good service, too. Emily Schwing reports.
Lisa Klein, from the materials science and engineering department at Rutgers University, commented on the March for Science at an April 21 talk to the chemistry department at Lehman College in the Bronx.
Doing large studies of marijuana's potential as medicine means getting it removed from an official federal list of substances with no official medical use—which requires more proof of its potential as medicine.
Researchers have developed a heat sensor that can detect temperature changes of just ten thousandths of a degree Celsius—comparable with the sensitivity of pit vipers. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Using algorithms developed for human speech recognition, researchers decoded which bats in an experimental colony were arguing with each other, and what they were arguing about. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Areas of the country that have experienced record low temperatures since 2005 happen to be home to many global warming deniers. And researchers theorize there may be a connection. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Sixty-two percent of survey respondents said self-driving cars would not make them more productive. Another 36 percent said they’d be too concerned to do anything but watch the road. Erika Beras reports.