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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 476-500 out of 817.

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Public Release: 12-Feb-2015
Science
Making teeth tough: Beavers show way to improve our enamel
Beavers don't brush their teeth or drink fluoridated water, but a new Northwestern University study reports beavers do have protection against tooth decay built into the chemical structure of their teeth: iron. This pigmented enamel, the researchers found, is both harder and more resistant to acid than regular enamel, including that treated with fluoride. This discovery is among others that could lead to a better understanding of human tooth decay, earlier detection of the disease and improving on current fluoride treatments.
National Science Foundation, Northwestern University Materials Research Center

Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University

Public Release: 12-Feb-2015
Psychological Science
People value resources more consistently when they are scarce
We tend to be economically irrational when it comes to choosing how we use resources like money and time but scarcity can convert us into economically rational decision makers, according to research in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
National Science Foundation, Sloan Foundation, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Neubauer Family Faculty Fellowship

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

Public Release: 12-Feb-2015
2015 AAAS Annual Meeting
Science Advances
Warming pushes Western US toward driest period in 1,000 years
During the second half of the 21st century, the US Southwest and Great Plains will face persistent drought worse than anything seen in times ancient or modern, with the drying conditions 'driven primarily' by human-induced global warming, a new study predicts.
NASA Modeling, Analysis and Prediction Program, NASA Strategic Science, National Science Foundation

Contact: Kevin Krajick
kkrajick@ei.columbia.edu
212-854-9729
The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Public Release: 12-Feb-2015
Science
Better catalysts, made-to-order
In a study appearing in the journal Science, University of Utah chemists captured enough data on the crucial steps in a reaction to accurately predict the structures of the most efficient catalysts, those that would speed the process with the least amount of unwanted byproducts.
National Science Foundation, NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Contact: Joe Rojas-Burke
joe.rojas@utah.edu
801-585-6861
University of Utah

Public Release: 11-Feb-2015
The Auk
A new species of hummingbird?
The Bahama Woodstar is a hummingbird found in the Bahamas, and comprises two subspecies. One of these is found throughout the islands of the Bahamas, and especially in the northern islands. The other is found only among the southern Inaguan islands of the Bahama Archipelago. A research team that includes biologist Christopher J. Clark at the University of California, Riverside now argues that the two subspecies should be recognized as two distinct species.
National Science Foundation

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

Public Release: 11-Feb-2015
Nature
A gene that shaped the evolution of Darwin's finches
Researchers from Princeton University and Uppsala University in Sweden have identified a gene in Galápagos finches studied by English naturalist Charles Darwin that influences beak shape and that played a role in the birds' evolution from a common ancestor. The study illustrates the genetic foundation of evolution, including how genes can flow from one species to another, and how different versions of a gene within a species can contribute to the formation of new species.
National Science Foundation, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Uppsala University and Hospital, SciLifeLab, Swedish Research Council

Contact: Catherine Zandonella
czandone@princeton.edu
609-258-0541
Princeton University

Public Release: 11-Feb-2015
Earth's Future
Monster hurricanes reached US Northeast during prehistoric periods of ocean warming
Intense hurricanes possibly more powerful than any storms New England has experienced in recorded history frequently pounded the region during the first millennium, from the peak of the Roman Empire into the height of the Middle Ages, according to a new study. The findings could have implications for the intensity and frequency of hurricanes that the US East and Gulf coasts could experience as ocean temperatures increase as a result of climate change.
National Science Foundation, Risk Prediction Initiative at the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences, DOE/National Institute for Climate Change Research, NOAA, Dalio Explore

Contact: Peter Weiss
pweiss@agu.org
202-777-7507
American Geophysical Union

Public Release: 11-Feb-2015
BMJ
New technology could help patients make better decisions on care
Traditional decision aids to help patient-doctor discussions have drawbacks, but a new electronic model developed by McMaster University researchers holds promise of revolutionizing shared decision-making in the doctor's office with the touch of an electronic tablet.
Swiss National Science Foundation, University Hospitals of Geneva and from Eugenio Litta--Fondation Genevoise de Bienfaisance Valeria Rossi di Montelera, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Academy of Finland, Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, Sigrid Jusé

Contact: Amanda Boundris
aboundr@mcmaster.ca
905-525-9140 x22196
McMaster University

Public Release: 11-Feb-2015
Biology Letters
Apes prefer the glass half full
Humans aren't the only species to be influenced by spin. Our closest primate relatives are susceptible, too. For example, people rate a burger as more tasty when it is described as '75 percent lean' than when it is described as '25 percent fat,' even though that's the same thing. A Duke University study finds that positive and negative framing make a big difference for chimpanzees and bonobos too.
National Science Foundation, LSB Leakey Foundation, European Research Commission Advanced Grant Agreement

Contact: Robin Ann Smith
ras10@duke.edu
919-681-8057
Duke University

Public Release: 11-Feb-2015
Astrophysical Journal
VLA finds unexpected 'storm' at galaxy's core
A 'boring' galaxy shows unexpected activity and yields important insight on black holes' effects on their home galaxies.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Dave Finley
dfinley@nrao.edu
575-835-7302
National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Public Release: 11-Feb-2015
Nature
Astronomers catch multiple-star system in first stages of formation
Radio telescopes reveal filaments of gas fragmenting in first step of process that will produce a gravitationally bound multiple-star system in the astronomically short time span of 40,000 years.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Dave Finley
dfinley@nrao.edu
575-835-7302
National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Public Release: 10-Feb-2015
Researchers investigate the communications behind swarming
New research seeks to investigate the directional information flow underlying collective animal behavior. The implications of this work, which integrates dynamical systems theory and behavioral studies, could transform the fields of behavioral brain research and neuropsychobiology. Experiments will employ robotic replicas, live zebrafish, and novel experimental protocols complemented with state-of-the-art behavioral quantification tools. They will seek to demonstrate that an information-theoretic approach can measure social animal behavior.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Kathleen Hamilton
kathleen.hamilton@nyu.edu
718-260-3792
New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering

Public Release: 9-Feb-2015
Nature Climate Change
Study finds Midwest flooding more frequent
The US Midwest and surrounding states have endured increasingly more frequent flood episodes over the past half-century, according to a study from the University of Iowa.
US Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources, Iowa Flood Center, IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, National Science Foundation

Contact: Gary Galluzzo
gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu
319-384-0009
University of Iowa

Public Release: 9-Feb-2015
Nature Climate Change
Electricity from biomass with carbon capture could make western US carbon-negative
Biomass conversion to electricity combined with technologies for capturing and storing carbon, which should become viable within 35 years, could result in a carbon-negative power grid in the western US by 2050. That prediction comes from an analysis by UC Berkeley's Daniel Kammen and Daniel Sanchez, who modeled various fuel scenarios using their SWITCH model. Bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration may be a better use of plant feedstocks than making biofuels.
National Science Foundation, California Energy Commission, Link Energy Fellowship

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

Public Release: 9-Feb-2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Bringing texture to your flat touchscreen
What if the touchscreen of your smartphone or tablet could touch you back? Northwestern University and Carnegie Mellon University researchers now report a discovery that provides insight into how the brain makes sense of data from fingers. When people draw their fingers over a flat surface with two 'virtual bumps,' the researchers found that, under certain circumstances, the subjects feel only one bump when there really are two. And the researchers can explain why the brain comes to this conclusion.
National Science Foundation Division of Information and Intelligent Systems grant, Surface Haptics via Tractive Forces

Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University

Public Release: 9-Feb-2015
Nature Chemical Biology
Controlling genes with light
Researchers at Duke University have demonstrated a new way to activate genes with light, allowing precisely controlled and targeted genetic studies and applications. The method might be used to activate genes in a specific location or pattern, allowing more precise study of gene function, or to create complex systems for growing tissue or new therapies.
National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, American Heart Association

Contact: Ken Kingery
ken.kingery@duke.edu
919-660-8414
Duke University

Public Release: 9-Feb-2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Bionic leaf
Solar energy can be harnessed using electricity from photovoltaic cells to yield hydrogen that can be stored in fuel cells. But hydrogen has failed to catch on as a practical fuel for cars or for power. Converting solar energy into liquid fuel could accelerate its adoption as a power source.
Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Office of Naval Research, National Science Foundation

Contact: David Cameron
david_cameron@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-0441
Harvard Medical School

Public Release: 9-Feb-2015
Queen's University Belfast plays leading role in world's biggest solar telescope
Queen's University Belfast and Belfast business Andor Technology are playing a leading role in the construction of the world's biggest solar telescope. Queen's University is leading a consortium of eight UK universities and associated businesses to build the cameras for the $344 million super-telescope.
National Science Foundation, Science and Technology Facilities Council

Contact: Una Bradley
u.bradley@qub.ac.uk
0044-028-909-75320
Queen's University Belfast

Public Release: 9-Feb-2015
Nature Geoscience
Reduced rainfall in the northern tropics linked to industrial emissions, research suggests
Scientists have produced a rainfall record strongly suggesting that man-made industrial emissions have contributed to less rainfall in the northern tropics.
European Research Council, National Science Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Schweizer National Fund, Sinergia

Contact: Leighton Kitson
leighton.kitson@durham.ac.uk
44-019-133-46074
Durham University

Public Release: 9-Feb-2015
Nature Geoscience
Earth's surprise inside: Geologists unlock mysteries of the planet's inner core
Seismic waves are helping scientists to plumb the world's deepest mystery: the planet's inner core. Thanks to a novel application of earthquake-reading technology, a research team at the University of Illinois and colleagues at Nanjing University in China have found that the Earth's inner core has an inner core of its own, which has surprising properties that could reveal information about our planet.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Liz Ahlberg
eahlberg@illinois.edu
217-244-1073
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Public Release: 9-Feb-2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
F-bombs notwithstanding, all languages skew toward happiness
Arabic movie subtitles, Korean tweets, Russian novels, Chinese websites, English lyrics, and even the war-torn pages of the New York Times -- Big Data research from the University of Vermont, examining billions of words, shows that these sources -- and all human language -- skews toward the use of happy words. This study confirms the 1969 Pollyanna Hypothesis that there is a universal human tendency to 'look on and talk about the bright side of life.'
National Science Foundation, The Mitre Corporation

Contact: Joshua Brown
joshua.e.brown@uvm.edu
802-656-3039
University of Vermont

Public Release: 9-Feb-2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Earliest evidence of large-scale human-produced air pollution in South America found
Researchers have uncovered the earliest evidence of widespread, human-produced air pollution in South America -- from the Spanish conquest of the Inca.
National Science Foundation

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

Public Release: 5-Feb-2015
Science
A nanoscale solution to the big problem of overheating in microelectronic devices
Currently, microelectronic device manufacturers must rely on simulations alone to understand the temperatures inside individual devices. A team of USC and UCLA researchers has developed a way to determine actual temperatures within these devices by using material within them as its own thermometer.
National Science Foundation, Function Accelerated nanoMaterial Engineering, United States Department of Energy

Contact: Megan Hazle
hazle@usc.edu
213-821-1887
University of Southern California

Public Release: 5-Feb-2015
Physical Review Letters
Cesium atoms shaken, not stirred, to create elusive excitation in superfluid
In 1941, future Nobel laureate Lev Landau predicted that superfluid helium-4 should contain an exotic, particle-like excitation called a roton. Roton structure has been a matter of debate ever since. University of Chicago physicists have now created roton structure in the laboratory.
National Science Foundation, Army Research Office, University of Chicago's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

Contact: Steve Koppes
skoppes@uchicago.edu
773-702-8366
University of Chicago

Public Release: 5-Feb-2015
Geophysical Research Letters
Seafloor volcano pulses may alter climate
A new study shows that undersea volcanoes flare up on strikingly regular cycles, ranging from two weeks to 100,000 years -- and, that they erupt almost exclusively during the first six months of each year. The pulses -- apparently tied to short- and long-term changes in earth's orbit, and to sea levels -- may help trigger natural climate swings.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Kevin Krajick
kkrajick@ei.columbia.edu
212-854-9729
The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Showing releases 476-500 out of 817.

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