About The Source

The Source is a place for information, inspiration and for sharing stories about exciting discoveries and accomplishments at Washington University. Here, you’ll experience the research, scholarship and creativity that drive us every day. You’ll also get a glimpse of campus life and meet the people who inspire us: scientists, leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, artists and authors. If you’re looking to explore a remarkable place where people matter and serious work is done, this is The Source.

Michael King, AB ’87, has worked in cities around the globe to improve urban and street design. He’s a “traffic calmer,” making streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Designing safer streets

Michael King, AB ’87, has worked in cities around the globe to improve street design. He’s a “traffic calmer,” making streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Legumes are fancy

Most organisms share the biosynthetic pathways for making crucial nutrients because it is is dangerous to tinker with them. But now a collaborative team of scientists has caught plants in the process of altering where and how cells make an essential amino acid.

Detecting diluteness

Engineers at Washington University in St. Louis and Princeton University developed a new way to dive into the cell’s tiniest and most important components. What they found inside membraneless organelles surprised them, and could lead to better understanding of fatal diseases including cancer, Huntington’s and ALS.

A spillway on Mars?

NASA’s senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is examining rocks at the edge of Endeavour Crater for signs that they may have been either transported by a flood or eroded in place by wind.

Birds that babysit

It’s easy to make up a story to explain an evolved trait; proving that’s what happened is much harder. Here scientists test ideas about cooperative breeding in birds and find a solution that resolves earlier disagreements.

Shaking Schrödinger’s cat

Frequent measurement of a quantum system’s state can either speed or delay its collapse, effects called the quantum Zeno and quantum anti-Zeno effect. But so too can “quasimeasurements” that only poke the system and garner no information about its state.