discovery

What it’s like to be a theoretical physicist

Theoretical physicist Shamit Kachru and three of his graduate students talk about the social fabric behind their research, the cycle of confusion and discovery, and the sense of awe – or the cool factor – that drives them.

What can machine learning tell us about the solid Earth?

Scientists are training machine learning algorithms to help shed light on earthquake hazards, volcanic eruptions, groundwater flow and longstanding mysteries about what goes on beneath the Earth’s surface.

First Mars program director Scott Hubbard on InSight

Hubbard was right next to mission control for the landing of InSight on Mars. Here’s what he thinks about NASA’s latest deep-space triumph and the special satellites that accompanied it.

Watching nanoparticle photoreactions

Stanford researchers retooled an electron microscope to work with visible light and gas flow, making it possible to watch a photochemical reaction as it swept across a nanoparticle the size of a cold virus.

A new mechanism for how animal cells stay intact

Watching the movement of every cell in an adult animal all at once, the Prakash lab discovered ultra-fast cellular contractions. This research suggests a new role for cellular contractions in tissue cohesion, which could be the basis of a new material.

Pond dwellers swim in polygons to avoid light

Although they’ve been studied for hundreds of years, it wasn’t until a Stanford bioengineering lab tried to model how Euglena reacts to light that anyone noticed the organism swimming in precise polygons.