Category: Natural Sciences

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Family Values

It is a question that has puzzled evolutionary biologists for years: Why did we stop being promiscuous and decide to settle down to start families? Sergey Gavrilets, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, may have found the answer, and it lies in the power of female choice.

Mysteries Surround Fossilized Remains

Imagine how lucky you would feel to discover and hold one treasured fossil in the palm of your hand. Now imagine holding 240 fossils. Emily Napier did just that her senior year when she conducted research on edrioasteriods entombed in a rock, and the results she found on the estimated 280 million-year-old, starfish-like fossils were surprising.

Faculty Close-Up

Jeff Becker says his scientific research is emotionally driven. He goes to work each day hopeful that the basic research conducted in his laboratory has the potential to benefit humanity on a large scale. In a world where life-threatening fungal infections are increasing and there is a deficit of pharmaceutical antifungal drugs, Becker trusts that his efforts really matter.

Collaborating to Compost

Most of us give wide berth to food waste bins at cafeterias and restaurants. But Professor Mike McKinney views food waste differently—he sees an opportunity to teach important lessons in science and environmental conservation through composting. This fall his students will launch a compost education program in local schools that will take lessons learned on campus to the larger community.

Smart and Adaptable, Soft Materials Find Their Place

Alexei Sokolov is intrigued by soft materials. “Soft materials, by definition, can change—that’s why we call them soft materials,” he explains. Change means the molecules in the materials move, and if he can figure out how they move, he will have important clues to controlling and manipulating their movement. That knowledge is the key to designing new materials with unique properties.