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Brilliant 10
Alex Steffen, 23 Sep 04

So, every year Popular Science names ten people they think are poised to change the world. It's a pretty interesting list, though as ally Rebecca said when recommending it to us, it's liable to make you feel kind of over the hill if you're past thirty:

"Kurt Cuffey, 34, University of California, Berkeley, for his work in the field of glaciology. Cuffey is helping to reframe the debate about global warming and the speed at which it can happen. He spends two months a year in Antarctica, using high-resolution GPS receivers to measure ice-flow rates and collecting humidity and wind records. The data is fodder for numerical models he uses to interpret past climate changes and predict future ones. His research reveals an Earth where ice sheets can melt more--raising sea levels faster--than anyone previously imagined.

"Brian Enquist, 35, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ) for his work in the field of evolutionary ecology. Brian Enquist talks about the natural world as if it were a wind-up clock: "If you take it apart, it's very complex, but there are some very simple principles that make it work." And like a master watchmaker, he is looking for a set of universal laws that describe the rhythms of plant and animal life. The principles that he and his colleagues are discovering appear to reveal deep biological truths about everything from the way cells consume nutrients to the growth rates of trees to how deforestation could affect global levels of carbon dioxide.

"Sheila Patek, 31, University of California, Berkeley for her work in the field of biomechanics. Why would a biologist spend her days battling crustaceans? Because from them she gets insight into the physics of animal movement. Patek has parsed the mechanics of the odd antenna twitches that lobsters use to make noise and is helping develop a physiology-based method to predict what each lobster species would sound like. Recently, she proved that the peacock mantis shrimp has the fastest kick in the animal kingdom"

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