LA Lawns Lose Lots of Water: 70B Gallons a Year
In summer 2010, Los Angeles was losing about 100 gallons of water per person per day to the atmosphere through the evaporation and plant uptake of lawns and trees. Lawns accounted for 70 percent of the water loss, while trees accounted for 30 percent, according to a University of Utah study published in Water Resources Research. The results, based on measurements taken before Los Angeles enacted mandatory watering restrictions in 2014, shows a pattern of systemic overwatering in the city’s lawns, and a surprising water efficiency in tree cover. Further, the researchers found a correlation between water loss and household income. “The soil was so moist that plants were not limited in water use,” says Elizaveta Litvak, postdoctoral scholar and first author of the new study. “It was the maximum water loss possible.”
Faculty Spotlight: Matthew S. Sigman
Matthew S. Sigman, Distinguished Professor and Peter J. and Christine S. Stang Presidential Endowed Chair of Chemistry, is helping the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) develop highly efficient next-generation battery technologies for energy storage. Sigman and U of U colleague Shelley Minteer, along with University of Michigan chemists, are participating in the Department of Energy’s Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, to develop a better type of battery architecture for grid energy storage called redox flow batteries.
2017 College of Science Research Scholar Award
The College of Science Research Scholar Award is given annually to one graduating student the graduating class who demonstrates a record of exceptional success in research and education. From the Class of 2017, we have selected Ethan Lake, a highly-accomplished student who is graduating with bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Mathematics this year.
Physics & Astronomy
Supermassive Black Holes
Three years ago, a University of Utah-led team discovered that an ultra-compact dwarf galaxy contained a supermassive black hole, then the smallest known galaxy to harbor such a giant black hole. The findings suggested that the dwarfs were likely tiny leftovers of larger galaxies that were stripped of their outer layers after colliding into other, larger galaxies. Now, the same group of U astronomers and colleagues have found two more ultra-compact dwarf galaxies with supermassive black holes. Together, the three examples suggest that black holes lurk at the center of most of these objects, potentially doubling the number of supermassive black holes known in the universe. The black holes make up a high percentage of the compact galaxies’ total mass, supporting the theory that the dwarfs are remnants of massive galaxies that were ripped apart by larger galaxies.