Trinity College professor Quentin Crowley explaining to a group of Washington University and Trinity College geology students the formation of the Grodo megabed in the Tabernas Basin of Anadlucia in southeast Spain. He stands in front of rock layers deformed by a landslide that triggered a tsunami.

Multicultural geology

This spring, theory-heavy Washington University in St. Louis geology students went on a field trip to southeastern Spain with field-trained students from Trinity College, Dublin. What they learned from each other transcended earth — and time.
N44 superbubble complex in LMC

Why is radioactive iron raining down on us?

Most of the galactic cosmic rays reaching Earth come from nearby clusters of massive stars, according to new observations from NASA’s ACE spacecraft. The distance between the cosmic rays’ point of origin and Earth is limited by the survival of a radioactive isotope of iron, Fe-60, which has a half life of 2.6 million years. These tiny clocks indicate there was a source within spitting distance of Earth within the past few million years.
Cong-Hui Yao in the Patti Lab

Challenging an old idea

For more than 80 years, scientists have thought that cancer cells fuel their explosive growth by soaking up glucose from the blood, using its energy and atoms to crank out duplicate sets of cellular components. But is this really true? Work in a metabolomics laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis suggests not.
Engineered strains of E. coli were used in the cellular kill switch research. The PopQC sensor rewarded high-performing bacteria with extra protein to grow and thrive; the lazy bacteria were eliminated.

Survival of the hardest-working

An engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis developed a cellular kill switch, a sensor that rewards hard working cells and eliminates their lazy counterparts. The high-tech engineering fix could help improve production of biofuels and pharmaceuticals.
Fireflies use oscillation to communicate. A Washington University in St. Louis engineer has found a new way to control chemical oscillation that could help regulate biorhythms involving the heart and brain.

Better understanding biorhythms

Fireflies use oscillation to communicate on the same wavelength. An engineer at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a new waveform that can control chemical oscillation in the lab. This finding could lead to better understanding of oscillation as it pertains to heart pacemakers, the brain’s neural patterns and even jet lag.
Bird watching

Migratory birds: Hidden in plain sight

Our experience of the world differs radically from one person to another. Some people are plant blind and others recognize plants at a glance. Some are not aware of the background music at the grocery store and others know which piece it is and who is playing it. And most of us walk blindly through the campus quadrangles seeing only one another, but a few of us see the other creatures as well, such as the songbirds that are resting for a day or two before resuming their migrations.
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