Tag Archives: the university of texas at austin

Discovery of A ‘Dark State’ Could Mean A Brighter Future For Solar Energy

AUSTIN, Texas — The efficiency of conventional solar cells could be significantly increased, according to new research on the mechanisms of solar energy conversion led by chemist Xiaoyang Zhu at The University of Texas at Austin.

Zhu and his team have discovered that it’s possible to double the number of electrons harvested from one photon of sunlight using an organic plastic semiconductor material. (more…)

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Pair of Black Holes ‘Weigh In’ At 10 Billion Suns, The Most Massive Yet

AUSTIN, Texas — A team of astronomers including Karl Gebhardt and graduate student Jeremy Murphy of The University of Texas at Austin have discovered the most massive black holes to date — two monsters weighing as much as 10 billion suns and threatening to consume anything, even light, within a region five times the size of our solar system.

The research is published in the Dec. 8 issue of the journal Nature in a paper headlined by  graduate student Nicholas McConnell and professor Chung-Pei Ma of the University of California, Berkeley. (more…)

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Discovery of Why Influenza B Virus Exclusively Infects Humans Opens Door for Drugs to Fight Seasonal Epidemics Caused by Virus

AUSTIN, Texas — The three-dimensional structure of a site on an influenza B virus protein that suppresses human defenses to infection has been determined by researchers at Rutgers University and The University of Texas at Austin.

The discovery could help scientists develop drugs to fight seasonal influenza epidemics caused by the common influenza B strain.

Their discovery also helps explain how influenza B is limited to humans, and why it cannot be as virulent as A strains that incorporate new genes from influenza viruses that infect other species. (more…)

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Romantic Sexual Relationships Deter Teenage Delinquency, New Study Shows

AUSTIN, Texas — Sexually active teens in committed, romantic relationships are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior than teens who have casual sex, according to new research from psychologists at The University of Texas at Austin.

The study, published in the June issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, found teenagers who are sexually active in dating relationships show lower levels of antisocial behavior compared to teenagers who are not having sex at all. However, teenagers who have sex with non-dating partners (“hooking up”) show higher levels of antisocial behavior compared to the other groups. (more…)

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“The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” Collection Donated to Ransom Center

AUSTIN, Texas — The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has acquired a collection of materials from husband-wife duo actress Carlin Glynn and writer and director Peter Masterson relating to their careers and their work on the original Broadway production and film of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”

The collection consists of eight document boxes of materials, half of which relate to the 1978 musical. The musical was directed by Masterson, who also co-authored the book with Larry L. King. Carol Hall wrote the lyrics for the musical. The stage musical starred Glynn as Mona Stangley, the owner of a brothel in the fictional town of Gilbert, Texas. The show ran for more than 1,500 performances on Broadway, toured extensively and was adapted to film in 1982. (more…)

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Border Fences Pose Threats to Wildlife on U.S.-Mexico Border, Study Shows

AUSTIN, Texas — Current and proposed border fences pose significant threats to wildlife populations, with those animals living in border regions along the Texas Gulf and California coasts showing some of the greatest vulnerability, a new study from The University of Texas at Austin shows.

“Our study is the first comprehensive analysis of threats to species across the entire U.S.-Mexico border,” says Jesse Lasky, a graduate student in the laboratory of Tim Keitt, associate professor of integrative biology. “The scale at which these fences stretch across the landscape is large, so it’s important for us to also have a large-scale view of their effects across the continent.” (more…)

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Stiff Sediments Made 2004 Sumatra Earthquake Deadliest in History

AUSTIN, Texas — An international team of geoscientists has discovered an unusual geological formation that helps explain how an undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in December 2004 spawned the deadliest tsunami in recorded history.

Instead of the usual weak, loose sediments typically found above the type of geologic fault that caused the earthquake, the team found a thick plateau of hard, compacted sediments. Once the fault snapped, the rupture was able to spread from tens of kilometers below the seafloor to just a few kilometers below the seafloor, much farther than weak sediments would have permitted. The extra distance allowed it to move a larger column of seawater above it, unleashing much larger tsunami waves. (more…)

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Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Severely Impairs Reproduction in Atlantic Croaker, Researchers Find

AUSTIN, Texas — Atlantic croaker living in the large Gulf of Mexico “Dead Zone” exhibit severe reproductive impairment with potential long-term impacts on the fish’s population abundance, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin’s Marine Science Institute have found.

Males and females were found to produce dramatically fewer sperm and eggs. In addition, females in the hypoxic Dead Zone waters were masculinized — some 20 percent actually produced sperm in their ovaries. The sex ratio was also heavily skewed toward males in the hypoxic area. (more…)

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