Steven Chu to step down from energy post

Steven Chu

Steven Chu announced today that he will soon step down as head of the Energy Department, a move that had been widely anticipated. Nature this week previewed some of the potential replacements for Chu and other members of President Barack Obama’s environmental team.  Read more

James Cameron releases results from his deep dive

A 3-D rendering of the trench exaggerates the vertical scale to show topographic features

While the public has been waiting for film director James Cameron to produce a sequel to his blockbuster Avatar, oceanographers have been wondering when he would release the science results of his dive to the bottom of the ocean last March. On Tuesday, Cameron and his team doled out a few tidbits to a packed audience at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.  Read more

Armstrong left mark on science

Neil Armstrong in the lunar lander after his historic moon walk.

The death of Neil Armstrong over the weekend triggered a wave of commemorations, from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to countless tweeters who said they were inspired by the first man to walk on the moon. Armstrong and his fellow Apollo astronauts also made a big impact on science — by helping to steer a generation of young students toward scientific research. That was one of the conclusions to come out of a survey that Nature conducted in the summer of 2009, on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Nature asked 800 scientists who had published in the journal about the legacy of the Apollo program. Half of the researchers who responded said that the Apollo missions had inspired them to become scientists.  Read more