News

From the College of Natural Sciences

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.

Froggy Went a Courtin'

Froggy Went a Courtin'
Two male túngara frogs make mating calls to attract females. Image by Amanda Lea.

Marketers and used car salesmen have long exploited a vulnerability in the way we make decisions, called the decoy effect, to get us to buy a certain product, even if our gut instinct is to buy another. Now a graduate student and her advisor in the Department of Integrative Biology have discovered that female frogs are prone to this same kind of irrational behavior when it comes to choosing a mate.

College Welcomes New Faculty in New Academic Year

College Welcomes New Faculty in New Academic Year

The College of Natural Sciences welcomes 11 new faculty this fall. Whether searching for evidence of exotic new physics, enabling the creation of personal robots, or addressing critical problems in cancer research, these industrious and innovative faculty members build on the college's reputation for pioneering research and research-based teaching.

Computer Scientists Find Mass Extinctions Can Accelerate Evolution

Computer Scientists Find Mass Extinctions Can Accelerate Evolution
At the start of the simulation, a biped robot controlled by a computationally evolved brain stands upright on a 16 meter by 16 meter surface. The simulation proceeds until the robot falls or until 15 seconds have elapsed. Image credit: Joel Lehman.

A computer science team at The University of Texas at Austin has found that robots evolve more quickly and efficiently after a virtual mass extinction modeled after real-life disasters such as the one that killed off the dinosaurs. Beyond its implications for artificial intelligence, the research supports the idea that mass extinctions actually speed up evolution by unleashing new creativity in adaptations.

Mathematics Professor Receives Major Award from Italian Mathematical Union

Mathematics Professor Receives Major Award from Italian Mathematical Union

Alessio Figalli, a professor in the Department of Mathematics, will be only the second mathematician in the U.S. ever to receive the Stampacchia Gold Medal from the Italian Mathematical Union.

Graduate Student Selected for International Research Fellowship

Graduate Student Selected for International Research Fellowship
Yoori Kim

Biochemistry graduate student Yoori Kim is one of two students from The University of Texas at Austin selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to receive a prestigious international research fellowship.

UT Austin Villa Wins RoboCup 2015

UT Austin Villa Wins RoboCup 2015

The Austin Villa Robot Soccer Team participated in two competitions in the RoboCup 2015 competition in Hefei, China: the Standard Platform League (SPL) and the 3D simulation league.

Texas Astronomers Help Find Earth’s Older, Bigger Cousin

Texas Astronomers Help Find Earth’s Older, Bigger Cousin

University of Texas at Austin astronomers working with NASA’s Kepler mission have helped to discover the first near-Earth-sized planet around a Sun-like star in the “habitable zone,” the range of distances where liquid water could pool on a planet’s surface. They used the university’s McDonald Observatory to help confirm the finding, which has been accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal.

Chink Found in Armor of Invasive Crazy Ant

Chink Found in Armor of Invasive Crazy Ant

Tawny crazy ants are taking hold in the United States, swarming in explosive numbers and displacing other wildlife. But scientists from the University of Texas at Austin recently discovered a chink in the insect's armor that could help control the spread of this invasive species.

Keck Foundation Awards $1.5 Million for New Method to Cool Atoms and for Student Research

Keck Foundation Awards $1.5 Million for New Method to Cool Atoms and for Student Research

Graduate student Erik Anciaux works on the “Ultra-Bright Atom Laser” project in the Raizen lab.

The W. M. Keck Foundation has awarded scientists at The University of Texas at Austin two grants totaling $1.5 million to develop a powerful, alternative method for cooling atoms and involve more undergraduate students in using new advanced technologies for research.