The University of Texas at Austin, full official name, UT or Texas for short, is the flagship institution of The University of Texas System, the largest public university system in Texas, established in 1883. Consistently ranked as one of the top public schools in the nation, it has a student population of around 50,000 -- the largest in the nation. The school has many notable academic programs, particularly in physics, Latin American studies, computer science, engineering, business, Law and public affairs, among others. Its astronomy department administrates the McDonald Observatory located in the Davis Mountains of West Texas.
The University's colors are burnt orange and white, and its official song is "The Eyes of Texas".  Its sports teams are called the Longhorns. The mascot is a Texas longhorn named Bevo. A charter member of the Southwest Conference until its dissolution in 1996, Texas now competes in the Big 12 Conference of the NCAA's Division I-A.
One of the University's most visible features is its Main Building , a 307 foot tower located in the middle of campus that graces Austin's downtown skyline. It was completed in 1937 and is traditionally lit burnt orange for various occasions , such as winning football games and graduation. It also currently houses a carillon of 56 bells, the largest in Texas. Songs are played every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:50pm local time in addition to the usual pealing of the bells every quarter hour. On August 1 1966 Charles Whitman, positioned in the tower's observation deck, shot dead 13 people and wounded many others. After the tragedy, the university bell tower's observation deck was closed to the public for two years. It was re-opened in 1968, but a number of suicidal leaps from the tower during the 1970s caused it be closed again in 1975. The tower remained closed for twenty-three years, finally being reopened in 1998.
The University is also home to the LBJ Library and Museum as well as the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. The Ransom Center's holdings include one of only 21 remaining complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible  worldwide.
Research facilities of the University include the Perry-Castaņeda Library , the McDonald Observatory , the Marine Science Institute at Port Aransas, the J. J. Pickle Research Center and Applied Research Laboratories , and the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory .