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Nautilus is a different kind of science magazine. We deliver big-picture science by reporting on a single monthly topic from multiple perspectives. Read a new chapter in the story every Thursday.

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Narcoleptic Naps Are a Creative Sweet Spot

George Church looks like he needs a nap. I’m talking to him on Zoom, and his eyelids have grown heavy, inclining toward slumber. Or maybe my mind is playing tricks on me. He assures me he is wide awake. But sleeping and waking life are often blurred for Church. One of the world’s most imaginative scientists, Church is a narcoleptic. A rare disorder,...

New Telescopes Will Help Us SETL

Silence. Eerie, unnerving silence. Despite all our work, all our straining efforts to hear a whisper from the void, that’s all we have. Silence. More than 60 years ago, the pioneering radio astronomer Frank Drake and his colleagues laid the groundwork for what astronomers around the world would transform into an ambitious idea: SETI, the...

The Universal Clock of Aging

When Gertrude Stein famously quipped that “we are always the same age inside,” she certainly wasn’t referring to the conglomerate of cells, carefully organized into tissues, that form a human body. We all understand that despite our best efforts to preserve youth, our material bodies inevitably age and fail us. Yet trying to understand whether all our...

When Will Fusion Energy Light Our Homes?

One question for Thomas Nicholas, a computational plasma physicist and former fusion researcher who now studies climate science at Columbia University. He was the lead author of the 2021 paper, “Re-examining the role of nuclear fusion in a renewables-based energy mix.” Photo courtesy of Thomas Nicholas When will fusion energy light our...

Encouraging Conservation Through Communication

The Jackson Wild Media Lab offers a fellowship each year to media creators to hone their skills in furthering science and conservation communication. The nine-day fellowship is highly competitive—2022’s 16 participants were chosen from a pool of 350 applicants, including Brazilian native Laura Pennafort and Tennessean Johnny Holder. Jackson Wild pairs...

Mobile Genes From the Mother Shape the Baby’s Microbiome

A mother gives her baby her all: love, hugs, kisses … and a sturdy army of bacteria. These simple cells, which journey from mother to baby at birth and in the months of intimate contact that follow, form the first seeds of the child’s microbiome—the evolving community of symbiotic microorganisms tied to the body’s healthy functioning. Researchers...

The Mystery of the Healthy Coral Reef

Local Honduran fishers mostly avoid fishing in Tela Bay on the country’s Caribbean coastline. Nonetheless, they have a name for the shapes and forms on the seafloor that waft in and out of view with the shifting glint of the sun. They call them “rocas” or rocks. Just over a decade ago, Antal and Alejandra Börcsök, newly-trained divers, heard...

ChatGPT Is a Mirror of Our Times

Computers and information technologies were once hailed as a revolution in education. Their benefits are undeniable. They can provide students with far more information than a mere textbook. They can make educational resources more flexible, tailored to individual needs, and they can render interactions between students, parents, and teachers fast and...

What Is Our Universe Expanding Into?

One question for Paul Sutter, author of “The Remarkable Emptiness of Existence,” an article in Nautilus this month. Sutter is a theoretical cosmologist at the Institute for Advanced Computational Science at Stony Brook University, where he studies cosmic voids, maps the leftover light from the big bang, and develops new techniques for finding the first...

Why Reading Your Doctor’s Notes Can Be Painful

I’m a pediatrician and recently saw a patient whose parent very much wanted a certain test, even after I tried to explain why the test wasn’t helpful or necessary. She wasn’t persuaded, and rather than look obstinate or finicky, I ordered it. In my summary notes from the visit, I wrote, “parent insists test be ordered.” I paused and asked myself...

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