Science

Will the Trump administration censor climate scientists?

By Daniel de Vries, 15 August 2017

A draft of an authoritative federal study by US scientists was released amid fear of suppression.

Curiosity rover marks fifth year on Mars

By Bryan Dyne, 9 August 2017

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of NASA’s Pathfinder mission, which paved the way for all subsequent Mars landers and rovers.

Evidence of early rice domestication found in southern China

By Philip Guelpa, 25 July 2017

The process of rice domestication by humans involved a range of social and technological adjustments associated with increasing reliance on a particular food source.

Albert Einstein’s life, or parts of it, in the first season of National Geographic’s Genius

By Bryan Dyne, 20 July 2017

The 10-episode season depicts the life of one of the most renowned scientists in world history without paying much attention to the science he developed.

Climate change and the struggle against capitalism

By Patrick Martin, 14 July 2017

The main obstacles to a rational climate policy are capitalist private ownership of the means of production and the division of the world into rival nation-states.

Scientists warn of “biological annihilation” as Earth’s mass extinction accelerates

By Josh Varlin, 12 July 2017

A scientific study published Monday concludes that the planet is already seeing its sixth mass extinction—the first since humans evolved.

Evolutionary divergence between apes and humans may have occurred in Europe, not Africa

By Philip Guelpa, 8 June 2017

Fossil specimens from Greece and Bulgaria may represent very early members of the hominin lineage.

New evidence for life-capable environments on Saturn’s moon Enceladus

By Bryan Dyne, 6 June 2017

The Cassini spacecraft has uncovered molecular hydrogen in material erupting from the subsurface ocean of Saturn’s moon.

Poisoned Water: “NOVA” science series broadcasts segment on Flint water crisis

By James Brewer, 3 June 2017

The Public Broadcasting Service presented an engaging and informative documentary on the science behind the Flint water crisis.

New dating of Homo naledi fossil alters its position in the human evolutionary tree

By Philip Guelpa, 19 May 2017

A South African fossil hominin raises many intriguing questions about how the dialectic of technology, environment, and physical and intellectual development played out in human evolution.

The global cyberattack, the NSA and Washington’s war propaganda against Russia

By Bill Van Auken, 15 May 2017

The cyberattack that hit some 200,000 computers around the world, using malicious software developed by the US National Security Agency, is only expected to escalate and spread in the coming days.

Brazil’s science march and the role of nationalism and the military

By Miguel Andrade, 3 May 2017

Military interests have cast a shadow for almost a century over the scientific community in Brazil.

Researchers claim evidence that humans were in the Americas 130,000 years ago

By Matthew MacEgan, 1 May 2017

This claim is receiving wide attention because it is 115,000 years earlier than any date previously suggested for the peopling of the western hemisphere, based on existing evidence.

Climate scientist Michael Mills describes the devastation of a nuclear detonation

People get “melted into burning pools of fat”

By Bryan Dyne, 27 April 2017

Michael Mills has spent nearly a decade modeling the climatic effects of what the US military would consider a “limited nuclear war.”

More voices of the March for Science

By our reporters, 26 April 2017

Dozens of scientists, students, workers and other supporters of science spoke with Socialist Equality Party supporters during marches on April 22.

Voices of the March for Science

By our reporters, 25 April 2017

Dozens of scientists, students, workers and other supporters of science spoke with Socialist Equality Party supporters during marches on April 22.

Hundreds of thousands march worldwide to defend science

By Patrick Martin, 24 April 2017

More than 600 marches and protests were held in support of the main demonstration in Washington, DC, which drew about 75,000 people.

Science protests held across Canada

By our reporters, 24 April 2017

Demonstrations took place in 18 towns and cities across Canada on Saturday in conjunction with the global March for Science, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and many regional and university towns.

Thousands march in London in defence of science

By our reporters, 24 April 2017

One demonstrator said, “I think a discussion of science in terms of socialism is necessary and we need some real debates about what kind of political model fits science best.”

Germany: Thousands participate in protests in defence of science

By our reporters, 24 April 2017

Protests took place in at least 20 German cities, with the biggest in Berlin, attended by 8,000 participants.

Thousands join March for Science demonstrations in Australia

By our reporters, 24 April 2017

In contrast to the concerns of protestors, rally organisers sought to sow illusions about pressuring governments to withdraw their attacks on science.

Hundreds of thousands to participate in worldwide “March for Science”

By Bryan Dyne, 22 April 2017

Scientists, researchers, workers and youth are marching today in at least 130 countries encompassing six continents in the world’s largest pro-science demonstration to date.

“To the staff of the WSWS and its readers”

A response from a scientist to “Science and socialism”

22 April 2017

The defense of science cannot take place on the basis of either skepticism about wide layers of the population or American nationalism.

The issues posed by the worldwide March for Science

Science and Socialism

By the Socialist Equality Party, 20 April 2017

Hundreds of thousands of scientists and other professionals, together with students and working people, will take part this Saturday in the worldwide March for Science.

“In a nuclear war between the US and Russia, everybody in the world would die”

Nuclear experts speak on the dangers of war between the US and Russia

By Bryan Dyne and Barry Grey, 15 April 2017

The World Socialist Web Site recently spoke with Steven Starr and Greg Mello, both experts on the consequences of nuclear war.

Spectrum of anti-hydrogen observed

By Joe Mount, 13 April 2017

Initial results from the ALPHA-2 experiment show that matter and antimatter differ by at most 200 parts per trillion.

New discovery sheds light on the deep roots of the Agricultural Revolution

By Philip Guelpa, 27 March 2017

The discovery of 23,000-year-old tools used to harvest cereal grains in northern Israel adds to our understanding of the processes leading to the development of agriculture.

The discovery of a system with seven “Earth-like” exoplanets

By Bryan Dyne, 24 February 2017

The discovery of the new planetary system was based on collaboration towards a common goal whose driving force was the pursuit of knowledge, not the amassing of personal wealth.

Federal employees resist administration attempts to impose media gags

By Bryan Dyne, 3 February 2017

Scientists at various government agencies are concerned that any mention of climate science will be silenced.

Nuclear winter—the long-suppressed reality of nuclear war

An interview with scientist and anti-nuclear activist Steven Starr

By Bryan Dyne, 19 January 2017

The World Socialist Web Site recently interviewed Steven Starr, an expert on the dangers of nuclear war.

Some significant scientific developments of 2016

By Joe Mount, 4 January 2017

Scientific advances during the past year shed light on a variety of topics, from the nature of space and time to the increasingly dire state of Earth’s environment.

Great Barrier Reef suffering worst-ever coral bleaching

By Bryan Dyne, 30 December 2016

Global warming has caused the worst destruction of corals ever recorded on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Planet Earth II: David Attenborough narrates the dramas of life a second time

By Bryan Dyne, 16 December 2016

The BBC documentary explores how life has evolved and adapted across islands, mountains, jungles, deserts, grasslands and cities.

New dinosaur discovery in Myanmar includes feathers

By Matthew MacEgan, 13 December 2016

Researchers recently discovered a dinosaur tail encased within a chunk of amber where its bones, muscle, ligaments, skin, and feathers remain intact.

Record-low sea ice as Arctic temperatures soar

By Daniel de Vries, 22 November 2016

Never since satellite monitoring began in the late 1970s has such little ice covered the polar seas this time of year.

Vertebrate species populations in dramatic decline

By Philip Guelpa, 1 November 2016

A study by the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London projects that by 2020 vertebrate species populations will have dropped by two thirds since 1970.

ExoMars mission has both success and failure

By Bryan Dyne, 21 October 2016

The Trace Gas Orbiter successfully entered orbit but data indicates that the Schiaparelli probe crash-landed.

Rosetta spacecraft completes mission with crash landing into comet

By Bryan Dyne, 14 October 2016

The past two years of data from Rosetta have provided an unprecedented understanding of comets and the formation of our Solar System.

Nobel Prize in physics awarded for discoveries about condensed states of matter

By Bryan Dyne, 8 October 2016

The combination of the mathematics of topology and condensed matter physics is expected to lead directly to new types of materials and electronics.

New fossil discovery may date origin of life on Earth earlier than previously known

By Philip Guelpa, 27 September 2016

The discovery of what appear to be stromatolites dating to 3.7 billion years ago in southwestern Greenland suggests that life first evolved in the first 500 million years after Earth’s formation.

Warming of Earth proceeding at unprecedented pace

By Bryan Dyne, 3 September 2016

Temperature records from ice cores and sediments show that the current rate of global warming is faster than at any point in the past millennium.

Potentially Earth-like planet found in habitable zone of nearest star

By Don Barrett, 27 August 2016

The main differences between Earth and the newly discovered Proxima b are the very different physical characteristics of their respective parents’ stars.

Astronomers reveal most detailed map of galaxy distribution

By Joe Mount, 15 August 2016

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has enabled scientists to make the most precise measurements yet of dark energy and the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe.

The anti-scientific character of “race” as a concept

By Philip Guelpa, 3 August 2016

A recent article in Science correctly demands the expulsion of race as a category from the study of human genetics.

One year since the New Horizons flyby of Pluto

By Bryan Dyne, 15 July 2016

During the past year, the NASA spacecraft has sent back images showing canyons, plains, mountains and evidence for liquid water on Pluto.

Juno spacecraft enters orbit around Jupiter

By Bryan Dyne, 5 July 2016

Juno’s mission will reveal the interior structure of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, and answer significant questions about its formation.

Further steps in finding an Earth-like planet outside the solar system

By Bryan Dyne, 29 June 2016

The prospects of finding another planet similar to our own are steadily increasing.

Recent developments in science: Particle physics, climate science, galactic astronomy

Evidence hints at existence of fourth neutrino

By our reporters, 24 June 2016

If the discovery is confirmed, the fourth type of neutrino would be a new fundamental particle, one not currently described by the standard theories of particle physics.

Were Neanderthals architects?

By Philip Guelpa, 14 June 2016

Architectural features dating from over 176,000 years ago, found deep in a French cave, may have been built by Neanderthals.

El Niño and the acceleration of global warming

By Matthew MacEgan, 1 June 2016

The abnormally warm ocean waters caused by El Niño induce much more extreme weather patterns than normal, including droughts, cyclones, and floods.

Study warns of potentially catastrophic impacts from Antarctic ice melt

By Daniel de Vries, 5 April 2016

New research estimates that unabated warming may double the rate of expected sea level rise to nearly 2 meters by century’s end.

Recent developments in science: oceanography, neuroscience, planetary astronomy

Scientists use gravity to map Earth’s ocean floor

By our reporters, 18 March 2016

Previously undiscovered features found include an underwater mountain range in the Gulf of Mexico, a major fault line in the South Atlantic Ocean, many smaller hill-like features on the ocean floor and thousands of previously unknown underwater mountains and volcanoes.

New technologies expand knowledge of early art in North America

By Matthew MacEgan, 29 February 2016

Early art produced more than 8,000 years ago has been identified in several states and provinces in Canada, the United States and Mexico by using new photographic technology.

Alternative approach to nuclear fusion energy at German lab takes important first step

By Gregory McAvoy, 24 February 2016

The scientists and engineers who designed and built the device are attempting to show that a new type of reactor design could provide a more attainable path to commercial fusion power.

The detection of gravitational waves: A scientific milestone

By Bryan Dyne, 13 February 2016

The discovery of gravitational waves is a vindication of science and the ability of human reason to tackle and overcome the most complex problems.

Astronomers detect gravitational waves predicted by Einstein

By Will Morrow, 12 February 2016

The LIGO Collaboration has published the first direct detection of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space and time.

New research reveals effects of the Agricultural Revolution on human evolution

By Philip Guelpa, 15 January 2016

Several new studies highlight the dialectical interaction between the physical and genetic makeup of modern humans and the development of agriculture.

100 years of General Relativity—Part Three

By Bryan Dyne, 9 December 2015

This is the last part of a three-part series examining the history, science and implications of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Global warming compounds Atlantic cod fishing industry problems

By John Marion, 8 December 2015

Recent scientific studies point to the effects of global warming on Atlantic cod populations already reduced to historically low sizes by decades of overfishing.

100 years of General Relativity—Part Two

By Will Morrow, 8 December 2015

This is the second of a three-part series examining the history, science and lasting implications of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which remains, along with his special theory, one of the central pillars of modern physics.

100 years of General Relativity—Part One

By Don Barrett, 7 December 2015

This is the first of a three-part series examining the history, science and implications of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

New genetic data show “Back to Africa” migration in Neolithic times

By Philip Guelpa, 23 October 2015

Analysis of ancient DNA from Ethiopia provides evidence of a “reflux” of Eurasian peoples into Africa between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago, contributing significantly to the modern African genome.

Strong evidence for liquid water flows on present-day Mars

By Bryan Dyne, 29 September 2015

The dark streaks observed on Mars are most likely salt deposits left behind from liquid water flows across the Martian surface.

Remains of a new species of early human discovered in South African cave

By Philip Guelpa, 14 September 2015

The recovery of remains of at least 15 members of an early human species provides an unprecedented mosaic of characteristics in a single population.

Discovery of the most Earth-like planet to date

By Don Barrett, 25 July 2015

At a time of the momentous discovery of planets around other stars, no money can be found to examine them.

Pluto and Earth

By Patrick Martin, 17 July 2015

The flyby of Pluto by the spacecraft New Horizons—a scientific achievement of the first order—stands in contrast to the seemingly intractable social crises on our own planet.

New Horizons spacecraft completes Pluto flyby

By Bryan Dyne, 15 July 2015

The Pluto encounter is the first time that a spacecraft has ever visited the distant world.

EPA study whitewashes the effects of fracking

By Philip Guelpa, 13 July 2015

The US EPA reports finding that the incidence of drinking water contamination due to hydraulic fracturing is low, but evidence of the danger of fracking continues to mount.

Scottish National Party’s Nicola Sturgeon in talks over fracking

By Steve James, 11 July 2015

Fracking is notorious for the threat it poses to ground water supplies, which can be contaminated with chemicals and by methane released from cracked wells.

New Horizons spacecraft prepares for Pluto flyby

By Bryan Dyne, 8 July 2015

Pluto, a world too small and distant to be seen in detail even with Earth’s best telescopes, is the farthest object explored by a space probe.

Atmospheric temperatures rise to record levels as glaciers disintegrate

By Matthew MacEgan, 3 July 2015

Two new reports show that global warming and climate change are becoming larger threats than ever before.

Study finds that one in six species are in danger of extinction due to climate change

By Philip Guelpa, 25 June 2015

A meta-analysis of 131 earlier studies predicts that widespread species extinctions will occur at an accelerating rate unless measures are taken to reduce global warming.

What we learned about Mercury from the Messenger spacecraft

By Bryan Dyne, 22 June 2015

Over the course of its lifetime, Messenger has sent back more than 275,000 images of the planet Mercury.

New discoveries illuminate early human physical and technological evolution

By Philip Guelpa, 26 May 2015

New archaeological and fossil discoveries push back the origins of both the genus Homo and the earliest stone tool technology.

Scientists reveal the history and analysis of Kennewick Man

By Matthew MacEgan, 14 May 2015

A new volume published by the Smithsonian Institution serves as the most comprehensive study of the most important human skeleton ever found in North America.

Fracking linked to earthquakes and increased levels of radon in homes

By Philip Guelpa, 4 May 2015

Despite industry denials, the process known as fracking, used to extract oil and natural gas, is responsible for serious health and environmental problems.

Twenty-five years of the Hubble Space Telescope

By Bryan Dyne, 24 April 2015

While it is a public relations boon for NASA, Hubble's true importance lies in its continued and vast contributions to astronomy.

CERN restarts Large Hadron Collider

By Bryan Dyne, 8 April 2015

As a result of two years of upgrades, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator will generate 30 petabytes of data per year in the search for a deeper understanding of nature.

New discoveries show that Mars may have once been habitable

By Bryan Dyne, 28 March 2015

Recent evidence of nitrogen in the soil and of an ancient Martian ocean increases the likelihood that Mars once housed life.

Oldest Homo fossil from Ethiopia links human genus to Australopithecus

By Thomas H. Douglass, 10 March 2015

The discovery of the jaw fossil is an exciting link between older hominins and our own ancestors who, only a few hundred thousand years later, would be manufacturing stone tools.

Dawn spacecraft enters orbit around Ceres

By Bryan Dyne, 7 March 2015

Dawn is the first spacecraft to successfully orbit two extraterrestrial bodies.

Planetary boundaries—a systems approach to the environmental crisis

By Bryan Dyne, 3 February 2015

Environmental degradation by a range of metrics, of which climate change is only one, has the potential for large-scale disruptions of both biological and social life.

Experimental data supports the interactive development of language and technology

By Philip Guelpa, 29 January 2015

An experimental archaeology study demonstrates the increased effectiveness of language as opposed to other teaching methods in transmitting manufacturing techniques for stone tools.

US agencies rank 2014 as Earth’s warmest recorded year

By Bryan Dyne, 22 January 2015

The weight of scientific evidence points to the increase of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as a result of human activity as the cause.

Oldest known example of abstract symbolic representation discovered in Indonesia

By Philip Guelpa, 9 January 2015

Newly identified markings on a freshwater mussel shell from a site in Indonesia indicate the existence of abstract symbolic thought in human ancestors half a million years ago.

Orion spacecraft makes first orbital flight

By Patrick Martin, 8 December 2014

The unmanned test flight is only the first step in plans to resume US manned space flight by the year 2021.

The Theory of Everything: Stephen Hawking’s life, or parts of it, on film

By Walter Gilberti, 2 December 2014

Stephen Hawking has over the years become a familiar personage to millions. A brilliant physicist and cosmologist, Hawking’s nearly life-long battle with disease has become the stuff of legend.

New telescope reveals first detailed image of a planetary system in formation

By Bryan Dyne and Don Barrett, 1 December 2014

An international telescope array entering operation has produced the first detailed image showing a planetary system in formation around a young star

The comet landing: A new milestone in space exploration

By Bryan Dyne, 15 November 2014

The landing of Philae is an important reminder that humanity is capable of great things—capabilities that are constrained not by the productive capacity of mankind, but by the organization of society.

Philae spacecraft lands successfully on comet

By Don Barrett and Bryan Dyne, 13 November 2014

With its touchdown on Wednesday, the Philae module became the first spacecraft to land on the surface of a comet.

Capitalism and the space program

By Don Barrett, 12 November 2014

Technical limitations cannot explain the failure of mankind to maintain a constant tempo of more and more ambitious explorations throughout the solar system and into interstellar space.

Climate report warns of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts”

By Daniel de Vries, 7 November 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest in a series of studies warning that time to act on climate is running out.

Prehistoric rock art in Indonesia dated to 40,000 years ago

By Matthew MacEgan, 7 November 2014

Archaeologists have used new dating techniques to determine the ages of cave rock art in Southeast Asia, demonstrating that such art was not limited to continental Europe.

The HANDY model of human and nature dynamics: A critical review

By Philip Guelpa, 1 November 2014

A recently published model of the dynamics of human society and its interaction with nature concedes the contradictions in class societies but obscures their significance.

Climate change behind recent extreme weather conditions

By Matthew MacEgan, 23 October 2014

Data compiled by 91 climate scientists suggests that human-induced climate change has increased the severity and likelihood of extreme weather events in 2013.

“Risky Business” study highlights the inability of capitalism to address the consequences of climate change

By Philip Guelpa, 20 October 2014

A recently published study documents the severe consequences of climate change in the United States through the end of the century, while demonstrating the inability of capitalism to offer any effective solutions.

Uncovering the Maritime Silk Road

By Matthew MacEgan, 14 October 2014

Archaeologists across the globe are beginning to tackle larger questions about the interconnectivity of societies across continents and oceans.

US and Indian probes successfully reach Mars orbit

By Patrick Martin, 25 September 2014

Mangalyaan is designed to showcase the growing technical abilities of the Indian Space Research Organization, especially following the failure of a Chinese mission to Mars in 2012.

Climate change and the capitalist system

By Patrick Martin, 20 September 2014

This statement will be distributed at a climate change demonstration this weekend in New York City.

WMO report: Greenhouse gas levels accelerating at record pace

By Daniel de Vries, 17 September 2014

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere grew last year at the highest rate since 1984.