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From the College of Natural Sciences
First Glimpse of Brains Retrieving Mistaken Memories Observed

First Glimpse of Brains Retrieving Mistaken Memories Observed

Scientists have observed for the first time what it looks like in the key memory region of the brain when a mistake is made during a memory trial. The findings have implications for Alzheimer's disease research and advancements in memory storage and enhancement, with a discovery that also provides a view into differences between the physiological events in the brain during a correct memory versus a faulty one.

Xue-Xin Wei Asks Basic Questions about the Nature of Intelligence

Xue-Xin Wei Asks Basic Questions about the Nature of Intelligence

Image by Vivian Abagiu.

Xue-Xin Wei, a computational and theoretical neuroscientist, recently joined the Department of Neuroscience as an assistant professor. Wei grew up in Qingdao, China, before obtaining his undergraduate degree in mathematics at Peking University. His lab works at the intersection of computational/theoretical neuroscience, statistics, artificial intelligence and deep learning. He and his team work closely with experimental scientists to test predictions of computational models to form theory-experiment loops.

Carlos Baiz and Shelley Payne Earn Prestigious Teaching Awards

Carlos Baiz and Shelley Payne Earn Prestigious Teaching Awards

Two College of Natural Sciences faculty members were named the winners of prestigious national and state teaching awards this spring.

Fight Against Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Has a Glowing New Weapon

Fight Against Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Has a Glowing New Weapon

In the perpetual arms races between bacteria and human-made antibiotics, there is a new tool to give human medicine the edge, in part by revealing bacterial weaknesses and potentially by leading to more targeted or new treatments for bacterial infections.

Graduating Computer Science Student Leaders Look Back on Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Graduating Computer Science Student Leaders Look Back on Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Computer science seniors América Quistiano and Audra Collins said they would not be here, on the cusp of graduating from one of the best computer science programs in the country, without the Hispanic Association of Computer Scientists and the Association of Black Computer Scientists.

Forecasting Resources Needed to Protect People Experiencing Homelessness During COVID-19

Forecasting Resources Needed to Protect People Experiencing Homelessness During COVID-19

A new study provides public health planning authorities with a method of calculating the number of COVID-19 isolation beds they would need for people experiencing homelessness based on level of infection in the city. The research holds promise for controlling spread of the virus – or future infectious diseases – in a population that is highly vulnerable and less likely than many others to access health care services.

Graduating Senior Finds Passions in Exoplanets and Outreach

Graduating Senior Finds Passions in Exoplanets and Outreach

When Zoe de Beurs arrived at UT Austin, she wasn't sure of what she wanted to do. Now, at the end of her fifth year, she's graduating from the Dean's Scholars honors program as a physics, astronomy and math triple major with an African and African Diaspora Studies minor.

Astronomers Disprove Planet Orbiting Nearby Barnard’s Star

Astronomers Disprove Planet Orbiting Nearby Barnard’s Star

Astronomers are announcing today that they have disproved a 2018-announced planet orbiting Barnard's Star, the second-closest star to our Sun. The findings, based on observations with the Habitable Zone Planet Finder (HPF) instrument on the 10-meter Hobby-Eberly Telescope at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory, have been accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal.

Meet the 2021 Dean's Honored Graduates

Meet the 2021 Dean's Honored Graduates

Each year, the College of Natural Sciences bestows its highest honors for graduating seniors on a select group of students. These students, known as Dean's Honored Graduates demonstrate excellence across multiple domains, achieving not only academically but in scientific research, independent intellectual pursuits, leadership, service, entrepreneurship and community building. Here are biographies of the 33 outstanding students selected by College of Natural Sciences faculty for this distinction in 2021.

The Case Against Spanking (Audio)

The Case Against Spanking (Audio)

Physical punishment, or spanking, is widely practiced in the U.S. and around the world, although it appears to be decreasing. Parents, caregivers and school administrators who use it say the goal is to prevent unwanted behaviors and teach children to make better choices. But does it actually work? And what long term effects does it have on the physical and mental health of people who are punished this way?