Science and Technology Magazine Articles

February 26, 2020


Barry Yeoman

When a Duke-led research team won a $300 million federal grant to help develop an AIDS vaccine in 2005, the global situation was looking grim.

Didn't read/Too long

November 19, 2019


Scott Huler


August 7, 2019


Jake Chasan

“All right, take your hands off the wheel and pull your feet off the pedals,” the Mercedes-Benz salesperson said. His tone was confident, and his posture relaxed. I was excited to see this “self-driving” car in action. The Range Rover was good, the Tesla was better, but this Mercedes had “250 times more code than the primary flight software in NASA’s space shuttle.” How could it not be the best?

Moon Landing

July 16, 2019


Tonight, take a moment to gaze toward the heavens and salute the moon. After all, it was fifty years ago this month that Apollo 11 launched from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center and Neil Armstrong took his “small step.”

And, on the team it took to pull off such a historic feat were three Duke alumnae. Parrish Nelson Hirasaki ’67, Julie Isherwood ’68, and Lindsay Robinson ’67 all worked on the Apollo program. And by their telling, they had the time of their lives doing it.

September 30, 2014


Louise Flynn

Billy Pizer, professor of public policy, economics, and environment, and his colleague Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, wanted to find a hands-on way to engage students with the issue of emissions regulation. The Bass Connections energy-theme courses, in which graduate students and undergrads work together in small interdisciplinary groups, seemed the ideal setting in which to launch a new research project on the topic.

September 25, 2014

The foothills are alive...with the sounds of creaky wooden porches, husky train whistles, and tobacco plants being scythed. These sounds are stored in the Sonic Dictionary, a digital archive of acoustics hosted by the Audiovisualities lab at Duke’s Franklin Humanities Institute. It’s a kind of “Wikipedia of sound,” according to English doctoral student Mary Caton Lingold, who conceived the project.

July 30, 2014

Produced for the Motion Design course taught by Raquel Salvatella de Prada, assistant professor of the practice of art, art history & visual studies, and arts of the moving image.

July 22, 2014


Michael Penn

Kimberly Blackwell ’89 could have gone about anywhere to begin her career as a pioneering breast-cancer doctor. After graduating from the Mayo Medical School in 1994, she chose to come back to Duke. Now a clinical oncologist at the Duke Cancer Institute, Blackwell is regarded as one of the top breast-cancer researchers in the country.

July 18, 2014


Annabel Wharton

Why do most of us love our homes? Because, of course, they are saturated with the memories of how we became who we are. Like the family photographs displayed within them, homes tend to archive good times, not bad ones.

The education of Ida Owens youtube thumbnail

April 29, 2014

In the spring of 1961, Ida Stephens Owens graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina College—now North Carolina Central University— with a major in biology. Just a few months earlier, Duke University’s board of trustees voted to integrate its graduate and professional schools. Owens came to the attention of Daniel C. Tosteson, then chair of the physiology department, who was recruiting accomplished students from black colleges to pursue advanced degrees in the sciences.

April 29, 2014

A Duke researcher has developed a 3D imaging technique for peering into the layering of a painting. Warren Warren, a chemist and biomedical engineer at Duke, develops laser systems to image human tissues. But he thought his work might be useful for art historians as well.

Samantha Emmert helps Victoria Thayer examine a deceased dolphin.

April 28, 2014

“The rolling sand dunes and gentle waves of Emerald Isle are so picturesque that I almost forget why I am here: to conduct a necropsy on a stranded bottlenose dolphin,” wrote Samantha Emmert from the Duke Marine Lab in early 2014. Emmert spent her junior year researching an outbreak of morbillivirus epizootic, a measles-like virus that has ravaged dolphin populations along the Atlantic Coast since last summer.

April 28, 2014

In late March, newly renovated Gross Hall played host to the 2014 DataFest, a forty-eight-hour team competition in big data analytics. The event attracted close to 130 undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of disciplines, including statistics, computer science, and engineering. Duke was the best represented school, but participants also made the trip from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and even Dartmouth College.

Can pills crush the pain?

April 28, 2014


Taylor Sisk

Jeffrey Swanson, a professor in the Duke School of Medicine’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, offers an analogy for perceptions of mental health. “There’s this continuum between night and day, and there’s this moment, dusk, where you can’t really tell the difference between night and day.” Dusk suggests that there is no absolute of either; that it’s a question of degree.

February 27, 2014

An Alumni Faculty Fellow, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Chancey Stillman Professor of practical ethics in the philosophy department and the Kenan Institute for Ethics. His current work explores moral psychology and brain science, uses of neuroscience in legal systems, and freedom and responsibility. He co-teaches a MOOC, “Think Again: How to Reason and Argue.”

February 27, 2014

Athletes who suffer from torn-cartilage injuries may soon be in luck. Mimicking the strength and suppleness of natural cartilage is tricky, but Duke researchers have developed a synthetic version that comes pretty close to the real thing.

Articular cartilage, the tissue between bones and joints, enables us to bend body parts like elbows, hips, and knees. But overuse or injury can lead to wear-and-tear on cartilage, making movement painful and difficult.

Vocal fry

February 18, 2014


Scott Huler

By the time you finish reading this story you will have learned the following things: Men can hear fertility status in a woman’s voice—and they like it; a big, deep “me Tarzan” voice seems to help not just men but women succeed in politics and business; the pitch and tone of a CEO’s voice in a conference call may give you information about stock performance; women have it even tougher than you knew; and there may be evolutionary value in this whole “vocal fry” trend (think Kardashian end-of-s