Contributing opinion writer

Julie Heng

Latest Content

Think of the Children!

You start by giving children a choice: “What do you want now, pretzels or water?” Most choose pretzels, so you give them pretzels to eat. Then, ask again: pretzels or water? Unsurprisingly, many choose water. At this point, you ask them what they’ll want tomorrow.

Before the Bombs Fall

Our future is a work in progress, and we cannot wait for the bombs to rain upon us.

Embracing Uncertainty

To increase understanding of science, then, it is necessary to acknowledge and contextualize uncertainty, not hype up or ignore it, both to the public and among scientists. We must embrace uncertainty as we continue along this endless frontier.

What the Public Should Not Know

For this column, I’ve spoken to Nobel prize winners, bestselling authors, and bioethicists. The idea of emphasizing the scientific process has come up in almost every interview so far. Science will be paramount in future decision-making, especially as issues of the scientific future like climate change and artificial general intelligence will become increasingly tied up with humanity’s future

The Paradox of Peer Review

Problematically, peer review assumes a veil of objectivity and expertise when it is an incredibly subjective process. Reviewers inevitably have overt or unconscious biases towards the institution, methods, or even individual researchers of the publication they’re reviewing. Additionally, because reviewers must have a certain level of authority in the subject, their work is often in direct competition with what’s presented in these potential publications. In some specialized fields, only a handful of researchers — and by extension, reviewers — are available, most of whom are familiar with each others’ work.

What Happens When You Can’t Reproduce?

If ten chefs follow the same recipe but get nine different dishes, perhaps that reveals more about the complexity and unpredictability of science. Better understanding this inherent complexity and seeing science’s limitations, then, even if uncomfortable, is a worthwhile investigation.

The Science Funding Crisis That Nearly Killed mRNA Vaccine Development

At the end of the day, funding is supposed to fuel science, not hinder it. If the funding system is actively preventing groundbreaking research, we have to change that system.

Science’s Creativity Crisis

This column will examine factors that obscure truth-seeking in scientific research, such as funding mechanisms, irreproducibility, peer review, and barriers to science communication. We must confront how our current academic structures and institutions promote thinking inside the box instead of encouraging scientific daring.

How We Move Forward

If history has taught us anything, it’s that we have incredible possibilities ahead of us — and I look forward to these endless surprises most beautiful.