Close
Topics
Collections

The Mind

How we make decisions during a pandemic

From mask wearing to physical distancing, individuals wield a lot of power in how the coronavirus outbreak plays out. Behavioral experts reveal what might be prompting people to act — or not.

Support Knowable Magazine

Please help us make scientific knowledge accessible to all.

The time of trials: Waiting for a coronavirus vaccine

An infected and impatient world needs protection from Covid-19, but rushing it won't be easy. How can we speed up a complicated process?

Could gut microbes be key to solving food allergies?

New therapeutics are testing whether protective bacteria can dampen harmful immune responses to food

Data viz experts explain Covid-19 graphics | Things to Know

VIDEO: Scientists break down what some popular visualizations of the pandemic can and cannot tell us

Building a mouse squad against Covid-19

It began with an email from Wuhan, a Maine laboratory and mouse sperm from Iowa. Now that lab is on the verge of supplying a much-needed animal for SARS-CoV-2 research.

Arming immune foot soldiers against cancer

Natural killer cells are born ready to attack the disease. Biologists are developing ways to make these cells tougher and more targeted.

The single-cell life

Three ways that studying cells individually — instead of by the thousands — is revolutionizing our understanding of biology

How predictable is evolution? An ant-loving beetle holds answers.

Dozens of times over the eons, rove beetles have made complex, independent adaptations to live inside the nests of ants — the phenomenon of convergent evolution. Biologists want to know if this shows patterns at work in natural selection.

Covid-19 antibody testing: Tougher than true/false

Antibodies should indicate if someone has had an infection in the past. But the promise of “immunity testing” is plagued by uncertainty about how the immune system responds to the coronavirus, as well as concerns about the tests’ accuracy.

Could Covid-19 usher in a new era of working from home?

Millions of people have been forced to work remotely — but experts say the practice won’t necessarily stick

Treating sleep apnea with pills instead of machines

The disorder has several different causes, researchers are learning. That finding opens the door for personalized therapies — and perhaps even effective drugs.

Pollution evolution: The little fish that could

Where other species succumbed, the killifish survived contaminated habitats. It’s a finding that could help researchers understand environmental risk factors for humans.

The tides they are a-changin’ — and it’s not just from climate change

Dredging rivers, filling in wetlands and other human acts of engineering have shifted coastal ebbs and flows worldwide. Add rising sea levels, and the threat of storm surges and floods will worsen in some places.

How disease sleuths are using genomics to track the coronavirus

Rapid sequencing of viral genomes can help public health officials figure out the origins, spread and nature of quickly moving epidemics

Under-diagnosed and under-treated, girls with ADHD face distinct risks

It took a long time to figure out how attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder presents in girls and women and the problems it can create. A pioneering study helped change that, but the condition is still often missed.

Chasing the genes behind pain

New treatments for chronic pain face a long road despite promising developments. Research in people with rare diseases is pointing the way to genes that influence how we experience pain — and might lead to new medications.

Infectious disease: Making — and breaking — the animal connection

We know pathogens from other species can endanger us. Scientists are better equipped than ever to do something about it, but political buy-in is crucial.

The 2020 census has arrived. Here’s why the population count matters.

COMIC: Written into the US Constitution, the decadal tally has always started arguments. But it is also fundamental to governing.

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.

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.

The silence of the owls

No one knows exactly how the nocturnal hunters manage their whisper-soft flight, yet it is inspiring the design of quieter airplanes, fans and wind turbines

The complexities of a universal basic income

It’s a hot topic under political debate: providing cash grants as a social safety net. Small programs hint at how it might work — or not — on a national scale.

An old problem: How immune responses weaken with age

The body’s defenses lose flexibility and diversity over time, and protective responses to vaccines weaken as well. Scientists are working on ways to boost seniors’ protections against influenza, the novel coronavirus and other pathogens.