In the News

  • Capturing Extra Energy From the Sun: Harnessing Hot Carriers for High Efficiency Solar Cells

    Perovskites may sound like menu items at your favorite Eastern European restaurant, but they serve up tasty options for those trying to extract more energy from solar cells. Two-dimensional perovskites offer even more flexibility for scientists to fine-tune those structures, which could mean more efficient, longer-lasting solar cells. That's the gist of new research from a team that includes Jean-Luc Brèdas, Regents Professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

    SciTechDaily, Jan 12, 2020

  • This Was the Decade Climate Scientists Stopped Being Polite

    The arrival of a fresh decade gives climate scientists like Kim Cobb, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, an opportunity to look back on the last 10 years of alarming data on climate change. The focus is now on stronger warnings and direct engagement with policy makers. “You can see evidence of it in speech patterns as scientists communicate with the public,” Cobb says. “There’s none of this business we used to have of, ‘well, ‘I’m not a policy expert.’ People are digging their stake in the ground and saying here are a couple of options.” The same message comes through in a Washington Post story that also features Cobb's insights.

    Gizmodo, Dec 31, 2019

  • To grab nectar, moths rely on split-second timing

    Simon Sponberg is back to experimenting with some of his favorite subjects: Hawkmoths. The School of Physics and School of Biological Sciences assistant professor, who studies the neuromechanics of animal movement, has tethered the large moths to video game joysticks in earlier studies to find out how the insects track targets. Now he's gathering data about just how fast the moths decide on which muscles to use as they hover near flowers. Sponberg's latest study also attracted the attention of The Scientist.

    Futurity, Dec 30, 2019

  • The physics behind how fire ants band together into robust floating “rafts”

    Many things about the animal world fascinate David Hu. He's won awards and gained attention for his studies on everything from mammal urination and defecation, to this research involving fire ants and how they build rafts out of their bodies when floodwaters rise. Hu, an associate professor in the Schools of Biological Sciences and Physics, and his team found different fluid behaviors, such as vortexes, could change the size of the fire ant raft in several ways. Hu and members of his team presented at the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics 72nd Annual Meeting in late November.

    Ars Technica, Dec 20, 2019

  • Scientists Explore How Best to Communicate About Climate Change

    Two climate change stories, two opportunities for School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Kim Cobb to share her climate expertise with readers. In this first item, Cobb is part of the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting, where scientists are given a chance to have a louder voice in the public discussion on climate change policies. A second story from Vice titled "This Decade, We Became Really Really Sure Climate Change is Real" focuses on how advances in science in technology over the past 10 years have given researchers like Cobb more insight into heat-caused coral reef damage.

    EOS: Earth and Space Science News, Dec 19, 2019

  • Susan Lozier (Photo by Renay San Miguel)

    Why is an ocean current critical to world weather losing steam? Scientists search the Arctic for answers.

    A new report warns that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, or AMOC, is one of nine critical climate systems that greenhouse-gas-fueled warming is actively pushing toward a tipping point....A big limitation in scientists’ ability to pinpoint precisely what’s going on with the AMOC is the lack of long-term observations throughout the current’s route....An important new array called OSNAP (Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic) began installment in 2014 between the southern tip of Greenland and Scotland near where the current makes its deepest dive and picks up southward speed. But it’s too soon to see ongoing trends in the AMOC’s strength, says program director Susan Lozier, a Georgia Tech oceanographer.

    National Geographic, Dec 2, 2019

  • Kim Cobb

    Has El Nino Become More Intense In The Industrial Age?

    In a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, data revealed that El Niños have become more intense in the Industrial Age. For more insight on the study, I reached out to Professor Cobb, the study’s principal investigator and Georgia Power Chair and ADVANCE Professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s (Georgia Tech) School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. She said,  "This record has been 20+ years in the making...." The study was also covered by the Times of India, the World Economic Forum, and IFL Science

    Forbes, Dec 1, 2019

  • Kim Cobb drills corals underwater in the tropical Pacific

    Air travel is a huge contributor to climate change. A new global movement wants you to be ashamed to fly.

    Scientists are having a hard time overlooking their own air travel emissions. Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has curbed her air travel by 75 percent. “I really started thinking about my carbon footprint after Trump was elected,” she said. “Doing my climate science and donating to the right candidates was never going to be enough, even if you took that to scale.” She created a spreadsheet to track her personal carbon footprint and found that flying formed the dominant share of her emissions. “By the end of 2017, 85 percent of my carbon footprint was related to flying,” she said.

    Vox, Nov 30, 2019

  • Peter Webster

    Why are floods hitting eastern and central Africa?

    Hundreds of people have been killed by devastating floods that have hit large parts of eastern and central Africa. Torrential rains have swept across the region after a shift in temperature between the eastern and western shores of the Indian Ocean. The phenomenon is called ‘Indian Ocean Dipole’ or ‘Indian Niño’. Peter Webster, Professor Emeritus of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, explains why it is happening.

    BBC, Nov 29, 2019

  • Kim Cobb honored with 2020 Hans Oeschger Medal

    Choosing Not To Fly Home For The Holidays, For The Climate's Sake

    "We subsidize our fossil fuel economy," says Kim Cobb, professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech. "When we do that, we're keeping these prices artificially low." The Air Transport Action Group, a nonprofit that represents the global airline industry, predicts that net aviation carbon emissions in 2050 will be halved from 2005 amounts, through the eventual use of sustainable aviation fuels and small-scale use of electric aircraft. Between 2009 to 2020, the group also has a goal to continue to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5% per year. Still, Cobb says that airplanes are improving at a slower pace than other methods of transportation. "We have so many other technological fixes at our fingertips for the grid, electricity, and even cars and trucks," she says. "But this aviation piece will be a problem to stay."

    NPR, Nov 27, 2019