Latest Science headlines

The latest science news from The Boston Globe

Giant predatory worms invaded France, but scientists just noticed them

Just as hammerhead sharks cruise through lagoons, hammerhead flatworms hunt through soil.

Jupiter’s backward-flying asteroid came from another star system

The asteroid was found just months after the discovery of our first known interstellar visitor.

An ancient horse was found in Pompeii’s ashes, as well as a street of grand houses

More windows into ancient times have been opened by recent discoveries at the site.


Greater Boston author readings May 20-26

A weekly calendar of literary events.

Is someone secretly producing gas that harms the ozone layer?

Government scientists have detected an increase in emissions of such a gas. And they’re worried that it could could slow progress in restoring the atmosphere’s protective ozone layer.


Pennsylvania’s Amish community is caught in a bind

The Amish pool resources for their medical care. A budget-busting gene therapy is taxing the community’s resources.

SpaceX’s upgraded rocket soars with satellite for Bangladesh

SpaceX lifted Bangladesh’s first satellite into orbit Friday using an upgraded rocket designed for dozens of repeat flights including back-to-back, same-day launches.

Scientists may have solved the mystery of why the leaning tower of Pisa hasn’t fallen down during an earthquake

Why hasn’t the leaning tower of Pisa fallen down, despite all the strong earthquakes in the area over the centuries? Scientists say they answer is in the soil.

Researchers say they’ve been able to issue hidden commands to smartphones, smart speakers

In the wrong hands, the technology could be used to unlock doors, wire money or buy stuff online.

Elephants may be dialing long-distance through their feet

Vibrations in the ground can travel farther than they could through the air, giving elephants a variety of powerful methods for long-distance communication.

NASA launches InSight spacecraft to Mars to dig down deep

A robotic geologist armed with a hammer and quake monitor rocketed toward Mars on Saturday, aiming to land on the red planet and explore its mysterious insides.

It ain’t easy being green

Yossi Sheffi’s latest book examines the challenges and benefits of “going green” in a multilayered global economy.

Nearly two-thirds of people age 65 to 80 are interested in sex, new poll says

More than half of people in that age group say that sex is important to their quality of life.

four takes

Recalling the birth of environmentalism

Four books tell the stories of the people and ideas that shaped the way we think about ecology and conservation

Fossil footprints show a human chasing an extinct giant sloth

Where these creatures went, ancient humans followed. We know this because the travelers left footprints — physical evidence that people chased the giants.

The MFA, the FBI, and the 4,000-year-old mummy

If an advanced method of genetic testing could work on an ancient mummy, it could work on some of the FBI’s more difficult criminal cases.

The Great Barrier Reef is being devastated by warming waters, researchers say

Dreaming of someday scuba diving one of the world’s natural wonders? Better move fast.

Atlantic Ocean circulation hasn’t been this sluggish in 1,000 years. What that means for New England

The circulation is critical for fisheries off the U.S. Atlantic coast, a key part of New England’s economy that have seen changes in recent years.

book review

A striking, visionary novel about the environment

“The Overstory” is a big, ambitious epic, spanning the last half of the 20th century and asking what we’re doing to our planet.

Research suggests lonely plants on mountaintops are getting company, thanks to climate change

As the world warms, plants from lower elevations are moving up toward mountain summits, possibly threatening the hardy survivors at the top, a new study found.


Families of those at risk for overdoses should carry reversal drug, surgeon general says

He likened the treatment to other livesaving interventions, such as knowing how to perform CPR or use an EpiPen.

The center of the Milky Way is teeming with black holes

The center of our galaxy is packed with black holes, sort of like a Times Square for strange super gravity objects, astronomers discovered.

Testing for hepatitis C lags with baby boomers despite high infection rate

A study says that about 13 percent of baby boomers were tested in 2015, up just slightly from 12 percent in 2013.

NASA delays next-generation space telescope until 2020

Officials say the cost for the successor to the Hubble telescope may exceed the $8 billion program cap set by Congress. NASA has already poured $7 billion into the project.

Parts of the Amazon, once thought empty, may have been home to 1 million people

The new study joins a growing body of research suggesting the Amazon was more populated than once believed.

Get Smart

UNH researchers say they discovered hidden moraines left behind by glaciers

Using LiDAR technology, they discovered DeGeer, or washboard-type moraines that were probably created by glaciers during the Ice Age.

This tiny skeleton found in Chile might look like an alien’s, but genetics studies are uncovering the tragic, true story

A tiny skeleton found in Chile might look like it comes from out of this world, but her genes tell a different, sad story.


Computer science faces an ethics crisis. The Cambridge Analytica scandal proves it.

Dynamite and the atomic bomb led to soul-searching among chemists and physicists. Computer scientists have not yet witnessed negative consequences of their work — and behave accordingly.

Humanely told stories of lives saved and lost

A critical-care doctor’s memoir looks at the miracles and limits of medicine and the nature of life itself.

Asteroid probably came from two-star system

The asteroid discovered in October is the first confirmed object in our solar system that originated elsewhere.

The FDA wants to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes

The FDA says it wants to make cigarettes minimally addictive or nonaddictive.

Get Smart

A look back at Stephen Hawking’s visits to the Boston area

The celebrated British physicist Stephen Hawking, who died in England on Wednesday, was no stranger to the Boston area. Here are some highlights of his visits.

Noted quotations from physicist Stephen Hawking

Dr. Hawking possessed an uncanny ability to come up with memorable phrases and sayings that summed up his world view.

Timeline of Stephen Hawking’s life

The celebrated physicist died Wednesday, his family said.

Stephen Hawking, 76, ground-breaking physicist

Dr. Hawking’s best-selling book “A Brief History of Time” helped make him the most celebrated scientist since Albert Einstein.

Geometric clusters of cyclones churn over Jupiter’s poles

Jupiter’s poles are blanketed by geometric clusters of cyclones and its atmosphere is deeper than scientists suspected.

Yes, you can have multiple kinds of flu at once

But that and similar scenarios, like getting the flu twice in a season, are pretty rare, experts say.

Study suggests a possible link between ALS and diesel exhaust

Exposure to diesel exhaust on the job is associated with a higher risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to a Harvard researcher.

Get Smart

MIT scientists take step toward treating memory loss diseases like Alzheimer’s

MIT neuroscientists may have come up with an answer to treating brain disorders associated with memory loss — including epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.

European art scene began with Neanderthals

Two studies of objects from the murky depths of Spanish caves appear to confirm that Homo sapiens’ evolutionary cousins had the brainpower to make artistic works and use symbols.

Neanderthals had an eye for art, according to a new study of cave paintings in Spain

Neanderthals, rather than humans, created the world’s oldest known cave paintings, according to new research.

Arctic temperatures soar 45 degrees above normal, flooded by extremely mild air

The thaw occurred as a pulse of extremely mild air shot through the Greenland Sea.

Trump seems to have insulated himself from MeToo movement

In the era of #MeToo, President Trump’s behavior would be fireable and career-ruining for most CEOs or celebrities, according to experts. But the Republican Party is increasingly invested in his success.

Satellites show warming is accelerating sea level rise

Satellite research shows melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are speeding up already rising seas.

Satellites show warming is accelerating sea level rise

Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are speeding up the already fast pace of sea level rise, new satellite research shows.

Farthest photos ever taken, from nearly 4 billion miles away

The NASA spacecraft that gave us close-ups of Pluto has set a record for the farthest photos ever taken.

Climate change diet: Arctic sea ice thins, so do polar bears

Some polar bears in the Arctic are shedding pounds during the time they should be beefing up, a new study shows. It’s the climate change diet and scientists say it’s not good.

Fossil shows modern humans left Africa earlier than thought

A fossil found in Israel indicates modern humans may have left Africa as much as 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.

NASA bumps astronaut off space station flight in rare move

NASA has bumped an astronaut off an upcoming spaceflight, a rare move for the space agency so close to launch.

US cold snap was a freak of nature, quick analysis finds

Consider this cold comfort: A quick study of the brutal American cold snap found that the Arctic blast really wasn’t global warming but a freak of nature.