University of Texas at Austin

Archive for 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Texas research film festival: Part III

John Wallingford

John Wallingford

For this installment of University of Texas at Austin researchers on video, check out John Wallingford’s talk to the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

Wallingford, a biologist, studies how cells communicate in the early embryo. His CASW talk centers on cilia and its renewed importance.

Note Wallingford’s use of resources. He cites a paper written about cilia in the 1890s.

Find the video here

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reseach film festival: Part II

Steven Weinberg

Steven Weinberg

Physicist Steven Weinberg, the Jack S. Josey-Welch Foundation Chair in Science and Regental Professor, is featured in the PBS program, “The Elegant Universe.” The program is based on the book of the same title by physicist Brian Greene. It’s about string theory.

Find the “Elegant Universe” at and the transcript at

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Texas Research film festival

L. Michael White, classics professor

L. Michael White, classics professor

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have made appearances on Nova and other science and research-related programs on PBS. Some of them can be viewed online at or at

Further Findings will provide links to some of those programs over the next few days of winter break.

Tonight (Dec. 22, 2009), L. Michael White, the Ronald Nelson Smith Chair in Classics and Christian Origins, is on KLRU in “From Jesus to Christ.” The program, part
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Dinosaur facts and fantasy

Tawa, ready for its close-up

Tawa, ready for its close-up

Listening to Sterling Nesbitt talk about Tawa hallae, the 215 million-year-old dinosaur that he and his colleagues wrote about in the Dec. 17, 2009 edition of Science, I was struck when he used the word “fantasy.”

Dinosaurs and fantasy are not strangers. From the imaginations of children enthralled by dinosaurs to Steven Spielberg’s special effects, our images of dinosaurs often exceed reality.

But really, how real can scientists be when talking about creatures that lived millions of years
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Research round up for fall 2009

Why women have sex. Why some ants don’t. Is your online personality the real you? What do bats sing about to each other? Who’s that new meat-eater shaking up the dinosaur family tree? Do toddlers make their own grammar?

These are among the questions that University of Texas at Austin researchers answered in the fall 2009 semester.

Here’s a look back at what they found.

Women and sex: Let me count the whys
Challenging the idea that women’s sexual motivations are tied exclusively to
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Shedding light on blackouts

Kim Fromme, psychology professor

Kim Fromme, psychology professor

Blacking out is one of the more immediate and dire consequences of drinking to excess.

Blacked-out drinkers might not remember whom they were with, what they said or what they did, leading to embarrassing, if not dangerous, situations.

Psychology Professor Kim Fromme’s lab is one of the few in the country to research blackouts. She studies drinking among college students.

I interviewed Fromme for an article about alcoholism and addiction research at the university. That article focused on another part of her
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Principles of science

John Lacy

John Lacy

Scientists arrive at their careers in different ways. Some follow a childhood interest, others are inspired by a teacher or discover a passion in a class they took on a lark and others find they have a talent in a field they hadn’t considered.

Further Findings highlights the paths that some researchers at The University of Texas at Austin took to the laboratory, the library, the field—wherever they do their work.

John Lacy is an astronomy professor and researcher who uses infrared
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Read the PTSD story, watch the PTSD lecture

Michael Telch's lecture at CASW.

Michael Telch’s lecture at CASW.

Prof. Michael Telch’s project on post traumatic stress disorder is the subject of the story on The University of Texas at Austin home page.

Telch went into more detail about the project in a lecture at the meeting of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. The meeting was held on campus in October.

The lecture can be seen at

Other lectures from the conference are at

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mayan expert explains 2012

David Stuart

David Stuart

If the world does end in 2012, do not blame it on the ancient Mayans.

The current disaster movie “2012″ apparently says the world ends in 2012 because that’s when the Mayan calendar ends. Other 2012-end-of-the-world scenarios also bring the Mayan calendar into it.

David Stuart, a Mayan expert at The University of Texas at Austin, has worked with the Mayan text that some say heralds the end of the world. And he says it’s not so.

In a Q and A
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Pianka goes Nova. Super!

Eric Pianka and Gisela Kaufmann--Photo by Carsten Orlt

Eric Pianka and Gisela Kaufmann–Photo by Carsten Orlt

Sometimes it pays to read those old magazines gathering dust in doctors’ offices. That turned out to be Eric Pianka’s version of being discovered by a talent scout.

Pianka, a biologist who holds the Denton A. Cooley Centennial Professorship at the University of Texas at Austin, is the expert guide in “Lizard Kings,” a part of the Nova series on PBS. It will be shown on KUT at 7 p.m. Oct. 20, 2009.

And it’s
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