by Katherine J. Wu figures by Brad Wierbowski Think of your most noticeable feature. Maybe it’s your radiant smile, or your long, piano-playing fingers. Maybe it’s your stellar jump shot, or the way you recite Shakespearean sonnets at the drop of a hat. Or maybe it’s your penchant for scientific knowledge. But whatever it is, for better or worse, it is probably not your most … Continue reading Between the (Gender) Lines: the Science of Transgender Identity
by Christopher Gerry figures by Michael Gerhardt One of the sad ironies of modern medicine is that painkillers, licit and illicit alike, have brought addiction, suffering, and death to communities across the United States. The prevalence of opioid abuse in particular has skyrocketed over the past few years and shows few signs of abating. In 2014, the most recent year for which the Centers for … Continue reading Drugs, data, and public policy: What can science teach lawmakers about the opioid crisis?
by Emily Low figures by Daniel Utter Discovery in science does not follow a straightforward path. Scientific research is conducted using models that are still being developed, in the context of dozens of unanswered questions, and using techniques and approaches no one else in the world has used before. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), basic science “provides the foundation of knowledge … Continue reading Basic Research: Understanding The Way Things Work and Why It Matters
by Dan Tarjan figures by Krissy Lyon The EpiPen, the antiparasitic drug Daraprim, the blood pressure medication Nitropress. These life saving drugs have recently been in the news because their prices spiked by over 100% year-to-year without any apparent reason except increasing profits. And they’re not alone. Across the US healthcare industry, specialty drug prices are rising. These brand name products marked a 16.2% increase … Continue reading Should we pay for drugs or cures? How tracking drug effectiveness could improve US healthcare spending
by Jordan Wilkerson figures by Shannon McArdel The United States emits an immense amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it is extremely likely that the rising global temperature trends since the mid-20th century is dominantly due to human activity. No scientific organization of national or international standing disputes this. Furthermore, the US Department of Defense has … Continue reading Reconsidering the Risks of Nuclear Power
by Andy Greenspon Have you ever wondered how much gold remains to be mined on Earth? How about the lesser-known element indium, essential to computer and smartphone displays? Known sources of some metals could be depleted in as little as 20 to 30 years, especially the rarest ones necessary to construct computers, smartphones, and other advanced technologies. While some elements can be substituted for others, … Continue reading Precious metals in peril: Can asteroid mining save us?
by Tomo Lazovich figures by Alexandra Was When you picture a science experiment, you probably imagine someone wearing a white coat, hunched over a lab bench, looking through a microscope, or mixing something in a beaker. While this is not an inaccurate picture in many fields, it misses an important dimension of the modern scientific process: collaboration. In his speech at the banquet for his … Continue reading The Power of Big Science: Working at the cutting edge of discovery
by Caitlin Nichols cover image by Rebecca Clements Modern advances in stem cell technology and genetic engineering are bringing the stuff of science fiction into reality, presenting remarkable promise for expanding knowledge and treating disease. However, these developments also arouse ethical concerns that must be considered when deciding if and how to implement them. One striking example of this relationship between biological advancement and bioethics … Continue reading How we talk about science matters: A bioethicist’s view on controversial research and science policy
by Katie Dagon Imagine if we had an “undo” button for climate change – we could remove all the greenhouse gases from the air or cool the planet’s temperature in an instant. While this might sound like science fiction, the basic idea is not as far off as you might think. Reducing fossil fuel use is really important, but also really difficult. And even if … Continue reading Engineering the Earth to Fight Climate Change
by Cory Gerlach figures by Tito Adhikary There are currently more than 85,000 chemicals in the US that make up the products in our daily lives and few, besides medications and pesticides, have been assessed thoroughly for safety. In fact, the federal government has had relatively little oversight over most chemicals in commerce (Figure 1). As a result, nearly all of the chemicals in our cosmetics, … Continue reading New Toxic Substances Control Act: An End to the Wild West for Chemical Safety?