《Popular Science》杂志评出2008年度10个最有才华的年轻科学家

      近日,美国《Popular Science》杂志公布了“Brilliant 10 Class of 2008”评选结果,即2008年度10个最有才华的年轻科学家的名单。这些科学家每人都在他们所在的领域做出了巨大的贡献,他们的工作在改变我们的生活,但是他们却很少为公众所知。《Popular Science》杂志每年评出10个这样的科学家,向公众介绍他们的工作及研究成果。


1. Ali Yazdani, 40, Princeton University-The Atomic Visionary
He peers into the most mysterious materials using home-built, one-of-a-kind microscopes

Ali Yazdani

You’d think cracking a 20-year-old physics mystery would require equal parts ego and genius. But physicist Ali Yazdani, who recently overturned the accepted thinking on high-temperature superconductors, swears he’s not all that smart. He’s just a tool-builder.

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2. Francesco Stellacci, 35, Massachusetts Institute of Technology-The Materialist
He designs nanomaterials with outrageous abilities

Francesco Stellacci

Earlier this year, Francesco Stellacci announced that his group had developed a material that can suck 20 times its weight in oil out of a sample of water. The material could be used to clean up massive crude spills, and chemist Joerg Lahann of the University of Michigan called the work a blueprint for scientists who hope to design nanomaterials that protect the environment. Yet Stellacci doesn’t consider this his best work. He’s excited about tricking cells.

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3.  Melanie Sanford, 33, University of Michigan-The Bond Breaker
She’s invented a way to build exactly the right molecule for the job

Melanie Sanford

Why are there so many diseases and so few cures? It’s not just that medicine moves slowly; chemistry holds us back, too. To build drugs, chemists start with a base molecule, then add and subtract atoms from it one by one in a sequence of reactions. The process is tedious and wasteful—a 10-step reaction might convert only 8 percent of the starting material into the right end product. And that’s if chemists can make the drug at all.

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4. John Santini, 36, Microchips-The Drug Pumper
He builds under-the-skin chips that deliver drugs straight into the blood

John Santini

When he was 12, John Santini's ankle swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. Several hospital visits later, he was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic disease marked by the immune system's attacks on healthy parts of the body. He learned he'd have to take medication indefinitely. But he has used his condition as inspiration, and has spent his life devising a completely new way to deliver drugs.

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5. Karl Deisseroth, 36, Stanford University-The Neural Puppeteer
He plugs straight into the brain to map our thoughts, neuron by neuron

Karl Deisseroth

"Here's what happens when we turn on the light," Karl Deisseroth says. He points to a mouse, ordinary save for the thin optical fiber protruding through its skull. When a lab tech presses a lever, blue light shoots through the fiber, and the mouse -- which had been sauntering straight ahead -- starts to run in circles. "He's doing that because the blue light turns the neural circuit on," Deisseroth explains. "As soon as we stop the stimulation, he'll walk straight again."

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