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Pieces such as this untitled pebble sculpture helped build Dadaist Kurt Schwitters’ reputation as the  “father of installation art.” Assistant Professor Megan Luke of art history chronicles the artist’s struggles under Nazism and in later exile.

Portrait of an Artist in Exile

June 19, 2015

A fresh look at a celebrated artist’s life and place in history has received the Robert Motherwell Book Prize — a $10,000 award from the Dedalus Foundation for the author of “an outstanding publication in the…

“Kids are entering school with a significant obesity problem,” USC Dornsife researcher Ashlesha Datar notes. Photo by Adam Kuban.

Obesity Rising for Many Children

June 11, 2015

Obesity continues to increase among children, despite previous national reports that the rate flattened, according to recent analysis. Although a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health survey last year showed that…

Assistant Professor of English Anna Journey is currently working on her third volume of poetry. Photo by Stephanie Diani.

Journey into the Grotesque

June 3, 2015

Described as “magical” by provocative filmmaker David Lynch, Anna Journey’s first book of poetry, If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting (University of Georgia Press, 2009), was selected for inclusion in the…

Drawing courtesy of the Granger Collection, New York.

At the Edge of the Known World

June 1, 2015

Imagine what it was like for the first African to explore the New World in the 16th century. For Estebanico, a Moroccan slave, arriving from Spain in 1527 to what is now the United States’ Gulf Coast was bittersweet.…

By shifting time metrics, we can motivate ourselves to accomplish goals. Photo by John Livzey.

Reining in Procrastination

May 6, 2015

Procrastination is the thief of time that derails New Year’s resolutions and delays saving for college or retirement, but researchers have found a way to collar it. The trick? Think of the future as now. “The…

Eric Webb, associate professor of biological sciences and corresponding author of a study on this finding. Photo courtesy of Eric Webb.

Enigmatic Organism

April 23, 2015

Scientists have found something they can’t quite explain in one of the most barren environments on Earth: a bacterium whose DNA sequence contains elements usually only found in a much higher organism. Trichodesmium is a…

Viet Thanh Nguyen escaped Saigon with his family in 1975, arriving in the U.S. when he was four years old. Photo by Matt Meindl.

Voices from Vietnam

April 14, 2015

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a South Vietnamese army general is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of…

Assistant Professor of Psychology Henrike Moll, director of USC Dornsife’s Minds in Development Lab. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Understanding Suspense

April 9, 2015

Here’s a psychology experiment you can try at home: Watch a Hitchcock film with someone and observe how they respond as the story unfolds. Hitchcock’s plots are like the Swiss watches of suspense, designed to…

USC researchers have discovered that a rat’s brain has local area networks of neurons. Illustration by Holly Wilder.

Internet-like Networks Revealed

April 7, 2015

Researchers sketching out a wiring diagram for rat brains — a field known as “connectomics” — have discovered that its structure is organized like the Internet.

 For years, scientists looking for…

Professor of Biological Sciences John Tower. Photo by Max Gerber.

New Finding May Compromise Aging Studies

April 7, 2015

Some studies on the genetic roots of aging will need a second look after the discovery that a common lab chemical can extend the life span of female fruit flies by 68 percent. For years, scientists have engineered fruit flies…