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From the College of Natural Sciences
U.S. Commerce Department Invests in Recovery of UT Marine Science Institute

U.S. Commerce Department Invests in Recovery of UT Marine Science Institute

The Economic Development Administration is funding the establishment of a new Center for Coastal Ocean Science at UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo credit: Jace Tunnell

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded a $5 million grant to The University of Texas at Austin to repair a large laboratory building on the UT Marine Science Institute campus in Port Aransas and help establish a new Center for Coastal Ocean Science.

Corwin Zigler Uses Statistics to Link Air Pollution to Health Impacts

Corwin Zigler Uses Statistics to Link Air Pollution to Health Impacts

Corwin Zigler. Photo courtesy of UT Dell Medical School.

As a new academic year approaches, we have a new series to introduce you to some of the newest scientists and mathematicians in our community—faculty who joined UT in the last year. First up: Corwin Zigler, associate professor in UT Austin's Department of Statistics and Data Sciences and in the Dell Medical School's Department of Women's Health.

Keck Foundation Awards Chemists Grant to Squeeze More Energy from Sunlight

Keck Foundation Awards Chemists Grant to Squeeze More Energy from Sunlight

The W.M. Keck Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to a team led by University of Texas at Austin chemists to develop an innovative new coating for silicon-based solar cells that could boost their efficiency by as much as 20%. It's a bold research challenge that, so far, no one else has figured out how to do — but if successful, could make solar power generation cheaper.

On Anniversary of Gulf Oil Spill, Science Has Insights for the Next Crisis

On Anniversary of Gulf Oil Spill, Science Has Insights for the Next Crisis

The 1979 Ixtoc 1 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico led to one of history's worst oil spills, totaling the equivalent of 3 million barrels. Image credit: NOAA

On June 3, 1979, an oil rig called the Ixtoc I exploded off the coast of Campeche, Mexico, triggering what at the time was the worst oil spill in history. Even today, Ixtoc is eclipsed in the Gulf of Mexico only by the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010. Ixtoc's damage was observed for decades along the Texas coast, where experts at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute study the impact of the oil spill to this day and explore ways to contain the damage from future disasters.

Central Texas Salamanders, Including Newly Identified Species, At Risk of Extinction

Central Texas Salamanders, Including Newly Identified Species, At Risk of Extinction

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This newly identified, unnamed salamander lives near the Pedernales river west of Austin, Texas. Photo credit: Tom Devitt.

Biologists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered three new species of groundwater salamander in Central Texas, including one living west of Austin that they say is critically endangered. They also determined that an already known salamander species near Georgetown is much more endangered than previously thought.

Oil Impairs Ability of Coral Reef Fish to Find Homes and Evade Predators

Oil Impairs Ability of Coral Reef Fish to Find Homes and Evade Predators

Damselfish, Chromis species. Photo credit: Jacob Johansen.

Just as one too many cocktails can lead a person to make bad choices, a few drops of oil can cause coral reef fish to make poor decisions, according to a paper published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution. A team of fisheries biologists led by Jacob Johansen and Andrew Esbaugh of The University of Texas Marine Science Institute have discovered that oil impacts the higher-order thinking of coral reef fish in a way that could prove dangerous for them—and for the coral reefs where they make their home.

New Material Could Save Time and Money in Medical Imaging and Environmental Remediation

New Material Could Save Time and Money in Medical Imaging and Environmental Remediation

Chemists at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a material that holds the key to cheap, fast and portable new sensors for a wide range of chemicals that right now cost government and industries large sums to detect. The innovation could lead to major public health gains, as it holds the potential to drastically reduce the costs associated with cleaning-up accidental chemical spills, remediating old industrial sites, detecting radioactive contamination in drinking water, and operating medical and research imaging devices.

Chemistry Professor Wins NSF CAREER Award

Chemistry Professor Wins NSF CAREER Award

Sean Roberts, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, has received the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation to pursue his research on the electrical properties of the surfaces of thin materials, which has long-range potential to inspire more energy efficient solar cells, lighting and electronic displays. The award will also support an outreach program designed to give community college students hands-on experience with research.

Physics, Fracking, Fuel and the Future

Physics, Fracking, Fuel and the Future

​Physicists have a vital role to play in shaping the future of energy production and consumption, says Michael Marder, professor of Physics at the University of Texas at Austin, in the cover story of Physics Today​.

Rare, Blind Catfish Never Before Found in U.S. Discovered in Texas

Rare, Blind Catfish Never Before Found in U.S. Discovered in Texas

An extremely rare eyeless catfish species previously known to exist only in Mexico has been discovered in a National Recreation Area in Texas.