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From the College of Natural Sciences
How UT Scientists Contributed to Nobel-Winning Gravitational Wave Discovery

How UT Scientists Contributed to Nobel-Winning Gravitational Wave Discovery

​A day after celebrating the news that University of Texas at Austin alumnus Michael Young was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on circadian rhythms, we were thrilled to wake up this morning to the news that three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of gravitational waves, work that was heavily in...
Construction Begins on International Neutrino Facility

Construction Begins on International Neutrino Facility

Ground is broken! Attending the underground ceremony today were, from left: Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer; Executive Director of Programmes Grahame Blair, Science and Technology Facilities Council; Professor Sergio Bertolucci, National Institute for Nuclear Physics in Italy; Director for International Relations Charlotte Warakaulle, CERN; Rep. Randy Hultgren, Illinois; Rep. Kristi Noem, South Dakota; Sen. Mike Rounds, South Dakota; Sen. John Thune, South Dakota; Associate Director of Science for High-Energy Research Jim Siegrist, U.S. Department of Energy; Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios; South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard; Project Manager Scott Lundgren, Kiewit/Alberici; Executive Director Mike Headley, Sanford Underground Research Facility; and Chair of the Board Casey Peterson, South Dakota Science and Technology Authority. Photo: Reidar Hahn, Fermilab.

With the turning of a shovelful of earth a mile underground, a new era in international particle physics research officially begins.

Physicists Launch Experiment to Probe a Muon Mystery

Physicists Launch Experiment to Probe a Muon Mystery

The Muon g-2 magnet ring with instrumentation, awaiting muons. Credit: Fermilab.

Physicists have been puzzled ever since an experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the late 1990s found that muons, elementary particles produced when cosmic rays hit our atmosphere, have slightly different magnetic properties than predicted. If true, it could mean a shakeup is in store for the theoretical framework that physicists use to describe the universe.

Biofilm Discovery Suggests New Way to Prevent Dangerous Infections

Biofilm Discovery Suggests New Way to Prevent Dangerous Infections

Microbial biofilms—dense, sticky mats of bacteria that are hard to treat and can lead to dangerous infections—often form in medical equipment, such as flexible plastic tubing used in catheters or in tubes used to help patients breathe. By some estimates, more than 1 million people contract infections from medical devices in U.S. hospitals each year, many of which are due to biofilms. A study from The University of Texas at Austin suggests a possible new way to prevent such biofilms from forming, which would sharply reduce incidents of related hospital-borne infection.

UT Austin Mourns Death of Groundbreaking Physicist Cécile DeWitt-Morette

UT Austin Mourns Death of Groundbreaking Physicist Cécile DeWitt-Morette

The University of Texas at Austin mourns the loss of renowned physicist and professor emerita Cécile DeWitt-Morette, who was a faculty member in the Department of Astronomy and the Department of Physics. DeWitt-Morette received international acclaim for her work in theoretical physics and for the educational institution she established in Europe, L'École de Physique des Houches, which helped launch many of the world's leading physicists and mathematicians.

Surprising Property of Ferroelectrics Might Lead to Smaller, Lighter Electronics

Surprising Property of Ferroelectrics Might Lead to Smaller, Lighter Electronics

In this artist’s conception, a needle from a scanning impedance microscope touches a domain wall in a ferroelectric material. Image credit: Ella Maru Studio.

A research team led by physics professor Keji Lai at the University of Texas at Austin has discovered that a material he studies has an unusual property that could one day lead to cell phones and other electronic devices that are smaller, lighter and more energy efficient.

Physicists Improve Key Component of Future Atom Microscope

Physicists Improve Key Component of Future Atom Microscope

Mark Raizen, a professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin, and his team have developed the world's highest resolution atom lens, a key component of a new kind of microscope called an atom microscope, which can image the surface of a material at the atomic scale and reveal its chemical composition.

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A New Era for Physics? With Creation of New Form of Matter, a Time Crystal, It Just Might Be

A New Era for Physics? With Creation of New Form of Matter, a Time Crystal, It Just Might Be

Salt, snowflakes and diamonds are all crystals, meaning their atoms are arranged in 3-D patterns that repeat. Today scientists are reporting in the journal Nature on the creation of a phase of matter, dubbed a time crystal, in which atoms move in a pattern that repeats in time rather than in space.

New, Ultra-Flexible Probes Form Reliable, Scar-Free Integration with the Brain

New, Ultra-Flexible Probes Form Reliable, Scar-Free Integration with the Brain

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed ultra-flexible, nanoelectronic thread (NET) brain probes that can achieve more reliable long-term neural recording than existing probes and don't elicit scar formation when implanted. The researchers described their findings in a research article published on Feb. 15 in Science Advances.

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Grad Students Lead the Greatest Show in Classical Physics

Grad Students Lead the Greatest Show in Classical Physics

Glowing electric pickles, flaming money, and flying toilet paper help the Physics Circus at The University of Texas at Austin teach science to non-physicists, especially school children. Now a new matching gift will make it possible to maintain the program and its legacy, so that thousands more young students can benefit from the Circus fun.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

People with cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease often develop serious and even life-threatening bacterial infections that are hard to treat, in large part because the bacteria form dense clusters called biofilms. Biofilms are resistant to the host's immune cells and to antibiotics.

Discoveries with Ties to UT Austin Rank Among Top Scientific Findings of the Year

Discoveries with Ties to UT Austin Rank Among Top Scientific Findings of the Year

Simulation of black holes colliding. Credit: SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes

Two amazing scientific discoveries, both with ties to the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, were named the top 2 science stories of 2016 by Discover Magazine. Other major media outlets also included them in their year-end "best of" lists, including National Geographic, Science News, Science and the New York Times. A third story from the College of Liberal Arts and Jackson School of Geosciences, which solved the mystery of how the most famous human ancestor died, appears in Discover's top ten as well.

Unusual Quantum Liquid Could Inspire Future Electronics

Unusual Quantum Liquid Could Inspire Future Electronics

For the first time, an experiment has directly imaged electron orbits in a high-magnetic field, illuminating an unusual collective behavior in electrons and suggesting new ways of manipulating the charged particles.

Two Physicists and an Engineer Elected Fellows of the American Physical Society

Two Physicists and an Engineer Elected Fellows of the American Physical Society

Three scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have been elected as fellows of the American Physical Society for their outstanding contributions and leadership in physics. The new fellows are: physicists Greg Fiete and Karol Lang, both in the College of Natural Sciences; and electrical engineer Emanuel Tutuc, in the Cockrell School of Engineering.

As Hunt for Sterile Neutrino Continues, Mystery Deepens

As Hunt for Sterile Neutrino Continues, Mystery Deepens

Physicists have hypothesized the existence of fundamental particles called sterile neutrinos for decades and a couple of experiments have even caught possible hints of them. However, according to new results from two major international consortia, the chances that these indications were right and that these particles actually exist are now much slimmer.