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Stories by Lydia Chain

How to Calculate a Bigger Slice of Pi

For thousands of years people have struggled to pin down pi. Watch how mathematicians from Archimedes on have wrapped their heads around the math of circles.

March 14, 2017 — Shelley Sandiford and Lydia Chain

This Itch Is Infectious

Many social animals start to feel itchy after watching one of their fellows scratch, and scientists now have a better understanding of why an itch can spread through a group.

March 9, 2017 — Lydia Chain

This Beat-Bot's Got Groove!

Could the drummer robot lead its cyber brethren to march in sync—or maybe someday even start a band?

March 2, 2017 — Lydia Chain and Larry Greenemeier

Planet Formation out of Black Hole Belches

New studies suggest lonely planets flying through intergalactic space were formed by star-destroying supermassive black holes.

February 17, 2017 — Lydia Chain, Lee Billings and Lee Billings

Jumping Spiders See with Rose-Colored Glasses

Human suitors may woo with red wine and roses, but these jumping spiders come courting with fancy dress and choreography. Now scientists know more about how spiders perceive their admirers' flamboyant displays.

February 14, 2017 — Lydia Chain

Is It Time to Give Up on Dark Matter?

There is still good reason to think undiscovered fundamental particles act as gravitational glue for galaxies.

January 17, 2017 — Lydia Chain, Lee Billings and Michael Lemonick

How Your GPS Uses Einstein's Relativity

Time flows slightly faster on the Global Positioning System satellites than it does on the ground, so Einstein's relativity theory comes into play when figuring out where on Earth you are.

January 6, 2017 — Lydia Chain

How the Military Surveils Santa

In a Christmas tradition, the defense organization NORAD helps us keep track of Santa as he zips around the world delivering toys.

December 22, 2016 — Lydia Chain

The Year in Planetary Science

Take a light-speed trip through the solar system to catch up on 2016’s biggest stories from our celestial neighborhood.Produced with support from Explore Scientific

December 1, 2016 — Lydia Chain, Lee Billings and Michael Lemonick

The Math behind the Polls

When polls try to tease out what a group of people is thinking, what are they measuring and how can they go wrong?

November 29, 2016 — Lydia Chain