Conflict and decay are found throughout the natural world. For instance, organisms must compete with one another for limited environmental resources while decay enables a breakdown of organic materials into their basic components to be reincorporated into living organisms. However, the theme of “Conflict and Decay” can also be applied to human interactions. While the positive implications of scientific and technological progress are clear, the darker side of such innovation is also readily apparent under the service of crime and warfare.
This issue’s review articles tackle the issue of “Conflict and Decay” through an array of topics. Kristen Flint talks about the pros and cons of biodegradable plastic. Mackenzie Foley describes potential new dangers with genetically engineered bioweapons. Barry Chen’s article studies the utility of computer forensics at the intersection of science and law. Xiongfei Zhang addresses recent advances in DNA analysis for archaic genomic sequencing. A discussion on the effect of climate change on the decline of Mayan civilization can be found in Na Eun Oh’s article on climate history. Stephanie Alden has written a review on the remarkable story of the Berlin Patient. Shinri Kamei examines the history of nuclear technology in the military. Finally, Danny Wong investigates whether physician-assisted suicide is legally and ethically justifiable.
Our faculty interview of this issue features Paula Sundstrom, Ph.D., a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Geisel School of Medicine. Dr. Sundstrom’s research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms of fungal pathogenesis in candidiasis, the most common fungal infection in humans.
In addition, we are excited to announce that we are now accepting submissions from students at fellow undergraduate institutions. In this issue, we feature two external submissions. In a review article, Brown Univesrity student Michael Yanagisawa describes the topic of biomimicry inspired from the self-cleaning mechanism of the lotus leaf. In another review article, Riyad Seervai, also of Brown University, summarizes the progress in unveiling sexual reproduction and gametogenesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We look forward to featuring more external articles from undergraduates in our future publications.
Finally, we have recently re-launched our website, “DUJS Online,” which is now updated several times a week. We are also proud to announce the creation of a new comic series, “Interdisciplinary Studies,” which draws out “what-if?” scenarios of famous scientists throughout history. Inspired by members of the DUJS and drawn by Jenny Liu, a talented Dartmouth freshman, this comic will sure to pique your scientific interests and tickle your funny bone.
Thank you for reading the DUJS, and we hope you enjoy this issue.
The DUJS Editorial Board