The ballerina is an avatar of certain qualities—among them the ambition, skill, and courage to take bold leaps. Offstage, ballet lover Rachel Theios has infused those same characteristics into her budding research career in astronomy. Pursuing her first publication as a Caltech graduate student, she has shown the vision and bravery to question some of the fundamentals of her field.
Caltech graduate student Manuel Razo Mejia wants to predict how evolution occurs in organisms ranging from microbes to humans. Until recently, evolution has been considered a random process, but Razo Mejia believes we might detect certain patterns by applying the principles of physics and mathematics. To unravel the mystery of how biological systems change over time, he observes gene regulation in single-celled bacteria, whose brief life cycles enable him to witness change at an accelerated rate.