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.

Modern tech helps researchers read unopened letters from more than 300 years ago.
Charles Q. Choi, Contributor
A long-accepted study on the optimal size of national legislatures faces a challenge.
Peter Gwynne, Contributor
Dark sky tourism seeks to preserve the rich storytelling history of the indigenous people before it fades away.
Yuen Yiu, Staff Writer
January brought good and bad news to start the year.
Abigail Malate, Staff Illustrator
Fossil hands help solve the puzzle of when humans gained manual dexterity.
Charles Q. Choi, Contributor
Inside Science offers thanks and recognition for scientific accomplishments during a challenging year.
Chris Gorski, Editor
Images from the end of 2020 filled with wonder, exuberance and hope.
Abigail Malate, Staff Illustrator
An interview with baker and onetime chemical engineer Melissa Weller.
Chris Gorski, Editor
Analysis of dental plaque more than 3,000 years old reveals traces of proteins from bananas, soybeans and turmeric.
Charles Q. Choi, Contributor
Masks may make communication even more difficult for those with hearing loss or who face language barriers.
Marcus Woo, Contributor
Optimally cutting lots of complex shapes from a sheet of dough is even harder than many researchers suspected.
Tom Metcalfe, Contributor
Psychologists say 2020's stream of bad news has probably hurt the mental health of people who follow it closely.
Benjamin Plackett, Contributor