The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3000 to 1200 BCE. Their contributions to mathematics, astronomy, and medicine entered and shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, whereby formal attempts were made to provide explanations of events in the physical world based on natural causes. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions of the world deteriorated in Western Europe during the early centuries (400 to 1000 CE) of the Middle Ages, but was preserved in the Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age. The recovery and assimilation of Greek works and Islamic inquiries into Western Europe from the 10th to 13th century revived "natural philosophy", which was later transformed by the Scientific Revolution that began in the 16th century as new ideas and discoveries departed from previous Greek conceptions and traditions. The scientific method soon played a greater role in knowledge creation and it was not until the 19th century that many of the institutional and professional features of science began to take shape; along with the changing of "natural philosophy" to "natural science."
Modern science is typically divided into three major branches that consist of the natural sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, and physics), which study nature in the broadest sense; the social sciences (e.g., economics, psychology, and sociology), which study individuals and societies; and the formal sciences (e.g., logic, mathematics, and theoretical computer science), which deal with symbols governed by rules. There is disagreement, however, on whether the formal sciences actually constitute a science as they do not rely on empirical evidence. Disciplines that use existing scientific knowledge for practical purposes, such as engineering and medicine, are described as applied sciences.
New knowledge in science is advanced by research from scientists who are motivated by curiosity about the world and a desire to solve problems. Contemporary scientific research is highly collaborative and is usually done by teams in academic and research institutions, government agencies, and companies. The practical impact of their work has led to the emergence of science policies that seek to influence the scientific enterprise by prioritizing the development of commercial products, armaments, health care, public infrastructure, and environmental protection. (Full article...)
Richard Phillips Feynman (//; May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American theoretical physicist, known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as his work in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model. For contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 jointly with Julian Schwinger and Shin'ichirō Tomonaga.
Feynman developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions describing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World, he was ranked the seventh-greatest physicist of all time. (Full article...)
The Suffolk Horse, also historically known as the Suffolk Punch or Suffolk Sorrel, is an English breed of draught horse. The first part of the name is from the county of Suffolk in East Anglia, and the word "Punch" is an old English word for a short stout person. It is a heavy draught horse which is always chestnut in colour, traditionally spelled "chesnut". Suffolk Punches are known as good doers, and tend to have energetic gaits.
The breed was developed in the early 16th century, and remains similar in phenotype to its founding stock. The Suffolk Punch was developed for farm work, and gained popularity during the early 20th century. However, as agriculture became increasingly mechanised, the breed fell out of favour, particularly from the middle part of the century, and almost disappeared completely. The breed's status is listed as critical by the UK Rare Breeds Survival Trust and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The breed pulled artillery and non-motorised commercial vans and buses, as well as being used for farm work. It was also exported to other countries to upgrade local equine stock. Today, they are used for draught work, forestry and advertising. (Full article...)
Haumea (minor-planet designation 136108 Haumea) is a dwarf planet located beyond Neptune's orbit. It was discovered in 2004 by a team headed by Mike Brown of Caltech at the Palomar Observatory in the United States and disputably also in 2005 by a team headed by José Luis Ortiz Moreno at the Sierra Nevada Observatory in Spain, though the latter claim has been contested. On September 17, 2008, it was named after Haumea, the Hawaiian goddess of childbirth, under the expectation by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) that it would prove to be a dwarf planet. Nominal estimates make it the third-largest known trans-Neptunian object, after Eris and Pluto, though the uncertainty in best-fit modeling slightly overlaps with the larger size estimates for Makemake.
Haumea's mass is about one-third that of Pluto, and 1/1400 that of Earth. Although its shape has not been directly observed, calculations from its light curve are consistent with it being a Jacobi ellipsoid (the shape it would be if it were a dwarf planet), with its major axis twice as long as its minor. In October 2017, astronomers announced the discovery of a ring system around Haumea, representing the first ring system discovered for a trans-Neptunian object. Haumea's gravity was until recently thought to be sufficient for it to have relaxed into hydrostatic equilibrium, though that is now unclear. Haumea's elongated shape together with its rapid rotation, rings, and high albedo (from a surface of crystalline water ice), are thought to be the consequences of a giant collision, which left Haumea the largest member of a collisional family that includes several large trans-Neptunian objects and Haumea's two known moons, Hiʻiaka and Namaka. (Full article...)
Pallas's leaf warbler or Pallas's warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus) is a bird that breeds in mountain forests from southern Siberia east to northern Mongolia and northeast China. It is named for German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas, who first formally described it. This leaf warbler is strongly migratory, wintering mainly in south China and adjacent areas of southeast Asia, although in recent decades increasing numbers have been found in Europe in autumn.
Pallas's leaf warbler is one of the smallest Palearctic warblers, with a relatively large head and short tail. It has greenish upperparts and white underparts, a lemon-yellow rump, and yellow double wingbars, supercilia and central crown stripe. It is similar in appearance to several other Asian warblers, including some that were formerly considered to be its subspecies, although its distinctive vocalisations aid identification. (Full article...)
The Pacific blue-eye (Pseudomugil signifer) is a species of fish in the subfamily Pseudomugilinae native to eastern Australia. Described by Austrian naturalist Rudolf Kner in 1866, it comprises two subspecies that have been regarded as separate species in the past and may be once again with further study. It is a common fish of rivers and estuaries along the eastern seaboard from Cape York in North Queensland to southern New South Wales, the Burdekin Gap in central-north Queensland dividing the ranges of the two subspecies.
A small silvery fish averaging around 3.25 cm in total length (1+1⁄8–1+3⁄8 in), the Pacific blue-eye is recognisable by its blue eye-ring and two dorsal fins. It forms loose schools of tens to thousands of individuals. It eats water-borne insects as well as flying insects that land on the water's surface, foraging for them by sight. The Pacific blue-eye adapts readily to captivity. (Full article...)
- The Shorwell helmet is an Anglo-Saxon helmet from the early to mid-sixth century AD found near Shorwell on the Isle of Wight in southern England. It was one of the grave goods of a high-status Anglo-Saxon warrior, and was found with other objects such as a pattern-welded sword and hanging bowl. One of only six known Anglo-Saxon helmets, alongside those from Benty Grange, Sutton Hoo, Coppergate, Wollaston, and Staffordshire, it is the sole example to derive from the continental Frankish style rather than the contemporaneous Northern "crested helmets" used in England and Scandinavia.
The grave was discovered by members of a metal detecting club in May 2004, and excavated by archaeologists that November. Ploughing had destroyed much of the surrounding Anglo-Saxon cemetery, leaving this as the only individually identifiable grave. The helmet had fragmented into around 400 pieces, perhaps in part because of subsoiling, and was originally identified as a "fragmentary iron vessel". Only after it was acquired by the British Museum and reconstructed was it identified as a helmet. It remains in the museum's collection, but as of 2019 is not on display. (Full article...)
Scorpions are predatory arachnids of the order Scorpiones. They have eight legs, and are easily recognized by a pair of grasping pincers and a narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back and always ending with a stinger. The evolutionary history of scorpions goes back 435 million years. They mainly live in deserts but have adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions, and can be found on all continents except Antarctica. There are over 2,500 described species, with 22 extant (living) families recognized to date. Their taxonomy is being revised to account for 21st-century genomic studies.
Scorpions primarily prey on insects and other invertebrates, but some species hunt vertebrates. They use their pincers to restrain and kill prey, however scorpions themselves are preyed on by larger animals. The venomous sting can be used both for killing prey and for defense. During courtship, the male and female scorpion grasp each other's pincers and move around in a "dance" where the male tries to maneuver the female onto his deposited sperm packet. All known species give live birth and the female cares for the young as their exoskeletons harden, transporting them on her back. The exoskeleton contains fluorescent chemicals and glows under ultraviolet light. (Full article...)
The Zapata rail (Cyanolimnas cerverai) is a medium-sized, dark-coloured rail, the only member of the monotypic genus Cyanolimnas. It has brown upperparts, greyish-blue underparts, a red-based yellow bill, white undertail coverts, and red eyes and legs. Its short wings render it almost flightless. It is endemic to the wetlands of the Zapata Peninsula in southern Cuba, where its only known nest was found in sawgrass tussocks. Little is known of its diet or reproductive behaviour, and its described calls may belong to a different species.
The species was discovered by Spanish zoologist Fermín Zanón Cervera in March 1927 in the Zapata Swamp near Santo Tomás, in the southern Matanzas Province of Cuba. The swamp holds one other bird found nowhere else, the Zapata wren, and also gives its name to the Zapata sparrow. Due to ongoing habitat loss in its limited range, its small population size, and predation by introduced mammals and catfish, the Zapata rail is evaluated as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Tourism and climate change may pose threats in the future. (Full article...)
Banksia scabrella, commonly known as the Burma Road banksia, is a species of woody shrub in the genus Banksia. It is classified in the series Abietinae, a group of several species of shrubs with small round or oval inflorescences. It occurs in a number of isolated populations south of Geraldton, Western Australia, with the largest population being south and east of Mount Adams. Found on sandy soils in heathland or shrubland, it grows to 2 m (7 ft) high and 3 m (10 ft) across with fine needle-like leaves. Appearing in spring and summer, the inflorescences are round to oval in shape and tan to cream with purple styles. Banksia scabrella is killed by fire and regenerates by seed.
Originally collected in 1966, B. scabrella was one of several species previously considered to be forms of Banksia sphaerocarpa, before it was finally described by banksia expert Alex George in his 1981 revision of the genus. Like many members of the Abietinae, it is rarely seen in cultivation; however, it has been described as having horticultural potential. (Full article...)
Grasshoppers are a group of insects belonging to the suborder Caelifera. They are among what is probably the most ancient living group of chewing herbivorous insects, dating back to the early Triassic around 250 million years ago.
Grasshoppers are typically ground-dwelling insects with powerful hind legs which allow them to escape from threats by leaping vigorously. As hemimetabolous insects, they do not undergo complete metamorphosis; they hatch from an egg into a nymph or "hopper" which undergoes five moults, becoming more similar to the adult insect at each developmental stage. The grasshopper hears through the tympanal organ which can be found in the first segment of the abdomen attached to the thorax; while its sense of vision is in the compound eyes, the change in light intensity is perceived in the simple eyes (ocelli). At high population densities and under certain environmental conditions, some grasshopper species can change color and behavior and form swarms. Under these circumstances, they are known as locusts. (Full article...)
Tutupaca is a volcano in the region of Tacna in Peru. It is part of the Peruvian segment of the Central Volcanic Zone, one of several volcanic belts in the Andes. Tutupaca consists of three overlapping volcanoes formed by lava flows and lava domes made out of andesite and dacite, which grew on top of older volcanic rocks. The highest of these is usually reported to be 5,815 metres (19,078 ft) tall and was glaciated in the past.
Several volcanoes in Peru have been active in recent times, including Tutupaca. Their volcanism is caused by the subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South America Plate. One of these volcanoes collapsed in historical time, probably in 1802, generating a large debris avalanche with a volume likely exceeding 0.6–0.8 cubic kilometres (0.14–0.19 cu mi) and a pyroclastic flow. The associated eruption was among the largest in Peru for which there are historical records. The volcano became active about 700,000 years ago, and activity continued into the Holocene, but whether there were historical eruptions was initially unclear; some eruptions were instead attributed to the less eroded Yucamane volcano. The Peruvian government plans to monitor the volcano for future activity. Tutupaca features geothermal manifestations with fumaroles and hot springs. (Full article...)
Cretoxyrhina (//; meaning 'Cretaceous sharp-nose') is an extinct genus of large mackerel shark that lived about 107 to 73 million years ago during the late Albian to late Campanian of the Late Cretaceous. The type species, C. mantelli, is more commonly referred to as the Ginsu shark, first popularized in reference to the Ginsu knife, as its theoretical feeding mechanism is often compared with the "slicing and dicing" when one uses the knife. Cretoxyrhina is traditionally classified as the likely sole member of the family Cretoxyrhinidae but other taxonomic placements have been proposed, such as within the Alopiidae and Lamnidae.
Measuring up to 8 meters (26 ft) in length and weighing over 4,944 kilograms (4.866 long tons; 5.450 short tons), Cretoxyrhina was one of the largest sharks of its time. Having a similar appearance and build to the modern great white shark, it was an apex predator in its ecosystem and preyed on a large variety of marine animals including mosasaurs and plesiosaurs, sharks and other large fish, pterosaurs, and occasionally dinosaurs. Its teeth, up to 8 centimeters (3 in) in height, were razor-like and had thick enamel built for stabbing and slicing prey. Cretoxyrhina was also among the fastest-swimming sharks, with hydrodynamic calculations suggesting burst speed capabilities of up to 70 kilometers per hour (43 mph). It has been speculated that Cretoxyrhina hunted by lunging at its prey at high speeds to inflict powerful blows, similar to the great white shark today, and relied on strong eyesight to do so. (Full article...)
Apollo 11 (July 16–24, 1969) was the spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon. Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin formed the American crew that landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC. Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface six hours and 39 minutes later on July 21 at 02:56 UTC; Aldrin joined him 19 minutes later. They spent about two and a quarter hours together outside the spacecraft, and collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Command module pilot Michael Collins flew the Command Module Columbia alone in lunar orbit while they were on the Moon's surface. Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21 hours, 36 minutes on the lunar surface, at a site they had named Tranquility Base upon landing, before lifting off to rejoin Columbia in lunar orbit.
Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16 at 13:32 UTC, and it was the fifth crewed mission of NASA's Apollo program. The Apollo spacecraft had three parts: a command module (CM) with a cabin for the three astronauts, the only part that returned to Earth; a service module (SM), which supported the command module with propulsion, electrical power, oxygen, and water; and a lunar module (LM) that had two stages—a descent stage for landing on the Moon and an ascent stage to place the astronauts back into lunar orbit. (Full article...)
Apollo 4 (November 9, 1967), also known as AS-501, was the first, uncrewed, flight in the United States's Apollo program, and the first test of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the rocket that would be used to send astronauts to the Moon. The space vehicle was assembled in the Vehicle Assembly Building, and was the first to be launched from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, ascending from Launch Complex 39, where facilities built specially for the Saturn V had been constructed.
Apollo 4 was an "all-up" test, meaning all rocket stages and spacecraft were fully functional on the initial flight, a first for NASA. It was the first time the S-IC first stage and S-II second stage flew. It also demonstrated the S-IVB third stages' first in-flight restart. The mission used a Block I command and service module (CSM) modified to test several key Block II revisions, including its heat shield at simulated lunar-return velocity and angle. (Full article...)
The lion (Panthera leo) is a large cat of the genus Panthera native to Africa and India. It has a muscular, deep-chested body, short, rounded head, round ears, and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail. It is sexually dimorphic; adult male lions are larger than females and have a prominent mane. It is a social species, forming groups called prides. A lion's pride consists of a few adult males, related females, and cubs. Groups of female lions usually hunt together, preying mostly on large ungulates. The lion is an apex and keystone predator; although some lions scavenge when opportunities occur and have been known to hunt humans, the species typically does not.
Typically, the lion inhabits grasslands and savannas, but is absent in dense forests. It is usually more diurnal than other wild cats, but when persecuted, it adapts to being active at night and at twilight. During the Neolithic period, the lion ranged throughout Africa, Southeast Europe, the Caucasus, and Western and South Asia, but it has been reduced to fragmented populations in sub-Saharan Africa and one population in western India. It has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1996 because populations in African countries have declined by about 43% since the early 1990s. Lion populations are untenable outside designated protected areas. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are the greatest causes for concern. (Full article...)
Did you know...
- ...that silica aerogel (pictured) holds 15 entries in the Guinness Book of Records for material properties, including best insulator and lowest-density solid?
- ...that acoustic levitation is a method for suspending matter in a fluid by using acoustic radiation pressure from intense sound waves in the medium?
- ...that the genus Entomocorus includes a catfish species that lives only one year?
- ...that a successful experimental system must be stable and reproducible enough for scientists to make sense of the system's behavior, but unpredictable enough that it can produce useful results?
- ...that Abbott Lawrence Rotch established the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory in 1885, which maintains the longest-running meteorological record of any observation site in the United States?
Topics and categories
- 23 October 2021 – Discoveries of exoplanets
- Scientists at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa announce the discovery of 2M0437b, one of the youngest exoplanets ever found at a distant star. The exoplanet was discovered using the Subaru Telescope at the observatory on Mauna Kea. (SciTech)
- 20 October 2021 – Xenotransplantation
- Researchers at NYU Langone Health in New York City announce that a team of surgeons last month, led by Dr. Robert Montgomery, successfully attached a genetically-modified pig kidney to a brain dead patient for two days without rejection. (NPR)
- 12 October 2021 – Discoveries of exoplanets
- NASA astronomers announce the discovery of TIC 257060897b, a Hot Jupiter exoplanet that is 50% larger and 30% less massive than Jupiter. The discovery was made using the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. (Science Times)
- 9 October 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
- A study conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland concludes that the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in diagnoses of generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder worldwide in 2020. (The Guardian)
- 6 October 2021 –
- Chemists Benjamin List of Germany and David MacMillan of the United States are awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on molecular engineering through organocatalysis. (AFP via Gulf News)
- 5 October 2021 –
- Climatologists Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann and theoretical physicist Giorgio Parisi are awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work towards the understanding of physical systems through climate models. (AFP via NDTV)
General images - load new batch