Tag archive for NSF

El Purgatorio

In the desolate terrain of coastal Peru, archeologists unearth clues to a culture of artisans and urban prosperity.

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Carbon’s magic carpet

If you set fire to this page, a flake of ash might rise and float away. That little smidgen of carbon, as black as the wing of a crow, is so fragile it crumples to dust when it lands in the palm of your hand.

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Roots and shoots

That smell, familiar but unexpected in a laboratory: just-cut grass, fresh fodder for livestock, the smell of chloroplasts breaking open.

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how to stop an atom

Sooner or later, technology’s pursuit of ever-smaller devices leads it down the rabbit hole and into the realm of quantum mechanics, where the hot dance of atoms makes assembling tiny structures iffy.

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well-dressed particles

As any teenager might guess, what a particle wears affects its game. Thompson Mefford’s lab turns out designer wardrobes for nanoparticles that can, for instance, target a receptor site or smuggle things inside a cell.

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transformations

A new generation of tools is allowing scientists to reveal, in breathtaking detail, once-hidden patterns of life.

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Life at the edges

It’s summer in Mongolia, and a convoy of jeeps roars into the outland regions that encompass the country’s recently thawed lakes, rivers, and streams.

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of seeds and the river

In chilled white hands and fingertips reddened by a raw December rain, Gene Eidson holds the future: scruffy, pea-size packets of potential life. Winter is when the cypress trees drop their seed onto the ground and into tea-colored swamp water.

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