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The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced Feb. 23 that Kater Murch, PhD, assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has been awarded a 2015 Sloan Research Fellowship. He is among 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers selected as fellowship recipients this year. The fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders.

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Why do so many of us cry at the movies? Why do we flinch when Rocky Balboa takes a punch? What’s really happening in our brains as we immerse ourselves in the lives being acted out on screen? These are the questions that Washington University in St. Louis neuroscientist Jeffrey M. Zacks, PhD, explores in his new book, “Flicker: Your Brain on Movies.”

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In the quantum world, the future predicts the past. Playing a guessing game with a superconducting circuit called a qubit, a physicist at Washington University in St. Louis has discovered a way to  narrow the odds of correctly guessing the state of a two-state system. By combining information about the qubit's evolution after a target time with information about its evolution up to that time, the lab was able to narrow the odds from 50-50 to 90-10.

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Beavers don’t brush their teeth, and they don’t drink fluoridated water, but a new study reports beavers do have protection against tooth decay built into the chemical structure of their teeth: iron. The research team, which was led by scientists from Northwestern University, included Jill D. Pasteris, PhD, professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences.

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It’s been more than 40 years since astronauts returned the last Apollo samples from the moon, and since then those samples have undergone some of the most extensive and comprehensive analysis of any geological collection. A team of scientists has now refined the timeline of meteorite impacts on the moon through a pioneering application of laser microprobe technology to Apollo 17 samples. MORE
Pathogens, pesticides and nutritional deficits have previously been identified as stressors linked to colony collapse disorder, but it was a mystery why bee colonies sometimes collapsed so rapidly, leaving bee keepers with an empty hive box. A new study suggests that when a colony is stressed, young bees are forced to become foragers much sooner than they otherwise would and this accelerated development leads to their early death. MORE

​Restoring function after spinal cord injury, which damages the connections that carry messages from the brain to the body and back, depends on forming new connections between the surviving nerve cells. With a five-year, nearly $1.7-million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, is using novel methods to study how these nerve cells grow and make new connections to reroute signals that could restore function and movement in people with these debilitating injuries.

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