Ideas and Discoveries

  • Full color 3-D printing takes top prize in Collegiate Inventors Competition Nov. 20, 2014 Innovative 3-D printing technology came out on top as Spectrom - developed by a University of Wisconsin-Madison team that includes Cedric Kovacs-Johnson, Charles Haider and Taylor Fahey - won first place in the undergraduate category of the Collegiate Inventors Competition.
  • ‘Active learning’ takes center stage at School of Nursing Nov. 20, 2014 The classroom is changing. Massive lecture halls used to mean you could sit quietly in the back, with rows of fellow students perched above a lecturing professor. But you won’t find any lecture halls in the School of Nursing’s Signe Skott Cooper Hall. For students at the new Active Learning Classroom (ALC), the learning is — well, active.
  • Crops play a major role in the annual CO2 cycle increase Nov. 19, 2014 In a study published Wednesday, Nov. 19, in Nature, scientists at Boston University, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and McGill University show that a steep rise in the productivity of crops grown for food accounts for as much as 25 percent of the increase in this carbon dioxide (CO2) seasonality.
  • Photo: Astronaut Reid Wiseman injects a fixative solution onto the seedlings. UW team’s plants return to Earth after growing in space Nov. 6, 2014 Researchers at Simon Gilroy's lab in the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison expect to greet a truck this afternoon that is carrying small containers holding more than 1,000 frozen plants that germinated and grew aboard the International Space Station.
  • Greater use of social media gets science, scientists noticed, study says Nov. 6, 2014 In September, a group of UW-Madison professors and their colleagues published a study in the journal Journalism & Mass Communications Quarterly showing a connection between “h-index” — a measure of the quality of a researcher’s work and influence — and whether the scientists interact with reporters and get mentioned on Twitter.
  • They know the drill: UW leads the league in boring through ice sheets Oct. 30, 2014 Hollow coring drills designed and managed by UW-Madison’s Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO) program are used to extract ice cores that can analyze the past atmosphere. Shaun Marcott, an assistant professor of geoscience at UW-Madison, was the first author of a paper published today in the journal Nature documenting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 23,000 and 9,000 years ago, based on data from an 11,000-foot hole in Antarctica.
  • Astronomy students Report, experts analyze surging STEM activity at UW-Madison Oct. 30, 2014 A recent report on instructional activity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows significant advances in enrollment and degrees since 2000, which campus experts attribute to a number of factors, including job placement, greater career opportunities and enhanced teaching methods.
  • See-through sensors open new window into the brain Oct. 20, 2014 Developing invisible implantable medical sensor arrays, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has overcome a major technological hurdle in researchers’ efforts to understand the brain. The team described its technology, which has applications in fields ranging from neuroscience to cardiac care and even contact lenses, in the Oct. 20 issue of the online journal Nature Communications.
  • Can this democracy be saved? Experts weigh in Oct. 16, 2014
  • WCER: Five decades of improving teaching and learning Oct. 16, 2014 One of the first centers of its kind, the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) is preparing to celebrate 50 years of educational policy research and initiatives.
  • Balancing birds and biofuels: Grasslands support more species than cornfields Oct. 9, 2014 In Wisconsin, bioenergy is for the birds. Really. In a study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) scientists examined whether corn and perennial grassland fields in southern Wisconsin could provide both biomass for bioenergy production and bountiful bird habitat. The research team found that where there are grasslands, there are birds. Grass-and-wildflower-dominated fields supported more than three times as many bird species as cornfields, including 10 imperiled species found only in the grasslands.
  • Actions on climate change bring better health, study says Sept. 22, 2014 The number of extremely hot days in Eastern and Midwestern U.S. cities is projected to triple by mid-century, according to a new study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Prototype electric motor New motor under development by UW-Madison spinoff Sept. 8, 2014 A tabletop motor using an entirely new driving principle is under development at the headquarters of C-Motive Technologies, a startup business that is commercializing technology from the College of Engineering at UW-Madison.
  • Physical Sciences Lab PSL: Still making amazing instruments after all these years Sept. 4, 2014 A century ago, physicists used a tabletop “cloud chamber” to explore the motion of otherwise invisible particles. Today, they need giant machines to explore the bizarre frontiers of modern physics. And significant components of the most important modern physics experiments in China, Switzerland, the United States and the South Pole can trace their roots to a lab across the road from a cornfield near Stoughton, Wisconsin — the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Physical Sciences Laboratory, or PSL.
  • Soybean plants A touching story: The ancient conversation between plants, fungi and bacteria Aug. 27, 2014 The mechanical force that a single fungal cell or bacterial colony exerts on a plant cell may seem vanishingly small, but it plays a heavy role in setting up some of the most fundamental symbiotic relationships in biology. In fact, it may not be too much of a stretch to say that plants may have never moved onto land without the ability to respond to the touch of beneficial fungi, according to a new study led by Jean-Michel Ané, a professor of agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Antarctic ice sheet Climate conundrum: Conflicting indicators on what preceded human-driven warming Aug. 11, 2014 When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently requested a figure for its annual report, to show global temperature trends over the last 10,000 years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Zhengyu Liu knew that was going to be a problem. Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science today, Liu and colleagues describe a consistent global warming trend over the course of the Holocene, our current geological epoch, counter to a study published last year that described a period of global cooling before human influence.
  • Mature plant phytochromes Tricking plants to see the light may control the most important twitch on Earth July 29, 2014 Copious corn growing in tiny backyard plots? Roses blooming in December? Thanks to technology that the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Richard Vierstra has been developing for years, these things may soon be possible. And now, new findings out of the genetics professor’s lab promise to advance that technology even further.
  • Mouse intestine New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 24, 2014 A multi-institutional team of researchers has developed a new nanoscale agent for imaging the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This safe, noninvasive method for assessing the function and properties of the GI tract in real time could lead to better diagnosis and treatment of gut diseases.
  • Waste containment site UW researchers create safe, resistant material to store waste July 18, 2014 Storing industrial waste has never been a pretty job, and it's getting harder.
  • Photo: Asian 'crazy worm' Hungry, invasive ‘crazy worm’ makes first appearance in Wisconsin July 15, 2014 Wisconsin's newest invasive species has done its best to stay underground, but the voracious, numerous and mysterious Asian crazy worm has emerged for the first time in the state on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.