News at Princeton

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017
 Freshman Seminar 'Science of Mythbusters' class with balloons

In the freshman seminar "The Science of Mythbusters," Professor Joshua Shaevitz and 15 students are examining how scientific research is done, from identifying real-world problems and getting funding to creating experiments and analyzing evidence. (Video still from Nick Donnoli, Office of Communications)

 

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'The Science of Mythbusters': A freshman seminar

Professor Joshua Shaevitz's freshman seminar, "The Science of Mythbusters," focuses on the ways in which scientists approach real-world problems using the scientific method. Students learn about research funding and processes, along with how to evaluate information they encounter in their own lives.

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Your 'anonymized' web browsing history may not be anonymous

Raising further questions about privacy on the internet, researchers from Princeton and Stanford universities have released a study showing that a specific person's online behavior can be identified by linking anonymous web browsing histories with social media profiles.

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Conference gives undergraduate women skills, inspiration to pursue physics careers

The 2017 APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference was held at Princeton University the weekend of Jan. 13-15.

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Eisgruber, faculty explore global issues at World Economic Forum

A delegation of Princeton faculty members — led by President Christopher L. Eisgruber and including the University’s 2015 and 2016 Nobel laureates —took part in and led discussions on major global issues at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum that concluded Friday, Jan. 20, in Davos Switzerland.

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Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting

Princeton engineering researchers have illuminated another path forward for LED technologies by refining the manufacturing of light sources made with crystalline substances known as perovskites, a more efficient and potentially lower-cost alternative to materials used in LEDs found on store shelves.

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In African 'fairy circles,' a template for nature's many patterns

Scientists have long debated how large-scale plant patterns such as the famous "fairy circles" of Namibia form and persist. Now, a new Princeton University-led study suggests that instead of a single overarching cause, large-scale vegetation patterns in arid ecosystems could occasionally stem from millions of local interactions among neighboring plants and animals. The work could explain many patterns throughout the world.

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Better living through behavioral science

Understanding why people act as they do is the basis of the growing discipline of behavioral science, which is helping shape policies that tackle society's biggest problems, from financial planning to public health.

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University projects will explore 'overlooked' topics in Princeton's history

Projects examining slavery, civil rights and community activism in the 1960s, and the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, have received support from the Princeton Histories Fund. The fund fosters the exploration of "aspects of Princeton's history that have been forgotten, overlooked, subordinated or suppressed."

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Climate change to alter global pattern of mild weather

Scientists from Princeton University and NOAA have produced the first global analysis of how climate change may affect the frequency of mild-weather days, which are defined as having temperatures between 64 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (18 and 30 degrees Celsius) with low rain and humidity. The current global average of 74 mild days a year will drop by 10 days by 2100, with mid-latitude areas such as the United States experiencing more mild days and tropical areas seeing more hot and humid days.

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Intersecting ideas: Cultural studies postdoctoral fellows bring new courses to campus

New postdoctoral fellows at Princeton are pursuing research and teaching in the areas of comparative cultures, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and global health. The postdoctoral research associates are: Catherine Clune-Taylor; Tala Khanmalek; Amy Krauss; Alecia McGregor; Laurel Mei-Singh; and Nomi Stone.

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Ricardo Piglia, celebrated Latin American writer who had a 'profound impact' on students, dies at 76

Ricardo Piglia, the Walter S. Carpenter Professor of Language, Literature and Civilization of Spain, Emeritus, at Princeton and professor of Spanish and Portuguese languages and cultures, emeritus, died Jan. 6 of cardiac arrest from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was 76.

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Town residents, University students and staff celebrate Martin Luther King holiday

Town of Princeton residents and Princeton University students and staff gathered on campus Monday, Jan. 16, for a community breakfast to celebrate the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"I stand here today to tell everyone that we are o...

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Movin' on up? Views on social mobility shape Americans' faith in the status quo

Psychologists at Princeton University and Memorial University of Newfoundland have found that how Americans view social mobility affects their willingness to defend the basic underpinnings of American society — such as social and economic policies, laws, and institutions.

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Viral escape hatch could be treatment target for hepatitis E

Researchers at Princeton and Rutgers universities have found that the hepatitis E virus — an emerging liver virus historically found in developing countries but now on the rise in Europe — uses a technique to spread infection that scientists could in fact exploit to treat the disease.

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Princeton's IP Accelerator Fund supports promising new technologies

Six new technologies — from a method that enhances X-ray images to a strategy that eliminates cybersecurity threats — will receive University funding aimed at helping to transform promising discoveries from the laboratories at Princeton into widely available products and services for the benefit of society.

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Giant Middle East dust storm caused by a changing climate, not human conflict

A team of researchers including Elie Bou-Zeid, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton who experienced the massive August 2015 dust storm while in Lebanon, has found a more likely cause for the unprecedented storm — it was not human conflict, but a combination of climatic factors and unusual weather.

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Earth's moon formed millions of years earlier than previously believed

Researchers at Princeton University and the University of California-Los Angeles have found that the moon is at least 4.51 billion years old, or 40 million to 140 million years older than scientists previously thought. The findings — based on an analysis performed at Princeton on samples brought back from the moon in 1971 — provide an approximate date for the impact that could allow scientists to estimate when life on Earth began.

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Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape

Princeton University researchers have discovered that the bacteria behind the life-threatening disease cholera initiates infection by coordinating a wave of mass shapeshifting that allows them to more effectively penetrate their victims' intestines. The researchers also identified the protein that allows Vibrio cholerae to morph, and found that it's activated through quorum sensing. The findings could lead to new treatments for cholera that target the bacteria's ability to change shape or penetrate the gut.

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The nexus factor: Examining the African American experience

The Department of African American Studies is offering 24 undergraduate courses this fall — all of which are cross-listed with one or more academic areas. The department's course of study reflects its interdisciplinary approach in offering "an exciting and innovative model for teaching and research about African-descended people, with a central focus on their experiences in the United States," as described in its mission statement.

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Migration is focus of new PIIRS interdisciplinary research community

A new research community supported by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies will bring together faculty members from across the University to better understand the nature of migration, how it is represented and the ways it shapes the world.

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Tree-bark thickness indicates fire-resistance in a hotter future

A Princeton University-led study has found that trees worldwide develop thicker bark when they live in fire-prone areas. The findings suggest that bark thickness could help predict which forests and savannas will survive a warmer climate in which wildfires are expected to increase in frequency.

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Princeton University significant contributor and catalyst to New Jersey economy, quality of life

Princeton University has a substantial impact on the New Jersey economy, generating an annual total of $1.58 billion in economic output as an employer, research and innovation leader, sponsor of construction projects, purchaser of goods and services, and financial and civic contributor to local communities. That total supports an estimated 13,450 jobs with $970.7 million in earnings.

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Hospitals are less likely to admit publicly insured children, but outcomes aren't affected

Hospitals are less likely to admit children covered by public insurance such as Medicaid than privately insured children with similar symptoms, especially when hospitals beds are scarce.  But the disparity doesn't appear to affect health outcomes, according to Princeton University researchers who analyzed information on tens of thousands of children who came to New Jersey emergency rooms between 2006 and 2012.

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Friend or foe? Each creates national unity, a mix creates divisions, study shows

Banding together as a nation is often lauded for getting through challenging times, but a new study published by Princeton University and global collaborators finds that both harmony and conflict unify nations' identities.

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Eisgruber receives Navy distinguished public service award

Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber has received the U.S. Navy's Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest civilian honor given by the Secretary of the Navy. The award is given to someone who has "demonstrated exceptionally outstanding service of substantial and long-term benefit" to the Navy.

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Bright future: Unlocking the potential of light

The leader in the emerging field of using light to perform feats of chemistry is David MacMillan, who arrived in Princeton's chemistry department in 2006. He was intrigued by the potential for using light to coax new chemical reactions. Like most chemists, he’d spent years learning the rules that govern the interactions of elements such as carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, and then using those rules to fashion new molecules. Could light help change these rules and catalyze reactions that have resisted previous attempts at manipulation?

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Keller Center's 'Creativity, Innovation and Design' course sparks new perspectives on problem-solving

In the four years since its inception, "Creativity, Innovation and Design" has pitted undergraduates against some of Princeton's most intractable problems — "wicked problems," as they are called, which are unsolvable but can be mitigated — by teaching them to create and design solutions from a new perspective. 

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Office of Admission launches new, mobile-enabled website

Princeton University's Office of Admission launched a new interactive website on Jan. 5, providing prospective students and others with engaging and useful information about the quality and affordability of a Princeton education.

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Princeton University joins Facebook initiative to fuel scientific breakthroughs

Princeton University is one of 17 universities that will participate in a new Facebook initiative aimed at developing innovative technologies. 

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New tool shines a light on protein condensation in living cells

Princeton researchers have unveiled a new tool that uses light to manipulate proteins inside cells, causing liquid-like, cellular structures known as membraneless organelles to condense out of a cell's watery environment. Because these structures play a critical role in cellular operations, and possibly in disease development, the researchers believe the tool will open new areas of cellular biology to exploration.

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Committee seeks input on permanent marker of Wilson's legacy

A committee to establish a marker at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs that "educates the campus community and others about the positive and negative dimensions of Wilson's legacy" welcomes input from Princeton students, alumni, faculty and staff through a new website. The site encourages people to comment on the form of the marker as well as what part or parts of Wilson's legacy it should emphasize. Those interested in sharing their thoughts with the committee should complete the brief survey, which will remain open through Jan. 31.

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The fire through the smoke: Working for transparency in climate projections

To help policymakers more confidently prepare for the effects of climate change, a group of preeminent climate scientists evaluated the scientific work and expert judgments behind the most recent projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change regarding the potential ecological, social, economic and meteorological repercussions of climate change.

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Geoscientist William Bonini, dedicated teacher and genial colleague, dies at 90

William "Bill" Bonini, whose more than 40 years as a Princeton University professor were distinguished by his dedication to students and alumni, as well as his affable relationships with colleagues, died Dec. 13, 2016. He was 90.

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Taming oceans of data with new visualization techniques

Researchers at three Princeton-area institutions have transformed complex modeling data into an easily understandable animated movie showing how ocean temperatures and saltiness change over time. The animation could help climate researchers explore how factors such as rising carbon dioxide levels alter the ocean's ability to transport heat. 

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Alexander Hall in pictures, Part 2

Part 2 of a two-part series on Princeton's premier performance venue, Alexander Hall. This photo essay focuses on the building's exterior; the first installment featured the interior spaces. All photos are by Nick Donnoli, Office of Communications.

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FACULTY AWARD: Philander receives Vetlesen Prize for unraveling El Niño's effects

S. George Philander, Princeton University's Knox Taylor Professor of Geosciences, will share the 2017 Vetlesen Prize for his work in uncovering the global scale of El Niño, the world's most powerful weather cycle. Established in 1959, the biennial prize is presented by Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and includes a $250,000 prize.

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RESEARCH HONOR: Burton named Damon Runyon Fellow for cancer research

Antony Burton, a postdoctoral research fellow in chemistry, has been named a Damon Runyon Fellow by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. The nonprofit organization supports innovative early-career researchers in cancer. Working with Tom Muir, the Van Zandt Williams Jr. Class of 1965 Professor of Chemistry and chair of the department, Burton studies how chemical modification of histone proteins leads to changes in the structure of chromatin, with implications for gene transcription patterns and cancer. Burton is one of 16 fellows — all postdoctoral scientists — named this year.

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FACULTY AWARD: Chirik awarded 2017 ACS Catalysis lectureship

Paul Chirik, Princeton University's Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded the 2017 ACS Catalysis Lectureship for the Advancement of Catalytic Science by the American Chemical Society. Chirik is being recognized for his contributions to catalytic chemistry in the last decade.

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FACULTY AWARD: Fefferman shares 2017 Wolf Prize in Mathematics

Charles Fefferman, Princeton University's Herbert E. Jones, Jr. '43 University Professor of Mathematics, will share the 2017 Wolf Prize in Mathematics awarded by the Wolf Foundation in Israel. Fefferman was honored for his "major contributions to several fields, including several complex variables, partial differential equations and subelliptic problems." Bestowed annually since 1978, the Wolf Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in mathematics. Fefferman, who shares the prize with Richard Schoen of Stanford University, is one of numerous Princeton faculty and alumni to receive the prize.

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