A 1981 Osborne I computer. Photo by Noah Larsen.

Where old computers don’t go to die

Dec. 1, 2012

A palpable air of digital decrepitude pervades Lori Emerson’s time-warped laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder. Geriatric relics of the computer revolution with names like Vectrex, Kaypro and Commodore Amiga exude the strange pungency of aged electronics, vaguely musty with tart plastic undertones.

Desert

Hazard might blow with dust

Dec. 1, 2012

Some of the smallest airborne particulate matter poses large risks to human health, but bigger blobs aren’t necessarily benign. That’s one conclusion of Jason Neff, associate professor of geological sciences and environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Omid Safi, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Progressive Muslim scholar challenges stereotypes

Dec. 1, 2012

Faced with a sharp question from a critic following a talk about progressive Islam at the University of Colorado Boulder in early November, Omid Safi was ready. The professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill nodded as the speaker read from the Koran’s Surah 95,...

Jeffrey Zax

Lawmakers eye CU students for economic analyses

Dec. 1, 2012

The men and women elected to the Colorado General Assembly (the state Legislature) may have a wealth of life experience as lawyers, ranchers or business owners. But when it comes to economics, most of them could use a little help—from undergraduate University of Colorado Boulder economics students. That’s the idea...

At the  75th Street Wastewater Treatment Facility are, from left to right: Chris Douville, the city of Boulder’s coordinator of wastewatertTreatment; Cole Sigmon, process optimization specialist; David Bortz, assistant professor of applied mathematics at the University of Colorado Boulder. Photo by Noah Larsen.

For cleaner water, NSF taps CU applied mathematician

Dec. 1, 2012

At the 75th Street Wastewater Treatment Facility are, from left to right: Chris Douville, the city of Boulder’s coordinator of wastewatertTreatment; Cole Sigmon, process optimization specialist; David Bortz, assistant professor of applied mathematics at the University of Colorado Boulder. Photo by Noah Larsen. Wastewater-treatment plants might be able to send...

NIST physicist David Wineland adjusts an ultraviolet laser beam used to manipulate ions in a high-vacuum apparatus containing an “ion trap.” These devices have been used to demonstrate the basic operations required for a quantum computer. Such computers, by relying on quantum mechanics rather than transistors to perform calculations or store information, could someday solve problems in seconds that would take months on today’s best supercomputers. Photo by Geoffrey Wheeler/NIST.

NIST physicist, CU-Boulder lecturer wins Nobel

Oct. 9, 2012

David J. Wineland, a lecturer in the University of Colorado Boulder physics department, has won the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics. Wineland is a physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder and internationally recognized for developing the technique of using lasers to cool ions to near...

Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Tor Wager, director of CU Boulder’s Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab. Photo: Stephen Collector/The New York Times/Redux

Expecting less pain can lead to less pain

Oct. 1, 2012

What you don’t know won’t hurt you, goes the old canard, but what you believe can make a difference when it comes to pain relief, and not just in a subjective way. When you expect that a drug or placebo will relieve pain, and it does, it’s not simply a matter of fooling your brain.

Cover of book by Keith Maskus

Patent, copyright protection picture changing in globalized economy

Oct. 1, 2012

It seems, at first blush, to be something of a no-brainer: strengthening protections on American intellectual property rights (or IPRs) — on everything from drugs to music to technology — would be a boon to the national economy. After all, we hardly want unscrupulous governments and businesses in Brazil, China,...

Brian Talbot

A strategy to deal with moral relativism in students

Oct. 1, 2012

In certain political and religious circles, the notion of moral relativism — that there is no objective “right” or wrong, only individual opinions — is not just anathema, not merely abhorrent. It is the very root of decadence and the collapse of civilization. “What’s right for you may not be...

When biomass burns, including during wildfires, it releases a pollutant that can cause health problems at high concentrations. Photo credit: NOAA.

CU helps to smoke out an air pollutant’s hot spots

May 1, 2012

When biomass burns, including during wildfires, it releases a pollutant that can cause health problems at high concentrations. Photo credit: NOAA. A smoke-related chemical may be a significant air pollutant in some parts of the world, especially in places where forest fires and other forms of biomass burning are common,...

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