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Reptile conference draws hundreds of herpetologists to KU

Weekend has opportunities for public to see live critters, too

The annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles kicked off Thursday at Kansas University. The university expects roughly 450 herpetology scholars from around the world to attend the conference, which runs through Sunday. By Sara Shepherd

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New science buildings rise to top of KU's budget wish list

'Major shortcomings' are costing university time, funding and recruiting power, provost says

Kansas University’s aging science buildings have “major shortcomings” — major enough that the antiquated facilities could in the future cost KU its membership in the prestigious research institution club known as the Association of American Universities, KU Provost Jeff Vitter told the Kansas Board of Regents Thursday. Moving forward with constructing new integrated science buildings — as called for in the Campus Master Plan unveiled last year — is KU’s top budget enhancement request for fiscal year 2017. By Sara Shepherd

When and from where did humans reach the Americas? KU professor co-authors study with answer

Disagreement surrounds precisely when and via what path ancient humans took to the Americas. A Kansas University professor co-authored a study, published this week in the journal Science, that provides an answer based on years of genomic sequencing: Ancestors of present-day Native Americans came directly from Siberia, and they arrived here sometime in the last 23,000 years. By Sara Shepherd

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McCollum brothers’ portraits, longtime fixtures of dorm lobby, find new homes in KU science buildings

Elmer discovered vitamins A and D; Burton pioneered method for locating oil

The McCollum brothers were born close together, attended Kansas University together, made scientific history in their respective fields together and — for almost 50 years — had their painted portraits hanging together in the KU residence hall named for them. With McCollum Hall closed and facing the wrecking ball later this year, the brothers have been split up. But instead of hanging in a lobby nook traversed primarily by freshmen of all majors, the portraits of Elmer and Burton McCollum will now overlook KU students studying their respective sciences on West Campus. By Sara Shepherd

Physicist from France to join KU's lineup of Foundation Distinguished Professors

Kansas University is importing its next Foundation Distinguished Professor — an expert in forward and diffractive physics — from France. Christophe Royon is research director at CEA-Saclay, or the French Atomic Energy Commission. He is scheduled to join KU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy in January 2016.

Regents OK greenhouse for microbiology research at KU

Kansas University plans to build a greenhouse on West Campus to support the work of one of its new Foundation Distinguished Professors, considered a world leader in soil microbiology. By Sara Shepherd

Of mice and machines: Old, new technology mix in genomic research at KU Medical Center

A pairing of next-generation and century-old research methods is helping scientists at Kansas University Medical Center learn more about genetic disorders in children. The new is a roughly $1 million machine that can sequence a person’s DNA in as fast as two days. The old has been used in labs for a century or more: watching mice run mazes. By Sara Shepherd

KU professor named one of first Carnegie fellows

The Carnegie Corporation of New York has selected a Kansas University professor as one of the first recipients of its new fellowship for social sciences and humanities. Greg Cushman, associate professor of history and environmental studies, is one of 32 scholars chosen from more than 300 nominees for the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship inaugural class.

Kansas Herpetological Society to host field trip near Russell this weekend

The Kansas Herpetological Society will host a reptile-, amphibian- and turtle-counting field trip for the public this weekend near Russell. The free event will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Lasada Sporting Clays and Hunting Service, 3721 183rd St. near Russell, president of the Center for North American Herpetology Travis Taggart said in a news release. Participants will begin arriving at Lasada’s camping areas throughout the day Friday.

KU engineers work to remove obstacles for small commercial drones — literally

Commercial drones are raring to hit the skies and check crops, film movies, chase police suspects, inspect bridges, deliver medicine to remote areas and drop online purchases at your doorstep. But with fleets of drones unleashed, what will keep them from crashing into things — including each other? Collision avoidance technology is one of the big obstacles to gaining federal approval for commercial use of small unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. And some Kansas University engineers are working on it. By Sara Shepherd

Butterfly researchers set up shop in Lawrence

• History was made Wednesday in Lawrence, and it was all due to some winged visitors making their way through town. Princeton University professor and biologist Martin Wikelski is using radio transmitters to track the journeys of monarch butterflies in ...

Lawrence pay growth slows

In today's news: Wage, salary increase behind U.S., state averages in ’07; KU researcher detects missing link in spider evolution. In sports: Taylor named Big 12 Rookie of the Week

Scientists: Kan. faces dangers from rising CO2

Expect clouds with a bit of drizzle this morning. Temperatures will rise this afternoon as the sun comes out. Expect a high in the lower 50s. Temperatures will reach nearly 60 degrees on Thursday with winds from the southwest, but ...

A tour of the Natural History Museum's amphibian and reptile collection

Natural History Museum curator Rafe Brown talks about KU's amphibian and reptile collection. The collection is one of the biggest in the country.

Rafe Brown's most recent research trip to the Philippines

Rafe Brown, curator of herpetology at the Natural History Museum, discusses his most recent trip to the Philippines, where he collected about 400 amphibian and reptile specimens. He traveled there under a National Science Foundation grant to document as many species as possible of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, along with their parasites.

Ed Taylor's herpetology research while at Kansas University

Ed Taylor is known as the father of Philippine herpetology, which is the study of reptiles and amphibians. Taylor spent his whole teaching career at KU while not out in the field. He discovered many species, a few of which are still housed in the Natural History Museum.

Lawrence Teacher Headed to Galapagos

Southwest Junior High teacher Lisa Ball will spend two weeks in the Galapagos Islands as part of a Toyota International Teacher Program. She's part of a team of 24 teachers searching for environmental solutions.

Biosecurity Research Institute - keeping clean

It might be called the "Get Naked Room" but it's not nearly as much fun as it sounds. Just like surgeons, researchers at the K-State Biosecurity Research Institute have to follow a set of protocols before entering labs where they studied some of the most dangerous animal diseases in the world. Scott Rusk, director of BRI, explains the process that entails lots of showers and outfit changes.

Biosecurity Research Institute - training room

Not just anyone can enter the labs where vials of dangerous animal diseases are studied. Before researchers can do work on these highly secured areas, the must first go through training. BRI Director Scott Rusk talks about what they have to learn.

State Fossil One Step Closer to Reality

State Representative Tom Sloan (R), Lawrence, has announced plans to introduce legislation designating the Xiphactinusas the state fossil. Kansas fossil hunter Alan Detrich gave Sloan a petition with 3,000 names in support of the designation.

Hurricane in a box in Lawrence to stay

A chamber that can produce hurricane-like conditions has found a permanent home in Lawrence. The chamber can be used to test new building materials.

KU student awarded for work in green chemistry

A KU doctoral student earned a national award for his work in green chemistry. Madhav Ghanta, a 24-year-old student from India, was one of two people to win the award.

Stanford professor talks climate at KU

A Stanford professor and author spoke to students at Kansas University about the politics behind climate change Monday. Stephen Schneider believes science is a full contact sport.