Natural Sciences

Northern hemisphere losing last dry snow region, says CU study

Last July, something unprecedented in the 34-year satellite record happened: 98 percent of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s surface melted, compared to roughly 50 percent during an average summer. Snow that usually stays frozen and dry turned wet with melt water. Research led by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences now shows last summer’s extreme melt could soon be the new normal.

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.

CU-Boulder senior, 16, will graduate with honors before heading to Harvard

It’s been a busy four years for Natasha Goss, who will graduate summa cum laude May 10 with a major in chemistry and a minor in mathematics from the University of Colorado Boulder.

She’s been deeply involved in campus life, most notably through the CU Environmental Center, participated in two research projects, submitted papers for publication and even spent three weeks abroad in Australia.

CU-Boulder prof works to shrink error margins in U.S. census data

A person searching through the massive expanse of data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in search of details about a specific neighborhood may increasingly find statistics with colossal margins of error, such as an average income of $50,000 plus or minus $50,000.

A geographer at the University of Colorado Boulder, one of eight nodes of the National Science Foundation’s newly created Census Research Network, has been granted a five-year $1.4 million grant to see if he can change that.

Climate zones will shift faster as climate warms, new study finds

As the planet warms, Earth’s climate zones are shifting at an accelerating pace, says a new study led by a scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, a joint venture between the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The bacterial bunch: Parents, kids and dogs trade microbes

As much as dog owners love their children, they tend to share more of themselves, at least in terms of bacteria, with their canine cohorts rather than their kids.

Scientists use brain scans to objectively measure pain

Doctors can measure your blood pressure, your weight, your cholesterol and your blood sugar. They can take X-rays of your bones, ultrasounds of your guts and electrocardiograms of your heart.

But even in 2013, the only way a doctor can measure your pain is to ask: How much does it hurt?

Ancient asteroid may have triggered global firestorm on Earth

A new look at conditions after a Manhattan-sized asteroid slammed into a region of Mexico in the dinosaur days indicates the event could have triggered a global firestorm that would have burned every twig, bush and tree on Earth and led to the extinction of 80 percent of all Earth’s species, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

‘Sideline quasars’ helped to stifle early galaxy formation

University of Colorado Boulder astronomers targeting one of the brightest quasars glowing in the universe some 11 billion years ago say “sideline quasars” likely teamed up with it to heat abundant helium gas billions of years ago, preventing small galaxy formation.

Erupting volcanoes offset recent Earth warming

A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight -- dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide.

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