Carolyn Wilke

Carolyn Wilke

Staff Writer, Science News for Students

Carolyn Wilke is a 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. a marine parchment tube worm glows blue against a black background
    Chemistry

    Here’s a clue to how this tube worm’s slime can glow blue for days

    Mucus oozed by a marine tube worm can glow for up to 72 hours. New results suggest that the light may sustain itself through some clever chemistry.

  2. anchovy ancestor
    Paleontology

    Saber-toothed anchovy relatives hunted in the sea 50 million years ago

    Unlike today’s plankton-eating anchovies with tiny teeth, ancient anchovy kin had lower jaw of sharp spikes paired with a single giant sabertooth.

  3. fruit from the plant Chrozophora tinctoria
    Chemistry

    Ancient recipes led scientists to a long-lost natural blue

    Led by medieval texts, scientists hunted down a plant and extracted from its tiny fruits a blue watercolor whose origins had long been a mystery.

  4. airplane bathroom sign
    Microbes

    Airplane sewage may be helping antibiotic-resistant microbes spread

    Along with drug-resistant E. coli, airplane sewage contains a diverse set of genes that let bacteria evade antibiotics.

  5. Congolese giant toads
    Animals

    Congolese giant toads may mimic venomous snakes to trick predators

    If Congolese giant toads mimic venomous Gaboon vipers, it would be the first reported case of a toad imitating a snake.

  6. shredded star
    Space

    A supermassive black hole shredded a star and was caught in the act

    Astronomers have gotten the earliest glimpse yet of a black hole ripping up a star, a process known as a tidal disruption event.

  7. a photo of a person smoking marijuana
    Health & Medicine

    50 years ago, scientists warned of marijuana’s effects on the unborn

    In 1969, scientists warned about prenatal marijuana exposure. Researchers today are still untangling drug’s effect on fetuses.

  8. plastic revolver
    Science & Society

    3-D printed ‘ghost guns’ pose new challenges for crime-scene investigators

    Researchers are analyzing the ballistics of 3-D printed guns and the plastic they leave behind to help forensic scientists track these DIY weapons.

  9. koala
    Life

    Fecal transplants might help make koalas less picky eaters

    Poop-transplant pills changed the microbial makeup of koalas’ guts. That could allow the animals to adapt when a favorite type of eucalyptus runs low.

  10. money and marijuana
    Health & Medicine

    Marijuana and meth are getting more popular in America, but cocaine has declined

    In 2006, drug users spent more on cocaine than on heroin, marijuana or methamphetamine. By 2016, marijuana expenditures had exceeded the other drugs.

  11. Life

    Big and bold wasp queens may create more successful colonies

    A paper wasp queen’s personality and body size could help predict whether the nest she has founded will thrive.

  12. person reading
    Neuroscience

    Imaging scans show where symbols turn to letters in the brain

    Scientists watched brain activity in a region where reading takes root, and saw a hierarchy of areas that give symbols both sound and meaning.