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Other feature articles

Following are some of the articles I've written on a range of science topics.



"A Martian on Earth: Nagin Cox's Life of Robotic Space Exploration"

MUSE - (to be published in February 2023)

Engineer Nagin Cox's 30-year career at NASA has taken her to Jupiter, to Mars, and even beyond our solar system. She has been an inspiration to other girls and women who have followed her footsteps into scientific fields.


"Hidden Hunger: The Role of Micronutrients in Malnutrition"

Front Vision - March 2021

The importance of micronutrients, such as iron, zinc, and other minerals, to human health - but only in the right amounts: not too little and not too much.


"Growing and Aging"

Front Vision - November 2020
What biologists have learned about what makes us grow and how we age. Can aging be slowed, or even reversed?


"The Day the Cretaceous Ended"

MUSE - March 2020
An excavation site in North Dakota captures the first minutes to hours after an asteroid crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago and caused a mass extinction.


"The New Normal: What Today's Wildfires Tell Us About Our Future"

MUSE - July/August 2019
The effects of recent California wildfires, efforts to prevent future fires, and the role climate change plays in the extreme weather that makes these fires so destructive.


"Evolutionary Compromises: The Balance Between Advantage and Disadvantage"
Front Vision - March 2019
How natural selection preserves gene variants that protect against conditions that can kill us, even when the flawed genes might cause disease.

"A Matter of Taste"
MUSE - September 2018
The chemistry of taste and smell, how these senses contribute to our health, and what scientists are still learning about them.

"Fighting to the End"
MUSE - October 2017
The effort to defeat Guinea worm disease has reduced the affliction from 3.5 million cases in 1986 to 25 cases in 2016. Here's how it's happening.

(Winner of a 2018 Science Journalism award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science)

"The Race to Discover the Fate of the Universe"
MUSE - March 2017
How two independent teams of scientists aided each other, goaded each other, and finally announced almost simultaneously a verdict nobody was expecting.

"What Killed the Dinosaurs? A Theory on Trial"
MUSE - March 2016
Did a giant asteroid cause a mass extinction 65 million years ago? That long-disputed theory has finally gained wide acceptance.

"What's Mine Is Yours: Swapping Bad Body Parts for Good Ones"
MUSE - October 2015
How emerging biotechnologies are facilitating organ and tissue transplantation in ways previously undreamed of.

"Art Rosenfeld's 40-Year Crusade"
MUSE - September 2015
Sometimes called "the godfather of energy efficiency," Art Rosenfeld has been behind technology that saves the U.S. $100 billion/year in energy costs.

"The Debt We Owe to the Adolescent Brain"
Odyssey - March 2015
How the human brain uses our long adolescence to prepare us for the world we'll live in.

"Waste Not, Want Not"
Odyssey - November/December 2014
Forty percent of the food we produce is wasted. Here we take a look at the causes and at some attempts to reverse the trend.

"Seek and You Shall Find"
Odyssey - November/December 2014
The fine art of dumpster diving.

"Eating for Trillions"
Odyssey February 2014
The importance of our gut flora to our health and how we can help our intestinal microbes flourish.

"Why Music?"
Odyssey September 2013
Explores the origin of music and its importance in human cultures.

"This is Your Brain on Fun"
Odyssey May/June 2013
Reveals what happens in the brain when we're feeling pleasure.

"Do Animals Giggle? An Interview with Behaviorist Jonathan Balcombe"
Odyssey May/June 2013
A conversation with an animal observer and advocate.

"The Art of the Sushi Chef"
Odyssey April 2013
An exploration of the work of Akimitsu Koyanagi, who's been making sushi for 30 years. A sidebar tells the history of sushi.

"Luis Alvarez: The Ideas Man"
(with Lina Galtieri)
CERN Courier March 2012
Report on a symposium celebrating the centennnial of physicist Luis Alvarez's birth.

"It All Starts with the Tongue"
Odyssey February 2012
How we sense sweetness.

"Extreme Mustang Makeover"
(with Marcia Amidon Lusted)
AppleSeeds May/June 2011
What it takes to gentle and train a mustang.

"Skywalking for Science: Aloft in Redwood Space"
Odyssey April 2011
Discusses the work of tall-tree climbers who investigate the surprising ecosystem-in-the-air of the old-growth redwood canopy.
(Winner of a 2011 Science Journalism award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science)

"What Goes Around Comes Around"
Odyssey April 2011
How ancient redwood forests nurture young salmon and how, in turn, adult salmon nourish the redwoods.

"Does the Sun Have a Death-Dealing Twin?"
Odyssey March 2011
A hypothesis that the Sun has a companion star that causes periodic mass extinctions on Earth will soon be proven or disproven.

"The Hand Is Quicker Than the Brain"
Odyssey October 2010
What scientists are learning from magicians about how our brains can be fooled.

"Home off the Range"
Odyssey May 2010
Explores the experience of adopting a wild horse.

"The First Horse Tamers"
Odyssey May 2010
Follows the trail in northern Kazakhstan of the earliest evidence so far of horse domestication.

"The Einstein Effect: Personal Reflections on the Genius and the Man"
Odyssey November 2009
Several scientists and a musician talk about the influence Einstein has had on their life and work.

"From Grunts to Grammar: The Evolution of Language"
Odyssey October 2009
The approaches paleontologists and archaeologists take to the question: When did human language begin?

“Lions of the Sea”
Odyssey May 2009
Latest research on the great white shark and its role in the ecology of the oceans

“Bread for the Pyramid Builders”
Odyssey March 2009
An expedition to Giza to recreate the bread the pyramid builders ate

"Emotions on Cue: An Interview with Teen Actor Jesse Phillips-March"
Odyssey November 2006
How actors portray emotion

"The Killer Rip!"
Odyssey February 2006
How rip currents form and how to escape them

"Slowing the Clock"
Odyssey November 2005
Cynthia Kenyon's research into extending lifespans

"The Perfect Firestorm"
Odyssey September 2005
Account of the 2003 fire siege in southern California

"Rico, A Dog of Many Words"
Odyssey January 2005
A border collie who demonstrates learning processes used by human toddlers when acquiring language

"Rebuilding the Food Pyramid"
Odyssey May 2004
The Harvard School of Public Health's alternative to the outdated USDA food pyramid

"What's So Special About HEVs?"
Odyssey April 2004
Interview with Keith Wipke, an engineer who studies hybrid electric vehicles for the U.S. Department of Energy

"Biofuels: The Ultimate in Recycling"
Odyssey April 2004
Using surplus organic material to create alternatives to petroleum fuels

"You Can Run But You Can’t Hide. . .Yet!"
Odyssey February 2003
How mosquitoes use their sense of smell to find us and what scientists are doing to foil them

"What Really Causes the Ice Ages?"
Odyssey December 2002
A new explanation for the Earth's cycle of ice ages

"Alive and Well in Mexico: The Living Cave of Villa Luz"
Odyssey May 2001
A thriving cave with an ecosystem based on hydrogen sulfide

"Cosmic Fortuneteller: An Interview with Astronomer Greg Laughlin"
Odyssey April 2001
Interview with the author of Five Ages of the Universe

"Faster and Faster. . .Forever?"
Odyssey April 2001
The discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating rather than slowing

"Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How Do your Dendrites Grow?"
Odyssey March 2001
Dr. Marion Diamond's research into the developing brain

"Sailing to the Magic Island: The Search for the Superheavy Elements"
Odyssey November 2000
Scientists try to create the missing elements of the Periodic Table

"Oil the Old Way"
Odyssey October 2000
Commercial production of olive oil using traditional methods

"Stopping Mother Nature"
Odyssey May 2000
How the citizens of Heimay, Iceland, saved their fishing port from destruction by a volcano

"Pigs Everywhere!"
Odyssey April 2000
The feral pig problem

"A Map Is a Sandwich"
AppleSeeds January 1999
How modern cartographers make maps

"Mapping the Human Body"
Odyssey February 1998
Sequencing the human genome

"Science Up Close and Personal"
Odyssey November 1997
Discussion of Student-Scientist Partnerships, which bring research projects to the classroom

"Mothering an Elephant"
Cricket February 1997
The Oakland Zoo's staff attempts to raise an African elephant baby abandoned by its mother

"The Subatomic Zoo"
Odyssey December 1996
How scientists look for subatomic particles and gravity waves

"Finding the Funny Side of Physics"
Odyssey January 1996
Profile of astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss, author of The Physics of Star Trek