Science

Struggling California condor population suggests persistence of DDT

By Frances Gaertner and Kristina Betinis, 23 November 2010

Recent reports of a struggling California condor population indicate the persistence of DDT contamination, threatening animal life and human health.

Gamma-ray bubbles discovered around our galaxy

By Chris Talbot, 18 November 2010

A giant structure around our Milky Way galaxy has been discovered by the NASA Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

LHC particle accelerator begins lead ion collisions

By Bryan Dyne and Don Barrett, 13 November 2010

The week, scientists operating the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva shut down its proton-proton collisions to begin colliding lead nuclei.

Fractal visionary dies: Benoit Mandelbrot, 1924-2010

By Chris Talbot, 4 November 2010

Benoit Mandelbrot coined the word fractal in 1975 to describe the revolutionary approach to geometrical mathematics that he pioneered.

Nobel Prize physicists protest British immigration restrictions on scientists

By Chris Talbot, 20 October 2010

Russian-born physicists Konstantin Novoselov and Andre Geim, now based at the University of Manchester, joined six other Nobel Prize winners in opposing the cap on immigrants into Britain from outside the European Union.

Scientist awarded Nobel Prize for developing IVF treatment

By Chris Talbot, 13 October 2010

Robert Edwards has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in recognition of his pioneering work in the technique of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Scientists directly image an extra-solar planet’s orbit around a young star

By Bryan Dyne, 19 July 2010

For the first time in the history of the search for planets outside the solar system, astronomers have observed a planet going from one side of its parent star to the other.

Large Hadron Collider accelerates particles to record energy level

By Bryan Dyne and Don Barrett, 10 May 2010

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider announced March 30 that the LHC had collided particles to 7 trillion electron-volts, the highest energy ever achieved in such a device.

“Strange Fruit” by Kenan Malik: A polemic against racism and identity politics

By Nancy Hanover, 8 May 2010

Kenan Malik has situated himself in the crosshairs of the dispute over the nature of race, arguing from the standpoint of Enlightenment rationalism and scientific objectivity.

Australia: Sacked workers rally over unpaid entitlements

By Margaret Rees, 3 May 2010

Sacked metalworkers owed unpaid superannuation, leave and other entitlements demonstrated last Friday in Melbourne.

Solar Dynamics Observatory―an eye on the Sun

By Bryan Dyne, 13 March 2010

One month after its successful launch, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has begun capturing high-resolution images of solar phenomena at 10-second intervals.

Large Hadron Collider to resume operations at CERN

By Bryan Dyne, 22 February 2010

Operations resumed this month at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the huge new experimental device operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. The largest and costliest apparatus ever built to conduct physical research, the LHC was shut down for repairs for a year after an accident.

Spacecraft Kepler discovers five extrasolar planets

By Bryan Dyne, 2 February 2010

NASA reported last month that Kepler, the first spacecraft dedicated to searching for planets beyond our solar system, has discovered its first five extrasolar planets. Though they are uninhabitable for Earth-like life—four of the five are even larger than Jupiter—their rapid discovery indicates that Kepler is fully capable of achieving its primary mission, finding a planet resembling Earth, in future years.

What does particle physics tell us about the nature of matter?

By Chris Talbot, 20 January 2010

Frank Wilczek’s book can be recommended as an attempt to explain to a lay person the implications of more than 50 years of particle physics. Wilczek is a Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist.

Marxism, socialism and climate change

By Nick Beams, 22 December 2009

The problems of climate change are so profound and far-reaching that they require the rational mobilisation of all available economic, material, scientific and technical resources, something that is only possible only under socialism.

Climate change, emissions trading schemes and the profit system

By Patrick O’Connor, 21 December 2009

Public meetings called by the WSWS and the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) in Sydney and Melbourne last week exposed the real agenda behind emissions trading schemes and the official climate change “debate”. The following is the report delivered by WSWS writer Patrick O’Connor.

Australian SEP meetings discuss socialism, climate change and emissions trading schemes

By our reporters, 19 December 2009

Public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne this week exposed the real agenda behind emissions trading schemes and the official climate change “debate”.

Moon experiment shows presence of water

By Patrick Martin, 17 November 2009

The deliberate crashing of a US rocket into the surface of the Moon has produced evidence of “a significant amount” of water ice, a discovery that could revolutionize the exploration of the Earth’s satellite and even open the way to long-term settlement.

New fossils provide insights into early human evolution

By William Moore, 20 October 2009

After 15 years of painstaking study, the journal Science has published a series of articles on the fossilized remains of Ardipithecus ramidus, which is interpreted to be an early form of hominin, the group including humans and all human ancestors back to the evolutionary split with the last common ancestor with chimpanzees.

Severe dust storm hits Australian coastal cities

By Alex Safari, 29 September 2009

A huge dust storm blanketed large areas of Australia’s southeastern coast last Wednesday, covering cities and towns in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, before moving out to sea towards New Zealand.

Newly repaired Hubble telescope releases first images

By Bryan Dyne, 23 September 2009

The first images from the repaired and upgraded telescope include a dazzling combination of planetary nebula, star clusters and galaxies.

Four hundred years since Galileo’s astronomical discoveries

By Hector Cordon, 15 August 2009

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 has been designated by the International Astronomy Union and UNESCO in honor of the 400th anniversary of the discoveries of Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler, two of the most important pioneers of modern astronomy.

Swine flu infections spread to 160 countries

By Perla Astudillo, 13 August 2009

According to the World Health Organisation, the swine-origin influenza virus has spread to 160 countries in less than four months.

The Google Book Search copyright settlement and the future of information—Part 2

By K. Reed, 13 August 2009

The second of a two-part article on the Google Book Search settlement.

The Google Book Search copyright settlement and the future of information—Part 1

By K. Reed, 12 August 2009

The first of a two-part article on the Google Book Search settlement.

Subordinating science to religion

Obama names evangelical Christian to run National Institutes of Health

By Patrick Martin, 30 July 2009

In selecting Francis S. Collins as the director of the National Institutes of Health, President Obama has sent a clear political message that he is willing to subordinate scientific research to Christian fundamentalist dogma.

Hubble Space Telescope receives final upgrade

By Bryan Dyne, 23 June 2009

New instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope are currently undergoing calibration following the latest upgrade to the venerable scientific instrument.

Marx and Darwin: Two great revolutionary thinkers of the nineteenth century

Part 3

By Chris Talbot, 19 June 2009

Marx and Engels immediately recognised the significance of Darwin’s theory when On the Origin of Species appeared 150 years ago, laying out a scientific conception of the process of historical evolution of the biological world.

Marx and Darwin: Two great revolutionary thinkers of the nineteenth century

Part 2

By Chris Talbot, 18 June 2009

Marx and Engels immediately recognised the significance of Darwin’s theory when On the Origin of Species appeared 150 years ago, laying out a scientific conception of the process of historical evolution of the biological world.

Marx and Darwin: Two great revolutionary thinkers of the nineteenth century

Part 1

By Chris Talbot, 17 June 2009

Marx and Engels immediately recognised the significance of Darwin’s theory when On the Origin of Species appeared 150 years ago, laying out a scientific conception of the process of historical evolution of the biological world.

The primate fossil “Ida”: the science and the hype

By William Moore, 13 June 2009

While the recently announced discovery of “Ida,” a remarkably well-preserved early primate fossil, promises insights into the evolution of later primate forms, including humans, the way it has been presented to the public distorts both its significance and the processes of biological evolution.

Walking, running, and human evolution

New insights derived from the hobbits of Flores

By William Moore, 13 May 2009

Recent research results suggest Flores hobbits are more distinctive than previously thought, providing new insights into human evolution.

Danger of major swine flu outbreak continues

By Perla Astudillo, 12 May 2009

The current swine flu virus may not mutate into a more dangerous form and the danger will then subside. Scientists, however, remain concerned that the virus is poorly understood and may be susceptible to mutation.

New space telescope to search for earth-sized planets

By Bryan Dyne, 24 March 2009

On March 6, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration successfully launched the Kepler mission, which will observe 100,000 stars in search of smaller, Earth-sized planets.

File-sharing trial against The Pirate Bay has wide-ranging implications

By Mike Ingram, 20 February 2009

What the Times of London described as the “internet piracy trial of the decade” is under way in a courtroom in Stockholm, Sweden, with protesters with megaphones camped outside the building. The trial of file-sharing site thepiratebay.org for copyright infringement is being followed by legal and technology experts all over the world.

“Hobbits” of Flores: Implications for the pattern of human evolution

By William Moore, 16 February 2009

Recent developments in research regarding the so-called “hobbits” of Flores, Indonesia, may lend support to the multilineal or “branching” view of human evolution.

In honor of the bicentenary of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin

12 February 2009

It is among the most remarkable coincidences of history that Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the same date, February 12, 1809. Lincoln, as the 16th president of the United States, made an immense contribution to the political liberation of mankind. Darwin, in the sphere of science, contributed mightily to its intellectual liberation. Today the World Socialist Web Site pays tribute to the memory of these two very great men.

Behind Apple’s decision to drop anti-copying measures in iTunes

By Mike Ingram, 19 January 2009

Apple’s decision to drop the anti-copying protection known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) has received a mixed response from consumers and music fans across the world.

First images taken of extrasolar planets

By Hector Cordon, 1 December 2008

In a breakthrough expected to foster further discoveries, two teams of astronomers have for the first time directly imaged planets orbiting stars outside the solar system.

Australian biotechnology company enforces cancer gene patent, restricting medical scanning

By Frank Gaglioti, 28 November 2008

Biotechnology firm Genetic Technologies has moved to enforce its patent over two critical genes implicated in the development of breast and ovarian cancer, shutting down genetic scanning on potential cancer victims in publicly funded facilities.

Letters on “The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism”

8 November 2008

The WSWS received the following letters on “The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism: The Political and Intellectual Odyssey of Alex Steiner” and “Marxism and Science: An addendum to ‘The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism’”

Behind the creationism controversy at Britain's Royal Society

By Paul Mitchell, 17 October 2008

The Royal Society’s education director was forced last month to resign, for at the very least seeming to advocate the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in school science classes.

Neanderthals and modern humans--a key to understanding human evolution

Part 2

By William Moore, 4 October 2008

This is the conclusion of a two-part article. Part 1 was published October 3. The evidence bearing on the question of the Neanderthal/modern human relationship falls into several categories, each giving only a partial and biased view of reality. Two of these categories are biological--the fossil record and, more recently, DNA analysis. A third major source of data is archaeology--the artifacts and other material traces left by the two populations. In this review I will focus on the biological data, since that is the origin of the recent announcements.

Neanderthals and modern humans--a key to understanding human evolution

Part 1

By William Moore, 3 October 2008

This is the first of a two-part article. Two recent announcements of research into the relationship between Neanderthals and modern humans tend to add weight to the interpretation that the ancestors of these two human lineages parted genetic company quite a long time ago.

World’s largest particle accelerator begins operations

Scientists to gain greater understanding of the mysteries of the universe

By Dan Conway, 25 September 2008

On September 10, scientists at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, successfully sent a beam of protons around a 17-mile ring overlapping the borders of France and Switzerland. This marked the beginning of the largest, most ambitious science experiment in all of human history, the Large Hadron Collider.

A letter and reply on Mars landing

26 August 2008

On “Mars Phoenix Lander provides conclusive proof of ice water on Mars”

Mars Phoenix Lander provides conclusive proof of water ice on Mars

By Robert Stevens, 9 August 2008

The Mars Phoenix Lander landed on the planet on May 25. It has begun to return vital information taken from the soil samples, including the conclusive discovery of water ice, as it analyses the chemical composition of the planet.

Einstein letter sold for record sum—Part 2

By Ann Talbot and Chris Talbot, 24 June 2008

This is the conclusion of a two-part article on Albert Einstein and his views on religion. Part 1 was posted June 23.

Einstein letter sold for record sum—Part 1

By Ann Talbot and Chris Talbot, 23 June 2008

This is the first of a two-part article on Albert Einstein and his views on religion.

Phoenix spacecraft lands near Mars polar icecap

By Patrick Martin, 30 May 2008

In the first successful powered landing on Mars in 32 years, the Mars Phoenix Lander touched down on the surface of the planet Sunday, May 26, near the edge of its northern polar icecap. The spacecraft completed a 422-million-mile trip in just under 300 days since its launch last August 4, with virtually flawless performance of all its complex engineering systems.

Britain: Science cuts threaten Jodrell Bank radio telescope

By Robert Stevens, 17 April 2008

The Labour government of Prime Mister Gordon Brown is pushing ahead with unprecedented cuts in the UK science budget, with many critical programmes and facilities now threatened. In March, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) outlined a Programmatic Review listing all the science projects it funds in order of priority.

Pakistani regime ban of YouTube highlights threat to free Internet

By John Grais, 5 March 2008

On February 22, the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority (PTA) ordered the country’s Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to YouTube, the world’s most popular video web site. Access was completely restored in Pakistan only after four days, amid popular opposition and allegations of electoral fraud.

US blocks scientific report on Arctic environment

By Niall Green, 5 February 2008

The United States has prevented the full release of a major new assessment of the impact of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic region. The report had taken six years to compile and was produced by scientists working for the Arctic Council, an international body of which the US is a member.

Arctic sea ice reaches record minimum

By Mark Rainer, 26 September 2007

On September 16, the Arctic sea reached its minimum extent for 2007 at 4.13 million square kilometers, breaking the record set on September 21, 2005 of 5.32 million square kilometers. The difference between the previous record and the present one, 1.19 million square kilometers, represents roughly the same area as Texas and California combined. It is a 22 percent loss in extent since 2005.

Arctic sea ice at record low due to global warming

By Mark Rainer, 25 August 2007

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), a US government-funded research center at the University of Colorado, reported this week the lowest Arctic sea ice extent on record with time still left to go in the summer melting season. Arctic sea ice extent is defined as the area of Arctic Ocean that is covered by at least 15 percent ice.

Possible habitable planet discovered: Extending the horizons of humanity

By Rob Stevens, 29 May 2007

A team of Swiss, French and Portuguese astronomers announced on April 24 the discovery of an “exoplanet” known as Gliese 581 c.

Despite interference from US and other countries

Climate change report outlines dire impact of global warming

By Mark Rainer, 10 April 2007

On April 6, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers from its report on “Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.”

Science, religion and society: Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion

By Joe Kay, 15 March 2007

In his new book, Dawkins has done us a service, if only in making more acceptable the general proposition that religion and science are at odds with each other, and that it is science that should win out.

Scientists conclude global warming is “unequivocal”

By Mark Rainer, 10 February 2007

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the “Summary for Policy Makers” from its fourth assessment report on science of global warming and climate change February 2. The new report concludes that global warming is “unequivocal” and strengthens the previous assessment that most warming in the last 50 years is due to human activity.

Scientists report rampant political interference in climate research

By Naomi Spencer, 5 February 2007

As the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its urgent assessment Friday, providing alarming information about the advanced state of global warming, Washington immediately moved to downplay the US contribution.

Kyoto’s Clean Development Mechanism: global warming and its market fix

By Mark Rainer, 13 January 2007

Recent developments have exposed a UN greenhouse gas emissions trading program as a lucrative source of profits. The program has hindered investment in technologies that would contribute to a long-term decline in the emissions that cause global warming.

Cuts to NASA budget gut space research

By Frank Gaglioti, 20 May 2006

In a far-reaching reorientation of its programs, the US National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) budget has effectively capped science spending for the five-year period from 2007 to 2011. Programs designed to investigate more fundamental scientific questions about the character of the solar system and the universe are being sacrificed to enable NASA to carry out President George Bush’s grandiose scheme to establish a permanent settlement on the moon in preparation for a manned mission to Mars.

New fossils illuminate the evolution of land vertebrates from fish

By Walter Gilberti, 1 May 2006

A major fossil discovery at a site in northern Canada has provided compelling evidence of the evolutionary transition from ancient fish to the first tetrapods—four-legged terrestrial vertebrates that include amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Australian television program highlights censorship of climate scientists

By Frank Gaglioti, 17 April 2006

An Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) program entitled “The Greenhouse Mafia”, which appeared in February on the “Four Corners” television series, highlighted the Australian government’s censorship of eminent scientists studying climate change and its subservience to business interests that are heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Scientists from the state-funded Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) were specifically prohibited from discussing the potentially devastating consequences of governments’ failure to reduce greenhouse gases.

Religion and science: a reply to a right-wing attack on philosopher Daniel Dennett

By James Brookfield, 21 March 2006

The 19 February 2006 issue of the New York Times Book Review carries a tendentious attack on Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, the latest work by American philosopher Daniel Dennett.

Judge rejects government demand for Google search terms

By Mike Ingram, 20 March 2006

In a ruling issued Friday, March 17, Judge James Ware denied a demand from the Department of Justice that search giant Google turn over samples of search terms entered into its web site.

A novel look at life’s unfolding diversity

A review of The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution, by Richard Dawkins

By James Brookfield, 24 February 2006

The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution,by Richard Dawkins, Mariner Books, 2005, $16, ISBN 0-618-61916-X (paperback)

Darwin: An exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History

By Walter Gilberti, 15 February 2006

Exhibition runs until May 29, 2006. AMNH, located at Central Park West at 79th Street in Manhattan, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

New version of Google Desktop threatens user privacy

By Mike Ingram, 14 February 2006

The announcement last week of a new version of the popular Desktop utility from Google has provoked criticism from privacy groups and stern warnings to users from the digital rights advocate, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Google’s China censorship sets dangerous precedent

By Mike Ingram, 7 February 2006

Google’s decision to abide by Chinese censors in the launch of its new google.cn search service is a blow against democratic rights and free speech that sets a dangerous precedent both in China and internationally.

British scientist challenges pharmaceutical company over research paper

By Chris Talbot, 28 January 2006

A British scientist, Dr. Aubrey Blumsohn, has criticised a major pharmaceutical company’s “unethical behaviour” for putting forward a research paper in his name without giving him proper access to the data on which the investigation was based.

University of Michigan evolutionary theme semester

Geneticist Svante Pääbo speaks on chimpanzee genome

By Daniel Douglass, 18 January 2006

In the latest of several major advances in the field of biology and genetics, Svante Pääbo and his fellow researchers in Germany have performed a comparative analysis of the chimpanzee and human genomes. Their work further advances our knowledge of those genetic elements which may distinguish humans from other animals. His most recent data, first published in a paper last year, was presented on January 13 at the opening lecture of the University of Michigan’s “Distinguished Speaker Series,” a lecture series oriented to the public and part of Michigan’s “Evolution Theme Semester.”

US secures continued control of Internet naming system

By Mike Ingram, 23 November 2005

A last-minute agreement reached November 15 on the eve of the UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society left control of the Internet’s naming system in the hands of the United States, despite opposition from more than 100 countries.

Order broadens surveillance of Internet users

By Mike Ingram, 26 October 2005

In a serious attack on democratic rights, the US government has greatly increased the scope of legislation introduced in 1994, regarding the electronic monitoring of telecommunications providers.

Microsoft and RealNetworks settle antitrust case

By Mike Ingram, 14 October 2005

Microsoft and RealNetworks announced October 11 a settlement to their antitrust case and the creation of a new partnership worth $761 million to RealNetworks.

Microsoft anti-phishing software raises Internet privacy concerns

By Mike Ingram, 17 September 2005

A phishing filter developed by Microsoft and to be included in the next release of the Windows operating system has raised concern amongst privacy advocates.

A scientific milestone: mapping of rice genome

By Frank Gaglioti, 13 September 2005

The publication of the near complete map of the rice genome in the August 11 issue of Nature will enhance the ability of agricultural science to produce new crop strains that not only increase productivity but expand the range of growing conditions. It will also offer insights into the evolutionary history of one of the most important cereal crops, which has played a prominent part in the historical development of mankind.

An extraordinary feat: NASA probe sent plunging into comet

By Frank Gaglioti, 8 August 2005

In earlier centuries, the rare arrival of a comet in the heavens was often seen as a portent of doom. Now scientists are able to undertake scientific expeditions to determine the make-up, chemical and geological history of these astronomical phenomena, thought to be relics from the earliest stages of the solar system’s formation.

Astronomers discover new planet, larger and more distant than Pluto

By Patrick Martin, 2 August 2005

Three US astronomers announced July 29 that they had identified a new planet, significantly larger than Pluto, and orbiting the sun as far as 9 billion miles out, about three times the orbital radius of the ninth planet. The three scientists, Michael Brown of Caltech, David Rabinowitz of Yale and Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, used the 48-inch Palomar Observatory telescope in southern California.

NASA grounds space shuttle fleet after near-disaster in Discovery launch

By Patrick Martin, 29 July 2005

In a devastating blow to the US space program, NASA ordered the suspension of all future space shuttle flights Wednesday, pending an investigation into the loss of a large piece of foam insulation during the successful launch of Discovery the previous day. The space agency began an intensive review of the launch, examining photos taken by hundreds of cameras, as well as inspecting the spacecraft’s skin, looking for possible damage.

An exchange on “One hundred years since Albert Einstein’s annus mirabilis”

28 July 2005

The following is an exchange on the four-part series entitled “One hundred years since Albert Einstein’s annus mirabilis”.

Letters, and some replies, on “One hundred years since Einstein’s annus mirabilis”

26 July 2005

The following letters, in some cases with replies, were sent in response to the four-part series entitled “One hundred years since Albert Einstein’s annus mirabilis” by Peter Symonds. The articles were posted as follows: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

An exchange on science, evolution and intelligent design

16 July 2005

On June 20, 2005 the World Socialist Web Site published an article on the decision by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History to show a documentary put out by the Discovery Institute. The Discovery Institute is the country’s foremost advocate of Intelligent Design, a quasi-religious view that aims to attack the theory of biological evolution. [See “An attack on science: Smithsonian Institution to show film on Intelligent Design”].

One hundred years since Albert Einstein’s annus mirabilis

Part 4

By Peter Symonds, 14 July 2005

This is the conclusion of a four-part series on Einstein’s scientific contributions. Part one, part two, and part three were published on July 11, 12 and 13, respectively.

One hundred years since Albert Einstein’s annus mirabilis

Part 3

By Peter Symonds, 13 July 2005

This is the third part of a four-part series on Einstein’s scientific contributions. Part one was published on July 11 and part two on July 12. Part four will be published on July 14.

One hundred years since Albert Einstein’s annus mirabilis

Part 2

By Peter Symonds, 12 July 2005

This is the second part of a four-part series on Einstein’s scientific contributions. Part one was published on July 11. Parts three and four will be published on July 13 and 14 respectively.

One hundred years since Albert Einstein’s annus mirabilis

Part 1

By Peter Symonds, 11 July 2005

This is the first part of a four-part series on Einstein’s scientific contributions. Parts two, three andfour will be published on July 12, 13 and 14 respectively.

Out of space? NASA delays relaunching of shuttle flights

By Patrick Martin, 4 May 2005

The announcement April 29 of a two-month delay in the resumption of space shuttle flights is a warning sign of a deeper crisis in the US space program. While NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin said the flight of Discovery would be rescheduled for mid-July, the problems that caused the delay could lead to an indefinite grounding of the shuttle fleet.

Huygens probe lands on Titan: a scientific leap for mankind

By Robert Stevens, 14 February 2005

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”—Sir Isaac Newton

Fossil discovery rewrites human history

By Frank Gaglioti, 5 November 2004

The scientific world has just been given an amazing new insight into the complexities of human evolution. A team of Indonesian and Australian scientists has discovered fossils of a new human species on the island of Flores, midway between Asia and Australia in the Indonesian archipelago. Named Homo floresiensis, the species coexisted with modern humans as recently as 13,000 years ago.

Cassini-Huygens spacecraft begins systematic exploration of Saturn system

By Patrick Martin, 26 July 2004

The successful passage of the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft through Saturn’s rings June 30-July 1 sets the stage for an unprecedented four-year exploration of the second largest planet in the solar system and its complex system of 31 moons, powerful magnetic field and unique rings. On July 22, NASA released the first glorious full-color image of the rings, taken as the spacecraft approached them from below in late June (see http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA05421_modest.jpg).

Intriguing new discoveries on Mars

By Frank Gaglioti, 24 March 2004

The current National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission to Mars has already provided significant new evidence that the planet may in the past have been considerably warmer and possessed large amounts of liquid water. The observations made by the small roving vehicle Opportunity raise the possibility that life may have emerged on Mars in a previous, more benign environment.

Scientific triumph on Mars as Spirit lands and explores surface

By Walter Gilberti, 19 January 2004

On Thursday, January 15 the Mars Spirit rover rolled onto the Martian landscape for the first time, after NASA scientists successfully maneuvered the six-wheeled vehicle off the lander, and away from the deflated airbags that were impeding its progress. Now the mission that began so promisingly two weeks ago can continue, with the exploration of a wider swath of the Martian surface.

The Columbia Space Shuttle disaster: science and the profit system

Part 3—Political and economic causes underlying the accident

By Joseph Kay, 22 September 2003

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. Shortly after the incident, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) was set up to investigate the causes of the disaster. The board summarized its findings in a report released on August 26. This series of three articles analyzes the report and the accident itself.

The Columbia Space Shuttle disaster: science and the profit system

Part 2: Schedule pressures undermined safety considerations

By Joseph Kay, 20 September 2003

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. Shortly after the incident, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) was set up to investigate the causes of the disaster. The board summarized its findings in a report released on August 26. This series of three articles analyzes the report and the accident itself.

The Columbia Space Shuttle disaster: science and the profit system

Part 1: The physical cause of the accident and the decay of shuttle infrastructure

By Joseph Kay, 19 September 2003

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. Shortly after the incident, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) was set up to investigate the causes of the disaster. The board summarized its findings in a report released August 26. This series of three articles analyzes the report and the accident itself.

Oldest modern human fossil discovered in Ethiopia

By Frank Gaglioti, 25 July 2003

A team of 45 scientists from 14 different countries led by Professor Tim White from Berkeley University has uncovered and assembled three fossilised skulls from Ethiopia that provide the oldest record of modern humans. The fossils give strong support to what is known as the Out of Africa theory: that humans first evolved in Africa and then migrated to other regions and ultimately the entire globe.

Russian mathematician announces proof of celebrated Poincaré Conjecture

By Alex Lefebvre, 3 June 2003

In early April 2002, Dr. Grigori Perelman of the Steklov Institute of Mathematics in St. Petersburg gave a series of public lectures at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the lectures he explained work laid out in two articles, and how this work will establish a number of important mathematical results, including the famous Poincaré Conjecture. Mathematicians are still examining Perelman’s arguments for possible errors, but up to now they have withstood all criticism.[1]

Human Genome Project completed: an extraordinary scientific achievement

By Frank Gaglioti, 7 May 2003

The publication of the detailed structure of 99 percent of the human genome on April 14 is the culmination of one of the largest scientific undertakings in history. Initiated in 1990, the Human Genome Project (HGP) involved the cooperative work of hundreds of scientists in 20 sequencing centres in countries including China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and the United States.

New DNA research points to origins of dogs

By Sandy English, 14 January 2003

A recent issue of the American journal Science has reported new DNA evidence indicating that humans first bred domesticated dogs approximately 15,000 years ago in east Asia.