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Top stories: Imaging atoms, digging for diamonds, and oxygen in space
(Left to right) Eye of Science/Science Source; Stephen Haggerty; Veronica Falconieri/Subramaniam Lab/CCR/NCI/NIH

Top stories: Imaging atoms, digging for diamonds, and oxygen in space

Electron microscopes close to imaging individual atoms

Just like digital cameras, machines called cryo-electron microscopes (cryo-EMs) are getting better and better at taking pictures. Researchers report that they’ve created a cryo-EM image so sharp that it rivals images produced by x-ray crystallography, the gold standard for mapping the atomic contours of proteins. These new images will likely dramatically advance drugmakers’ attempts to make new medicines. 

Rare African plant signals diamonds beneath the soil

A geologist has discovered a plant that seems to grow only on top of kimberlite pipes—columns of volcanic rock that often contain diamonds. If the plant is as choosy as it seems to be, diamond hunters in West Africa will now have a simple, powerful way of finding diamond-rich deposits.

What your smile says about where you’re from

If you come from a country of immigrants, you’re more likely to crack a friendly smile on the street. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which may explain why Americans beam more than their Chinese and Russian counterparts.

Why there is so little breathable oxygen in space

You breathe it every minute, but there's hardly any molecular oxygen in space. Now, a new experiment has finally revealed why: because oxygen atoms cling tightly to stardust, preventing them from joining together to form oxygen molecules.

Embattled Max Planck neuroscientist quits primate research

A neuroscientist who has been the target of animal rights activists says he is giving up on primate research. In a letter last week to fellow primate researchers, Nikos Logothetis cites a lack of support from colleagues and the wider scientific community as key factors in his decision.