Science Writer
NASA’s Earth Science News,
Cryospheric Sciences Lab

rmolar13 (at) aggienetwork.com

Selected Writing

NASA space lasers map meltwater lakes in Antarctica with striking precision
With the most advanced Earth-observing laser instrument NASA has ever flown in space, scientists have improved maps of a network of lake systems under the West Antarctic ice sheet—and discovered two more of these subglacial lakes.

What a glacial river reveals about the Greenland Ice Sheet
With data from a 2016 expedition, scientists supported by NASA are shedding more light into the complex processes under the Greenland Ice Sheet that control how fast its glaciers slide toward the ocean and contribute to sea level rise.

This exotic crystal is fueling the quantum revolution
Arun Bansil, University Distinguished Professor of Physics at Northeastern, has discovered new properties in the chemical element bismuth that could improve the production of low power electronics.

Scientists still don’t have all the answers about the coronavirus—and that’s a sign a progress.
As researchers study SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 at breakneck speeds, one key aspect to keep in mind is that the research is happening while everyone in the public watches.

A new antibiotic has been hiding in the gut of a tiny worm. It may our best weapon against drug-resistant bacteria.
We are in the midst of a global antibiotic resistance crisis. A new class of antibiotics discovered in the lab of Northeastern professor Kim Lewis could be our best hope against some of the nastiest superbugs out there.

A whole new way to measure pain
Doctors often ask patients to rate their pain using a zero-to-10 scale that ranks more intense pain with higher numbers. But putting a number to pain can be difficult. Yingzi Lin, a Northeastern professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, is developing a new system to estimate pain more accurately.

Far out there: The hunt for the mysterious Planet X
Over the past few years, Carnegie astronomer Scott Sheppard has been performing the largest and deepest survey ever attempted of our Solar System’s fringes.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot: A swirling mystery
NASA scientists say the tumultuous storm has been swirling over Jupiter’s skies for at least 150 years, but they still struggle to learn what causes its swirl of reddish hues.

Is math really the language of nature? This physicist is on a quest to find out.
Growing up in a small Mexican town, Martin Rodriguez-Vega, a postdoctoral research associate in physics, felt disconnected from anything scientific. Now, as he studies the exotic properties of quantum materials, Rodriguez Vega finds that one of the most important parts of being a physicist is the bonds he’s formed with budding and accomplished scientists alike.

To build a better drone, look to the bat
When bats fly, they use less energy than other flying animals. Alireza Ramezani, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Northeastern, is making a new robotic mechanism that will mimic the ability of bats to fly smart and save energy.

Cannabis will transform medicine—once we figure out how to get rid of its side effects
To produce better drugs for chronic pain, mental illness, and other health problems, Northeastern professor Alexandros Makriyannis is making new molecules in the lab—the same kind that give people a high when they smoke marijuana.

The deep ocean is not on fire. So what’s all that soot doing in there?
Until recently, scientists thought rivers moved black carbon from soil to the ocean. But new research by a team that included Aron Stubbins, an associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern, overturns this long-established idea.

How to make a homemade mask that is as good as an N95
A team of Northeastern researchers used virus-like nanoparticles to test more than 70 combinations of fabrics that can stop the coronavirus from getting through. The best combinations, they say, consist of strategic layers of materials to trap viral particles and repel water.

How to stop an iceberg in its tracks
In Greenland, icebergs are melting fast. With an ocean robot made by Northeastern professor Hanumant Singh, scientists are beginning to understand just how fast.