University of Texas at Austin

Archive for May, 2010


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Podcast features psych professor

Jennifer Beer

Jennifer Beer

Jennifer Beer, an assistant psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, talks about her research on the relationship of not thinking and overconfidence in an interview with Daniel Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University.

The interview is on Ariely’s podast, Arming the Donkeys, and is available at Duke’s iTunes U. channel.

The podcast is about Beer’s research that found that the less you use your brain’s frontal lobes, the more you see yourself through rose-colored glasses.

“In healthy people, the more you
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Crunching the numbers on the Ike Dike

Clint Dawson at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences is running computer simulations to test the feasibility of an extended seawall, in green, red and blue, along the Gulf Coast neaer Galveston Island.

Clint Dawson at the Institute for Computational Engineering Sciences is running computer simulations to test the feasibility of an extended seawall near Galveston Island.

Would the Ike Dike, a wall 17 feet high and 60 miles long along the Gulf Coast, protect Galveston Bay from strong hurricanes?

A group of researchers at the Institute of Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) at The University of Texas at Austin is trying to answer to that question by running sophisticated computer simulations to see what would
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Heckuva job, Brownian

Toncang Li, lead author of Brownian motion paper

Toncang Li, lead author of Brownian motion paper

It’s not everyday one can headline a discovery, “Physicists Prove Einstein Wrong with Observation Of Instantaneous Velocity in Brownian Particles.”

But that’s what Dr. Mark Raizen, a professor in the Department of Physics at The University of Texas at Austin, did in an experiment.

The title of the paper, published online in Science Express, had more Joe Friday just-the-facts tone, “Measurement of the Instantaneous Velocity of a Brownian Particle.”

You can hear Raizen talk about the
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Perspective on the Deepwater Horizon spill

Paul Bommer

Paul Bommer

No one yet knows what really happened to cause the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent release of millions of gallons of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico.

But Paul Bommer, a senior lecturer in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas, presented a good view of what might have gone wrong when he spoke May 18 at the “Oil in Troubled Waters” forum on causes and consequences of the spill. The university’s Energy Institute sponsored the
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Can America run on natural gas?

At her departure, Castlen Kennedy was joined by Professor Chip Groat, left, and Paul Wilson, a vice president of Texas Gas Service, a sponsor of the trip.

At her departure, Castlen Kennedy was joined by Professor Chip Groat, left, and Paul Wilson, a vice president of Texas Gas Service, a sponsor of the trip.

Castlen Kennedy got an unusual start to the research for her master’s degree thesis: A group of people gathered on Wednesday (May 18, 2010) to wish her good-bye and good luck.

Kennedy was not, as she noted, headed into the library.

Rather, she and a friend hit the road in a vehicle powered by compressed natural
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Updated: Research round up: Spring 2010

The northern ice cap of Mars, showing spiral troughs and Chasma Boreale.

The northern ice cap of Mars, showing spiral troughs and Chasma Boreale.

Catch up on University of Texas at Austin research from the spring 2010 semester when these questions were answered.

How were two curious features in the northern ice cap of Mars — a chasm larger than the Grand Canyon and a series of spiral troughs formed?

Jack Holt and Isaac Smith of The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics and their colleagues used radar data collected by NASA’s Mars
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When brain scans weigh in on body weight

Images from functional magnetic resonance imaging scans.

Images from functional magnetic resonance imaging scans.

The latest edition of Raw Science at the College of Natural Sciences website provides answers to the questions:

Can weight gain be predicted from looking at your brain with an fMRI?

Are “green” building materials more susceptible to destructive fungal growth?

It also dives into the genomes of radically different species in search of candidate genes for human diseases and tracks the lives of Pakistani paper wasps.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Grad student working to reduce solar energy costs

Reeja Jayan is conducting research in solar energy.

Reeja Jayan is developing a cost-effective solar cell.

This post comes from the Graduate School:

The amount of solar energy that the Earth receives in one hour is more than the energy demand for the entire world for an entire year.

Kind of incredible, isn’t it?

For Reeja Jayan, learning this one fact changed the course of her life entirely.

“It was one of those moments where I thought, ‘why aren’t we using this?’” says Jayan, who was an Electrical Engineering master’s degree student at
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Friday, May 7, 2010

Spotlight on “fantastic” computational biology

Aksimentiev-thumbRen-thumbmishafantastic-voyage-rm-eng
It’s been 44 years since “Fantastic Voyage.” That’s the movie in which Raquel Welch and a team of scientists were shrunk to a microscopic size and injected into a man’s bloodstream.

We still can’t do that, but we can model what’s happening inside the human body–and other living things–using powerful computers like the ones at the Texas Advanced Computing Center.

The work of some of the researchers who use the center’s resources to study biology is highlighted on the TACC website.

The scientists
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Monday, May 3, 2010

Physics and psychology: Acts of creation

Steven Weinberg at Google

Steven Weinberg at Google

From coast to coast, University of Texas at Austin researchers are talking about their research–and their recently published books. Two recent talks are available on the Internet.

Steven Weinberg, the physicist, spoke at Google headquarters in California recently. His talk about his book, “Lake Views: The World and the Universe,” is posted on authors@google on YouTube.

David Buss, an evolutionary psychologist, spoke at the American Natural History Museum. His topic, Why Humans Have Sex. The talk is posted as a
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