Building New Drugs with a Chemist’s Toolbox
A discussion with Elsa Hinds
Have a nagging headache? Just take a big gulp of snail syrup. Before the 19th century, the field of drug development didn’t exist and “medicine” was limited to an odd mix of natural remedies. Even for most of the 1800s, drug development was focused on the chemistry of purifying the essence of bizarre treatments like snail syrup. In the last hundred years, organic chemistry has made enormous strides in the development of synthetic compounds, or pharmaceuticals as we know them. In this discussion, an organic chemist will give her perspective on the development of drugs for varied diseases including malaria, HIV, and other microbial and fungal diseases.
Carjacking in the Internet Era
A discussion with Zheng Wang
Most cars sold today are computers on wheels, able to check your tire pressure, enable Bluetooth connections and satellite radio. These conveniences are made possible by the Internet, but that also leaves cars vulnerable to hijacking. Unlike your laptop, anti-virus software is not enough protection from hackers looking to crash your car, track your movements or listen to your conversations. As more and more cars are getting access to the Internet engineers are increasingly focused on cybersecurity.
Trapping Atoms in the Name of Precision
A discussion with Jamie MacLennan
Everything you touch is made up of millions of atoms, but each individual atom is much more than a basic building block; each atom has a complex architecture. The minuscule inner workings of atoms can be used to make extremely precise measurements of time, which not only deepens our understanding of the natural world, but can improve technologies we use every day, like GPS devices. However, these near perfect measuring devices from the natural world aren’t without challenges. Physicists are developing ways to overcome these limitations to push innovation forward and answer questions about the universe.
Teaching Machines to See
A discussion with Johnny Chao
Have you ever wondered how your camera detects faces? Or how driverless cars recognize and avoid pedestrians? Taking inspiration from the human brain, researchers in computer vision have developed ways to teach machines to see and understand the world around them. With these advances, computers are getting better at navigating the visual world and may one day see and interact with the world just like humans do. Machines with the ability to understand human actions and interact with us has limitless potential applications in healthcare systems and robotics.