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 […]


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? […]

An Ecopark and a Landfill An Ecopark and a Landfill

 A typical landfill isn’t the sort of place where residents have peaceful picnics and take nature walks or go to stargaze. But Singapore’s Semakau landfill is far from ordinary. Pulau Semakau – where Singapore’s only landfill is located – is a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland. Its appearance can […]

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: […]

Elephant Conservation Conundrum Elephant Conservation Conundrum

Those who grew up in southern India may fondly recall temple elephants with their tinkling neck-bells. As children, we didn’t notice the shackles on their legs. Elephants have iconic status in India, they  were used in warfare, and also in construction and transportation, apart from pageantry. They are still used […]

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, […]

Research that lights up lives Research that lights up lives

Here is a picture that represents the gestation of Project Prakash. In order to get a first-hand sense of childhood blindness in India, Prof. Pawan Sinha visited a few places in the country, distant from the ambit of urban medical care facilities. Here he is working in a village with […]

Some Virtues of Virtual Panels

Douglas Fisher, an associate professor of computer science at Vanderbilt University, started his 3-year rotation as program director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2007. That fall, he convened and chaired in-person panels to decide the fate of NSF grant proposals in information sciences. But when he started planning […]

India’s IT Guy India’s IT Guy

F.C.Kohli says it is time for the government to encourage domestic software development—especially software that can “speak” Indian languages. “Only then can we develop India-unique application systems to improve efficiencies within the country,” he says. “Then the computer can become a real instrument for national growth.”Since retiring in 2000, Kohli […]

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 […]