Science Dictionary

Do you know what a meteor is, or what scientists mean when they are talking about cryogenics? Our collection of science terms explains the meaning of some of the most common scientific ideas.

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The man who had some theories about relativity was also an eccentric who gleefully eschewed socks, dodged German military service and spurned social conventions.

By Nicholas Gerbis

He built President Eisenhower an indoor golf-training machine, analyzed the Zapruder film and searched for an Egyptian pyramid's treasure chamber using cosmic rays. Aren't you dying to meet this wide-ranging scientist?

By Nicholas Gerbis

If you have a theory that potato chips are making you fat (with the proof being your expanding waistline), you've just used two scientific terms in a very unscientific way.

By Beth Brindle

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He is famous for a phrase he never said, for wearing turtlenecks and for hosting the original 'Cosmos' TV series. As enthusiastic about the stars as he was about marijuana, Carl Sagan led a very surprising life.

By Laurie L. Dove

He starred with Superman, drove the getaway car at Pluto's demise and was voted sexiest astrophysicist by People magazine. Is there anything Neil deGrasse Tyson can't do?

By Laurie L. Dove

Is this famous primatologist atheist, agnostic or theistic? Find out as we bravely explore whether science and religion must always collide.

By Marianne Spoon

He may have been born in Brooklyn, but Carl Sagan was gunning for the stars as soon as he arrived in this world. Get to know the scientist whose infectious delight in the universe still holds us spellbound.

By Marianne Spoon

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He ventured to the abyss of black holes, wagered on the information paradox and floated around in zero gravity. Meet the man, the legend, the super scientist: Stephen Hawking.

By Marianne Spoon

How cool would that be to stand amongst the company of fellow laureates like Mother Teresa or Albert Einstein? We have some ideas for scoring you one.

By Marianne Spoon

Frequency has to do with wave speed and wavelength is a measurement of a wave's span. Learn how frequency and wavelength of light are related in this article.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

He was born exactly 300 years after Galileo died. He never won a Nobel Prize, although he was awarded a guest spot on “The Simpsons.” What else do you know (or not know) about this acclaimed physicist?

By Jane McGrath

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You've heard of the big bang, of course, but do you have any idea as to what was happening during that massive flurry of activity billions of years ago?

By Robert Lamb

Every day, astronomers unravel a little more of the universe's inner workings, but the jury is still out on 95 percent of its contents.

By Robert Lamb

Flammarion, (Nicolas) Camille (1842-1925), a French astronomer. He was the author of many popular books on astronomy, including The Atmosphere (1871), Popular Astronomy (1879), and Astronomy for Amateurs (1904).

Cannon, Annie Jump (1863-1941), a United States astronomer. She had a long, distinguished career at Harvard Observatory, 18961940, and was one of the foremost women scientists of her time.

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Hewish, Antony (1924-) is a British astronomer and astrophysicist, a scientist who studies the physical nature, origin, and development of the solar system, galaxies, and the universe.

Eddington, Sir Arthur Stanley (1882--1944), a British astronomer. As chief assistant at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, 1906--13, he began his studies of the motion, internal structure, and evolution of stars.

Shoemaker, Carolyn (1929-) is an American astronomer. She has discovered more comets than any other living astronomer.

Payne-Gaposchkin, Cecilia Helena (1900-1979) was a British-born astronomer who became an authority on variable stars (stars that change in brightness) and the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy.

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Young, Charles Augustus (1834-1908) was a United States astronomer noted for his spectroscopic studies of the sun.

Mason, Charles (1730-1787), an English astronomer and surveyor. In addition to surveying the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, Jeremiah Dixon and he fixed the precise measure of a degree of latitude in America.

Messier, Charles (1730-1817), a French astronomer, discovered or independently codiscovered some 20 comets, earning him the nickname the “ferret of comets” by King Louis XV.

Rittenhouse, David (1732-1796) was a United States astronomer and mathematician. Next to Benjamin Franklin, he was the most respected American man of science of his time.

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Halley, Edmund (1656-1743), was an English astronomer and scientist. He is best known for his studies of the comet that bears his name.

Hubble, Edwin P. (Powell) (18891953), a United States astronomer. Hubble revolutionized astronomy by showing that the universe is much larger than had been previously believed and by providing observational evidence for the theory of an expanding universe.