Robert Boyd

Forget the economy: Killer asteroids could pose real danger

Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study of how to avoid an catastrophic collision with an asteroid after scientitsts couldn't eliminate an extremely slight chance that an asteroid called Apophis would slam into Earth in 2036. The program has spent $41 million, but now is running out of money. | 12/17/08 11:55:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Little-known little protein packs punch in cancer fight

It's a tiny molecule with a nondescript name — "p53" — but it has an awesome responsibility: preventing more than half of all human cancers. Some scientists call it the "guardian angel," "guardian of the genome," or the "dictator of life and death." | 12/08/08 15:01:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Stress warps brains and behavior, researchers say

Scientists have discovered how stress — in the form of emotional, mental or physical tension — physically reshapes the brain and causes long-lasting harm to humans and animals. | 11/19/08 14:46:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists scratch heads over why we itch

Scientists are baffled by one of humankind's most annoying problems - itching — an almost universal misery for which there is, as yet, no adequate explanation or treatment. | 11/17/08 16:55:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists rethinking what makes us get old

For half a century, much of the deterioration that comes over time has been blamed on "free radicals — toxic, unstable molecules of oxygen running amok in the cells of your body. But views on the central role of free radicals are changing. Now genes, environment, nutrition and lifestyle also are recognized as parts of a complex web of factors that cause aging. | 11/13/08 14:53:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists create 'good bugs' to fight 'bad bugs'

For years, health food stores have sold "probiotics'' — natural dietary supplements such as Acidophilus or Lactinex — to treat conditions such as children's eczema or traveler's diarrhea. Now scientists are trying to design "probiotics" that would treat specific diseases. | 11/03/08 14:14:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Adequate pain care sorely lacking for patients

Medical science has learned a great deal about the causes of pain and ways to relieve it, pain experts say, but for a host of reasons, the treatment of pain and suffering has improved hardly at all in recent years. | 10/29/08 13:31:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Evidence found of solar system around nearby star

For the first time, astronomers think that they've found evidence of an alien solar system around a star close enough to Earth to be visible to the naked eye. | 10/27/08 00:01:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists seek to make energy as plants do

WASHINGTON — Scientists who are seeking new sources of clean energy are trying to mimic the way plants and trees do it, by converting sunlight into fuel. | 10/23/08 14:56:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Energy: McCain and Obama share goals, if not strategies

WASHINGTON — John McCain and Barack Obama share remarkably similar energy policy goals, but they disagree on how best to achieve them. | 10/20/08 15:34:00 By - Robert S. Boyd and Renee Schoof

Arctic temperatures hit record high

Temperatures in the Arctic last fall hit an all-time high — more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Centigrade) above normal — and remain almost as high this year, an international team of scientists reported Thursday. | 10/16/08 17:21:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Science: Candidates' platforms offer similar goals but different paths

Both John McCain and Barack Obama strongly support government investment in science and technology. They say that expanded research and development are vital for America's health, economy and environment. Otherwise, they warn, the U.S. may be overtaken by Europe, China and elsewhere. | 10/09/08 14:47:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Will new Mars lander be parked or scrapped?

America's next daring adventure on Mars -- a one-ton rolling science laboratory scheduled to launch next October -- is in deep trouble. Huge cost overruns and technical difficulties may cause the $2 billion dollar Mars Science Laboratory to be delayed or cancelled outright, members of a NASA advisory committee were warned last week. | 10/05/08 13:25:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Scientists probing what happened before big bang

When the huge subatomic-particle smasher under the Swiss-French border starts running, it's supposed to reveal what happened the instant after the big bang, the theoretical beginning of our universe 13.7 billion years ago. | 09/22/08 14:58:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

Nitrogen emerges as the latest climate-change threat

WASHINGTON — Scientists are raising alarms about yet another threat to Earth's climate and human well-being. This time it's nitrogen, a common element essential to all life. | 09/12/08 13:05:00 By - Robert S. Boyd

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