Natural Sciences

The West is getting dustier, says CU-Boulder study

The amount of dust being blown across the landscape has increased over the last 17 years in large swaths of the West, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The escalation in dust emissions — which may be due to the interplay of several factors, including increased windstorm frequency, drought cycles and changing land-use patterns — has implications both for the areas where the dust is first picked up by the winds and for the places where the dust is put back down.

CU-Boulder prof to lead NASA campaign to study North American air quality

A University of Colorado Boulder professor is leading a major NASA airborne science campaign this summer that will probe weather patterns and air pollution over a vast expanse of North America that have potential global climate consequences.

Water-rock reaction could create enough 'food' to sustain life on Mars or in Earth's ocean crust

A chemical reaction between iron-containing minerals and water may produce enough hydrogen “food” to sustain microbial communities living in pores and cracks within the enormous volume of rock below the ocean floor and parts of the continents, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

CU-Boulder helps tap crowds to digitize museum records of bugs and plants

Inside the natural history museums of the world are billions of animal and plant specimens from birds, fish and beetles to flowers, mushrooms and grasses, all stacked, stored and preserved in jars and collection drawers.

The rich and diverse collections could be critical to understanding how the Earth’s biodiversity is changing in the face of a growing human footprint — if only the information were easily accessible.

ABCs, 123s and frontal lobes: Neuroscientists share research with kindergartners

When the raw egg plummeted to the playground hardtop at Creekside Elementary School in Boulder, falling exactly 36 inches, the shell shattered and the gooey insides oozed out. The 18 kindergartners looking on were rivited.

A few minutes later, a second egg — this one wrapped in a “helmet” of taped-together bubble wrap and dropped from exactly the same height — fared much better, escaping with its shell still intact.

Warming climate likely cause of pinyon pine cone decline

Creeping climate change in the Southwest appears to be having a negative effect on pinyon pine reproduction, a finding with implications for wildlife species sharing the same woodland ecosystems, says a University of Colorado Boulder-led study.

Simulations uncover “flashy” secrets of merging black holes

According to Einstein, whenever massive objects interact, they produce gravitational waves -- distortions in the very fabric of space and time -- that ripple outward across the universe at the speed of light.

While astronomers have found indirect evidence of these disturbances, the waves have so far eluded direct detection. Ground-based observatories designed to find them are on the verge of achieving greater sensitivities, and many scientists think that this discovery is just a few years away.

CU students’ work makes it to the big screen

The work of a talented group of University of Colorado Boulder students and staff has made it to the big screen. The really big screen -- in fact, a more than 20-meter dome.

Did the Little Ice Age start with a big bang?

Scientists have disagreed for many years over the precise cause for a period of cooling global temperatures that began after the Middle Ages and lasted into the late 19th century, commonly known as the Little Ice Age. 

Pushing the boundaries of ultracold physics

Physicists at JILA on the CU-Boulder campus have for the first time observed chemical reactions near absolute zero, demonstrating that chemistry is possible at ultralow temperatures and that reaction rates can be controlled using quantum mechanics, the peculiar rules of submicroscopic physics.

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