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News

From the College of Natural Sciences

Posts highlighting some of the many articles mentioning College of Natural Sciences faculty and students in the media.

Biology Honors Senior Looks Forward to Practicing Compassionate Health Care in the Rio Grande Valley

Biology Honors Senior Looks Forward to Practicing Compassionate Health Care in the Rio Grande Valley

Biology honors senior Brian Chavez is one of a select few in the graduating Class of 2022 that The University of Texas at Austin chosen to highlight this year on UT News and this month's Texas Newsletter. The news team picked students who have made the most of their opportunities at UT and stand ready to create a brighter tomorrow.

Fixing Racial Bias in AI

Fixing Racial Bias in AI

In 2020, a deep learning generative model designed to turn low-resolution images into high-quality photos was posted online. When a user uploaded a low-resolution image of President Obama, though, it returned an image that is now referred to as 'White Obama.' The Face Depixelizer model, based on an algorithm called PULSE, was reconstructing images with predominantly white features, setting off a heated debate across social media.

AI Bests Expert Human Players at Video Game

AI Bests Expert Human Players at Video Game

A still from the video game Gran Turismo Sport. Credit: Jamie Wynder /Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

An artificial intelligence system made history recently by beating a human world champion in Sony's popular video racing game, Gran Turismo Sport. The technological feat, which made the cover of the journal Nature, involved an AI system designed in part by three University of Texas at Austin computer science Ph.D. alumni and professor Peter Stone.

Astronomers Talk James Webb Telescope Ahead of Historic Launch

Astronomers Talk James Webb Telescope Ahead of Historic Launch

University of Texas at Austin astronomers have recently been featured in several prominent publications in advance of the launch of NASA's largest-ever space telescope, the JWST, which is currently slated for Dec. 24, 2021. Caitlin Casey, associate professor of astronomy, is one of the principal investigators on the COSMOS-Web survey, the largest project scheduled to make use of the JWST. Steve Finkelstein, a professor of astronomy, is also leading projects on the telescope.

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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.

UT COVID-19 Experts Offer Pro Tips for Holiday Gatherings

UT COVID-19 Experts Offer Pro Tips for Holiday Gatherings

Many of us can't wait to catch up with friends and loved ones this holiday season, COVID-19 experts included.

"I look forward to connecting with family that I haven't seen in over 18 months," says Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium. "Since we are not out of the woods with COVID-19 yet, we will take precautions so that we can enjoy being together with peace of mind."

Mathematician Seeks to Bring Quantum Field Theory into Mainstream Math

Mathematician Seeks to Bring Quantum Field Theory into Mainstream Math

Quantum field theory, a framework for explaining how subatomic particles behave, among other things, is one of the most successful areas of physics, but it's still incomplete — it's poorly described in terms of mathematics, so neither physicists nor mathematicians know what defines a quantum field theory. David Ben-Zvi, a mathematics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, described his intent to help solve this problem in a recent WIRED article.

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Changing the World, One Graduate at a Time

Changing the World, One Graduate at a Time

This month, hundreds of graduating College of Natural Sciences students will walk across a small outdoor stage, masked and socially distanced, and smile at the camera for friends and family mostly watching online.

Alumni Honor Three CNS Faculty with Texas 10 Award

Alumni Honor Three CNS Faculty with Texas 10 Award

Every year, The Alcalde asks alumni about their favorite professors and honors the top choices with the Texas 10 award. These faculty members inspire their students and make a difference in the lives of many Longhorns. This year, three CNS faculty were chosen for the honor.

'Last Resort' Antibiotic Pops Bacteria Like Balloons

'Last Resort' Antibiotic Pops Bacteria Like Balloons

A 70-year mystery has finally been solved and the solution could help in the fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria. A new study led by researchers at Imperial College London, and including UT Austin's Despoina Mavridou, reveals that colistin, a last resort antibiotic "punches holes in bacteria, causing them to pop like balloons." Published i...
New Tool Can Identify Meat and Fish Fraud in Seconds

New Tool Can Identify Meat and Fish Fraud in Seconds

The MasSpec Pen, which was originally invented by a team of scientists and engineers at UT Austin to identify cancerous tissue in people, can also now be used to determine the identity of meat and fish products in around 15 seconds. The research is described in the March 24 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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How to Retrain for Social Interactions

How to Retrain for Social Interactions

As the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 increases, the prospect of once again socializing in person is growing more and more likely. However, after months of wearing masks and avoiding face-to-face interactions, many people may have a hard time readjusting. In a recent article, The New York Times reached out to several experts, including The University of Texas at Austin's Marci Gleason, for advice on how best to cope with these impending changes.

New Model Can Help Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

New Model Can Help Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Illustration by Jenna Luecke.

Richard Taylor, clinical assistant professor in the School of Human Ecology, co-authored a study published in Frontiers in Public Health which estimated that 1.7 million vaccine doses are needed to reach herd immunity for COVID-19 in Travis County. A new model could help public health officials in Central Texas better manage what amounts to a much larger vaccination campaign than was carried out during the last pandemic.

Longhorn Students, Researchers in the Pandemic Fight

Longhorn Students, Researchers in the Pandemic Fight

​College of Natural Sciences undergraduate and graduate students are working alongside faculty scientists to unlock the secrets of the current coronavirus and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Science Faculty Featured in Newspaper’s Black in Academia Series

Science Faculty Featured in Newspaper’s Black in Academia Series

Over the summer, five faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences were spotlighted in a series by the Austin American-Statesman called Black in Academia. The purpose of the series was to explore the scientific research done by Black scientists at The University of Texas at Austin, as well as highlight the challenges they face in the academic world.