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National Science Foundation News

USC Dornsife's Aaron Lauda of mathematics teaches high school senior Jailyne Olvera and another student how to solve the knot theory game he developed to show students how mathematical knowledge is developed and processed. Photo by Susan Bell.

Knot a Problem

May 27, 2014

In a USC classroom, Jailyne Olvera, a junior at Augustus Hawkins High School in South Los Angeles studied a knotted rope lying on the table, then stared at a chart of knots. “Wow, this is hard,” she sighed, her…

Research by USC Dornsife's Justin Wood showing how visual cognition emerges in the newborn brain could be used to develop new technology to help the blind. Wood has won an NSF award to further his research. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Early CAREER Award

May 27, 2014

Justin Wood, assistant professor of psychology at USC Dornsife, is interested in how humans and other animals learn to understand the world. His research, which examines the origins of knowledge by testing how cognition…

The USC Dornsife research team will study octopus behavior in the wild and in captivity at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island.

Octopus Got Your Tongue?

January 6, 2014

It’s an unusual coupling: A linguist and a marine biologist are working together to investigate the human tongue. In their study, the USC Dornsife researchers are using two species of octopus and tiny worms that helped…

On the left, bulk antimony triselenide (Sb2Se3) dissolves in the solvent mixture created by USC Dornsife's Richard Brutchey and David Webber. One the right, a thin film of antimony triselenide derived from that solution using low-cost and low-energy input processing methods. Some day, this could be used for the low-cost processing of semiconductors for transistors, solar cells, LEDs and more. Photo by Jannise Buckley.

Lower Cost Electronics?

November 13, 2013

Researchers at USC Dornsife have created a solvent that will dissolve semiconductors safely and cheaply, allowing them to be applied as a thin film that could create the next generation of low-cost electronics. The technology…

Aaron Lauda and Aravind Asok have won National Science Foundation CAREER awards for outstanding research and teaching. Asok will use part of his award to fund projects with artist and mathematician Lun-Yi Tsai. Shown is Tsai's artwork depicting a "winding number" which counts the number of times a line — think of rope — wraps around a hole (circle in the center). © Lun-Yi Tsai.

Adding Up to a Robust CAREER

August 7, 2013

Aravind Asok and Aaron Lauda, both assistant professors of mathematics at USC Dornsife, have been selected to receive National Science Foundation CAREER awards. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a…

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, assistant professor of psychology at USC Dornsife’s Brain and Creativity Institute, is particularly interested in social emotions that promote learning, motivation and resilience, such as compassion, admiration and inspiration. Photo by Steve Cohn.

How Emotions Evolve

June 3, 2013

How do culture and environment shape how we — and our brains — experience social emotions and self? That’s one of the intriguing domains Professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang is exploring as part of her most…

Internship participant Jose Araujo from Cerrritos Community College works in the lab with USC Dornsife mentor Priscilla Antunez, a graduate student in the chemistry Ph.D. program and the recipient of an NSF graduate fellowship. Araujo's positive experiences during the internship inspired him to transfer to USC Dornsife where he is now majoring in chemistry. Photo by Richard Brutchey.

Climbing the STEM of Success

March 8, 2013

Jose Araujo had never considered going to graduate school for the simple reason he wasn’t aware it existed. The son of a construction worker, Araujo is today a first-generation college student in USC…

Candy Hwang, chemistry doctoral student in USC Dornsife, is depicted in a video she created with USC School of Cinematic Arts animators, which picked up two awards in a recent National Science Foundation competition. Titled, <em>The Secrets of Nitrogenase</em>, the video breaks down the complex science behind the nitrogenase enzyme.

The Little Enzyme That Could

December 12, 2012

The cute kiddie cartoon shows an animated Candy Hwang wearing a white lab coat jotting down data on her clipboard. But the 90-second video is not child’s play. Called The Secrets of Nitrogenase, it clearly and concisely…

George Sanchez, USC Dornsife’s vice dean for diversity, (middle) stands with past and present USC Dornsife students at a recent Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference in Seattle, Wash. Everett Salas is far left, Cynthia Joseph is in the back row far right and Yadira Ibarra stands in the front row second from the right. Photo courtesy of Yadira Ibarra.

Supporting Diversity in Science

October 31, 2012

As a first-generation college student pursuing a degree in geological sciences, Yadira Ibarra felt like the proverbial stranger in a strange land. At Brown University, there were few women studying earth sciences. And even…

For a National Science Foundation competition, USC Dornsife doctoral student Candy Hwang and her team have created a 90-second video-animated presentation of their research on nitrogen.

Jumping Off the Page

October 29, 2012

Candy Hwang, a second-year doctoral candidate in chemistry and National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow, has swapped the written page for animation. Hwang of USC Dornsife entered “Creating the…