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Most people can identify a familiar face in a photo, even if the picture is taken at an unusual angle, or in poor lighting. Think about how easily you may recognize someone you know in a social media feed or a photo album. Our brains become trained to recognize the facial features of someone we often see.  However,…

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Trains have been the fundamental backbone of transportation and shipping for a few hundred years. Despite the ubiquity of trains, the details of their workings are a bit of a mystery. Trains have come about as more of a feat of engineering than one of science. Thus, the detailed scientific theory of trains has remained…

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Large stars and planets in space have intense gravity. The gravity of these large celestial bodies is so strong, that they actually warp the empty space around them. Also, in space, time progresses differently when near celestial bodies. Because of these effects on space and time, space is regarded as a space-time…

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If intelligent aliens exist somewhere in the depths of space, then should we see signs of their technology? This question has motivated scientists involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) to hunt for evidence of tell-tale signs of alien civilizations. But space is enormous, and any real effort to…

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Cancer is one of the greatest challenges of our time. A common misconception about cancer is that it is one disease. There are hundreds of unique types of cancers that all require different treatment strategies. This diversity in cancer types is one reason curing cancer is so difficult. The advances in medicine over…

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Nitrogen pollution is a big problem in standing water such as lakes and ponds. The nitrogen comes from many sources, often agricultural fertilizers. Some of this nitrogen is in the water, but the rest of it is actually trapped in the sediment at the bottom of the lake. You can see evidence of this pollution when a…

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At the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, there is a supermassive black hole. This is normal — at the center of almost every galaxy there is a black hole that is millions or billions times heavier than our sun. As galaxies move through the universe, they occasionally collide (the Milky Way is currently colliding with…

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Today, Nature published the landmark discovery of a system of seven planets around a star named TRAPPIST-1 about 40 light years away. This star is a red dwarf that is much cooler and smaller than our yellow sun; it is about the size of Jupiter. This is the first time that several planets the size of Earth have all been…