Around-the-World Expedition Finds 200,000 Species of Viruses in the Oceans

After travelling around the world, sampling the ocean from pole to pole, scientists have uncovered nearly 200,000 populations of marine viruses. Read More >>

A Guide to the Chemistry of Cold Weather

You might have noticed that it’s pretty cold at the moment – frostbite-inducing, school-closing, scald-yourself-with-boiling-water-while-attempting-that-stupid-instant-snow-trick cold. You might wonder what that means, scientifically. Read More >>

How Plants Produce Oxygen Revealed by ‘Tour-de-Force’ Laser Measurement

An experiment using intense laser pulses has allowed scientists to watch plants produce oxygen from water as part of photosynthesis in real time, according to a groundbreaking new paper. Read More >>

Photosynthesising Bacteria Found Thriving Thousands of Feet Below Earth’s Surface

An international team of researchers has identified a peculiar population of cyanobacteria living within rocks deep below Earth’s surface—a surprising discovery given that cyanobacteria require sunlight to survive. Or so scientists thought. Read More >>

Life Could Have Evolved From These Ancient Chemical Reactions

Fundamentally, your body is just a crazy chemistry experiment. You put in food and oxygen, chemical reactions happen, and out comes energy and poop. But how did these reactions first begin? Some scientists think they have an idea. Read More >>

Massive Tides Could Boost TRAPPIST-1’s Prospects For Life

Earlier this year, Earthlings rejoiced when scientists announced the discovery of three rocky exoplanets in the habitable zone of TRAPPIST-1, an “ultracool dwarf” star located just 39 light years away. Soon after, astronomers brought us back down Earth, pointing out that it might be hard for life to survive on a world in such a tight orbit around such a dim star. But the debate has now taken yet another delicious twist, this time, in favour of aliens. Read More >>

Astronomers Might Have Just Solved a Key Mystery About the Origin of Life

If a massive solar storm struck the Earth today, it could wipe out our technology and hurl us back to the dark ages. Lucky for us, events like this are quite rare. But four billion years ago, extreme space weather was probably the norm. And rather than bringing the apocalypse, it might have kickstarted life. Read More >>

Scientists Have Come Up With a ‘Vaccine’ Against Designer Drugs

Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute have just published the results of a study done on a special kind of vaccine in the journal Angewandte Chemie. This vaccine does not guard against a virus. Instead, it blocks the effects of synthetic designer drugs. Read More >>

Sandalwood Odour Could Be a Treatment for Leukaemia

Olfactory receptors are not limited to your nose. You have them all over your body, including your blood. Now, synthetic sandalwood has been shown to promote cell death in cancer cells for patients with a certain kind of leukaemia. This could open the door for a whole new kind of treatment. Read More >>

E. Coli Move Around Like Mutant Sperm

Bacteria have been swimming before anything else in the world was walking, but we know relatively little about their method of locomotion. New research shows how bacteria use their flagella to run and tumble their way through a gooey medium. Read More >>

Bismuth Could Stop Farts From Smelling, If Someone Could Make It Safe

We avoid mercury, arsenic, and lead exposure, but there’s one heavy metal that we gulp down in smaller doses: bismuth. And if it were less toxic, bismuth could one day keep us from stinking up elevators and other public places with our farts. Read More >>

The Asparagus-Urine Smell is Surprisingly Controversial

Most people know about the strange smell that asparagus gives off after it has been, ahem, processed by some humans. Yet other humans aren’t able to smell the odour at all. That makes asparagus an unusual marker for the intricacies of genetic variation. Read More >>