Creating intelligent robots has proved far more challenging than Star Trek may have led us to believe. But the UA’s robotics team has found success by looking for inspiration from a surprising source — smart, talented insects. 

Yes, insects. Houseflies, dragonflies, even a moth, which can drive a vehicle nicknamed the Mothbot.

The UA is at the forefront of a branch of neuroscience that could soon lead to a flying robot that can smell, hear, touch, and, most important, see with the acute compound eyes of the insect world.

The early 1970s was a time of precipitous change: the Beatles were breaking up; Vietnam was exploding; four students were killed during a protest at Kent State, another nine wounded by Ohio National Guardsmen; the Watergate scandal emerged; and the lead singer of the Doors, Jim Morrison, was found dead in a bathtub in Paris. Bye-bye, Miss American Pie.

In April 2014, the University of Arizona publicly launched Arizona NOW, the largest and most ambitious fundraising campaign in the UA’s history with the goal of raising $1.5 billion in support of students and innovative thinkers and to further the UA’s reach. Everyone anticipated success, but no one imagined that one year later we would already have raised nearly $1.2 billion. 

If you’re reading this, your brain weighs about three pounds; that’s a little more than the average cantaloupe. Three pounds may not sound like much, but as a percentage of body mass it’s comparatively enormous. A sperm whale’s brain, for example, is as big as a beagle — but it’s tucked in a 30-ton frame. 

Acclaimed UA harpist Carrol McLaughlin has played her harp in concert halls around the world, from Japan to Brazil, from New York to London. But one day in June 2012, she hauled her massive instrument into a decidedly different performance venue: the intensive care unit at the University of Arizona Medical Center.

Alfred W. Kaszniak guides his students through an exercise: mindfully eating raisins, one at a time. 

“Some of you may be thinking, ‘Why am I doing this? This is dumb,’” he says. But he urges them to suspend judgment.

Slowing down is at the core of contemplative traditions and practices like yoga, meditation, tai chi, deep listening, and mindful eating, all of which have been growing in popularity.

Food is a powerful force for the health of the body and the brain. The brain needs energy in the form of glucose, amino acids (the building blocks of protein), and an assortment of vitamins and minerals to operate. Here are a few tips for dietary choices to protect and promote brain health.

The most important step toward protecting your brain’s health? Get started! It’s never too late to make healthy changes to your lifestyle, and even small changes can have a big impact.

Student-athletes ease themselves onto padded tables as athletic trainers probe and prod and wrap long, beige bandages around twisted ankles. 

Here, in the training room in McKale Center, a sports medicine team of physicians and trainers treat the whole student-athlete, and Amy Athey, the UA’s new director of clinical and sport psychology, is part of that team.


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