Steven Veach

Wild weather If you can’t keep up with the swings in the weather lately — sunny one day, thunderstorms the next — it’s because those shifts have become more dramatic. Princeton researchers have found that day-to-day weather has grown increasingly erratic and extreme. In the first climate study to focus on variations in daily weather conditions, the authors — geosciences professor David Medvigy and postdoctoral research fellow Claudie Beaulieu, whose work was published online Oct. 14 by the Journal of Climate — found that the number of swings from thunderstorms to dry days has risen considerably since the late 1990s, which could have consequences for agriculture, solar-energy production, and greenhouse-gas levels.

Speedy serendipity Princeton researchers have used robotics to speed up significantly the process of creating chemical reactions. The technique allows scientists to perform more than 1,000 reactions a day with molecules never before combined, which should lead to serendipity “on almost a daily basis,” according to chemistry professor David MacMillan. By shaving weeks from the traditional process, the new approach may allow chemists to explore unheard-of and potentially important combinations without devoting years to the pursuit. The findings were published in the journal Science Nov. 25 by lead author Andrew McNally, a research associate; MacMillan; and graduate student Christopher Prier.