In the Big Ten Network: How a Wisconsin undergrad is introducing the world to astrobotany

For University of Wisconsin-Madison senior Kai Nakano Rasmussen, astrobotany is more than just an academic calling; it is a passion that has led him to create an original rap, website, and clothing line. Rasmussen is an undergrad researcher in Wisconsin’s Gilroy Lab, which studies the effects different environments, including space, have on plant lifecycles.

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Molecular magnetism packs power with "messenger electron"

Electrons can be a persuasive bunch, or at least, a talkative bunch, according to new work from John Berry's lab at UW-Madison. The spins of unpaired electrons are the root of permanent magnetism, and after 10 years of design and re-design, Berry's lab has made a molecule that gains magnetic strength through an unusual way of controlling those spins. 

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Alum LeBlanc, George Washington University's newest president, applies CS education to administrative career

"Badger blood doesn’t go away, even though we haven't lived in Madison in a very long time.  My wife and I still think of ourselves as Badgers," says Thomas J. LeBlanc (MS '79, PhD '82). His education in computer science has taken him far:  LeBlanc recently became the 17th president of George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

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Cool idea: Magma held in ‘cold storage’ before giant volcano eruption

Here’s a rule of geoscience: The past heralds the future. So it’s not just morbid curiosity that attracts geoscientists to places like Long Valley, California, where a super-eruption occured 765,000 years ago. It’s an ardent desire to understand why super-eruptions happen, ultimately to understand where and when they are likely to occur again.

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L&S chemistry alum one of three UW-Madison-trained science teachers awarded fellowships

The three recipients, now teaching science in Monona, Rhinelander and Wauwatosa, are members of the 2017 class at the Knowles Teacher Initiative, whose purpose is “to increase the number of high-quality high school science and mathematics teachers."

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All hands on deck to understand, predict, prevent abrupt ecological change

In 2011, Lake Erie turned into a toxic pea soup. One-sixth of the lake harbored a thick and deadly algal bloom that killed fish, closed beaches and struck a blow to Toledo, Ohio’s tourism industry. The bloom was three times larger than any algal bloom ever recorded there. The contamination was forecast by ecologists in 2011, said Stephen Carpenter, newly retired as director of the Center for Limnology, at a recent campus symposium centered around a new effort to understand, predict and prevent these kinds of abrupt ecological changes.

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In The New York Times: How beets became beet-red

Beets, it turns out, have evolved a separate way of being red from other members of the plant kingdom. In a paper published in New Phytologist, UW-Madison biologists and colleagues from universities around the world reported that they have discovered a key step in the evolution of this process, which not only helps explain the origins of a brilliant natural color, but could have uses far beyond brightening your dinner table.

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Tropical trees show coexistence is path to diversity

Tropical forests boast a diversity of tree species — Barro Colorado Island, for example, has roughly as many tree species as all of Europe ­— and as part of his Ph.D. research, Jacob Usinowicz wanted to understand why and how they all manage to coexist. 

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Probing the ‘why’ of science

For 50 years, the Biocore program has taught students to think like scientists, work collaboratively and question everything.

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