Let the river run

January 19, 2015


The remains of Glines Canyon Dam, on the Elwha River.

My latest Science News feature explores what happens to river ecosystems when dams are demolished. In it I profile the mighty Elwha River, on the Olympic peninsula of Washington state, where two major dams were brought down over the past couple of years — a change that is radically reshaping the landscape.

Posted in: ecology

Desperately seeking plutonium

December 9, 2014


A storage drum for neptunium, before it is irradiated and transformed into plutonium.

If you want to fly to deep space, you need some way to stay warm and get power. For many spacecraft, that means carrying solar panels. But if you want to fly far from the sun, or rove around on a planet’s surface, you need more power than solar panels can provide.

Posted in: physics, space

Bárðarbunga erupts!

September 16, 2014


Bárðarbunga on 4 September 2014. Credit: Flickr/peterhartree.

As the co-author of a book about an Icelandic fissure eruption, I couldn’t have been happier when the Bárðarbunga volcano began erupting on 29 August. Especially because so far, it hasn’t caused any serious damage.

Posted in: volcanoes

Hunting Einstein’s waves

July 30, 2014


Technicians install portions of the Advanced LIGO detector at Livingston, Louisiana. Credit Michael Fyffe/LIGO.

This spring I traveled to Baton Rouge to visit a gravitational-wave hunter named LIGO. It’s one of the biggest and most expensive facilities the National Science Foundation has ever invested in, and it still hasn’t produced what it was built to do.

Posted in: physics

Science, 400 kilometers high

June 13, 2014


Zero-g and she feels fine. Credit NASA.

There’s a lot going on aboard the International Space Station these days.

Posted in: space

Surf’s up on Titan

March 24, 2014


A close-up view of Titan's polar seas (blue). Credit NASA.

Planetary scientists may have just spotted the first waves on an ocean beyond Earth. They’re on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

Posted in: astronomy, space

On getting into science writing

February 27, 2014


MIT logo

My alma mater, MIT, has a short piece on their alumni blog about my entry into science writing as a career. I started out as a geologist (Course XII rocks!) and ended up as a reporter. You can read the short piece here.

Posted in: journalism

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.