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Life, Earth and Space

Researchers identify new region of the magnetosphere

Dec. 12, 2008—A detailed analysis of the measurements of five different satellites have revealed the existence of the warm plasma cloak, a new region of the magnetosphere, which is the invisible shield of magnetic fields and electrically charged particles that surround and protect Earth from the onslaught of the solar wind.

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Florida’s ‘worm grunters’ collect bait worms by inadvertently imitating mole sounds

Oct. 14, 2008—When biologist Ken Catania heard about the peculiar practice of worm grunting practiced in the Apalachicola National Forest in the Florida Panhandle, one of his first thoughts was an observation made by Charles Darwin.

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Surface tension drives segregation within cell mixtures

Oct. 6, 2008—What does a mixture of two different kinds of cells have in common with a mixture of oil and water? The same basic force causes both mixtures to separate into two distinct regions.

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Research about plant viruses could lead to new ways to improve crop yields

Sep. 30, 2008—An interdisciplinary group of scientists has obtained the first detailed information about the structure of the most destructive group of plant viruses known: flexible filamentous viruses.

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New nano device detects immune system cell signaling

Sep. 3, 2008—Scientists have detected previously unnoticed chemical signals that individual cells in the immune system use to communicate with each other over short distances.

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Cutting through the hype: What science tells us about climate change

Aug. 15, 2008—"Global Warming – What do we know and what we should do?" is the title of a free public lecture that will be given Thursday afternoon, Sept. 4, on the Vanderbilt University campus.

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Newly born identical twin stars show surprising differences

Jun. 18, 2008—The analysis of the youngest pair of identical twin stars yet discovered has revealed surprising differences in brightness, surface temperature and possibly even the size of the two. The study, which is published in the June 19 issue of the journal Nature, suggests that one of the stars formed significantly earlier than its twin.

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Vanderbilt astronomers getting into planet-finding game

Jun. 6, 2008—Vanderbilt astronomers have constructed a special-purpose telescope that will allow them to participate in one of the hottest areas in astronomy-- the hunt for earthlike planets circling other stars.

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Study links low frequency hearing to shape of the cochlea

Apr. 28, 2008—Shape matters, even in hearing.

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New method of measuring insulin promises improvements in diabetes treatment

Apr. 15, 2008—A new method that uses nanotechnology to rapidly measure minute amounts of insulin is a major step toward developing the ability to assess the health of the body\'s insulin-producing cells in real time.

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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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