R U voting? A short, direct text message can help bring young voters to the polls, according to a recent study by Princeton politics Ph.D. candidate Aaron Strauss and Allison Dale, a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan. During the 2006 midterm election, Strauss and Dale monitored the effects that reminders sent via text messaging had on more than 8,000 young voters who provided cell phone numbers during registration drives. More than 56 percent of those who received messages on their cell phones turned out at the polls, compared with about 53 percent in the control group. While that may seem like a modest difference, the authors note that another factor could draw campaigns to the technology: A rough calculation of the cost of each vote generated suggests that sending text messages is far cheaper than running a traditional phone bank.

Sun-damental In August, working in an isolated laboratory beneath the mountains of Italy, a Princeton team led by physics professor Frank Calaprice gained a clearer understanding of sunshine by making the first real-time detection of low-energy solar neutrinos, according to the National Science Foundation. Calaprice, his Princeton colleagues, and a group of international collaborators detected the particles, which are produced in the core of the sun, using the Borexino detector, a finely tuned 59-foot-wide spherical device that can detect subatomic particles. The observations “essentially confirm that we understand how the sun shines,” Calaprice said in a University release. “Physicists have had theories regarding the nuclear reactions within the sun for years, but direct observations have remained elusive,” he said. “Now we understand these reactions much better.”