Latest Royal Society Stories

2010-05-08 06:35:00

The famous apple tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton to discover the laws of gravity is about to embark on a journey that would surely have turned Newton's world upside-down, according to the Associated Press (AP). When the space shuttle Atlantis lifts off next week, it will carry a 4-inch sliver of the tree from which an apple fell almost 350 years ago. Piers Sellers, a British-born astronaut, is flying the slice of tree for The Royal Society of London. "I'll take it up into orbit and let...

2010-03-31 08:36:48

"Blindsnakes are not very pretty, are rarely noticed, and are often mistaken for earthworms," admits Blair Hedges, professor of biology at Penn State University. "Nonetheless, they tell a very interesting evolutionary story." Hedges and Nicolas Vidal, of the Mus©um National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, are co-leaders of the team that discovered that blindsnakes are one of the few groups of organisms that inhabited Madagascar when it broke from India about 100 million years ago and are...

2010-03-10 06:10:00

Scientists have found evidence of a catastrophic event they believe was responsible for halting the birth of stars in a galaxy in the early Universe. They report their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The researchers, led by Durham University's Department of Physics and funded by the Royal Society and Royal Astronomical Society say the massive galaxy, SMM J1237+6203, underwent a series of blasts trillions of times more powerful than any caused by an...

2010-02-24 10:29:14

In a paper appearing in the Feb. 24 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A, Virginia Tech Engineering Science and Mechanics Professor Hassan Aref, and his colleague Johan Roenby at the Technical University of Denmark shed new light on the chaotic motion of a solid body moving through a fluid. They claim to have discovered two basic mechanisms that lead to chaotic motion of the body as it interacts with its vortex wake. The work may lead to better understanding and control...

2010-01-18 12:30:45

An 18th-century chronicle of Isaac Newton's theory on gravity was made available to the public for the first time via the Internet on Monday, according to the Associated Press. The chance encounter with the apple is one of the most celebrated tales in the science world. The faded document can be viewed online in its original cursive script, recorded by William Stukeley, Newton's associate. Keith Moore, a librarian of the Royal Society said the story has resonated for centuries. It is chock...

2010-01-15 09:04:30

Figs and the wasps that pollinate them present one of biologists' favorite examples of a beneficial relationship between two different species. In exchange for the pollination service provided by the wasp, the fig fruit provides room and board for the wasp's developing young. However, wasps do not always pollinate the fig. Fig trees "punish" these "cheaters" by dropping unpollinated fruit, killing the wasp's offspring inside, report researchers working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research...

2009-12-10 13:00:00

Climate experts say geo-engineers are exploring radical new ways to combat Earth's climate crisis, including fertilizing the seas with iron, scattering particles in the stratosphere to reflect sunlight or building a sunshade in space, AFP reported. However, many of these ideas are contested as risky for the environment and laden with unknowns about cost, practicality and legality. But mainstream scientists who once dismissed these projects are now starting to consider their possibilities....

2009-12-08 14:35:00

In the pipefish, the male cares for the offspring. Apart from the ones he sucks the life out of. The discovery of filial cannibalism in the pipefish is now creating a stir in the research world. The pipefish, which is related to the seahorse, has an unusual way of organizing childcare. In this fish species it is the father who takes care of the eggs, which he receives from one or more females and then looks after in a brood pouch on the tail, where a kind of male equivalent of the placenta...

2009-11-30 13:40:00

The Royal Society said on Monday that historic manuscripts by Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin and other groundbreaking scientists would be published online for the first time. As part of celebrations to mark its 350th anniversary, the world's oldest scientific institution will release famous literature on the web that it has published in its journals over the centuries. Among the important works being published online are a 1770 scientific study confirming that composer Wolfgang Amadeus...

2009-11-20 11:48:26

A mathematical model has explained some of the remarkable features of mosquito hearing. In particular, the male can hear the faintest beats of the female's wings and yet is not deafened by loud noises. The new research from the University of Bristol is published in the Journal of the Royal Society: Interface Insects have evolved diverse and delicate morphological structures in order to hear the naturally low energy of a transmitting sound wave. In mosquitoes, the hearing of acoustic energy,...

Latest Royal Society Reference Libraries

Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society
2012-05-01 10:12:50

The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society is a scientific journal published by the Royal Society of London. Established in 1665, it is the first journal in the world exclusively devoted to science. It has remained in continuous publication since its inception, making it the world’s longest-running scientific journal. The use of the word “philosophical” in the title derives from the phrase “natural philosophy,” which was the equivalent of what is now generically called...

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Word of the Day
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'