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From the College of Natural Sciences
Supercomputers Fire Lasers to Shoot Gamma Ray Beam

Supercomputers Fire Lasers to Shoot Gamma Ray Beam

A team of scientists at UT Austin used computer simulations to find a possible new source of gamma rays generated from tabletop lasers. Pictured in front of the Stampede supercomputer left to right: Alex Arefiev, research scientist, Institute for Fusion Studies and at the Center for High Energy Density Science, UT Austin; Toma Toncian, assistant director, Center for High Energy Density Science, UT Austin; David Stark, recently completed PhD, UT Austin (now at Los Alamos National Laboratory).

Ever play with a magnifying lens as a kid? Imagine a lens as big as the Earth. Now focus sunlight down to a pencil tip. That still wouldn't be good enough for what some Texas scientists have in mind. They want to make light even 500 times more intense. And they say it could open the door to the most powerful radiation in the universe: gamma rays.

Supporting Pollinators Could Have Big Payoff for Texas Cotton Farmers

Supporting Pollinators Could Have Big Payoff for Texas Cotton Farmers

According to a new study by The University of Texas at Austin, increasing the diversity of pollinator species, including bees, flies and butterflies, can dramatically increase cotton production. The researchers estimate that in South Texas, the region they studied, increasing the diversity of pollinators could boost cotton production by up to 18 percent, yielding an increase in annual revenue of more than $1.1 million.

10 CNS Students Awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships

10 CNS Students Awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships

​The National Science Foundation has announced that they will be awarding 28 prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships to University of Texas at Austin students, including seven College of Natural Science graduate students, two current undergraduates and a recent alumnus. 

New Catalyst Enables Cheaper Production of Hydrogen Fuel

New Catalyst Enables Cheaper Production of Hydrogen Fuel

Imagine a world where cars run on fuel derived from water instead of gasoline. Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere are developing methods for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen that could someday power hydrogen fuel cells. One key challenge has been the high cost of catalysts, chemicals that shepherd the electrolytic reaction.

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

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.

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.

New Approach May Spot Counterfeit Olive Oil, Help Pre-Diabetics

New Approach May Spot Counterfeit Olive Oil, Help Pre-Diabetics

Just days after new dietary guidelines came out telling Americans to pay more attention to the types of fats, not the amounts, that they eat, scientists announced they've found a new, better and faster way to detect distinctions in the fats found in food.

Longer Acquaintance Levels the Romantic Playing Field

Longer Acquaintance Levels the Romantic Playing Field

NYT-Science-RaePartners who become romantically involved soon after meeting tend to be more similar in physical attractiveness than partners who get together after knowing each other for a while, a team at the University of Texas at Austin and Northwestern University has found.

Researchers Build World's Thinnest Light Bulb from Graphene

Researchers Build World's Thinnest Light Bulb from Graphene

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A team of scientists and engineers from Columbia University, Seoul National University (SNU), Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) and The University of Texas at Austin have demonstrated — for the first time — a visible light source using graphene, an atomically thin form of carbon. This new type of light source could form the basis of faster communications devices and computer displays that are thin, flexible and transparent.