Articles by Laura Poppick

A jaw of an Eoconodon coryphaeus—a house cat-sized omnivore that lived between about 66 and 63 million years ago—that Williamson collected in the San Juan Basin.

Nuclear Technology May Help Bring Early Mammal Evolution Into Focus

Using a neutron scanner at Los Alamos, paleontologists are generating high-resolution imagery of early mammal fossils

Most White Sands moths are white to blend in with their environment, but a select few black species have evolved as well.

Dissecting Moth Genitals In the Name of Science

How “moth evangelist” Eric Metzler uncovered hundreds of moth species in the barren dunes of New Mexico

Residents queue to fill containers with water from a source of natural spring water in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018.

What's Behind Cape Town's Water Woes?

As climate change intensifies droughts, the city's crisis may signify a new normal

Ice skates signed and worn by Sonja Henie, the Norwegian figure skater who was instrumental in popularizing the sport. Her impressive array of spins and jumps won her three Olympic gold medals.

The First Ice Skates Weren’t for Jumps and Twirls—They Were for Getting Around

Carved from animal shin bones, these early blades served as essential winter transport

Adams worked with artist Emma Segal to create illustrations that represent the new energy terms. The English translation of the words on this image is: Solar Panels, a flat piece resembling a window/mirror placed on top of a building to collect electricity from the sun to power the house.

Inventing a Vocabulary to Help Inuit People Talk About Climate Change

One team is working with Inuvialuit elders to come up with a renewable energy terminology—and maybe revive a dying language

This NASA Landsat image shows the Mackenzie River surrounding the town of Inuvik, and the uniquely pock-marked landscape of this delta.

With Federal Funds Dwindling, Climate Scientists Turn to Unusual Partnerships to Study Methane in a Warming Arctic

As the urgency of climate change becomes tangible to those in the Arctic, federal funds are growing harder to come by

Leeuwenhoek's early microscopic observations of rabbit sperm (figs. 1-4) and dog sperm (figs. 5-8).

The Long, Winding Tale of Sperm Science

...and why it's finally headed in the right direction

Roughly 70 pink pigeons exist in captivity around the world, including this one at the San Diego Zoo.

Future of Conservation

Threatened Species? Science to the (Genetic) Rescue!

This still-controversial conservation technique will never be a species' panacea. But it might provide a crucial stop-gap

The image shows a 6 mm long, 12.5 day old mouse embryo obtained with the Mesolens. The inset shows a blow-up of the eye region revealing the individual cell nuclei. It is possible to identify fine structures throughout the embryo such as the developing heart muscle fibers and fine details in the eye such as the corneal endothelium using the Mesolens.

Think Big

Let Us Now Praise the Invention of the Microscope

Early scientists wielded this revolutionary tool to study the invisible world of microbes, and even their own semen

What thorny ethical issues await us once we make it to Mars? A composite image of the red planet, composed by processing about 1000 Viking Orbiter red- and violet-filter images have been to provide global color coverage at a scale of 1 km/pixel.

Think Big

When Humans Begin Colonizing Other Planets, Who Should Be in Charge?

The biggest threat humans pose to other worlds is what we don’t know—or what we think we know, but don’t

Our global greenhouse gas emissions may not be any lower overall, but the historic treaty established a framework for an international plan of action.

Age of Humans

Twelve Years Ago, the Kyoto Protocol Set the Stage for Global Climate Change Policy

The predecessor of today’s Paris Agreement got us one step closer to an international plan of action on climate change

Astrolabes were astronomical calculating devices that did everything from tell the time to map the stars. This 16th century planispherical astrolabe stems from Morocco.

Think Big

The Story of the Astrolabe, the Original Smartphone

Prosperous times likely paved the way for this multifunctional device, conceptual ancestor to the iPhone 7

Caption: Six pairs of hand and footprints were discovered in 1998, including two that are small enough to have belonged to children.

New Research

Footprints Found at Ancient Hot Springs Could Represent Earliest Settlement of Tibetan Plateau

New age measurements of the footprints help pinpoint when humans first settled the highest region on Earth

New asteroids are detected every day surrounding Earth, most of which are harmless.

Think Big

Sure, Earth Could Get Hit by a Deadly Asteroid—But There’s an Upside

Con: Devastating outer space impacts. Pro: Global unity!

How does a bear catch a break around here?

New Research

Decades-Old Chemicals May Be Threatening Polar Bear Fertility, As If They Didn’t Have Enough to Worry About

A new study sheds light on how today's pollutants could become tomorrow's threats to wildlife and humans

A tickled rat.

New Research

What Tickling Giggly Rats Can Tell Us About the Brain

Their laughter manifests in a surprising region of the cerebral cortex

Why do some people seem able to lie without feeling bad?

New Research

How White Lies Snowball Into Full-On Deception

Using brain scans, researchers find evidence that bad feelings associated with lying lessen over time

Mount Etna, Italy, erupts at night.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

Predicting Chaos: New Sensors Sniff Out Volcanic Eruptions Before They Happen

How volcanologists brave lung-singeing fumes to monitor eruptions with cutting-edge sensors

An solar storm erupts on April 16, 2012, captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in the 304 Angstrom wavelength.

New Research

The Solar Storm That Nearly Set the Cold War Ablaze

How radio interference from a 1967 solar storm spooked the U.S. military—and launched space weather forecasting

A drone shot of a researcher collecting data on cryoconite holes on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Journey to the Center of Earth

The Tiny World of Glacier Microbes Has an Outsized Impact on Global Climate

Microbes living on glaciers collectively cover an area the size of New Hampshire—and they could have a big influence on global climate

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