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Stories by Lydia Chain

Giant Model Mimics Damaged Dam Spillway

When the Oroville Dam spillway cracked and failed after a wet California winter, a team of scientists created a one fiftieth–scale model of the damaged concrete and eroded hillside to help guide the reconstruction.

June 28, 2017 — Lydia Chain

Sex on the Beach, Grunion Style

California grunions know how to make the most of a beach vacation. When the tides are right, these silvery fish flop up onto the sand and go in search of a mate.

June 19, 2017 — Lydia Chain

Why Do Allergies Make You Sneeze?

Do you suffer from allergies? Follow the dendritic cell and the entire Scientific American Allergy Orchestra to discover how allergens from pollen to pet dander can change the body's tune.

June 12, 2017 — Lydia Chain

Tackling China's Devastating Yellow River Floods

After learning how the waterway transports a billion tons of sediment into the sea each year, scientists built a tool that may help predict the inundations that impact some 80 million people.

May 15, 2017 — Lydia Chain

Scientists and Science Supporters Marched--Now What?

Thousands congregated in the nation's capital and other cities in the U.S. and around the world to support scientific research and protest Trump administration–proposed budget cuts. Scientific American spoke with researchers, students and fact-loving activists at the New York City and D.C. marches.

April 25, 2017 — Lydia Chain and Andrew Golden

The 10 Weirdest Things in the Solar System

Pierogi moons, rubber duckie comets and spewing ice balls: We have some very strange neighbors among the myriad planets, moons and objects that circle our sun.

March 31, 2017 — Lydia Chain, Lee Billings and Michael Lemonick

Tracing a Gaze to Understand Language Delays

Researchers use eye-tracking software to peek inside a child's mind when words fail, reading eye patterns to understand language production and combat conditions such as specific language impairment.

March 27, 2017 — Lydia Chain and Larry Greenemeier

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

Special Edition: Mysteries of the Mind