Joe PalcaJoe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR.
Zhenan Bao, a chemical engineer at Stanford University, is working to invent an artificial skin from plastic that can sense, heal and power itself. The thin plastic sheets are made with built-in pressure sensors.
Bao Research Group
Astrophysicist Richard Gaitskell, from Brown University, leads a team hunting particles of dark matter about a mile beneath Earth's surface. No luck so far, but Gaitskell is still hopeful.
A building called Sustainability Base, at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., has an energy-efficient design that allows in sunlight. So for most of the year, the interior is illuminated by natural light.