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The Benefits of Twitter for Scientists

David ShiffmanJan 13, 2017

A new study suggests Twitter activity is correlated with higher citation rates, at least for ecological research. But that doesn't mean scientists should necessarily expect a Twitter account to bring them more citations. What benefits can researchers expect from a presence on social media?

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Fire’s Weird Behavior in Space

Fenella SaundersApr 13, 2016

In the microgravity environment of outer space, flames burn very differently than they do on Earth. Understanding those differences not only helps researchers grasp the properties of combustion and burning, but is also crucial for outer-space missions.

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Evolution of Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Robert FrederickMar 30, 2016

An evolutionary anthropologist thinks there are three particular ways that natural selection has made our sleep different from that of other great apes.

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The Social Organization of Innovative Scientific Groups

Katie L. BurkeMar 24, 2016

A discussion with sociologist and Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer Ed Hackett on the history and outcomes of social organization in science, and what that means for those who wish to cultivate an innovative scientific environment.

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Emerging Entomology Research from a New Biodiversity Hotspot

Matthew BertoneMar 22, 2016

At a regional meeting in the southeastern United States, bug experts revealed new research in taxonomy, invasion biology, disease ecology, and microbiomics.

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Crowdsourcing the Paleolithic

Sandra J. AckermanDec 31, 2015

Who knows what you may discover from the comfort of your armchair?

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Confessions of a Herbarium-Savvy Field Biologist

Carolyn BeansDec 7, 2015

With natural history collections in decline, what's a busy researcher to do with specimens from past studies?

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How Hair Ice Grows

Fenella SaundersNov 9, 2015

Updated research shows how long, thin strands of ice, called hair ice, forms from decomposing wood.

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Overcoming Barriers to Diversity in Science

Katie L. BurkeNov 5, 2015

[VIDEO] In this Google Hangout, associate editor Katie L. Burke discusses with sociologist Sandra Hanson what the barriers to diversity in science are, what solutions she has seen work to promote diversity, and what barriers remain to be addressed.

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Up Close with Lemur Gut Bugs

Lydia GreeneOct 29, 2015

The World Lemur Festival starts today, and is a great occasion to celebrate these charismatic primates—and their poop.

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Can Your Phone Tell You If Your Food Is Safe?

Fenella SaundersOct 10, 2015

[VIDEO] Determining whether your food is safe to eat could soon be as simple as activating an app and pointing your mobile phone at the meal on your plate. In the latest in our series of Google Hangouts with Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturers, Omowunmi Sadik discusses biosensors—what they are, how they work, and how they can help us determine whether our food contains unsafe levels of pathogens. Along the way, Dr. Sadik also talks about electrochemical "fingerprints," nanotechnology ethics, regulatory processes, and the patenting process, as well as her early years of studying science in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Developing Duplicates: 3D Printing Replacement Body Parts

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella SaundersAug 16, 2015

Researchers in the regenerative medicine field are now amplifying their efforts with 3D-printing technology, which can now use organic materials to create scaffolds that cells need to grow into their final forms.

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How Forensic Scientists Find a Dead Body—
And How Microbes Can Help

Raychelle BurksAug 6, 2015

Finding a dead body within a suspected area is challenging, and new tools can help forensics teams cast a wider net.

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May Berenbaum on the New U. S. Strategy to Promote Pollinator Health

Heather ThorstensenJun 19, 2015

The recipient of Sigma Xi’s 2015 John P. McGovern Science and Society Award, entomologist May Berenbaum, has been called on as a public expert on honeybees. She shares her thoughts with Heather Thorstensen, Sigma Xi’s manager of communications, on the recently released—and the first—National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.

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A Tail of Two Moths

William E. ConnerJun 9, 2015

I predicted that any insect that flies at night must have a way of dealing with their fiercest nocturnal predators—bats. More recent findings by Akito Kawahara of the University of Florida and my former graduate student Jesse Barber of Boise State University confirm this prediction in two exciting ways.

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Big Data and the Individual Patient

Sandra J. AckermanMay 29, 2015

The number-crunching power of large clinical trials can sometimes blur unique features that affect the outcome of treatment for a particular patient.

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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters: The Brain During Depression

Katie L. Burke, Jagmeet MacMay 18, 2015

Neuroscientist Ahmad Hariri explains how the watchdog of the brain—the amygdala—is overactive in those with depression and anxiety.

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Describing Applicants in Gendered Language Might Influence Academic Science Hiring

Wendy M. Williams, Stephen J. CeciMay 7, 2015

We recently published an article about the results of a 4.5-year program of research on gender’s influence on faculty hiring preferences for tenure-track STEM assistant professorships. Our methods brought up an interesting issue about the types of adjectives used to describe job applicants, one that we did not have space to address in the paper.

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Beating Cancers’ Unexpected Vice: Transcription

Brian J. AbrahamApr 10, 2015

Tumor cells, like many lost souls, have vices that push them toward misbehavior. However, the vices tumor cells need are hard to shut down completely and systemically without harming innocent bystander cells. Surprisingly, researchers are finding that gene transcription can be abused by tumor cells that transcribe the wrong or broken genes.

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Why More Biologists Need to Teach in Africa

David C. BlackburnMar 24, 2015

For living in such a well-recognized center of biodiversity, it is surprising that so few scientists in Cameroon, where I’ve done fieldwork for a decade, and neighboring countries have been involved in the process of describing new species.

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