Culture

The unexpected science of everyday things

Science is a mirror that reveals sometimes hidden, often unexpected and always astounding insights into everyday things and human life. Here we explore everything you always wanted to know about holidays, food, art, music, books, games, TV, film, education, urban life and crime — as well as human history, archaeology and anthropology.

A graphene layer shields an artwork against light, oxygen and moisture, and can be removed using an eraser.
Karen Kwon, Contributor
New research uncovers the cellular basis of fractal patterns in Romanesco and cauliflower.
Charles Q. Choi, Contributor
The skull was found in China, and it belonged to a man who lived at the same time as Neanderthals and ancient Homo sapiens.
Charles Q. Choi, Contributor
Inside Science chats with Megan Povey about her research and what she has learned from transitioning genders late in life.
Nala Rogers, Staff Writer
Ancient stencils of hands with "mutilated" fingers may actually show a type of sign language used for hunting or silent rituals.
Nala Rogers, Staff Writer
Torches cast a brilliant glow that was good for exploring, while lamps were better for lighting one small area.
Charles Q. Choi, Contributor
Researchers designed pasta that is stored flat and morphs into shape while cooking.
Charles Q. Choi, Contributor
Reducing light pollution could be as easy as turning off a switch, but it still requires a well-coordinated effort.
Yuen Yiu, Staff Writer
Greek mythology says Icarus fell because he flew too close to the sun. What does science say?
Yuen Yiu, Staff Writer
This month in pictures
Abigail Malate, Staff Illustrator
Global study reveals microbial diversity of sourdough starters.
Rodrigo Pérez Ortega, Contributor
Modern tech helps researchers read unopened letters from more than 300 years ago.
Charles Q. Choi, Contributor