The media highlighted scores of research stories from UT Austin in 2015. Here are 10 of the stories that got the widest media coverage.
1. Some Prairie Vole Brains Are Better Wired for Sexual Fidelity
Natural selection drives some male prairie voles to be fully monogamous and others to seek more partners. The surprising contrasts in the animals’ brains result from differences in their DNA. Read more in the New York Times.
2. Fish Skin Provides Invisibility in Open Ocean
Scientists have solved a longstanding mystery about how some fish seem to disappear from predators in the open waters of the ocean. Discovery News reports on the findings and how they could help materials scientists and military technologists create more effective methods of ocean camouflage.
3. Hormones Influence Unethical Behavior
Hormones play a two-part role in encouraging and reinforcing cheating and other unethical behavior. Forbes explains the study in the context of corporate culture and organizational structures.
4. Texas Astronomers Help Find Earth’s Older, Bigger Cousin
NASA’s Kepler mission discovered the first near-Earth-sized planet orbiting a Sun-like star in the “habitable zone,” and media from Huffington Post to CNN highlight the news. Astronomers used the university’s McDonald Observatory to help confirm the finding.
5. Corals Are Already Adapting to Global Warming, Scientists Say
Some coral populations already have genetic variants necessary to tolerate warm ocean waters, and humans can help spread these genes. The New York Times writes about mixing and matching corals of the same species to help reefs survive.
6. Medication May Stop Drug and Alcohol Addiction
As Popular Science reports: “Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin have found that a blood pressure medication that’s already on the market can help decrease the potency of some of the non-chemical drivers of addiction.”
7. New Centimeter-Accurate GPS System Could Transform Virtual Reality and Mobile Devices
New system could revolutionize geolocation on virtual reality headsets, cellphones and other technologies, making global positioning and orientation far more precise than what is currently available on a mobile device. Popular Mechanics comments on “Why Centimeter-Accurate GPS in Your Phone Is Such a Big Deal.”
8. Shakespeare Wrote Contested Play, Suggests Psychological Text Analysis
Through the use of text-analysis software, psychology researchers identified William Shakespeare as the author of “Double Falsehood.” UK outlets, CNN, the Los Angeles Times and many others examine the revelation.
9. Expedition Will Sample Crater Left By Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid
An international research team is planning to drill nearly 5,000 feet below the seabed to take core samples from the crater of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. Texas Standard features a leader of the expedition from UT Austin who explains its significance.
10. East Antarctica Melting Could be Explained by Oceanic Gateways
Two seafloor gateways allow warm ocean water to reach the base of Totten Glacier, East Antarctica’s largest and most rapidly thinning glacier. The Washington Post writes about the vulnerability and how it could affect sea level rise.
Follow @UTAustinNews for coverage of all facets of university life from notable research to breaking news.
Did you know? UT Austin ranks No. 19 in the world for high-impact research.