Olena Shmahalo

Art Director

Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum leaf
botany

DNA Analysis Reveals a Genus of Plants Hiding in Plain Sight

Gene-sequence data is changing the way that botanists think about their classification schemes. A recent name-change for a common houseplant resulted from the discovery that it belonged in an overlooked genus.

Victoria Meadows in her garden with her cockatoo.
Thinking Places

Victoria Meadows’ Earthly Visions of Alien Life

A living, breathing garden in Seattle serves as the perfect backdrop to an astrobiologist’s search for life on faraway planets.

Zoomable Universe - rectangular thumbnail
Multimedia

From the Edge of the Universe to the Inside of a Proton

The Zoomable Universe, a new book by the astrobiologist Caleb Scharf, the illustrator Ron Miller and 5W Infographics, tours the universe’s 62 orders of magnitude.

Thinking Places

Jason Morgan Recalls Discovering Earth’s Tectonic Plates

Jason Morgan developed the theory of plate tectonics in 1967 while working among a critical mass of talented geophysicists at Princeton University.

Janet Conrad
Thinking Places

Janet Conrad, Seeker of Neutrinos and Other Curiosities

The physicist and curios collector hopes to reveal the hidden structure lurking in the subatomic world.

Joe Polchinsky at the Kavli Institute
Thinking Places

Joe Polchinski’s Restless Pursuit of Quantum Gravity

The pot-stirring string theorist and quantum gravity theorist never sits still for long.

Eva Silverstein at Stanford University
Thinking Places

Eva Silverstein’s Spirals and Strings

Daily bike rides, serendipitous interactions and long periods of solo thinking inspire this string cosmologist.

Subhash Khot
Thinking Places

Subhash Khot, Playing Unique Games in Washington Square Park

The theoretical computer scientist behind the influential Unique Games Conjecture delights in the wonders of New York’s Washington Square Park, where he ponders the impossible.

Juan Maldacena
Thinking Places

Juan Maldacena, Pondering Quantum Gravity by the Pond

One of the world’s preeminent theoretical physicists seeks a quiet place to think.

About the author

Prior to joining Quanta Magazine in 2014, Olena Shmahalo was an art director at the interactive ad agency KBS+P. In 2011, she earned a BFA in visual and critical studies from the School of Visual Arts. In 2013, she enrolled as a part-time physics student at the City College of New York.