Tarzan Girl

Margaret Lowman is a pioneer in canopy science, a subset of field biology, and the author of the best-selling Life in the Treetops. She also co-authored It is a Jungle up there with her two sons. A professor at North Carolina State University and Director of the Nature Research Center […]


Blue-rayed Limpets shine for a reason Blue-rayed Limpets shine for a reason

Taking a trick from birds and butterflies, a mollusk shines blue using intricate structures that allow selective reflection of light. But unlike other animals, the blue-rayed limpet, a snail that lives along the rocky shores of the northeastern Atlantic, creates functional iridescence using a hard mineral rather than an organic […]

Ethan Zuckerman: ‘I go to Reddit for the cat pictures’ Ethan Zuckerman: ‘I go to Reddit for the cat pictures’

Ethan Zuckerman is the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media. Over a decade ago, the Internet scholar co-founded GlobalVoicesOnline.org, a site to help guide readers through the maze of citizen journalism from several countries. He is the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection. What wakes you […]

Imagining India Imagining India

When India opened its markets, nearly two decades ago, international media dubbed the developing nation an emerging economic superpower. So visitors to India’s financial capital may be forgiven their confusion when they see shantytowns right next to high-rise buildings. And the sight of grimy children peddling glossy magazines at intersections […]

Lilavati’s Daughters Lilavati’s Daughters

WOMEN ARE UNIVERSALLY underrepresented in science and technology. India is no exception. True, the subcontinent’s institutes of learning are open to all its citizens, but potential female researchers still hesitate at the thresholds of laboratories. Is this because they have seen few role models of their gender in such establishments? […]

Leopards in Mumbai City Leopards in Mumbai City

So, can people and leopards coexist in Mumbai? I ask Vidya Athreya, an ecologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society-India. She studies human-leopard interactions in heavily populated areas. Her research formed the plot of the Bollywood movie Ajoba, released in Mumbai this summer. She says wildlife living among people, even a […]

Recycled Kit Equips African Labs Recycled Kit Equips African Labs

Eleven years ago, as a Fulbright scholar, Nina Dudnik did a year-long research stint at the Africa Rice Center in Côte d’Ivoire, where her colleagues meticulously rinsed out disposable items, such as pipette tips, so they could re-use them. Soon after, when she went to graduate school at Harvard University, […]

The Sari-Clad Tech at MIT The Sari-Clad Tech at MIT

In 2004, the Ray and Maria Stata Center at MIT opened on the site of Building 20, a structure that was meant to be temporary but lasted 55 years. At the dedication, Hale Bradt, PhD ’61, emeritus professor of physics, was delighted to see a familiar image in the lobby: […]

Job Title: Curiosity Rover Driver Job Title: Curiosity Rover Driver

The first motorized vehicle Vandi Verma ever operated was a tractor. “I must’ve been 11 years old at the time,” she says. During school vacations, she visited her grandparents, who lived in a village in central India. At their farm, her uncle let her take a few turns behind the […]

Technological Indian Technological Indian

In recent years, India sent a space probe to orbit Mars; Indian-born engineers were named chief executives of two top technology firms in the world. For most of the 20th century, when the very idea of a high-tech India seemed improbable, the foundation was actually being laid to make the […]

The Cricket Woman The Cricket Woman

Physical courage is generally not a requirement for studying science, but field biology seems to call for this quality. Swati Diwakar, 34, spent many a night in an evergreen forest in South India collecting data for her dissertation on crickets taking the occasional viper bite in her stride. As assistant […]