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Benchmarks: April 9, 1895: James Edward Keeler confirms Saturn's rings not solid

On April 9 and 10, 1895, astronomer James Edward Keeler snapped the most important photographs of his life. With a 13-inch (33-centimeter) refracting telescope, Keeler captured proof that Saturn’s rings were not solid disks, but instead a collection of particles revolving around the planet. The discovery put to rest a question that astronomers had been pondering for more than two centuries.
 
01 Apr 2011

Keeler's legacy

James Edward Keeler led a brief life, but his legacy lives on. Scientists have named several natural phenomena after him.
 
01 Apr 2011

Benchmarks: March 18, 1925: Tri-state twister kills 695 people

On March 18, 1925, the U.S. Weather Bureau’s forecast for the Midwest was not pleasant, but not unusual for early spring: rain and strong, shifting winds. By the end of the day, that simple forecast would prove devastatingly understated. A tornado, or a family of tornadoes, created a path of destruction that stretched from Missouri to Indiana, killing nearly 700 people, destroying 15,000 homes, and forever changing tornado awareness in the country.
 
02 Mar 2011

Deadly tornadoes

Even with improved warning technology, tornadoes remain a deadly threat. Below is a list of some of the deadliest storms throughout the 20th century.
 
02 Mar 2011

Down to Earth With Richard Prum

Evolutionary ornithologist Richard Prum may be the first person to write a scientific field guide to dinosaur watching. Drawing on years of experience as a bird watcher and field researcher, Prum has made huge advances in our understanding of how feathers evolved and in turn how we view dinosaurs. Last year, Prum’s feather expertise allowed him to describe the dinosaur Anchiornus huxleyi in living color. All of this work on dinosaur feather evolution earned Prum a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called genius grant, in 2009.
 
01 Mar 2011

Benchmarks: Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity on February 26, 1896

February 26, 1896, was an overcast day in Paris — and that presented a problem for French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel. Becquerel was hoping to demonstrate a link between minerals that glow when exposed to strong light and a new type of electromagnetic radiation called X-rays. The weather thwarted this experiment — but that failure inadvertently produced an entirely new discovery: natural radioactivity.

28 Feb 2011

Geomedia: Zombie Science? New Madrid and "Disaster Deferred"

During the winter of 1811-1812, three strong earthquakes between magnitude 7 and 8 rocked the New Madrid seismic zone, which runs through parts of eastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas. The quakes opened deep fissures, destroyed forests and lakes, and produced intense ground shaking that liquefied the soil, turning the land to the consistency of jelly across an area of 10,000 square kilometers.

02 Feb 2011

Down to Earth With Kateryna Klochko

Kateryna Klochko made a splash in the ocean geochemistry world as a doctoral student at the University of Maryland in College Park. She had been in the U.S. for only a few years, following a long journey from her native Ukraine. Yet she was about to challenge paradigms.
 
01 Feb 2011

Benchmarks: January 23, 1960: Humans reach the deepest point on Earth

More than 9,000 meters underwater, a window buckles, sending a spider web of cracks across the glass. The entire submersible shakes, but no water rushes into the Trieste. Out of vocal contact with the main ship on the surface above them, Swiss oceanographer and engineer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh decide to continue their descent despite the new danger. After all, at more than nine kilometers below the sea surface, the explorers were too close to their goal to turn around. They were only 2,000 meters away from the deepest spot on Earth: Challenger Deep. On Jan. 23, 1960, they reached that fabled point 10,916 meters below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
 
03 Jan 2011

The first dinner in a beast

Surprisingly, there is precedence for eating dinner in the body of a massive beast. In February 1802, Rembrandt Peale, an early American painter best known for his portraits of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, invited 12 friends and family to dine under the rib cage of a mammoth, which had recently been erected in his father’s museum in Philadelphia.
 
03 Dec 2010

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