Scientists Say

A weekly word defined, in a sentence and in context.

  1. Math

    Scientists Say: Quartile

    A quartile might sound like a fourth. But that’s not quite what it is.

  2. Earth

    Scientists Say: Jet Stream

    You might hear about the jet stream on a weather report, but what is it? We explain.

  3. Plants

    Scientists Say: Xylem

    How do trees ferry water from the soil to branches hundreds of feet in the air? This week’s word is the answer.

  4. Materials Science

    Scientists Say: Kevlar

    Many people hear Kevlar and think of body armor. But this polymer is in so much more.

  5. Plants

    Scientists Say: Urushiol

    Poison ivy looks harmless, but its oil, urushiol, is not. This is the plant’s oil that leaves an itchy rash or blisters on your skin.

  6. Health & Medicine

    Scientists Say: Virulence

    The virulence of a germ is a measure of its potential to cause disease.

  7. Physics

    Scientists Say: Quantum

    Quantum seems like a very complex word. But really, it’s a term used for something very, very small.

  8. Physics

    Scientists Say: Viscosity

    We know some liquids are thick and some are thin. This week’s word describes the property of these liquids to resist tension or pressure.

  9. Physics

    Scientists Say: Torque

    Some forces pull and some push. This force produces turning or twisting.

  10. Science & Society

    Scientists Say: Social

    Social is a single word used in many ways. But whether it’s social media or social order, social describes how we interact.

  11. Genetics

    Scientists Say: Loci

    The DNA in our bodies contains thousands of genes, all with different functions. We use a special word for their location.

  12. Genetics

    Scientists Say: Allele

    What makes your eyes green or brown? Different versions of the same gene. We call these alternative forms by a separate name.