Having coffee with Jennifer Tank: Tempest in a stream

By John Monczunski

“Until you experience it, you don’t realize the pressure that can be placed on science when it has some sort of monetary repercussion,” says a Notre Dame biochemist. “Actually, our work can’t be pigeonholed either ‘for’ or ‘against’ genetically modified crops.”

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Fingerprinting the bomb to keep us safe

By John Monczunski

Antonio Simonetti is a geologist by training, a chemist by trade and a Notre Dame associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences by title. “But you can think of me as the CSI person on TV,” he says.

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A prescription to end chemo dread

By John Monczunski

Cancer patients are often ambivalent about chemotherapy. On the one hand, the powerful drugs save and extend countless lives. On the other, they may cause nausea and vomiting so debilitating that patients sometimes postpone or even stop therapy.

Since the 1990s, however, a variety of drugs have been developed that curtail chemotherapy-induced queasiness. The problem is that these medications have been ridiculously expensive. Until now.…

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Collision Course

By John Monczunski

Kelly Gleason ’98 may not have realized it, but she has been on a collision course with whaling captain George Pollard’s legacy nearly her entire life. Her experiences and interests have been drawing her inexorably to the tragedy at French Frigate Shoals.

While growing up in Santa Barbara, California, she was fascinated with the ocean and maritime history. In her teens she worked as a lifeguard, earned her scuba certification, competed on a swim team and learned long-distance ocean swimming, which she still does. In high school she saw a National Geographic

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Lightning Strikes Twice

By John Monczunski

Only three months after returning to Nantucket from the horrific disaster of having his ship sunk by a whale, surviving three months adrift and having to cannibalize his cousin to survive, Captain George Pollard Jr. went back to sea.

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Babies listen up

By John Monczunski

Babies are fantastic listeners. They may not know what you’re saying, but they pay rapt attention to language, and they are constantly looking for patterns to help them make sense of it all.

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Miserly Catholics?

By John Monczunski

Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith is leading a multiyear study aimed at learning why some folks are more generous than others. Although the work, which involves scholars from ND and other institutions, is far from complete, Smith has found one preliminary result that Catholics may find unflattering: As a group, we’re tight.

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A touch of the bubbly

By John Monczunski

We’ve always known bubbles were fun; now it turns out they’re important too. For instance, Notre Dame’s Gretar Tryggvason points out that an understanding of the ephemeral spheres is vital for the safe and efficient operation of nuclear power reactors.

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Water, water everywhere, but not enough to drink

By John Monczunski

As climate change accelerates, worldwide fresh water supplies are predicted to become increasingly stressed. However, with all that sea sloshing around, there should be enough for everybody, right? Just remove the salt. Problem solved. Well, not quite.

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12th century wisdom for the 21st

By John Monczunski

She may have lived in the 12th century, but the German mystic Hildegard of Bingen speaks to the 21st, says Margot Fassler, Notre Dame’s Keough-Hesburgh professor of music history and liturgy.

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How is the brain wired?

By John Monczunski

How the brain works remains largely a mystery. But physicists at Notre Dame’s Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications (iCeNSA), working with neuroscientists in France, have recently shed some new light on the process.

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Walling off noise

By John Monczunski

Driving around, you’ve probably noticed those tall sound barriers erected to minimize highway noise near residential areas and wondered if they work. Notre Dame’s Joe Fernando and those who live near Arizona’s East Loop 101 Freeway answer: “Not always.”

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Road Warrior app

By John Monczunski

Does the thought of merging onto the freeway cause you to break into a cold sweat? When you gun your car, hurtling down the entrance ramp, do you pray fast and furious to Everything Holy, begging for a gap that lets you ease into the flow alive and unscathed?

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Proteins: Know when to fold ’em

By John Monczunski

Life owes a lot to origami. Seriously. It’s all about the fold. As with the ancient Japanese paper art form, newly synthesized proteins bend back on themselves to become functional, three-dimensional structures.

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Protestant school graduates less political

By John Monczunski

Graduates of Protestant Christian schools place a higher value on family matters and are less likely to be engaged politically than their peers attending Catholic or nonreligious private schools, according to a recent study of Christian education in North America conducted by Notre Dame sociologist David Sikkink.

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Cool CO2

By John Monczunski

Notre Dame engineering researchers have come up with a new, green take on an old air-conditioning technology that has the potential to save money and benefit the environment.

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A cruel disease, a glimmer of hope

By John Monczunski

Niemann-Pick Type C may be the cruelest disease on the planet afflicting children. The National Institutes of Health refers to the disorder as “childhood Alzheimer’s,” and there’s no doubt the title is deserved.

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Fighting ovarian cancer

By John Monczunski

Currently, there is no reliable non-invasive test for ovarian cancer, but Notre Dame’s Crislyn D’Souza-Schorey hopes her work may one day change that, and perhaps even lead to a treatment.

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Regulate rare plant sales

By John Monczunski

Thanks to Internet sales and quick FedEx-style shipping, endangered plants these days are growing in more places they shouldn’t. And that is a big, expensive problem that needs policing, ND ecologists Patrick Shirey and Gary Lamberti say.

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No-boot compute

By John Monczunski

The age of instant-on computing could be just a click or two away. Recently, Notre Dame researchers demonstrated the feasibility of a revolutionary computer technology that uses incredibly tiny magnets to do the computing and information storage.

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Some Memory Improves with Age

By John Monczunski

The humorist Fred Allen once said, “I always have trouble remembering three things: faces, names and . . . I can’t remember what the third thing is.” The older we get, the more most of us relate to that statement. But, contrary to popular wisdom, memory – at least a certain type – actually may improve with age, says Notre Dame’s Gabriel Radvansky.…

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Wii helps stroke victims

By John Monczunski

When Nintendo’s interactive Wii game system first came out, physical therapists were quick to see the therapeutic possibilities of “virtual/actual” golf, tennis and other exercises.

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Autism and tone of voice

By John Monczunski

A recent study of nearly 100 children with autism and 100 typically developing peers conducted by Joshua Diehl, Notre Dame assistant professor of psychology, and colleagues at Yale and Harvard universities suggests their speech difficulty may be because children with autism understand meaning differently.

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