Two LSU researchers have won a $250,000 grant to probe the origins of the universe.

Parampreet Singh, an assistant professor in the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, and Peter Diener, assistant research professor in the LSU Center for Computation & Technology and in Singh's department, submitted a proposal hoping to answer questions about the earliest state of the university and won the grant funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

The foundation awarded more than $4 million in research grants to 20 scientists worldwide.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is making another push to get people who worked on the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil disaster cleanup to enroll in a long-term health study.

Dr. Dale Sandler, chief of the agency's epidemiology branch, said Tuesday that more than 29,000 people have enrolled so far. But, she says, the goal is to get 35,000 to 40,000 people signed up before enrollment in the study ends Dec. 31.

The Advocate reports enrollment started March 2011.

The National Institutes of Health says it will relocate 110 of its chimpanzees from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center and to stop using the animals for biomedical testing.

The Advocate reports that the plan was announced Friday.

The move comes as NIH decides how best to implement recommendations that call for more stringent standards on biomedical research using chimpanzees, considered the closest relative to humans in the animal kingdom.

The headlines on the press releases that started showing up yesterday, here at The Salt certainly got our attention. Just one sample: "BREAKING NEWS: New Study Links Genetically Engineered Food to Tumors."

A study at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans has found that the popular dietary supplement ginkgo biloba doesn't improve mental function in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Neurologist Jesus Lovera did the study on 120 people because an earlier, smaller study had seemed promising. Ginkgo is taken by many people who have the disease, which attacks the myelin that insulates nerve fibers. About 40 to 60 percent of multiple sclerosis patients develop problems with memory or other cognitive functions.

The Shreveport-Bossier Astronomical Society is sponsoring a free star party Saturday, offering the last chance to see Saturn until next summer.

The Times reports the show will go on from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Ralph A. Worley Observatory on Louisiana Highway 175.

Organizers plan viewing of star clusters, nebula and galaxies as well as the focus on Saturn — weather permitting.

A free moon map and sky map will be given to visitors.

Scientists studying long-term effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill are looking for 15,000 more people who worked on the cleanup, even for one day.

Nearly 25,000 people already have signed up for what the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says is the largest study ever of long-term effects in oil spill workers.

Lead researcher Dale Sandler tells The Courier that it's been hard to find people who helped with the cleanup, because many have moved and changed phone numbers.

The LSU AgCenter will hold a field day Aug. 16 at the Sweet Potato Research Station in Chase, La.

AgCenter research and extension faculty members will lead tours highlighting the foundation seed program as well as breeding, production and pest management research.

Resident coordinator Tara Smith says the breeding program will highlight two varieties released earlier this year.

Other field day topics include improving production efficiency, the best growing practices for the fresh and processed sweet potato markets and production economics.

In 2008, just a few days before the Democratic presidential primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, a large group of Pennsylvania voters got a very unusual phone call.

It was one of those get-out-the-vote reminder calls that people get every election cycle, but in addition to the bland exhortations about the importance of the election, potential voters were asked a series of carefully constructed questions: