Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Articles

October 15, 2015

by Megan Litwhiler | 

A mysterious discovery has stumped scientists who study genetics at the cellular level for over a decade. Our genome, or collection of genes, has undergone many evolutionary changes since humankind first emerged millions of years ago, including parts of it that play a critical role in development and survival. Yet hundreds of small segments of our DNA have remained virtually unchanged not only among human beings, but across many other animal species whose lineages diverged before the time of the dinosaurs.

October 15, 2015

by Christina Sauer | 

Imagine a planet where the surface temperature is so hot that rocks melt into lava—or another where two suns dip below the horizon at dusk. Settings for a science fiction plot? Not to Massachusetts Institute of Technology astrophysicist and planetary scientist Sara Seager.

October 15, 2015

by Carla Bezold | 

Homelessness is like other chronic medical problems: in need of a cure. That realization came to Margot Kushel as she was working as a resident physician at San Francisco General Hospital in the 1990s, and it has shaped her work ever since. More than a third of the patients in the inpatient wards were homeless, seeking medical care for issues that were often exacerbated by life on the streets. The patients rotating in and out of the hospital faced complex health problems. They had just one thing on their side: youth.

December 02, 2014

by Bethany N. Bella | 

A new technology for engineering genomes called CRISPR has implications for human aging as well as the resurrection of certain extinct species, according to Harvard Medical School scientist and engineer George M. Church, who briefed science writers Oct. 19 during CASW's New Horizons in Science, part of the ScienceWriters2014 conference in Columbus, Ohio.

November 24, 2014

by Karam Sheban | 

In March of this year, a group of researchers announced they had detected gravitational waves produced during a tiny instant as the big bang got under way. BICEP2, a telescope located on the South Pole, had produced the most detailed analysis to date of the cosmic microwave background—the big bang’s leftover radiation, still suffusing the universe. The results were clear: the universe had, in that moment, expanded to a vast size from a single point.

November 04, 2014

By Debamita Chatterjee | 

You’ve always felt bad after fighting with your spouse, but perhaps you brushed it off as a commonplace, harmless part of life. In fact, evidence suggests that marital discord is not harmless at all. 

October 31, 2014

By Kara Manke | 

Alán Aspuru-Guzik is building facial recognition software—for molecules. 

Aspuru-Guzik, a professor of chemistry at Harvard University, uses computers to explore chemical space—the near-infinite array of molecules that can be created by joining tens or hundreds of atoms together into different shapes. With the help of quantum chemistry calculations, he and his team sift through millions of virtual molecules in search of promising new materials for solar energy generation and storage.

October 28, 2014

By Bethany Bella | 

"Imagine this: What if you could drive a car that is so intelligent that you never, when driving in a city, come across a red traffic light? But this is possible." 

At the ScienceWriters2014 conference in Columbus, Ohio, Giorgio Rizzoni of Ohio State University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering entertained the idea of automative technologies in future transportation vehicles, while also discussing the importance of sustainable transportation in megacities around the world.

October 23, 2014

By Karam Sheban | 

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are notoriously difficult to discuss. The underlying technology transfers genetic material from one organism to another or, in a more recent development, "edits" a target organism's genes. The aim is often to create animals and plants for agriculture that produce better yields, are more resistant to disease, or tolerant to pesticides.

October 23, 2014

By Kara Manke | 

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is changing the face of head and neck cancer. 

Once caused primarily by heavy tobacco or alcohol use, the majority of new head and neck cancers in the United Stated result from infection with HPV, a common sexually transmitted disease known for causing cervical cancer in women. As a result, head and neck cancer is increasingly being found in younger patients—especially men. And rates of diagnosis are on the rise. 

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