Scientists Say

A weekly word defined, in a sentence and in context.

  1. Environment

    Scientists Say: Microplastic

    Bits of plastic smaller than five millimeters are called microplastics. They can end up in the ocean, where corals might mistake them for food.

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  2. Animals

    Scientists Say: Nematode

    Nematodes are a group of related small worms found all over the world. They can cause disease, but they also can be useful for scientists to study.

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  3. Animals

    Scientists Say: Irruption

    Sometimes populations of animals can suddenly increase. The word for that is irruption.

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  4. Chemistry

    Scientists Say: Fulgurite

    When lightning strikes in the right place, it can fuse minerals together in a glassy structure.

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  5. Brain

    Scientists Say: Cortical homunculus

    If you draw a representation of your body as seen by your brain, it’s called a homunculus. On it, parts sensitive to touch or used for fine movement are large, while others are small.

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  6. Health & Medicine

    Scientists Say: Circadian

    We often feel the pull of sleep when the sun goes down. Light and our own biology put us into a regular, 24-hour rhythm that has its own word.

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  7. Brain

    Scientists Say: Blood-brain barrier

    Blood can contain nasty bacteria and other things you want to keep away from your delicate brain. The blood-brain barrier is up to the job.

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  8. Psychology

    Scientists Say: Pareidolia

    We often see things that aren’t there, such as bunnies in clouds or faces in toast. They aren’t real, but they do have a special name

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  9. Life

    Scientists Say: Parthenogenesis

    When a baby frog develops from an egg that’s never been fertilized, we call that parthenogenesis.

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  10. Materials Science

    Scientists Say: Colloid

    When water hovers in the air as fog and when bits of fat disperse in water as milk, they form a type of substance called a colloid.

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