A&S in the News: December 10-16, 2023

Autism Research

Autism research hits the road: The Transmitter – Dec. 8

On a clear September morning in 2021, developmental psychologist Caitlin Hudac loaded about 120 pounds of luggage into her sedan for a day trip. Hudac, then assistant professor of psychology at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, isn’t usually such a heavy packer, but she was embarking on a bold new mission. Two years prior, she had received about $110,000 in grant money to collect brain activity data from people with rare mutations in two autism-linked genes. Her goal was to assess whether their responses to basic stimuli such as sound differed from those of non-autistic people or those with idiopathic autism. Then, in early 2020, COVID-19 hit, upending those plans.

Birmingham Zoo

Archaeologists begin moving graves to make way for new Birmingham Zoo exhibit: Al.com – Dec. 10

… The University of Alabama’s Office of Archaeological Research is conducting the excavation of the site in an off-limits fenced area with black shielding. The archaeologists use ground radar to identify burial sites.
CBS 42
ABC 33/40

“Slavery’s Descendants” Series

Slavery’s Descendants | Part 6 – Heirs of Power: Reuters – Dec. 13

… “When it becomes clear that there is interest in vestiges of the old South … there’s a real sense that you can sell this,” said Julia Brock, a history professor at The University of Alabama who co-wrote a book about Thomas County and surrounding areas. “There was a real interest in Black life,” Brock said. But that interest was in the nostalgia of the antebellum South, “not Black life as it was emerging into freedom.” The economic success of the country-lodge plantations recaptured some of the Hopkins family’s standing as “part of a gentry,” Brock said, conferring upon him “a central place in a new social world.”

Crab Fossil

Paleontologist discovers rare soft tissue in fossil of crab: Phys.org – Dec. 14

… In a paper recently published in Palaeontologia Electronica, Dr. Adiel Klompmaker, University of Alabama Museums’ curator of paleontology, and colleagues reported on a remarkable crab with multiple mineralized soft tissues preserved. This crab lived 75 million years ago during the Cretaceous in the area of present-day South Dakota in an ancient sea known as the Western Interior Seaway.

Precision Timing

UA to bolster nation’s workforce in precision timing: Yellowhammer News – Dec. 16

A one-of-a-kind graduate program at The University of Alabama will pave the way for highly-skilled professionals to enter the ranks of the critical field of precision timing. With nearly $3 million in support from the National Science Foundation, UA is offering 24 graduate school fellowships. The fellowships pay tuition and a stipend for students to concentrate in precision timing, the field of hyper-hyper accurate timekeeping traditionally based on atomic clocks.