Many of PopSci‘s Brilliant 10-scientists who are pushing the limits of their disciplines-labor in abstract realms, generating calculations, analyses and other intangibles. But a couple of them work very much in the here and now, even risking their own safety when necessary.
Maydianne Andrade, 35, a biologist at the University of Toronto, studies the mating habits of Australian redback spiders, and keeps hundreds of these poisonous critters in her lab. She and her colleagues made the following video, which shows a pair of redbacks in flagrante. The much smaller male is on top; if you look closely, you’ll see him being devoured by his partner during the act.
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Sebastian Thrun, 38, director of Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, is building a car that drives by itself. He and his colleagues have entered their vehicle, which they call Stanley, in the second annual DARPA Grand Challenge robotic-vehicle race, to be held October 8 in the Southwestern desert [for live coverage, go to popsci.com‘s home page]. In preparing for the race, Thrun had some close calls when Stanley headed for gnarly terrain, including the occasional precipice. Here, action footage of the driverless Stanley on the road.