Science in the News

It's hot...super hot - Finding answers around the Sun

From NSF  --  Astronomers have collectively puzzled over two working theories for a conundrum involving the sun that have been discussed in Astronomy 101 classes for decades: Why is the sun's corona (the atmosphere beyond the sun) so hot? The sun's core is a searing 15 million degrees Kelvin, but by the time that heat reaches the sun's surface, it cools off to a mere 6,000 degrees, only to again heat up to more than a million degrees in the corona.

New lizard fossil named after Jim Morrison (The Doors)

From AGI (EARTH Magazine)  --  Geoscientists studying paleontology, paleoclimatology and ecology have paid homage to a king of rock, by naming a newly identified extinct
lizard species after him. Meet B. morrisoni, a giant vegetarian lizard thought to live alongside mammals during the Eocene.

Read the complete article in the November issue of EARTH Magazine.

The Animated Life of A.R. Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace

From the NY Times  --  Although Alfred Russel Wallace made one of the most important scientific discoveries in history, he’s been all but forgotten. A contemporary of Charles Darwin, Wallace was the other guy to discover natural selection – the evolutionary process whereby better adapted organisms are more likely to survive and pass on their traits than less adapted ones.  In honor of the centennial of his death (Nov.

CSI La Brea – Tiny Traces Reveal Big Secrets of the Tar Pits

From AGI (Earth Magazine)  --  Saber-tooth tigers, dire wolves and woolly mammoths conjure up images of a past when large beasts struggled against the elements, each other, and even against humans for survival. Thousands of these creatures met their demise in the muck of the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, where they slowly sank into the tar and were fossilized. Now, scientists are using traces from hungry, bone-eating insects on these fossils to investigate how long it took for the giant beasts to be swallowed up by the sticky, oozy substance.

Diatom algae populations tell a story about climate change in Greenland

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), lake ecologist Jasmine Saros and her team from the University of Maine are plying the lake waters of southwestern Greenland, gathering samples of "diatoms" to study how climate change is affecting this Arctic ecosystem. Diatoms are a type of algae that responds rapidly to environmental change and leaves a fossil in lake sediments.