Till von Wachter

HOW DATA DRIVE POLICY, AND HOW THE SOCIAL SCIENCES PLAY A PART

By Jessica Wolf

All scientists rely on data derived from a variety of efforts — evidence gathered from experiments, fieldwork, surveys and data generated by government programs, and now increasingly data generated by firms, social media and electronic devices. Social scientists use data to conduct research in many ways, from basic science to direct analyses of policies, and they are regularly invested in data-gathering efforts that could have far-reaching impacts on government policies that affect the public.

Basic science in the social sciences
The ability to explore questions motivated by abstract theories and to solve puzzles that might not otherwise have been tackled are unique services that academic institutions can bring to the world of data-driven policymaking, said Judith Seltzer, UCLA professor of sociology and director of the UCLA California Center for Population Research.

“Basic science is important,” Seltzer said.

Judith Seltzer

Judith Seltzer

“The findings from some basic science projects may not be directly relevant to a specific policy. But these kinds of projects can provide new insights and identify important new questions that can have an eventual impact on policy.”

Seltzer was recently named to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on National Statistics. The committee seeks to improve the statistical methods and information on which public policy decisions are based and works to foster better measurement and understanding of issues ranging from the economy, public health and immigration to the environment and crime.

There are several ways data can inform policy, Seltzer said, from describing the population and how it changes over time, to understanding behavior and causal mechanisms, to evaluating the costs and benefits of programs.

Gaining access to raw data

In September UCLA’s California Census Research Data Center hosted the annual conference of the Federal Statistical Research Data Centers, which included more than 150 participants from UCLA, the Census Bureau and more than 20 other data centers from across the country.

At the meeting, Nancy Potok, chief statistician of the United States, presented findings from the Commission on Evidence-Based Policy, which lays out recommendations for creating a national secure data service that would increase privacy and security measures and create consistent access to big data.

Big data means different things to different people, said Till von Wachter, UCLA professor of economics. It can mean large sets of real-time data derived from devices or the web, or administrative information like medical records. It can also describe smaller data sets with complex elements, such as location-specific inventory management for a company like Amazon.
Recently named associate dean of research for the Division of Social Sciences in the UCLA College, von Wachter is focused on helping faculty to “capitalize on opportunities for cutting-edge research with complex and innovative data sources.“When it comes to big data,” he said, “It’s important for social scientists to be at the table.”

From research to policy

Ideally, for data to have an impact on policy, there should be an existing relationship with government entities, but this is not always the case, von Wachter said.

“A lot in finding out how policy works is about data and research, but if you really want to affect outcomes, that’s unlikely to be sufficient,” von Wachter said. “If you want research to improve the lives of individuals, there has to be a process in place to help with actual implementation.”

Von Wachter also serves as faculty director of the California Policy Lab. CPL’s mission is to partner with California’s state and local governments to generate scientific evidence to solve California’s most urgent problems, including homelessness, poverty, crime and education inequality.

CPL Executive Director Janey Rountree comes from a background in government, and in this pilot year of the lab she has been working to establish relationships with government agencies across L.A. County.

“Connecting researchers to data is important, but it’s only the beginning of a process. If the ultimate goal is to improve public policy and improve people’s lives, we need an active
partnership between government and researchers to understand the data, develop research questions, translate results, and hopefully adopt policy changes as we learn. That’s the investment that we are making.”

New methods to answer the question of causation

A crucial step in the process of creating evidence-based policy is showing causation — illustrating whether or not a government program or policy actually improves the outcome of participants, and how individuals’ choices are affected by the policy, von Wachter said.

This isn’t always easy to do and a straight one-to-one comparison of an individual who participated in a program versus one who did not is not entirely effective.

Till von Wachter

Till von Wachter

Social scientists regularly seek out random experiments or quasi-experiments among a selected population of a program. For example, a team of researchers at Santa Clara County is helping the county to randomly offer housing assistance to certain homeless individuals who would otherwise not have been eligible for housing, and measuring outcomes for the different groups. In another example, a team of researchers in Chicago has randomly assigned kids into different math tutoring schemes, von Wachter said, to see which approaches are more effective.

But the UCLA Center for Social Statistics, which brings together faculty from the social sciences and statistics, is invested in finding a better way to establish causation by developing new quantitative methods, Seltzer said.

“You might not think that the development of new methods is directly policy related, but a new way of asking a question or solving a
puzzle can have an impact on evidence-based policy,” she said.

 

VIOLENT, HEAD-ON COLLISION PRODUCED THE MOON

By Stuart Wolpert

The moon was formed from a violent, head-on collision between the early Earth and a “planetary embryo” called Theia approximately 100 million years after the Earth formed, almost 4.5 billion years ago, UCLA geochemists and colleagues reported in the journal Science.

Scientists knew about this high-speed crash, but many thought the Earth collided with Theia at an angle of approximately 45 degrees or more — a powerful sideswipe. New evidence substantially strengthens the case for a head-on assault.

The researchers analyzed seven rocks brought to the Earth from the moon by NASA missions Apollo 12, 15 and 17. They alsoanalyzed six volcanic rocks from the Earth’s mantle — five from Hawaii and one from Arizona.

How were they able to reconstruct the giant impact? The key to their detective work was a chemical signature revealed in oxygen atoms. (Rocks are 90 percent oxygen by volume, comprising half their weight.) Most oxygen atoms contain eight protons and eight neutrons and are represented by the symbol 16O. More than 99.9 percent of Earth’s oxygen is 16O, but heavier oxygen isotopes (variants) exist in trace amounts: 17O, with one extra neutron, and 18O, with two extra neutrons.

The Earth, Mars and other planetary bodies in our solar system each have a unique ratio of 17O to 16O — a distinctive fingerprint. A team of scientists from Germany reported last year in Science that the Earth and moon have different ratios of oxygen isotopes too.
The new research finds that is not the case.

“We don’t see any difference between the Earth and the moon’s oxygen isotopes; they’re indistinguishable,” said lead author Edward Young, professor of geochemistry and cosmochemistry.

Paul Warren, Edward Young and Issaku Kohl. Young is holding a sample of a rock from the moon.

Paul Warren, Edward Young and Issaku Kohl. Young is holding a sample of a rock from the moon.

Young’s research team used state-of-the-science technology and techniques to make extraordinarily precise and careful measurements, and verified them with UCLA’s new, larger mass spectrometer.

What does the absence of unique chemical signatures between the Earth and moon reveal? If the Earth and Theia had collided in a glancing side blow, the vast majority of the moon would have been made mainly of Theia, and the Earth and moon should have different oxygen isotopes, Young said. A head-on collision, however, likely would have produced a thorough mixing of the Earth and Theia — both in the Earth and the moon, he said.

“Theia was thoroughly mixed into both the Earth and the moon, and evenly dispersed between them,” Young said. “This explains why we don’t see a different signature of Theia in the moon versus the Earth. A glancing blow would not be consistent with this.”

Theia, which did not survive the collision (except as a large part of the Earth and moon) was growing and probably would have become a planet if the crash had not occurred, Young said. Theia was probably similar in size to the Earth, he believes.

The core of Theia and the core of the early Earth merged to form the Earth’s iron core, he said. The moon is approximately 100 times less massive than the Earth.

Co-authors of the Science paper are Issaku Kohl, a UCLA researcher in Young’s laboratory; Paul Warren, a UCLA researcher in the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences; David Rubie, a research professor with Germany’s Bayerisches Geoinstitut, University of Bayreuth; and Seth Jacobson and Alessandro Morbidelli, planetary scientists with France’s Laboratoire Lagrange, Université de Nice.

The research was funded by NASA, the Deep Carbon Observatory and the European Research Council Advanced Grant ACCRETE.

The moon is older than scientists thought

Young is part of another UCLA-led research team that reported the moon is significantly older than some scientists believe. Their precise analysis of zircons bought to Earth by
Apollo 14 astronauts reveals the moon is at least 4.51 billion years old and probably formed only about 60 million years after the birth of the solar system — 40 to 140 million years earlier than recently thought.

Despite many scientific attempts, using a variety of techniques, the age of the moon has never been accurately determined and remains hotly debated among scientists.

“We have finally pinned down a minimum age for the moon; it’s time we knew its age and now we do: 4.51 billion years old,” said Mélanie Barboni, lead author and a research geochemist with the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences.

“Whatever was there before the giant impact with Theia has been erased,” Barboni said. “It’s important to know when Earth started its evolution.”

The early Earth likely had many large colli-sions over its first 60 million years, Young said.

Barboni analyzed eight pristine zircons from two rocks and samples of soil brought to the Earth from the moon by the Apollo 14 mission. From most moon rocks, it is very difficult to determine their formation ages
because they contain a patchwork of fragments of multiple rocks.

“Zircons are nature’s best clocks,” said Kevin McKeegan, co-author and a professor of geochemistry and cosmochemistry in the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences. “The most ancient pieces of the Earth that we have are zircons, which are the best mineral in preserving geological history and revealing where they originated.”

“Zircons are the best mineral at giving up their secrets,” Young said. “They can’t keep a secret.”

The researchers in effect used two clocks with high precision, the first time this has been achieved to date the age of the moon. In the zircons, they analyzed the chemical elements uranium-lead (uranium decays to lead) and lutetium-hafnium (lutetium decays to hafnium). This research was reported in the journal Science Advances.

The Earth’s collision with Theia created a liquefied moon, which then solidified. Scientists believe most of the moon’s surface was covered with magma right after its formation. The uranium-lead measurements reveal when the zircons first appeared in the moon’s initial magma ocean, which later cooled down and formed the moon’s mantle and crust; the lutetium-hafnium measurements reveal an earlier event: when its magma formed.

“Together, they tell us the whole story,” Barboni said. “The pieces now fit together.”

Earlier research on the moon has been based on moon rocks that were contaminated by multiple collisions. “They dated some event, but not the age of the moon,” McKeegan said of some previous researchers.

Mélanie Barboni holding  a moon rock containing zircons.

Mélanie Barboni holding a moon rock containing zircons.

Co-authors are Patrick Boehnke, a former UCLA graduate student in Professor Mark Harrison’s laboratory and now a University of Chicago postdoctoral scholar; Christopher Keller, a former Princeton University graduate student who is now a UC Berkeley postdoctoral scholar; Issaku Kohl, a research geochemist in Young’s laboratory; and Blair Schoene, associate professor of geosciences at Princeton University.

The research was funded by NASA, and Barboni received support from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

UCLA geochemists led by Harrison reported in 2015 that life likely existed on Earth at least 4.1 billion years ago, shortly after the planet formed — and that rather than being dry and desolate, the early Earth was probably much more like it is today than was previously thought.

Harrison’s research indicating the early Earth was wetter and cooler than scientists used to think fits much better with the 60-million-year date for the moon than a 200-million-year date would fit.

REVITALIZING AN OASIS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY

By Stuart Wolpert and Margaret MacDonald

Not many people know there’s a 7 1/2 acre oasis on the UCLA campus that is home to 3,000 plant species, or that it’s been there since 1929 — the year the university moved to Westwood.

Open to the public, the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is a botanical wonder hidden in plain sight on the UCLA campus.

The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is undergoing the largest, most comprehensive upgrade in its history, one that will allow UCLA to better highlight the natural beauty, utility and incredible diversity of the plant kingdom for the benefit of the campus community and the general public.

The garden, which includes many plants not found anywhere else in California, has a wide range of environments within its borders, from the sunny, dry desert and Mediterranean sections on the eastern edge to the shady verdant interior. Among the garden’s offerings are collections of tropical and subtropical trees, Australian plants, conifers and Hawaiian plant species.

Dean of Life Sciences Victoria Sork said the garden is an important outdoor laboratory for undergraduate science courses and plant research, a learning destination for the more than 1,500 K-12 students from Los Angeles who visit each year, and a venue for community events ranging from music recitals to poetry readings.

Nurturing a neighborhood treasure

“The garden is a cherished part of our community, but has been desperately in need of improved infrastructure and maintenance,” Sork said. “Chancellor Gene Block is committed to achieving this, and we intend to raise $25 million over a decade to do so.”

The latest improvement is the La Kretz Garden Pavilion, which houses a new welcome center and classroom and meeting space. Made possible by a lead gift from UCLA alumnus Morton La Kretz, the pavilion is part of the first phase in a series of renovations to increase the garden’s visibility and upgrade its infrastructure, including improving the trails and adding an irrigation system.

There are also plans to build an informal patio with a fountain, improve pathways, add a new Westwood entrance, renovate a 200-foot stream that is home to turtles and koi, upgrade the garden’s outdoor amphitheater, add plants that increase the diversity of specimens, and expand plant collections from California and Baja California.

Sork praised the “beautiful building and creative design work” of Michael Lehrer, president of Lehrer Architects, and Roberto Sheinberg, the firm’s director of design, who are leading the garden’s revitalization project. They are working on the project in partnership with Mia Lehrer + Associates and UCLA Life Sciences.

Roots in research

Beyond a teaching space, the garden is an active research site used by UCLA science faculty and students to delve into projects such as studying plants’ DNA to reconstruct their evolutionary histories, conducting surveys to better understand plants’ susceptibility to climate change and drought, and experimenting with restoring degraded soils for food and biofuel production.

But the main draw for the general public is the tranquility of this natural space in the middle of an urban area.

“When I give tours, everybody is amazed by the beauty of the garden,” said Philip Rundel, director and a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who holds a joint appointment in the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “They can’t believe they are in West L.A.”

“We are preserving and improving this magnificent garden for future generations so that people can reconnect with nature and plants,” Sork said. “Many people don’t even know this treasure exists, but it’s free and open to everyone. While visitors enjoy the garden’s beauty, they can also learn about ecosystems, biodiversity and conservation.”

HISTORY

The garden was started in 1929 along an arroyo on the east side of the campus, where native willows grew along the creek bed and dry hills supported coastal sage scrub, native to Southern California. By 1947, the garden contained about 1,500 species and varieties of plants, and by the 1950s it included eucalyptus and other Australian plants, gymnosperms, palms, succulents, aquatics, and camellias.

Since the early 1960s, efforts have been made to grow plants from the tropics and subtropics. Over the years, special collections have been established that include Malesian rhododendrons, the lily alliance, bromeliads, cycads, ferns, Mediterranean-type climate shrubs (e.g., chaparral), and native plants of the Hawaiian Islands.

In 1979, the garden was named for former director Mildred E. Mathias in recognition of her numerous contributions to horticulture.

Learn More

Visit the garden located west of Hilgard Avenue and east of Tiverton Avenue, just a short walk south from Parking Structure 2. The garden is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 4 p.m. during winter. It is closed on university holidays. Admission is free. https://www.botgard.ucla.edu/

Watch a video of the garden at https://youtu.be/g8idANssFRY

Open to the public, the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is a botanical wonder hidden in plain sight on the UCLA campus.

Open to the public, the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is a botanical wonder hidden in plain sight on the UCLA campus.

 

WITH EXPANDED ACCESS AND RENEWED VIGOR, UCLA’S WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY REOPENS IN JANUARY

By Jessica Wolf

UCLA’s William Andrews Clark Memorial Library will officially reopen Jan. 21, restoring public access to the university’s renowned collection of rare books and manuscripts from England’s Tudor period through the 18th century, including a large repository of materials related to Oscar Wilde.

An architectural and archival treasure surrounded by the constantly evolving West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Libraryhas been closed for more than two years fora major seismic retrofit and to bring the historic building into compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

“The Clark is a gem and now we are letting the world know that we have restored this beautiful treasure for the 21st century, and we are going to continue to take care of it,” said Helen Deutsch, the new director of UCLA’s Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies and the Clark Library. Deutsch has always considered the Clark her intellectual home, having first arrived there as an Ahmanson-Getty postdoctoral fellow to work on a book about Alexander Pope.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will include a poetry reading by Maximillian Novak, professor emeritus of English; 18th century- themed desserts made from recipes curated from the library’s collection; and maybe even some croquet on the lawn, a favorite activity of prominent philanthropist and collector William Andrews Clark Jr., who bequeathed the library to UCLA in 1934.

Clark librarians are also putting together an exhibit highlighting the history of the Clark, featuring archival photos and documents from the collection, which will be on display for the grand reopening.

Anna Chen and Helen Deutsch

Anna Chen and Helen Deutsch

Culmination of two years of work

Retrofitting a building on the California historic registry was a massive undertaking requiring some creative problem solving. Contractors had to drill down through the roof to reinforce the building with earthquake-safe rebar. For part of the exterior of the new pavilion, they found the original brick maker, who was able to replicate the historic brickwork and unique lavender grout that is a signature of the original building. Much of the electrical system also had to be upgraded.

The project included major reinforcements for earthquake safety, as well as reallocating office spaces and building a new pavilion that allows space for an elevator and ramps that improve access for people with disabilities.

Clark staff and UCLA architects took the opportunity to make other changes as well, adding Wi-Fi access to all spaces, buildingan expanded annex to store the library’s burgeoning collection, constructing a new orientation room to introduce scholars and visitors to the Clark’s services, as well as creating a fully equipped smart classroom to facilitate interactions with the collections by students, faculty and other researchers.

Open doors

The space has been sorely missed by scholars in the 17th- and 18th-century studies community, Deutsch said. She is eager to work with faculty to restore the number of fellows who work on site to pre-closure levels.

“The thing that makes the Clark very special and part of UCLA, and unlike a place like the Huntington, is that the Clark is open to the public,” she said. “Anyone can come and work here. We are open to students of any level as well as to amateur scholars, and you don’t have to have a university affiliation. We really are looking forward to welcoming everyone back.”

With the support of generous donors, staff also took the opportunity to undertake a variety of cleaning and restoration projects including the intricately painted ceilings in the Clark’s vestibule, and the two large decorative stone urns and four fountains on the grounds. A 1930s sun dial was also repaired and now hangs prominently on the new building. A new, airier lounge area for visiting scholars will be named in honor of beloved Professor Novak, who has been a fixture at the Clark for decades.

Preservation of the collections

Deutsch said she plans to continue prioritizing access, preservation and conservation of the 1926 building as well as its eclectic and prolific collections of artwork, rare books and manuscripts.

Deutsch said, “We have so much valuable material at the Clark. The art collection alone has never been fully cataloged, and a grant from the Mellon Foundation will let us begin doing that right away.”

Finishing touches are still underway, but some of the much-loved Clark events have already begun anew on site, including an October chamber music performance from the Lincoln Trio. An opera based on Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park,” specially created for the Clark and directed by Peter Kazaras, director of Opera UCLA, was performed in June. The Clark’s monthly classical performances are back for the 2017-2018 season.

“There was a palpable sense of excitement for people to get back on the property,” Deutsch said.

As of August, the Clark also has a new head librarian, Anna Chen, who fell in love with the Clark at first sight.

“My first library job was to catalog 17th- and 18th-century bound manuscripts, which gave me a solid grounding and love for this time period,” Chen said. “Joining the Clark is such a privilege and, in some ways, a homecoming for me to shepherd the same kinds of holdings that first inspired me to become a librarian.”

Chen also is starting to think about other ways to enhance the visitor experience and effectiveness of the space, including seeking out sustainability experts at UCLA to discuss ways to manage the nearly five acres of gardens and lawns, Deutsch said.

Chen and Deutsch, along with Head of Research Services Philip Palmer and Manu-scripts and Archives Librarian Rebecca Fenning Marschall, are also keen to expand the Clark’s digitization and digital humanities efforts. A recent grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities provided $261,000 to produce digital facsimiles of 279 annotated volumes from the hand-press era (ca. 1455–1830) and make them freely available online.

Deutsch would also like to see more fellowship opportunities for grad students who are interested in librarianship.

“We have such great examples in Phil and Anna, both of whom hold Ph.D.s in literature, of how librarianship and literary studies energize each other,” she said. “Librarianship itself takes a lot of intellectual creativity and imagination.”

 

Where Are They Now: Kevin Brazile

Judge Kevin Brazile recently appeared in a UCLA Newsroom article featuring his involvement in the College’s JusticeCorps program. The College recently caught up with Brazile to learn more about his time at UCLA and how he has dedicated his life to the law.

As a young boy, Kevin Brazile didn’t know any lawyers. But he always looked up to his elder brother who was a deputy sheriff.

“You’ll be the first one in the family to go to college,” Brazile recalls his brother saying. “You’ll be the first one in the family to ever go to law school.”

Today, Brazile is Assistant Presiding Judge with the Los Angeles Superior Court, the busiest and largest court system in California.

Brazile’s journey to the Superior Court started with the constant support from his brother, who at any chance he could get, would introduce him to his own lawyer friends. Those interactions fascinated Brazile, and although his family was poor, he knew that one day he would attend UCLA and become a lawyer.

It wasn’t an easy road. He first attended West Los Angeles Junior College, and then transferred to UCLA after two years.

As a non-traditional and first-generation student, Brazile remembers studying during the day and working several jobs during the evening and weekends to pay for school.

“I worked at a clothing store and at a place where we loaded boxes on trucks – I did whatever I could find,” he said. “I did gardening at one point and even worked for a moving company because I needed money.”

Despite the hard work outside of the classroom, Brazile was determined to make the best of his opportunity at UCLA. He excelled in his coursework and graduated in 1980 not only with a B.A. in political science, but with the distinct honor of cum laude.

By the time he completed his undergraduate career, he knew he wanted to pursue law at UCLA.

“When I got into the UCLA School of Law – that was it,” Brazile said. “I didn’t want to go anyplace else.”

Brazile earned his J.D. in 1983, passed the California Bar Exam, and immediately began to practice law.

Once a Bruin, Always a Bruin

Brazile worked 18 years with the County Counsel’s Office where he was the first African American to serve as division chief of the General Litigation Division. There, he oversaw the defense of police misconduct as well as employment discrimination and sexual harassment litigation.

It was also during his tenure with the county that he successfully argued the case Conn vs. Gabbert before the United States Supreme Court.

Brazile recalls working tirelessly on the case, which dealt with the question, “Does a prosecutor violate the opposing attorney’s Fourteenth Amendment right to practice his profession when the prosecutor causes the attorney to be searched at the same time his client is testifying before a grand jury?”

He readily admits to being extremely nervous during the months leading up to his arguments, but he was determined to know the facts of the case better than the opposition.

Sticking to his personal mantra, “Be ready. Be prepared,” Brazile sought the help of his alma mater to prepare for arguments before the Supreme Court. The UCLA School of Law referred him to then-professor, John Wiley Jr., an expert in antitrust, intellectual property and criminal law.

“John didn’t know me and I didn’t know him, but he said, ‘You’re from UCLA. You’re one of our former students, so I’m going to help you.’” Brazile said.

Under Wiley’s mentorship, Brazile fine-tuned his arguments and ultimately received a unanimous judgment from the Supreme Court in his favor.

Looking back at this career-defining experience, Brazile notes that it was his connection to UCLA that helped him to succeed.

“The people I met at UCLA are now lifelong friends and we help each other,” he said. “We’re there for one another, supporting each other in the good times and the bad times.”

To this day Brazile is good friends with Wiley, who now serves as a judge with the Superior Court.

In 2002, after nearly two decades as a lawyer and with a successful Supreme Court ruling under his belt, Brazile was appointed judge.

A Mentor for the Next Generation

Seeing firsthand the benefits of mentoring on his own life, Brazile has made a point of mentoring young minority lawyers. During his 15-year tenure as a judge, Brazile has sought to put people in a place to lead, and he encourages them to do their best to make a difference.

“Once you get to the top, you don’t want to push the ladder away, you want to hold it for somebody else,” Brazile said.

After completing his term as Assistant Presiding Judge, he will become the next Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. In his new role, Brazile would supervise 38 courthouses and nearly 600 judges and commissioners. He would also be the first African American Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Looking to the future, Brazile said, “I am excited about the opportunity to be the next Presiding Judge and look forward to finding, shaping and developing new leaders for the court.”

 

 

 

Visionary alumna Martine Rothblatt honored with UCLA Medal

Rothblatt is the CEO of a billion-dollar pharmaceutical company, who also remains a staunch proponent of generic drugs; she founded Sirius XM satellite radio; she’s helped develop pioneering work on organ transplants; she’s a powerful advocate for transgender rights; she’s a lawyer, medical ethicist, futurist, pilot, triathlete, parent and world-changing technologist.