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Faculty of Arts & Science

Arts & Science News


  • 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

  • Undergrads dig for dinos in Alberta’s badlands

    March 2, 2015 | By: Jessica Lewis

    “Our project is turning up interesting new specimens. We have yet another new species of horned dinosaur that we found and will continue to dig this coming summer. Hopefully we’ll be able to continue the undergrad research experience for many years to come.” — David Evans

  • 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.

  • Pamela Klassen wins major German grant

    February 2, 2015 | By: Paul Fraumeni

    Klassen will conduct a major study exploring “how the contested — and sometimes celebrated — categories of religion and multiculturalism shape, provoke and complicate projects of public memory”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • European fire ant impacts forest ecosystems by helping alien plants spread

    December 24, 2014 | By: Kim Luke

    An invasive ant species that has become increasingly abundant in eastern North America not only takes over yards and delivers a nasty sting, it’s helping the spread of an invasive plant species. The ants are very effective dispersers of invasive plant seeds and new research suggests that together they could wreak havoc on native ecosystems.

  • 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.”

  • PhD student wins inaugural Amartya Sen Prize

    December 8, 2014 | By: Elaine Smith

    Hamish Russell never expected that his research on tax avoidance would lead to financial gain in the form of the inaugural Amartya Sen Prize, named for the Nobel laureate renowned for his work in welfare economics.

  • 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.

  • Governor General Award-winning student advances women’s rights in Quebec

    November 13, 2014 | By: Jessica Lewis

    “In both my work and volunteering experience, I have been made aware of how gender, race and other social divides impact a person’s ability to grow, speak up and succeed. As a PhD candidate in anthropology, I am also trained to develop an more perceptive eye on how systemic discriminations and inequalities operate in people’s daily life.” — Emilie Nicolas

  • 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.”

  • Sea snails provide glimpse of profound socio-political change in ancient Greece

    September 23, 2014 | By: Barrett Hooper

    Hexaplex trunculus. It sounds like a Harry Potter spell, although there’s nothing particularly magical about this species of sea snail common in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Still, these tiny purplish mollusks are an important piece of an enormous puzzle that’s been perplexing Carl Knappett for years.

  • Robot road trip

    September 2, 2014 | By: Jenny Hall

    Meet hitchBOT, the creation of three Ontario researchers, including Frank Rudzicz of U of T’s Department of Computer Science and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute of the University Health Network.

  • 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.

  • Social tolerance key to liberal democracies

    August 25, 2014 | By: Kim Luke

    A new study by University of Toronto and University of Tübingen researchers suggests that Islam is not as much of an impediment to liberal democracy as is often thought.

  • Of healing and henbane: what a medieval sedative says about modern medicine

    | By: Jim Oldfield

    Nicholas Everett — an associate professor in the Department of History and an expert in the history of medicine — argues that many ancient and medieval treatments, which were often mixtures of plants, minerals and animal products, were neither ineffective nor placebos — although he admits a few were lethal.

  • ScienceScape a bonanza for biomedical researchers

    August 19, 2014 | By: Elaine Smith

    Sometimes an invention makes so much sense that the public is amazed it hasn’t been created previously. Such is the case with the scientific research knowledge graph and web platform constructed by ScienceScape, a start-up company founded in 2010 by Sam Molyneux, a University of Toronto PhD student in biomedical physics, and his sister, Amy Molyneux, a web developer and technical project manager.

  • U of T scientist to play key role on Mars 2020 Rover Payload Mission

    August 5, 2014 | By: Kim Luke

    NASA announced last week that the next rover, being sent to Mars in 2020, will carry seven highly sophisticated instruments to conduct unprecedented science and exploration technology investigations on the Red Planet. The instruments were selected from 58 proposals received from researchers and engineers around the world and Rebecca Ghent of the University of Toronto’s Department of Earth Sciences is on the team behind one of the carefully chosen winners: a ground-penetrating radar known as RIMFAX.

  • Exploring how changes to Arctic air will impact climate

    July 31, 2014 | By: Elaine Smith

    It’s summer, but in the Arctic that translates to temperatures around 0 degrees Celsius, rather than sunbathing weather. Nonetheless, you’ll hear no complaints from chemists Jonathan Abbatt and Jennifer Murphy, and their graduate students, who spent a slice of July and August surrounded by sea ice as they studied the chemical processes involved in atmospheric change at the molecular level.

  • “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.