Diandra Leslie-Pelecky Hilborn earned undergraduate degrees in physics and philosophy from the University of North Texas and a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from Michigan State University. She spent most of her academic career in the Department of Physics at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Always fascinated by people who study nebulous things like "happiness" and "change", Diandra's stories explore why people do (or more often don't) change. Most of her stories involve science and/or scientists in some way. She is particularly interested in the culture of science and how the existing culture affects women and other underrepresented groups. She writes for stage, screen and television.
Science and Engineering
Prior to becomign a full-time writer, Diandra was a leading researcher in the field of nanomedicine. Her research focused on magnetic nanoparticles – small spheres with diameters a fraction of the width of a human hair. In addition to fundamental studies of magnetism in these materials, she developed nanoparicles for medical diagnosis and treatment processes including drug delivery, magnetic resonance imaging and chemotherapy. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research and other federal and state funding agencies. She has over 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers and is the co-Editor of the book Biomedical Applications of Nanotechnology.
Science Education and Outreach
Diandra has been involved with science education for K-12 schools, future science teachers, and the public since graduate school. She was one of the founders of the Michigan State Science Theatre project. Her education and outreach projects have been supported primarily by the National Science Foundation.
The author of the book The Physics of NASCAR, Diandra blogs about the science of auto racing at Building Speed. She appears every other Friday on the SiriusXM Speedway satellite radio program (NASCAR Channel 90) to comment on current tech-related events. She has served as a guest, contributor or writer for motorsports programming on ESPN, H2 and VOOM HD, as well as the National Science Foundation's Science of Speed web series.
Diandra in a much-in-demand speaker, as evidenced by her selection as a Sigma Xi Distinguished Speaker. She gave presentations for technical and non-technical audiences, including addresses sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. She has been covered in outlets as diverse as the New York Times Science Times and Sports Illustrated, as well as in professional society publications such as C&EN and the Materials Research Society Bulletin.