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From the College of Natural Sciences
Texas Science Stories that Wowed Us in 2021

Texas Science Stories that Wowed Us in 2021

While for many 2021 may have felt like it lasted a few years, it was in fact just 12 months—and University of Texas at Austin scientists and researchers managed to pack a ton of new discoveries into that time. From the furthest reaches of the cosmos to the depths of the ocean and from the tiniest microbes to the most massive black holes, research in Texas Science covered a lot of ground, as researchers pushed boundaries, answered big questions and offered solutions to the world's problems. Here are 16 examples of how UT Austin scientists, mathematicians and technologists used 2021 to usher in new knowledge and innovations to help change the world.

Longhorns Make the Forbes 30 Under 30 List in Science

Longhorns Make the Forbes 30 Under 30 List in Science

An astrophysicist writer, a new assistant professor and an entrepreneur seeking to address the challenges of aging are among the latest additions to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list with University of Texas at Austin ties.

Eleven Faculty Members Honored with College Teaching Excellence Award

Eleven Faculty Members Honored with College Teaching Excellence Award

CNS teaching excellence award winners Aaron Zimmerman, Ann Thijs, Ariel Taylor, Ladia Hernandez, Shinko Harper, Keith Hawkins, Soo Hyun Yang, Sarah Abraham, Kathryn Dabbs, KyongJoo Hong and Fatima Varner

​The Teaching Excellence Award in the College of Natural Sciences seeks to promote and recognize outstanding teaching in the College of Natural Sciences by honoring faculty members who have had a positive influence on the educational experience of our students. In a year marked by having to adapt to teaching during a pandemic, each award winner went above and beyond to deliver their best in the classroom.

First-Gen Student Navigates Own Path, Helps Others Chart Theirs

First-Gen Student Navigates Own Path, Helps Others Chart Theirs

Guillermo Lezama is a physics major at UT Austin. For First-Generation College Celebration Week this week at UT Austin, Amanda Figueroa-Nieves spoke with the senior about his experiences in UTeach, the university's STEM teacher training program.

New Gravitational Wave Catalog Reveals Black Holes of ‘All Shapes and Sizes’

New Gravitational Wave Catalog Reveals Black Holes of ‘All Shapes and Sizes’

Today, an international scientific collaboration released the largest catalog ever of collisions involving black holes and neutron stars, raising the total to 90 events. The results suggest that intermediate-mass black holes are more common than scientists previously thought. The catalog also includes the second discovery of an intriguing object that seems too small to be a black hole, yet too large to be a neutron star.

Markert Recognized as a 2021 American Physical Society Fellow

Markert Recognized as a 2021 American Physical Society Fellow

The American Physical Society has selected Christina Markert, a professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin, as a 2021 APS Fellow. Fellowships are awarded based on outstanding contributions to the field of physics, and are received by no more than one half of one percent of the society's members each year.

New Model Reveals How Chromosomes Get Packed Up

New Model Reveals How Chromosomes Get Packed Up

To scrunch a chromosome (green), a condensin molecule opens and closes like a pair of fingers (light blue) connected by a hinge (dark blue).

One of the most astounding feats of nature is happening right now in cells throughout your body: noodle-like molecules called chromosomes, which carry part of your genetic blueprints and are about two inches (5 centimeters) long when fully stretched out, get stuffed into the cell's nucleus, which is at least 5,000 times smaller, with plenty of room for a bunch of other chromosomes. 

New Materials Could Lead to Computers That Work Like the Human Brain

New Materials Could Lead to Computers That Work Like the Human Brain

Mock-up of a quantum photonic device, which could form part of a neuromorphic computing system. From Silverstone et al., IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 22, 6 (2016). Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

For decades, computer chips have gotten denser, faster and more energy efficient. But in recent years, those improvements have slowed to a crawl.

UT Austin Mourns Death of World-Renowned Physicist Steven Weinberg

UT Austin Mourns Death of World-Renowned Physicist Steven Weinberg

Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, a professor of physics and astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin, has died. He was 88. One of the most celebrated scientists of his generation, Weinberg was best known for helping to develop a critical part of the Standard Model of particle physics, which significantly advanced humanity's understanding of how everything in the universe — its various particles and the forces that govern them — relate.

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.