Skip to main content

Natural Sciences News

Every person has perhaps billions of bytes of information stored in long-term memory. Babies develop long-term memories for past experiences beginning at the age of about six months or even earlier.

Mind Games

December 18, 2012

As a child, how many of you memorized the planet names and order with this little ditty: My very elegant mother just sat upon nine porcupines. Although the demotion of Pluto to a dwarf planet renders this particular mnemonic…

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…

G.K. Prakash, Professor and George A. and Judith A. Olah Nobel Laureate Chair in Hydrocarbon Chemistry in USC Dornsife, who has spent decades researching flourine reagents is also working on a methanol economy concept. Here, he holds up a methanol fuel cell, which is powering a fan. Photo by Philip Channing.

One Man’s Trash, Another Man’s Treasure

December 11, 2012

A team of USC Dornsife chemists has developed a way to transform a hitherto useless ozone-destroying greenhouse gas that is the byproduct of Teflon manufacture into reagents for producing pharmaceuticals. The discovery was…

New Marine Microbiology Initiative Investigator Jed Fuhrman, McCulloch-Crosby Chair of Marine Biology in USC Dornsife, will hire full-time personnel needed to handle the expected avalanche of new data that will be generated. Photo by Philip Channing.

Marine Biologist Takes Risks

December 5, 2012

Jed Fuhrman, McCulloch-Crosby Chair of Marine Biology in USC Dornsife, has been honored with a prestigious Marine Microbiology Initiative Investigator Award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Fuhrman is one of 16…

Arieh Warshel, Distinguished Professor of USC Dornsife (left), receives his  2012 Soft Matter & Biophysical Chemistry Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry's Faraday Division Council President Graham Hutchings during a recent three-day symposium in England. Photo courtesy of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Warshel Fêted by Royal Society of Chemistry

December 4, 2012

In 1963, a burning question kept invading the mind of a young kibbutznik studying chemistry at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa. Arieh Warshel had to know: just how do enzymes speed up chemical…

The 13 professors honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science bring the number of USC Dornsife AAAS fellows to 47.

Lucky Thirteen

November 30, 2012

Chosen by their peers in recognition of their research that significantly raises the bar of our understanding of science worldwide, an unprecedented 13 scientists from USC Dornsife have been elected fellows of the 2012…

USC Dornsife's Susan Forsburg served as the corresponding author on a recent paper about mutated cells that continue to replicate their DNA even after treated with chemotherapy drugs. Photo by Eric O'Connell.

Mutant Cells Dig in Their Heels

November 20, 2012

Certain mutated cells keep trying to replicate their DNA — with disastrous results — even after medications rob them of the raw materials to do so, according to new research from USC. New imaging techniques…

USC Dornsife's Katrina Edwards delivers a lecture after receiving the 2012 Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science during a recent ceremony at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography just outside Halifax, Nova Scotia. Photo by Kelly Bentham.

Oceanographer Makes Waves

November 16, 2012

Katrina Edwards, professor of biological sciences, earth sciences and environmental studies in USC Dornsife, has been awarded the 2012 A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science. She is the third woman to receive…

In his latest book, <em>Planet Without Apes</em>, leading primatologist Craig Stanford of USC Dornsife demands that we consider whether we can live with the consequences of wiping our closest relatives off the face of the Earth. Portrait photo by Philip Channing.

Planet Without Apes?

November 16, 2012

Great apes could face extinction within our lifetime, biologist Craig Stanford of USC Dornsife warns in his new book Planet Without Apes (Harvard University Press). The four species of great apes — chimpanzees,…

Humans and songbirds are both matching their own early vocalizations to the neural representation of vocal auditory memory. This encoding and integration process is very likely to be disrupted in people with disordered speech and we can begin to understand this by studying the songbird brain.

A Little Bird Told Me

November 9, 2012

Although less than half the size of a walnut and weighing one gram, the brain of a songbird is fully capable of generating complex learned behaviors. Songbirds are one of the few groups of animals other than humans that…