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  News From the National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) — For more information about NSF and its programs, visit www.nsf.gov

NSF Funded News

Key: Meeting M      Journal J      Funder F

Showing releases 1-25 out of 852.

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Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
Chemical Geology
Only above-water microbes play a role in cave development
Only the microbes located above the water's surface contribute to the development of hydrogen-sulfide-rich caves, suggests an international team of researchers. Since 2004, researchers have been studying the Frasassi cave system, an actively developing limestone cave system located 1500 feet underground in central Italy.
National Science Foundation, NASA Astrobiology Institute, Max-Planck Society

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State

Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
BioScience
Decade-long Amazon rainforest burn yields new insight into wildfires
The longest and largest controlled burn experiment ever conducted in the Amazon rainforest has yielded new insight into the ways that tropical forests succumb to -- and bounce back from -- large-scale wildfires, according to new research co-authored by a University of Colorado Boulder professor.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Packard Foundation, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, NASA, National Science Foundation

Contact: Jennifer Balch
jennifer.balch@colorado.edu
303-492-6343
University of Colorado at Boulder

Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
Foundations of Digital Games Conference
Artificial intelligence authors crowdsourced interactive fiction
Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new artificially intelligent system that crowdsources plots for interactive stories, which are popular in video games and let players choose different branching story options.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Joshua Preston
jpreston@cc.gatech.edu
678-231-0787
Georgia Institute of Technology

Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Evidence that Earth's first mass extinction was caused by critters not catastrophe
The Earth's first mass extinction event 540 million years ago was caused not by a meteorite impact or volcanic super-eruption but by the rise of early animals that dramatically changed the prehistoric environment.
Connaught Foundation, National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, NASA Astrobiology Institute, National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation

Contact: David F. Salisbury
david.salisbury@vanderbilt.edu
615-343-6803
Vanderbilt University

Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
UM scientist earns grant to study carbon across North America
University of Montana researcher Ashley Ballantyne recently was awarded a nearly $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study ecosystem carbon production and consumption across North America.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Leana Schelvan
leana.schelvan@umontana.edu
406-243-6693
The University of Montana

Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
Environmental Science & Technology
Radioactive contaminants found in coal ash
A Duke University-led study has found radioactive contaminants in coal ash from all three major US coal-producing basins. Levels of radioactivity in the ash were five to eight times higher than in normal soil or in the parent coal itself. This finding raises concerns about the environmental and human health risks posed by coal ash, which currently is unregulated and is stored in coal-fired power plants' holding ponds and landfills nationwide.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Tim Lucas
tdlucas@duke.edu
919-613-8084
Duke University

Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
IU researchers lead $1.2 million effort to unlock economic potential of maker movement
Indiana University researchers have received $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation to study maker movements, repair collectives and 'hackerspaces' in the Midwest and Asia as a potential a driver of the US economy.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Kevin D. Fryling
kfryling@iu.edu
812-856-2988
Indiana University

Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
UMass Amherst to train students in use of soft materials for life sciences
Polymer scientist Kenneth Carter, who co-directs the program with colleague Gregory Tew, says the NRT will engage 74 students over five years in polymer science and engineering, immunology, food science and several engineering fields. One goal is to explore new models for graduate education.
National Science Foundation National Research Traineeship program

Contact: Janet Lathrop
jlathrop@admin.umass.edu
413-545-0444
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
Nature Communications
Ancient cold period could provide clues about future climate change
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found that a well-known period of abrupt climate change 12,000 years ago occurred rapidly in northern latitudes but much more gradually in equatorial regions, a discovery that could prove important for understanding and responding to future climate change.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Monica Kortsha
mkortsha@jsg.utexas.edu
512-471-2241
University of Texas at Austin

Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
Nature
CT scan of Earth links deep mantle plumes with volcanic hotspots
Geophysicists have detected plumes of hot rock rising through the mantle from the core-mantle boundary, and hypothesized that they remain stationary for millions of years, generating volcanic island chains as the crust moves over them. UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab scientists now have proof of this connection, after using seismic waves from large earthquakes to map Earth's interior to obtain a CT scan of the mantle. The plumes are much fatter than expected.
National Science Foundation, European Research Council

Contact: Robert Sanders
rlsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley

Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
BioScience
Fire in the Amazon
A six-year controlled burn experiment in the Amazon reveals a forest that is initially resilient to fires but vulnerable in the face of drought and repeated fire, which produced high tree mortality and encouraged grassland incursion. These effects could lead to greater fire severity and reduced carbon storage.
National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Contact: James Verdier
jverdier@aibs.org
205-286-8626
American Institute of Biological Sciences

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Explaining crocodiles in Wyoming
Fifty million years ago, crocodiles lived from Wyoming to southern Canada. How the region stayed temperate winter months has long eluded scientists. Recently, those same high-latitude regions in North America are warming much faster than the rest of the world. Harvard researchers suggest that increased amounts of low clouds in the Arctic, due to rising temperatures, could amplify winter warming in high-latitude regions. This mechanism offers a possible explanation to past and future continental warming.
NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard University Center for the Environment, National Science Foundation

Contact: Leah Burrows
lburrows@seas.harvard.edu
617-496-1351
Harvard University

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Geology
How wind sculpted Earth's largest dust deposit
China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years. The new study is the first to explain how the steep-fronted plateau formed, said lead author Paul Kapp of the University of Arizona. Wind blew dust from what is now the Mu Us Desert into the huge pile of consolidated dust known as the Loess Plateau. The plateau is the size of the state of Arizona.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Mari N. Jensen
mnjensen@email.arizona.edu
520-626-9635
University of Arizona

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
New UT Arlington-developed product could help concepts become working apps
A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington has developed a computer program to automatically create a working app from an artist's concepts. The product, called PixeltoApp, may soon enter the marketplace, aided by a National Science Foundation I-Corps grant.
National Science Foundation I-Corps

Contact: Herb Booth
hbooth@uta.edu
817-272-7075
University of Texas at Arlington

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Geology
Oxygen oasis in Antarctic lake reflects Earth in the distant past
At the bottom of a frigid Antarctic lake, a thin layer of green slime is generating a little oasis of oxygen, a team including UC Davis researchers has found. It's the first modern replica discovered of conditions on Earth two and a half billion years ago, before oxygen became common in the atmosphere. The discovery is reported in a paper in the journal Geology.
National Science Foundation, NASA

Contact: Andy Fell
ahfell@ucdavis.edu
530-752-4533
University of California - Davis

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Physiology
Dogs, cats, and big-wave surfers: Healthy heart lessons from animals and athletes
For over 30 years, Terrie Williams has been studying exercise physiology in animals: African lions and wild dogs, dolphins and whales, coyotes and mountain lions, as well as a few human athletes. She has put mountain lions on treadmills and strapped heart-rate monitors onto big-wave surfers at Mavericks. These studies have given Williams a unique perspective on exercise and health, which she presents in an article titled 'The Healthy Heart: Lessons from Nature's Elite Athletes.'
National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research

Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-4352
University of California - Santa Cruz

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Penn and German researchers help identify neural basis of multitasking
By studying networks of activity in the brain's frontal cortex, researchers have shown that the degree to which these networks reconfigure themselves while switching from task to task predicts people's cognitive flexibility.
MacArthur Foundation, Sloan Foundation, Army Research Laboratory, NIH/National Institute of Mental Health, National Science Foundation, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking

Contact: Evan Lerner
elerner@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Nature Communications
Climate change will irreversibly force key ocean bacteria into overdrive
The levels of ocean acidification predicted for the year 2100 have been shown to cause an irreversible evolutionary change to a bacteria foundational to the ocean's food web.
National Science Foundation and G.B. Moore Foundation

Contact: Robert Perkins
perkinsr@usc.edu
213-220-0017
University of Southern California

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Scientific Reports
Water heals a bioplastic
A drop of water self-heals a multiphase polymer derived from the genetic code of squid ring teeth, which may someday extend the life of medical implants, fiber-optic cables and other hard to repair in place objects, according to an international team of researchers.
Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, Walter Ahlström Foundation, Academy of Finland, the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
IEEE Energy Conversion Congress & Expo
New technique lowers cost of energy-efficient embedded computer systems
Electrical and computer engineers have developed a new technique for creating less-expensive, low-power embedded systems -- the computing devices found in everything from thermostats to automobiles.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Matt Shipman
matt_shipman@ncsu.edu
919-515-6386
North Carolina State University

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Metabolic Engineering
'Bacterial litmus test' provides inexpensive measurement of micronutrients
A bacterium engineered to produce different pigments in response to varying levels of a micronutrient in blood samples could give health officials an inexpensive way to detect nutritional deficiencies in resource-limited areas of the world. This 'bacterial litmus test,' which currently measures levels of zinc, would require no electrical equipment and make results visible as simple color changes.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health

Contact: John Toon
jtoon@gatech.edu
404-894-6986
Georgia Institute of Technology

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Nature Communications
Marine animal colony is a multi-jet swimming machine, scientists report
A colonial jellyfish-like species, Nanomia bijuga, employs a sophisticated, multi-jet propulsion system for swimming that is based on an elegant division of labor among young and old members of the colony. Reported this week in Nature Communications by scientists affiliated with the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Diana Kenney
dkenney@mbl.edu
508-289-7139
Marine Biological Laboratory

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Scientific Reports
First global antineutrino emission map highlights Earth's energy budget
A team of geologists and physicists has generated the world's first global map of antineutrino emissions. The map, published online in the journal Nature Scientific Reports on Sept. 1, 2015, provides an important baseline image of the energy budget of Earth's interior and could help scientists monitor new and existing human-made sources of radiation.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy

Contact: Matthew Wright
mewright@umd.edu
301-405-9267
University of Maryland

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Nature Communications
Could tiny jellyfish propulsion drive design of new underwater craft?
The University of Oregon's Kelly Sutherland has seen the future of under-sea exploration by studying the swimming prowess of tiny jellyfish gathered from Puget Sound off Washington's San Juan Island.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Jim Barlow
jebarlow@uoregon.edu
541-346-3481
University of Oregon

Public Release: 1-Sep-2015
Scientific Reports
New NGA global map advances R&D in geophysics and nonproliferation
A team of researchers led by scientists at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency published a new map Sept. 1 that characterizes the Earth's radioactivity and offers new and potential future applications for basic science research and nonproliferation efforts. The Antineutrino Global Map 2015, or AGM2015, is an unprecedented experimentally-informed model of the Earth's natural and manmade antineutrino flux.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation

Contact: Donald Kerr
donald.b.kerr@nga.mil
571-557-2299
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Showing releases 1-25 out of 852.

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