Ideas and Discoveries
Can this democracy be saved? Experts weigh in
Oct. 16, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Project to evaluate how farmers markets benefit communities
July 9, 2014
A new project in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Farmer's Market Coalition will analyze the impact of farmers markets in communities.
Mind the gap: Socioeconomic status may influence understanding of science
July 7, 2014
When it comes to science, socioeconomic status may widen confidence gaps among the least and most educated groups in society, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Science, Media and the Public research group.
UW’s important influenza research conducted safely
July 3, 2014
The UW-Madison Influenza Research Institute (IRI) has been safely conducting important influenza research since its opening at Research Park in 2008. However, press accounts of the results of recent studies as well as a biosafety incident at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta have brought IRI into the news.
New MOOCs to focus on environmental and community themes
July 1, 2014
Beginning in 2015, UW-Madison will take Leopold’s words to heart by offering six Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on topics ranging from Shakespeare’s dramas and the digital humanities, to understanding Leopold’s land ethic, to the relationship between climate change and public health.
Early life stress can leave lasting impacts on the brain
June 27, 2014
For children, stress can go a long way. A little bit provides a platform for learning, adapting and coping. But a lot of it - chronic, toxic stress like poverty, neglect and physical abuse - can have lasting negative impacts.
Scientists find the shocking truth about electric fish
June 26, 2014
Scientists have found how the electric fish evolved its jolt.
New tumor-targeting agent images and treats variety of cancers
June 11, 2014
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) report that a new class of tumor-targeting agents can seek out and find dozens of solid tumors, even illuminating brain cancer stem cells that resist current treatments.
Mobile sustainability game spurs students to take environmental action
June 3, 2014
Traversing the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus while consulting iPads and smartphones, the students in Cathy Middlecamp’s introductory environmental studies course could have been mistaken for anyone checking social media en route to class. But for these students, class was already in session. Middlecamp, a professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, partnered with the UW Mobile Learning Incubator to have students in Environmental Studies 126 playtest a new mobile game under development that explores sustainability features on the UW–Madison campus.
Scientists capture most detailed images yet of tiny cellular machines
June 2, 2014
A grandfather clock is, on its surface, a simple yet elegant machine. Tall and stately, its job is to steadily tick away the time. But a look inside reveals a much more intricate dance of parts, from precisely-fitted gears to cable-embraced pulleys and bobbing levers.
Buried fossil soils found to be awash in carbon
May 25, 2014
Soils that formed on the Earth’s surface thousands of years ago and that are now deeply buried features of vanished landscapes have been found to be rich in carbon, adding a new dimension to our planet’s carbon cycle.
Babbling brooks adding to climate change?
May 23, 2014
Studying stream bubbles isn't exactly a walk in the park - what with the mud and ticks, the long days hiking and swimming through mucky streams, the sun exposure and scratching brush.