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From the College of Natural Sciences
New Tool Helps Parents and Educators Estimate COVID-19 Infection Numbers at Their School

New Tool Helps Parents and Educators Estimate COVID-19 Infection Numbers at Their School

With COVID-19 cases hitting new highs across the country, a new online tool can help families and school leaders estimate how many infected people are likely to show up at a school on a given day anywhere in the United States. The free, interactive dashboard was produced by The University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.

Treisman Receives James Bryant Conant Award from Education Commission of the States

Treisman Receives James Bryant Conant Award from Education Commission of the States

Philip 'Uri' Treisman, founder and executive director of the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin, has dedicated his career to improving mathematics and science education on a national scale, leading to measurable gains in student performance in these subjects and improvements in course success for elementary school children through university undergraduates. Now he is the recipient of one of the most prestigious awards in American education, the 2020 James Bryant Conant Award from the Education Commission of the States.

Tech Startup Powered by Two Computer Science Professors Teams Up with Intel

Tech Startup Powered by Two Computer Science Professors Teams Up with Intel

Industry analysts say that more data has been collected in the past two years than in all of human history combined. Data about what we buy, what we watch, where we go and who our friends are is constantly being collected and stored. Analyzing all that data and gaining insights from it is the hard part.

Faculty Members Named to Professorships and Endowed Chairs

Faculty Members Named to Professorships and Endowed Chairs

Several College of Natural Sciences faculty members have been newly appointed to special professorships and endowed chairs at The University of Texas at Austin. These world-class researchers and excellent teachers are helping to shape the future of their fields in a variety of ways.

COVID-19 Pandemic is Having Little to No Effect on Intimate Relationships

COVID-19 Pandemic is Having Little to No Effect on Intimate Relationships

Illustration by Jenna Luecke

When the COVID-19 pandemic brought many couples into the close quarters of quarantine and lockdown, many researchers wondered whether the effect would be more arguments, more divorces or perhaps closer relationships. Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have found that relationships have mostly continued much as they were before, with the happiest couples seeing a small boost. In a new study out today in the journal Psychological Science, the researchers found people's overall satisfaction levels with their relationships changed little during the pandemic, even amid significant stressors, from job losses to health concerns.

Mission Accomplished: Army Futures Command Teams with Texas Robotics

Mission Accomplished: Army Futures Command Teams with Texas Robotics

A methodical voice tells the watching crowd, "I am going to remove the lid." Everyone is quiet as a robot using artificial intelligence (AI) opens a trash can and lifts out a bag. Students and researchers hold their breath as it navigates across the floor of a mock house, avoiding obstacles to its destination. "Mission accomplished," it says. The trash has been taken out and the audience applauds. This is a huge achievement for the robot designed by a Texas Robotics team for the 2019 RoboCup competition.

Coronavirus Mutation May Have Made It More Contagious

Coronavirus Mutation May Have Made It More Contagious

The number of virus strains present in each zip code in Houston during the second wave of COVID-19 cases in summer 2020. Number of strains is represented by a spectrum of colors from blue (0 strains) to red (50 strains). Credit: Houston Methodist/University of Texas at Austin.

A study involving more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients in Houston finds that the virus that causes the disease is accumulating genetic mutations, one of which may have made it more contagious. According to the paper published in the peer-reviewed journal mBIO, that mutation, called D614G, is located in the spike protein that pries open our cells for viral entry. It's the largest peer-reviewed study of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences in one metropolitan region of the U.S. to date.

A Cornucopia of Newly Confirmed Gravitational Wave Detections

A Cornucopia of Newly Confirmed Gravitational Wave Detections

After months of thorough analysis, two international scientific teams, including scientists from The University of Texas at Austin, have released an updated catalog of gravitational wave detections, more than tripling the number of confirmed events. Each detection of a gravitational wave represents the discovery of a pair of extremely massive objects—black holes or neutron stars—far out in the universe smashing into each other, shaking the very fabric of space and time so much that sensitive detectors on Earth could feel them, sometimes more than a billion years later. 

Curbing COVID-19 Hospitalizations Requires Attention to Construction Workers

Curbing COVID-19 Hospitalizations Requires Attention to Construction Workers

Construction workers have a much higher risk of becoming hospitalized with the novel coronavirus than non-construction workers, according to a new study from researchers with The University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.

UT Scientists Use AI to Find Tourist Movement Patterns in Cuzco, Peru

UT Scientists Use AI to Find Tourist Movement Patterns in Cuzco, Peru

We live in an increasingly digital era. Research shows that the average American checks their phone about 58 times daily, and spends an average of 4.5 hours a day on their phone. Without a doubt the amount of time the modern-day person spends on their phones has changed many aspects of how our society functions. For example, in the past decade we have seen a dramatic shift in forms of advertising. Companies are able to take note of people's patterns online and create personalized ads through the use of artificial intelligence (AI).