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Research Blog

Defending education and innovation in the face of the budget-cutting wave

Oct. 11, 2011—These days the news is full of stories about the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, nicknamed the Super Committee, and whether it can come up with a politically acceptable way to reduce the ballooning federal deficit. This is illustrated by some recent headlines: Super Committee Holds More Closed-Door Meetings (Huffington Post); Democrats Gloomy, Republicans...

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Dean Benbow visits the White House

Sep. 30, 2011—On Monday, Sept 26, when First Lady Michelle Obama hosted an event at the White House to announce a new program designed to make life easier for women in research careers, Peabody Dean Camilla Benbow was in the audience. Benbow had been invited in her capacity as a member of the National Science Board. The...

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Computer scientist: reveal thyself!

Sep. 16, 2011—Like the Wizard of Oz, computer scientists have largely been happy to perform their magic behind the curtain, out of public view.  However, this reticence has begun causing problems in the digital realm. “Computer scientists face the drawbacks of lacking public awareness,” wrote an international team of computer scientists in the article “Reaching Out to...

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Vanderbilt’s links to the solar neighborhood

Sep. 15, 2011—If Davy Kirkpatrick’s calculations stand up, then Vanderbilt will have solid connections to two of the Sun’s nearest stellar neighbors. One link is long standing. Barnard’s star, which is six light years away from the Sun and its second-closest neighbor, was discovered in 1916 by Vanderbilt astronomer E.E. Barnard. The second, discovered by Kirkpatrick and...

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Primer on political impacts of Sept. 11

Sep. 2, 2011—Thomas Schwartz, professor of history, recently responded to an interview request from a journalist in São Paulo, Brazil, about the lasting political impacts of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Professor Schwartz’s responses provide a concise overview of the lasting impact of a day that changed our nation. Read more about Vanderbilt remembrances of 9-11...

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Picture the intangible: the intersection of art and science

Aug. 31, 2011—Art and science are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, these two important fields of human endeavor often draw from and inspire each other. Think Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin. A 21st century version of this cross-fertilization currently is on display at Nashville’s gallery F. @ Scarritt Bennett, 1000 19th Ave. S. (corner of...

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Nashville innovations

Aug. 23, 2011—Last week when the Nashville Scene’s annual Innovations Issue hit the newsstands, three of its ten “forward-thinking ideas that are pushing Nashville – and the world – into the future” came from Vanderbilt. The three campus projects that impressed the Scene editors were: Digging for Drugs: Cave Chemistry. This is an effort of Associate Professor...

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Defending funny-sounding science

Aug. 9, 2011—  It’s easy to make fun of things you don’t understand. That is particularly true of scientific research. In fact, making fun of federally funded science projects has become an unfortunate political tradition. The Association of American Universities has taken up the challenge of defending publicly ridiculed science projects with a new publication titled “AAU’s...

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Jumping genes make the funny pages

Jun. 24, 2011—  Every so often a piece of research makes it into the popular culture. That is the case with the discovery of Vanderbilt biologists Antonis Rokas and Jason Slot that entire gene clusters have jumped between unrelated species of mold millions of years ago. Their findings, which were reported last February, came as a major...

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Real science in X-Men

Jun. 21, 2011—Here’s another reason to love the X-Men: real science. Listen carefully to the dialogue between Professor Charles Xavier and CIA agent Dr. Moira MacTaggart in the new movie, “X-Men: First Class,” and you’ll hear a reference to the MCR1 gene and auburn hair. MacTaggart: “Do you have a minute?” Professor X: “For a pretty little...

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Cell phone bee mortality link: sensationalism not science

Jun. 14, 2011—Vanderbilt graduate student Cassidy Cobbs has investigated recent news reports linking cell phone emissions with bee mortality and found that there is no scientific basis for the claims.

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Bad buzz about blue-eyed cicadas

Jun. 2, 2011—Have you heard the latest buzz going round that scientists at Vanderbilt are paying as much as $3,000 for specimens of the rare blue-eyed cicada? If you have, I hope you haven’t spent a lot of time checking out cicadas’ eye color, because it is a hoax.  Most cicadas have red eyes, but a very...

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