Earth & Environment

The "third rock from the Sun"—Earth. With an orbit neither too close nor too far from the Sun, it occupies a unique position in the Solar System. It's the only planet known to man with the right conditions for the origin and evolution of life. During Earth's 4.5 billion-year history, a combination of processes has transformed it into a watery blue, living planet. The Earth's ecosystems involve complex interactions between the biological (living) and physical (non-living) worlds. Scientific research helps us comprehend our effects on the environment and how the environment in turn responds to impacts of our activities.

Tectonics and earthquakes of the Himalayas

This video explores the broad tectonic setting of the mighty Himalayan Mountains and the geologic factors that lead to mega-earthquakes along its borders, like the deadly 2015 M7.8 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal.

Clouds are the clue to climate predictions

Neil Donahue, professor of chemical engineering, chemistry, and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, discusses how organic compounds emitted by trees make particles that affect climate change.

Greener silica from rice

Two University of Michigan researchers turn useless waste from rice processing into the high-purity silica compounds that are used in everything from toothpaste to tires.

NSF Science Now: Episode 43

In this week's episode, we follow a construction site drone, examine tunable window technology, learn how words are represented in the brain and, finally, we examine 240 million-year-old fossils.

Human evolution: teeth tell the story

Alistair Evans of the School of Biological Sciences at Monash University has led research showing that the evolution of human teeth is much simpler than previously thought, and that we can predict the size of teeth missing from human fossils and those of our extinct close relatives.

An algae-fueled road trip

In episode 51, Charlie and Jordan explore what scientists studying a common green microalgae, found in every kind of water except salt water, have discovered.

Pumping oil from plants

An enzyme responsible for making hydrocarbons has been discovered by Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists studying a common green microalga called Botryococcus braunii.

Mapping ice trails with UAVs

Scientists in Alaska are exploring using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle photography to map sea ice terrain, helping Barrow locals plot efficient courses for ice trails.