SCIENCE

Three colleagues, Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish, and Kip S. Thorne, have won the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics, for their contributions to work that led to the observation of gravitational waves — something that happened for the first time in 2015.

Speaking of decades of trial and error that preceded their discovery, Weiss said Tuesday, "It's very, very exciting that it worked out in the end."

Weiss spoke by phone to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, roughly one hour after he had been woken up by Secretary General Göran K. Hansson.

To prevent their collective cultural knowledge about medicinal plants from disappearing, some Vermont tribal nations are sharing their expertise with those outside the native communities.

The family of Aaron Hernandez has filed suit against the NFL after it was revealed by an autopsy that the former Patriots player had advanced degenerative brain disease when he died. 

The brain of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, referred to as CTE, according to doctors who conducted tests after he committed suicide in April while imprisoned for murder.

A pregnancy test, faintly positive, which the couple later discovered was expired by six months.
Jason Coleman / Creative Commons

We've all been told that expectant mothers should avoid alcohol and smoking during, and preferably before, pregnancy. Well, what about expectant fathers? 

Scenes from an eclipse-watching party at Smith College.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Parents with the kids, workers on a lunch break, astronomy buffs getting their fix. Across the region on Monday afternoon, people stared at the sky to see a sun partially obscured by the moon.

Two boys in Worcester watch the Aug. 21, 2017, solar eclipse.
Melissa Hanson / MassLive

During Monday's eclipse, the moon blocked out 65 to 68 percent of the sun in western Massachusetts, but a more dramatic eclipse is on the way.

Fred Venne is the director of the Bassett Planetarium at Amherst College.

"The eclipse that's happening in 2024 is going to more significant in this region," he said. "We'll be looking in the Amherst, Northampton, southern Vermont, northern Connecticut area at about close to 94, 95 percent coverage of the sun. And if you go up to Burlington, Vermont, it will be 100 percent."

The total solar eclipse on August 1, 2008, as seen in Novosibirsk, Russia.
Alex Polezhaev / Creative Commons

Nearly 66 percent of the sun will be covered in Springfield, Mass., when the eclipse takes its maximum effect at 2:45 Monday afternoon.

New England Wildflower Society's Bill Brumback, opening the freezer that acts as the "seed vault," in Framingham, Mass.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

In New England, 22 percent of the region's native plants are considered rare. Some of them are on the federal list of endangered species. Biologists worldwide and locally have been saving crop seeds, and seeds from other plants important to the ecosystem. 

It took about 20 minutes and two helium tanks to fill up the huge latex balloon. A rope dangling from the bottom held onto an assortment of gadgets, including a video camera, parachute, and a razor attached to motor that was programmed to cut the rope at just the right altitude.

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