Human conception; some corals thrive, others don’t; new names for new elements; gravitational waves detected again; TVs eat up electricity; mineral from wet, hot lava found on Mars – just a few of the themes in today’s eclectic collection of SciNews. Share these stories with your students and get them excited about science.
SciNews is published twice weekly. Stay tuned for more.
Scientists capture most intimate view yet of human conception. Globe and Mail
Birds do it. Bees do it. But until now, no one has been entirely sure how humans do it – at least at the molecular level. Using high-powered X-rays and sophisticated computer algorithms, two teams of researchers – one based in Canada, one in Japan – have revealed the mysterious connection that allows a human sperm to fasten on to an egg and trigger fertilization. Read more…
Why some coral reefs thrive as others die off. CBC
Coral reefs in remote locations may sometimes be worse off than those near human fishing communities, says a new study that looked at why some reefs are thriving as others die off.
An international team of 39 scientists looked at the amount of fish at 2,514 coral reefs worldwide and tried to identify which ones had unexpectedly more or less fish than others, given the environmental and socioeconomic conditions nearby, such as the size of local populations and whether the reefs were in a marine reserve. Read more…
The newest elements finally have names. Science News for Students
On December 30, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, or IUPAC, announced the official discovery of four new elements. But back in December, none of these newbies yet had a name. That had to wait until today.
Elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 — fill out the seventh row of the periodic table of the elements. All are superheavies. That’s why they sit at the bottom right of the table. Read more…
Gravitational waves detected from more colliding black holes. CBC
The ground-breaking detection of gravitational waves, ripples in space and time postulated by Albert Einstein 100 years ago, that was announced in February was no fluke. Scientists said on Wednesday that they have spotted them for a second time.
The researchers said they detected gravitational waves that washed over Earth after two distant black holes spiralled toward each other and merged into a single, larger abyss 1.4 billion years ago. That long-ago violent collision set off reverberations through spacetime, a fusion of the concepts of time and three-dimensional space. Read more…
“Couch potatoes” tend to be TV-energy hogs. Science News for Students
Television brings us lots of news and entertainment. It also eats up electricity. A new analysis now offers a bright idea for lowering the electricity used by TV viewers: Focus on the couch potatoes.
Energy-efficiency programs reward people for doing things to use less electricity. For example, new TV sets tend to use far less electricity than older ones. So an energy-efficiency program might offer money back — a rebate — to anyone who buys an energy-saving TV. Read more…
Earth and Space Science
Mineral from wet, hot volcano lava found on Mars, baffling scientists. CBC
Scientists are baffled by the discovery of a mineral on Mars that, on Earth, typically comes from extremely hot volcanoes whose lava was exposed to lots of ocean water.
A rock sample drilled by the Curiosity rover in the Gale Crater — believed to be the bed of an ancient lake — included tridymite, a silica-based mineral typically produced on Earth by powerful eruptions of volcanoes such as Mount St. Helens in Washington state, reports an international team of scientists in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week. Read more…