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Yo-Yo Ma plays the cello to a composition by Bruce Adolphe based on a poem by Antonio Damasio. In the background is brain activity imagery produced in Hanna Damasio’s laboratory. Photo credit Hiroyuki Ito/The New York Times/Redux.

Brains and Beauty

August 27, 2010

Mind first bloomed quietly And no one knows when, Although we know where: Within a brain that lived within a body. Sound heady? It should. This is the introduction to a poem written by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio of USC…

Susan Friedlander, professor of mathematics, is the director of the USC Center for Applied Mathematical Sciences (CAMS). Photo credit Laurie Moore.

USC Center for Applied Mathematical Sciences Turns 20

August 25, 2010

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the USC Center for Applied Mathematical Sciences (CAMS), a research unit housed in USC College's Department of Mathematics. Susan Friedlander, professor of mathematics and CAMS' fourth…

Nick Warner, professor of physics and astronomy, and mathematics at USC College, shares his love of science with students in his general education astronomy class and with fans of the ABC series <em>Lost</em>. Photo credit Max S. Gerber.

Explosives, Black Holes and Dr. Who

August 17, 2010

Nick Warner leans forward in his desk chair, his arms outstretched, hands cupping the air in front of him as if protecting a small flame. "When I was 15, I had something explode right here," he says.  For Warner, USC…

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…