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From the College of Natural Sciences

Posts highlighting some of the many articles mentioning College of Natural Sciences faculty and students in the media.

Tinkertoy Models Produce New Geometric Insights

Tinkertoy Models Produce New Geometric Insights

Sam Payne. Credit: Vivian Abagiu

Equations may seem set in stone, but the shapes they describe rely on the space they occupy. This is a concept explored by tropical geometry, a relatively new field of mathematics which reduces complex shapes into simple stick drawings. Quanta Magazine featured a pair of joint papers with connections to the University of Texas at Austin that add new insights to the field.

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Fields Medal Recognition Linked to Work at UT Austin

Fields Medal Recognition Linked to Work at UT Austin

The Fields Medal is sometimes called the Nobel Prize of math – only this prize is given just once every four years. The 34-year-old mathematician announced as its winner today spent most of his career on the University of Texas at Austin's Forty Acres, making mathematical breakthroughs with applications for everything from meteorology to economic decisions about how to move and distribute materials.

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Major Quantum Computing Advance Made Obsolete by UT Grad

Major Quantum Computing Advance Made Obsolete by UT Grad

Ewin Tang, a 2018 University of Texas at Austin graduate in computer science and mathematics, is receiving national attention for a feat accomplished at the age of 18 by disproving, as part of an honors thesis, a widely held assumption about the hottest next-thing in technology, quantum computing.

Scientists Pinpoint New Alcohol Addiction Pathway in Brain

Scientists Pinpoint New Alcohol Addiction Pathway in Brain

There's a new line of attack in the war on alcoholism: Reporting in the journal Science, UT Austin researchers discovered that people suffering from alcoholism have less of a protein, GAT-3, in the part of the brain called the amygdala.

Parenting and Relating for the 21st Century

Parenting and Relating for the 21st Century

Credit: New York Times.

A series of high-profile news items have featured Karen Fingerman, professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. A series of national features look at the latest lessons for parents and all of us from her research, with tips ranging from what a new empty nester needs to keep in mind to which relationships help enhance our wellbeing.

A Look at How A.I. is Helping the Human Race

A Look at How A.I. is Helping the Human Race

Artificial intelligence is quickly creeping into our lives, from smart phone apps that help us find the quickest path through rush hour traffic to voice assistants that serve up lasagna recipes on command. In their new book AIQ: How People and Machines Are Smarter Together, James Scott and Nick Polson lay out an optimistic vision for how AI can help us overcome our cognitive weaknesses and live happier, healthier lives. The book is already attracting attention from media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, The Times (UK) and PBS's SciTechNow.

UT Tower Falcon May Have Finally Found True Love

UT Tower Falcon May Have Finally Found True Love

Photo of Tower Girl, the peregrine falcon that resides in the UT Tower, by Neil Crump.

​Valentine's Day may be over, but for the peregrine falcon that lives in the UT Tower, it may be the beginning of a love story.

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How Do You Solve Gerrymandering?

How Do You Solve Gerrymandering?

The US Supreme Court is considering whether Texas legislative districts are racially discriminatory. The high court is also hearing other high profile cases about partisan gerrymandering. Amid the increased national attention on the issue, the University of Texas at Austin hosted a conference focused in part on the mathematics of gerrymandering – how it's done, how to quantify it and ways to prevent it. Andrew Blumberg, associate professor of mathematics at UT Austin, co-organized the event with Moon Duchin, a Tufts University mathematician who runs the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group.

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Galaxy Movements Challenge Dark Matter Model

Galaxy Movements Challenge Dark Matter Model

Centaurus A. Photo courtesy of NASA.

A University of Texas at Austin astronomer has published a commentary in the journal Science noting that a new study on the movement of galaxies has the potential to either reinforce or change our understanding of how dark matter contributes to the motion of galaxies.

Physicists Offer Insight into Improving Perovskite Solar Cells

Physicists Offer Insight into Improving Perovskite Solar Cells

Solar panels. Photo credit: Flickr user zak zak. Used via Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0.

Physicists from the University of Texas at Austin and the Department of Energy (DOE) recently published a new study on how perovskite solar cells degrade, which could help improve the performance and durability of solar cells.

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Scientists Crown World’s Loudest Fish

Scientists Crown World’s Loudest Fish

Local fishermen from El Golfo de Santa Clara unload Gulf corvina from a gill net. Catches from a single boat can exceed one ton. Photo: Octavio Aburto-Oropeza.

Each spring, over a million fish migrate to a small patch of the Gulf of California to spawn. Now—thanks to new research by Brad Erisman at the University of Texas at Austin's Marine Science Institute and his colleagues published in the journal Biology Letters—we know that the Gulf corvina are the loudest known fish on the planet.

Physicist Uses Cosmic Rays to Map Internal Structures of Pyramids

Physicist Uses Cosmic Rays to Map Internal Structures of Pyramids

Scientists have discovered a mysterious void in Eygpt's Great Pyramid using cosmic ray. Photo by David McEachan/via CC0 license

A UT Austin faculty member spoke to reporters about the discovery of a hidden void in Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza. The almost 100-feet long cavity was detected by scanning the pyramid using high-energy particles called muons.

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Chemistry Lecturer’s Science Demonstrations Ignite STEM Interest

Chemistry Lecturer’s Science Demonstrations Ignite STEM Interest

What's the best way to carve a pumpkin? If you ask chemistry lecturer Kate Biberdorf, she might tell you to let the pumpkin carve itself, just as she does in recent media coverage of her Fun with Chemistry outreach program.

Observatory Director Discusses Plans for World's Largest Telescope

Observatory Director Discusses Plans for World's Largest Telescope

Artist rendering of the Giant Magellan Telescope/The University of Texas at Austin

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will be the largest telescope in the world when it comes online in 2023.

Taft Armandroff, the director of UT Austin's McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, is involved in the planning of and funding for the new observatory, which will be built atop a mountain in Chile. 

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Community Celebrates Life of Oceanographer Tony Amos

Community Celebrates Life of Oceanographer Tony Amos

​Hundreds gathered in Port Aransas to celebrate the life of Tony Amos and watched as a rescued sea turtle, carrying the ashes of the oceanographer, was released back into the Gulf of Mexico. Amos, known as the "Guardian of the Gulf," was an oceanographer at the The University of Texas Marine Science Institute. He was also a known educat...