Table of Contents April 2016


National parks preserve nature's splendor for our enjoyment, but they also contain some of the finest outdoor science labs in the world. In this issue, you'll get an up-close look at key research projects underway at 10 different parks around the United States. Could venomous creepy-crawlies hold the keys to potent, non-addictive painkillers? See why biochemist Glenn King is more than happy to work with dinner plate-sized tarantulas and deadly scorpions.  

Then, see how a doctor's gamble in the 19th century paved the way for a new cancer treatment. Speaking of chance, are top poker players and other gamblers skilled or simply lucky? And another burning question: Are aliens behind a star's crazy light patterns? You'll find answers to these questions and more inside the April issue of Discover.

Digital editions


Ed Stone’s relentless pursuit of the frontier has taken him to the edge of the solar system — and beyond.
Venomous critters may inspire the next generation of painkillers.
A century ago, Congress created the national park system — and ended up preserving some of the best research sites in the world.
In the 1890s, William Coley figured out a way to destroy cancerous tumors by injecting patients with toxic bacteria. Debunked at the time, his treatments laid the groundwork for modern immunotherapy.
From poker to horse racing, the statistics involved in coming out on top.


When it comes to tiny machines, nature itself already has the best template.
For the first time in thousands of years, the massive creatures of the Pacific are finding their way across the Arctic to the North Atlantic. But trouble may await them.
After eight decades, most of the universe is still missing from view, forcing astronomers to abandon the notion that seeing is believing.
Genetic studies resolve long-standing debates about who first settled our continent — but pose new questions.
Pot. Cannabis. Mary Jane. The plant with psychotropic properties has a long pop culture presence — and an even longer record of use.


The reason reservoir balls organize into hexagonal grids.
Over-the-counter moisturizers fortified with specialized nanoparticles can regulate genes that interfere with wound healing.
The 3Dvarius was built using a technique called stereolithography.
If an alien megastructure indeed encircles a star known as KIC 8462852, it's 1,500 years old and no one may be home anymore.
This tiny car rolls along at a clip of 4 inches per minute.
Pages worth turning this month include tomes about brave librarians, mitten cats and a new angle on Mount St. Helens.