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From the College of Natural Sciences
Excavation Begins on Giant Magellan Telescope Site in Chile

Excavation Begins on Giant Magellan Telescope Site in Chile

Hard rock excavation has begun for the Giant Magellan Telescope's massive concrete pier and the foundations for the telescope's enclosure at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. More than 13,000 tons of rock will be removed. Credit: GMTO Corporation

The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory today shared in announcing the start of hard rock excavation for the Giant Magellan Telescope's (GMT's) massive concrete pier and the foundations for the telescope's enclosure on its site at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. McDonald Observatory is a founding partner of the international collaboration building the GMT, which will be the world's largest telescope when completed in the next decade.

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McDonald Observatory, Oil and Gas Orgs Collaborate to Protect Night Skies

McDonald Observatory, Oil and Gas Orgs Collaborate to Protect Night Skies

Star trails swirl around Polaris, the North Star, above the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory. Credit: Ethan Tweedie Photography

The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory has collaborated with the Permian Basin Petroleum Association (PBPA) and the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) to reduce light shining into the sky from drilling rigs and related activities in West Texas. The excess light has the potential to drown out the light from stars and galaxies, and threatens to reduce the effectiveness of the observatory's research telescopes to study the mysteries of the universe.

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Gravitational Wave Event Likely Signaled Creation of a Black Hole

Gravitational Wave Event Likely Signaled Creation of a Black Hole

The merger of two neutron stars (top) that generated gravitational waves, announced in fall 2017, likely did something else: birthed a black hole. This newly spawned black hole would be the lowest mass black hole ever found. X-rays from the resulting object a couple of weeks after the merger (bottom left) and more than three months later (bottom right), suggest the object is not a neutron star, but rather a black hole. Illustration credit: CXC/M. Weiss. X-ray image credit: NASA/CXC/Trinity University/D. Pooley et al.

The spectacular merger of two neutron stars that generated gravitational waves announced last fall likely did something else: birthed a black hole, according to a team of researchers including Pawan Kumar and J. Craig Wheeler of The University of Texas at Austin. This newly spawned black hole would be the lowest mass black hole ever found.

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Eight students receive prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Eight students receive prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Four graduate students and four undergraduates have received prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowships.

​The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship to 30 University of Texas at Austin students, including four graduate students and four undergraduates from the College of Natural Sciences.

Planet Probes, All the Rage Now, Have Deep Roots at UT Austin

Planet Probes, All the Rage Now, Have Deep Roots at UT Austin

Photo courtesy of NASA.

2018 may go down in science history as the Year of Super Planetary Research.

Five Natural Sciences Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Five Natural Sciences Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Assistant professors Michael Boylan-Kolchin, Vijay Chidambaram Pillai, Scott Niekum, Simon Peter and Eric Price were selected for the NSF's most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty.

Five faculty members from the College of Natural Sciences have received distinguished Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards totaling $2.1 million from the National Science Foundation.

Creating Star Stuff on Earth is the Aim of New $7 Million Project

Creating Star Stuff on Earth is the Aim of New $7 Million Project

To re-create the surface of a white dwarf star, UT Austin astronomer Don Winget and colleagues use the Z-machine, which converts the amount of electricity needed to power a few TV sets for the evening into a burst of energy greater than that produced by all the power plants in the world. The result: a tiny chunk of a star. Photo by Randy Montoya. Courtesy of Sandia National Labs.

Astrophysicists will conduct experiments designed to re-create the physical environment inside stars, with a new $7 million grant that the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has awarded to The University of Texas at Austin. This work could help astronomers reduce uncertainties about the sizes and ages of super-dense objects known as white dwarf stars.

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Paul Goldbart Appointed Dean of UT Austin’s College of Natural Sciences

Paul Goldbart Appointed Dean of UT Austin’s College of Natural Sciences

Paul Goldbart

The University of Texas at Austin has named Paul Goldbart the next dean of the College of Natural Sciences. His appointment will begin Aug. 1, and he will hold the Robert E. Boyer Chair in Natural Sciences.

Three Undergraduates Selected as 2018 Goldwater Scholars

Three Undergraduates Selected as 2018 Goldwater Scholars

Juniors Logan Pearce, Griffin Glenn and Jenna McGuffey were awarded the prestigious 2018 Goldwater Scholarship. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

Three College of Natural Sciences undergraduates have been selected as 2018 Goldwater Scholars. Griffin Glenn, Logan Pearce and Jenna McGuffey are among 208 college students nationwide who received the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship given in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics.

Chemist and Astronomer Selected as 2018 Cottrell Scholars

Chemist and Astronomer Selected as 2018 Cottrell Scholars

Sean Roberts and Stella Offner have been named 2018 Cottrell Scholars.

Two UT Austin College of Natural Sciences faculty members have been named 2018 Cottrell Scholars by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA). This marks only the third time that a university has received two awards in the same year since they were first given in 1994.