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Life, Earth and Space

Building stronger, more diverse pipeline of future faculty is aim of new postdoctoral program

Oct. 24, 2016—An ambitious postdoctoral training initiative designed to prepare recently graduated doctorates for competitive academic careers will launch later this year, Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos announced Oct. 24.

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Vanderbilt physicists Keivan Stassun and Kalman Varga elected APS fellows

Oct. 18, 2016—Two Vanderbilt physicists, Keivan Stassun and Kalman Varga, have been elected fellows of the American Physical Society.

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New faculty: Suzana Herculano-Houzel examines the evolution of the brain

Oct. 17, 2016—New Associate Professor of Psychology Suzana Herculano-Houzel produced the first accurate count of the number of neurons in the human brain—86 billion, making it simply an enlarged primate brain.

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Noted algebraist Bjarni Jónsson dies

Oct. 12, 2016—Bjarni Jónsson, Vanderbilt’s first Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, died Sept. 30 at the age of 96.

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Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Mark Jones has died

Oct. 11, 2016—Vanderbilt Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, Mark M. Jones died Oct. 7 at 88 after an accident and brief illness.

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Virus carrying DNA of black widow spider toxin discovered

Oct. 11, 2016—DNA related to black widow spider toxin been discovered in a phage that infects the bacterial parasite Wolbachia. It is the first time animal-like DNA has been found in a bacterial virus.

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Vanderbilt astrophysicist makes ‘The Root’s’ 100 List of Black Influencers

Sep. 27, 2016—Vanderbilt astrophysicist Jedidah Isler has joined Beyoncé, LeBron James and Serena Williams as a member of The Root’s 100 List of Black Influencers.

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Cave study designed to solve puzzle of prehistoric megadroughts in the western U.S.

Aug. 26, 2016—Paleoclimatic cave study in California is designed to identify the factors that made megadroughts commonplace in the western U.S. from 5,000 to 8,000 years ago.

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Congressman Cooper honors Hamilton and Ramayya for superheavy element discovery

Aug. 13, 2016—U.S. Representative Jim Cooper honored nuclear physicists Joe Hamilton and A.V. Ramayya Aug. 12 for their role in the discovery of the new superheavy element 117 that has been provisionally named Tennessine.

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Total number of neurons—not enlarged prefrontal region—hallmark of human brain

Aug. 9, 2016—Research by Associate Professor of Psychology Suzana Herculano-Houzel finds that human intelligence comes from the number of neurons in our brains—and it was the invention of cooking that made neuron development possible.

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Discovery of male-harming DNA mutation reinforces ‘mother’s curse’ hypothesis

Aug. 2, 2016—There is new evidence that the "mother’s curse" – the possibility that moms may transmit genes to their children that harm their sons but not their daughters – holds true in animals.

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Newly discovered fossils strengthen proposition that world’s first mass extinction engineered by early animals

Jul. 29, 2016—New fossil evidence strengthens the proposition that the world’s first mass extinction was caused by ‘ecosystem engineers’ – newly evolved organisms that radically altered the environment.

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