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Latest Duke University Stories

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2010-07-06 11:49:03

A study that examined 30 years of standardized test data from the very highest-scoring seventh graders has found that performance differences between boys and girls have narrowed considerably, but boys still outnumber girls by more than about 3-to-1 at extremely high levels of math ability and scientific reasoning. At the same time, girls slightly outnumber boys at extremely high levels of verbal reasoning and writing ability. Except for the differences at these highest levels of performance,...

2010-07-01 12:00:16

A team of researchers from Duke University and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has found a central part in the machinery that turns plants green when they sense light. In the Rube Goldberg world of cellular mechanics, this key player turns out to be a garbage truck. Light is so essential for plants that they have two different systems to take advantage of it, explains Meng Chen, an assistant professor of biology at Duke. There's the familiar system of organelles called chloroplasts...

2010-06-30 08:30:09

The average man experiences hormone changes similar to the passive bonobo prior to competition, but a "status-striving" man undergoes changes that mirror those found in a chimpanzee, say researchers from Duke and Harvard universities. A new study published Monday June 28 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals differing hormone levels in our two closest relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees, in anticipation of competition. Chimpanzees live in male-dominated societies where...

2010-06-29 02:42:09

Even though freshwater concentrations of mercury are far greater than those found in seawater, it's the saltwater fish like tuna, mackerel and shark that end up posing a more serious health threat to humans who eat them. The answer, according to Duke University researchers, is in the seawater itself. The potentially harmful version of mercury "“ known as methylmercury -- latches onto dissolved organic matter in freshwater, while it tends to latch onto chloride -- the salt -- in...

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2010-06-25 08:11:42

For a plant, light is life. It drives everything from photosynthesis to growth and reproduction. Yet the chain of molecular events that enables light signals to control gene activity and ultimately a plant's architecture had remained in the dark. Now a team of researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Duke University have identified the courier that gives the signal to revamp the plant's gene expression pattern after photoreceptors have been activated by light. "Light is...

2010-06-18 13:41:10

Using new, whole-genome sequencing technology coupled with classic methods of genetic investigation, scientists at Duke University, along with colleagues at Johns Hopkins, have discovered two mutations in the same gene that seem to cause metachondromatosis in humans. This is a rare, heritable disease that leads to bony growths, mostly on the hands and feet. The discovery, published June 17 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, was accomplished by sequencing the entire genome of just one...

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2010-06-18 09:46:15

For decades, oceanographers have embraced the idea that Earth's ocean currents operate like a giant conveyor belt, overturning to continuously transport deep, cold polar waters toward the equator and warm equatorial surface waters back toward the poles along narrow boundary currents. The model held that the conveyor belt was driven by changes in the temperature and salinity of the surface waters at high latitudes. In a paper in the June 18 issue of Science, a Duke University oceanographer...

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2010-06-14 07:35:00

While the evolution from the Neolithic solid stone wheel with a single hole for an axle to the sleek wheels of today's racing bikes can be seen as the result of human ingenuity, it also represents how animals, including humans, have come to move more efficiently and quicker over millions of years on Earth, according to a Duke University engineer. Adrian Bejan, professor of mechanical engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering, argues that just as the design of wheels became lighter...

2010-06-02 15:41:10

Just because your mother has turned 85, you shouldn't assume you'll have to take over her financial matters. She may be just as good or better than you at making quick, sound, money-making decisions, according to researchers at Duke University. "It's not age, it's cognition that makes the difference in decision-making," said Scott Huettel, Ph.D., Associate Professor of psychology and neuroscience and director of the Duke Center for Neuroeconomic Studies. He recently led a laboratory study in...

2010-06-01 19:24:43

A team of Duke University chemists has perfected a simple way to make tiny copper nanowires in quantity. The cheap conductors are small enough to be transparent, making them ideal for thin-film solar cells, flat-screen TVs and computers, and flexible displays. "Imagine a foldable iPad," said Benjamin Wiley, an assistant professor of chemistry at Duke. His team reports its findings online this week in Advanced Materials. Nanowires made of copper perform better than carbon nanotubes, and are...


Word of the Day
callithump
  • A somewhat riotous parade, accompanied with the blowing of tin horns, and other discordant noises; also, a burlesque serenade; a charivari.
'Callithump' is a back-formation of 'callithumpian,' a 'fanciful formation' according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the English Dialect Dictionary, says 'Gallithumpians' is a Dorset and Devon word from the 1790s that refers to 'a society of radical social reformers' or 'noisy disturbers of elections and meetings.'
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