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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.
Can General Relativity, at 100, Withstand Some Holes?

Can General Relativity, at 100, Withstand Some Holes?

This is the first of a three-part series on general relativity. 

In November 1915, Albert Einstein stood before his colleagues in the Prussian Academy of Sciences and unveiled a set of equations that would forever change the way we see the universe. The Theory of General Relativity, Einstein's description of gravity, explained the motions of everything we see in the universe.

Giant Magellan Telescope, World’s Largest, Breaks Ground in Chilean Desert

Giant Magellan Telescope, World’s Largest, Breaks Ground in Chilean Desert

Leaders and supporters from The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory, along with representatives from an international group of partner universities and research institutions, are gathering on a remote mountaintop high in the Chilean Andes today to celebrate groundbreaking for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).

Researchers Develop New Tool for Green Chemistry

Researchers Develop New Tool for Green Chemistry

Chemists from The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University have developed an environmentally friendly method for creating chemical structures with complex shapes like those found in living things. The results have implications for reducing toxic waste in chemical manufacturing and research, understanding basic biological processes and developing more effective medical therapies.

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Promising New Target in War Against Flu

Promising New Target in War Against Flu

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered that a protein produced by the influenza A virus, which causes flu, can overcome one of our body's natural defense mechanisms. That makes this flu protein a potentially good target for antiviral drugs directed against the flu virus

Audio: The Case of the Missing Folate

Audio: The Case of the Missing Folate

When Richard Finnell first met her, Rachel was a nine-year-old girl with severe developmental delays. Her condition seemed to be caused by a deficiency in a critical B vitamin called folate. Yet she had plenty of folate circulating in her blood. Somehow it was vanishing before it got to her brain and spine. Eventually Finnell made a surprising discovery. He's now using new genetic tools like CRISPR to better understand her condition and test possible therapies.

UT Austin Receives $4M to Develop Techniques for Brain Imaging and Manipulation

UT Austin Receives $4M to Develop Techniques for Brain Imaging and Manipulation

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin will receive three grants totaling $4 million to develop techniques for imaging and manipulating the activity of neurons in the brain, research that will help scientists explore the mechanisms of addiction, obesity, fear and many other brain states and disorders. The funding, provided by the National Institutes of Health, is part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative launched last year by President Barack Obama.
Study Examines Seniors' Social Lives and Health

Study Examines Seniors' Social Lives and Health

The University of Texas at Austin will receive a $2.4 million grant over the next five years from the National Institute on Aging to study how social interactions improve the health of older adults. Participants will use wearable electronic devices and cellphone apps to monitor their physical activity and social interactions in real time for several days.

New Nanostructure Could Lead to Advanced Optical Devices

New Nanostructure Could Lead to Advanced Optical Devices

When a quantum dot (right) is placed next to it, the light scattering properties of a much larger gold nanoparticle (center) change. A polarized light shining on the nanoparticle generates an electric field (surrounding bands of color).

Physicists Xiaoqin "Elaine" Li, Gennady Shvets and their colleagues have been exploring new ways to manipulate light on the nanoscale. In a paper published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they describe work that could lead to better biological sensors and improved devices for optical communications and computing.

Study Shows Common Molecular Tool Kit Organisms Share Across Tree of Life

Study Shows Common Molecular Tool Kit Organisms Share Across Tree of Life

Researchers created the world’s largest protein map, identifying nearly 1,000 protein complexes that are shared across the tree of life. This image shows a small portion of that map.

In one of the largest and most detailed studies of animal molecular biology ever undertaken, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Toronto discovered the assembly instructions for nearly 1,000 protein complexes shared by most kinds of animals, revealing their deep evolutionary relationships. Those instructions offer a powerful new tool for studying the causes of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cancer.

Audio: Cocktail Party Effect

Audio: Cocktail Party Effect

How do we manage to follow a conversation with a friend in the middle of a noisy room? Neuroscientists, like Nace Golding, are still working out the details—but what they've learned so far is pretty amazing.

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