Kate Baggaley

Kate Baggaley

Reporter, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences

Kate Baggaley, based in northern New Jersey, covers Life Sciences and Physical Sciences for The Academic Times. Prior to that, Kate was a freelance reporter whose work appeared in Popular Science, NBC News MACH and other publications. She has a master’s degree from New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program and a degree in biology from Vassar College.

Fingertips are even more sensitive than we thought. (Jarocka et al., JNeurosci 2021)
Fingertips are even more sensitive than we thought. (Jarocka et al., JNeurosci 2021)A single neuron in the human fingertip is sensitive to tactile details as fine as 0.4 millimeters, which is about the width of the ridges in a fingerprint, according to new research in which scientists measured the electrical impulses from nerve cells in people’s fingertips.

Super-Earths around distant stars don't tell us much about our own home. (Pixabay/flflflfl)
Super-Earths around distant stars don't tell us much about our own home. (Pixabay/flflflfl)In faraway solar systems, the distribution of so-called super-Earths may offer surprisingly few hints about the planets' early history, new research suggests, although scientists did uncover one formation characteristic with implications for the exoplanets' ability to retain an atmosphere.

Himalayan glaciers face a new threat. (Pascal Buri)
Himalayan glaciers face a new threat. (Pascal Buri)Ice cliffs on the surfaces of glaciers in the Himalayas are hotspots for melting, even in areas where rocky debris or chilly temperatures should slow it down, new research indicates.

Long-lived bats have a "clock" to thank for their age. (G. Wilkinson, G. Jones, S. Puechmaille, M. Tschapka)
Long-lived bats have a "clock" to thank for their age. (G. Wilkinson, G. Jones, S. Puechmaille, M. Tschapka)Scientists have developed a technique to predict the age of a bat from the state of its DNA in wing tissue samples, revealing potential explanations for why the flying mammals enjoy such unusually long lifespans.

Borophane is set to become a popular multi-use synthetic material. (Mark Hersam)
Borophane is set to become a popular multi-use synthetic material. (Mark Hersam)U.S. researchers have created a new material called borophane that consists of atomically thin sheets of boron and hydrogen atoms and is more durable than similar compounds, potentially leading to innovations in important electronics.

Sharks eat creatures that eat seagrass, helping it grow. (Unsplash/Alex Rose)
Sharks eat creatures that eat seagrass, helping it grow. (Unsplash/Alex Rose)Tiger sharks play a crucial role in helping fragile and economically important seagrass ecosystems bounce back after marine heatwaves by scaring off hungry herbivores such as sea cows and turtles, emphasizing the importance of top predators, new research indicates.

This sea slug has a unique talent. (Sayaka Mitoh)
This sea slug has a unique talent. (Sayaka Mitoh)Scientists have discovered that sea slugs from two different species can sever their own heads and then regenerate their entire bodies, including the heart, within weeks or even days.

Larger sampling pools can help detect outbreaks. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Larger sampling pools can help detect outbreaks. (AP Photo/David Goldman)A new analysis from scientists in France demonstrates that pooled testing, the practice of combining mucus or saliva samples from multiple individuals and testing them together, is an efficient way to track the prevalence of the novel coronavirus in relatively closed communities such as schools and nursing homes — despite the increased risk of overlooking an infected person.

Gravity might have a simpler origin than dark matter. (NASA)
Gravity might have a simpler origin than dark matter. (NASA)There is a 73% chance that one or more vast clusters of stars lie undiscovered at the outer edges of the Milky Way, scientists recently reported, and identifying precisely how many are scattered throughout the galaxy can offer clues about how the Milky Way has grown and changed over billions of years.

Men and women don't differ much, at least when it comes to their brains. (Pixabay/5688709)
Men and women don't differ much, at least when it comes to their brains. (Pixabay/5688709)A sweeping analysis of research on the human brain found very few sex-based differences in structure and function, noting that once brain size is accounted for, any differences that remained were small and rarely consistent from one study to the next.

Plastic waste can now be tracked from shore to garbage patch. (AP Image/Eldar Emric)
Plastic waste can now be tracked from shore to garbage patch. (AP Image/Eldar Emric)Scientists have developed a mathematical model to trace the several million metric tons of plastic trash deposited in the ocean each year, tracking pathways that debris takes on its way to massive garbage patches, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located between Hawaii and California.

Lab research to save coral will be easier thanks to this discovery. (David Williamson)
Lab research to save coral will be easier thanks to this discovery. (David Williamson)The number of reef-building corals across the Indo-Pacific is on par with the number of trees in the Amazon, scientists reported this week, suggesting that despite well-documented population declines among the vulnerable animals, significant extinction among species is unlikely in the near future.