WHY IT MATTERS Coming up with an idea is easy. Coming up with the right one takes work. With design thinking, throwing out what you think you know and starting from scratch opens up all kinds of possibilities. What is design thinking? Design thinking is an innovative problem-solving process rooted in a set of…

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A theoretician, a hardware builder, and a project organizer share the honor.

 

From almost the moment their discovery was announced, everyone agreed that the first sighting of gravitational waves was going to win a Nobel Prize. The only questions were when and who would receive the honor. Both of those questions have now been answered. When is now, and who turned out to be three individuals who contributed to the project in very different ways.

 

Caltech’s Kip Thorne, a theoretician who made sure we knew what a gravitational wave would look like when we saw it, was one honoree. He was joined by Rainer Weiss, an MIT scientist who helped build some of the first prototype detectors that would eventually inspire the LIGO design, and Barry Barish, another Caltech physicist who was put in charge of the LIGO collaboration and became instrumental in ensuring that the hardware was built and that a large international collaboration was present to operate it and analyze the results.

 

While LIGO was a stunning success, its history suggests that there were countless ways it and the entire field of gravitational wave physics might have failed. And those ways all lead back to the very person whose work suggested that space-time itself could experience ripples.

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The island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania in Eastern Africa, expects its shoreline to shrink due to rising sea levels. As a developing country, there are few national resources to gain an understanding of how its communities will be impacted by this challenge.
Tanzania Flying Labs, a regional outpost of the global nonprofit WeRobotics, has partnered with locals to create a high-resolution map of the island using drones. Drone imagery provides evidence to comprehend the changes to the coastline as well as the effects on the island’s ring of protective mangrove forests and human settlements.

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The answer provide clues for developing better drugs to fight pain and addiction.

 

Don’t let their appearance fool you: Thimble-sized, dappled in cheerful colors and squishy, poison frogs in fact harbor some of the most potent neurotoxins we know. With a new paper published in the journal Science, scientists are a step closer to resolving a related head-scratcher — how do these frogs keep from poisoning themselves? And the answer has potential consequences for the fight against pain and addiction.

 

The new research, led by scientists at The University of Texas at Austin, answers this question for a subgroup of poison frogs that use the toxin epibatidine. To keep predators from eating them, the frogs use the toxin, which binds to receptors in an animal’s nervous system and can cause hypertension, seizures, and even death. The researchers discovered that a small genetic mutation in the frogs — a change in just three of the 2,500 amino acids that make up the receptor — prevents the toxin from acting on the frogs’ own receptors, making them resistant to its lethal effects. Not only that, but precisely the same change appeared independently three times in the evolution of these frogs.

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