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From the College of Natural Sciences
Looking Back on 2019, New Faculty Members Are a Highlight

Looking Back on 2019, New Faculty Members Are a Highlight

As the year draws to a close, we're looking back on highlights of 2019, including the arrival and hiring of dozens of new tenured and tenure-track faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences. Below are some of the stellar scientists and mathematicians new to our college community.

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.

Attacking Weaknesses in Killer Bacteria with Help from Glowing Beads

Attacking Weaknesses in Killer Bacteria with Help from Glowing Beads

Biofilms – tightly packed sticky blobs of many bacteria – are a huge problem in the medical world. Biofilms can form on joint replacements and medical equipment, they cause long-term infections in lungs and urinary tracts, and, according to Centers for Disease Control estimates, are responsible for 1.7 million infections in U.S. hospitals every year – and 99,000 deaths.

Twisted Physics: Magic Angle Graphene Produces Switchable Superconductivity

Twisted Physics: Magic Angle Graphene Produces Switchable Superconductivity

When the two layers of bilayer graphene are twisted relative to each other by 1.1 degrees -- dubbed the "magic angle" -- electrons behave in a strange and extraordinary way. The effect was first theorized by UT Austin physics professor Allan MacDonald and postdoctoral researcher Rafi Bistritzer. Illustration credit: David Steadman/University of Texas at Austin.

Last year, scientists demonstrated that twisted bilayer graphene — a material made of two atom-thin sheets of carbon with a slight twist — can exhibit alternating superconducting and insulating regions. Now, a new study in the journal Nature by scientists from Spain, the U.S., China and Japan shows that superconductivity can be turned on or off with a small voltage change, increasing its usefulness for electronic devices.

Feliciano Giustino Uses Quantum Mechanics to Create New Materials

Feliciano Giustino Uses Quantum Mechanics to Create New Materials

Feliciano Giustino recently joined the University of Texas at Austin faculty in the Department of Physics and is a Moncrief Chair in the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, where he will direct the Center for Quantum Materials Engineering. He was previously a professor in the Department of Materials at Oxford University.

Katherine Freese Has Ideas to Support Detection of Dark Matter

Katherine Freese Has Ideas to Support Detection of Dark Matter

This summer the Department of Physics welcomed an astrophysicist whom Global Citizen put on a list of the "17 Top Female Scientists who have Changed the World," alongside names like Jane Goodall and Marie Curie.

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Four Years of Undergrad Research

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Four Years of Undergrad Research

Five graduating seniors share their tips for getting the most out of undergraduate research. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

So you've been accepted to UT Austin's College of Natural Sciences. You've heard that doing research as an undergraduate will give you a leg up academically and in your career (really, research proves it). But how do you find a research lab to work in? How do you maximize the opportunity to work alongside some of the world's leading scientists and mathematicians? What do you do if you're on the brink of a big discovery, and then an overzealous cleaning crew throws out the colony of slugs it took you three months to raise and train in the lab?

Meet the 32 Dean's Honored Graduates for 2019

Meet the 32 Dean's Honored Graduates for 2019

Dean's Honored Graduate is the highest honor awarded to graduating seniors in the College of Natural Sciences. Honorees exhibit excellence in the classroom as well as substantial achievement in scientific research, an independent intellectual pursuit, or exceptional service and leadership to the college and university. These outstanding students are among the graduating seniors also receiving College of Natural Sciences Distinctions this year.

Ten Students Receive Prestigious Federal Graduate Research Awards

Ten Students Receive Prestigious Federal Graduate Research Awards

Six graduate students and four undergraduates have received prestigious federal graduate research awards. Pictured are Stephanie Valenzuela, Thao Thanh Thi Nguyen, Logan Pearce, Caitlyn McCafferty, Taha Dawoodbhoy, Ian Rambo, Hadiqa Zafar, Zoe Boundy-Singer, Griffin Glenn, and Ariel Barr.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have awarded prestigious graduate research awards to 48 University of Texas at Austin students, including ten from the College of Natural Sciences.