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

David Hall and Michael Ray

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.

Physicist’s Work Sheds New Light on Possible “Fifth Force of Nature”

February 21, 2013 • Article by Caroline Hanna

geoelectrons_400x267

This picture depicts the long-range spin-spin interaction (blue wavy lines) in which the spin-sensitive detector on Earth’s surface interacts with geoelectrons (red dots) deep in Earth’s mantle. The arrows on the geoelectrons indicate their spin orientations, opposite that of Earth’s magnetic field lines (white arcs). Illustration: Marc Airhart (University of Texas at Austin) and Steve Jacobsen (Northwestern University).

In a breakthrough for the field of particle physics, Larry Hunter, the Stone Professor of Natural Sciences (Physics), and colleagues at Amherst and The University of Texas at Austin have established new limits on what scientists call “long-range spin-spin interactions” between atomic particles. These interactions have been proposed by theoretical physicists but have not yet been seen. Their observation would constitute the discovery of a “fifth force of nature” (in addition to the four known fundamental forces: gravity, weak, strong and electromagnetic) and would suggest the existence of new particles, beyond those presently described by the Standard Model of particle physics.

Look Before You Text: Leah Thompson ’15 Studies Distraction

Janurary 18, 2013 • By William Sweet

“Look both ways before crossing the street.”

It’s a lesson that most of us learn by the age of 6. But according to Leah Thompson ’15, who spent this past summer studying pedestrian behavior, it’s also a lesson that many adults have managed to unlearn or ignore.

The culprit, in many cases, is the smartphone.

Professors Awarded NSF, NIH Grants

November 9, 2012

Benzodiazepines. Arithmetic dynamics. Matter at the coldest temperatures of the universe. The fundamental underlying symmetries of nature. And parasites that live on tsetse flies.

What do all of these have in common? They all are faculty research topics that have recently received significant grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) or National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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Contact

Peter Rooney
Director of Public Affairs
(413) 542-2321
prooney@amherst.edu