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. dragonfish teeth

    Tiny structures in dragonfish teeth turn them into invisible daggers

    The teeth of deep-sea dragonfish are transparent because of nanoscale crystals and rods that let light pass through without being scattered.

  2. compostable food containers

    Chemicals in biodegradable food containers can leach into compost

    PFAS compounds from compostable food containers could end being absorbed by plants and later eaten by people, though the health effects are unclear.

  3. Pteris vittata ferns

    How one fern hoards toxic arsenic in its fronds and doesn’t die

    To survive high levels of arsenic, a fern sequesters the heavy metal in its shoots with the help of three proteins.

  4. vaping liquid

    Vaping the sweetener sucralose may produce toxic chemicals

    Sucralose in e-liquids can break down, increasing toxic aldehydes in vapors and producing harmful organochlorines, including a potential carcinogen.

  5. fish fossil

    A 50-million-year-old fossil captures a swimming school of fish

    Analysis of a fossilized fish shoal suggests that animals may have evolved coordinated group movement around 50 million years ago.

  6. chocolate

    Sweaty, vinegary and sweet odors mingle to make dark chocolate’s smell

    Scientists have worked out the chemistry of dark chocolate’s smell and reconstructed the aroma.

  7. raven

    Bad moods could be contagious among ravens

    Ravens may pick up and share their compatriots’ negativity, a study on the social intelligence of these animals suggests.

  8. peacock spider

    Peacock spiders’ superblack spots reflect just 0.5 percent of light

    By manipulating light with tiny structures, patches on peacock spiders appear superblack, helping accentuate the arachnids’ bright colors.

  9. virus illustration

    ‘Nanobot’ viruses tag and round up bacteria in food and water

    Viruses called phages evolved to hunt bacteria. With magnetic nanoparticles and genetic engineering, they become nanobots that work for us.