Our most popular stories of 2018

An incredible year of scientific discoveries

Join us in looking back at a busy 2018, from octopuses at the bottom of the ocean to a neutrino traveling billions of light years through the universe and passing through Antarctica:

Winter road salt, turning North American waterways increasingly saltier

Credit: Joseph Galella/University of Maryland

When the snow and ice are about to fall, cities usually prepare the roads with salt — but this is having major environmental consequences. Across North America, streams and rivers are becoming saltier, thanks to road deicers and other salty compounds that humans indirectly release into waterways.

‘Lazy lawn mowers’ can help support suburban biodiversity

Credit: UMass-Amherst

NSF-funded researchers found that taking a “lazy lawn mower” approach and mowing every two weeks rather than weekly can help encourage bee habitat in suburban lawns by allowing flowers to bloom.

NSF announces Graduate Research Fellowships for 2018

Credit: Florida Atlantic University

Since 1952, NSF has been awarding research fellowships to promising, early-career scientists and engineers and supporting their graduate research training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Last year, the group of 2,000 awardees was made-up of 1,156 women, 461 individuals from underrepresented minority groups, 75 persons with disabilities, 27 veterans and 780 who have not yet enrolled in graduate school.

Giant group of octopus moms discovered in the deep sea

Credit: Phil Torres and Geoff Wheat

Nearly two miles deep in the Pacific Ocean and 100 miles off the coast of Costa Rica, scientists on two oceanographic cruises used sub-sea vehicles to explore the Dorado Outcrop, a rocky patch of seafloor formed of cooled and hardened lava from an underwater volcano. That’s where they unexpectedly saw almost 100 octopuses with their eggs.

OSTP and NSF to honor 140 individuals and organizations with highest US award for teachers and mentors

Credit: Teddy Yoshida

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and NSF announced the 140 winners for this year’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), and Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) awardees.

Neutrino observation points to one source of high-energy cosmic rays

Credit: Nicolle R. Fuller/NSF/IceCube

NSF Director France Córdova and a panel of astrophysicists announced an incredible discovery to the world — observations made by researchers using an NSF-funded detector at the South Pole and verified by ground- and space-based telescopes have produced the first evidence of one source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos. This discovery at NSF’s IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the foundation’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica point to an answer to a more than century-old riddle about the origins of high-energy cosmic rays.

STEM Education Advisory Panel announced

Credit: Martial Red/Shutterstock.com

NSF in consultation with the Department of Education, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the appointment of 18 members to a new advisory panel created to encourage U.S. scientific and technological innovations in education, as authorized by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act.

Clay fights MRSA, other ‘superbugs’ in wounds

Credit: Lynda Williams, ASU

Clay is more than just mud — it is potentially a powerful bacteria-blaster. Scientists have found inspiration for antibiotics from Oregonian blue clay. These clays specifically diminish populations of bacterial biofilms that appear in two-thirds of the infections seen by health care providers. In the lab, this blue clay also has antibacterial effects against dangerous bacteria like E. coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

…and our most popular story

NSF announces new measures to protect research community from harassment

NSF has taken the next steps in its agency-wide effort to ensure the research and learning environments it supports are free from harassment, publishing a term and condition that requires awardee organizations to report findings and determinations of sexual harassment, as well as establishing a secure online portal for submitting harassment notifications. More at: http://nsf.gov/harassment.

*Most popular stories based on website traffic.