Ideas and Discoveries

  • Study reveals possible biological trigger for canine bone cancer Feb. 25, 2015 Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) have identified the biological mechanism that may give some cancer cells the ability to form tumors in dogs. The recent study uncovered an association between the increased expression of a particular gene in tumor cells and more aggressive behavior in a form of canine bone cancer. It may also have implications for human cancers by detailing a new pathway for tumor formation.
  • Johnson Controls partners with UW-Madison to reduce commercial energy costs Feb. 19, 2015 Johnson Controls began when founder Warren Johnson invented the thermostat in 1885, and today the Milwaukee-based controls company is working toward another major innovation in heating and cooling in collaboration with UW-Madison chemical engineers. A research group led by Jim Rawlings, the Paul A. Elfers professor and W. Harmon Ray professor of chemical and biological engineering, has partnered with Johnson Controls to develop better HVAC control systems for its clients in large commercial buildings.
  • UW-Madison center sees hope for more diversity in children’s books Feb. 18, 2015 As the face of America becomes increasingly diverse, the number of children’s books by and about people of color has remained stubbornly stagnant over the past 25 years, according to annual data compiled by UW-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center. But the most recent figures, released Wednesday, may contain a sliver of good news for those hoping that kids’ books will one day better reflect the population at large.
  • UW-Madison ranks among leaders in recruiting Peace Corps volunteers Feb. 18, 2015 With 69 Badger alumni currently serving in 34 countries, the University of Wisconsin–Madison continues its tradition as one of the nation’s top producers of Peace Corps volunteers, according to the latest national rankings. Since 2001, when the Peace Corps began releasing its annual list of top universities and colleges, UW–Madison has consistently placed in the top 10, including six years in the top spot. This year, UW-Madison ranks second.
  • Accuracy in radiation firm with ties to UW marks 25 years in Middleton Feb. 13, 2015 In 1989, Ed Neumueller — who had been general manager of a company established by UW-Madison faculty member John Cameron — helped found Standard Imaging in Middleton to build quality assurance products for radiation delivery machines used in cancer treatment. The company is marking its 25th anniversary this year.
  • Slideshow: Pieces of UW-Madison astronomy history off to the nation’s attic Feb. 12, 2015 While cleaning out Sterling Hall cabinets that hadn’t been opened in decades, UW-Madison Space Place Director Jim Lattis and colleagues in the Astronomy Department struck historical gold: a collection of old photodiode and photomultiplier tubes dating to the earliest days of photoelectric astronomy. The university is donating 20 of the vintage photo detectors to the Smithsonian Institution for its permanent collection of astronomical instruments.
  • Learning lessons by following Madison’s foxes and coyotes Jan. 30, 2015 Last year, a family of foxes — complete with roly-poly kits — took up residence on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and made the city its playground. With winter in full swing, the foxes and their larger dog-like counterparts, coyotes, are out there again, roaming the wilder (and often not so wild) parts of the city and campus. This year, David Drake, a UW-Madison associate professor of forest and wildlife ecology, is welcoming the public to join him and his research team as they go out and radio collar the animals in an effort to track and better understand these urban canids.
  • UW computer scientists enhance robotic manufacturing Jan. 20, 2015 Some industrial robots are hulking, highly specialized pieces of machinery that are cordoned off by cages from human factory workers.
  • Carbon nanotube finding could lead to flexible electronics with longer battery life Jan. 14, 2015 University of Wisconsin-Madison materials engineers have made a significant leap toward creating higher-performance electronics with improved battery life — and the ability to flex and stretch. Led by materials science Associate Professor Michael Arnold and Professor Padma Gopalan, the team has reported the highest-performing carbon nanotube transistors ever demonstrated. In addition to paving the way for improved consumer electronics, this technology could also have specific uses in industrial and military applications.
  • Deer account for almost half of long-term forest change, study finds Jan. 2, 2015 A study released this week has linked at least 40 percent of species changes in the forests of northern Wisconsin and Michigan over the past 60 years to the eating habits of white-tailed deer.
  • Pecatonica without the ‘P’: Project cuts phosphorus levels in river Dec. 23, 2014 Conservation experts and farmers alike are rather pleased with the news out of southwestern Wisconsin. A seven-year pilot project in the 12,000-acre Pleasant Valley subwatershed of the Pecatonica River has helped to reduce the amount of phosphorus and sediment entering the river after major storms by more than a third.
  • Muddy forests, shorter winters present challenges for loggers Dec. 22, 2014 Stable, frozen ground has long been recognized a logger’s friend, capable of supporting equipment and trucks in marshy or soggy forests. Now, a comprehensive look at weather from 1948 onward shows that the logger’s friend is melting. The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Environmental Management, finds that the period of frozen ground has declined by an average of two or three weeks since 1948.
  • Image: Portion of eukaryotic cell illustration New theory suggests alternate path led to rise of the eukaryotic cell Dec. 12, 2014 As a fundamental unit of life, the cell is central to all of biology. Better understanding how complex cells evolved and work promises new revelations in areas as diverse as cancer research and developing new crop plants.
  • Photo: Hand holding small device Internet of Things Lab focuses on tech-savvy inventions Dec. 8, 2014 If six young technologists at University of Wisconsin-Madison have their way, bike thieves around campus will face a new obstacle: bikes capable of “talking” to Internet-connected bike racks.
  • Collaboration yields new organic sweet corn variety Dec. 4, 2014 When the time comes for Wisconsin’s organic farmers to decide which crops to plant next year, they’ll have a tasty new variety of sweet corn — with a particularly sweet name — among their choices. The new variety, called “Who Gets Kissed?,” is the first in a series of organic, open-pollinated sweet corns being developed through a plant-breeding project led by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA). Farmers and professional breeders are also involved.
  • Open-source tools will benefit military and Wisconsin vehicle makers Dec. 3, 2014 Dan Negrut, a University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor of mechanical engineering, has received a $1.8 million grant from the Army to harness the power of supercomputers to set up a simulation software infrastructure and allow both military and civilian vehicle makers to better understand — and predict — how vehicles will respond to deformable terrain, such as sand, mud or riverbeds.
  • Image: galaxy Letting off steam: Gas discharge terminates galaxy’s star formation Dec. 3, 2014 With the help of a radio telescope in the French Alps, an international team of astronomers, including two from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has observed a never-before-seen stage of galactic evolution. Writing in this week’s Nature, a group that includes UW-Madison astronomers Aleks Diamond-Stanic and Christy Tremonti, reports measurements of dense, cold hydrogen gas being blasted from a distant star-forming galaxy, the first direct observation of the “blow out” phase of a galaxy’s evolution.
  • Telescopes hint at neutrino beacon at the heart of the Milky Way Nov. 26, 2014 Thanks to a confluence of data from a suite of vastly different telescopes, there are tantalizing clues that the massive black hole at the core of the Milky Way may be a cosmic accelerator. In a recent paper published in the journal Physical Review D, a team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison physicist Yang Bai reports a correlation of IceCube data with a recorded burst of X-rays from Sagittarius A, an object at the center of our galaxy that is believed to be a supermassive black hole.
  • Grasshoppers signal slow recovery of post-agricultural woodlands, study finds Nov. 24, 2014 New research by Philip Hahn and John Orrock at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the recovery of South Carolina longleaf pine woodlands once used for cropland shows just how long lasting the legacy of agriculture can be in the recovery of natural places. By comparing grasshoppers found at woodland sites once used for agriculture to similar sites never disturbed by farming, Hahn and Orrock show that despite decades of recovery, the numbers and types of species found in each differ.
  • 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.