Searching in the Darkness, Scientists Shed Light on Oceans Beyond Earth

by Izzy Baker figures by Sean Wilson In the quiet darkness of night, a ship gently rocks back and forth on calm waters. An exhausted first mate peers out over the expansive seascape, seeing the ocean twinkle as it reflects the stars shining down from up above. The vastness of our oceans, she ponders, can only be outmatched by the very cosmos that they reflect; … Continue reading Searching in the Darkness, Scientists Shed Light on Oceans Beyond Earth

Virtual Clinical Trials: Testing new drugs from afar

by Isabella Grabski figures by Jovana Andrejevic Clinical trials are critical to study the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, but they are no small endeavor. The cost of a clinical trial can range anywhere from $7 million to over $50 million, and they can take up to a decade to fully complete. Not only can this represent a substantial strain on a pharmaceutical company, it also … Continue reading Virtual Clinical Trials: Testing new drugs from afar

Racial Minorities’ Trouble with Stem Cell Transplants: a dearth of donors

by Jordan Wilkerson figures by Nicholas Lue Desimond Viray is a Californian in his early ‘30s. He works in IT support for Jelly Belly Candy Company and lives with his wife and four children. Ten years ago, he was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer, chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Each year, nearly 9000 new cases of CML arise in the U.S. While Viray — … Continue reading Racial Minorities’ Trouble with Stem Cell Transplants: a dearth of donors

The Neuroscience of Thirst: How your brain tells you to look for water

by Michelle Frank figures by Jovana Andrejevic You’ve undoubtedly experienced the feeling of thirst: it’s a slight itch in the back of your throat, a distracting urge to turn away from whatever you’re doing and find something to drink. It drives you to guzzle water on hot days and to drink something along with your meals. Our need for water is as omnipresent and critical … Continue reading The Neuroscience of Thirst: How your brain tells you to look for water

The Microplastics Crisis–You are the first responder

by Kevin Dervishi Imagine you’re outside running errands, and you see a jogger trip over a sneaky curb. A bad situation becomes worse when that jogger hits their head on the way down (that mailbox just had to be there) and they’re lying unconscious at your feet. Although there are other people out and about, you’re the only one in the immediate vicinity. Your heart … Continue reading The Microplastics Crisis–You are the first responder

The Next Gold Rush: Mining in the deep sea

by Isabella Grabski figures by Abagail Burrus Your next smartphone might be made of materials from an unlikely source: the deep sea. Our current manufacturing practices are depleting terrestrial deposits of important metals like copper, aluminum, and manganese, but the demand for these materials shows no sign of slowing down. They’re not only useful for emails and Instagram – these metals also play a key role … Continue reading The Next Gold Rush: Mining in the deep sea

Living in a World of Extreme Droughts, Floods, and Storms

by Tianjia Liu cover image by Elayne Fivenson A new normal in an intensifying global water cycle While humans have long adapted to regimes of water scarcity or excess, we are underprepared for extreme events — the “mega” droughts, storms, and floods that used to occur once in a hundred or thousand years. But in this decade alone, we witnessed hot, cracked earth in California … Continue reading Living in a World of Extreme Droughts, Floods, and Storms

Nature-Inspired Technology Can Help Combat Looming Water Shortages

by Aparna Nathan In January 2018, Cape Town, South Africa started counting down toward “Day Zero.” It wasn’t the end of the world, but it was similarly apocalyptic: the day that the city would run out of water completely. Through discipline and technological advances, the city was able to avoid catastrophe. But that’s not the last we’ll see of water crises, and like Cape Town, … Continue reading Nature-Inspired Technology Can Help Combat Looming Water Shortages

Water Beyond Earth: The search for the life-sustaining liquid

by Andrew Greenspon figures by Hannah Zucker Picture yourself as the Curiosity Rover, which landed on Mars in 2012. You’ve just arrived on Mars after an eight-month journey from Earth. You begin traveling across the Gale crater toward Mount Sharp, 18,000 feet higher than the floor of the crater. On the way, you take images with a high-resolution camera. There, you find a slab of … Continue reading Water Beyond Earth: The search for the life-sustaining liquid