One of the answers may lie in the hands of Dr. Karin Strauss, whose team thinks that the future of data storage has been within us all along. Dr. Strauss obtained her PhD in computer sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is now working for both the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at University of Washington as well as being a researcher in Computer Architecture at Microsoft Research. There, she is a member of a team that is working to store digital data using DNA. The structure of DNA is very compact and stable. Additionally, if this project becomes a full success, DNA could have a lifespan that is 100 times longer than digital tape
Because Dr. Strauss is an expert in the field of computer science and not biology it seems illogical that she would be the face of the project. However, collaboration is the key to the progress and future success of using DNA to store data. Strauss works with other leading computer scientists and molecular biologists at Microsoft Research, University of Washington, and other universities in order to continue and enhance their own creative processes. This is a prime example of a medium Q network. Each scientist involved in the project is connected to the others through their collaboration and their sharing of ideas. However, they also are able to digress to their own labs to work on and develop their individual portions of the project to once again bring to the group. The ties are not loose nor are they bound to work constantly with each other. This enables them to maximize their creativity by working on their own with the input and critique of their peers from project meetings.
It is truly fascinating to think that the secret of life could soon be the secret to storing massive amounts of information in a stable and compact manner. It is even more remarkable that the leader of this project is a wonderful underrepresented member in the STEM field. Dr. Karin Strauss truly gives women a remarkable name in science and deserves to have been recognized as the 16th most creative person from 2016.
Sources:Uzzi, B., & Spiro, J. (2005). Collaboration and creativity: The small world problem. AJS, 111(2), 447–504.