Carolyn Wilke

Carolyn Wilke

Carolyn Wilke is a freelance science journalist based in Chicago and former staff writer at Science News for Students. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Northwestern University, where she studied how light plays into the chemistry and toxicity of different types of nanoparticles under environmental conditions. Her experience as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow at The Sacramento Bee convinced her to leave the lab to write about science instead. Carolyn is a former Science News intern and has also reported on the life sciences for The Scientist. She enjoys writing about materials science, chemistry, microbiology and all things related to the environment.

All Stories by Carolyn Wilke

  1. image of experimental fabric made of woven blue, green and red thread
    Materials Science

    This fabric can hear your heartbeat

    With special fibers that convert tiny vibrations to voltages, a new fabric senses sounds, letting it act as a microphone or a speaker.

  2. scientist facing a rack of boxes of skeletal remains

    One forensic scientist is scraping bones for clues to time of death

    The bones of more than 100 cadavers are shedding light on a more precise and reliable way to determine when someone died.

  3. three starfish on the ocean floor

    A diamondlike structure gives some starfish skeletons their strength

    Electron microscope images of knobby starfish’s calcite skeletons reveal an unexpected architecture that compensates for the mineral’s brittleness.

  4. Adult African clawed frog

    A new device helps frogs regrow working legs after an amputation

    A single treatment shortly after adult frogs lost part of their legs spurred regrowth of limbs useful for swimming, standing and kicking.

  5. image of a city street scene

    Materials of the last century shaped modern life, but at a price

    From our homes and cities to our electronics and clothing, the stuff of daily life is dramatically different from decades ago.

  6. sawdust

    A disinfectant made from sawdust mows down deadly microbes

    Antimicrobial molecules found in wood waste could be used to make more sustainable, greener disinfectants.

  7. a European hedgehog next to a mossy plant

    Drug-resistant bacteria evolved on hedgehogs long before the use of antibiotics

    A standoff between bacteria and antibiotic-producing fungi living on hedgehogs may have led to the rise of one type of MRSA some 200 years ago.

  8. A white Nissan electric car with a charger stuck into the front
    Materials Science

    Lithium-ion batteries made with recycled materials can outlast newer counterparts

    Batteries with recycled cathodes outperformed batteries with new cathodes, lasting for thousands more charging cycles before their capacity waned.

  9. Baby wearing yellow, laughing with head tilted upwards

    Infants may laugh like some apes in their first months of life

    Laughter seems to change over life’s early months, perhaps influenced by the unconscious feedback parents give when they play with their little ones.

  10. a white-necked jacobin hummingbird

    Female hummingbirds may sport flashy feathers to avoid being harassed

    Some female white-necked jacobin hummingbirds boast bright blue plumage that’s similar to males. The colors may help females blend in to avoid attacks.

  11. Hyloscirtus tigrinus frog eye up close

    Frog and toad pupils mainly come in seven different shapes

    Analyzing over 3,200 species revealed that the colorful eyes of frogs and toads have pupils shaped as slits, diamonds, fans and more.

  12. microscope image of archaea

    3.42-billion-year-old fossil threads may be the oldest known archaea microbes

    The structure and chemistry of these ancient cell-like fossils may hint where Earth’s early inhabitants evolved and how they got their energy.