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Faculty Research News

Last year, eight short films were entered in USC's first science-themed movie competition, organized by Clifford Johnson, professor of physics and astronomy in USC Dornsife. Shown here are stills from the films. Courtesy of Clifford Johnson.

Cinematic Science

September 25, 2012

Looking for an innovative, interdisciplinary classroom project? Now is the time for professors in all USC schools to motivate their students to enter the 2012 Science Film Competition. The deadline for competition…

Thomas Ward, a USC Dornsife anthropologist, documents his life with MS-13 members in <em>Gangsters Without Borders: An Ethnography of a Salvadoran Street Gang</em> recently published by Oxford University Press. Photo by Eddie North-Hager.

One of the Gang

September 24, 2012

During his fieldwork one evening in Los Angeles, Thomas Ward found himself staring down the barrel of a gang member’s gun. His brush with death was a promise and a threat — Ward better pass the gang’s…

Susumu Takahashi, assistant professor of chemistry in USC Dornsife, was lead author of the recent <em>Nature</em> paper describing how he and his multiuniversity team developed the world’s first free-electron laser-powered EPR spectrometer. The laser (shown here) is based at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Photo by Susumu Takahashi.

Laser-ing in on Molecules

September 24, 2012

By using this high-powered laser, which is based at the University of Californa, Santa Barbara, scientists were able to dramatically boost the effectiveness of EPR spectroscopy. Led by USC Dornsife, a multiuniversity team has…

Quantum magnets and other occurrences in quantum mechanics could set the stage for the next big breakthroughs in computing, alternative energy and transportation technologies such as magnetic levitating trains. USC Dornsife's Stephan Haas has co-authored a study in <em>Nature</em> that moves the research forward. iStockphoto by Nick Schlax.

Breaking the Rules

September 21, 2012

Former and current USC Dornsife physicists have led a study that represents the first, quantitative account of the universal features of disordered bosons — or quantum particles — in magnetic materials. The study…

Jan Amend, professor of earth sciences and biological sciences in USC Dornsife, will lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers in an investigation into what life teems within Earth's subsurface biosphere. Their approach could become a template for collecting evidence of life or past life on extraterrestrial planetary bodies such as Mars. Photo by Michelle Salzman.

Detecting Life Beyond Earth

September 21, 2012

A team of researchers led by Jan Amend, professor of earth sciences and biological sciences in USC Dornsife, has been selected to join the prestigious NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), an organization of competitively…

USC Dornsife's Moh El-Naggar (center) was voted among the 10 most promising young scientists by Popular Science magazine. Photo by Allison V. Smith.

Brilliant One

September 19, 2012

USC Dornsife scientist Moh El-Naggar has been selected as one of Popular Science’s 2012 Brilliant 10, the magazine’s annual honor roll of the 10 most promising young scientists. El-Naggar is featured in the…

Baroness Shirley Williams of Crosby, who spoke at USC, was one of the “Gang of Four” who in 1981 founded the United Kingdom’s Social Democratic Party. She was recently honored as the Emory Bogardus Distinguished Lecturer in the Social Sciences in USC Dornsife. Photo by Mikel Healey.

Bold as Ever

September 14, 2012

Baroness Shirley Williams of Crosby believes a constant lackadaisical voter turnout is responsible for the dearth of governmental policy changes that would improve the quality of life in key areas such as health care and the…

USC Dornsife's Dan Schnur (far right); Roberto Suro (far left), and Raphael Bostic are panelists at the semester's first "Road to the White House" discussion in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. Photo by Dierdre Flanagan.

Road to the White House

September 12, 2012

With just two months left in the campaign for the Oval Office, USC’s top experts in politics, media and policy recently came together to turn their crystal ball to the November election. The Sept. 5 event continued the…

In a project led by USC Dornsife, scientists deploy an instrument that collects water at a specific depth while making measurements of chemical and physical properties at those depths. Photo by Diane Kim.

Environmental Monitoring

September 12, 2012

A multi-institutional team of scientists and engineers will field a small navy of research vessels and sensors this month to monitor water quality when the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) temporarily switches…

Nayan Shah joined USC Dornsife from the University of California, San Diego and began his post as professor and chair of American studies and ethnicity this Fall. Photo by Ben Pack.

Fighting for Inclusion

September 6, 2012

Nayan Shah was in South Africa on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship during the most intense period of struggle against apartheid. Black resistors were being beaten, tortured and murdered. It was 1989, a year before South African…