Carolyn Wilke

Former Staff Writer, Science News for Students

Carolyn Wilke earned her Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Northwestern University, where her research drew on the fields of environmental chemistry, materials science and toxicology. She got her start in science writing by blogging for HELIX, Northwestern’s science magazine and wrote as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow at The Sacramento Bee. Now a freelance science writer. Carolyn worked as a staff writer at Science News for Students and interned at Science News and The Scientist. When not delving into a new scientific discovery, you might find Carolyn behind her sewing machine or trying to amuse her cat. 

All Stories by Carolyn Wilke

  1. Planets

    Analyze This: Some 5,000 planets orbit stars other than our sun

    A new cache of confirmed exoplanet discoveries marks a milestone in planets found beyond our solar system.

  2. Materials Science

    This new fabric can ‘hear’ sounds or broadcast them

    With special fibers that convert tiny vibrations to voltages, a new fabric senses sound. Someday, such fabrics could monitor the body or aid hearing.

  3. Environment

    Analyze This: Corals stash microplastics in their skeletons

    Scientists have wondered where the ocean’s microplastic pollution ends up. Corals may trap about 1 percent of particles in tropical waters each year.

  4. Materials Science

    A disinfectant made from sawdust knocks out deadly microbes

    It’s made by pressure-cooking sawdust and water, is cheap and easy to make — and could lead to greener cleaning products than chemicals used today.

  5. Animals

    Analyze This: Birds may decorate nests to scare off rivals

    Birds that nest in holes face stiff competition for nest sites. Some use feathers, also found where predators have made a kill, to keep rivals away.

  6. Animals

    A new drug mix helps frogs regrow amputated legs

    The treatment helped frogs grow working limbs useful for swimming, standing and kicking. It’ll be a while before people can do that.

  7. Physics

    Analyze This: Masks cut the distance that spit droplets fly

    Both cloth masks and surgical masks reduced the distance spit traveled from a person talking or coughing by at least half, compared with no mask.

  8. Materials Science

    Analyze This: This material for 3-D printing is made by microbes

    Bacteria with tweaked genes pump out proteins that can be used in a 3-D printer. With microbes in the mix, the living ink can make drugs or suck up chemicals.

  9. Earth

    Analyze This: Nutrients from sewage may harm coastal ecosystems

    A new model suggests that 58 percent of coral reefs and 88 percent of seagrass beds are exposed to excess nitrogen from wastewater.

  10. Materials Science

    Analyze This: Hardened wood can make sharp steak knives

    Researchers treated wood to make it hard and dense. Out of it, they carved sharp knives and nails that could substitute for ones made of steel.

  11. Animals

    Analyze This: Some female hummingbirds go undercover

    Some female white-necked jacobin hummingbirds boast bright blue colors similar to males. That may help females blend in to avoid attacks.

  12. Animals

    Analyze This: Sharks aren’t as scary as what you see on TV

    In Shark Week shows, scientists found mixed messages about sharks, insufficient research support and little info on conserving endangered animals.