News

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.
New Faculty, New Technology to Strengthen Disease Research at UT Austin

New Faculty, New Technology to Strengthen Disease Research at UT Austin

​Update, October 2017: ​The 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to three researchers who developed cryo-electron microscopy, a method that allows biochemists to "freeze biomolecules mid-movement and visualize processes they have never previously seen." This fall, UT Austin has opened its own cryo-EM facility, where researchers are beginning to explore new insights into the chemistry of life. Read on to learn about one of the faculty members involved with the new Sauer Laboratory for Structural Biology, and work planned within the College of Natural Sciences. 

Bats Use Second Sense to Hunt Prey in Noisy Environments

Bats Use Second Sense to Hunt Prey in Noisy Environments

Like many predators, the fringe-lipped bat primarily uses its hearing to find its prey, but with human-generated noise on the rise, scientists are examining how bats and other animals might adapt to find their next meal. According to a new study, when noise masks the mating calls of the bat's prey, túngara frogs, the bat shifts to another sensory mode—echolocation.

The Last First Planetary Mission (Audio)

The Last First Planetary Mission (Audio)

​The New Horizons spacecraft brought humanity face to face with the last unexplored planet in our solar system: Pluto. What we're learning is amazing. But, time and again, the mission almost didn't happen. University of Texas at Austin alumnus Alan Stern describes the challenges, and the joys, of the last first mission to a planet.

Super-resolution Microscope Builds 3D Images by Mapping Negative Space

Super-resolution Microscope Builds 3D Images by Mapping Negative Space

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have demonstrated a method for making three-dimensional images of structures in biological material under natural conditions at a much higher resolution than other existing methods. The method may help shed light on how cells communicate with one another and provide important insights for engineers working to develop artificial organs such as skin or heart tissue.

Experts Forecast the Changes Artificial Intelligence Could Bring by 2030

Experts Forecast the Changes Artificial Intelligence Could Bring by 2030

A panel of academic and industrial thinkers has looked ahead to 2030 to forecast how advances in artificial intelligence (AI) might affect life in a typical North American city — in areas diverse as transportation, healthcare and education — and spur discussion of how to ensure the safe, fair and beneficial development of these rapidly emerging technologies.

A new study, titled “Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030,” looks at the likely effects of AI technologies on urban life. Credit: iStock/Askold Romanov, Mlenny & Tricia Seibold
Q&A with Peter Stone: Where is Artificial Intelligence Headed?

Q&A with Peter Stone: Where is Artificial Intelligence Headed?

Peter Stone, a professor of computer science at The University of Texas at Austin, led a groundbreaking study on artificial intelligence (AI) being released today. The study, produced by a panel of 17 experts from around the world, looks at how specialized applications of AI might affect life in a typical North American city by the year 2030.

Some Bacteria Have Lived in the Human Gut Since Before We Were Human

Some Bacteria Have Lived in the Human Gut Since Before We Were Human

Some of the bacteria in our guts were passed down over millions of years, since before we were human, suggesting that evolution plays a larger role than previously known in people's intestinal-microbe makeup, according to a new study in the journal Science.

Bacteria Show Capacity for Rapid, Beneficial Mutations

Bacteria Show Capacity for Rapid, Beneficial Mutations

Scientists studying how microbes evolve have long assumed that nearly all new genetic mutations get passed down at a predictable pace and usually without either helping or hurting the microbe in adapting to its environment. In a new study published in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers studying tens of thousands of generations of E. coli bacteria report that most new genetic mutations that were passed down were actually beneficial and occurred at much more variable rates than previously thought.

Neuroscientist Weighs How Realistic Bourne Character's Memory Loss Is

Neuroscientist Weighs How Realistic Bourne Character's Memory Loss Is

This week, Matt Damon returns to the big screen as Jason Bourne, a secret agent who has forgotten his entire life and is piecing it back together while confronting political and economic conflicts. We wondered how realistically the series depicts brain science.

Research Sheds Light on Challenges of Interpreting Brain Activity

Research Sheds Light on Challenges of Interpreting Brain Activity

Correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation. It's a warning that echoes throughout the halls of science, but is not always heeded. A new study in the journal Nature by associate professor Alex Huk and graduate students Leor Katz and Jacob Yates provides a perfect case study.