Fast Molecules: Amherst to House Sought-After Spectrometer

Submitted on Thursday, 9/4/2014, at 1:42 PM

by Bill Sweet

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Elizabeth Young has received a $399,900 grant from the National Science Foundation that will establish Amherst College as a go-to destination for scientists on the forefront of energy research and other disciplines measuring ultrafast molecular dynamics.

Innovative Program Helps Students Tackle Science, Math

Submitted on Thursday, 8/14/2014, at 9:52 AM

By Peter Rooney

On a summer afternoon in an Amherst College chemistry lab, new friends and incoming first-year students Natalia Dyer of Queens, N.Y., and Alejandra Possu of Houston take a break from writing a lab report.

They’re part of a group of admitted Amherst students selected to participate in an innovative science and math program that introduces them to some of the toughest calculus and chemistry problems they’ll face during their first year at Amherst.

NIH Grant for Graf to Continue Brain Circuitry Research

Submitted on Monday, 7/14/2014, at 11:36 AM

Here’s a humbling notion: the nervous system of a fruit fly larva and that of a human are remarkably similar.

Ethan Graf, assistant professor of biology at Amherst College, calls this similarity “evolutionary conservation,” and he’s been making full use of it since 2005. That’s when he first began studying the synapses, or connections, between neurons in the brain and nervous system of Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly.

In the Chemist's Kitchen: Teaching Science with Food

Submitted on Wednesday, 3/26/2014, at 5:09 PM

by William Sweet

In Patricia O’Hara’s popular new introductory chemistry course, the periodic table of elements includes nitrogen, mozzarella and prosciutto.

“Molecular Gastronomy and Food Science: From Test Tubes to Taste Buds” looks like a cross between a cooking class and a science lab—and that’s the point, said O’Hara, the Amanda and Lisa Cross Professor of Chemistry.

Biologist, students use hummingbirds, flowers to unwrap evolution’s mysteries

Submitted on Thursday, 3/6/2014, at 11:07 AM

By Peter Rooney

In a jungle-like enclosure the size of a basketball court on one of the Caribbean’s most ecologically diverse islands, Ethan Temeles, Amherst College's Thomas B. Walton Jr. Memorial Professor of Biology, has devised an audacious experiment he hopes will help answer one of evolution’s most vexing questions once and for all.

Amherst College Physicists Create Synthetic Magnetic Particle

January 29, 2014

Physics Professor David Hall and Postdoctoral Associate Michael Ray.
Editor's note: High-resolution photos are available upon request.

AMHERST, Mass.—Nearly 85 years after pioneering theoretical physicist Paul Dirac predicted the possibility of their existence, an international collaboration led by Amherst College Physics Professor David S. Hall ’91 and Aalto University (Finland) Academy Research Fellow Mikko Möttönen has created, identified and photographed synthetic magnetic monopoles in Hall’s laboratory on the Amherst campus.

Churchill Scholar: Battling Famine with Bioengineering

Submitted on Tuesday, 2/18/2014, at 3:33 PM

AMHERST, Mass. -- Christopher Finch ’14, Amherst College’s latest recipient of a Churchill Foundation Scholarship, intends to apply science to benefit a hungry planet, much in the way he conducted research to help fellow hockey players avoid injury.

The scholarship will allow the Steamboat Springs, Colo., native to conduct research in plant bioengineering next year at the University of Cambridge in England. For Finch, this award comes toward the end of an Amherst career noted for excellence in science and its application to real-world issues.

Starting at the Top: Eric Lax '13 and Trext

Submitted on Tuesday, 2/18/2014, at 3:35 PM

by William Sweet

Like many members of the recently graduated Class of 2013, Eric Lax is starting the summer in a new job. Unlike many of his counterparts, he’s starting at the top.

Putting aside his original plans to find an entry-level job for two years and go on to an economics Ph.D. program or business school, Lax is starting the summer as chief executive officer of Trext, Inc., a software firm that he founded with three students from Hampshire College.

Soda Pop Money and Smart Phones: Improving Access with Scholly

Submitted on Tuesday, 2/18/2014, at 3:34 PM

by William Sweet

Getting help with your college expenses just became as easy as picking up a phone, thanks in part to the work of Bryson Alef ’14.

Amidst all the news about increasing higher-education costs, Scholly, a new smartphone app that helps students sniff out the best scholarships, has been catching some attention, not to mention clicks at the App Store and Google Play. Alef, a double major in computer science and psychology, designed the app.

Citizen Science app’s first mission: track a sexually transmitted wildflower disease that intrigued Darwin

July 9, 2013 • Article by Peter Rooney

AMHERST, Mass. – Combine a new app with a sexually transmitted disease in wildflowers that a prominent scientist calls the best model system for studying disease and what do you get?

Hopefully, Citizen Scientists from around the world who will help Michael Hood, a biology professor at Amherst College, with the Wildflower Health Watch, a project to understand more about how disease is spread in natural populations.

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