Press Release Category: Science

50 years ago, oxygen was touted as a potential memory loss treatment

Retaining older people’s memory — Science News, March 18, 1972 In spite of the age-old yearning for the Fountain of Youth, there is a marked lack of research toward retaining vitality in later years. Nonetheless … [researchers] have found they can reverse transient memory loss — or senility — in older patients by giving them…

Culturally prized mountain goats may be vanishing from Indigenous land in Canada

For thousands of years, members of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation in Canada have prized the mountain goats that roam the craggy peaks of British Columbia’s central coast. The animals have long been an important food source, explains Kitasoo/Xai’xais Chief Councillor Doug Neasloss. And “we use the mountain goat in a lot of our cultural events…

Some E. coli set off viral grenades inside nearby bacteria

Some bacteria can trigger unexploded viral grenades in neighboring bacteria’s DNA. Certain Escherichia coli bacteria, including some that live in human intestines, make a chemical called colibactin. That chemical awakens dormant viruses inside nearby bacteria, sometimes leading to their destruction, researchers report February 23 in Nature. This type of biological warfare among bacteria hasn’t been…

Marie Maynard Daly was a trailblazing biochemist, but her full story may be lost

Marie Maynard Daly is known as the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry, earned in 1947 from Columbia University. It’s a superlative often repeated in the brief profiles of Daly that appear in anthologies of notable Black and female scientists — and an impressive achievement on its own. But when I…

50 years ago, freezing sperm faced scientific skepticism

The uncertainty of banking sperm – Science News, February 26, 1972 Many men contemplating vasectomies have been depositing a quantity of their semen with sperm banks where, for a fee, it is frozen and stored.… There is wide disagreement on the length of time that sperm may be frozen and then thawed and used successfully…

Now that computers connect us all, for better and worse, what’s next?

This article was written, edited and designed on laptop computers. Such foldable, transportable devices would have astounded computer scientists just a few decades ago, and seemed like sheer magic before that. The machines contain billions of tiny computing elements, running millions of lines of software instructions, collectively written by countless people across the globe. You…

Fossils show a crocodile ancestor dined on a young dinosaur

For the first time, scientists have found indisputable evidence that an ancient crocodile ancestor chowed down on a dinosaur. Preserved within a fossilized crocodyliform, a member of a newfound species dubbed Confractosuchus sauroktonos, are the partially digested remains of a juvenile bipedal ornithopod, paleontologist Matt White of the University of New England in Australia and…

Core memory weavers and Navajo women made the Apollo missions possible

The historic Apollo moon missions are often associated with high-visibility test flights, dazzling launches and spectacular feats of engineering. But intricate, challenging handiwork — comparable to weaving — was just as essential to putting men on the moon. Beyond Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and a handful of other names that we remember were hundreds of…

‘From Data to Quanta’ defends Niels Bohr’s view of quantum mechanics

From Data to QuantaSlobodan PerovićUniv. of Chicago, $45 Ever since Max Planck introduced the idea of the quantum to the world, physicists have argued about whether reality is more like sand or water. Planck’s famous 1900 discovery that energy is grainy — at least when absorbed or emitted — moved him to label those smallest…

These are the first visible-light images of Venus’ surface captured from space

By serendipity, scientists have photographed Venus’ surface from space for the first time. Though the planet’s rocky body is concealed beneath a thick veil of clouds, telescopes aboard NASA’s Parker Solar Probe managed to capture the first visible-light images of the surface taken from space, researchers report in the Feb. 16 Geophysical Research Letters. “We’ve…

Weird ‘superionic’ matter could make up Earth’s inner core

A quirky material that behaves like a mishmash of liquid and solid could be hidden deep in the Earth. Computer simulations described in two studies suggest that the material in Earth’s inner core, which includes iron and other, lighter elements, may be in a “superionic” state. That means that while the iron stays put, as…

Male elephant seals aim to get huge or die trying

If you’re a male northern elephant seal, your car-sized bulk is crucial to your genetic legacy, since only a fraction of the very largest males will have access to mates. Now, scientists have found that male elephant seals are so driven to eat and grow that they take on great personal risk and are much…