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Faculty of Arts & Science

Arts & Science News

Stories written by Sean Bettam

  • Efforts to protect marine ecosystems worldwide hampered by lack of funding, staff

    April 19, 2017 | By: Sean Bettam

    Marine protected areas (MPAs) found along coastlines and oceans worldwide are an increasingly popular strategy for protecting marine habitats and biodiversity. However, a new global study demonstrates that widespread lack of personnel and funds are preventing MPAs from reaching their full marine conservation potential.

  • Research Opportunity Program opens many doors for students

    February 28, 2017 | By: Sean Bettam

    For some Arts & Science undergraduate students, participating in the Research Opportunity Program is a chance to get a hands-on taste of academic discovery, get some solid mentoring from established scholars, and gain experience working on a research team. For others, it’s a necessary step towards a lifelong career in research.

  • Chemists uncover a means to control catalytic reactions

    December 9, 2016 | By: Sean Bettam

    Scientists at the University of Toronto have found a way to make catalysis – the use of catalysts to facilitate chemical reactions – more selective, breaking one chemical bond 100 times faster than another. The findings are described in a study published today in Nature Communications.

  • Innovation economist unpacks the recipe for big ideas

    November 24, 2016 | By: Sean Bettam

    Innovation. From boardrooms to classrooms to pundits in the media, you hear the buzzword everywhere nowadays. But what does it really mean and why do so many politicians and business leaders believe innovation is the key to prosperity and economic growth?

  • Neuroscience graduate strikes perfect balance in and out of class

    June 14, 2016 | By: Sean Bettam

    Things are going very well for Daniel Derkach right now. Aside from receiving his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and cell & molecular biology, he’s just been accepted to a master’s degree program with Dr. Cindi Morshead, a neurobiologist in the Institute of Medical Science at U of T.

  • Boosting insight into how animals see

    March 24, 2016 | By: Sean Bettam

    Humans sometimes describe eyes as the window to the soul but for most animals, eyes are all about vision and vision is all about survival. Evolutionary biologist Belinda Chang leads a lab that is devoted to understanding how animals see.

  • U of T astrophysicists play key role in detection of gravitational waves

    February 11, 2016 | By: Sean Bettam

    The team at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) detectors has observed gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of spacetime coming from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe, likely the collision of black holes. The discovery promises to open a new window into the cosmos.

  • Digital messages on vehicle windshields make driving less safe

    June 26, 2015 | By: Sean Bettam

    Augmented reality head-up displays (AR-HUDs) that present digital images on windshields to alert drivers to everything from possible collisions to smart phone activity, are meant to make driving safer, but University of Toronto researchers say they are a threat to safety.

  • Astrophysicists prepare weather forecasts for planets beyond our solar system

    May 12, 2015 | By: Sean Bettam

    “Cloudy for the morning, turning to clear with scorching heat in the afternoon.”     While this might describe a typical late-summer day in many places on Earth, it may also apply to planets outside our solar system, according to a new study by an international team of astrophysicists from the University of Toronto, York University and Queen’s University Belfast.

  • Guggenheim Fellowships deliver a hat-trick for the humanities

    April 17, 2015 | By: Sean Bettam

    From turning points in pre-Nazi Germany and the rise of eugenics in Bolshevik Russia, to traces of libel and sedition in 18th-century British literature, three promising humanities projects at the University of Toronto are getting a boost from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

  • New lobster-like predator found in 508 million-year-old fossil-rich site

    March 27, 2015 | By: Sean Bettam

    What do butterflies, spiders and lobsters have in common? They are all surviving relatives of a newly identified species called Yawunik kootenayi, a marine creature with two pairs of eyes and prominent grasping appendages that lived as much as 508 million years ago – more than 250 million years before the first dinosaur.

  • Online Icicle Atlas offers jackpot of scientific data

    March 3, 2015 | By: Sean Bettam

    “I expect to be surprised by what uses people find for it. Of course, we hope to mine the data for more scientific results — as we have only scratched the surface on that — but the non-scientific applications are just as exciting.” — Stephen Morris

  • New explanation for gold’s voyage from Earth’s crust to surface

    February 27, 2015 | By: Sean Bettam

    New research by University of Toronto geologists James Mungall and James Brenan, along with colleagues in Australia and France, suggests ore deposits of gold and other precious metals formed near Earth’s surface after floating upwards on vapour bubbles released from magma chambers deep inside the planet’s crust.

  • Recognizing U of T’s rising stars

    February 23, 2015 | By: Sean Bettam

    If winning a Nobel Prize is like winning an Oscar for lifetime achievement, the six University of Toronto scholars awarded Sloan Research Fellowhips today must feel as though they’ve been nominated rising stars for their debut films.

  • Measles management among projects boosted by national research awards

    February 17, 2015 | By: Sean Bettam

    Chemist Aaron Wheeler (on right) was awarded an E.W.R. Steacie Fellowship to support his work in the emerging field of microfluidics, while astrophysicist Jérémy Leconte received the NSERC Howard Alper Postdoctoral Prize for his investigations into the climate of planets outside our solar system and their ability to support life.

  • Global warming won’t mean more stormy weather

    January 29, 2015 | By: Sean Bettam

    A study led by atmospheric physicists at U of T finds that global warming will not lead to an overall increasingly stormy atmosphere, a topic debated by scientists for decades. Instead, strong storms will become stronger while weak storms become weaker, and the cumulative result of the number of storms will remain unchanged.

  • A&S students visit “third” Korea

    | By: Sean Bettam

    “Our visit to Seoul and then the city of Yanji in Yanbian, China was the best possible way to study issues pertaining to North Korea, besides, of course, a visit to North Korea itself,” said Victoria College student Allison Conners, one of nearly a dozen students in Andre Schmid’s historiography of North Korea course who made the trip.

  • From Tar Sands to Ring of Fire — forewarning changes to Canada’s watersheds

    January 28, 2015 | By: Sean Bettam

    The Tar Sands in Alberta, potential development in the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario, declining timber harvest and farming — human activity is transforming Canada’s landscape, yet many of the country’s aquatic resources remain unprotected, according to research by ecologists at the University of Toronto.

  • U of T cell biologists discover on-off switch for key stem cell gene

    December 15, 2014 | By: Sean Bettam

    “If we want to understand how genes are turned on and off, we need to know where the sequences that perform this function are located in the genome. The parts of the human genome linked to complex diseases such as heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders can often be far away from the genes they regulate, so it can be difficult to figure out which gene is being affected and ultimately causing the disease.”

  • University of Toronto chemists identify role of soil in pollution control

    December 3, 2014 | By: Sean Bettam

    Scientists have long known that air pollution caused by cars and trucks, solvent use and even plants, is reduced when broken down by naturally occurring compounds that act like detergents of the atmosphere. What has not been well understood until now are the relative contributions of all the processes producing such compounds.

  • Archeology students dig opportunity to get their hands dirty

    October 15, 2014 | By: Sean Bettam

    “Everything I learned about doing archeology prior to this was theoretical,” said Kaitlyn Smid, a St. Michael’s College student studying archeology and Classical civilization. “It was helpful to use the tools I learned during my studies in a true excavation. I learned much more than I had expected.”

  • Hope for African Farmers

    August 26, 2014 | By: Sean Bettam

    How do you stop a killer plant that wastes thousands of acres of crops each year? If you are cell & systems biologist Peter McCourt, you try to trick the ruthless weed into committing botanical suicide.

  • “Killer sperm” prevents mating between worm species

    July 30, 2014 | By: Sean Bettam

    The classic definition of a biological species is the ability to breed within its group, and the inability to breed outside it. A study published in the journal PLOS Biology offers some important clues about the evolution of barriers to breeding.

  • New fossil find pinpoints the origin of jaws in vertebrates

    June 12, 2014 | By: Sean Bettam

    Jean-Bernard Caron, an associate professor in the Departments of Earth Sciences and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, has uncovered a remarkable piece in the puzzle of the evolution of vertebrates.

  • University of Toronto biologists pave the way for improved epilepsy treatments

    June 6, 2014 | By: Sean Bettam

    University of Toronto biologists leading an investigation into the cells that regulate proper brain function have identified and located the key players whose actions contribute to afflictions such as epilepsy and schizophrenia. The discovery is a major step toward developing improved treatments for these and other neurological disorders.