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 […]

Mobile Stethoscope for Diagnosing Lung Disease Mobile Stethoscope for Diagnosing Lung Disease

A team from MIT has built a  mobile stethoscope:  Plug  it into a smartphone and the companion app transforms the device into a low-cost diagnostic tool, which health workers and non-specialist physicians can use to diagnose lung disease. Diseases of the lungs — such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, […]

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: […]

Reflections of a Pioneer Woman Scientist Reflections of a Pioneer Woman Scientist

In her career as a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mildred “Millie” Dresselhaus, who is now 83, has researched the electronic structure of carbon in its myriad forms. Dresselhaus was in Oslo for the Kavli awards ceremony this year. I caught up with her for a chat for […]

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 […]