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Latest News From the College of Sciences

  • Math Madness at Georgia Tech

    The competition comprised four exams covering algebra, geometry, combinatorics, number theory, and basic calculus. Volunteer Georgia Tech faculty, staff, and students, led by School of Mathematics Professor and Chair Rachel Kuske, hosted the event.

  • The Science of Defecation Could Produce Better Medicine for Constipation

    A new study led by researchers in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering finds that all mammals, from humans to elephants to cats, defecate in the same amount of time: about 12 seconds. That’s despite the fact that the length of their rectums can vary widely. For instance, an elephant’s is 10 times the length of a cat’s (40 centimeters vs. four).

    The study suggests that the time is consistent because of mucus. The substance covering the the large intestine is very thin for small animals and much thicker for larger ones. According to the paper, mucus allows feces to move through the intestine “like a sled sliding through a chute.”

  • Tech’s Official in D.C. on Strategy for Science, Education Funding

    Robert Knotts, director of federal relations for Georgia Tech's Office of Government and Community Relations, talks strategy for dealing with the new administration and funding of academic science research.

  • Undergraduate Research Mentor Prize Launched in School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

    An award to recognize sustained engagement of graduate students and postdoctoral associates as undergraduate research mentors has been established in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The new award is funded by Gary B. Schuster and his wife, Anita. Gary Schuster is Vassar Woolley Professor Emeritus and Regents Professor in the College of Sciences. He is the 2017 recipient of Georgia Tech’s highest faculty honor, the Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award

  • “First Arrival” Hypothesis in Darwin’s Finches Gets Some Caveats

    Being first in a new ecosystem provides major advantages for pioneering species, but the benefits may depend on just how competitive later-arriving species are. That is among the conclusions in a new study testing the importance of “first arrival” in controlling adaptive radiation of species, a hypothesis famously proposed for “Darwin’s Finches,” birds from the Galapagos Islands that were first brought to scientific attention by the famous naturalist.

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College of Sciences Researchers in the News

  • Student inventions win spot in national competition

    The recent K-12 InVenture Challenge @ Georgia Tech competition on March 15, featuring science-minded students and their inventions from all across Georgia, continues to reap benefits for the winning schools. The Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) sponsors the annual competition, and two winning teams from J.C. Booth Middle School in Peachtree City, Georgia will go on to vie for honors at the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo on June 1-3 in Washington, D.C. A team from Flat Rock Middle School in Fayetteville, Georgia, also took home a specialty award for its Xtendlet extension cord.

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Apr 27, 2017

  • Extraterrestrial Life Might Be Hiding in Plain Sight

    To a distant observer peering through a telescope, even Earth would not have shown signs of life through most of its past. Despite the fact that our planet was teeming with mostly microscopic life for three billion years, levels of oxygen and methane – gases often produced by metabolizing organisms – would have been too low to be noticed from afar. This means that today's scientists on Earth might not be able to detect commonly assumed signs of extraterrestrial life, and they might give up on planets that are actually inhabited, according to a new study in the journal Astrobiology. “There are huge swaths of time throughout Earth’s history during which it would’ve been difficult to see the presence of these metabolisms even though we know from the rock record that they were around. It’s a sobering thing,” said Christopher Reinhard, an Earth scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and lead author of the study. Reinhard is an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    Inside Science , Apr 27, 2017

  • Why it takes you and an elephant the same amount of time to poop

    Why was School of Biological Sciences associate professor David Hu drawn towards mammal poop as the topic of a new study? His experience as a working dad, he recently posted on the Conversation blog, "turned me from a poo-analysis novice to a wizened connoisseur." The people running the PBS Newshour website had a chance to digest the post and decided to share it in full on their Rundown blog. Hu is also a adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics and an associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Patricia Yang, a Ph.D. student in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, co-authored the study, which appeared in Soft Matter

    PBS Newshour, Apr 27, 2017

  • All mammals big or small take about 12 seconds to defecate

    Everyone poops, and it takes them about the same amount of time. A new study of the hydrodynamics of defecation finds that all mammals take 12 seconds on average to relieve themselves, no matter how large or small the animal. The research, published in Soft Matter, reveals that the soft matter coming out of the hind ends of elephants, pandas, warthogs and dogs slides out of the rectum on a layer of mucus that keeps toilet time to a minimum. “The smell of body waste attracts predators, which is dangerous for animals. If they stay longer doing their thing, they’re exposing themselves and risking being discovered,” says Patricia Yang, a mechanical engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Yang, a doctoral student in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, worked on the study with David Hu, associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences and an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics.

    New Scientist, Apr 26, 2017

  • NSF’s uphill road to making prestigious early career award more diverse

    Increasing diversity within academic science has been a priority for France Córdova since she became director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2014. Within a year she had launched an initiative, called INCLUDES, that challenges universities to do a better job of attracting women and minorities into the field. Now, Córdova has turned her attention inward in hopes of improving the dismal track record of NSF’s most prestigious award for young scientists. Only five women have won NSF’s annual Alan T. Waterman Award in its 41-year history, and no woman of color has ever been selected....If only it were that easy, says Kim Cobb, a paleoclimate researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and one of six university ADVANCE professors with a remit to improve gender equity. Cobb is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    Science, Apr 26, 2017