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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.

David Vanden Bout Appointed Dean of the College of Natural Sciences

David Vanden Bout Appointed Dean of the College of Natural Sciences

David Vanden Bout has been appointed dean of the College of Natural Sciences

The University of Texas at Austin has selected David Vanden Bout to serve as the next dean of the College of Natural Sciences, effective immediately. In this role, he will hold the Robert E. Boyer Chair in Natural Sciences and lead the university's largest college.

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Yi Lu Honored Among Top Inventors

Yi Lu Honored Among Top Inventors

Yi Lu, a chemist from The University of Texas at Austin, has been selected as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a prestigious distinction awarded to a select group of 164 academic innovators around the world for 2021.

Sodium-based Material Yields Stable Alternative to Lithium-ion Batteries

Sodium-based Material Yields Stable Alternative to Lithium-ion Batteries

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a new sodium metal anode for rechargeable batteries (left) that resists the formation of dendrites, a common problem with standard sodium metal anodes (right) that can lead to shorting and fires. Images were taken with a scanning electron microscope. Image credit: Yixian Wang/University of Texas at Austin.

University of Texas at Austin researchers have created a new sodium-based battery material that is highly stable, capable of recharging as quickly as a traditional lithium-ion battery and able to pave the way toward delivering more energy than current battery technologies.

CNS Welcomes 16 New Faculty Members

CNS Welcomes 16 New Faculty Members

The College of Natural Sciences welcomed 16 new faculty members since April. They bring expertise in health, artificial intelligence, biochemistry, data science, coral reefs and much more. 

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. 

Electrochemistry Pioneer and Texas Science Legend Allen Bard Retires

Electrochemistry Pioneer and Texas Science Legend Allen Bard Retires

Allen J. Bard, a professor holding the Norman Hackerman – Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry and known around the world as "the father of modern electrochemistry," is stepping down in the Department of Chemistry after a 63-year career at The University of Texas at Austin.

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As Cryo-EM Capabilities Expand, Cool Science at UT Gets a Boost

As Cryo-EM Capabilities Expand, Cool Science at UT Gets a Boost

David Taylor with the Glacios cryo-EM. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

Imagine biological and chemical imaging tools so advanced that they are able to show the molecular details of a virus as it attaches to and enters cells, or the alignment of vanishingly tiny crystals at an atomic level so as to lend insights for new solar energy technology.

Chemists’ New Effort Aims to Optimize Materials by Exploiting their Defects

Chemists’ New Effort Aims to Optimize Materials by Exploiting their Defects

A multi-university team involving Sean Roberts of The University of Texas at Austin will receive National Science Foundation support to establish the NSF Phase 1 Center for Adapting Flaws into Features (CAFF) at Rice University. The Center's goal is to exploit chemical defects that show the potential for unique reactivity to optimize the structural and electronic properties of materials.

Three Natural Sciences Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Three Natural Sciences Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Three faculty members from the College of Natural Sciences have received distinguished Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards from the National Science Foundation.