University of Texas at Austin

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Friday, August 23, 2013

Longhorns in Space, by Jupiter!

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics helped develop a blueprint for a possible future NASA lander mission to Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter that has a global ocean covered by an ice shell.

Europa’s large reservoir of liquid water has long enchanted planetary scientists with the possibility of harboring life. Many experts believe it to be the most likely place in our solar system besides Earth to host life today. The proposed mission is designed
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Friday, July 19, 2013

The Energy Cost of Water

In recent years, global issues such as drought and the scarcity of natural resources have put a spotlight on two critical resources that make most of life’s daily activities possible: energy and water.

Two researchers from The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering believe that increasing awareness about water and energy interdependencies — an area referred to as the energy-water nexus — could help regions and communities manage the resources they have more efficiently, as well as help shape
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Folic acid one of several discoveries that made Esmond Snell world-renowned

Biochemist Esmond Snell, a researcher at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Berkeley, left a legacy that continues to affect people’s lives.

Part of his legacy is that fewer babies are born with neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly because of one of his discoveries.

In 1941 Snell, who died in 2003, and Texas colleague Herschel Mitchell discovered folic acid, a B vitamin needed to make DNA and RNA and that enables red blood
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Crystal Math

When Alessio Figalli was named one of the winners, in June 2012, of the prestigious European Mathematical Society prize, his first reaction was gratitude for winning the prize, which is awarded every four years to 10 young European mathematicians who’ve made outstanding contributions to their field.

Figalli’s second thought was that it was a good day for Italy, since among the other prize-winners was another native of the country.

Alessio Figalli, a 2012 winner of the European Mathematical Society prize.

Alessio Figalli, a 2012 winner of the European Mathematical Society prize.

“Before us there
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Revamped Herschel materials bring students closer to history and the stars

Even if you look through the telescope on the roof of Robert Lee Moore Hall in the middle of The University of Texas at Austin campus, it’s hard to feel close to the stars and other celestial objects.

Walk over to the Harry Ransom Center and you can get very close – and yes, even personal – to some of the people who made a science of looking at the skies.

For Mary Kay Hemenway, a research associate and senior lecturer in
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Research Roundup Spring 2011: Black holes, subsurface fjords, early mammal brains and more

In the last few months, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin dealt with black holes, dead zones and ice kilometers under the surface of Antarctica.

They found that early mammals evolved bigger brains for the sense of smell. They found that alcohol helps a brain to remember.

They made a carbon “sponge” that could store energy and a $1 biosensing diagnostic device that’s self-powered.

They found that teenagers who don’t fit in are less likely to go for higher education.

To help
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Monday, February 28, 2011

Physics in the News

Mark Raizen

Mark Raizen

Physics Professor Mark Raizen has written about his research in cooling atoms for Scientific America. The article, headlined, “Demons, Entropy, and the Quest for Absolute Zero,” appears in the March 2011 issue.

Raizen writes about the series of experiments that he and his lab group have conducted that has resulted in the ability to control most atoms.

The article is at It should be available to readers with a UT EID to read online. Others can check a copy
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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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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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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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