BRISTOL, ENGLAND—Writing doesn’t do justice to virtual reality. Nor does looking at an animated, 2D image do anything to convey the feeling of scuba diving through space, playing catch with molecules of buckminsterfullerene. Wearing off-the-shelf VR gear, I found it surprisingly addictive to tie knots in proteins or thread carbon nanotubes. But these VR journeys into the molecular level aren’t just fun—they reveal important details of how nature is built and behaves, and could hold keys to engineering nanosystems, combating antimicrobial resistance, and making progress to understand neurodegenerative disease.
PARIS—It’s a fortuitous day to be sitting in a padded geodesic workbooth at 42, the tuition-free computer programming school created and funded by French telecom billionaire Xavier Niel. I’m waiting to meet with Olivier Crouzet, the dean of studies. It happens to be the first day of La Piscine (the pool), a four-week programming endurance test that 800 people ages 18 to 30 will vie to complete.
Just as job seekers around the turn of the century managed to succeed in industries shaken up by the internet and the emerging World Wide Web, today’s college grads shouldn’t be too apprehensive about what automation will do to the finance discipline.
Whitney Wisnom didn’t plan to go to college to study mechanical engineering—she was a soccer player—but that’s exactly where she’s headed as one of the first students to graduate from Design Tech High School (d.tech).