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What the Hell Are You Wearing: The Science of Tacky Formal Dresses

Between prom dresses and bridesmaids dresses, we’ve seen a lot of really terrible gowns lately. What is Jessica McClintock doing to us? But it’s worse than you know—there’s a lot of weird science that goes into tacky formal dresses. You know about the engineering marvels of the Curiosity Rover, but here’s the truth… »7/22/15 11:00am7/22/15 11:00am

This Huge Engineering Project May Be Our Best Chance At Colonizing Space

Space colonization has reached an impasse, for reasons far more fundamental than a lack of money for the Space Shuttle program. There is simply no way humans can travel easily offworld without using massive amounts of rocket fuel to escape the gravity well — and that’s both expensive and environmentally unsustainable.… »6/15/15 2:06pm6/15/15 2:06pm

How Transition Metals Change The Game For Organic Chemistry 

For centuries, the best chemists in the world struggled every day to create the molecules that your own cells manufacture every second. Then they discovered how one group of atoms let them make stuff that only living cells could make, until then. Here’s why we no longer need life to create the products of life. »6/09/15 11:27am6/09/15 11:27am

Slug Slime Is A Liquid Crystal And It's Actually Pretty Incredible

You do not become a forest-floor-creeping mollusk on good looks alone; to crawl effectively, you need something with which to lubricate your wriggling, slimy, slithering self. Mucus, secreted in abundance from your entire body, is just the ticket. But slug slime is good for a lot more than whole-body lubrication. »3/03/15 7:00pm3/03/15 7:00pm

How Nanoscale Optics Create Nature's Most Dazzling Colors

What do a butterfly's shimmering wings, a fish's opalescent scales, and a peacock's brilliant feathers have in common? Yes, their colors are beautifully iridescent. But they are also produced by the physical interaction of light with sophisticated nanoscale architecture that we are only just beginning to understand. »2/19/15 11:14am2/19/15 11:14am

Shapeshifting Metal Brings Us One Step Closer to the T-1000

Composed of liquid metal, the robot assassin in Terminator 2 could change its shape at will. In boring real life, surface tension makes forming non-spherical liquid shapes impractical—at least until now. New research has yielded a technique that makes it possible to manipulate liquid metal into multiple configurations. »9/23/14 1:40pm9/23/14 1:40pm