Research Roundup: From Hummingbirds mating to Saturn's moon

ASU's research and State Press reports from the last few weeks

Recent ASU research news

ASU researchers map ultrafast movement of proteins

In order to closely study the movement of the proteins found in every living organism, scientists needed an X-ray with a lot more speed than normal equipment. Last year, an X-ray with that kind of speed called the European X-ray Free-Electron Laser was tested.

Now, ASU researchers are at the forefront of this exciting new technology. They have partnered with physicists internationally and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to present the EuXFEL's first molecular mapping of the movement of proteins.

This capability has game-changing potential as being able to closely study the swift movement of proteins can allow scientists to see how shape-changing can fail, which causes diseases. 

School of Life Sciences study how hummingbirds attract mates

In a new study from the School of Life Sciences, researchers documented the lengths male hummingbirds go to find mating partners.

Many hummingbirds position themselves against the sun in the perfect manner to show off their colorful feathers. Hummingbirds without bright feathers will even do extravagant dances to find mates.

ASU planetary geologist contributes to first geologic map of Saturn's largest moon

New research that The School of Earth and Space Exploration's David Williams contributed to shows that Saturn's largest moon, Titan, has a lot of similarities to Earth. A geologic map he helped create showed that Titan has dunes, lakes, plains and other comprehensive geological features. 

Titan is also the only other planetary body in our system where there is evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid. 

Recent news from the science, business and technology desk

ASU partners with Nucco Brain to enhance classroom experience

A partnership between ASU and the corporate content creation studio Nucco Brain has brought virtual and augmented reality into ASU Prep Digital classrooms. This new technology could eventually be brought to ASU college classes in order to provide a more engaging, personalized style of learning. 

“Education is very far behind in adopting new technology,” said Adam Blumenthal, vice president of Nucco Brain. “And if we can apply the same productive value and sophisticated technology that we use in advertising for our work for education, that is a major difference between us and any competition.” 

ASU's Acoustic Ecology Lab brings sound to the center of climate, health and more

ASU's Acoustic Ecology Lab is using sound-related research to solve problems in climate change, the health industry and for the overall betterment of people's life. 

“Sounds gives you an immense amount of data,” said Garth Paine, associate professor at the School of Arts, Media and Engineering.

ASU student-led team sends "Phoenix" satellite to space

With the help of NASA, the ASU student-built satellite "Phoenix" was launched into space aboard a rocket on Nov. 2.

“Just watching it go up really gave me an inspiring sense of ability. If we could finish this project even with its really big hurdles … all the other projects seem little," said Trevor Bautista, a computer engineering master's student and software team member.


Reach the reporters at rvatti@asu.edu and follow @rvatti42 on Twitter.

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