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From the College of Natural Sciences

Marc Airhart is the Communications Coordinator for the College of Natural Sciences. A long time member of the National Association of Science Writers, he has written for national publications including Scientific American, Mercury, The Earth Scientist, Environmental Engineer & Scientist, and StarDate Magazine. He also spent 11 years as a writer and producer for the Earth & Sky radio series. Contact me

Two Natural Sciences Faculty Receive 2019 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards

Two Natural Sciences Faculty Receive 2019 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards

David Laude and Alison Norman are recipients of the 2019 University of Texas Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards.

Two faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin, both from the College of Natural Sciences, have been chosen to receive 2019 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System. The recipients are David Laude, a Distinguished Teaching Professor in chemistry, and Alison Norman, associate professor of instruction in computer science.

Keck Foundation Awards Chemists Grant to Squeeze More Energy from Sunlight

Keck Foundation Awards Chemists Grant to Squeeze More Energy from Sunlight

The W.M. Keck Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to a team led by University of Texas at Austin chemists to develop an innovative new coating for silicon-based solar cells that could boost their efficiency by as much as 20%. It's a bold research challenge that, so far, no one else has figured out how to do — but if successful, could make solar power generation cheaper.

Computer Security Expert Named Simons Foundation Investigator

Computer Security Expert Named Simons Foundation Investigator

Brent Waters has been selected as a 2019 Simons Investigator in Theoretical Computer Science.

Computer scientist Brent Waters of The University of Texas at Austin has been selected as a 2019 Simons Investigator in Theoretical Computer Science by the Simons Foundation, for his work in cryptography and computer security.

New AI Sees Like a Human, Filling in the Blanks (Updated)

New AI Sees Like a Human, Filling in the Blanks (Updated)

Computer scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have taught an artificial intelligence agent how to do something that usually only humans can do—take a few quick glimpses around and infer its whole environment, a skill necessary for the development of effective search-and-rescue robots that one day can improve the effectiveness of dangerous missions.

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Four Years of Undergrad Research

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Four Years of Undergrad Research

Five graduating seniors share their tips for getting the most out of undergraduate research. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

So you've been accepted to UT Austin's College of Natural Sciences. You've heard that doing research as an undergraduate will give you a leg up academically and in your career (really, research proves it). But how do you find a research lab to work in? How do you maximize the opportunity to work alongside some of the world's leading scientists and mathematicians? What do you do if you're on the brink of a big discovery, and then an overzealous cleaning crew throws out the colony of slugs it took you three months to raise and train in the lab?

First Woman to Win the “Nobel of Math”

First Woman to Win the “Nobel of Math”

This week, King Harald V of Norway presented mathematics' top international award—the 2019 Abel Prize—to Karen Uhlenbeck at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

Scientists Capture First-Ever Video of Body’s Safety Test for T-cells

Scientists Capture First-Ever Video of Body’s Safety Test for T-cells

For the first time, immunologists from The University of Texas at Austin have captured on video what happens when T-cells – the contract killers of the immune system, responsible for wiping out bacteria and viruses – undergo a type of assassin-training program before they get unleashed in the body. A new imaging technique that allowed for the videos, described today in the journal Nature Communications, holds promise for the fight against autoimmune disorders such as Type 1 diabetes.

Arctic Rivers Can Help Monitor Greenhouse Gases Released from Thawing Permafrost

Arctic Rivers Can Help Monitor Greenhouse Gases Released from Thawing Permafrost

James McClelland and his colleagues developed a new way to monitor carbon released from thawing permafrost in the Arctic by analyzing water samples from major rivers.

As Earth's climate warms, experts predict the rate of greenhouse gas emissions from thawing Arctic permafrost and peat will rise, which will further boost climate warming. Because the rate of permafrost thaw varies widely across the Arctic and data from remote areas is limited, it's been challenging for scientists to monitor actual changes on the ground.

A Machine That Understands Language Like a Human (Audio)

A Machine That Understands Language Like a Human (Audio)

One thing that sets humans apart from even the smartest of artificially intelligent machines is the ability to understand, not just the definitions of words and phrases, but the deepest meanings embedded in human language.

The Tool Maker: The Double Life of Everett Stone

The Tool Maker: The Double Life of Everett Stone

A story about how a blacksmith (Everett Stone) learned to forge new tools in the fight against cancer. Photo by Marsha Miller.

For Everett Stone, being a cancer researcher is not so different from being a blacksmith. "I feel like an overarching theme in my career is that I've made many, many tools. Some of them are good enough to be medicines," he says.