Scientists Say

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

  1. Chemistry

    Scientists Say: Dioxide

    Carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and zirconium dioxide all have something in common. They are all molecules with two oxygens bound to some other element.

  2. Brain

    Scientists Say: Neurotransmitters

    When brain cells need to communicate, they use chemicals as messengers. These molecules have a special name.

  3. Chemistry

    Scientists Say: Organic

    These days you might think organic refers just to food. But it has a completely different meaning in chemistry.

  4. Math

    Scientists Say: Quartile

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

  5. Earth

    Scientists Say: Jet Stream

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

  6. 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.

  7. Materials Science

    Scientists Say: Kevlar

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

  8. 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.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Scientists Say: Virulence

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

  10. Physics

    Scientists Say: Quantum

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

  11. 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.

  12. Physics

    Scientists Say: Torque

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