Science | Smithsonianhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/rss/science-nature/RSS feed for ScienceenThu, 15 Nov 2018 15:08:10 +0000Fantastic Things We Learned This Year About Fantastic Beasts of the Real Worldhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/fantastic-things-we-learned-about-fantastic-beasts-180970824/The second iteration of the “Fantastic Beasts” movie series comes out this week, but why wait for the movie when you can get a glimpse of the real thing?Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:08:10 +0000Astronomers Discover Second-Closest Known Exoplanethttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/astronomers-discover-second-closest-exoplanet-180970818/The planet, a frozen Super-Earth, orbits Bernard's Star about six light-years away. Wed, 14 Nov 2018 18:00:00 +0000AOL Co-Founder Steve Case Talks With Smithsonian Geologist John Grant About the Search for Life on Marshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/aol-co-founder-steve-case-talks-with-smithsonian-geologist-john-grant-about-search-life-mars-180970814/In the near future, we are going to know if life exists elsewhere in the universeWed, 14 Nov 2018 15:35:52 +0000Scientists Are About to Redefine the Kilogram and Shake Up Our System of Measureshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/redefine-kilogram-180970798/After more than 100 years of defining the kilogram according to a metal artifact, humanity is preparing to change the unit based on a constant of natureWed, 14 Nov 2018 15:00:54 +0000Why Walking on Legos Hurts More Than Walking on Fire or Icehttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-walking-legos-hurts-more-walking-fire-or-ice-180970784/Everything you wanted to know about the science and history of stomping on the toy blocksTue, 13 Nov 2018 16:38:30 +0000With Humans Out of the Way, Humpbacks Are Flourishing—But So Are Orcashttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/humans-out-way-humpbacks-are-flourishing-so-are-orcas-180970788/Researchers are just now beginning to understand what happens when one whale species attacks anotherTue, 13 Nov 2018 15:54:41 +0000Prehistoric Angolan “Sea Monsters” Take Up Residence at the Natural History Museumhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/prehistoric-angolan-sea-monsters-take-residence-natural-history-museum-180970774/The new fossil exhibition spotlights the majestic marine predators that swept into the South Atlantic shortly after it formedFri, 09 Nov 2018 20:53:43 +0000Astrophysicist Michelle Thaller on Understanding Our Place in the Universehttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/astrophysicist-michelle-thaller-understanding-our-place-universe-180970765/Autodesk vice president Brian Mathews talks with the NASA science communicator about the search for life on other planets and why it’s importantFri, 09 Nov 2018 16:19:50 +0000Major Disease Outbreak Strikes California Sea Lionshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/major-disease-outbreak-strikes-california-sea-lions-180970755/Leptospirosis afflicts sea lions on a semi-regular cycle, but warming waters and migrating fish could make the marine mammals more susceptibleThu, 08 Nov 2018 16:00:35 +0000Optical Tweezers Give Scientists a Tool to Test the Laws of Quantum Mechanicshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/optical-tweezers-give-scientists-tool-test-laws-quantum-mechanics-180970754/Quantum superposition is one of the great mysteries of physics—a mass existing in two states at once—and scientists hope to probe the phenomenonThu, 08 Nov 2018 13:00:00 +0000World’s Oldest-Known Figurative Paintings Discovered in Borneo Cavehttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/worlds-oldest-known-figurative-paintings-discovered-borneo-cave-180970747/Dated to at least 40,000 years old, the depiction of a cattle-like animal has striking similarities to ancient rock art found in other parts of the worldWed, 07 Nov 2018 18:00:00 +0000The Archaeologist Who Helped Mexico Find Glory in Its Indigenous Pasthttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/archaeologist-who-helped-mexico-find-glory-its-past-180970700/Disrupting a stereotype of Mesoamerican savagery, Zelia Nuttall brought the ingenuity of Aztec civilization to the foreMon, 05 Nov 2018 18:07:23 +0000Underwater Meadows of Seagrass Could Be the Ideal Carbon Sinkshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/underwater-meadows-seagrass-could-be-ideal-carbon-sinks-180970686/Many ecosystems absorb and store vast amounts of carbon dioxide, and seagrass is one of the most efficient natural carbon storage environments Thu, 01 Nov 2018 16:00:44 +0000Ritual Cemeteries—For Cows and Then Humans—Plot Pastoralist Expansion Across Africahttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ritual-cemeteries-cows-humans-pastoralist-expansion-across-africa-180970683/As early herders spread across northern and then eastern Africa, the communities erected monumental graves which may have served as social gathering pointsThu, 01 Nov 2018 15:09:16 +0000The Scientist Grover Krantz Risked It All. . .Chasing Bigfoothttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/scientist-grover-krantz-risked-it-all-chasing-bigfoot-180970676/The dedicated anthropologist donated his body to science and it’s on display, but his legacy is complicatedWed, 31 Oct 2018 18:07:20 +0000Mama Bats Literally Nudge Their Babies Out of the Roosthttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/mama-bats-literally-nudge-their-babies-out-roost-180970670/Researchers observed mother bats repeatedly prodding their young to motivate them to fledgeWed, 31 Oct 2018 16:15:34 +0000Ecologists Have this Simple Request to Homeowners—Plant Nativehttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/ecologists-have-simple-request-homeownersplant-native-180970655/A new study shows how quickly songbird populations fall off when gardens are planted with exotic trees and shrubsWed, 31 Oct 2018 10:00:00 +0000The Science of Good Chocolatehttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/science-good-chocolate-180970658/Meet the sensory scientist who is decoding the terroir of chocolate—and working to safeguard the cacao plant that gives us the sweet dark treatTue, 30 Oct 2018 13:30:00 +0000The Plight of the Right Whalehttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/plight-right-whale-180970648/With dwindling numbers due to snags in lobster traps and collisions with ships, the right whale is looking for a way to make a comebackMon, 29 Oct 2018 17:44:45 +0000Scientists Extract DNA From Seabiscuit's Hooves To Figure Out How He Was So Fasthttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/scientists-extract-dna-from-seabiscuits-hooves-to-figure-out-how-he-was-so-fast-180970649/Eighty years ago, the horse famously trounced Triple Crown winner War Admiral. Did genetics make him an unlikely success?Mon, 29 Oct 2018 15:07:30 +0000Good Dogs Could Help Identify Malaria Carriershttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dogs-can-sniff-out-malaria-180970646/In a small proof-of-concept study, trained dogs neared the accuracy rate recommended by the World Health Organization for detecting the malaria parasiteMon, 29 Oct 2018 13:45:00 +0000Peer Through the Lens of the World's Best Nature Photographers https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/peer-through-lens-worlds-best-nature-photographers-180970612/Sixty images, including the winners, from the 23rd annual Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice Awards go on viewMon, 29 Oct 2018 10:00:00 +0000The Science Behind Decorative Gourd Seasonhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/science-decorative-gourd-season-friends-180970636/Gourds are the runts of their family of fruits, too tough and bitter to eat, but they remain one of the most popular crops of fallFri, 26 Oct 2018 12:00:00 +0000In Need of Cadavers, 19th-Century Medical Students Raided Baltimore's Graveshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/in-need-cadavers-19th-century-medical-students-raided-baltimores-graves-180970629/With a half-dozen medical schools and a shortage of bodies, grave robbing thrived—and with no consequences for the culpritsThu, 25 Oct 2018 15:16:34 +0000What Ancient Maize Can Tell Us About Thousands of Years of Civilization in Americahttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/ancient-maize-thousands-years-civilization-america-180970543/It took millennia, but America’s founding farmers developed the grain that would fuel civilizations—and still doesThu, 25 Oct 2018 12:00:00 +0000In the Wake of Apollo’s “Giant Leap,” What’s Next for Lunar Exploration?https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/wake-apollos-giant-leap-whats-next-lunar-exploration-180970593/A new Smithsonian Book unpacks the possible future of missions to the MoonThu, 25 Oct 2018 10:00:00 +0000The Traditional Wooden Halibut Hook That's Still Snagging Fish Off Alaskahttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/revival-traditional-indigenous-wooden-halibut-hook-alaska-180970623/An Indigenous method of catching halibut on the northwest coast of North America mixes expert craftsmanship with spirituality—and the fish are bitingWed, 24 Oct 2018 17:54:07 +0000This Game Is Moving People to Take Action Against Climate Changehttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/this-game-is-moving-people-to-take-action-against-climate-change-180970620/In the 'World Climate' simulation, people play delegates to UN climate negotiations and work to strike an agreement that meets global climate goalsWed, 24 Oct 2018 14:38:12 +0000To Save Endangered Species, Should We Bring Them Into Our Cities?https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/save-endangered-species-should-we-bring-them-our-cities-180970611/Some ecologists believe our best chance to preserve biodiversity is to introduce non-native species to cities—but others warn of unintended consequencesTue, 23 Oct 2018 17:35:34 +0000This 12-Year-Old Girl Built a Robot That Can Find Microplastics In the Oceanhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/12-year-old-girl-built-robot-can-find-microplastics-ocean-180970607/Massachusetts seventh grader Anna Du has developed an ROV that moves through water and detects microplastics on the seafloorTue, 23 Oct 2018 16:14:12 +0000The Bison Returns to the Great American Plainshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/bison-returns-wilds-america-180970547/After years of fierce debate, the West’s greatest symbol will again roam the countrysideTue, 23 Oct 2018 12:00:00 +0000A Huge Shipment of Crustaceans Is Heading North From Louisiana to D.C.https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/huge-shipment-crustaceans-heading-north-louisiana-dc-180970596/The Natural History Museum prepares to add 100,000 more specimens to their collection already totaling 11.3 millionTue, 23 Oct 2018 10:00:00 +0000How Cities Are Upgrading Infrastructure to Prepare for Climate Changehttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/how-cities-are-upgrading-infrastructure-prepare-climate-change-180970600/The threat of extreme weather and other climate-related events has city planners rethinking the stability of critical infrastructureMon, 22 Oct 2018 16:52:10 +0000Prehistoric Wine Reveals Missing Pieces of Ancient Sicilian Culture https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/prehistoric-wine-reveals-missing-pieces-ancient-sicilian-culture-180970597/In a 5,000 year-old jar, archaeologists discovered the remnants of wineSat, 20 Oct 2018 13:00:00 +0000Dama Gazelle Calf Born at Smithsonian’s National Zoohttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/dama-gazelle-calf-born-smithsonians-national-zoo-180970587/Fahima gave birth to a healthy female calf October 9 Fri, 19 Oct 2018 20:24:43 +0000Meet the Real Rock Star of the New Dino Hall—the Fearsome Ceratosaurushttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-museum-of-natural-history/2018/10/16/smithsonian-dino-celebrity-finally-tells-all/The dinosaur is finally giving up its secrets as it prepares for a long fight with a <i>Stegosaurus</i> Thu, 18 Oct 2018 18:57:34 +0000Eating the Queen's Poop Makes Naked Mole-Rats Better Parentshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/eating-queens-poop-makes-naked-mole-rats-better-parents-180970577/Hive-minded naked mole-rats work together to care for the queen's offspring, and eating her poop gives them hormones to boost nurturing instinctsThu, 18 Oct 2018 16:00:44 +0000Spacecraft Launching This Week Will Explore the Mysteries of Mercuryhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/pair-spacecraft-launching-week-explore-mysteries-mercury-180970566/The BepiColombo mission will study the geology and magnetism of the smallest planet to search for clues of our solar system's beginningsWed, 17 Oct 2018 15:01:16 +0000Two Decades Ago, John Glenn’s Encore Space Flight Lifted U.S. Spiritshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/two-decades-ago-john-glenns-encore-space-flight-lifted-us-spirits-180970512/Two cameras tell the tale of the first American to orbit Earth and his return to space 36 years laterWed, 17 Oct 2018 11:00:00 +0000Blind Cavefish Shed Light on the Dark Days of Mammalian Evolutionhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/blind-cavefish-shed-light-dark-days-mammalian-evolution-180970518/Like mammals, these cave-dwelling creatures have discarded a solar-powered system that repairs UV-damaged DNAFri, 12 Oct 2018 18:49:28 +0000Scientists Break the Rules of Reproduction by Breeding Mice From Single-Sex Parentshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/scientists-break-rules-reproduction-breeding-mice-single-sex-parents-180970517/By tinkering with the genes of sperm and egg cells, it's possible to breed mice from two females—and even from two malesFri, 12 Oct 2018 15:12:17 +0000Smithsonian Curator Reflects on What 'First Man' Gets Right About Neil Armstrong's Journey to the Moonhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/smithsonian-curator-reflects-what-first-man-gets-right-getting-neil-armstrong-moon-180970515/The new film lays bare the personal sacrifice and peril that accompanied NASA's historic mission Thu, 11 Oct 2018 20:04:50 +0000Tiny Skull Illuminates the Lives of Giant Dinosaurshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/tiny-skull-illuminates-lives-giant-dinosaur-180970514/The skull of a juvenile <i>Diplodocus</i> is one of the youngest of these dinosaurs ever foundThu, 11 Oct 2018 13:00:00 +0000This "Useless" Organ Determines Which Ants Grow Into Large Soldiershttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/useless-organ-determine-ants-grow-large-soldiers-180970505/Rudimentary wing discs in ant larvae, which only grow to wings in queens, appear to influence growth into a soldier or workerWed, 10 Oct 2018 17:24:37 +0000Busy Bees Take a Break During Total Solar Eclipseshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/busy-bees-take-break-during-total-solar-eclipses-180970502/The 2017 North American eclipse gave researchers an inside look at how bees respond to light—with the help of a few hundred elementary-schoolersWed, 10 Oct 2018 14:02:35 +0000Newly Discovered Tyrant Dinosaur Stalked Ancient New Mexicohttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/newly-discovered-tyrant-dinosaur-stalked-ancient-new-mexico-180970491/The <i>Dynamoterror</i>, a relative of <i>Tyrannosaurs rex</i>, lived millions of years before other known species of tyrannosaurTue, 09 Oct 2018 12:00:00 +0000Ancient Proteins From Unwashed Dishes Reveal the Diets of a Lost Civilizationhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ancient-proteins-unwashed-dishes-reveal-diets-lost-civilization-180970481/Material pulled from ceramic sherds reveals the favored foodstuffs in the 8,000-year-old city of Çatalhöyük in TurkeyMon, 08 Oct 2018 12:00:00 +0000The 19th-Century Fight Against Bacteria-Ridden Milk Preserved With Embalming Fluidhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/19th-century-fight-bacteria-ridden-milk-embalming-fluid-180970473/In an unpublished excerpt from her new book <i>The Poison Squad</i>, Deborah Blum chronicles the public health campaign against tainted dairy productsFri, 05 Oct 2018 15:22:02 +0000This App Is Saving Thousands of Snakes (and Humans) in Indiahttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/app-saving-thousands-snakes-and-humans-india-180970467/The Big Four Mapping Project's conservation tool helps prevent snakebites and the killing of common venomous speciesFri, 05 Oct 2018 14:59:17 +0000Viking Chess Pieces May Reveal Early Whale Hunts in Northern Europehttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/viking-chess-pieces-may-reveal-early-whale-hunts-northern-europe-180970466/The board game <i>hnefatafl</i>, commonly called Viking chess, pits an attacking player against another trying to defend the kingThu, 04 Oct 2018 16:25:28 +0000A New Blood Test Can Determine Your Biological Clockhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/new-blood-test-can-determine-your-biological-clock-180970444/Scientists say it could help pinpoint the best time to take medicine, and also predict disease riskThu, 04 Oct 2018 15:50:07 +0000Ancient Teeth With Neanderthal Features Reveal New Chapters of Human Evolutionhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ancient-teeth-neanderthal-features-reveal-chapters-human-evolution-180970460/The 450,000-year-old teeth, discovered on the Italian Peninsula, are helping anthropologists piece together the hominid family treeWed, 03 Oct 2018 19:48:45 +0000What Makes the Nobel-Winning Breakthroughs in Immunotherapy So Revolutionaryhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/nobel-winning-breakthroughs-in-immunotherapy-revolutionary-180970454/Targeting the immune system to fight cancer could be the first step to defeating the disease Wed, 03 Oct 2018 14:56:16 +0000Could Offshore Wind Farms Actually Sap the Rain From Hurricanes?https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/could-offshore-wind-farms-actually-sap-rain-from-hurricanes-180970448/With enough turbines, the rainfall from Hurricane Harvey could have been reduced by 20 percent, according to a new studyTue, 02 Oct 2018 16:48:44 +0000A New Project Weaves Patient Stories Into Arthttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/new-project-weaves-patient-stories-art-180970445/A bioengineer collaborates with artists, clinicians and patients to come up with an art exhibition with heartTue, 02 Oct 2018 15:00:13 +0000New Discovery Stirs Up Signs of the Elusive Planet 9https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/new-discovery-goblin-stirs-signs-elusive-planet-9-180970442/A new minor planet called "the Goblin" is the second most distant known object in the solar systemTue, 02 Oct 2018 14:00:00 +0000New Cheetah Mom Earns High Marks Caring for Her Three New Smithsonian Cubshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/new-cheetah-mom-earns-high-marks-caring-her-three-new-smithsonian-cubs-180970440/Cubs born to Sukiri on September 22 are latest in the National Zoo’s efforts to diversify gene pool of captive born cheetahsMon, 01 Oct 2018 20:22:28 +0000This Artist Redefines a "Chiseled Body"https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/artist-redefines-chiseled-body-180970435/Life-size and hyper-detailed, these anatomical mosaics draw on ancient inspirationMon, 01 Oct 2018 16:00:20 +0000A Hologram of the First Woman of Color in Space Debuted on Museum Dayhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/hologram-first-woman-color-space-debuted-museum-day-180970417/An installation at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum featuring Mae Jemison highlights diversity in space explorationThu, 27 Sep 2018 12:00:00 +0000TESS Space Telescope Will Find Thousands of Planets, But Astronomers Seek a Select Fewhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/tess-space-telescope-will-find-thousands-planets-astronomers-seek-select-few-180970411/NASA's new space telescope has already discovered two planets, but the hunt for a world like Earth is just getting startedWed, 26 Sep 2018 16:56:38 +0000The Mathematical Madness of Möbius Strips and Other One-Sided Objectshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/mathematical-madness-mobius-strips-and-other-one-sided-objects-180970394/The discovery of the Möbius strip in the mid-19th century launched a brand new field of mathematics: topologyTue, 25 Sep 2018 17:05:28 +0000The Brain's "Bravery Cells" Encourage Risky Behaviorhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/brains-bravery-cells-encourage-risky-behavior-could-be-used-calm-anxiety-180970395/Cells in the hippocampus help determine whether to be apprehensive in stressful situations, and they could be stimulated to treat anxietyTue, 25 Sep 2018 16:08:15 +0000All-Female Termite Colonies Reproduce Without Male Inputhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/all-female-termite-colonies-reproduce-without-male-input-180970393/These insects seem to have dispensed entirely of the need for males and their spermTue, 25 Sep 2018 00:22:43 +0000Rhino Horn and Tiger Wine: How the Illegal Wildlife Trade Is Growing Bolderhttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/rhino-horn-and-tiger-wine-how-illegal-wildlife-trade-growing-bolder-180970382/Wildlife author and journalist Rachel Nuwer discusses her new book <i>Poached</i> about one of the world's fastest-growing contraband industries Mon, 24 Sep 2018 16:58:49 +0000Ecstasy Turns Antisocial Octopuses Into Lovestruck Cuddle Buddies—Just Like Ushttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ecstasy-turns-antisocial-octopuses-lovestruck-cuddle-buddiesjust-us-180970363/The genetic and neurological similarities between octopuses and humans shed light on how creatures became social beingsThu, 20 Sep 2018 21:01:25 +0000Should the Nobel Prizes Take a Year Off?https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/should-nobel-prizes-take-year-180970359/An award designed to go to those who benefit all humanity has a history of prejudice and controversyThu, 20 Sep 2018 18:27:32 +0000How the Remnants of Human Poop Could Help Archaeologists Study Ancient Populationshttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/remnants-human-poop-help-archaeologists-study-ancient-populations-180970337/Undigested molecules persist in soil for hundreds or even thousands of years, acting as biomarkers that show the ebbs and flows of bygone civilizationsThu, 20 Sep 2018 17:40:20 +0000What Would Happen if the Earth Stopped Rotating? and More Questions From our Readershttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/what-happen-earth-stopped-rotating-180970312/You asked, we answeredThu, 20 Sep 2018 15:00:00 +0000Over 1,500 Museums Across the U.S. Will Open Their Doors for Free This Saturday https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/museums-visit-free-museum-day-180970317/Museums and zoos across the country are letting visitors in admission-free. Here are some highlights. Wed, 19 Sep 2018 18:31:24 +0000The Latest on the Kickstarter Campaign to Conserve Neil Armstrong's Spacesuithttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/latest-kickstarter-preserve-neil-armstrong-spacesuit-180970316/As a new biopic blasts off, the protective suit worn by the 'First Man' on the moon is readied for its star turnWed, 19 Sep 2018 14:00:00 +0000Why Is the Snowy Owl Disappearing?https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/snowy-owl-disappearing-180970314/These birds, once a feature of the far north as reliable as ice, are becoming less and less commonTue, 18 Sep 2018 15:00:00 +0000Genetic Skin Graft Helps Mice Kick Cocaine Habithttps://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/genetic-skin-graft-helps-mice-kick-cocaine-habit-180970302/A new treatment using CRISPR helps reduce cocaine cravings in mice, and it may be able to treat human addiction in the futureMon, 17 Sep 2018 18:39:49 +0000