Editor's note

The Super Bowl should be a tense battle between some of the best athletes in the world. But there’s one problem: the games are usually boring, lopsided affairs. The NFL realized this early on, and Penn State’s Peter Hopsicker and Mark Dyreson tell the story of how the league, in an effort to lure more viewers, transformed the Super Bowl from a battle of gridiron gladiators into a spectacle of singers, fireworks and advertisements.

The Super Bowl is also a good time to reflect on the dangers of under-reported concussions. As Colorado State University researcher Doug Coatsworth writes, thorough research is needed on the culture of various youth sports.

Nick Lehr

Editor, Arts and Culture

Top story

Fireworks go off before Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. Andrew Kelly/Reuters

The Super Bowl's evolution from football game to entertainment extravaganza

Peter M. Hopsicker, Pennsylvania State University; Mark Dyreson, Pennsylvania State University

Recognizing that the game itself is often lopsided and boring, the NFL, through the years, has worked to minimize its significance.

Science + Technology

  • Why Bill Belichick cast down his tablet

    John Carrier, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    The problems that cause us to be so frustrated we contemplate throwing a computer can be much more serious than a multimillionaire football coach having a minor tantrum on a Sunday afternoon.

  • The frog tongue is a high-speed adhesive

    Alexis Noel, Georgia Institute of Technology; David Hu, Georgia Institute of Technology

    How do a frog's tongue and saliva work together to be sticky enough to lift 1.4 times the animal's body weight? Painstaking lab work found their spit switches between two distinct phases to nab prey.

  • Hunting hackers: An ethical hacker explains how to track down the bad guys

    Timothy Summers, University of Maryland

    Cyberdetectives look for digital doors or windows left unlocked, find electronic footprints in the dirt and examine malicious software for clues about who broke in, what they took and why.

Politics + Society

  • How 'voter fraud' crusades undermine voting rights

    Jesse Rhodes, University of Massachusetts Amherst

    President Donald Trump is promoting the widely discredited idea of voter fraud. Spreading the myth will make it easier to tighten voter ID laws.

  • Immigration and crime: What does the research say?

    Charis Kubrin, University of California, Irvine; Graham C. Ousey, College of William & Mary; Lesley Reid, University of Alabama; Robert Adelman, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

    Our panel of experts examines whether immigration leads to more crime using data from across 200 metropolitan areas and 20 years of research.

Health + Medicine

  • How man's best friend is helping cancer treatment

    Nicole Ehrhart, Colorado State University

    Dogs are great companions, and they also are proving to be great research subjects for cancer. Here's how our canine friends are pointing to possible treatments in human cancer.

  • We have a vaccine for six cancers; why are less than half of kids getting it?

    Electra D. Paskett, The Ohio State University

    A vaccine to prevent cancer was long a dream for those who treat the disease. But fewer than half of all girls and even fewer boys have been vaccinated. Cancer specialists hope this will soon change.

  • Melanoma: Taming a migratory menace

    Richard Neubig, Michigan State University

    Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, can usually be cured when caught early. When it has spread, however, it becomes a challenge. Recent findings are bringing hope. Here are a few examples.

  • How Planned Parenthood has helped millions of women, including me

    Maureen Miller, Columbia University Medical Center

    The defunding of Planned Parenthood is a goal of many in the new administration. Here's a look at the facts about the group, including the number of people it serves and the services it provides.

Economy + Business

Ethics + Religion

Arts + Culture


  • Trump's immigration ban: Will it undercut American soft power?

    Jason Lane, University at Albany, State University of New York

    For decades, the US has used international education to support democracy and positive relations with countries. For most of the 1970s, Iran sent more students to America than any other country.

  • Stereotypes can hold boys back in school, too

    David Miller, Northwestern University

    Recent research raised concerns about girls' stereotypes on their gender's lack of 'brilliance.' But an overlooked finding suggests boys also hold hindering stereotypes about themselves in school.

Environment + Energy