Ayala’s interest in science started at a young age, with exposure to both popular-science and science-fiction. Her curiosity and enthusiasm for the natural sciences resulted in degrees in both chemical engineering and molecular biology, and a firm belief that the advancement of humanity depends on our ability to share, discuss and understand novel ideas. With great power comes great responsibility, and Ayala believes it is the responsibility of scientists to show the beauty and strength of science to the public. Still looking for the science-fiction novel hidden within her, she looks to science communication as a way to share new concepts, tools and discoveries with curious people from all walks of life.
Ayala is the editor of 45 Breaks:
How small warm-blooded feathered flying dinosaurs came to be
How warm-blooded birds and mammals evolved from cold-blooded ancestors remains a major question in paleontology and evolutionary biology. A heat transfer model suggest that shrinking in size while boosting metabolism is the most efficient evolutionary trajectory on energetic grounds, which seems to explain the reduction in size detected in theropod dinosaurs as they evolved into birds.Jan 7, 2021 | 3.5 min read
Machine adapting to its environment
We developed a nanoscale device that can mimic human brain cells for vision, by combining two promising nanomaterials, graphene and perovskite quantum dots. This is a baby step towards developing brain-like computers, which can simultaneously process and memorize information. In the future, this invention will enable us to develop machines that can better adapt to their environment.Jan 6, 2021 | 3 min read
What space dust could tell us about Earth’s past
Earth’s atmosphere has changed throughout our planet’s history, helping to regulate climate—but finding evidence for changes from billions of years ago remains a challenge. We may be able to learn about the composition of the atmosphere billions of years ago using tiny iron micrometeorites.Jan 5, 2021 | 3 min read
Can coral reef islands survive sea level rise?
Coral reef islands are widely perceived as being vulnerable to erosion and flooding from sea-level rise and storms. This perception has led to a global debate about whether some atoll nations will be uninhabitable at the end of this century. Our research shows that reef island landforms are more resilient than previously assumed and provides a more encouraging outlook for adaptive management.Dec 21, 2020 | 3.5 min read
Digging up a dinosaur in a galaxy cluster
X-ray and radio observations of the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster revealed a “fossil” of a giant explosion that happened in its center several hundred million years ago. It is the most powerful known explosion in the Universe since the Big Bang. If such dinosaurs show up in low-frequency radio images of other clusters, they would shatter our current view of these massive objects.Dec 17, 2020 | 4 min read
Arid lands transform abruptly as aridity increases
Ongoing climate change is expected to increase aridity conditions in worldwide, particularly in drylands, the vastest biome on Earth. However, whether aridification will cause smooth or abrupt changes in ecosystems is unknown. In a new study we analyzed natural aridity gradients globally to respond this question. We found three phases of drastic ecosystem change as aridity increases.Dec 15, 2020 | 3 min read