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Observations

Observations

Opinion, arguments & analyses from guest experts and from the editors of Scientific American

The Higgs, Sterile Neutrinos and Spintronics: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Day 2

With excitement building about an announcement due tomorrow from scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider, today’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting talks kicked off with the Higgs, explored some mysterious anomalies with neutrinos and looked forward to some practical applications of spintronics coming soon in information and communication technologies.

July 3, 2012 — Mariette DiChristina

Rare Photos of a Baby Pigeon in Brooklyn

A baby pigeon in Brooklyn For the first time in my 16-plus years of New York City living, I saw a baby pigeon on the street. It was sitting -- and cheeping loudly -- near an adult pigeon on the sidewalk, just outside a popular pizzeria in my neighborhood.

July 3, 2012 — Anna Kuchment

Medicaid Decision Could Further Fragment Health Care

West view of the Supreme Court Building If I had to sum up everything that is wrong with the US health care system in one-word sound bites, I would start with "fragmentation." There are just too many ways for patients to fall through the cracks.* Last week's ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not directly address this problem—nor was it meant to.

July 3, 2012 — Christine Gorman

Scientists They re Just Like Us! They Don't Like Equations Either

Source: CDC I was a bit amused when I read a press release headline this week: "Scientists struggle with mathematical details." I expected the story to be about occasions when scientists had misunderstood, misinterpreted, or misapplied mathematical formulas in their published research, but instead the study in the June 25 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that research papers with lots of mathematical details are cited by other scholars less often than papers with fewer.

June 28, 2012 — Evelyn Lamb

Care to Wager on the Supreme Court's ACA Ruling?

Some people can't wait for the U.S. Supreme Court announcement of its ruling on the Obama Administration's Affordable Care Act (aka health care reform law), so they are betting on the outcome.Intrade, a popular online trading exchange, provides a platform for people to wager on whether or not future events will happen.

June 26, 2012 — Marissa Fessenden

One-Hit Wonder: A Look at the Physics behind Dickey's Knuckleball

Source: flickr/cmaybourne R. A. Dickey is one of the hottest topics in Major League Baseball right now. This right-handed Mets pitcher's two most recent outings have been one-hitters, he has a league-leading 11–1 win-loss record, and he’s one of the league’s only knuckleballers.

June 24, 2012 — Evelyn Lamb

Fracking's Biggest Problem May Be What to Do with Wastewater

Of all the troubles with fracking, the biggest—and growing—challenge seems to be what to do with all those millions of gallons of water contaminated with frack chemicals, leached minerals and salts.Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of drilling sideways into subterranean shale and blasting it open with millions of gallons of water to release natural gas.

June 22, 2012 — David Biello

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