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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 451-475 out of 810.

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Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
29th Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Conference
Robots learn to use kitchen tools by watching YouTube videos
Researchers at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies have developed robotic systems that are able to teach themselves. Specifically, these robots are able to learn the intricate grasping and manipulation movements required for cooking by watching online cooking videos. The key breakthrough is that the robots can 'think' for themselves, determining the best combination of observed motions that will allow them to efficiently accomplish a given task.
European Union, National Science Foundation, US Army

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

Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Ancient fossils reveal rise in parasitic infections due to climate change
A paleobiologist from the University of Missouri has found indications of a greater risk of parasitic infection due to climate change in ancient mollusk fossils. His study of clams from the Holocene Epoch indicates that current sea level rise may mimic the same conditions that led to an upsurge in parasitic trematodes, or flatworms, he found from that time. He cautions that an outbreak in human infections could occur.
National Science Foundation of China, University of Missouri Research Council, Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, German Academic Exchange Service

Contact: Jeff Sossamon
sossamonj@missouri.edu
573-882-3346
University of Missouri-Columbia

Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
Journal of Experimental Biology
Slick and slender snake beats short and stubby lizard in sand swimming
For swimming through sand, a slick and slender snake can perform better than a short and stubby lizard. That's one conclusion from a study of the movement patterns of the shovel-nosed snake, a native of the Mojave Desert of the Southwest United States.
National Science Foundation, US Army Research Office

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

Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Rise in mass die-offs seen among birds, fish and marine invertebrates
An analysis of 727 studies reveals that there have been more instances of rapid, catastrophic animal die-offs over the past 75 years. These mass kills appear to have hit birds, fish and marine invertebrates harder than other species.
US Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation

Contact: Sarah Yang
scyang@berkeley.edu
510-643-7741
University of California - Berkeley

Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
University of Tennessee professor uses plantations to examine race in America
Derek Alderman, head of the geography department at UT, has received $62,000 from the National Science Foundation to study how the representation of Southern slavery at tourism sites is changing. The research will use plantations to understand ongoing debates about race relations, racism and white supremacy within the United States.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Whitney Heins
wheins@utk.edu
865-974-5460
University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
Physical Review Letters
They see flow signals: Researchers identify nature of fish's 'sixth sense'
A team of scientists has identified how a 'sixth sense' in fish allows them to detect flows of water, which helps resolve a long-standing mystery about how these aquatic creatures respond to their environment.
National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy

Contact: James Devitt
james.devitt@nyu.edu
212-998-6808
New York University

Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
Nature Chemical Biology
TSRI scientists discover possible new target for treating brain inflammation
A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has identified an enzyme that produces a class of inflammatory lipid molecules in the brain. Abnormally high levels of these molecules appear to cause a rare inherited neurodegenerative disorder, and that disorder now may be treatable if researchers can develop suitable drug candidates that inhibit this enzyme.
National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, American Chemical Society, Hewitt Foundation for Medical Research, US Department of Veterans Affairs

Contact: Madeline McCurry-Schmidt
madms@scripps.edu
858-784-9254
Scripps Research Institute

Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
Nature Materials
Solar cell polymers with multiplied electrical output
A team from Brookhaven Lab and Columbia University has paired up photovoltaic polymers that produce two units of electricity per unit of light instead of the usual one on a single molecular polymer chain. Having the two charges on the same molecule means the light-absorbing, energy-producing materials work efficiently when dissolved in liquids, which opens the way for a wide range of industrial scale manufacturing processes, including 'printing' solar-energy-producing material like ink.
US Department of Energy Office of Science, National Science Foundation, 3M

Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
kmcnulty@bnl.gov
631-344-8350
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
Nature Nanotechnology
From the bottom up: Manipulating nanoribbons at the molecular level
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a new precision approach for synthesizing graphene nanoribbons from pre-designed molecular building blocks. Using this process the researchers have built nanoribbons that have enhanced properties -- such as position-dependent, tunable bandgaps -- that are potentially very useful for next-generation electronic circuitry.
US Department of Energy Office of Science, National Science Foundation

Contact: Rachel Berkowitz
rberkowitz@lbl.gov
510-486-7254
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
People watching: Different brain pathways responsible for person, movement recognition
Researchers from University College London, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California, San Diego have found that the ability to understand different movements, such as walking, skipping and jumping, engages different brain mechanisms from those that recognize who is initiating the action. Published in the Jan. 12 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study illustrates for the first time how individuals with prosopagnosia, or face blindness, are still able to recognize other people's movements.
The Royal Society, National Science Foundation, NIH/National Institute of Mental Health, Wellcome Trust, Marie-Curie

Contact: Shilo Rea
shilo@cmu.edu
412-268-6094
Carnegie Mellon University

Public Release: 9-Jan-2015
British Journal of Social Psychology
Infamous study of humanity's 'dark side' may actually show how to keep it at bay
In 1961, with memories of Holocaust atrocities and the prosecution of Nazi officials at Nuremburg still fresh, psychologist Stanley Milgram undertook a series of now infamous experiments on obedience and reprehensible behavior. But Milgram divided his subjects into just two categories: obedient or disobedient. After examining the experiences of more than 100 of Milgram's participants, Matthew Hollander, a graduate student in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, sees a great deal more nuance in their performances.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Matthew Hollander
mholland@ssc.wisc.edu
608-260-2648
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Public Release: 9-Jan-2015
225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society
Map of mysterious molecules in our galaxy sheds new light on century-old puzzle
Astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have created a unique map of enigmatic molecules in our galaxy that are responsible for puzzling features in the light from stars.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Phil Sneiderman
prs@jhu.edu
443-997-9907
Johns Hopkins University

Public Release: 8-Jan-2015
Quaternary Science Reviews
On a tropical island, fossils reveal the past -- and possible future -- of polar ice
The balmy islands of Seychelles couldn't feel farther from Antarctica, but their fossil corals could reveal much about the fate of polar ice sheets.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Andrea Dutton
adutton@ufl.edu
352-392-3626
University of Florida

Public Release: 8-Jan-2015
Nature Geoscience
New research outlines global threat of smoldering peat fires
New research published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, co-authored by Adam Watts, a fire ecologist at Nevada's Desert Research Institute and deputy director of DRI's Climate, Ecosystems, Fire and Applications Program, outlines the threat of drying peatlands (also known as mires) across the globe and their increased vulnerability to fire and carbon loss.
National Science Foundation, NASA, European Research Council, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Desert Research Institute's Division of Atmospheric Sciences

Contact: Justin Broglio
justin.broglio@dri.edu
775-762-8320
Desert Research Institute

Public Release: 8-Jan-2015
Genetics
Mapping snake venom variety reveals unexpected evolutionary pattern
Venom from an eastern diamondback rattlesnake in the Everglades is distinct from the cocktail of toxins delivered by the same species in the Florida panhandle area, some 500 miles away. But no matter where you go in the Southeastern United States, the venom of the eastern coral snake is always the same. The results challenge common assumptions in venom evolution research, provide crucial information for rattlesnake conservation, and will help coral snake antivenom development.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Raeka Aiyar, Ph.D.
press@genetics-gsa.org
202-412-1120
Genetics Society of America

Public Release: 8-Jan-2015
Psychological Science
Focusing on lasting legacy prompts environmental action
Prompting people to think about the legacy they want to leave for future generations can boost their desire and intention to take action on climate change, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
National Science Foundation, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies Communicating Uncertainty

Contact: Anna Mikulak
amikulak@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science

Public Release: 8-Jan-2015
47th Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture
Researchers work to counter a new class of coffee shop hackers
If you're sitting in a coffee shop, tapping away on your laptop, feeling safe from hackers because you didn't connect to the shop's Wi-Fi, think again. The bad guys may be able to see what you're doing just by analyzing the low-power electronic signals your laptop emits even when it's not connected to the Internet.
National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research

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

Public Release: 8-Jan-2015
Nature Plants
Algae use same molecular machinery as land plants to respond to a plant hormone
Land-based plants -- including the fruits and vegetables in your kitchen -- produce and respond to hormones in order to survive. Scientists once believed that hormone signaling machinery only existed in these relatively complex plants. But new research from the University of Maryland shows that some types of freshwater algae can also detect ethylene gas -- the same stress hormone found in land plants -- and might use these signals to adapt to changing environmental conditions.
National Science Foundation, Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station, Belgian American Educational Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, American Society of Plant Biologists

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

Public Release: 8-Jan-2015
American Astronomical Society 225th Meeting
'Assassin' targets supernovae in our neighborhood of the universe
While many astronomical collaborations use powerful telescopes to target individual objects in the distant universe, a new project at The Ohio State University is doing something radically different: using small telescopes to study a growing portion of the nearby universe all at once. Since it officially launched in May 2014, the project has detected 89 bright supernovae and counting -- more than all other professional astronomical surveys combined.
National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy

Contact: Pam Frost Gorder
Gorder.1@osu.edu
614-292-9475
Ohio State University

Public Release: 8-Jan-2015
American Astronomical Society 225th Meeting
Study of Andromeda's stellar disk indicates more violent history than Milky Way
A detailed study of the motions of different stellar populations in the disk of the Andromeda galaxy has found striking differences from our own Milky Way, suggesting a more violent history of mergers with smaller galaxies in Andromeda's recent past.
National Science Foundation, NASA

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

Public Release: 8-Jan-2015
Science
Deworming programs in animal, human populations may have unwanted impacts
A study of the effects of worming medications on infectious disease in wildlife herds showed an unexpected and alarming result -- it helped reduce individual deaths from a bovine tuberculosis infection, but hugely increased the potential for spread of the disease to other animals. The findings suggest that some treatments may increase problems with diseases they were meant to reduce.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Anna Jolles
jollesa@science.oregonstate.edu
541-737-4719
Oregon State University

Public Release: 8-Jan-2015
Ecosphere
Algae blooms create their own favorable conditions, new study finds
Fertilizers are known to promote the growth of toxic cyanobacterial blooms in freshwater and oceans worldwide, but a new multi-institution study shows the aquatic microbes themselves can drive nitrogen and phosphorus cycling in a combined one-two punch in lakes.
National Science Foundation

Contact: John Cramer
john.cramer@dartmouth.edu
603-646-9130
Dartmouth College

Public Release: 7-Jan-2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Why some geckos lose their ability to stick to surfaces
A study led by biologists at the University of California, Riverside has found that evolution can downgrade or entirely remove adaptations a species has previously acquired, giving the species new survival advantages. The researchers focused their attention on geckos, specifically the adhesive system that allows geckos to cling to surfaces. They found that gecko species in which the adhesive system was either lost or simplified saw elevated rates of evolution related to morphology and locomotion.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside

Public Release: 7-Jan-2015
Nature Communications
Researchers make new discoveries in key pathway for neurological diseases
A new intermediate step and unexpected enzymatic activity in a metabolic pathway in the body, which could lead to new drug design for psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, has been discovered by researchers at Georgia State University.
National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health

Contact: LaTina Emerson
lemerson1@gsu.edu
404-413-1353
Georgia State University

Public Release: 7-Jan-2015
Researchers to design, market smartphone app that gauges Ebola risk
Within six months, your iPhone or Android mobile device could supply a real-time estimate of your likelihood of contact with the deadly Ebola virus. To create the digital tool, researchers at the University of Kansas recently won a rapid-response grant to advance Ebola-related fundamental research from the National Science Foundation.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Brendan M Lynch
brendan@ku.edu
785-864-8855
University of Kansas

Showing releases 451-475 out of 810.

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