Editor's note

Earth’s magnetic field is what makes a compass point north. Crucially, it also protects us and our atmosphere from incoming charged particles from space. Geophysicists know the magnetic field has been decreasing for 160 years – something that in the very distant past has preceded the planet’s magnetic poles flipping. As researchers try to untangle what is going on, geophysicists John Tarduno and Vincent Hare explain how archaeomagnetic studies – focused on villages in southern Africa that burned 700 years ago – are helping fill in the picture.

Companies have historically tried to steer clear of politically controversial issues like the recent immigration travel ban for fear of alienating their customers. But new research from marketing professor Daniel Korschun shows that staying silent may be more damaging to the bottom line – as Uber learned the hard way.

Maggie Villiger

Senior Editor, Science + Technology

Top story

What’s north would become south. NASA

Does an anomaly in the Earth's magnetic field portend a coming pole reversal?

John Tarduno, University of Rochester; Vincent Hare, University of Rochester

Are we headed to a magnetic reversal and all the global disruption that would bring? Enter archaeomagnetism. A look at the archaeological record in southern Africa provides some clues.

Environment + Energy

Politics + Society

Arts + Culture

Economy + Business

Health + Medicine

Rest of the World