Science News

The magma that feeds volcanoes beneath Earth’s surface is a mix of solid particles, liquid melt and gas bubbles. Successfully predicting whether lava from an erupting volcano will ooze out slowly or in a sudden and potentially deadly explosion has long vexed scientists.

EEG experiment led by Andrew Goldman

Skilled improvisers were better than musicians with limited improvisational experience at distinguishing between chords that can be used interchangeably in a piece of music and those that cannot, says a new study led by Andrew Goldman, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University (pictured). 

Skilled improvisers were better than musicians with limited improvisational experience at distinguishing between chords that can be used interchangeably in a piece of music and those that cannot, a new study by Columbia researchers finds. The results suggest that musical improvisation, like so many other skills, improves with practice as the brain learns to categorize musical structures in a new way.

Researchers set out four microphones like this one in the foothills of Alaska's Brooks Range to record songbird calls over five breeding seasons. In a new study, they describe an automated tool for sifting through thousands of hours of recordings to estimate when migratory birds arrive en masse in the Arctic. (Photo credit: Heather Greaves)

In a new study, scientists describe a way to quickly sift through thousands of hours of field recordings to estimate when songbirds arrive at their Arctic breeding grounds. Their research could be applied to any dataset of animal vocalizations to understand how migratory animals are responding to climate change.

Elena Aprile leads the XENON collaboration, which has built the world’s largest and most sensitive device yet to look for evidence of weakly interacting massive dark matter particles, or WIMPs. (Symmetry magazine)

Elena Aprile, a physics professor at Columbia who is leading the world’s most sensitive search yet for dark matter, will receive the American Astronomical Society’s 2019 Berkeley Prize.
hydra image with neurons labeled with a green fluorescence indicator

Researchers show how an algorithm for filtering spam can learn to pick out, from hours of video footage, the full behavioral repertoire of tiny, pond-dwelling Hydra. In the above image, hydra's neurons are labeled with a green fluorescence indicator. (Yuste Lab, Columbia University)

Researchers show how an algorithm for filtering spam can learn to pick out, from hours of video footage, the full behavioral repertoire of tiny, pond-dwelling Hydra. By comparing Hydra’s behaviors to the firing of its neurons, the researchers hope to eventually understand how its nervous system, and that of more complex animals, works.
NYC street tree with guard

In a new study, Columbia researchers find that street trees with protective guards soaked up runoff water six times faster than trees without guards. (Rob Elliott, Columbia University)

In a new study, Columbia researchers find that street trees with protective guards soaked up runoff water six times faster than trees without guards.
In a new study in Science, researchers predict a rising number of asylum seekers to the European Union as global temperatures increase.
Tufa Dinku, a researcher at Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society, is working to fill Africa's climate-data gaps by combining satellite measurements with sparse on-the-ground weather-station data. Improved weather and climate forecasts can help farmers and epidemiologists increase crop yields and limit the spread of malaria and other infectious diseases.
New technology adapted to cheap DNA sequencers can rapidly identify people and cells from their DNA.

New technology adapted to cheap DNA sequencers can rapidly identify people and cells from their DNA. Here, researcher Sophie Zaaijer demonstrates from a NYC rooftop how easy DNA-authentication can be.

Researchers have developed a method to quickly and accurately identify people and cell lines from their DNA. The technology, described in the latest issue of eLife, has a wide range of applications, but its most immediate use could be to flag mislabeled or contaminated cell lines in cancer experiments.