Science

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The first-ever image of a black hole in the Milky Way

New Research

Here’s What the Black Hole in the Center of the Milky Way Looks Like

A team of scientists from around the world collaborated to get a visual peek of the supermassive object

Many Americans struggle with risk assessment when making decisions during the pandemic.

The Future of Mental Health

Why It’s So Hard to Make Risk Decisions in the Pandemic

Our brains weren’t built to do public health calculus like this, but following a few pieces of advice from the experts will help as you weigh your options

Some seagrasses are linked to lower levels of gastroenteritis-causing pathogens in the water. 

Seagrass Can Work as a Sanitation Service

Millions of cases of potentially deadly gastroenteritis are prevented each year because of the pathogen-reducing powers of the plant

The metal gallium becomes a liquid at slightly above room temperature, one of its many remarkable properties that researchers are investigating.

This Liquid Metal Could Transform Soft Electronics

Bend it. Stretch it. Use it to conduct electricity. Researchers are exploring a range of applications that harness gallium's unusual properties

A patient uses the gameChange virtual reality program.

The Future of Mental Health

Inside the Effort to Expand Virtual Reality Treatments for Mental Health

Medical professionals are embracing the technology to help patients deal with PTSD, anxiety disorders and more

A gorilla sleeps in a forest in Rwanda.

Why Humans Sleep Less Than Their Primate Relatives

Ancient humans may have evolved to slumber efficiently—and in a crowd

Aseel Rawashdeh's innovation won sixth place in this year's Regeneron Science Talent Search, the country's most prestigious and oldest science and math competition for promising young scientists in their senior year.

Innovation for Good

This Teenager Found a Way to Control Mosquitoes Using Essential Oils and Baker's Yeast

Aseel Rawashdeh's inexpensive larvicide kills disease-spreading species and spares beneficial ones

New mental health treatments employ psychedelics and virtual reality.

The Future of Mental Health

The Future of Mental Health

A renewed focus on our brain's ability to cope with trauma sparks a special series of stories about the latest advancements in treatments of mental illness

Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms (pictured here), has been designated by the FDA as a breakthrough therapy for treatment resistant depression.

The Future of Mental Health

Why Psychedelic Drugs May Become a Key Treatment for PTSD and Depression

Ecstasy and the active ingredient in magic mushrooms have shown promise in clinical trials, but more testing is needed

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Innovation for Good

Innovation for Good

A look at the researchers, inventors and community leaders who are bringing creativity and ingenuity to today's biggest challenges

Black turban snails are small marine snails that make tasty prey for crabs. Failed crab attacks leave scars on a snail’s shell. By analyzing the rate of scarring and the size of the snail when it was attacked, researchers can learn important details about crab populations.

Scars on Snails Offer a 100,000-Year Record of Crab Populations

A surprisingly simple technique for studying marks on shells shows how California’s crab population has changed over millennia

A snorkeler comes face to face with a humpback whale. If humans work to halt climate change, that may help prevent another mass extinction event in the oceans.

Without Action on Climate, Another Mass Extinction Event Will Likely Happen in the World's Oceans

Marine species at the poles will face increasing pressure if warming isn’t curbed

An Edmontosaurus herd grazes in a forest.

The Last Day of a Doomed Dinosaur

The young, eighteen-foot-long Edmontosaurus had no idea about his fate as he grazed in a forest

A male Philoponella prominens spider (top) mates with a female.

This Male Spider Catapults Itself Into the Air to Avoid Sexual Cannibalism

The arachnids propel themselves to safety at breakneck speeds after they’ve mated to avoid being eaten alive

A man receives a Covid-19 vaccine in Zimbabwe.

Covid-19

Should Traditional Vaccines Be Used in the Global Fight Against Covid?

Researcher Maria Elena Bottazzi says such vaccines may be key to protecting individuals in middle- and low-income countries

Since 2017 when the Smithsonian Institution launched its first Earth Optimism Summit, marine biologist Nancy Knowlton notes that positive change is happening. “The price of renewable energy is cheaper than ever, electric vehicles are finally on the verge of taking off, and the world seems ready to protect 30 percent of its lands and water,” she says.

A New Surge of Earth Optimism Takes Center Stage at This Year's Folklife Festival

The challenges are many, but evidence shows that positivity emboldens global conservation efforts

As the climate changes, polar bears are increasingly coming into contact with people.

Researchers Develop a 'Bear-Dar' That Warns Humans of Approaching Polar Bears

The artificial intelligence-powered radar system is needed as climate change brings the animals closer to towns

Replica plaquettes were placed next to a fire to see how ambient light made stone carvings of animals appear to move.

Ice Age Artists May Have Used Firelight to Animate Carvings

Researchers examined 15,000-year-old stone art and suggest the makers were inspired to show movement by dynamic lighting of the fireside environment

A view of a Palouse Falls in Palouse Falls State Park in Washington. Geologists believe massive floods carved out this canyon and others in the Scablands.

Devastating Ice Age Floods That Occurred in the Pacific Northwest Fascinate Scientists

The Scablands were formed by tremendous and rapid change, and may have something to teach us about geological processes on Mars

Visible in the entrance to their den are a mother black bear, who has been sedated, and her female cub. Scientists are watching to see how bears will tweak their hibernation habits as the climate warms.

Why Amazing Discoveries About Bear Hibernation May Help Improve Human Health

The creatures' annual protracted snoozes have much to tell us about the biology of mammals, ourselves included