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Latest University of Toronto Stories

2011-11-15 19:27:08

There´s definitely something to be said for first impressions. New research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests it can take just 20 seconds to detect whether a stranger is genetically inclined to being trustworthy, kind or compassionate. The findings reinforce that healthy humans are wired to recognize strangers who may help them out in a tough situation. They also pave the way for genetic therapies for people who are not innately sympathetic, researchers said....

Image 1 - World's Most Efficient Flexible OLED
2011-11-01 09:00:44

University of Toronto materials science and engineering researchers have developed the world´s most efficient organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) on plastic. This result enables a flexible form factor, not to mention a less costly, alternative to traditional OLED manufacturing, which currently relies on rigid glass. The results are reported online in the latest issue of Nature Photonics. OLEDs provide high-contrast and low-energy displays that are rapidly becoming the dominant...

Image 1 - Bounty Of Failed Stars Found By Astronomers
2011-10-12 03:46:58

A University of Toronto-led team of astronomers has discovered over two dozen new free-floating brown dwarfs, including a lightweight youngster only about six times heftier than Jupiter, that reside in two young star clusters. What's more, one cluster contains a surprising surplus of them, harboring half as many of these astronomical oddballs as normal stars. "Our findings suggest once again that objects not much bigger than Jupiter could form the same way as stars do. In other words,...

Ancient Temples Housed People, Not Gods: Archaeologist
2011-10-07 04:46:39

Ancient structures unearthed in Turkey and thought to be the world's oldest temples may not have been strictly religious buildings after all, but rather houses for people, not the gods, according to a report in the October issue of Current Anthropology. The new claims involve buildings uncovered at Göbekli Tepe, a hilltop sanctuary on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge in southeastern Turkey.  Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute first...

2011-10-04 12:15:46

As climate change causes temperatures to rise, the number of herbivores will decrease, affecting the human food supply, according to new research from the University of Toronto. In a paper being published this month in American Naturalist, a team of ecologists describe how differences in the general responses of plants and herbivores to temperature change produces predictable declines in herbivore populations. This decrease occurs because herbivores grow more quickly at high temperatures...

Ig Nobel Awards Honor Wacky Science
2011-09-30 08:40:27

The annual Ig Nobel Prizes, an American parody of the real Nobel Prizes, which have been awarded yearly since 1991, were given out this year at Harvard University, with real Nobel Prize winners handing out the honors. The Ig Nobel Prizes awards ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. To win, scientists must “first make people laugh, and then make them think,” according to the Ig Nobel ethos. Perhaps the top honor of the evening, the biology prize, went to...

2011-09-28 14:18:12

Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that low-tech, inexpensive interventions for bedsores could improve health for long-term care residents and reduce health-care costs for the facilities that house them. For all long-term care residents, pressure reduction foam mattresses were cost-effective 82% of the time compared to standard mattresses, with average savings of $115 per resident, the researchers showed. Foam cleansers for incontinence care would be cost-effective 94% of...

2011-09-27 09:35:38

If one savings goal is a good thing, two or more should be great, right? Not really. Those who want to save are more apt to keep socking money away and more of it too, if they have just one goal in mind, shows work done in multiple countries by two researchers at the University of Toronto´s Rotman School of Management. “If you have only one goal it puts you in a more action-oriented mindset and helps you save more,” says Min Zhao, an assistant professor of marketing who...

Image 1 - Nature Offers Lessons On Harvesting Solar Power
2011-09-23 04:26:01

  Clean solutions to human energy demands are essential to our future. While sunlight is the most abundant source of energy at our disposal, we have yet to learn how to capture, transfer and store solar energy efficiently. According to University of Toronto chemistry professor Greg Scholes, the answers can be found in the complex systems at work in nature. "Solar fuel production often starts with the energy from light being absorbed by an assembly of molecules," said Scholes, the...

2011-09-19 07:58:38

Researchers from the University of Toronto (U of T), the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) and Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) have created the most efficient solar cell ever made based on collodial-quatum-dots (CQD). The discovery is reported in the latest issue of Nature Materials. Quantum dots are nanoscale semiconductors that capture light and convert it into an energy source. Because of their small scale, the dots can be sprayed on to flexible...