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Faculty Research News

Karla Heidelberg aboard a research vessel in Antarctica. Photo courtesy of Karla Heidelberg.

Heidelberg Steers the Ship

September 15, 2014

As director of the USC Dornsife Environmental Studies Program, Karla Heidelberg plans to develop new opportunities for students to gain real-world experience through hands-on internships and training with corporations,…

Matthew Dean of biological sciences, (left), and Jim Dines searched through more than 10,000 boxes of unsorted cetacean bones in search of pelvic bones. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Whale Mating: In the Hips

September 10, 2014

Both whales and dolphins have pelvic (hip) bones, evolutionary remnants from when their ancestors walked on land more than 40 million years ago. Common wisdom has long held that those bones are simply vestigial, slowly…

Cavan Concannon explores how St. Paul appealed to early Christian communities in Corinth by reinforcing a shared ethnicity rather than a shared religion, the latter a more modern social category. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Rethinking Early Christianity

September 9, 2014

Cavan Concannon likens contributing to the massive scholarship on Paul the Apostle to finding a spot on a New York City subway at rush hour. “All you can do is elbow your way in,” said the assistant professor of…

Chemistry professors Mark Thompson, left, and Karl Christe will receive awards from the American Chemical Society for their groundbreaking research during a ceremony in March 2015.

Thompson and Christe Lauded by ACS

September 4, 2014

Two USC Dornsife Department of Chemistry professors are set to receive awards from the American Chemical Society (ACS): Mark Thompson, the 2015 ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials, and Karl Christe, the 2015 ACS Award for…

University Professor Larry Swanson draws on 15 years of research for his new book, a comprehensive parts list that will aid researchers in their goal of mapping the human brain. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

A Lexicon of the Brain

September 2, 2014

In April 2013, University Professor Larry Swanson visited the White House in Washington, D.C., to hear President Barack Obama unveil his Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.…

An expert in astronomy, astrophysics, rocket science and deep space exploration, Professor Emeritus Darrell Judge received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award in 1974. Photo by Dietmar Quistorf.

In Memoriam: Darrell Judge, 79

August 29, 2014

Darrell Judge, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy and astronautical engineering at USC Dornsife, an expert in the fields of spectroscopy, space science and solar physics, and founding director of the USC Space…

Andrey Vilesov of chemistry and physics found that quantum vortices, or whirlpools, form in spinning helium nanodroplets in unprecedented quantities. Photo by Rico Mayro Tanyag.

Discovery in Helium Droplets

August 28, 2014

Liquid helium, when cooled down nearly to absolute zero, exhibits unusual properties that scientists have struggled to understand: it creeps up walls and flows freely through impossibly small channels, completely lacking…

Marine biologist Gerald Bakus undertook 24 expeditions and cruises throughout the globe to study coral reefs and Komodo dragons. Photo by Irene Fertik, courtesy of USC University Archives.

In Memoriam: Gerald Bakus, 79

August 21, 2014

Professor of Marine Biology Gerald “Jerry” Bakus, an expert on the ecology of coral reefs and their natural products chemistry  who taught at USC Dornsife’s Department of Biological Sciences for 51…

“I have never been happier about being wrong,” said El-Naggar, corresponding author of a new study in the <em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</em> that shows the key feature in bacterial nanowires are not hair-like features, or pili. Photo by Matt Meindl.

Bacterial Nanowires Not Pili

August 20, 2014

For the past 10 years, scientists have been fascinated by a type of “electric bacteria” that shoots out long tendrils like electric wires, using them to power themselves and transfer electricity to a variety of…

During a Problems Without Passports trip to Washington, D.C., to gain insights about the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, students visited the White House. From left, Aaron Rifkind, Emily Kennelly, Kayla Foster, Wayne Glass, Kshitij Kumar, Laura Holgate, Kayleigh Axtell, Adela Jones, John Caton and Ian Beck. Photos courtesy of Wayne Glass.

Avoiding Mass Destruction

August 14, 2014

Attending a meeting at the Pentagon, students visited the 9/11 memorial where they stood in reverential silence as they read the names of the fallen. Then, at a Pentagon briefing with cyber security and missile defense…