Glossary – N


NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People): a United States civil rights organization supporting equity for ethnic minorities.

N’Kisi: a telepathic gray parrot.

naïve empiricism: the belief that knowledge can only be gained through empirical examination of Nature . See naïve realism.

naïve realism (aka direct realism, commonsense realism, scientific realism): the belief that actuality as perceived is reality.

naked mole rat: see sand puppy.

Namibia: a country on the western coast of southern Africa, the driest in sub-Saharan Africa.

nanny state: British idiom for a government with protective policies that interfere in personal choices. Conservative British MP Iain Macleod referred to the nanny state in 1965.

nanometer (nm): 1-billionth of a meter.

nanostructure: a structure engineered at the nanometer scale.

Nanuqsaurus: a genus of carnivorous tyrannosaurid theropod, adapted to a cool climate.

naphtha: a flammable liquid hydrocarbon; either a natural gas condensate, or the lightest distillate of peat, petroleum, or coal tar.

Napier’s bones: a set of 4-sided rods that afforded multiplication and division by physical manipulation.

Napoléon complex (aka short man syndrome): a pejorative referring to short men overcompensating for their lack of physical stature by overbearing behavior. Named after the chronic aggressiveness displayed by Napoléon Bonaparte, a man of oversized ambition, but not actually short stature. Napoléon was average height for his time (1.57 m).

Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815): a series of conflicts between the French Empire, led by Napoléon Bonaparte, and other European powers in various coalitions. The wars were a continuation of the Revolutionary Wars which broke out in 1792, during the French Revolution. Owing to mass conscription, battles were on an unprecedented scale: a warm-up for the total world wars of the 20th century. French dominion in Europe was finally extinguished with the ill-fated invasion of Russia in 1812.

naringin (C27H32O14): a naturally occurring, bitter flavonoid in citrus fruits, especially grapefruit.

narwhal (aka narwhale): a medium-sized toothed whale with a large tusk from a protruding canine tooth. Narwhals live year-round in Arctic waters.

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration): the US government civilian (as contrasted to military) space agency.

narcissism: an inordinate fascination with oneself; vanity.

Nasa poissoniana: an angiosperm endemic to the Peruvian Andes with a star-shaped flower, in the Loasoideae subfamily, known for their polychrome blooms and painfully stinging hairs on their stems.

Nassau (Duchy of) (1806–1866): an independent Germanic state in the Rhineland.

nastic movement: plant movement that does not depend on the direction of the stimulus. Contrast tropism.

Nasutitermitinae (termite): a subfamily of termites found through much of the world. Nasutitermitinae soldiers have a pointed snout – nasus – on their forehead, from which they squirt an aerosol to deter or repel an attack (chemical warfare). They have accurate aim despite being blind.

nation: a political territory. Compare state. See nation-state.

nation-state: the government (state) of a nation; the concept of a nation and its governance as integral.

National Federation of the Blind: an US organization of blind people.

nationalism: devotion and loyalty to one’s own country; patriotism. Contrast internationalism.

nativism (philosophy): the epistemology that all knowledge is innate.

nativism (politics): the policy of protecting native inhabitants against immigrants.

natriuresis: sodium excretion in the urine via kidney activity, promoted by ventricular and atrial natriuretic peptides as well as calcitonin.

natriuretic peptide: a peptide that causes natriuresis.

native (biology): naturally occurring and associated with a certain environment or biome. Compare indigenous, endemic.

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) (1949–): a Europe-oriented intergovernmental military alliance, though NATO also includes the US and Canada.

nattermind: the involuntary part of the mind that acts as an independent agent. Contrast willmind.

nattō: fermented soybeans.

Natufian (14,500–9,500 BCE): a sedentary population in the Levant before adopting agriculture. The Natufians may have been one of the first Neolithic settlements in the region.

natural concept: an imprecise category developed via experience. Contrast artificial concept.

natural gas: a methane-rich gas formed either by methanogens or thermogenically from buried organic matter compressed and heated over millions of years. Compare coal, petroleum.

natural genetic engineering: the process of altering cell functioning based upon genetic information.

natural genetic engineering toolkit: the set of biochemical capabilities a cell has to restructure its genome by cleaving, splicing, and synthesizing DNA chains.

natural law: a philosophy of law premised upon the belief that there a universal morality associated with fairness.

natural killer cell (aka NK cell): a cytotoxic lymphocyte in the innate immune system.

natural logarithm: a logarithm with e as its base.

natural monopoly: an industry which is most efficient if the market is provided for by a single company (rather than being subject to competition).

natural number (aka counting number): a number in the set of numbers {1, 2, 3, …}.

natural philosophy: the study of Nature from a holistic perspective; the common methodology of comprehending Nature until the 17th century, before modern science barged in with its strictly empirical scientific method. See natural science. Contrast science.

natural science: natural philosophy coupled to the scientific method.

natural selection: a meaningless term acclaiming Darwinism, popular among religious evolutionary biologists who should know better. See Darwinism.

natural selection (aka Darwinism): a disproven hypothesis of evolutionary descent by Charles Darwin, who proposed that random mutations over millions of years led to speciation, whereupon new species survived or went extinct by competition. This meaningless term remains popular among religious evolutionary biologists who should know better. More innocuously, and vacuously from a theoretical perspective, natural selection may be contrasted to artificial selection, which is selective breeding.

“Natural Selection almost inevitably causes much Extinction of the less improved forms of life.” ~ Charles Darwin

natural transformation (genetics, molecular biology) (aka transformation): a cell altering its genetic makeup through uptake and incorporation of exogenous DNA.

naturalism: the monistic matterist belief that observable actuality and reality are synonymous. Compare naïve realism. See matterism. Contrast supernaturalism.

Nature: the exhibition of existence. See coherence.

nature (of): the essence or basic constitution (of something).

nautiloid: a diverse group of marine cephalopods with hard outer shells for protection, such as the nautilus. Nautiloids arose during the Late Cambrian. Compare coleoid.

nautilus: a pelagic marine nautiloid that emerged during the Late Cambrian, with 6 extant species in 2 genera.

Nazca Plate: an oceanic tectonic plate in the eastern Pacific Ocean basin off the west coast of South America.

Nazism (aka National Socialism): the ideology and practices of the 20th century German Nazi party, characterized by fascism and antisemitism.

Near East: a geographical area of southwest Asia and northeast Africa. The term has generally been applied as being the area of the Ottoman Empire at its apogee in the mid-1500s. Since the mid-1900s, the terms Near East and Middle East have been approximated as synonymous.

Neanderthal (aka Neandertal) (~800–45 tya): an extinct species in the Homo genus, closely related to modern humans.

Near East: a geographical area of southwest Asia and northeast Africa. The term has generally been applied as being the area of the Ottoman Empire at its apogee in the mid-1500s. Since the mid-1900s, the terms Near East and Middle East have been approximated as synonymous.

near passerine: an arboreal bird, related to (true) passerines. Near passerines include cuckoos, swifts, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, toucans, hornbills, kingfishers, nightjars, mousebirds, trogons, and quetzals. A comprehensive listing is somewhat controversial, as some birds, such as pigeons and parrots, were traditionally considered near passerines, but their inclusion is no longer generally accepted.

near-death experience: an experience near death. People who have near-death experiences may physically cease to function for some duration before reviving.

Nearctic: related to organisms indigenous to North America before the Great American Interchange. Contrast Neotropic.

nebular hypothesis: a hypothesis by Emanuel Swedenborg, that the solar system formed by swirling accretions of matter.

necrosis: premature cell death in living tissue via autolysis. Compare apoptosis.

necroptosis: programmed inflammatory cell death (a form of necrosis).

necrotroph: an infectious organism that kills living host cells, and then feeds on the remains. Contrast biotroph.

nectar: a sugar-rich solution produced by plants as a bribe for pollinators.

nectarivore: an animal that eats primarily or exclusively nectar. Most nectarivores are insects or birds but there are also nectarivorous geckos, bats, and the tiny honey possum.

negative pressure: an expansive (inflationary) pressure.

negligible senescence: lack of aging symptoms.

Neesia: a fruit-bearing tree genus, endemic to Southeast Asia.

Neisseria: a large genus of spherical commensal bacteria that colonize the mucous membranes of many animals.

Neolithic (aka New Stone Age) (10,200 BCE to between 4500 and 2000 BCE): a technological era in human prehistory marked by the development of metal tools and by the domestication of crops and animals; coined by Charles Lyell in 1965.

nematocyst : a barbed chemical stinger within a nematocyte.

nematocyte: a cell housing a nematocyst. Cnidarians have nematocytes.

nematode (aka roundworm): a worm in one of the most diverse phyla, with an estimated 100,000 species. Over 28,000 species are known, of which over 16,000 are parasitic. Unlike earlier-evolved cnidarians and flatworms, nematodes have tubular digestive systems, with openings at both ends.

neochrome: a protein photoreceptor that is active at low light levels by its responsiveness to longer wavelength light. Neochrome is a synthesis of phytochrome and phototropin. See chlorophyll, cryptochrome, phototropin, phytochrome.

neoclassical economics: an ill-definable school of economics posited on 3 unrealistic assumptions: 1) people have rational preferences; 2) individuals maximize their utility and firms maximize profits; and 3) people act independently based upon all relevant information.

neocon (neoconservative): a conservative that advocates pushing Anglo-American values and institutions onto foreign nations.

neocortex (aka neopallium, isocortex): the part of the mammalian brain active during higher-order mentation, such as sensory perception, cognition, motor command generation, spatial reasoning, and language.

Neogene (23–0.05 mya): the middle geological period of 3 in the Cenozoic era, during which mammals and birds evolved into their modern forms. Later in the period hominoids arose.

Neolithic (aka New Stone Age) (10,200 BCE to between 4500 and 2000 BCE): a technological era in human prehistory marked by the development of metal tools and by the domestication of crops and animals; coined by Charles Lyell in 1965.

Neolithic Revolution (aka Agricultural Revolution): the societal transition to agriculture and settlements. The food surpluses resulting from this ratcheted socioeconomic inequality.

neon (Ne): the element with atomic number 10; a colorless, inert gas. Neon is the least reactive element, and the 2nd-lightest gas, behind helium. Although the 5th most common in the universe (by mass), neon is rare on Earth. Commercial neon, which glows reddish-orange as a plasma in a vacuum discharge tube, is extracted from air, which contains trace amounts.

neonate: a human infant within 28 days of birth.

neonicotinoid (aka neonic): a group of insecticides chemically similar to nicotine.

neoplasia: abnormal cell growth.

neoplasm (aka tumor): an uncontrolled growth of abnormal tissue.

neopositivism (aka logical positivism, logical empiricism): the idea that there are no valid ideas – that only empirically verifiable observations can be considered cognitively meaningful. Influenced by early-20th-century physics field theories, and under sway of Austrian physicist Ernst Mach, neopositivism sprouted in Berlin and Vienna in the late 1920s and gained widespread acceptance in scientific circles since the mid-20th century. Rejecting metaphysics, neopositivism’s central creed is that only empirical facts form valid knowledge. See verificationism. Contrast panpsychism.

neopositivism: a movement in Western philosophy that values only knowledge backed by empirical evidence (verificationism). Neopositivism originated with philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians in Berlin and Vienna in the late 1920s and flourished in European intellectual circles in the 1930s before becoming the modus operandi of economics in the 1940s. { Spokes 6 }

Neoproterozoic (1 bya–542 mya); the 3rd and last era of the Proterozoic eon.

neoteny (aka juvenilization, pedomorphosis): retention by adults of traits previously seen only in the young (in the perspective of evolutionary descent). See heterochrony.

Neotropic: related to organisms indigenous to South America before the Great American Interchange. Contrast Nearctic.

Neotropics: tropical Central and South America.

Nepenthes hemsleyana: a giant tropical pitcher plant endemic to the peat swamp and heath forests of Borneo.

nepotism: favoritism granted to relatives. Nepotism is ubiquitous in all social life forms. See kin selection.

nephrology: the study of the human kidney.

Neptune: the 8th and farthest planet from the Sun in the solar system. Neptune’s orbit is ~165 Earth years.

Neptune grass (aka Mediterranean tapeweed, Posidonia oceanica): a long-lived seagrass endemic to the Mediterranean Sea.

nerve (cell): see neuron.

(ventral) nerve cord: a central nerve cord running down the belly (ventral plane) of some invertebrates, notably arthropods. Compare spinal cord.

nerve tissue: the tissue surrounding nerve cells (neurons).

nervous system: an animal cellular system for conducting electrochemical stimuli, especially from the senses.

nervous system: the electro-chemical communication system of an animal via nerve cells. Nervous systems emerged 600–550 mya. { Spokes 3 }

network effect: a gyre of activity related to a nexus good, service, or event. A positive network effect occurs when the value of a network improves with more people involved. A negative network effect happens when the activity associated with a network degrades with more participants.

Netscape (1994–1999): a web browser company bought by AOL in 1999. The Netscape browser lost its corporate support in 2008, but then, as a brand name, was shilled as a discount Internet service provider. The legacy of the Netscape browser lives on. Netscape created the open-source software project Mozilla in 1998, then publicly released its browser source code, which evolved into the Firefox browser (2002–).

nettle: a flowering plant with stinging hairs in the Urtica genus.

network effect: a gyre of activity related to a nexus good, service, or event. A positive network effect occurs when the value of a network improves with more people involved. A negative network effect happens when the activity associated with a network degrades with more participants.

neural network: computer software for pattern matching using a data tensor network that is imagined to work like neurons in the brain.

neurobiology (aka neuroscience): a pseudoscience that equates nerve cell activity with mentation. Even the assumption that neurons comprise the predominant cell type of the physiological intelligence system is wrong. Compare neurology.

neurobiology (aka neuroscience): the study of the nervous system. With respect to psychology, many neurobiologists idiotically claim that nerve cells manufacture the mind and consciousness via some mystical physical network effect. { Spokes 5 }

neurogenesis: the generation of neurons by glia cells.

neurohypophysial hormone: a family of peptide hormones synthesized in the hypothalamus. Oxytocin and vasopressin are neurohypophysial hormones.

neurology: the study of nervous system disorders. See neurobiology.

neuron (aka nerve cell): an electrically excitable intercellular signaling cell as part of the nervous system, employed for sensory or motor communication. Functionally, neurons are managed by glia.

neuron doctrine: the notion that neurons are the cells of intelligence.

neuropeptide: small protein-like molecules (peptides) employed by neurons to communicate with each other.

neuroscience: see neurobiology.

neurosis: abiding bothersome mental dissonance. The term is no longer considered acceptable by many in the American psychology community. Compare psychosis.

neuroticism: chronic emotional disturbance; acceptance of the predations of the mind associated with negative emotional states. Chronic fear, anxiety, worry, moodiness, frustration, and loneliness are neurotic.

neurotoxin: a poison to nerve cells.

neurotransmitter: an endogenous chemical employed to transmit a signal across a synapse from one neuron to another.

neutral monism (aka neumonism): the immaterial epistemology that the essence of existence is neither material nor mental, but energetic. Compare idealism.

neutralization: the reaction of an acid with a base by proton transfer, forming a salt.

neutron: a subatomic particle at home in the nucleus of an atom. Lacking an electromagnetic charge, neutrons act as a peacemaker in holding feisty protons together in an atomic nucleus. See proton.

neutron star: a stellar remnant from the gravitational collapse of a massive star (supernova). Neutron stars are made mostly of neutrons condensed to the utmost extent.

neutrophil: the most abundant (40–75%) type of white blood cell in mammals. A phagocyte, neutrophils are an essential part of the innate immune system.

New Age: a term applied in the 1970s to eclectic spiritual beliefs not associated with conventional religions.

New Deal (1933–1939): the domestic policy of US President Franklin Roosevelt to pull the nation out of the Great Depression through government economic activities. The New Deal embraced the concept of a government-regulated economy.

New Guinea: an island in the western Pacific Ocean, north of Australia. New Guinea is the 2nd largest island on Earth, after Greenland.

New World: the Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas and nearby islands; sometimes Oceania is included. The term originated in the early 16th century by European explorers expanding their worldly horizons. Contrast Old World.

New York Times, The (NYT, nicknamed The Gray Lady) (1851–): American daily newspaper published in New York City. The print edition of NYT has the 2nd-largest circulation in the US, behind The Wall Street Journal, another New York City newspaper.

New Zealand cockle (Austrovenus stutchburyi): a marine clam resident in the harbors and estuaries of New Zealand.

newt: an aquatic salamander.

newton (N): the standard unit of force that produces an acceleration of 1 meter per second per second on a 1-kilogram mass. Used as a measurement of weight. Named after Isaac Newton.

NF-ĸB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells): a family of proteins which control DNA transcription, regulate cell response to stress, and ultimately, determine cell survival.

Nicaragua: the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. Nicaragua has had a rocky political history.

niche (biology): a certain set of ecological features that provide for occupation by an adapted specialist species.

niche differentiation (aka niche partitioning, niche segregation, niche separation): the evolutionary process of similar species that might otherwise compete adapting to different patterns of resource use (typically food).

nickel (Ni): the element with atomic number 28; a silvery-white lustrous metal with a subdued golden tinge. On Earth, nickel is always found combined with iron, both of which originate from supernova nucleosynthesis.

nicotine (C10H14N2): a potent alkaloid made in the roots of nightshade plants, notably tobacco, and accumulated in the leaves to prevent herbivore consumption. Nicotine is unusual in its nervous system effects, in changing from stimulant to sedative via increasing dosage and tolerance.

nidifugous: a bird that leaves the nest shortly after hatching.

night monkey (aka owl monkey, owing to its unusually large eyes): a monogamous New World monkey; the only nocturnal monkey.

nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos): a small, migratory, insectivorous passerine which breeds in the forests and scrub of Europe and southwest Asia, and winters in West Africa.

nightshade: a flowering plant in the Solanaceae family. Many nightshades have potent alkaloids that are toxic, while others, such as the potato and tomato, are staple foods. There are 2,700 species of nightshades in 98 genera.

nihilism: the philosophic doctrine that there is no objectivity, including denial of intrinsic meaning to living. Nihilism has a convoluted history, where several nuanced meanings have been attached to the term (an irony that denying meaning can be so richly meaningful). Buddha (and others later) cautioned against nihilism as tempting moral rot. In modern philosophic thought, Friedrich Nietzsche extensively pondered nihilism, and is most associated with the doctrine.

“Every belief, every considering something true, is necessarily false because there is simply no true world. Inevitably, nihilism will expose all cherished beliefs and sacrosanct truths as symptoms of a defective mythos.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

While the teachings of Ishi Nobu concur with Nietzsche’s above observation, Nobu emphasizes construing life as entertainment: a natural outcome of quieting nattermind and living transcendentally.

nirvana: a term which means literally “blown out,” as a candle. Indian religions consider nirvana as attaining liberation from reincarnation. Buddhism emphasizes the stillness of mind obtained from freeing oneself from desire, aversion, and delusion. Hinduism emphasizes union with the divine ground of existence and the experience of bliss.

Nissan (1914–): Japanese automaker.

nitrate (NO¯3): a polyatomic ion used in fertilizers and explosives.

nitric oxide (NO; aka nitrogen monoxide): a free radical molecule.

nitrogen (N): the element with atomic number 7; a colorless, tasteless, odorless element that, as a diatomic gas (N2), is relatively inert.

nitrogen cycle: the cycling of nitrogen in the biosphere.

nitrogen fixation: fixing atmospheric nitrogen gas into a biologically employable form; the process by which diatomic nitrogen gas is converted to ammonium ions which can be employed by plants. Only certain microbes have mastered the trick of fixing nitrogen.

nitrogen oxide (NO): a harmful colorless gas that oxidizes into other forms.

nitrogen oxides (NOx): the generic term for nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

nitrogenase: an enzyme employed by microbes to fix atmospheric nitrogen into biologically usable form.

nitrous oxide (N2O) (aka laughing gas): a colorless, nonflammable gas with a slightly sweet odor and taste; used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic effects.

nixtamalization: the preparation process for hominy, in which dried maize is soaked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater, and hulled. Alkalinity loosens kernel husks and softens the corn.

noble (chemistry): an element that is chemically inert (inactive), thus not given to molecular combinations.

noble gas: an odorless, colorless, monatomic gas with low chemical reactivity. The 6 noble gases that naturally occur are helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radioactive radon.

nocebo: a belief provoking illness or death; the opposite of a placebo.

nociception (aka nocioception, nociperception): detection of stimuli which are hazardous. In animals, nociception usually causes pain.

nocturnal (biology): active at night. Contrast diurnal. See crepuscular.

node (botany): a junction between plant parts; typically, the point of attachment of a twig or leaf on the stem of seed plants.

nodes of Ranvier (aka myelin sheath gaps): 1-micrometer gaps between the myelin sheath on nerve cell axons that allow electrical signals to jump from one node to another. Named after Louis-Antoine Ranvier, who discovered the gaps in 1878.

nodulation: the process of forming a nodule where rhizobia can perform nitrogen fixation for legumes.

non-Euclidian geometry: a geometrical system that postulates curved, higher-dimensional (HD) space. Non-Euclidian geometry diverges from Euclidian geometry in relaxing the parallel postulate.

non-homologous end joining: a pathway for repairing a DNA sequence break when no homologous copy exists.

non-homologous recombination: exchanging nucleotide sequences between dissimilar genes. Contrast homologous recombination.

noncoding (DNA/RNA): a polynucleotide strand that does not encode for protein production. At 200 nucleotides, an arbitrary distinction is made between noncoding sequences deemed small and those called long (the RNA form abbreviated as lncRNA). Examples of noncoding RNA include ribosomal RNA, transfer RNA, piwi-interacting RNA, and microRNA.

nonlocality (physics): entanglement of objects at some distance from each other. Contrast locality.

nonmetal: a chemical element lacking metallic attributes. Nonmetals tend to be highly volatile (easily vaporized), good insulators of heat and electricity, have low elasticity, and tend to have high ionization energy (gaining or sharing electrons when reacting). 17 (of 118) elements are nonmetals; 11 are gases, 5 solids, 1 liquid (bromine).

non-Newtonian fluid: a fluid that does not follow Newton’s law of viscosity, which assumes constant viscosity independent of stress. Viscosity changes under stress in non-Newtonian fluids: becoming more liquid or solid.

nonpolar: an electrically neutral molecule, owing to its constituents sharing electrons equally.

nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD): the quality control process in cellular protein production, via recognizing defective mRNA and efficiently degrading them.

nonverbal leakage: body language which inadvertently reveals instant social receptivity.

norepinephrine (C8H11NO3; aka noradrenaline): a hormone and a neurotransmitter. Norepinephrine boosts heart rate and controls the fight-or-flight response. Its level spikes when individuals feel threatened or experience intense emotions. In humans, norepinephrine is associated with mental concentration.

norm: a behavioral practice conforming with culture. See folkway, more, taboo.

normal distribution (aka Gaussian distribution): a continuous probability spread.

Norman conquest (1066–1072): the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by the Normans (French), led by William the Conqueror.

Normandy: a region on the northern coast of France.

Normans: the people of northern France, descended from Viking conquerors, mixed with the native Merovingian culture. Their distinct identity emerged in the 1st half of the 10th century.

normative ethics: the study of ethical action. See descriptive ethics.

normative order: the norms which permit a society to achieve relatively peaceful social control.

normative organization (aka voluntary association): an organization people join to support its stated goal. Compare utilitarian organization, coercive organization.

Nothosauroidea: an order of Triassic marine sauropterygian reptiles that lived the lifestyle of today’s seals.

notochord: a flexible rod-shaped body; more particularly, a cartilage back support. The notochord later evolved into the backbone.

nostalgia effect: the tendency of emotionally positive memories to grow rosier over time.

note (music): the written form of a tone; casually used as a synonym for pitch.

noumenon: outside of existence; not phenomenal. A noumenon is beyond perception, as contrasted to phenomena.

nouveau riche: those whose wealth has been acquired within their own generation or that of their parents.

NP hard: nondeterministic polynomial-time hard. In computational complexity theory, NP hard comprises a class of problems that can make computers break down and cry.

NP-hardness (non-deterministic polynomial-time hardness): the computational difficulty of a mathematical problem.

nuclear cluster: a cluster of nucleons with relative stability based upon the bosonic character of the nucleons in an atomic nucleus.

nuclear family (aka conjugal family): a family group comprising a married couple (husband and wife) and their offspring.

nuclear genome: the genetic contents of a cell nucleus.

nuclear pore complex (NPC): a protein complex that porters molecules across a cell nuclear envelope.

nucleation: the 1st step in a transition to a new thermodynamic phase or structure via self-organization. The term is commonly used to describe ice crystal formation (ice nucleation).

nucleic acid: an acidic biomolecule comprising a nucleotide, discovered by Friedrich Miescher in 1869. DNA and RNA are nucleic acids.

nucleic acid: a catchall term for a molecule of DNA or RNA. { Spokes 2 }

nucleobase: a nucleic acid base; a nitrogen-based, ring-shaped molecule that comprises the basic building block of nucleotides.

nucleoid: an irregularly shaped region within a prokaryotic cell containing a single genophore.

nucleolus: site of ribosomal RNA synthesis within a eukaryotic cell nucleus.

nucleon: a subatomic particle in an atomic nucleus. Each atomic nucleus has 1 or more nucleons. Protons and neutrons are the 2 known nucleons.

nucleosynthesis: the process of stars creating atomic nuclei from preexisting nucleons (protons and neutrons).

neucleoporin: a protein which is part of a nuclear pore complex.

nucleoside: a nucleobase bound to a sugar (ribose or deoxyribose).

nucleosome: the basic nuclear DNA package in eukaryotes: a DNA segment wound around a core of 8 histones, like a thread wrapped around a spool.

nucleosynthesis: the process of creating atomic nuclei from preexisting nucleons (protons and neutrons).

nucleotide: an individual structural unit of nucleic acid. A nucleotide is a nucleobase packaged with sugar and phosphate groups, held together by ester bonds.

nucleus (cytology): an organelle in eukaryotic cells that acts as a cellular control center. The nucleus contains most of a cell’s genome (the nuclear genome).

nucleus (physics) (plural: nuclei): the central core of an atom, comprising protons and neutrons.

nucleus (physics): the central core of an atom, comprising protons and neutrons (nucleons) .

nucleus accumbens (aka accumbens nucleus): an area in the basal ganglia that is part of the limbic system. The nucleus accumbens is involved with the psychological sense of reward (pleasure).

nulliparous: a female that has not borne offspring.

numismatics: the study of artifacts which were treated as money.

Nuna (aka Columbia): a supercontinent created 1.9 bya. Nuna began breaking up 1.5 bya.

Nuremberg trials (1945–1946): a series of military tribunals held by Allied forces following the 2nd World War to purge the leadership of Nazi Germany.

nursery-web spider (Pisaura mirabilis): a spider with the practice of male nuptial gift giving.

nut (food): technically, a fruit with a hard shell and a seed, where the shell does not open to release the seed (indehiscent: not opening at maturity). Common culinary usage is less restrictive, referring to any hard-walled, edible kernel as a nut. This includes almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. Under this definition, a nut is any oily kernel within a shell.

nutcracker: a Eurasian corvid fond of seeds and nuts, in the genus Nucifraga, of 3 species.

nutmeg: a spice made from the seed of an evergreen tree in the Myristica genus, particularly Myristica fragrans.

nutrient: a substance which nourishes (provides sustenance).

nutrition: the process of nourishment via food intake.

Nyasasaurus (from 243 mya): a genus of 2–3-meter long reptiles that presaged dinosaurs.

nyctinastic: a plant with leaves or leaflets that assume a vertical orientation in the dark. Nyctinastic movement is responsive to the diurnal (daily night and day) cycle.

nymph: an immature hemimetabolous insect. Nymphs roughly resemble adults, albeit with distinctive body proportions, size, and color patterns. Compare larva.