Training compassion ‘muscle’ may boost brain’s resilience to others’ suffering

A new study suggests that compassion meditation training may reduce the distress a person feels when witnessing another’s suffering. It may also improve their ability and likelihood to respond with compassion.

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Ultralight science: Boundary layer measurements from low-flying source

A professor is using an ultralight aircraft to conduct a research project aimed at better understanding the Earth’s atmosphere. Instruments strapped to the wings and the cockpit of the aircraft collect atmospheric data while it is airborne.

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Homo naledi had a tiny brain but it looked a lot like ours

Scientists and nonscientists alike have often associated larger brains with greater intelligence, but a new study may challenge that notion. “Maybe brain size isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” says John Hawks, one of the study’s corresponding authors.

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Young Mie Kim in Vox: Most Russian Facebook ads sought to divide Americans on race

A recent study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that more than half of the sponsors of Facebook ads that featured divisive political messages ahead of the 2016 election were from “suspicious” groups with little or no paper trail to identify them. One in six turned out to be linked to the IRA.“I expected that we would find some unknown actors in the digital media political campaign landscape, because there are some regulatory loopholes,” Young Mie Kim, the study’s lead author, recently told me. “The findings are a lot worse than I thought. It is shocking and surprising.”

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In WPR: Illegal immigration linked to decrease in violent crime, study says

Making a case for tighter security at the border, President Donald Trump has often linked illegal immigration with increased crime. But a new study from University of Wisconsin-Madison sociology professor Michael Light suggests people living in the country illegally are linked to a decrease in violent crime, not an increase.

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Prototype camera set for integration into novel gamma-ray telescope

A unique high-speed camera, designed to capture the fleeting effects of gamma rays crashing into the Earth’s atmosphere, will soon be on its way from the University of Wisconsin–Madison to Arizona’s Mount Hopkins.

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UW researcher to send cotton into space to improve its growth on Earth

Botanist Simon Gilroy will study cotton seedlings grown on the International Space Station in a project that could help researchers understand how to develop plants that use water more efficiently.

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Exploring our Origins

The quest to understand our beginnings — of our universe, of life on Earth, of our species — inspires people all over the world. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, researchers have forged partnerships with colleagues in South Africa and are uncovering answers and opening new scientific frontiers.

The stories of their work are presented in "Origins," a three-part multimedia narrative exploring the beginnings of the universe, life on earth and humankind.

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Study shows undocumented immigration doesn’t increase violent crime

The impact of undocumented immigration — especially on public safety — remains a contentious topic of discussion in the United States, but "the conversations are occurring in a vacuum of data,” says researcher Michael Light.

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