Eureka!: beaker briefs

Research highlights from the desk, lab and field

By Marcene Robinson (BA ’13)

The New Law of the Jungle

Two physicists and a primatologist may have a second career in urban jungle planning. Using Newton’s Laws of Motion, they simulated how chimpanzees grouped and dispersed in small areas. The chimps behaved as atoms would in a confined space, moving based on attractions (food, sex) and repulsions (competing chimps).

Physics researcher Surajit Sen and physics doctoral candidate Matthew Westley with National Institute of Advanced Studies (Bangalore) primatology researcher Anindya Sinha

Bad Luck Bills

Your favorite football team have a tough season? Maybe it's their schedule. Researchers uncovered disparities in NFL scheduling, finding that several unlucky teams played well-rested opponents coming off a bye week or a Thursday game more often than others. From 2002-14, the Bills were the unluckiest of all.

Engineering doctoral candidate Niraj Pandey, engineering alum Kyle Cunningham (BS ’14), and engineering researchers Murat Kurt and Mark Karwan

Male Pride

The Kardashians may rule the selfie, but men are more conceited, regardless of age. A study examining the forms of narcissism (authority, grandiosity, entitlement) found that men were the more entitled and assertive gender, while both sexes were equally vain. The researchers attribute the differences to gender stereotypes and expectations.

Organization and human resources researcher Emily Grijalva

Guileless Grandpas

The grumpy old man may be a myth. Researchers found that the more we age, the more trusting and, thus, happier we become. The possible reasons: a smaller, closer social circle and a desire to give back. The possible downside: a higher risk of exploitation from scams and fraud.

Psychology researcher Michael Poulin