60-Second Science

60-Second Science

United States

Leading science journalists provide a daily minute commentary on some of the most interesting developments in the world of science. For a full-length, weekly podcast you can subscribe to Science Talk: The Podcast of Scientific American . To view all of our archived podcasts please go to www.scientificamerican.com/podcast


Poor Sleepers Worse at Recognizing Unfamiliar Faces  

Subjects suffering insomnia got more wrong answers in a face-matching task--but they were paradoxically more confident of their responses. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Yawns Help the Brain Keep its Cool  

Theory has it yawning helps cool the brain--and it turns out animals with bigger brains do indeed tend to yawn longer. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Polar Bears Can't Just Switch To Terrestrial Food  

With a shorter season of sea ice, polar bears have less access to marine mammals. But switching to a terrestrial diet deprives them of the fatty seal meals they need to thrive.  

Flowers Deceive Flies With Chemical Cocktail  

The parachute flower smells like alarm pheromones of a honeybee, to attract tiny flies that feed on bees under attack.

Feed Microbes Oxygen to Help Clear Spilled Oil  

A technique called “biosparging” relies on pumping oxygen underground to help naturally occurring microorganisms multiply and consume oil spills.    

Elephant Footprints Become Tiny Critter Havens  

When rain fills the massive footprints left by elephants, communities of aquatic invertebrates quickly move in.

Future Wetsuits Otter Be Warmer  

Future wetsuits with surface textures like the thick fur of otters that trap insulating air layers could keep tomorrow's divers warmer in icy waters.  

Gender Influences Recommendations for Science Jobs  

Female applicants to postdoctoral positions in geosciences were nearly half as likely to receive excellent letters of recommendation, compared with their male counterparts. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Nobel in Chemistry for Molecular Machines  

Jean-Pierre Sauvage, James Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa share the 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.  

Nobel in Physics for Secrets of Exotic Matter  

David J. Thouless, F. Duncan Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz split the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.  

Nobel in Physiology or Medicine to Yoshinori Ohsumi for Autophagy Discoveries  

Japan's Yoshinori Ohsumi wins the 2016 prize for discoveries related to autophagy, the process in cells whereby they destroy themselves and send the parts out for recycling.  

Great Migration Left Genetic Legacy  

Reseachers have started to examine the genetic traces of the movement of some six million African-Americans from the south to the north and west between 1910 and 1970.  

Arctic Pollinator Faces Uncertain Future  

A housefly relative appears to be key to the reproductive success of a hardy tundra shrub. But the insect is threatened by the warming climate. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Water Bears' Super Survival Skills Give Up Secrets  

A protein from microscopic creatures called tardigrades keeps their DNA protected—and could someday shield humans from radiation.  

Big Earthquakes May Be More Likely During New and Full Moons  

When the sun, moon and Earth are aligned, high tidal stress may increase the chances that an earthquake will grow bigger than it otherwise might have been.

Clever Ants Have Backup Navigation Systems  

An ant walking in the desert can gauge distance by footsteps and the sun's position, but an ant being carried can estimate distance by visual information perceived as it passed by.  

Ancient Biblical Scroll Gets Read While Wrapped  

Researchers used high-tech visualization techniques to peer inside an ancient scroll too fragile to unwrap.  

Birch Trees Droop at Night with No Rays in Sight  

The branches of birch trees in Europe sagged by as much as four inches at night compared with daytime.  

Some Malaria Mosquitoes May Prefer Cows to Us  

A chromosomal rearrangement may cause one mosquito species to be lured to cows instead of humans for a blood meal. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Drunk People Feel More Sober Around Heavy Drinkers  

Drinkers surrounded by even more inebriated people feel less drunk than a breathalyzer test indicates they actually are. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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