The institutions that foot the bill for scientific research tend to be best at writing big checks for big projects. Now a bunch of nonprofits are trying to fund the little guys, asking for small donations to small projects. A focus on transparency—researchers must update donors with progress reports—could help get the public invested in science with their hearts as well as their wallets. Here’s a look at the new funds.
Science knows very little about shark evolution. This is partly because “cartilage is a funny tissue,” says John Maisey, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Shark bodies are largely made of this firm, white connective substance—which does not fossilize well. For hundreds of years scientists have only been able to guess that sharks probably had some bony fish ancestors.
EMILY CALANDRELLIAt the end of April, Netflix released the latest program to tap into the nostalgia of its largely millennial user base: Bill Nye Saves the World. Even before his new show aired, Nye had cemented his membership in a fraternity of science communicators that neatly package science for popular consumption. These days you don’t have to be a hard-core nerd to recognize of the names and faces of Neil deGrasse Tyson, David Attenborough, or Brian Greene.