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From the College of Natural Sciences
14 Natural Sciences Students Receive Prestigious NSF Fellowships

14 Natural Sciences Students Receive Prestigious NSF Fellowships

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that 43 University of Texas at Austin students, including 14 in the College of Natural Sciences, will receive prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships.

Long-Living Tropical Trees Play Outsized Role in Carbon Storage

Long-Living Tropical Trees Play Outsized Role in Carbon Storage

Irene del Carmen Torres Dominguez measures the diameter of a tree on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. Since 1982, more than 200,000 trees are measured every five years. (Photo by Christian Ziegler)

A group of trees that grow fast, live long lives and reproduce slowly account for the bulk of the biomass—and carbon storage—in some tropical rainforests, a team of scientists says in a paper published this week in the journal Science. The finding that these trees, called long-lived pioneers, play a much larger role in carbon storage than previously thought may have implications in efforts to preserve forests as a strategy to fight climate change.

Pair of Natural Sciences Undergraduates Selected for Goldwater Scholarships

Pair of Natural Sciences Undergraduates Selected for Goldwater Scholarships

Two University of Texas at Austin seniors, Zoe de Beurs and Cole Maguire, have received Goldwater Scholarships, one of the most prestigious awards for STEM undergraduates.

Researchers Create Largest Ever Map of Plant Proteins and Their Assemblies

Researchers Create Largest Ever Map of Plant Proteins and Their Assemblies

In a new paper in Cell, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin offer the largest survey to date of proteins in plants, examining 13 different species across 1.1 billion years of plant evolution. Their findings could have practical applications such as increasing crop yields, understanding disease and stress resistance in plants and informing biofuel production.

Pandemic Model Shows Importance of Social Distancing in 22 Texas Cities

Pandemic Model Shows Importance of Social Distancing in 22 Texas Cities

Researchers have examined how COVID-19 would impact 22 metro areas in Texas under scenarios where levels of social distancing differ.

A new pandemic model of COVID-19 shows the positive role social distancing can play in preventing the spread of the illness in areas across the state. The report by researchers in The University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Sciences projects significantly higher numbers of cases of infection, hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and deaths in 22 Texas communities under scenarios in which social distancing measures are moderate.

7 Ideas from the School of Human Ecology for Responding to COVID-19

7 Ideas from the School of Human Ecology for Responding to COVID-19

Although this is a time of increased physical distancing between people, there remains real potential for human connection and greater awareness of the things that still tie us together, says Stephen Russell, director of the College of Natural Sciences' School of Human Ecology

A New Texas COVID-19 Pandemic Toolkit Shows the Importance of Social Distancing

A New Texas COVID-19 Pandemic Toolkit Shows the Importance of Social Distancing

UPDATE: Revised model projections were released on April 6. Read the full report.

Since 2012 a pandemic-planning tool developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin has helped public health officials plan for the consequences of a deadly and virulent virus. Now the pandemic modeler who developed the toolkit is studying COVID-19 and has built a new model to project the spread of COVID-19 across the U.S. She has teamed up with Dell Medical School to assess the potential impact of the pandemic in the Austin-Round Rock area.

Postdoc Receives Fellowship to Study Extrasolar Planets

Postdoc Receives Fellowship to Study Extrasolar Planets

Ben Tofflemire, a postdoctoral fellow at The University of Texas at Austin, has received a 51 Pegasi b Fellowship.

Ben Tofflemire, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin, has received a 51 Pegasi b Fellowship from the Heising-Simons Foundation.

New Partnership Aims to Demystify Artificial Intelligence “Black Boxes”

New Partnership Aims to Demystify Artificial Intelligence “Black Boxes”

Isil Dillig (left) and Swarat Chaudhuri are part of a new, multi-institution initiative aimed at better understanding what happens inside artificial intelligence "black boxes."

The promise of artificial intelligence to solve problems in drug design, discover how babies learn language, and make progress in many other areas has been stymied by the inability of humans to understand what's going on inside AI systems.

Surveying Deepest Space to Understand Dark Energy

Surveying Deepest Space to Understand Dark Energy

HETDEX is the first major experiment to search for dark energy. It uses the giant Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory and a set of spectrographs to map the three-dimensional positions of one million galaxies.

Two decades ago, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Reiss shocked the world when they published research showing not only that the Universe was expanding, but that the expansion was occurring at an accelerating rate. The discovery came as a complete surprise even to the astronomers themselves, and netted them a Nobel Prize in 2011.