Most of us have experienced the moment of truth when thunder fractures the quiet of an afternoon and a stray lightning bolt streaks across the sky in the distance and we wonder: What are the odds that’s close enough to reach me?
Kathryn Schulz’s New Yorker story “The Really Big One” opens in Japan, moments before the 2011 Tohuku earthquake. American seismologist Chris Goldfinger, who is attending an international conference in the city of Kashiwa, feels the room begin to shake.
It’s hard to make a character seem vivid and real on the page, even if you spend hours or days with your subject. But in his 2011 book The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the […]
People with a rare sleep disorder called idiopathic hypersomnia can sleep for days at a time and still wake to sluggish brains and bodies. In fact, hypersomniacs often take extreme measures just to get out […]
Starting in the early 1970s, two German boys—one from the East, one from the West—with binoculars around their necks spent their teenage years pacing either side of the insurmountable Iron Curtain, the “death zone,” looking […]
A magnitude 6.3 earthquake ripped through the heart of the central Italian mountain town of L’Aquila in April 2009, killing more than 300 people. To the horror of much of the scientific community, seven scientists […]
Bertrand Might’s parents knew something was wrong soon after he was born in 2007. The baby was “jiggly” and nearly impossible to comfort; as he grew, his health deteriorated. For years, the Mights searched desperately […]
In March 2014, mathematics and science journalist Erica Klarreich got a rare chance to report exclusively on a top math story. Thomas Lin, the managing editor of Quanta Magazine, had convinced the International Mathematical Union […]
In her first assignment from National Geographic, award-winning freelance science journalist Michelle Nijhuis started with a one-word assignment: coal. Based on that single word, Nijhuis traveled from West Virginia, a top coal state, to China, […]
Jon Mooallem is fascinated by the relationships between humans and other animals, a topic he explores in his 2013 book Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals […]