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The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded David Fike, PhD, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences, $2.7 million to adapt a powerful chemical microscope called the 7F-GEO SIMS for biological samples. The updated instrument's ability to map the chemistry inside cells will boost research on microbes that are promising candidates for biofuel or bioenergy production. MORE
As floodwaters surge along major rivers in the midwestern United States, a new study from Washington University in St. Louis suggests federal agencies are underestimating historic 100-year flood levels on these rivers by as much as five feet, a miscalculation that has serious implications for future flood risks, flood insurance and business development in an expanding floodplain.MORE
New Horizons will fly through the Pluto system on July 14 at an angle of 46 degrees to the plane of the dwarf planet’s orbit, then turn to use sunlight reflected from Charon, Pluto's biggest moon, to image areas of Pluto now in continuous darkness. Your host for the WashU Pluto watching party will be Bill McKinnon, a planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, who will be commenting from mission headquarters at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland.
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In 1999, Danish scientist Per Bak made the startling proposal that the brain remained stable for much the same reason a sand pile does; many small avalanches hold it at a balance point, where — in the brain's case — information processing is optimized. Now scientists have shown for the first time that a brain receiving and processing sensory input follows these dynamics.MORE
Two vastly different but innovative business startups with direct ties to Washington University, Applied Particle Technology and Invisible Girlfriend, have been awarded $50,000 in extra capital funding thank Arch Grants. The grants provide equity-free cash awards and free support services to startups willing to headquarter their businesses in St. Louis. MORE
Scientists have been itching to go to Europa for a long time because this moon is thought to have a global ocean beneath an outer shell of ice — an ocean that may be hospitable to life. In May, NASA took the first step, selecting nine instruments to fly on a mission to Europa. Washington University's William McKinnon, on the science team for two of the instruments, talks about the mission.MORE
Lecture-based learning can be challenging for students who have difficulties building mental models for the organization of new information, but providing them with diagrams and other supporting material in advance of the lecture can help them overcome these hurdles, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis. MORE
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Diana Lutz
Senior Science Editor
(314) 935-5272
dlutz@wustl.edu