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From the College of Natural Sciences

Amanda Figueroa-Nieves is the Spring 2021 Science Communications intern. She's a sophomore majoring in Public Health and Plan II Honors who enjoys spending time outdoors in the many parks around Austin. She is a news desk editor at The Daily Texan and was their Fall 2020 Senior Research News Reporter. This semester, she hopes to hone her reporting and writing skills while helping scientists communicate their research effectively. 

Natural Sciences Researchers Win President’s Award for Global Learning

Natural Sciences Researchers Win President’s Award for Global Learning

Members of the "Case for Connections" team in the UT President's Award for Global Learning.

Five teams with College of Natural Sciences students were honored this year with the President's Award for Global Learning, which aims to highlight innovative solutions to global problems and give interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students the opportunity to take those projects to international sites.

Three Natural Sciences Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Three Natural Sciences Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Three faculty members from the College of Natural Sciences have received distinguished Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards from the National Science Foundation.

Mathematician Seeks to Bring Quantum Field Theory into Mainstream Math

Mathematician Seeks to Bring Quantum Field Theory into Mainstream Math

Quantum field theory, a framework for explaining how subatomic particles behave, among other things, is one of the most successful areas of physics, but it's still incomplete — it's poorly described in terms of mathematics, so neither physicists nor mathematicians know what defines a quantum field theory. David Ben-Zvi, a mathematics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, described his intent to help solve this problem in a recent WIRED article.

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E-Cookbook Promotes Sustainable Food Sourcing and Raises Funds for Charity

E-Cookbook Promotes Sustainable Food Sourcing and Raises Funds for Charity

A team of 17 students from The University of Texas at Austin created a donation-based e-cookbook titled "A Taste of Austin Through the Lens of Sustainability" that showcases local restaurants and businesses focused on sustainability.

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.

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.

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.

Graduating Researcher and Student Leader Grateful for Mentorship and Support

Graduating Researcher and Student Leader Grateful for Mentorship and Support

In high school, Brett Dolotina looked forward to a diverse, lively campus culture at UT Austin. Austin seemed like a place where people could live freely. Dolotina, who uses they/them pronouns, looked forward to developing their own identity. Dolotina graduates this month as a Public Health and Biochemistry double major and a passionate student leader, with hopes of building a career in research.

UT Chemistry Researchers Encode Jane Austen Quote in a Polymer

UT Chemistry Researchers Encode Jane Austen Quote in a Polymer

A quote from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park written in oligourethanes. Image credit: Sarah Moor.

Using a novel molecular data-storage technique, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin encoded a quote from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park in a series of short polymers, which a third party could read back without prior knowledge of the structures that encoded the passage. Polymers are molecules made of repeating subunits strung together like beads on a string, such as synthetic plastics.

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Nutrition Researchers Developing Digital Platform for Teachers

Nutrition Researchers Developing Digital Platform for Teachers

A group of University of Texas at Austin nutrition researchers and educators received a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas to create a digital platform empowering teachers to include nutrition and gardening lessons in outdoor settings in their curriculum. The premise is that when kids have a direct connection to fresh produce — planting vegetables, tending them and watching them grow — they are more likely to make healthy eating choices.