Thomas Sumner

All Stories by Thomas Sumner

  1. Chemistry

    Chemistry Nobel honors pioneers of world’s smallest machines

    Three chemists are being honored with a Nobel Prize for their pioneering work creating itty bitty machines, including a microscopic ‘nanocar.’

  2. Earth

    ‘Weather bomb’ storms send tremors through Earth

    Scientists have detected tiny tremors in the Earth coming from an extreme storm. One day, those tiny tremors could help reveal Earth’s innermost secrets.

  3. Fossils

    These may be the oldest fossils on Earth

    Some mini mounds in Greenland may just be the earliest evidence of life on Earth, deposited a mere 800,000 years after our planet first formed.

  4. Earth

    Oxygen-rich air emerged super early, new data show

    Scientists had thought animals were slow to emerge because they would have needed oxygen-rich air to breathe. A new study finds that plentiful oxygen may have developed early. So animals may have been late on the scene for another reason.

  5. Earth

    Helium discovery blows away shortage worries

    Fears that the world may soon run out of helium have been set aside for now by the finding of a huge reservoir of the gas in East Africa.

  6. Oceans

    Seafloor hosts surprising number of deep-sea vents

    A new sensor detects changes in seawater chemistry and finds far more ecosystem-supporting seafloor vents than scientists had believed were out there.

  7. Earth

    Earth’s tectonic plates won’t slide forever

    Earth’s surface morphs, owing to the movement of its tectonic plates. But those plates didn’t use to move so quickly. And in a few billion years they’ll grind to a halt, new research suggests.

  8. Climate

    Last year’s strong El Niño is gone. Next up: La Niña

    The 2015 to 2016 El Niño was one of the three strongest on record. It’s now over. Climate experts now predict a La Niña is on its way.

  9. Climate

    Volcanic rocks can quickly turn pollution into stone

    A test program in Iceland injected carbon dioxide into lava rocks. More than 95 percent of the gas turned to stone within two years.

  10. Earth

    Carbon dioxide could explain how geysers spout

    A new study overturns 150 years of thinking about Yellowstone’s geysers. Carbon dioxide, not just hot water, may be driving those spectacular eruptions.

  11. Chemistry

    Particles in air help fatten clouds’ water droplets

    Making their own clouds has shown scientists how the fattest water droplets form. Understanding this could lead to better forecasts of climate change.

  12. Earth

    Quake risk in some central states rivals California’s

    Risks of tremors in some central U.S. states are as high as those in quake-prone California. The reason: waste fluids from oil and gas drilling.