Sample Profiles
Marriage Peril
My dad always knew where the trains were. He was seduced by the railroad as a boy and for the rest of his life he was lured to the tracks. When he died we took him to the trains one last time. We took him to Summit. We used to go there to watch trains with him. Sometimes we still do. (Read more.)
The lights in the third floor lab were on late again the night of February 23, 1941. Room 307 in Gilman Hall on the campus of the University of California seemed more cluttered than usual. Perhaps it was the anticipation of what was about to happen. A group of young scientists, lead by a 28-year old chemist named Glenn T. Seaborg, were working late again, trying to understand the synthesis of heavy elements. (Read more.)
Patricia Wright once had a monkey. Now she has a whole species. (Read more.)
Physicist Lawrence Krauss, the author of the popular The Physics of Star Trek and heir-apparent to Carl Sagan, believes the standard 1980s model of cosmology is dead. His replacement is perhaps the strangest possibility imaginable. (Read more.)
Ponce de Leon searched in vain off the Florida coast for the Fountain of Youth. Maybe he should have looked in Roy Walford’s kitchen. (Read more.)
In the time it takes to add the numbers, world population increases by 12. Sometime next year, on an otherwise ordinary day, the population of Earth will reach 6 billion people. Ten years later it will approach 7 billion. If this rapacious ocean of humanity is ever to be adequately nourished, we can thank one man. (Read more.)
In his search for clues to the composition of the Earth’s interior, Harmon Craig, the venerable professor of oceanography and geochemistry at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has led 28 deep-sea oceanographic expeditions, made 17 dives to the bottom of the ocean in the ALVIN submersible vehicle, including the first descents into the Mariana Trough, and the first investigation from inside the crater of an active underwater volcano. He surfaced last year in Rome to claim the Balzan Prize. (Read more.)
What drives one of the world’s most popular and prolific mathematicians? (Read more.)
Fish aren't evil. (Read more.)
Carl Woese leans back in his favorite public position, tilted in the swivel chair with his slender legs stretched out, his feet on the desk and computer keyboard on his lap. It is the posture in which he insists on being photographed. It is the image he prefers to project - relaxed and at ease. This is also how Carl Woese protects his image. The legs could just as easily be a denim fence. The world he lets this close, but no closer. For Carl Woese is not at peace. (Read more.)
Mark Tilden, the father of BEAM robotics, read his first book and built his first robot before he started kindergarten. Now, because so many elaborate satellites fail, he is designing remarkably simple spacecraft so small they would fit in your hand. "Maybe it's paradigm shifting without a clutch, but at least our devices work," he says. (Read more.)
Amory Lovins loves this story, apocryphal though it may be: Forty years ago malaria was the scourge of the Dayak people of Borneo. In response, the World Health Organization (WHO) sprayed DDT to kill the malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The mosquitoes died, but so did a parasitic wasp that had controlled thatch-eating caterpillars. The peoples' roofs collapsed. Other DDT-poisoned insects were eaten by geckos, which were eaten by cats. When the cats died the rats flourished and the Dayak people were suddenly faced with outbreaks of typhus and plague. In response, WHO parachuted live cats into Borneo. (Read more.)