Thinking Outside the Box: Leaders in Science

By James Prumos, Trending Writer

In today’s day and age, it is very common to see commercials that are critical of the use of tobacco products. While smoking and chewing tobacco can be detrimental to one’s health, Charles Arntzen has found a way to create vaccines for deadly diseases, such as Ebola, from tobacco plants. According to Fast Company, Arntzen is considered by many to be the godfather of “pharming”, the engineering of plants to create vaccines and other drugs. Arntzen had the plants injected with Ebola virus, and the antibodies that the plant created were then harvested in order to create the vaccine. While the drug is currently only used in emergencies, it is considered to be the best form of Ebola therapy available.

Creativity in the science field is also being used to provide better power sources than those that rely on fossil fuels. Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie, according to Fast Company, created an innovation that solves two problems with the use of nuclear energy: the possibilities of a meltdown or leak, and the creation of toxic waste as a result of using radioactive materials. Dewan and Massie designed a “molten salt” technology that would lower the risks of meltdowns and leaks, as well as allowing the power plant to run on its spent fuel.

Some leaders in scientific innovation are not even human, such as IBM’s Watson. Watson is most widely known for beating Jeopardy! Superstars Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in the popular game show, but the AI has recently been used in the healthcare field as a database for healthcare-related information. IBM says that Watson can be used to link patients with the most effective clinical trials and researchers can use data Watson has stored to create more effective drugs. The creative use of Watson in the healthcare field can open up increased usage of AI in other fields as well.

These are only a few examples of advancements in science being used in creative ways to allow for innovation. They show that, even in the sciences, some degree of creativity is necessary in order for one to be successful.


A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 26th print edition.

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