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Life, Earth and Space

Physics Nobel laureate to describe new insights into the early universe

Mar. 13, 2008—Nobel laureate George F. Smoot from the University of California, Berkeley will give a free public lecture about what the latest studies of the variations in fossil radiation called the cosmic background radiation (CBR) are revealing about the nature of the embryonic universe shortly after its origin in the Big Bang.

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Lecture describes mankind’s special place in the universe

Mar. 6, 2008—Exploding stars and black holes. Colliding galaxies and dark matter. Dark energy and cosmic inflation. The universe that modern science has revealed is strange and wild and beautiful, but doesn\'t seem particularly hospitable to life or very comprehensible.

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Vanderbilt physicist plays key role in making top physics journals available to minority colleges and universities

Mar. 4, 2008—Vanderbilt physicist David Ernst played a key role in a new agreement designed to encourage minority students to pursue science careers by giving them easier access to top physics journals.

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Math model identifies key to controlling epidemic of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals

Feb. 17, 2008—When you check into a hospital, the odds are one in ten that you will become infected with a strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria as a result of your stay. That is because the problem of drug-resistance has become endemic in today\'s hospitals despite the best efforts of the medical profession. In the United States alone this currently causes about 100,000 deaths per year.

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Slow-motion video study shows shrews are highly sophisticated predators

Feb. 7, 2008—Shrews are tiny mammals that have been widely characterized as simple and primitive. This traditional view is challenged by a new study of the hunting methods of an aquatic member of the species, the water shrew.

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Galaxy may hold hundreds of rogue black holes

Jan. 9, 2008—If the latest simulation of what happens when black holes merge is correct, there could be hundreds of rogue black holes, each weighing several thousand times the mass of the sun, roaming around the Milky Way galaxy.

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RNA therapy heals growth deficiency disorder in a live animal

Dec. 18, 2007—A team of Vanderbilt researchers has demonstrated for the first time that a new type of gene therapy, called RNA interference, can heal a genetic disorder in a live animal.

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Ultrafast optical shutter is switched entirely by laser light

Dec. 6, 2007—It‘s a rare case of all light and no heat: A new study reports that a laser can be used to switch a film of vanadium dioxide back and forth between reflective and transparent states without heating or cooling it.

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Bioclocks work by controlling chromosome coiling

Nov. 21, 2007—There is a new twist on the question of how biological clocks work. In recent years, scientists have discovered that biological clocks help organize a dizzying array of biochemical processes in the body. Despite a number of hypotheses, exactly how the microscopic pacemakers in every cell in the body exert such a widespread influence has remained a mystery.

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Noted science writer will discuss reporting on nuclear power, defense technology, physics, geology

Nov. 2, 2007—Vanderbilt‘s Writing Studio will host a public lecture by Sally Adee, a science writer who lives in Baltimore, Md., and specializes in reporting on geology, solid-state physics, nuclear energy and defense technology.

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Two Vanderbilt faculty members are elected AAAS fellows

Oct. 31, 2007—Two Vanderbilt faculty members √± Peter T. Cummings and Ellen H. Fanning √± have been elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor bestowed upon them by their peers.

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New insights into how lasers cut flesh

Oct. 25, 2007—Lasers are at the cutting edge of surgery. From cosmetic to brain surgery, intense beams of coherent light are gradually replacing the steel scalpel for many procedures.

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