Skip to main content
Observations

Observations

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

Mice movement neurons regenerated after spinal cord injury

Researchers have been searching for decades for a way to mend damage to the spinal cord, an injury that can lead to life-long paralysis. Even the smallest of breaks in these crucial central nerve fibers can result in the loss of leg, arm and other bodily functions...

August 8, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

Watching the electrons, and chemistry in motion

The elusive goal of observing chemistry in action at the atomic level just took a quantum leap forward. Physicists using laser pulses have been able to observe for the first time—in real time—the outermost electrons of krypton atoms...

August 4, 2010 — David Biello

Crocodile relative might have chewed like a mammal

Modern crocodiles might have sharp, flesh-tearing teeth, but they cannot chew like us humans. In fact, mammals have cornered the market on mastication, leaving other life-forms to simply shred their food before ingesting it...

August 4, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

World's first solar power plant that can work at night

How can one use solar energy after the sun sets? Simple: store the sun's heat in molten salts.

The world's first solar power plant to employ such technology—a thermal power plant that concentrates the sun's rays with mirrors on long, thin tubes filled with the molten salt—opened in Syracuse, Sicily, on July 14...

August 4, 2010 — David Biello

Confused circadian rhythm could increase triglycerides

Having a mixed up body clock has been linked to a vast array of ailments, including obesity and bipolar disorder. And researchers are still trying to understand just how these cyclical signals influence aspects of our cellular and organ system activity...

August 3, 2010 — Katherine Harmon

NASA plans quick fix for broken space station cooling unit

The summer has been a hot one for much of the planet, and things could get a bit hotter for the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) as well if the astronauts on board are unable to repair a broken cooling pump...

August 2, 2010 — John Matson

Dispersed oil proves less toxic in EPA tests

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released results of its second round of toxicity testing on dispersants—chemicals used to break up the oil that spewed for nearly 90 days into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's Macondo well...

August 2, 2010 — David Biello

Talking trash during the dog days: A brief history of sanitation in New York City

Without modern sanitation, life would be nightmarish—human and animal waste would fester on the streets along with garbage and food scraps, producing a stench so foul that you'd want to keep your windows closed even in the sweltering heat of summer (for the moment, envision lacking the luxury of air conditioning)...

July 29, 2010 — Nicholette Zeliadt

Blog Index

Scroll To Top