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Cool Science

Cool Science

August 12, 2010

At the bottom of the Earth — the planet's coldest, driest, windiest place — the sky radiates a lavender-yellow hue in the midnight sun.  Whiter than milk, the blanket of ice seems infinite. Amid the…

New Study Examines the Brain's Wiring

New Study Examines the Brain's Wiring

August 10, 2010

The brain has been mapped to the smallest fold for at least a century, but still no one knows how all the parts talk to each other. A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences answers that question for a small…

John Wilson, professor of geography and one of the world's leading scholars in spatial sciences. Photo credit Laurie Moore.

Dean Gillman Announces Launch of Spatial Sciences Institute

August 4, 2010

Not so long ago many of us referred to our Thomas Brother Guides to find out how to get across town. Now we access our GPS navigation systems or tap into mapping programs on our iPhones, Blackberries or other devices. But the…

Navigating through Kelp and Swimming with the Sharks

Navigating through Kelp and Swimming with the Sharks

July 29, 2010

One of the new courses in the summer line-up of USC College's Problems Without Passports program takes students to the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island and to Guam and Palau in Oceania, a region mostly…

Phytoplankton in mixed communities.

Microbes on the Menu

July 27, 2010

The functioning of marine ecosystems depends on the size and flavor of microbes at the base of the food chain. Changes to the Earth's atmosphere might rearrange that microscopic menu. Microbes that currently are the main…

Decoding Cancer: One Cell at a Time

Yeast Unleashed

July 21, 2010

There is good reason Susan Forsburg's laboratory smells of sourdough. The USC College biologist is among the most prominent fission yeast researchers in the country. Inside her lab are hundreds of petri dishes containing…

Lin Chen, professor of biological sciences and chemistry, aligns a protein crystal on an X-ray diffractometer. He uses X-ray crystallography to analyze the molecular details of key proteins and their complexes in physiological and disease processes. Photo credit Max S. Gerber.

Crystal Clear

July 16, 2010

Tuning out the noise of fellow passengers and the incessant hum of the turbojet engine, Lin Chen pored voraciously over the pages of James Watson's The Double Helix. The words and ideas flowed from the book's pages, drowning…

Scientists on the New Frontiers

Scientists on the New Frontiers

July 14, 2010

One scientist seeks a complete understanding of nanowire properties while another designs a solar cell that boosts high efficiency. This is just one example of how researchers in the basic and applied sciences at USC work…

Sandra Tsing Loh, lecturer in the Master of Professional Writing Program and host of <em>The Loh Down on Science</em>. Photo credit Tatjana Loh.

There's Nothing to Fear (It's Just Science)

July 8, 2010

Why, oh why, do average laypeople so fear science? Is it some worrisome association with the Nobel Prize, a gloomy hatch of dour bearded Swedish men in lab coats? Is it the sharp sense memory of formaldehyde, recalling the…

Looking into the Sun

Seasons in the Sun

July 2, 2010

Behind the wheel of his Cadillac SRX, Edward Rhodes slows to a stop at Big Tujunga Canyon Road, where a crew works on asphalt leading to the Mt. Wilson Observatory. "We'll find out right about here whether they'll let us up…