Science can be intimidating. It is fast-paced and unyielding. We are only human. It’s natural to feel vulnerable to science when it takes the form of a massive hurricane or appears as a microscopic virus hiding in your cells, plotting to strike (pg. 11). But science can also give us agency, putting us back in charge of our health and our planet. Our cover story for this issue of the Yale Scientific (pg. 17) explores how developments in brain imaging technology are allowing people to watch their minds at work. No longer are fMRI scans only interpretable by doctors — with real time fMRI, OCD patients see their own brains in action and can learn to regulate their own brain activity. With science on their side, they regain control of neural networks that have been hijacked by anxiety.
This is one of many stories you’ll read here that features people taking science into their own hands. When two professors were unsatisfied by available math textbooks, they published their own (pg. 9). Forest preservation in Connecticut largely depends on individual woodland owners caring for their property (pg. 20). Doctors are realizing the power of personalized medicine, devising treatment strategies catered to the individual. In one step of this movement, researchers in tissue engineering are working towards customized lung transplants (pg. 23).
A couple years ago, this magazine released an issue themed “Science and the Individual.” Remarkably, in less than 24 months time, we notice tremendous progress in personalized medicine, citizen science, grassroots campaigns for conservation and sustainability, and other scientific arenas where individuals stand at the forefront. As science accelerates, we also see new efforts to communicate it, to keep up. The pages that follow include the Yale Scientific’s first ever reviews of science podcasts (pg. 38) and a debunking of The Martian (pg. 34), a fictional film that still makes an effort to present nuanced scientific insight.
Indeed, one of our goals as a publication is to adapt to the changing scene of science and science journalism. To this end, in the past year we’ve established a stronger online presence, launching a redesigned website, more social media content, and a prolific science blog. Volume 89, Issue 1 is the last that we’ll publish as the 2015 masthead. We wish the best of luck to the new editors of the magazine. We can’t wait to see what further change brings.