• The storm king

    A mysterious tropical weather pattern called the Madden-Julian oscillation fuels El Niños and triggers rain, heat waves, and hurricanes around the globe.

  • How two pioneers took the tropics' pulse

    The 1971 discovery of the Madden-Julian oscillation relied on data from a lonely Pacific island.

  • Pooling resources

    Ecologist Aram Calhoun forges creative alliances in her quest to protect ephemeral vernal pools.

  • Ecology's tough climb

    NSF's ambitious network of observatories runs into harsh budget and management realities.

  • Tragic end for Puerto Rico site

    A unique urban site is dissembled after a tragedy.

  • NEON jobs plentiful but problematic

    A large organization has trouble retaining talented scientists.

  • A Trial for the Ages

    Nir Barzilai wants to launch the first rigorous test of a drug that could put the brakes on aging.

  • Global payer

    As head of the $29 billion Wellcome Trust, Jeremy Farrar took the stage during the Ebola epidemic. Now, he wants to make the trust a world leader.

  • Tailpipe to tank

    Researchers are vying to use renewable energy to suck carbon dioxide out of the air and turn it back into fuel.

  • Conjuring chemical cornucopias out of thin air

    Economic barriers to solar fuels are driving research into making other chemicals from similar recipes.

  • Saving Iran's great salt lake

    Stopping Lake Urmia from turning into salt desert is the country's top environmental priority.

  • Fragile ecosystems under pressure

    Four vignettes on environmental crises in Iran.

  • Unsanctioned science

    Despite penury and isolation, Iran's scientists have pursued an ambitious agenda. If sanctions end, research will blossom.

  • An eye on the sky

    Astronomers in Iran are on the verge of success in their long quest to build a world-class astronomy observatory.

  • The missing mudbug

    As threats to crayfish mount, researchers push to document the enigmatic crustaceans.

  • Birth of the moralizing gods

    A new theory aims to explain the success of world religions—but testing it remains a challenge.

  • Turning history into a binary code

    Scientists struggle to reach across a disciplinary divide to test a new theory about the evolution of religion.

  • The Supplement Sleuth

    Some dietary supplements are spiked with drugs. Pieter Cohen is out to expose the hazards.

  • The littlest farmhands

    Scientists are discovering thousands of microbes that help plants survive and thrive. Could these symbionts help farmers as well?

  • Boom & bust in the Great White North

    As the Arctic warms, retreating sea ice is revealing winners and losers in ecosystems under siege.

  • The brain's identity crisis

    Will new tools for classifying neurons put a 150-year-long debate to rest?

  • Don't mess with the bears

    With sea ice receding polar bears may be venturing more on land, creating new risks for scientists.

  • Cosmic convergence

    Neutrinos from beyond our galaxy could be close kin to other mysterious visitors from space.

  • Setting the bar

    As the U.S. military opens ground combat roles to women, it's looking to scientists to help define the standards.

  • Lost worlds found

    Sugar cubes of buried soil reveal how ecosystems warmed after the last ice age.