In the Appalachian firefly Photinus carolinus, flying males flash in synchrony with their neighbors, creating a symphony in light. Photo by Radim Schreiber.

Sara Lewis studies fireflies. And it turns out they’re not just a pretty flashing light on a summer night. She explains how a firefly glows — and how humans are harnessing that glow for health and medical research (and even to make our food safer).

Simulation of merging black holes radiating gravitational waves.
NASA/Ames Research Center/C. Henze

How do you build a real-world machine to test the most abstract of theories? Janna Levin talks with Rai Weiss, one of the original designers of LIGO, the four-kilometer-long sensors that have now twice detected the distant reverberations of two black holes crashing into one another.

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The million-headed dragon of online anger has a great mouthful of fire for parents who don’t vaccinate their kids. But such scolding misses the mark, alienating caring parents who just want their children to be safe.

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Is there a correlation between your biome and your BMI? In a radical new book, “Why Diets Make Us Fat,” neuroscientist Sandra Aabodt sheds much-needed light on this tangled, cryptic relationship.

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A director set out to capture the many sides of silence on film. The problem? Silence is much slipperier than he realized.

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Most disasters come with heart-breaking visuals — innocent victims, burned wreckage. Our looming water disaster is invisible. Will anyone notice before it’s too late?

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Here’s how to encourage new medical innovation, says genetic researcher Geoffrey Siwo: Join forces with the people who need innovation the most, all over the world.