From Barter to Bitcoin: The History of Money

Human transactions have come far since the Stone Age. The commodity trading of our ancestors eventually gave way to money, which in the past few thousand years has cycled through different forms, from wampum beads and metal to paper. In the 21st century, it often manifests as intangible electronic transfers and even cryptocurrencies.  Money is […]

Chronic Fear of Environmental Doom? You’re Not Alone

I’m trying to work but my heart is pounding. I’m in my daughter’s bedroom, the only air-conditioned room in our house. Outside, the French summer roasts at 109 degrees Fahrenheit. But it’s not just the outdoor heat that makes me feel light-headed. I’m reading research papers on climate change with titles like “Accelerating Extinction Risk” […]

The Art You Like Reveals Your Personality Traits

The artwork we are attracted to can give insight into our personality, such as whether we are impulsive or deliberate, even-tempered or moody. Studies into art preferences date back to the 1930s — most of them examining the extent to which people like or dislike different paintings. Research shows that a person’s interest in art […]

We Don’t Really Know What’s in Pre-Workout Supplements

It’s now common for fitness influencers to post videos of themselves grimacing while swallowing a scoop of white powder before their lifting sessions. Gym buffs swear by these pre-workout supplements to boost their motivation and exercise performance. They’re also used by up to 76 percent of military service members. These products delight exercisers with nearly […]

Can Trees Heal Heart Disease?

Volunteers buzz around the front lawn of a Baptist church in Louisville on a bright October morning. Sporting navy T-shirts with the words Citizen Forester emblazoned across the back, they divvy up spades and shovels, grab buckets and hoses. Behind them looms the church’s imposing white-columned entrance and a sign that declares, “Prayer Works.” Across […]

Five Kitchen Sink Science Experiments To Try At Home

Citizen Science Salon is a partnership between Discover and SciStarter.org. Citizen science happens when people like you make hypotheses, gather data and share their findings with researchers. As a citizen scientist, you can do science wherever you are. That includes doing science experiments at home, using everyday household items. For everyone who likes to get down […]

The Eruption at La Soufrière on St. Vincent Takes an Explosive Turn

[embedded content] The volcanoes of the West Indies have produced some of the most explosive and deadly eruptions over the past few centuries. The fact that many of these populated islands are dominated by volcanoes means they can be especially perilous when these volcanoes rumble back to life. Over the past few months, experts have […]

The Paradox of Internet Famous Wilderness

You may recognize this water-and-windcarved Navajo sandstone. Countless humans first saw it in 2009, when Microsoft featured The Wave on desktop wallpaper for Windows 7. Then in 2010 came Instagram, where you now can find thousands of hashtagged and geo-tagged images from this remote spot near the Arizona-Utah border. That’s how a far-flung site, known […]

Is Plant Protein Better for You and the Planet?

Picture protein: it’s easy to bring up a mental image of a rare, juicy steak or a plate piled high with crispy bacon. More and more though, there might be tofu, beans or quinoa on that plate. This changing picture reflects an evolution in how we understand nutrition, but also the conflicting messaging of the […]

What Is Time?

In 1826, time took a strange turn in New Haven, Connecticut. According to historian Michael O’Malley, over several months, a new clock installed atop Town Hall ran slow and then fast in comparison with the clock that had set the local standard time for decades, at nearby Yale College. After cursing the clockmaker, the citizens […]

The Science of Taylor Swift and Other Improbable Stories

Taylor Swift’s songs are well known for their description of various roller coaster relationships. These relationships have evolved during Swift’s long career as a pop superstar. But how have the sentiments conveyed in Swift’s songs changed in this time, and what light can science throw on this important issue? Now Megan Mansfield and Darryl Seligman […]

How to Save Planet Earth

Have you ever held a product in your hands and considered the existential weight of your purchase? Beyond each price tag hides a ripple effect. It expands from soil to waterways, grocery aisles to kitchen plates, factories to fulfillment centers and mail slots to landfills. This global impact has become less hidden in the past […]

E=mc2: What Does Einstein’s Most Famous Equation Mean?

It is perhaps the most famous equation in the world, and also one of the most elegant. Einstein’s legendary equivalence between mass and energy, given the simple formula E=mc^2, is familiar even to schoolchildren. At times, it simply stands as a placeholder for science — like in cartoons where writing E=mc^2 on a chalkboard signifies […]

There Might Be Remnants of an Ancient Planet Buried Inside Earth? Yup

Researchers are fairly certain that we gained our favorite satellite, the moon, after a planet, Theia, collided with the proto-Earth 4.5 billion years ago. What’s not certain are the details surrounding Theia’s fate. Was it a hit-and-run, or did the mantles of the two planets merge? Qian Yuan, Earth scientist at Arizona State University, and […]