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Science Top Stories

  • Rockport Milky WayConsortium for Dark Sky Studies

    The University of Utah has awarded formal recognition to the Consortium for Dark Sky Studies (CDSS), the first academic center in the world dedicated to discovering, developing, communicating and applying knowledge pertaining to the quality of the night skies. The CDSS is an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research group based in the College of Architecture and Planning at the U. The consortium of over 25 university, industry, community and governmental partners will research the global issue of light pollution, and the public health, economic and environmental impacts of the so-called “disappearing dark.”

  • Wave Ripples"Field Patterns" As A New Mathematical Object

    University of Utah mathematicians propose a theoretical framework to understand how waves and other disturbances move through materials in conditions that vary in both space and time. The theory, called “field patterns,” published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society A. Field patterns are characteristic patterns of how disturbances react to changing conditions. Because field patterns exhibit characteristics of both propagating waves and localized particles, field pattern theory may answer some of the questions posed by quantum mechanics, in which objects can be treated as both particles and waves. First author Graeme Milton further posits that field patterns could describe the natures of the fundamental components of matter in the universe.

  • Pearl SandickFaculty Spotlight: Pearl Sandick

    Pearl Sandick, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, is attempting to unravel the mystery of the dark matter in the Universe. “I work on theoretical particle physics – mainly models of new physics that can help explain dark matter, which is known to exist from its gravitational interactions but is otherwise a complete mystery,” says Sandick. Nearly 85% of the matter in the Universe is so-called dark matter, with the rest being normal matter, the stuff that makes up planets and stars.

  • Ross Milton works in the glove box used to keep nitrogenase in an oxygen-free environment.Flipping the Switch on Ammonia Production

    Nearly a century ago, German chemist Fritz Haber won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for a process to generate ammonia from hydrogen and nitrogen gases. The process, still in use today, ushered in a revolution in agriculture, but now consumes around one percent of the world’s energy to achieve the high pressures and temperatures that drive the chemical reactions to produce ammonia. Today, University of Utah chemists publish a different method, using enzymes derived from nature, that generates ammonia at room temperature. As a bonus, the reaction generates a small electrical current. The method is published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

  • Rare Black-Maned Ethiopian Lion Rare Black-Maned Ethiopian Lion Caught on Video

    What would you do if you suddenly ran into the king of beasts on a dark road in Ethiopia? Scream? Run? Faint? Not Çağan Şekercioğlu. Instead, he took a deep breath and kept his camera rolling from inside his vehicle, capturing a rare video of an Ethiopian lion. (See 15 intimate portraits of lions.) Şekercioğlu, a National Geographic Explorer and ornithologist at the University of Utah, recently traveled to the Bale Mountains National Park to study the long-term effects of climate change on birds. On the long drives between birding sites, he also conducted mammal road surveys.

  • Matthew SigmanMatt Sigman Receives ACS Award

    Matthew Sigman, Distinguished Professor & Peter J. Christine S. Stang Presidential Endowed Chair of Chemistry with the University of Utah has been awarded the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, "For his creative, seminal work in synthetic organic chemistry, especially his innovative contributions to the Wacker oxidation and Heck reaction."

  • Bethany Buck-KoehntopU Chemist Revealing Mechanics of Cancer

    More than one million people in the United States develop cancer each year. However, two in every three people diagnosed with cancer today will survive at least five years, thanks to basic scientific research and the tireless work of the American Cancer Society. Bethany Buck-Koehntop, assistant professor of chemistry at the U, is part of this effort. She is using a multidisciplinary approach of structural biology, biochemistry, molecular biology and cellular biology to investigate the role of certain proteins in DNA expression and regulation within the cell.

  • Michael ZhaoMath Student Awarded Prestigious Churchill Scholarship

    Michael Zhao, Salt Lake City native and senior in mathematics pursuing an honors degree at the University of Utah, has received the prestigious Churchill Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Zhao becomes one of only 15 students nationally to receive this award and is the second Churchill Scholar for the U.

  • Ken Golden drills a sea ice core to measure fluid permeability of the porous ice, as Chris Polashenski clears away the excess snow and ice.Arctic Melt Ponds Form When Meltwater Clogs Ice Pores

    When spring comes to the Arctic, the breakup of the cold winter ice sheets starts at the surface with the formation of melt ponds. These pools of melted snow and ice darken the surface of the ice, increasing the amount of solar energy the ice sheet absorbs and accelerating melt. A team including University of Utah mathematician Kenneth Golden has determined how these melt ponds form, solving a paradoxical mystery of how a pool of water actually sits atop highly porous ice. Their results are published in Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans.

  • Nick GibbsAlumni Spotlight: Nicholas Gibbs

    Nicholas Gibbs, BS’82, Mathematics, grew up close to the U. His family’s home was just two blocks north of campus, and summer days were spent riding bicycles between classroom buildings and construction sites that would later be University landmarks.

Last Updated: 12/21/16