It is early morning in the year 2024. A cell biologist at a major university climbs the massive, open stairway of her research facility, heading for her "office pod," one of several clustered in a wing of the building. Donning her lab coat, mug of coffee in hand, she sets off toward the skybridge that connects the offices to the laboratory suites that dominate the other side of the facility.

Along the way, she bumps into an old friend and current colleague, a radiologist with whom she shared an early-morning physics class in her undergraduate days; he is now a nuclear science professor at the school. Reliving old times and casually discussing their disparate research, they settle in a nearby alcove, one of several "interaction spaces" that dot the architecture of the building.

An off-hand remark by her friend implants the germ of an idea that might crystallize a theory...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?