The New York Times, March 23, 2023


Dozens of the world’s largest natural history museums revealed on Thursday a survey of everything in their collections. The global inventory is made up of 1.1 billion objects that range from dinosaur skulls to pollen grains to mosquitoes.

The survey’s organizers, who described the effort in the journal Science, said they hoped the survey would help museums join forces to answer pressing questions, such as how quickly species are becoming extinct and how climate change is altering the natural world.

Continue reading “Science Museums Take Stock of 1.1 Billion Objects From Around the World”

The New York Times, March 17, 2023 (with Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Benjamin Mueller)


WASHINGTON — Long after the Covid pandemic emerged from Wuhan, the origin of the coronavirus remains a subject of intense scientific scrutiny, and even more intense political debate.

A team of researchers has added fuel to the bonfire by presenting data at a World Health Organization meeting suggesting a wild animal known as a raccoon dog was sold at the same stall at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, where investigators found traces of the coronavirus.

Continue reading “The Origins of the Covid Pandemic: What We Know and Don’t Know”

The New York Times, March 16, 2023 (with Christina Jewett)


A panel of expert advisers to the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday endorsed Paxlovid as a treatment for adults with Covid who are at high risk for progression to severe illness. The move is likely to lead to full approval of the drug, which has been available under emergency use authorization.

The 16-1 vote came after the agency released a new analysis showing that Paxlovid reduced hospitalizations and deaths among both unvaccinated and vaccinated people. Agency researchers estimated, based on Covid rates in January, that Paxlovid could “lead to 1,500 lives saved and 13,000 hospitalizations averted each week in the United States.”

Continue reading “F.D.A. Advisers Endorse Paxlovid’s Benefits as a Covid Treatment”

The New York Times, March 14, 2023


Grappling with the deep history of racism in Western science, the National Academies of Science on Tuesday released guidelines recommending that scientists not use race as a category in genetic studies.

The guidelines, produced in response to a directive from the National Institutes of Health, noted that racial categories were poor proxies for genetic diversity and that social and environmental factors, like poverty and injustice, were often overlooked.

Continue reading “Guidelines Warn Against Racial Categories in Genetic Research”

The New York Times, March 1, 2023


In the 1800s, archaeologists began reconstructing the deep history of Europe from the bones of ancient hunter-gatherers and the iconic art they left behind, like cave paintingsfertility figurines and “lion-man” statues.

Over the past decade, geneticists have added a new dimension to that history by extracting DNA from teeth and bones.

And now, in a pair of studies published on Wednesday‌, researchers have produced the most robust analysis yet of the genetic record of prehistoric Europe.

Continue reading “Ancient DNA Reveals History Of Hunter-Gatherers In Europe”