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Natural Sciences News

Life on the Holodeck

Life on the Holodeck

November 16, 2015

When Albert Einstein published his  general theory of relativity 100 years ago, he revolutionized the way scientists perceived the physical world. Redefining the force of gravity as a curvature in the combined fabric of…

<em>Eotiaris guadalupensis</em> fossil discovered by Jeffrey Thompson in the Smithsonian collections. Image courtesy of David Bottjer.

Oldest Urchin

November 9, 2015

Researchers have uncovered a sea urchin fossil that pushes back a fork in its family tree by 10 million years, according to a new study. A team from USC Dornsife found the fossil — Eotiaris guadalupensis — in…

James Moffett, professor of biological sciences and earth sciences, served as chief scientific officer for a recent ocean expedition that was the first to find dissolved iron as far as 2,500 miles from its source in hydrothermal vents. Photo by Darrin S. Joy.

Deep Sea Surprise

November 6, 2015

Iron is the single most abundant element on Earth. It’s also one of the most important for living organisms, which use it for myriad biological processes. An expedition in the South East Pacific Ocean may have found the…

Earthquakes and other disasters — both natural and man-made — pose a significant threat to lives and economies around the Pacific Rim. Photo courtesy of Walter D. Mooney/USGS.

Pacific Preparedness

October 23, 2015

Not far from Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, an alarm pierces the air. At a nearby elementary school, hundreds of children drop to the floor, scramble beneath their desks and hold on for dear life. It’s March 9, 2012, two…

Hanna Damasio and Antonio Damasio receive Doctor Honoris Causa degrees at a formal ceremony held at the Sorbonne in Paris on Sept. 17. Photos by Julien Hay.

French Honors

October 22, 2015

Two USC Dornsife professors have received honorary degrees from the Université Paris Descartes — more widely known as the Sorbonne — for their pioneering work in psychology. University Professor Antonio…

The emotion of gratitude is important in social behavior, according to the study’s senior author. Photo courtesy of iStock.

Tracking Gratitude

October 20, 2015

Neuroscientists have mapped how the human brain experiences gratitude with help from an unexpected resource: the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. “In the midst of this awful tragedy, there were many acts of bravery…

The Bridge@USC's Undergraduate Research Program

Scientists in Training

October 15, 2015

Through the BUGS program, The Bridge@USC researchers prepare undergraduates and high school students to be the next generation of innovators.

Oxidative stress brought about by free radicals lends to the aging process, according to Kelvin Davies of biological sciences and gerontology.

Good Stress

October 1, 2015

Oxygen, while necessary for life, has a dark side. With every breath taken, free radicals form, and these damaging molecules can wreak havoc in the body. The process is called oxidative stress. Kelvin Davies, James E. Birren…

An octopus plays a key role in the research by two USC Dornsife investigators. Photo by Joe-Parks.

Octopus Video Aids Linguists

October 1, 2015

A linguist and marine biologist at USC Dornsife began an unlikely project two years ago to compare the movement of the human tongue with the manipulation of the arms of the octopus and the undulation of a small worm known as…

The McCarthy Quad will be transformed into an “eco-hangout” where students can learn how they can impact climate change policy and generate solutions for a more sustainable future.

A Plan for Tomorrow

September 29, 2015

As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to rise, warming the climate and changing major ecosystems, USC Dornsife student Zach Manta wants his peers at USC to know that they can make a difference to reverse the…