October 8th, 2013
12:58 PM ET

'God particle' scientists win physics Nobel

The Higgs boson, or the "God particle," which was discovered last year, garnered two physicists the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday, but it didn't go to the scientists who detected it.

Nearly 50 years ago, Francois Englert of Belgium and Peter Higgs of the United Kingdom had the foresight to predict that the particle existed.

Now, the octogenarian pair share the Nobel Prize in physics in recognition of a theoretical brilliance that was vindicated by the particle's discovery last year.


Filed under: Science
September 27th, 2013
06:02 AM ET

Global warming is extremely likely our fault

The world's getting hotter, the sea's rising and there's increasing evidence neither are naturally occurring phenomena.

So says a report from the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change, a document released every six years that is considered the benchmark on the topic. More than 800 authors and 50 editors from dozens of countries took part in its creation.

The summary for policymakers was released early Friday, while the full report, which bills itself as "a comprehensive assessment of the physical science basis of climate change," will be distributed Monday. Other reports, including those dealing with vulnerability and mitigation, will be released next year.

Full Story


Filed under: Climate change • Earth • Energy • Environment • Science • Weather • World • World Update
Up in the sky, look: It's Supermoon!
June 22nd, 2013
07:09 AM ET

Up in the sky, look: It's Supermoon!

The heavens will deliver a rare treat to moonstruck romantics and werewolves Sunday who rise before the sun.
A feat of lunar synchronicity will create a Supermoon.
This happens when the moon is full and at the same time reaches its perigee - the closest point to Earth in its orbit, according to NASA.
It makes for the biggest, brightest moon of the year.

Full story


Filed under: Earth • NASA • Nature • Science • Solar System • Space • U.S. • Uncategorized • Weather • World • World Update
Invisibility cloak a step closer
March 27th, 2013
05:50 AM ET

Invisibility cloak a step closer

Some scientists seem to take their cues from science fiction or fantasy novels.

Physicists in Texas have developed a method to make objects "invisible" within a limited range of light waves. It's not Harry Potter's invisibility cloak just yet, but scientists say it has a lot of potential.

The desire to become invisible dates back to the ancient Greeks, if not further. In mythological literature, gods and goddesses donned a headdress to disappear from sight. Like Potter's cloak, the "cap of invisibility" was imbued with magical powers.

A fixture in magic, the invisibility cloak has now advanced to science.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Science • Technology
Quasars discovered 50 years ago
March 16th, 2013
07:11 AM ET

Quasars discovered 50 years ago

Breathtaking blossoms nearly the size of our solar systemare strewn across the universe - hundreds of thousands of them. Quasars are, at the same time, among the most fiery monsters.

Astronomer Maarten Schmidt was the first to discover one and revealed it to the world 50 years ago Saturday in an article in the journal Nature.

His discovery was a sensation in the 1960s and made its way into pop culture. It was the age of the first manned space flights.

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Filed under: Astronomy • California • Nature • Science • Solar System • Space • U.S. • World Update
March 13th, 2013
02:15 AM ET

Death toll from SARS-like virus rises to 9

There has been another confirmed case of a mysterious new SARS-like virus.

The Saudi health ministry informed the World Health Organization that a 39-year-old man was hospitalized with the novel coronavirus on February 28 and died two days later.

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Filed under: Health • Saudi Arabia • Science
Global warming is epic, new study says
A scientist looks at an ice core from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide coring site.
March 8th, 2013
05:23 AM ET

Global warming is epic, new study says

Global warming has propelled Earth's climate from one of its coldest decades since the last ice age to one of its hottest - in just one century.

A heat spike like this has never happened before, at least not in the last 11,300 years, said climatologist Shaun Marcott, who worked on a new study on global temperatures going back that far.

Things are set to get much worse in the future.

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Filed under: Climate change • Earth • Energy • Environment • Global Warming • Nature • Science • Uncategorized • Weather • World Update
Seau had brain disease, examination suggests
Junior Seau committed suicide May 2 in his Oceanside, California, home.
January 10th, 2013
10:29 AM ET

Seau had brain disease, examination suggests

A deeper examination of the late NFL linebacker Junior Seau's brain suggests he had traumatic brain disease after all, the National Institutes of Health says.

An examination suggests Seau had the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the NIH said Thursday.

"On initial examination the brain looked normal but under the microscope, with the use of special staining techniques, abnormalities were found that are consistent with a form of chronic traumatic encephalopathy," the NIH said in a statement.

There was also a small part of his brain with "evidence of scarring that is consistent with a small, old, traumatic brain injury," the NIH said.

Seau's May 2012 death was classified as a suicide. In August, an autopsy showed no apparent signs of damage.

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Filed under: Football • Pro football • Science • Sports
October 23rd, 2012
01:40 AM ET

Scientists aghast after colleagues convicted of manslaughter over Italy quake

Earthquake experts around the world say they are appalled by an Italian court's decision to convict six scientists on manslaughter charges for failing to predict the deadly quake that devastated the city of L'Aquila. They warned the ruling could severely harm future scientific research.

The court in L'Aquila sentenced the scientists and a government official Monday to six years in prison, ruling that they didn't accurately communicate the risk of the earthquake in 2009 that killed more than 300 people.

The trial centered on a meeting a week before the 6.3-magnitude quake struck. At the meeting, the experts determined that it was "unlikely" but not impossible that a major quake would take place, despite concern among the city's residents over recent seismic activity.

 

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Filed under: Earthquake • Italy • Natural Disasters • Science
October 12th, 2012
01:45 PM ET

Keith Campbell, who cloned Dolly the sheep, dead at 58

Keith Campbell, the scientist who helped pioneer the birth of Dolly the sheep, the world's first mammal cloned from fully developed adult cells, has died, according to The University of Nottingham.

Campbell, 58, died on October 5, according to a university statement released Thursday. His funeral has been scheduled for October 24.

The university did not say how he died.

Campbell was part of a team at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, Scotland, that cloned Dolly in 1996. Her birth made headlines worldwide, capturing the scientific imagination of many while generating intense controversy over the ethics of cloning.

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Filed under: Science
Americans win Nobel chemistry prize
Research by Robert J. Lefkowitz (L) and Brian K. Kobilka (R) on have increased understanding of how cells sense chemicals.
October 10th, 2012
05:54 AM ET

Americans win Nobel chemistry prize

Two American scientists won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work revealing protein receptors on the surface of cells that tell them what is going on in the human body. The achievements have allowed drug makers to develop medication with fewer side effects.

Over four decades of research by Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka on "G-protein-coupled receptors," have increased understanding of how cells sense chemicals in the bloodstream, according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awarded the prize.

"I'm feeling very, very excited," Lefkowitz said in a predawn phone call from the United States to the committee in Stockholm, Sweden. The announcement caught him by surprise.

"Did I even have any inkling that it was coming?" he said. "I'd have to say no."

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Filed under: Nobel • Science
August 10th, 2012
07:24 PM ET

'Impressive' Curiosity landing only 1.5 miles off, NASA says

Early data shows the Mars rover Curiosity landed with amazing accuracy this week, coming down about 1.5 miles from its target after a 350-million-mile journey, NASA scientists said Friday, perhaps giving planners more confidence about landing spacecraft in tight spaces in the future.

The $2.6 billion rover is on a two-year mission to determine whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting life. It landed Monday and will spend the next four days installing operational software that will give it full movement and analytic capabilities, scientists said at a news conference at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Curiosity missed its target entry point into Mars' atmosphere by about only one mile, and most everything in its complicated descent and landing operations - a spectacle popularly known as the "seven minutes of terror" - happened on time, including the deployment of the largest-ever supersonic parachute and the heat shield separation.

"From all the data we've received so far, we flew this right down the middle, and it's incredible to work on a plan for (years) and then have things happen ... according to plan," said Steve Sell, who was involved in the powered descent phase.

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Filed under: Mars • Science • Space
Comments: Mars rover indulges readers' Curiosity about mysteries of Red Planet
Reader's caption: "Woke up late on first day of vacation. Lots of red sand. Locals are ... not any. Miss you all. Love, Curiosity."
August 9th, 2012
08:45 PM ET

Comments: Mars rover indulges readers' Curiosity about mysteries of Red Planet

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

"Space ... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the rover Curiosity. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."
–ARAKUN, CNN.com commenter

As we get more pictures back from the Mars rover Curiosity, readers seem to be talking about it more and more. Light Years asked readers to caption three photos of the Red Planet and got more than 300 responses. The caption above, given by user talkhazin, was one of the three selected by editors. The social media galaxy has been buzzing about the fourth rock from the sun all week.

1. Why we love Mars
2. Drought vs. food
3. Running on a broken leg
4. Fossil research
5. Pet names

1. Why I love Mars

This opinion piece by Greg Bear brought out even more joy from our readers, who say space and science are important to our country. We also saw counterarguments from those who think space research is nice but are concerned that there are other things the money is needed for. You could see these views at odds.

fasteddie09: "Mars is important because it is Earthlike. Mars used to be much warmer and wetter than it is today. What went wrong? By trying to understand Mars' history, we can improve our understanding of Earth's geology and climate. When you study only one world, Earth, your knowledge is limited to a data set of one observation. The more you expand that data set, the greater your understanding can become. Closed minds narrowly focused on the ground and the now have little hope of making discoveries."

sandMonkeys: "Wow, go back to watching 'Star Trek,' nerd. We're not going to colonize Mars. That's too expensive and ultimately it gives us nothing in return. It's a pipe dream."

Justanothermonkeyman: "I love the Mars missions! The only sad part is that more people don't care about them. I think it is a shame that most people care about celebrity news more. I mean COME ON - we landed a probe on another planet! That's so amazing and intriguing to me!"

CanadaPride4: "You want to know why I love Mars? Because I don't. It is a big rock that doesn't do anything. It is a stupid big rock."

Some readers were concerned about what humans plan to do on Mars. FULL POST

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Filed under: Comments • Science • Space • U.S.
Satellites reveal rare levels of Greenland ice melt
Satellite data show Greenland surface melt on July 8, left, and July 12. "Melt" is dark pink; "probable melt" is light pink.
July 25th, 2012
12:40 PM ET

Satellites reveal rare levels of Greenland ice melt

Nearly all of Greenland’s ice cover at least temporarily melted at the surface during an unusually warm stretch in mid-July a level of melting not seen there in 123 years, NASA said.

In an average summer, melting happens on about half of the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet, which covers most of the land and is an average 1 mile thick.

But an unusually strong ridge of relatively warm air hovering just above freezing for several hours at the highest elevation rapidly accelerated melting this month, and satellites showed that an estimated 97% of the surface had melted at some point by July 12, NASA said.

While some of that melt water freezes in place, some of it is lost to rivers and the ocean – and mid-July’s melting caused river flooding that threatened a number of bridges, said Tom Wagner, NASA’s cryosphere program manager in Washington. (The flooding has been captured on a number of YouTube videos, including this one.)

Where this falls in the larger context of Greenland’s changing ice cap scientists say it is shrinking and causing ocean levels to rise, with warming ocean waters causing ice on the periphery to be lost through melting and rapid flow is a complicated question, NASA says.

Ice core samples show that the surface melting seen this July happens once in about every 150 years, and the last such melt happened in 1889, NASA said.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Greenland • Science • Weather
Massive ice island breaks off Greenland glacier
The 59-square-mile ice island that broke off Greenland's Petermann Glacier can be seen at the northern end of the glacier.
July 18th, 2012
06:44 AM ET

Massive ice island breaks off Greenland glacier

The Petermann Glacier before the ice island broke off this week.

An island of ice twice the size of Manhattan broke off this week from a Greenland glacier, a University of Delaware researcher reports.

The 59-square-mile (150 square kilometers) iceberg is the second massive loss for the Petermann Glacier in two years, researcher Andreas Muenchow reports. In 2010, an ice island four times the size of Manhattan was lost from the glacier.

“While the size is not as spectacular as it was in 2010, the fact that it follows so closely to the 2010 event brings the glacier’s terminus to a location where it has not been for at least 150 years,” Muenchow says in a university press release.

The researcher says its too early to blame global warming for the loss of Greenland ice, however.

“Northwest Greenland and northeast Canada are warming more than five times faster than the rest of the world,” Muenchow says in the press release, “but the observed warming is not proof that the diminishing ice shelf is caused by this, because air temperatures have little effect on this glacier; ocean temperatures do, and our ocean temperature time series are only five to eight years long — too short to establish a robust warming signal.”

Muenchow says the massive chunk of ice is expected to eventually enter the Nares Strait between Greenland and Canada, where it will break up into smaller icebergs.

That could take a while. Pieces of the 2010 calving can still be found along the Canadian coast as far south as Labrador, Muenchow said.

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Filed under: Science
July 4th, 2012
04:21 AM ET

Scientists say new particle fits description of Higgs boson

Scientists said Wednesday that they had discovered a new particle whose characteristics match those of the Higgs boson, the most sought-after particle in physics, which could help unlock some of the universe's deepest secrets.

"We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature," said Rolf Heuer, the director general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which has been carrying out experiments in search of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest particle accelerator.

"The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle's properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe," said Heuer.

Announcements by scientists about their analysis of data generated by trillions of particle collisions in the LHC drew avid applause at an eagerly awaited seminar in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

The Swiss presentation comes after researchers in Illinois said earlier this week scientists that they had crept closer to proving that the particle exists but had been unable to reach a definitive conclusion.

Finding the Higgs boson would help explain the origin of mass, one of the open questions in physicists' current understanding of the way the universe works.

The particle has been so difficult to pin down that the physicist Leon Lederman reportedly wanted to call his book "The Goddamn Particle." But he truncated that epithet to "The God Particle," which may have helped elevate the particle's allure in popular culture.

Experts say finding the elusive particle would rank as one of the top scientific achievements of the past 50 years.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Science • Switzerland • Technology
A catch straight out of the deep blue sea
Canadian lobsterman Bobby Stoddard caught this rare blue lobster in early May. He's not sure what to do with it.
June 11th, 2012
09:46 PM ET

A catch straight out of the deep blue sea

A rare event is said to happen once in a blue moon. But a blue moon has nothing on a blue lobster.

Canadian lobster boat captain Bobby Stoddard said he and his crew were hauling in their lobster traps one day in early May when one of the men called out, "Hey, we got a pretty one in this trap!"

"I turned around and said, 'Holy smoke!' " said Stoddard, 51, of Clarks Harbour, Nova Scotia.

In the trap with three other, ordinary greenish-brown lobsters was a remarkably bright blue one, the first lobster of that hue Stoddard had seen in his 33 years of fishing for a living.

"This is the only one that I've ever seen," he told CNN. "And my dad has been a lobsterman of about 55 years, and he caught one about 45 years ago, but hadn't seen one since." FULL POST

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Filed under: Animals • Canada • Food • Lobsters • Science
Stellar week for SpaceX founder Elon Musk
SpaceX founder Elon Musk
May 22nd, 2012
05:46 PM ET

Stellar week for SpaceX founder Elon Musk

It’s officially a stellar week for Elon Musk, the billionaire engineer behind SpaceX, the company that made history Tuesday launching the first private spacecraft bound for the International Space Station.


The rocket, originally set to hit the stratosphere Saturday, might have taken to the sky a few days late, but the excitement Musk expressed on Twitter about the launch extends a victory streak that also includes more earthly passions.

On Monday, Musk tweeted that Tesla – the luxury electric car company he co-founded in Silicon Valley – had reached a “major milestone” by completing crash testing and gaining approval for sale to the public.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Science • Space • Technology
Junior Seau's family consents to brain study, chaplain says
Seau amassed 1,526 tackles, 56.5 sacks and 18 interceptions in his 20-season career with the Chargers, Patriots and Dolphins.
May 4th, 2012
10:06 AM ET

Junior Seau's family consents to brain study, chaplain says

[Updated at 11:06 a.m. ET] The family of former NFL star Junior Seau, who authorities say committed suicide this week, has decided to let researchers study his brain to see whether it was damaged by concussions suffered during his football career, San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell said Friday.

Seau was found Wednesday in his Oceanside, California, home with what authorities said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. It is not clear if Seau left a note or an explanation.

The family made the decision to allow the research in hopes it will help NFL players and others in the future, Mitchell said.

Since news of Seau's death broke, there has been speculation about whether repeated hits to his head over the linebacker's 20-year pro career could be a contributing factor.

There is no evidence Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease brought on by multiple concussions, though friends and family have stepped forward to say the legendary linebacker suffered a number of hits to the head during his career.

FULL POST

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Overheard on CNN.com: Enterprise, the space shuttle, brings back memories for readers
“Star Trek” cast members attend the rollout of the space shuttle Enterprise in Palmdale, California, on September 17, 1976.
April 27th, 2012
07:01 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Enterprise, the space shuttle, brings back memories for readers

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

We've seen a lot of topics sparking conversation among our readers Friday. Check out some of the best comments we've seen.

Space shuttle Enterprise flies again

The space shuttle Enterprise, mounted atop a 747 jumbo jet, swooped across the New York skyline on Friday before touching down at the city's John F. Kennedy International Airport, bringing an end to its final flight. Earlier in the day, one of our readers compared the flyover of the Enterprise to the recent space shuttle Discovery flyover to Virginia. They were fairly optimistic about New York.

USInDecline: "New Yorkers are mature. They've seen things. They won't let this disrupt traffic like the Disney-minded residents of D.C. and Virginia. I swear - people abandoned their cars on a bridge and disobeyed traffic laws to stake out a place from which to view this thing 20-30 minutes ahead of its fly-by."

In regards to the Enterprise's Star Trek legacy, many readers were proudly talking about their fandom.

markmark1: "I remember running home from a friend's house to watch the Enterprise launched off the 747 and glide in for a landing. I was 5 years old and I remember that I felt like the Flash because it seemed like I was running so fast to get home."

Houston, we have a problem. Some of our readers want the shuttle to go to Texas instead. FULL POST

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Filed under: Overheard on CNN.com • Science • Shuttle • Space • Sports
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