University of Texas at Austin

Archive for September, 2010


Thursday, September 30, 2010

YouTube – Tungara Frogs and Sexual Selection

Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan

Prof. Michael Ryan’s work with tungara frogs is highlighted in this video from the College of Natural Sciences. The video is posted on the university’s YouTube channel. Click below to watch — and listen.

YouTube – Tungara Frogs and Sexual Selection.

Friday, September 24, 2010

“2012″ –– The movie, the physics

Sacha Kopp, associate professor in the Department of Physics, at the Sept. 14, 2010 Science Study Break. Photo by the UT Libraries.

Sacha Kopp, associate professor in the Department of Physics, at the Sept. 14, 2010 Science Study Break. Photo by the UT Libraries.

Here’s physicist Sacha Kopp’s synopsis of “2012,” a 2009 movie that purports to depict what happens when the Mayan calendar turns a big page:

“In this story, the Earth is basically destroyed. There’s a giant solar eruption and this eruption releases this incredible burst of particles called neutrinos, and these neutrinos come whizzing through the universe and bury themselves like,
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Extreme time scales

time_scalesThe story I wrote about time scales, from the billions of years the universe has existed to the flash of a laser in a fraction of a fraction of a second, is up at It’s About Time.

In the story, researchers talk about the time scales they work in and how they think about them. We hear from Sharon Mosher, dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences; Aaron Bernstein, a laser physicist; Mark Kirkpatrick, a population geneticist; Rob Adams, a lecturer
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Texas physicist gets a line on origin of magnetic fields

Mahajanmug2Magnetic fields are everywhere. They permeate the cosmos. They surround the Earth. A great deal about how magnetism works, including how an existing magnetic field can be amplified, is well understood. But the search for the seed that needs to be amplified has posed a serious challenge in theoretical physics.

Now Dr. Swadesh Mahajan of the Institute for Fusion Studies, and his colleague, Dr. Zensho Yoshida of the University of Tokyo might have identified a mechanism that can explain the origin
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ransom Center opens David Foster Wallace archive

Books from David Foster Wallace’s library. Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.

Books from David Foster Wallace’s library. Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.

The Harry Ransom Center opened the archives of writer David Foster Wallace on Tuesday (Sept. 13, 2010).

As part of the opening, the HRC has posted several pieces from the collection online.

Also, Jacqueline Muñoz, librarian at the Ransom Center who cataloged more than 300 books from Wallace’s archive, writes about her experience working with the collection and her personal response to his work.

Here’s part of her post:

“He didn’t merely own these books; he digested
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

The lowdown on Scartlett’s green dress

curtain_small1It would have been a good story if the curtains that Scarlett O’Hara ripped down in “Gone with the Wind” had been used to make her famous curtain dress, which is housed at the Harry Ransom Center.

But, alas, that’s not the case.

Hoping for a further finding, Further Findings put that question to Steve Wilson, the film curator at the Harry Ransom Center. The dress and 5,000 boxes of other materials from the second-best movie made in 1939 (my pick is
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Tower’s “lost” symbols, found

See the full-sized rendering of the tower's letters at http://www.utexas.edu/features/graphics/2010/tower_alphabets/tower_alphabets3.jpg.

See the full-sized rendering of the tower’s letters at http://www.utexas.edu/features/graphics/2010/tower_alphabets/tower_alphabets3.jpg.

It took a class of University of Texas at Austin students less than a semester to do what Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon would have done in a rather hectic weekend.

But the students had the advantages of 1. being real and 2. not having to deal with deadly conspirators fighting to protect an ancient society whose secrets, if revealed, could change the world as Langdon has done in several Dan Brown books such
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Getting on the cover of Science

From 27 August 2010 Vol 329, Issue 5995, Pages 985-1112. Reprinted with permission from AAAS.

From 27 August 2010 Vol 329, Issue 5995, Pages 985-1112. Reprinted with permission from AAAS.

It’s not the same as getting your picture on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, but getting an image you created on the cover of Science is still cool.

Georg Stadler’s computer-generated image of a brand-new way to more accurately show plate tectonics in a computer simulation was featured on the cover of the journal’s Aug. 27 edition.

“We heard about the interest of Science in featuring our
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