Vol. 200 No. 10

Reviews & Previews

Science Visualized



More Stories from the December 4, 2021 issue

  1. an electron micrograph showing the rabies virus

    50 years ago, a 6-year-old boy became the first known rabies survivor

    In 1971, a doctor thought he’d found a cure for rabies. Fifty years later, we still don’t have one.

  2. A white Nissan electric car with a charger stuck into the front
    Materials Science

    Lithium-ion batteries made with recycled materials can outlast newer counterparts

    Batteries with recycled cathodes outperformed batteries with new cathodes, lasting for thousands more charging cycles before their capacity waned.

  3. The head and neck of a naturally mummified woman with long dark hair, wearing a white hat

    DNA from mysterious Asian mummies reveals their surprising ancestry

    Ancient DNA indicates that an enigmatic Bronze Age group consisted of genetic, but not cultural, loners.

  4. vials of covid-19 vaccines
    Health & Medicine

    How to choose a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot

    To help you choose between the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 boosters, one reporter looked to the evidence and consulted experts.

  5. a slice of diamond with tiny gray blobs of a newfound mineral called davemaoite

    A mineral found in a diamond’s flaws contains the source of some of Earth’s heat

    A mineral theorized to exist in the mantle was found hiding in a diamond. Dubbed davemaoite, it could explain where some of Earth’s heat comes from.

  6. illustration of debris from a destroyed rocky planet circling a white dwarf star

    Distant rocky planets may have exotic chemical makeups that don’t resemble Earth’s

    Elements sprinkled on white dwarf stars suggest that the mantles of faraway rocky worlds differ greatly from their counterparts in our solar system.

  7. illustration of the proposed HabEx space telescope

    Here’s what the next 10 years of space science could look like

    In the latest Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, astronomers have their sights set on a whole fleet of next-generation space telescopes.

  8. two humpback whales emerging from the ocean to feed

    Baleen whales eat (and poop) a lot more than we realized

    The sheer volume of food that some whales eat and then excrete suggests the animals shape ecosystems to a much larger degree than previously thought.

  9. image of a variety of bird eggs

    An elusive equation describing bird eggs of all shapes has been found at last

    A new mathematical equation describes bird eggs of all shapes found in nature, and it could have applications in food and agricultural research.

  10. illustration of a penis worm on the ocean floor

    ‘Penis worms’ may have been the original hermits

    Soft-bodied critters called penis worms inhabited abandoned shells — a la modern-day hermit crabs — by about 500 million years ago, a study suggests.

  11. image of a Stenolemus bituberus assassin bug

    Assassin bugs tap spiders to distract them before a lethal strike

    Some assassin bugs stroke their antennae on spiders when within striking distance, possibly imitating touches that spiders experience near their kin.

  12. image of a Richard’s pipit amid grass

    Some songbirds now migrate east to west. Climate change may play a role

    In recent decades, more Richard's pipits are wintering in Europe than before. It may signal the establishment of a totally new migration route.

  13. Mourning gecko

    Gene-edited stem cells help geckos regrow more perfect tails

    Regenerated gecko tails are a far cry from perfect. Now experiments have coaxed geckos to regrow better ones with nerve tissue and bonelike cartilage.

  14. hand holds a reconstruction of a Homo naledi child’s skull showing fossil teeth and parts of the cranium

    A child’s partial skull adds to the mystery of how Homo naledi treated the dead

    The isolated discovery of a Homo naledi child’s skull fragments and teeth plays into idea that small-brained species ritually placed the dead in caves.

  15. illustration of two cars neutron stars colliding

    Neutron star collisions probably make more gold than other cosmic smashups

    Smashups of two neutron stars produce more heavy elements than when a black hole swallows a neutron star, calculations suggest.

  16. image of two galaxies, with an inset showing a bright spot

    A rush to watch a supernova exposed its last gasp before exploding

    By studying the final years of stars, scientists hope to find clues to help them recognize when other stars are about to blow.