University of Texas at Austin

Archive for 2009


Thursday, October 15, 2009

More on the nano test tube experiment

Here’s the video of the nano test tube experiment conducted in the lab of Brian Korgel, professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.

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The video shows gold moving up the length of a germanium nanowire, which was encased in a carbon nano test tube, at high temperature. The image has been magnified 100,000 times and the video’s speed has been greatly increased.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Battery included

John Goodenough

John Goodenough

John Goodenough, whose work led to the lithium ion battery off of which your laptop is running right now if it’s not plugged in, was interviewed by Eric Berger, who covers science for the Houston Chronicle.

Goodenough, a professor of mechanical engineering, recently won the Enrico Fermi Prize.

Check out the Q&A at Berger’s SciGuy blog.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Belly up to the lab

Prof. Kim Fromme in the Bar Lab.

Prof. Kim Fromme in the Bar Lab.

You go to a bar on Austin’s Sixth Street to see and be seen. You go to the Bar Lab to be watched. You go to both to drink.

The Bar Lab is exactly that: A bar laboratory. It’s where Kim Fromme, a professor in the Department of Psychology, and her students conduct research on college students and drinking.

It looks like a small neighborhood bar might look if it was staffed with a cleaning crew
Read More …

Friday, September 25, 2009

Using your brain

R. Dayne Mayfield

R. Dayne Mayfield

The people who use their brain to think ahead about donating their brains to science do R. Dayne Mayfield a big favor.

Mayfield, a researcher at the Waggoner Center for Addiction and Alcoholism Research, uses the brain tissue to study the genetic impact of alcohol on the brain.

READ MORE about ADDICTION research at www.utexas.edu on Oct. 5, 2009

The more he knows about the donors, the better the information obtained from the donors’ tissue.

The plan-ahead donors fill out a questionnaire detailing
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Data lost and found

Teams of computer scientists at several universities including The University of Texas at Austin are battling each other on disappearing and reappearing digitized data.

John Markoff, a computer reporter for the New York Times, has the story.

He was on campus last week (Sept. 17, 2009) interviewing Bob Taylor, the university alumnus who played a big role in developing he Internet and other tools of the digital age.

There’s also a university press release on Unvanish.

Vanish, created by researchers at the University of Washington,
Read More …

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Batty love songs

George Pollak

George Pollak

The experiment began in a backyard barn. Instruments used included sophisticated recording equipment. A strong regimen of statistical analysis capped it off.

The result: evidence that suggests that male bats sing songs with distinguishable syllables and phrases to attract females, and in some cases, to warn other males to stay away. The paper written about the study was published in PLOS One.

The research was a collaboration of the owner of the barn, Barbara Schmidt-French of Bat Conservation International; George Pollak, a
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Friday, September 4, 2009

Assessing the economy on Labor Day

Daniel Hamermesh

Daniel Hamermesh

Prof. Daniel Hamermersh, a professor in the Department of Economic, manages to use a bit of biology to explain the impact of long-term unemployment on the economy in an interview on the College of Liberal Arts Web site.

Do you expect the trend toward long-term unemployment to continue?

My guess is the percentage of long-term unemployment will keep on rising for a while. While the recession bottoms out it takes a while for people to get hired again. It’s like a rat
Read More …

Thursday, August 27, 2009

There will be water

Hydrogeology students in the field.

Hydrogeology students in the field.

Over on the Web site of the Jackson School of Geosciences, writer Marc Airhart tells something of a mystery story about water. The Tecolote Farm, which raises organic produce east of Austin, was running out of level of water in the aquifer their wells tapped got lower and lower. Students from the Jackson School went out to see if they could find another source. Find out what happened.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Straightening science policy

Wendy Wagner

Wendy Wagner

In late 2008, Wendy Wagner, a law professor at The University of Texas at Austin, got a call. Would she serve on a panel that would develop guidelines for the proper role of science in setting regulatory policies?

Wagner has written books with titles like “Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research” (co-authored with Texas law colleague Thomas McGarity) and “Rescuing Science from Politics: Regulation and the Distortion of Scientific Research.”

Could there be any other answer than
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Evolution at its finest

Tanya Paull

Tanya Paull

What is an example of evolution at its finest, when an elegant efficiency is selected over time, that you’ve come across in your research?

That’s the question The Bulletin of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute posed to four of its investigators. One of them is Tanya Paull, an associate professor in the Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.

Here’s her answer:

“I think the perfect microcosm of efficient evolution is the virus.

A virus uses every nucleotide of its nucleic acid, sometimes many times over,
Read More …