Science

Science news

courtesy NASA

The last man to walk on the moon – NASA astronaut and Purdue University graduate Gene Cernan -- has died.

Cernan became the answer to a trivia question when he was the last human to leave his footprints on the lunar surface as part of the Apollo 17 crew in 1972.

But historian John Norberg, who’s written about Purdue’s connections to the space race, says Cernan wouldn’t want today’s students to think of him that way.

Eduardo Zattara/Armin Moczek/Jim Powers/Jonathan Cherry/Matthew Curtis / Indiana University

Biologists studying dung beetles at Indiana University have won an award celebrating a 3-D image illustrating their work.

The researchers' winning picture displays the metamorphosis of an adolescent beetle’s nervous system.

Three scientists were behind the colorful, award-winning image, which last month was declared a winner in the Federation for American Societies for Experimental Biology’s BioArt competition.

Purdue University

Purdue University plans to build on its defense and security interests by creating a hub that'll focus those interactions.

University administrators Thursday announced creation of the Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation.

It’s designed to lure more investment from the likes of private companies such as Rolls-Royce – which builds engines for fighter planes -- to the federal government’s shadowy Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

Nate McAninch

“Supermoon” is a catchy name for what scientists call the moon, earth and sun’s perigee-syzygy. Because the lunar orbit is oval-shaped, the moon is closer to the earth during certain times of the month. A supermoon occurs when the moon’s perigee—the point at which it’s closest to the earth—happens when the moon is full.

Sarah Fentem / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Research at Purdue has uncovered a naturally-occurring material that — in a phenomenon that seemingly defies logic — becomes thicker when it’s stretched.

Most materials get thinner vertically when they’re stretched horizontally, think about how a water balloon becomes more fragile with more water inside. However, scientists have manufactured so-called “auxetic” materials that can do the opposite, thanks to a special way their atomic structures line up, like a hinge that opens.

Purdue University News / https://twitter.com/PurdueUnivNews

Purdue University made national headlines this spring when the school’s researchers were the first to map the entire molecular structure of the Zika Virus. But National Institutes of Health leaders visited campus Thursday to say such triumphs may come less frequently unless Congress acts soon to secure funding.

March’s Zika breakthrough came with the help of money from grants funded by the NIH, the agency responsible for federal biomedical and health-related research.

IU Physicist Mark Messier, right, with former Fermilab Deputy Director Young-Kee Kim / http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news-archive/22202.html

An Indiana University scientist has announced a discovery about the mysterious nature of neutrinos, the subatomic “ghost particle” that has captured the imagination of the physics world.

Neutrinos, the second-most abundant particle in the universe, are everywhere, and yet they stubbornly don’t want to cooperate with many of the forces that hold matter together, which makes conducting research on them difficult.

James Brosher / Indiana University

In the United States, the last two weeks were a little smellier than usual.

More than 5,000 people flocked to a greenhouse at Indiana University last weekend to witness the brief, smelly bloom of the corpse flower, the largest flower in the world. The plant’s flower, when open, emits an odor akin to rancid, rotting flesh.

Psycho Delia / https://www.flickr.com/photos/24557420@N05/

Indianapolis is enlisting its residents to help count bees, butterflies and other bugs as part of a crowdsourcing science initiative. The “City-Wide Pollinator Count” aims to tell scientists more about where the bees are…and aren’t.

Crowdsourcing data has proved a valuable tool for scientists. Initiatives such as the Great World Wide Star Count and Cornell Ornithology Lab’s Backyard Bird Count catalog information scientists would otherwise never be able to access.

Bertram Nudelbach / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nudelbach/

Indiana will witness its first real heat wave of 2016 this week. Temperatures are expected to peak in the mid-90s this weekend, and the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory through Saturday evening.

The hot conditions are the result of a so-called “heat dome,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Even though the name is simple, the conditions that create a heat dome are a complicated combination of pressure, temperature and air density.

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