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Dr Yolanda Ohene: ‘In science, I’d like to see a breaking down of intellectual elitism’. Dr Yolanda Ohene, 29, is a biophysicist at the University of Manchester. After an undergraduate degree in physics at Imperial College London she went...

Molly Stevens has long been driven by the hope that her research will change people’s lives. Toward the end of her PhD work in single-molecule biophysics, she heard a talk by Massachusetts Institute of Technology biomedical engineer Robert Langer...

When Rediet Abebe arrived at Harvard University as an undergraduate in 2009, she planned to study mathematics. But her experiences with the Cambridge public schools soon changed her plans. Abebe, 29, is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest...

Ben Penaflor is computer systems manager at General Atomics, which operates the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego, California, for the US Department of Energy. This post is part of a series on how the COVID-19 pandemic is...

The data wranglers

Particle physicist Abhigyan Dasgupta says there are many reasons he left academia after earning his PhD: He wanted to avoid a nomadic life spent following elusive opportunities. He wanted a good work-life balance. “I realized what I was enjoying...

When Alfred Aho and Jeffrey Ullman met while waiting in the registration line on their first day of graduate school at Princeton University in 1963, computer science was still a strange new world. Using a computer required a set...

Last March, as the Silicon Valley tech community abandoned open offices for working at home, tech entrepreneur Steve Kirsch turned his attention, startup skills, and available cash to finding a cure—or at least a solid treatment—for COVID-19. Kirsch, the...

Andrew Ng has worn many hats in his life. You may know him as the founder of the Google Brain team or the former chief scientist at Baidu. You may also know him as your own instructor. He has...

Alay Shah, 17, of Plano West Senior High School, Plano, Texas, placed in the top ten at the 2021 Regeneron Science Talent Search by designing an eye-tracking algorithm that can detect neurological diseases. As the seventh place winner, Shah...

Davita L. Watkins is manipulating complex systems to answer fundamental questions about self-assembly, putting materials to the test in different settings, including optoelectronic devices, bioimaging, and nanomedicine. She is the youngest of five and a first-generation PhD. Samantha Theresa...

Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity famously dictates that no known object can travel faster than the speed of light in vacuum, which is 299,792 km/s. This speed limit makes it unlikely that humans will ever be able to...

Hundreds of people gathered for the first lecture at what had become the world’s most important conference on artificial intelligence — row after row of faces. Some were East Asian, a few were Indian, and a few were women....

In late December, 2013, a 18-month-old boy in a small village in southern Guinea died two days after contracting a mysterious disease. By the middle of January, 2014, several members of his family fell ill with the same symptoms:...

Loretta Staples, a U.I. designer in the 1980s and ’90s, had a front-row seat to the rise of personal computing. When Loretta Staples became a user interface designer in the ’80s, the field was just opening up. “You had...

James West has always viewed age as just a number that does not have a correlation to his ability to work. At 90, he not only oversees a lab of students conducting research, but is just as excited about...

Much is known about schizophrenia, from its hereditary component to the fact that its characteristic hallucinations and delusions are linked to alterations in brain activity. Less is known about the causes of this disease that affects 3 million Americans,...

When Avi Wigderson and László Lovász began their careers in the 1970s, theoretical computer science and pure mathematics were almost entirely separate disciplines. Today, they’ve grown so close it’s hard to find the line between them. For their many...

A Fermilab family legacy

Steve Tammes was one of those kids who ask a lot of questions. His grandfather Terry Butler would always try his best to answer. “He liked to sit and talk about the stars and the moon, and that kind...

Kristala L. J. Prather is studying the design and assembly of novel pathways for biological synthesis, enhancement of enzymatic activity and control of metabolic flux, and bioprocess engineering and design. She spent 4 years at Merck Research Laboratories before...

As bitcoin pushes toward new highs, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates is sounding an alarm on the cryptocurrency’s strikingly high carbon footprint–which is only bound to worsen as mainstream adoption of the world’s largest cryptocurrency soars as expected. Key Facts...

Etosha Cave’s sense of adventure has taken her to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica to do research and sustained her through cofounding a company in 2015. Cave is the chief science officer of Opus 12, a start-up company specializing...

A leading expert in fluorescence spectroscopy, Isiah M. Warner has spent the past few decades creating novel materials called GUMBOS—for “group of uniform materials based on organic salts”—which have a wide array of analytical and materials applications. Outside research,...

The planet had already warmed by around 1.2℃ since pre-industrial times when the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic on March 11 2020. This began a sudden and unprecedented drop in human activity, as much of the world...

Ever since Dustin Hoffman heard the word “Plastics” in 1967, these materials have blossomed into every aspect of modern life. I cannot find an area of life where plastics are not ubiquitous. According to the EPA, each year America...

Like great art, great thought experiments have implications unintended by their creators. Take philosopher John Searle’s Chinese room experiment. Searle concocted it to convince us that computers don’t really “think” as we do; they manipulate symbols mindlessly, without understanding...

Repairing the STEM pipeline

The “pipeline” metaphor popular in higher ed STEM fields describes the journey a student interested in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics must take through increasingly specialized studies to become a tenured faculty member. The pipeline is infamous for its...

As a child growing up in Monrovia, Liberia, Laura M. K. Dassama would run around and play sports with the neighborhood kids. But for some reason, she always seemed to tire out more quickly than her friends did. Her...

Malika Jeffries-EL is on a mission to find a better blue. Her medium is not paint or pastels but organic light-emitting materials found in cell phones, TVs, and other electronic devices. In her lab at Boston University, she and...

In polymer science, it pays to be persistent. University of Washington chemical engineer Samson A. Jenekhe has dedicated decades of research in the lab to understanding and optimizing the properties of semiconducting polymers. In recent years, this persistence has...

The search for AI has always been about trying to build machines that think—at least in some sense. But the question of how alike artificial and biological intelligence should be has divided opinion for decades. Early efforts to build...

Kimberly M. Jackson is studying novel therapeutic agents for prostate cancer. She is also studying the role of minority-serving institutions and the inclusion of more women of color in diversifying the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pipeline. She...

Paula Hammond’s parents met and married in Detroit. As they started growing their family in the early ’60s, their area—once an “all-White neighborhood”— “quickly became Black,” Hammond recalls. Thanks to this demographic shift, Hammond grew up surrounded by accomplished...

For most of the long arc of human history, we adapted our activities to energy supply. Only recently have we assumed energy should be equally available every hour of every day. That assumption, according to a Lancaster University sociologist,...

Patrick Ymele-Leki and Jamel Ali met in 2011, when Ali was a graduate student pursuing his master’s degree in chemical engineering at Howard University and Ymele-Leki had recently joined the same department as an assistant professor. It’s unusual for...

In July 2019, Cori Crider, a lawyer, investigator and activist, was introduced to a former Facebook employee whose work monitoring graphic content on the world’s largest social media platform had left deep psychological scars. As the moderator described the...

The Johns Hopkins Mathematical Institute for Data Science (MINDS) award fellowships for the spring and summer that recognize and support outstanding graduate students working broadly in data science, and particularly in the foundations of deep learning and graph learning....

Not all waste has to go to waste. Most of the world’s 2.22 billion tons of annual trash ends up in landfills or open dumps. Veena Sahajwalla, a materials scientist and engineer at the University of New South Wales...

Bill Gates: My green manifesto

In the conversations I have about climate change, one question comes up more than any other: “How can I help?” Sometimes it’s an individual who simply wants to know whether to stop buying plastic straws. (Answer: it doesn’t do...

There are two numbers you need to know about climate change. The first is 51bn. The other is zero. Fifty-one billion is how many tons of greenhouse gases the world typically adds to the atmosphere every year. Zero is...

Adeno-associated viruses have become popular vectors for the delivery of gene therapies. But, despite their relatively safe profile, they can trigger some unwanted immune responses, which may reduce treatment efficacy or, worse, cause serious side effects. Now, a Harvard...

The Holy Grail of seismology is earthquake prediction. Not forecasting, which gives a probability of a significant quake happening in an area within a period of years or decades, but actually predicting exactly when and where a major quake...

Huge Ma, a 31-year-old software engineer for Airbnb, was stunned when he tried to make a coronavirus vaccine appointment for his mother in early January and saw that there were dozens of websites to check, each with its own...

The $169,000 Lucid Air is coming this spring and Peter Rawlinson claims it’ll be the fastest, longest-range electric vehicle on the planet. He should know. A decade ago, he engineered Tesla’s Model S. Peter Rawlinson has many goals for...

Every year, roughly 10 particles of space dust land on each square meter of Earth’s surface. “That means that they are everywhere. They are on the streets. They are in your home. You may even have some cosmic dust...

Andrzej Dragan is not one for following rules. As a photographer, he uses extensive post-production to portray worlds spinning out of control in disturbing ways: heads splitting in half; bleeding brides and long-dead celebrities reimagined in their old age....

For most of its two decades of existence, Blue Origin was like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory in the children’s book by Roald Dahl. It was a rocket company founded by Jeffrey P. Bezos, the billionaire who had created Amazon....

Look at the structures of the top-selling drugs and you’d be hard pushed to find one without a carbon–nitrogen bond. They’re tricky bonds to make and chemists normally generate them by using nitrogen compounds as nucleophiles. Daniele Leonori, however,...

Since being avidly recruited to her current position as director of the Photoacoustic and Ultrasonic Systems Engineering (PULSE) Lab at Johns Hopkins University in 2016, Muyinatu Bell has established a vibrant and well-funded research lab, already making four significant...

President Biden has proposed ambitious goals for curbing climate change and investing in a cleaner U.S. economy. One critical sector is transportation, which generates 28% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions – more than either electric power production or industry....

It’s not a secret that finally, after years of being overlooked, women’s health is having its moment. According to Frost & Sullivan’s report, the femtech (female technology) market revenue is expected to reach $1.1 billion by 2024, growing at...