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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.
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.

Looking Forward ... and Back: Podcast Updates

Looking Forward ... and Back: Podcast Updates

This summer, we're celebrating a milestone: one year of telling you science stories from the frontlines here at the University of Texas at Austin on the Point of Discovery Podcast. Tell us how we're doing in our listener survey: CLICK HERE

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Two Rare Orchids Discovered at Brackenridge Field Lab

Two Rare Orchids Discovered at Brackenridge Field Lab

Last week Robert Deans, a University of Texas at Austin graduate student in ecology, evolution and behavior, discovered an extremely rare orchid in an unexpected place—at an urban biological field station in the heart of Austin, Texas.

World's Largest Computer-Generated Math Proof

World's Largest Computer-Generated Math Proof

Computer scientist Marijn Heule and his colleagues have solved a decades-old math challenge known as the boolean Pythagorean Triples problem (BPTP) and, in the process, created the largest mathematical proof ever, at a whopping 200 terabytes.

Why is CGI in the Movies Still So Hard? (Audio)

Why is CGI in the Movies Still So Hard? (Audio)

As the summer movie season kicks into high gear, we talk with a scientist about some of the challenges in simulating the way everyday objects behave on the big screen through computer generated imagery (CGI). Etienne Vouga's computer simulations have helped bring to life a wizard's hair in The Hobbit and clothing in Tangled.