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From the College of Natural Sciences

This is the Verge of Discovery Podcast brought to you by the College of Natural Sciences Communications Office.

Audio: The Race for Dark Energy

This is the second of a three-part series on general relativity.

Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, which describes how gravity works, turns 100 this month. The theory has successfully explained a lot of what we observe out in the universe; but there are signs that it's incomplete. In the 1990s, astronomers observed that the expansion of the universe is speeding up, as if some mysterious force is pushing everything apart faster and faster. Nearly 20 years later, one of the biggest unanswered questions in science is: what is this dark energy? Not only was dark energy not predicted by general relativity, but its mere existence might mean that the theory needs to be tweaked or even replaced.

Audio: The Case of the Missing Folate

When Richard Finnell first met her, Rachel was a nine-year-old girl with severe developmental delays. Her condition seemed to be caused by a deficiency in a critical B vitamin called folate. Yet she had plenty of folate circulating in her blood. Somehow it was vanishing before it got to her brain and spine. Eventually Finnell made a surprising discovery. He's now using new genetic tools like CRISPR to better understand her condition and test possible therapies.

Audio: Cocktail Party Effect

How do we manage to follow a conversation with a friend in the middle of a noisy room? Neuroscientists, like Nace Golding, are still working out the details—but what they've learned so far is pretty amazing.

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Audio: Fun With Chemistry

Meet chemistry lecturer Kate Biberdorf, founder of the wildly popular outreach program Fun With Chemistry. Learn more at: Fun With Chemistry

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Audio: Beauty and the Yeast

Despite a billion years of evolution separating us from the baker's yeast in our refrigerators, hundreds of genes from an ancestor that we share live on nearly unchanged in us both, say biologists at The University of Texas at Austin. Read more about Edward Marcotte and his team's research: Partly Human Yeast Show A Common Ancestor's Lasting Legacy

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