In sweltering Greater Los Angeles, it’s that wonderful time of year again. For the first time in months, it’s actually enjoyable to be outside! The new season’s cool winds bluster from the northeast, forcing out the hundred-degree-plus weather that kept us all cowering under shade. …

Ah… biology textbooks. They weigh a ton, cost an arm and a leg, and they’re as boring as watching a puddle evaporate. Even the most passionate budding scientist's eyes can glaze over during long study sessions. …

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“I want to be an astronaut” was often thought in the quiet evenings of a childhood spent looking up.

My youth was rough beach towels on a dewy grass lawn. Watching clouds pass with endless interest and pointing out shapes and animals. …

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Biology has become a science of grief. It’s studying the life of a loved one from the perspective of a cell of the cancer that’s killing them. It’s a desperate attempt to hold back the growing tumor just long enough to understand organs before they’re overtaken.

The cells around us…

Departure, February 2020

As mutterings of a far-off illness spread in microbiology lecture halls, fifteen ecologists gathered in the early hours of a Los Angeles morning. In the Tom Bradley International baggage check lines, undergraduates sleepily exchanged notes on tropical insects and compared binocular specs.

We were just a few hours away from…

It’s the perfect day to write a new Medium story. You’ve scheduled out the morning; the coffee-filled ceramic cup feels warm in your hands as you glide to your desk. Sparrows chirp in the distance as excited fingers place themselves on a colorful keyboard.

And then, it hits you. From…

In February of 1911, the Terra Nova Expedition landed at frozen Cape Adare, Antarctica. From a ship of 65 of Britain’s finest sailors and scientists, six men came ashore, intent on becoming the first ever to reach the South Pole.

Instead of making exploration history, though, the men spent the…

You’ve gathered a trove of plastic this week. Triumphantly, you parade over to your blue bin and plop it inside with a satisfying thwack. You dust your hands and pat yourself on the back — you’re a good person; you care enough to recycle.

But, after you and your good…

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Beep. Beep. Beep.

The alarm blared in my quiet room. I bounced out of bed at 5:30 am, wide awake. It was my first day recording the sounds of the swamplands.

I tip-toed out of the dorm, packed with sleeping scientists, and bounded towards the jungle. Yesterday, the Pantanal revealed…

It was 2007. A teacher silenced my boisterous class in our shabby classroom. Exhausted, she pleaded with us to pay attention. The lesson was on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a recent discovery by Charles J. Moore. After ten years, it had finally gained public traction.

In a last-ditch effort…

Olivia Louise Dobbs

Aspiring ecologist with a love for educational & technical writing. Curriculum developer and author.

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