How did our solar system form? Clemson scientists have a new theory

While scientists have made many impressive discoveries about the universe over the years, they have yet to agree on a single model that explains how the solar system formed. The prevailing theory is that a massive star exploded billions of years ago and compressed a dense cloud of interstellar dust and gas until it collapsed under the force of gravity to form new stars — including our sun.

But scientists at the University of Chicago and Clemson University have proposed an alternative theory that suggests the solar system instead formed within the walls of a massive bubble surrounding a Wolf-Rayet star. Read more. See the study here.

Arctic Ocean composition is undergoing rapid change: study

U.S. scientists have found have found new evidence of significant changes in the chemical and biological composition of the Arctic Ocean that could fundamentally transform the local food chain. A new study suggests that climate change has caused a dramatic increase in the amount of soils or sediments flowing from the Arctic shore and the shallow continental shelf into the ocean over the last decade. Read more.

Vegetarian Sharks? Bonnetheads Can Survive on Seagrass Alone, Study Finds

Sharks are infamous as meat eaters who often prey on sea creatures and sometimes humans. However, a new study has found that there is a species of shark that can survive on a vegetarian diet.

Meet the bonnethead shark, a member of the hammerhead shark genus Sphyrna in the family Sphyrnidae. A study, led by Samantha Leigh, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Irvine, found that these sharks are able to survive on a diet of seagrass, a plant that grows on the ocean floor. Read more.

Robert N. Clayton, ‘one of the giants’ of cosmochemistry, 1930-2017

Scientist conducted pioneering research on meteorites and lunar rocks

University of Chicago Professor Emeritus Robert N. Clayton, whose pioneering research on the chemistry of meteorites and lunar rocks helped shape the field of cosmochemistry, died on December 30, 2017. He was 87.

In the foreword of a book dedicated to Clayton, Smithsonian geologist Glenn MacPherson wrote that Clayton “could easily wear the name ‘Mr. Oxygen.’” Clayton pioneered the use of oxygen isotopes as “fingerprints,” creating a relatively simple test to distinguish meteorites from ordinary rocks as well as a revolution in the burgeoning field of cosmochemistry. Read more.