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Special Reports

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From the Ground Up: Eyes on the Sky

NSF is making it possible to explore the universe ... from the ground up by supporting world-class facilities that use cutting-edge technology.

Date Updated: December 15, 2010

Clouds: The Wild Card of Climate Change

Clouds are the largest source of uncertainty in projections of climate change. Find out here why cloud behavior is so hard to project, how clouds may significantly impact climate change and how scientists are advancing our knowledge of clouds.

Date Updated: November 9, 2010

Science of NFL Football

NBC News' educational arm, NBC Learn, has teamed up with NSF and the National Football League to release the "Science of NFL Football"--an informative 10-part video series that explores the science behind America's most beloved sport.

Date Updated: November 2, 2010

These Crocs Are Made for Biting

Paleontologists scouring a river bank in Tanzania unearthed a highly unusual, 105 million-year-old crocodile. The relatively lanky, cat-sized animal with mammal-like teeth and a land-based lifestyle reveals that crocodiles were once far more diverse than they are today.

Date Updated: August 4, 2010

National Lab Day

NSF joins other partners in National Lab Day, an initiative connecting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers with STEM professionals who volunteer to share their expertise--and their passion--for science and engineering with students.

Date Updated: May 12, 2010

The Future of NSF on Its 60th Anniversary

At the National Science Foundation's 60th anniversary symposium during the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting, past and present NSF leaders reflected upon 25 years of experience and offered advice about the agency's future.

Date Updated: April 30, 2010

Learning From Haiti: Rapid Response Research

Every disaster leaves critical clues in its wake--not only of its cause, but also of how to protect lives in future emergencies. In this Special Report, researchers on site within days of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti discuss their work there and around the world.

Date Updated: April 19, 2010

The Science of Speed

You can't win NASCAR races without getting the science right. NSF has partnered with NASCAR in the production of the "Science of Speed", a fast-paced 12-part video series that explains the scientific principles that are so essential to the NASCAR experience.

Date Updated: December 17, 2009

Science of the Olympic Winter Games 2010

NBC Learn has teamed up with the National Science Foundation to produce Science of the Olympic Winter Games, a 16-part video series that explores the science behind individual Olympic events.

Date Updated: December 14, 2009

Tawa hallae: Dinosaur Ancient History

When paleontologists unearthed the ancient dinosaur Tawa hallae, they knew it was different--and remarkably well preserved. What they did not know is that the animal has an intriguing lineage, one that answers questions about the earliest evolution of dinosaurs.

Date Updated: December 10, 2009

Climate Change

Our planet's climate affects--and is affected by--the sky, land, ice, sea, life, and people found on it. To understand the entire story of climate change we must study all of the natural and human systems that contribute to and interact with Earth's climate system.

Date Updated: December 7, 2009

Evolution of Evolution: 150 Years of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species"

On Nov. 24, 1859, Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" intrigued scientists, appalled religionists and fascinated the public. Now, 150 years later, "Origin" still causes ripples. This report--updated on the original publication's anniversary--gives a surprising glimpse inside the science and society that fueled his rise to science stardom.

Date Updated: November 24, 2009

Dead Zones

The Earth currently has more than 400 "dead zones"--marine expanses covering hundreds, or even thousands, of square miles that periodically become virtually lifeless. Explore the surprising causes of Oregon's dead zones, and the pioneering methods used to research them.

Date Updated: November 3, 2009

Standing Strong: 2009 NEESWood Capstone Test

On July 14, 2009, a six-story condominium building shook under the forces of an earthquake more powerful than any quake California has experienced in modern times. The final experiment of NSF's multi-year NEESWood project, the effort tested new ways to construct buildings that can withstand severe forces of nature.

Date Updated: July 14, 2009

Math: What’s the Problem?

International assessments show U.S. math students outperformed by those in many other countries. Research supported by NSF illuminates the role of teaching, curriculum and technology in math education, and demonstrates the importance of math education to all citizens.

Date Updated: January 26, 2009

Archaeology From Reel to Real

No one expects the "reel" world of Indiana Jones to resemble the real world of science, but NSF-supported archaeologists really do discover "lost cities," try to figure how "lost civilizations" disappeared and learn about Ancient Egypt from its graves and their skeletons. NAGC Winner

Date Updated: May 21, 2008

NSF and the Birth of the Internet

The Internet is now a part of modern life, but how was it created? Learn how the technology behind the Internet was created and how NSFNET, a network created to help university researchers in the 1980s, grew to become the Internet we know today. NAGC Winner

Date Updated: April 29, 2008

X-treme Microbes

They're called 'extremophiles' because they're able to live in shocking extremes of cold, heat, pressure, acidity and more. Research on these strange organisms is redefining the limits of life on Earth and, perhaps, on other worlds. NAGC Winner

Date Updated: April 29, 2008

William T. Golden Appreciation

Although he never worked as a scientist and didn't receive his master's degree in biology until age 70, William T. Golden was one of the most influential figures in post-World War II American science.

Date Updated: November 15, 2007

Language and Linguistics

Common to all humans, language is nonetheless complex. How do languages develop and change? What happens when one is lost? What about sign languages? Linguists explore these questions and more.

Date Updated: March 13, 2007

The Liberty Bell: Protecting an American Icon

When the Liberty Bell took a journey to its new home, 21st century sensor technology helped ensure a safe move for this symbol of American history, preserving the bell and its legendary crack.

Date Updated: February 8, 2007


Robots have long captured the human imagination, yet despite many advances, robots have yet to reach the potential so often envisioned in science fiction.

Date Updated: October 25, 2006

The Secret Lives of Wild Animals

Modern technologies like global tracking systems and ultraminiaturized sensors now provide researchers with intimate glimpses of rarely seen behaviors of wild animals. NAGC Winner

Date Updated: September 25, 2006

Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation

More than 75 million Americans live in areas at risk for earthquake or tsunami devastation. This network links researchers working to design structures and materials that better withstand the forces of nature.

Date Updated: August 14, 2006


Cyberinfrastructure is poised to revolutionize many science and engineering disciplines. Individual researchers will have the power of the world's highest-performance digital resources at their disposal.

Date Updated: June 28, 2006

Aviation Opens Antarctica

Adm. Richard Byrd's historic flight to the South Pole in 1929 helped open the Frozen Continent. The history of aviation and the history of Antarctic science and exploration are inextricably entwined.

Date Updated: June 5, 2006

Seafloor Science

On the seafloor--where no sunlight reaches and pressure is extreme--tectonic plates slowly shift, chimneys spew hot liquid "smoke," and exotic life forms thrive. Join the VISIONS '05 expedition to see more.

Date Updated: March 20, 2006

Surveys: Tracking Opinion

Human behavior is one of the most important yet ill-understood areas of scientific inquiry. Surveys are the scientific instruments that help us understand ourselves and our society.

Date Updated: March 17, 2006

The Chemistry of Water

Water is very familiar, but it is hardly ordinary. Scientists still have much to learn about this remarkable and versatile substance.

Date Updated: June 10, 2005
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