The scope of research at CU-Boulder is far ranging, from studying the birth of the universe and the evolution of the solar system to charting global climate change, from defining the myth and reality of the American West to searching for ways to transform how energy is produced and utilized. Questions researchers seek to answer rely on collaborations that link basic and applied research in new ways. The result of these efforts is evident in robust research productivity, influential publications, dynamic student involvement, and federal research support—but most importantly in new knowledge that serves the greater good.
The Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) is an interdisciplinary
research-and-development effort between CU-Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. With the creation of RASEI, CU joins several other major private and public universities in advancing solutions aimed at producing energy economically from renewable sources, decreasing reliance on foreign oil, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and using energy more efficiently.
CU-Boulder, Colorado State University, the Colorado School of Mines, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory established an unprecedented partnership
to develop renewable energy technologies. The Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory members are studying solar, wind, and geothermal energy; biofuels produced from crops and forest products; and hydrogen fuel cells.
CU-Boulder, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and two other local universities established the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels.
Known as C2B2, its mission is to become the world's leading center for research, education, and innovation involving integration of renewable energy sources into the chemical and fuels industries.
The Center for Energy and Environmental Security at the University of Colorado Law School works to develop practical strategies and solutions for moving international society toward a global sustainable energy future.
The Center for Research and Education in Wind (CREW) was established as the newest center of theColorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory. The center is headquartered at CU-Boulder. The collaboratoralso has centers in biorefining and biofuels andsolar photoconversion
The BioFrontiers Institute at CU supports interdisciplinary research and collaborations between researchers at all University of Colorado campuses. BioFrontier's collaborative research teams provide significant seed money for biotechnology research. This funding has led to many promising new treatments and the rapid growth of Colorado's biotech industry, helping to create 15 new companies based on CU-Boulder technology.
The Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the University of Colorado is a joint enterprise between CU-Boulder and the Anschutz Medical Campus, where teaching and research focus on developing ways to make drugs more stable, better methods of delivering drugs to patients, and more detailed characterization of complex drug products.
Natural and Physical Science
CU-Boulder's Institute of Behavioral Science (IBS) is a research institute that provides a setting for interdisciplinary and collaborative research on problems of societal concern. By engaging faculty from all the social and behavioral sciences at the university, IBS encourages work that transcends disciplinary boundaries.
The Natural Hazards Center serves as a national and international clearinghouse of knowledge concerning the social science and policy aspects of disasters.
The center collects and shares research and experience related to preparedness for, response to, recovery from, and mitigation of disasters.
Help may be on the way for millions of people suffering from chronic pain. Linda Watkins, a professor and researcher in CU-Boulder's Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, is developing a revolutionarygene therapy that could stop chronic pain for months at a time.
A tiny RNA molecule created by a molecular, cellular, and developmental biology team at CU-Boulder is the smallest RNA enzyme ever known to performa cellular chemical reaction and could be a big step toward understanding the origin of life.
JILA is a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. As one of the nation's leading scientific institutes, JILA supports
an eclectic and innovative research program that ranges from the small, cold world of quantum physics through the design of precision optics and atom lasers to the processes that shape the stars and galaxies. JILA researchers are leaders in atomic, molecular, and optical science. Construction is underway on a laboratory expansion.
Hang "Hubert" Yin, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is studying the Epstein-Barr virus,which benignly infects about 90 percent of all humans,but is also at work in various types of lymphomas. His"high-risk, high-reward" research project—high risk because it challenges the way cancer science is currently being done, and high reward because of its potential for saving lives—combines chemistry, biotechnology development, and computer science to build a new tool to probe the inaccessible proteins that play pivotal roles in biological processes for information.
Physics department professors Jamie Nagle and Edward Kinney are part of a team that created the world's hottest temperature matter ever measured in the universe—250,000 times hotter than the sun's interior. The experiment held at the atom smasher at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York is recreating the conditions of the universe a few microseconds after the Big Bang.
The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), located in the CU Research Park onthe East Campus, focuses on science; full-cycle spacescience programs; inclusion of students in research andmission operations; and building a reputation foroutreach to schools, journalists, and the public.LASP's ability to blend space science with hardware design, development, and implementation while engaging university students in the process makes it particularly unique among university-based space centers. LASP has participated in missions to every planet in the solar system.
In January 2009, CU-Boulder students won first place in a national competition for nanosatellite design, earning a rare opportunity to launch their winning satellite within the next two years. The winning satellite, called the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer, or DANDE, is designed to measure variations in the upper atmosphere that create drag on orbiting satellites.
A team of CU-Boulder students and professionals from CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric andSpace Physics (LASP) is operating the Kepler spacecraft from the LASP Space Technology Building following Kepler's launch in March 2009 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to hunt for Earth-like planets in other solar systems.
The AeroSpace Systems Science and Engineering Initiative (AS3E) seeks to address some of the most challenging and critical problems in earth and space science and to create stronger connections between engineering and the sciences. The initiative will combine climate and environmental research conducted from Earth orbit with space weather research, planetary exploration, astronomy, and astrophysics. AS3E brings together scientists from aerospace engineering sciences, astrophysical and planetary sciences, and atmospheric and oceanic sciences under one interdisciplinary umbrella.
Arts and Humanities
Every April, CU-Boulder presents the Conference on World Affairs, which is free and open to the public.Launched in 1948, the popular annual gatheringbrings intellectuals, political pundits, journalists, artists, and others from across the country to campus to discuss and debate a wide range of issues.
The Stan Brakhage Symposium, already a tradition in the less-traditional world of avant-garde filmmaking, was hosted for the sixth year by CU-Boulder. The symposiumwas created to honor the legacy of the late Professor Stan Brakhage, a non-narrative filmmaker considered to be one of the most important figures in 20th-century experimental film.
The Colorado Shakespeare Festival presents a selection of plays every summer and is rated as "One of the top Shakespeare festivals in the U.S." by Time Magazine.
The festival features advanced students in the CU-Boulder theatre and dance department and also showcases professional artists, including past performers Val Kilmer and Annette Bening.
The Center for Humanities and the Arts (CHA) serves as a focal point for humanistic research, creative work, and artistic performance at CU-Boulder. Each year, CHA selects a theme for its activities and provides $500,000 in graduate fellowships. The theme for the 2010–11 academic year is "China."
TrailerWrap, a design/build class project launched in the College of Architecture and Planning, has received numerous awards for its innovative approach to sustainable and affordable design of mobile homes. The goal is to provide simple and affordable solutions to improve the condition of mobile homes—addressing lack of comfort, inefficiency, and poor aesthetics. Trailer
Wrap comes in an affordable kit that can be easily assembled.
An journalism initiative is examining the nature and evolution of religion in the media age. Religion is of growing social, cultural, and political importance, and all types of media are playing a central role. The Center for Media, Religion, and Culture—one of four such centers across the globe—involves faculty from a range of disciplines at CU-Boulder and links with scholars around the world.
During the 1990s, immigration reached record highs and crime rates fell more precipitously than at any time in U.S. history. And cities with the largest increases in immigration between 1990 and 2000 experienced the largest decreases in rates of homicide and robbery, according to research by Tim Wadsworth, assistant professor of sociology. His findings contradict much of the public rhetoric about the relationship between immigration and crime.
Materialistic people are liked less by their peers than experiential people, according to a study led by CU-Boulder psychology professor Leaf Van Boven. The study revealed that not only will investing in material possessions make people less happy than investing in life experiences, but that it often makes them less popular among their peers as well.