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. Mouse mom with pups
    Neuroscience

    A mother mouse’s gut microbes help wire her pup’s brain

    The pups of mice lacking gut microbes, and the compounds they make, have altered nerve cells in part of the brain and a lowered sensitivity to touch.

  2. a female hyena and her cub
    Animals

    Female hyenas kill off cubs in their own clans

    Along with starvation and mauling by lions, infanticide leads as a cause of hyena cub death. Such killings may serve to enforce the social order.

  3. mouse eating
    Neuroscience

    Newly discovered cells in mice can sense four of the five tastes

    Some cells in mice can sense bitter, sweet, sour and umami. Without the cells, some flavor signals don’t get to the ultimate tastemaker — the brain.

  4. Agelaia pallipes wasp
    Animals

    A wasp was caught on camera attacking and killing a baby bird

    Some wasps scavenge carrion or pluck parasites off birds, but reports of attacks on live birds are rare.

  5. Crocodylus checchiai illustration
    Paleontology

    An ancient skull hints crocodiles swam from Africa to the Americas

    A group of crocs, or at least one pregnant female, may have made a transatlantic journey millions of years ago to colonize new land.

  6. Mallad ducks fishing
    Life

    Fish eggs can hatch after being eaten and pooped out by ducks

    In the lab, a few carp eggs survived and even hatched after being pooped out by ducks. The finding may help explain how fish reach isolated waterways.

  7. illustration of a small, banded device in partial light and shadows
    Physics

    A new device can produce electricity using shadows

    Even under low light, this new technology exploits the contrast between light and shade to produce a current that can power small electronics.

  8. Acropora corals in New Caledonia
    Life

    Neon colors may help some corals stage a comeback from bleaching

    When some corals bleach, they turn bright colors. Stunning hues may be part of a response that helps the corals recover and reunite with their algae.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.