Scientists Say

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

  1. 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.

  2. Health & Medicine

    Scientists Say: Virulence

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

  3. Physics

    Scientists Say: Quantum

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

  4. 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.

  5. Physics

    Scientists Say: Torque

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Climate

    Scientists Say: Cyclone

    These strong storms have different names in different oceans. But all are cyclones.

  10. Planets

    Scientists Say: Exoplanet

    Eight planets orbit our sun. We give a slightly different name to the millions of similar bodies orbiting other stars.

  11. Climate

    Scientists Say: Hurricane or typhoon?

    Sometimes you read about hurricanes, and sometimes about typhoons. The difference? Location, location, location.

  12. Planets

    Scientists Say: Satellite

    When we think of satellites, we often think of objects we send into space from Earth. But most satellites are actually all natural.