University of Texas at Austin

Archive for 2010


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Research Round Up: Fall 2010

Penguin fossil found in Peru showed surprising evidence of feathers and their colors.

Penguin fossil found in Peru showed surprising evidence of feathers and their colors.

During the fall semester of 2010, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin revealed:

An ancient penguin with surprising colors

Honey bees with a failure to communicate

Criminal virus spreaders using evolutionary forensics

An electron switch between molecules with cool battery potential

That as biological clock ticks down, libido rises

A dinosaur who thrived when its competition died

Ways the earth moves

That’s not all.

A team of students launched two satellites, which they built, into
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Inside science: How to build and name the insominator

A close up of the insominator, the device that keeps bees awake.

A close up of the insominator, the device that keeps bees awake.

Researchers wanted to find out if sleep-deprived bees have trouble communicating just like sleep-deprived people do.

First, they had to keep the bees from getting too many Zs.

They couldn’t give the bees a buzz with shots of espresso or gulps of Red Bull. Nor could they keep the lights on and play loud music as if the bees next door were having a party.

Their answer was the insominator.

It sounds like
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Medieval role play: Boys writing as women

Jessica Sinn from the College of Liberal Arts wrote this story about Marjorie Curry Woods, a professor in the English Department, and her research into how people taught and learned in Medieval and Renaissance periods.

Growing up in a large military family, Marjorie Curry Woods moved from state to state almost every year.

“Everything in my life constantly changed, but I always took comfort in knowing that I would feel at home in school,” says Woods, professor in the Department of English
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Protecting ideas with patents

Top patent officials from around the world gave an Austin audience insight into current intellectual property issues. They were James Pooley, deputy director of the World Intellectual Property Organization; Jerry Kappos, director of the United States Patent Office; and Lee Soowon, director of the Korean Intellectual Property Office. They talked with Richard Miller, chief commercialization officer of The University of Texas at Austin. Photo by Marsha Miller.

Top patent officials from around the world gave an Austin audience insight into current intellectual property issues. They were James Pooley, deputy director of the World Intellectual Property Organization; Jerry Kappos, director of the United States Patent Office; and Lee Soowon, director of the Korean Intellectual Property Office. They talked with Richard Miller, chief commercialization officer of The University of Texas at Austin. Photo by Marsha Miller.

Patent protection has gone global, according to David Kappos, the director of the United
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It adds up when the gift you buy is all about you

Susan Broniarczyk, McCombs School marketing professor, researched link between what we buy and who we are

Susan Broniarczyk, McCombs School faculty member,researched link between what we buy and who we are

The McCombs School of Business posts a timely story about shopping that can have an emotional and financial impact.

What happens when the perfect gift for a friend is just not you?

Two university researchers warn shoppers to beware of gifts that cause them to feel uncomfortable about their own identity (“I’ll give you this, but I don’t like it.”). Such purchases can spur gift givers to spend
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random sampling as good at terror screenings as racial profiling, prof says

This post originated in a paper that Prof. William Press published in Significance.

William Press

William Press

Stop using racial profiling, says Professor William Press of The University of Texas at Austin.

He claims that as well as being politically and ethically questionable, racial profiling does no better in helping law enforcement officials in their task of catching terrorists than standard uniform random sampling techniques.

This is the topic of a paper in Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association.

Press previously
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Student research: Fastrac satellite to launch

Current members of the FASTRAC team and their adviser, Prof. Glenn Lightsey, middle row, far right.

Current members of the FASTRAC team and their adviser, Prof. Glenn Lightsey, middle row, far right.

A satellite designed and built by engineering students from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin is to be launched. The scheduled date is Nov. 19, 2010.

The launch comes seven years after a group of engineering students entered a competition to build a satellite and five years after the students’ design was chosen. About 150 students have participated in the
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Friday, November 12, 2010

High School Biological: In the field with virus hunters

Laura, a high school student from Austin, hunts for nematode viruses in one of the micro-environments at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Laura, a high school student from Austin, hunts for nematode viruses in one of the micro-environments at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Daniel Oppenheimer from the College of Natural Sciences has a story about a UTexas researcher who fielded a team of high school biologists to help him find a nematode virus.

Read the first two graphs here:

In his race to be the first scientist in the world to find a nematode virus, Chris Sullivan had an unusual team of field biologists aiding him
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here’s the story on the computational engineering and science certificate program at ICES

Undergraduate students who want to be America’s next top modeler can step toward that goal through an undergraduate certificate program at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Science (ICES).

First, understand that we’re talking about someone who programs models and runs simulations on a computer and not someone who struts down a runway—not that they are mutually exclusive.

But for those who want to develop models of physical systems, the Certificate in Computational Science and Engineering might be the ticket.

In the program, the students
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Music and learning: Hey, baby, they’re playing your song

Eugenia Costa-Giomi. Photo by Marsha Miller

Eugenia Costa-Giomi. Photo by Marsha Miller

Music Professor Eugenia Costa-Giomi gave me a test that she gives to infants as part of her musical cognition research.

Infants pass the test. I failed.

The consolation was that most other adults fail, too.

The test is to watch and listen to alternating videos of two young women singing two different melodies, which are Bach minuets. In the first set of videos, one woman sings one melody and the other sings another melody.

In the second set, things
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