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Latest Washington University Stories

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2008-04-28 16:30:00

Converting light to energy by day, moonlighting at nightResearchers at Washington University in St. Louis have gained the first detailed insight into the way circadian rhythms govern global gene expression in Cyanothece, a type of cyanobacterium (blue-green algae) known to cycle between photosynthesis during the day and nitrogen fixation at night.In general, this study shows that during the day, Cyanothece increases expression of genes governing photosynthesis and sugar production, as...

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2008-04-25 08:40:00

Wabash Valley Fault - 'New Kid on the Block' To the surprise of many, the earthquake on April 18, 2008, about 120 miles east of St. Louis, originated in the Wabash Valley Fault and not the better-known and more-dreaded New Madrid Fault in Missouri's bootheel.The concern of Douglas Wiens, Ph.D., and Michael Wysession, Ph.D., seismologists at Washington University in St. Louis, is that the New Madrid Fault may have seen its day and the Wabash Fault is the new kid on the block.The earthquake...

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2007-12-19 19:06:38

San Francisco -- Enceladus, the tiny satellite of Saturn, is colder than ice, but data gathered by the Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan has detected a hot spot that could mean there is life in the old moon after all. In fact, for researchers of the outer planets, Enceladus is so intellectually hot, it's smokin'. The heat being generated on the moon's south pole at a hot spot is enough to eject plumes of ice and vapor above Enceladus. These plumes, according to William B....

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2007-12-14 18:20:00

Jupiter's moon Europa is just as far away as ever, but new research is bringing scientists closer to being able to explore its tantalizing ice-covered ocean and determine its potential for harboring life. "We've learned a lot about Europa in the past few years," says William B. McKinnon, professor of earth and planetary sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. "Before we were almost sure that there was an ocean, but now the scientific community has come to a consensus that there most...

2007-11-06 12:59:34

ST. LOUIS -- A group of Washington University researchers will head to Antarctica later this month to learn more about the continent's geologic origins. The group will install 10 seismographs that will provide data to help other scientists build better climate change models, Douglas Wiens, a Washington University professor and team leader said. "We have no idea what's beneath the ice," Wiens told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "No one has even taken any rock samples. It's thought that when the...

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2007-11-06 08:53:42

As reservoirs of valuable information go, nothing beats the sun. This sphere of heat and energy holds 99.9 percent of the solar system, saved in all original proportions after planets and meteorites formed. Analyzing the mix of hydrogen, oxygen and noble gases found in the sun can answer one of the biggest questions of the universe: How did our solar system evolve? Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis and a large team of colleagues marked the beginnings of that odyssey by...

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2007-08-01 17:46:37

Cool place, hot bodies Picture a cool place, teeming with a multitude of hot bodies twirling about in rapidly changing formations of singles and couples, partners and groups, constantly dissolving and reforming. If you were thinking of the dance floor in a modern nightclub, think again. It's a description of the shells around dying stars, the place where newly formed elements make compounds and life takes off, said Katharina Lodders, Ph.D., research associate professor of earth and...

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2007-04-16 12:50:00

Earth and planetary scientists at Washington University in St. Louis are paving the way for a smooth landing on Mars for the Phoenix Mission scheduled to launch in August this year by making sure the set-down literally is not a rocky one. A team led by Raymond E. Arvidson, Ph.D., James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences, has been analyzing images taken from a NASA instrument to make sure that the Phoenix spacecraft lands in a spot on the Red planet's...

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2007-02-12 11:10:00

Yogi Berra supposedly suggested that when you come to a fork in the road, you are supposed to take it. That's just what planetary scientists studying the rich data set from the Galileo Mission to the outer solar system are doing now. They're taking the fork. According to William B. McKinnon, Ph.D., professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, the community suffers from an embarrassment of riches, because each of the moons of Jupiter...

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2007-02-12 11:09:15

A seismologist at Washington University in St. Louis has made the first 3-D model of seismic wave damping -- diminishing -- deep in the Earth's mantle and has revealed the existence of an underground water reservoir at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean. It is the first evidence for water existing in the Earth's deep mantle. Michael E. Wysession, Ph.D., Washington University professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, working with former graduate student...