University of Texas at Austin

Archive for April, 2009


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Props for De Niro’s props

We thought there might be an item that stood out in the 1,300 boxes or so of papers, film, movie props and costumes that Robert De Niro donated to the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

We asked curators of collection, which has just been opened to researchers and the public, if they came across anything that was pretty darned cool.

From Robert De Niro? An actor known for his preparation, focus and intensity? Are you talkin’ to me?

How
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Exploring explosions

Visualization of a large jet fuel pool fire in a cross flow that is heating a suspended cylindrical container.

Visualization of a large jet fuel pool fire in a cross flow that is heating a suspended cylindrical container.

A story on the Web site of the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is about research to model explosions. It highlights the work of Charles Wright, a chemistry professor at the University of Utah, who is using TACC’s Ranger computer.

Experiments on explosions can be tricky, but they’re no piece of cake to model on a computer. The story explains: Explosions are particularly challenging
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Light and air interacting

Conception of laser-generated filaments for lightning control.

Conception of laser-generated filaments for lightning control.

When something unexpected happened during Aaron Bernstein’s laser experiment in ionization, he veered from the original experiment, followed the surprise and found something he calls “pretty darn cool.”

What Bernstein, a scientist in the Department of Physics at The University of Texas at Austin, and his colleagues found was that they could cross two laser beams in ambient laboratory air and transfer seven percent of the energy of one of the beams to the other.
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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Drilling deep for biofuels at TACC

Mark Nimlos, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Mark Nimlos, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

To get to some oil reserves, you have to drill deeply.

Scientists working on biofuels also drill deeply, but they drill into the molecular-level activity of enzymes instead of rock.

How energy researchers are doing this using the Ranger supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is the subject of a story by Aaron Dubrow, TACC’s science writer.

Dubrow shares some of his thoughts about the research:

“I thought some of the most interesting parts of the story were that
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reading ahead: Greg Allen’s autism research

Photo by Christina Murrey

Photo by Christina Murrey

Dr. Greg Allen’s research into autism is the upcoming research feature on the homepage of The University of Texas at Austin Web site.

Allen, a neuroscientist in the university’s College of Education, is trying to figure out what underlies the behaviors and symptoms of autism.

His uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate the ways in which the cerebellum of a person with autism differs from that of a non-autistic person, and then to examine how that pathology contributes
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Monday, April 6, 2009

Eureka! I didn’t find it

Steven Weinberg

Steven Weinberg

Scientists search for new knowledge. They want to find out how things work—from inside cells to the edge of the universe.

So they’re disappointed when they don’t find what they expected or nothing at all, when nature throws them a curve when they expected a fastball.

Not necessarily.

Steven Weinberg, the Nobel Prize physicist at The University of Texas at Austin, hopes that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) strikes out.

Basically, he said, what’s the fun in finding what you’re looking for? It’s
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Friday, April 3, 2009

Fear not the trip from lab to clinic

Marie Monfils

Marie Monfils

Marie Monfils studies a basic emotion, fear, in a basic model system, rodents.

But the assistant professor of psychology hopes her research will lead to effective therapies for complex phobias and anxiety disorders that affect people.

“To me that’s a big deal,” she said. “I’m always cautious in saying what I do has direct translational relevance, but I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

The “it” she referred to is her paper published April 2 in Science Express. She reported that
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