Close
Topics
Collections

Health & Disease

The unexpected diversity of pain

It comes in many types that each require specialized treatment. Scientists are starting to learn how to diagnose the different varieties.

Support Knowable Magazine

Please help us make scientific knowledge accessible to all.

Why green energy finally makes economic sense

Solar and wind generators have suddenly become just as cheap as other ways to produce electric power

Singular science

“N of 1” studies aim to answer medical questions one person at a time

Physicists probe validity of Einstein’s gravity on cosmic scales

New tests could verify general theory of relativity, or find flaws

Winding the body’s clock

Medicines and other small molecules may play a role in fixing rhythms gone awry

The workout drug

As researchers learn more about how exercise fights chronic ills like heart disease and diabetes, doctors may soon be able to treat physical activity as the powerful medicine it is

As coral die, protected areas aren’t enough

COMIC: The reef-builders face larger threats, scientists say. Chief among these is warming seas.

Space is the place for impossible molecules

Compounds with noble gases don’t form naturally on Earth. But in the interstellar medium, they are helping scientists probe the history of the universe.

A preventable malignancy

Some parts of the world are on the path to largely eradicating cervical cancer, but the story is less rosy for other populations, including US Hispanics. Why, and what can be done about it?

The human hand in fish evolution

Fishery practices that go for the big ones may be counterproductive when mostly the small survive

The tricky task of tallying carbon

To slow or stop global warming, the world agrees it must cut carbon dioxide emissions. But monitoring each nation’s output of greenhouse gases is not always straightforward.

The weapons of sexual rivalry

Male-male competition, and sometimes female preferences, have driven arms races for the flashiest horns, antlers, pincers, tusks and claws

The future that graphene built

Move over, flat carbon. Meet borophene, phosphorene and the rest of the next generation of “atomically thin” super-materials.

In the bank

Britain is profiling the genes, health and lifestyles of its citizens and handing the results to scientists across the world.

Living with chronic illness: Why some cope and others don’t

What helps some people diagnosed with cancer, heart disease or diabetes stay relatively happy and healthy, while others are devastated? Psychologist Vicki Helgeson explains the traits and mindsets that can make the difference.

The monarch’s stupendous migration, dissected

COMIC: The feisty orange-black butterfly uses a toolbox of biological tricks to find its way down to Mexico for winter and flap north again in spring. Here’s how scientists figured out those tricks — and what they don’t yet understand.

Unpersuasive: Why arguing about climate change often doesn't work

COMIC: In the US, where political parties have increasingly staked claims on one side of the issue or the other, beliefs may be more about belonging than facts

When courtroom science goes wrong — and how stats can fix it

COMIC: Bite marks, shoe prints, crime-scene fibers: Matches to suspects are often far shakier than courtroom experts claim. Better statistical methods — among them, a little beast known as the “likelihood ratio” — can cut down on wrong convictions.

Fast facts about the Milky Way | Things to Know

VIDEO: Our galaxy may seem humble, but here are a few things to know about what makes it an exceptional place

What are California megafires? | Things to Know

VIDEO: Megafires, which burn over 100,000 acres, can cause catastrophic damage. Researchers are studying fire behavior in the lab and in the field in order to fight these flames more effectively.

Election polls aren’t broken, but they still can’t predict the future

Polling can take the pulse of a population’s sentiment, but swing voters, skewed samples and other issues have always limited its ability to pick a winner

GPS is going places

Here are five things you didn’t know the navigation system could do

Measuring surgical quality

Not all surgeons are equally skilled with a scalpel. Doctors are developing new ways to test — and improve — operating room performance.

Polymers promise a more flexible artificial retina

Organic semiconductors can link up with brain cells to send and receive signals. They may find a use in sight-restoring prostheses.