Editor's note

International law prohibits chemical weapons – but that doesn’t ensure they never get deployed, as recent events in Syria show. Ian Haydon from the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design describes a global research effort to create counter agents that can safely and efficiently destroy chemical weapons inside living bodies. One promising route uses biomolecular design to maximize the abilities of some naturally occurring enzymes – the kind of proteins that can break down hundreds of molecules per second within our cells.

The 2017 Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday. If you’ve ever wondered what makes Pulitzer Prize-winning story, journalism professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen has analyzed the winners of the past 20 years, and points to the ways in which they deviate from traditional newspaper articles.

Maggie Villiger

Senior Editor, Science + Technology

Top story

Enzymes, the catalysts of biology, can engulf and break down hundreds of nerve agent molecules per second. Image: Pymol. PDB 4E3T rcsb.org

Enzymes versus nerve agents: Designing antidotes for chemical weapons

Ian Haydon, University of Washington

Scientists invented chemical weapons; some are now working to destroy them. New biomolecular design techniques let researchers design proteins that can destroy nerve agents in bodies.

Arts + Culture

Politics + Society


  • The sound of inclusion: Why teachers' words matter

    Christine Mallinson, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Anne Charity Hudley, College of William & Mary

    In English and science alike, every student and teacher brings his or her own language patterns to class. But how can educators make sure that language bias doesn't harm student achievement?

Environment + Energy

Economy + Business

  • Will Trump's cuts inspire more DIY foreign aid?

    Susan Appe, Binghamton University, State University of New York

    With steep budget cuts looming, a growing number of tiny volunteer-driven organizations are delivering aid on their own. Will the Trump administration inspire even more small-scale global giving?


Donate and keep independent journalism alive