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From the College of Natural Sciences
First Confirmed Detection of Neutron Stars Crashing into Black Holes

First Confirmed Detection of Neutron Stars Crashing into Black Holes

For the first time, researchers have confirmed the detection of a collision between a black hole and a neutron star.

Graduating Senior Finds Passions in Exoplanets and Outreach

Graduating Senior Finds Passions in Exoplanets and Outreach

When Zoe de Beurs arrived at UT Austin, she wasn't sure of what she wanted to do. Now, at the end of her fifth year, she's graduating from the Dean's Scholars honors program as a physics, astronomy and math triple major with an African and African Diaspora Studies minor.

Cosmic Rumbles: New Faculty Probe Universe for Gravitational Waves

Cosmic Rumbles: New Faculty Probe Universe for Gravitational Waves

Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

Pablo Laguna (Ph.D., '87) and Deirdre Shoemaker (Ph.D., '99) study some of the most violent events in the universe, when cosmic heavyweights—black holes and neutron stars—collide, shaking the very fabric of space and time. These gravitational waves were first discovered in 2015. It was also the start of a new era in astronomy. The couple joined the Department of Physics in 2020.

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Most Flexible 2D Material Discovered at UT Austin

Most Flexible 2D Material Discovered at UT Austin

A new kind of two-dimensional (2D) material with unique properties has been discovered by researchers with The University of Texas at Austin, bringing next-generation flexible electronic devices one step closer.

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Four Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Sloan Research Fellowships

Four Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Sloan Research Fellowships

​​Four faculty members from the University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Sciences have received 2021 Sloan Research Fellowships, which honor outstanding early-career scientists in eight fields.

Marder Receives University’s Civitatis Award

Marder Receives University’s Civitatis Award

UTeach Executive Director and physics professor Michael Marder has been selected as the recipient of The University of Texas at Austin's 2020 Civitatis Award.

A Cornucopia of Newly Confirmed Gravitational Wave Detections

A Cornucopia of Newly Confirmed Gravitational Wave Detections

After months of thorough analysis, two international scientific teams, including scientists from The University of Texas at Austin, have released an updated catalog of gravitational wave detections, more than tripling the number of confirmed events. Each detection of a gravitational wave represents the discovery of a pair of extremely massive objects—black holes or neutron stars—far out in the universe smashing into each other, shaking the very fabric of space and time so much that sensitive detectors on Earth could feel them, sometimes more than a billion years later. 

Department of Energy Invests in High-power Laser Network, including UT Austin

Department of Energy Invests in High-power Laser Network, including UT Austin

The University of Texas at Austin with support from the U.S. Department of Energy will expand capabilities of the Texas Petawatt Laser, one of the highest-powered lasers in the world, with a broad range of applications for basic research, advanced manufacturing and medicine.

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Black Hole Swan Songs

Black Hole Swan Songs

Simulation of light emitted by a pair of supermassive black holes spiraling inward, viewed from above the plane of the disk. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

When scientists first detected gravitational waves, from the violent collision of two black holes 1.3 billion years in the past, the ripples in space-time made a distinctive chirp, followed by a signal like a ringing bell. (The signals actually had to be converted into frequencies we can hear.) Since that first detection in 2015, every black hole collision has sounded pretty much the same. But according to a new study based on computer simulations, black holes actually sing a more elaborate swan song.

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Predictive Science Research Gets Major Boost Thanks to the Department of Energy

Predictive Science Research Gets Major Boost Thanks to the Department of Energy

Predictive science is crucial to the prediction and modeling of extreme weather. This is a visualization of predicted storm surge on the Louisiana coast caused by Hurricane Laura, the Category 4 Atlantic hurricane that struck Texan shores earlier this year. Credit: Computational Hydraulics Group, Oden Institute.

Many of the decisions we make are now guided by computational simulations, from designing new spacecraft to predicting the spread of a pandemic. But it's not enough for a simulation model to just issue predictions. A decision-maker needs to know just how much those predictions can be trusted.

NSF-Funded Project Aims to Squeeze Larger Simulations onto Quantum Computers

NSF-Funded Project Aims to Squeeze Larger Simulations onto Quantum Computers

A trapped ion quantum computing system developed by Honeywell Quantum Solutions. Photo credit: Honeywell Quantum Solutions.

Quantum computers might someday make it possible to run simulations that are far too complex for conventional computers, enabling them for example to precisely model chemical reactions or the movement of electrons in materials, yielding better products from drugs to fertilizers to solar cells. Yet at the current pace of development, quantum computers powerful enough for these simulations may still be many years away.

Breakthrough Prize Awarded to UT Physicist Steven Weinberg

Breakthrough Prize Awarded to UT Physicist Steven Weinberg

An elite prize among scientists worldwide is being given to Steven Weinberg, a professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin, for his "continuous leadership in fundamental physics, with broad impact across particle physics, gravity and cosmology, and for communicating science to a wider audience."

Allan MacDonald Wins Wolf Prize in Physics

Allan MacDonald Wins Wolf Prize in Physics

Allan MacDonald, a professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin, has received the 2020 Wolf Prize in Physics for his groundbreaking work in a field known as twistronics, which holds extraordinary promise to "lead to an energy revolution," according to the Wolf Foundation announcement today.

Physicist Mark Raizen Named Fellow of AAAS

Physicist Mark Raizen Named Fellow of AAAS

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society, has named Mark Raizen, a professor in the Department of Physics, a 2019 AAAS Fellow.

Rethinking Brain-Inspired Computing from the Atom Up

Rethinking Brain-Inspired Computing from the Atom Up

If you wanted to deliver a package across the street and avoid being hit by a car, you could program a powerful computer to do it, equipped with sensors and hardware capable of running multiple differential equations to track the movement and speed of each car. But a young child would be capable of doing the same task with little effort, says Alex Demkov, professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin.