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- Student Attendant - Friendship School December 2, 2023
- Electronics Engineer (SEA) (Fort Huachuca, AZ) December 1, 2023
- Electronics Engineer (SEA) (Redstone Arsenal, Al) December 1, 2023
- Assistant Regional Engineer December 1, 2023
- Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer (Plant Health Trade Compliance Officer) - MO & PA December 1, 2023
- Agriculture and Outreach Specialist November 30, 2023
- Drill Core Library Inventory and Curation Specialist November 30, 2023
- Environmental Scientist (JC-404823) 12/13/23 November 29, 2023
- Biological Science Technician (Plants) November 29, 2023
- Environmental Scientist (JC-379631) 12/8/23 November 29, 2023
- Associate Governmental Program Analyst (JC-402709) 12/13/23 November 29, 2023
- Associate Governmental Program Analyst (JC-403011) 12/8/23 November 29, 2023
- Water Resource Control Engineer (JC-402975) 12/14/23 November 29, 2023
- Water Resource Control Engineer (JC-383215) 12/8/23 November 29, 2023
- Water Resource Control Engineer (JC-387165) 12/7/23 November 29, 2023
- Associate, Client Service, New York, 2024 November 29, 2023
- Biological Scientist (Quality Assurance Inspector) November 29, 2023
- Student Assistant-Engineering & Architectural Sciences (JC 404209) 12/7/23 November 28, 2023
- Youth Programs Manager November 28, 2023
- Water Resource Control Engineer (JC-404082) 12/6/23 November 28, 2023
The Faraday Lectures
Creating Holiday Reactions since 1981
Join us to celebrate the power of science with the Utah’s most explosive holiday tradition!
Friday, Dec. 9 @ 7pmSOLD OUT Thursday, Dec. 15 @ 7pmSOLD OUT Friday, Dec. 16 @ 7pmSOLD OUT
This year, the event will be held LIVE in the Henry Eyring Chemistry Building, Room 2008.
For 37 years, the U Chemistry department’s Faraday Lectures have brought the community together. Join chemistry professors Janis Louie and Tom Richmond as they perform an extraordinary series of chemical experiments that educate and entertain audiences of all ages.
The lectures are named after Michael Faraday, the discoverer of electromagnetic induction, electro-magnetic rotations, the magneto-optical effect, diamagnetism and field theory. Faraday served as director of the Royal Institute in London from 1825-1867 and enhanced its reputation as a center for scientific research and education. A gifted lecturer, he began presenting his Christmas Lectures for Children at the Royal Institute in the mid-1820s. With Faraday as their guide, audiences entered wholeheartedly into the world of science. In this tradition, the Department of Chemistry has given the annual Faraday Lectures since 1981.
Slightly more than 2,000 people currently live in Salina, Utah—just west of a 217,000-acre geological feature called the San Raphael Swell.
It’s a gateway to some of the most remote (and still yet-to-be-permanently settled) land in the Beehive State. But for Carl “Ty” Mellor, it’s been an ideal launching pad for a career in, of all things, microbial engineering. The double-major in chemical engineering and cellular & molecular biology places Mellor on the edge of a different frontier than that of the magnificent badlands of brightly colored and wildly eroded sandstone formations, populated by wild horses and etched drawings from the ancestors of today’s Native Americans.
Frontiers, after all, can be both big … and small. The deep canyons and giant plates of stone tilted upright in his hometown’s backyard are metaphors for the scientific reveals that await the young scientist who, inversely, investigates the micro universe rather than the macro one of massive geologic upheavals where he spent time as a youth camping and hiking with friends.
“In physics,” says Mellor of his time at the University of Utah, “we were going over things that happen at the micro scale which got me interested. It’s all so complex and there’s so much left to discover on how things work at that scale, and there is so much potential for solutions to real world issues.”
Considered a “non-traditional” student, the twenty-eight-year-old U senior graduated more than a decade ago from North Sevier High School in a class of 46. During that time he worked as a dishwasher, then at Little Caesar’s pizzeria with one winter at Brian Head Ski Resort, followed in his final year at an oil change/tire repair shop. Today, he is the recipient of no fewer than seven university scholarships and awards, including the Joseph T. Crockett and the Neil R. Mitchell Endowed Scholarships.
From Salina to the bench at one of America’s top research institutions might seem like a leap as far and precipitous as relatively nearby “Swasey’s Leap.” Local legend has it that Sid Swasey bet his brother Charlie that he could jump his horse over the 14-foot wide, 60-foot deep gap which Charlie proceeded to do. But for Mellor, his was a leap clearly worth making. Now embedded in the Kelly Hughes Lab at the School of Biological Sciences, he is busy co-opting the type 3 secretion system used to build flagella in salmonella to secrete proteins of interest and simplify bacterial protein synthesis.
A leap from North Sevier High School, indeed.
When asked to explain something most people don’t known about salmonella, he explains that the pathogenic bacteria is named after Daniel Salmon, the first person in the U.S. to receive a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. But, despite his adoration of a pet chihuahua named “Ace,” Mellor won’t be going to veterinary school.
“I think there is a ton of potential [for research] in aging and disease,” he says. “There is so much that we don’t understand yet about the human body. There is also potential in carbon sequestration, either by manufacturing long-term products using carbon or developing microbial carbon sinks that can sink to the bottom of the ocean, for example — possibly being able to manufacture stronger and lighter materials by mimicking the way certain enzymes have incredibly low error rates.”
The last few years have not been easy for Mellor due to the pandemic. But, perhaps surprisingly, he will tell you that he didn’t mind online classes that much. “I was working grave shifts at the time [at the U's Guest House] and was able to watch all of my lectures during downtime at work. Transitioning back to normal life has been much more difficult.”
Difficult or not, in October Mellor jumped right in to share his research poster titled “One Step Protein Purification via the Type 3 Secretion System” at the annual School of Biological Sciences' Science Retreat. His explanations to the curious as well as potentially the friendly combatant-questioner (admittedly rare), was clear, commanding and informed. Poster presentations of this kind are a sort of pay day for an undergraduate: it’s that rare moment when all the hours “at the bench,” under the ‘scope, and under the care of a principal investigator and mentor converge, and one’s scientific findings are distilled into appealing, bite-sized pieces.
As Mellor approaches graduation and graduate studies, he has some advice for his undergraduate cohort: “Keep in touch with old friends and put an effort into connecting to new groups (especially for tough classes). Get lots of fresh air and sunshine, spend some time learning time management, and remember the online skills you had to learn since[,] they’ll always be useful.”
He and his older brother Casey, whom Mellor refers to as his “hero,” still hang out together. “Scientifically, he’s the only one among my family and close friends that I can talk to about research or science in general. Everyone else’s eyes tend to glaze over almost immediately, while he’ll actively argue, ask questions, and come up with his own solutions. We share reading recommendations and talk about any new stuff that pops up in the news … . He’s always been there for me.”
You can take the boy out of Salina but you can’t take the Salina out of the man. And Ty Mellor wouldn’t have it any other way.
SRI Speaker Series Kickoff Event
Join us on Friday, November 11th for the first of many talks featured in our SRI Speaker Series!
Starting off the series is Dr. Priyam Patel - an Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department at the University of Utah whose research focuses on low-dimensional topology and geometry. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s CAREER Award, the NSF’s most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty. She is a passionate advocate for students and colleagues from historically marginalized groups, and she is committed to advancing equity and inclusion in STEM fields as well as higher education more broadly.
Bonneville Salt Flats
The race to save Bonneville Salt Flats.
In the Utah desert, a treeless expanse of pristine white salt crystals has long lured daredevil speed racers, filmmakers and social media-obsessed tourists. It's so flat that on certain days, visitors swear they can see the curvature of the earth.
The glistening white terrain of the Bonneville Salt Flats, a remnant of a prehistoric lakebed that is one of the American West's many other-worldly landscapes, serves as a racetrack for land speed world records and backdrop for movies like "Independence Day" and "The World's Fastest Indian."
But it's growing thinner and thinner as those who cherish it clamor for changes to save it.
Research has time and again shown that the briny water in the aquifer below the flats is depleting faster than nature can replenish it. As nearby groundwater replaces the mineral-rich brine, evaporation yields less salt than historic cycles of flooding and evaporation left on the landscape.
It's thinned by roughly one-third in the last 60 years. The overall footprint has shrunk to about half of its peak size in 1994. The crust keeps tires cool at high speeds and provides an ideal surface for racing — unless seasonal flooding fails to recede or leaves behind an unstable layer of salt. Racers struggle to find a track long enough to reach record speeds with only 8 miles of track compared to 13 miles several decades ago.
Scientists largely agree that years of aquifer overdraws by nearby potash mining have driven the problem, yet insist that there's no hard evidence that simply paying the mining company to return water to the area will solve it amid detrimental human activity like extracting minerals or driving racecars.
Potash is potassium-based salt primarily used throughout the world as a fertilizer for crops such as corn, soy, rice and wheat. It's extracted in more than a dozen countries throughout the world, mainly from prehistoric lakebeds like Bonneville's.
It's mined from other iconic salt flats, including in Chile, where the thickness is not shrinking in a similar manner.
In Utah, after three decades of studies examining the salt flats, nothing has slowed the deterioration. But officials are funding a new study as they try to find a solution. Researchers are seeking to pinpoint why the salt is fading and what can be done to stop it. Under a $1 million research project spearheaded by the Utah Geological Survey, scientists are gathering data to understand the effects climate change, racing, repaving the salt and operating the mine on leased federal land have on preserving the Salt Flats.
The salt is thinning as climate change drags the West into its third decade of drought, yet it's unclear how that affects the seasonal flood patterns the landscape relies on to maintain its size and footprint.
Frustration is boiling over for Dennis Sullivan, a car-builder and racer who set a land speed record in his 1927 Model T street roadster. His organization, the Salt Flats Racing Association, is convinced the potash mining company that extracts minerals from the flats is the primary reason that the aquifer is being depleted. But rather than point fingers that direction, he and other racers blame the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the area and is required by federal law to balance multiple uses and preserve it now and into the future.
To save the landscape, Sullivan says, the U.S. government needs to find $50 million over 10 years to pay Intrepid Potash, the mining company, to pour briny water it's drawn from the land back on to the flats. He bristles at seeing more time and money spent on research when to him the solution is clear.
"In the world I came from, you study something, you figure out what changes you need to make, you make the changes and then you go back and study it again to see if your changes had an effect on it," said Sullivan. "It's ludicrous to just keep studying it until you do something."
The fragile landscape has become less reliable for racers, who had to cancel "Speed Week" events scheduled for this fall after the salt flats flooded and left them without enough space to drive on.
Though racers insist the answer is obvious, scientists contend that there's no hard evidence that simply returning briny water will reverse the effects of extraction and maintain the salt flats.
Sullivan doesn't blame Intrepid Potash; it has a leasing agreement with the federal government. He says land managers haven't invested in preserving the landscape or replenishing the salt taken off of it.
Intrepid Potash did not respond to questions from The Associated Press.
Jeremiah Bernau, a geologist working on the study with the Utah Geological Survey, said the mining company has already been pouring salt and it's unclear if that's the answer.
A 2016 study found that the areas most susceptible to thinning were places where races are organized. In simple terms, it changes how water can flow through the crust, Bernau said.
"Every use is going to have some sort of impact upon it. It's just trying to rank those, understand how much that impact is and what we can do to mitigate or understand it," Bernau said on a recent tour of the area, where reporters accompanied him as he measured the thickness of the salt and depth of the aquifer.
"My work is trying to understand how is that working and what are the actions that we can do in terms of helping to preserve this landscape," he said.
Backers of the study currently underway hope, if successful, the federal government will consider returning more salt in order to preempt conflict and allow the racers and miners to continue as they have been.
If the study shows salt laydown is effective, Utah state geologist Bill Keach said he expects racers will use the information to push for federal funding to keep up the project.
In 2019, when Utah lawmakers greenlit the initiative, they allocated $5 million, on the condition that the federal government would also provide funding, to return the briny water needed to preserve the salt crust.
Rep. Steve Handy, a Republican who spearheaded the effort, said the racers' lobbyists initially suggested the federal government would meet Utah's investment with an additional $45 million, giving the program the $50 million that Sullivan and other racers say is needed to maintain the status quo.
U.S. Rep Chris Stewart, who represents the area, assured Handy his office was working to secure the funds. Without hard evidence the salt laydown would restore the crust, the $45 million hasn't materialized but Stewart said in a statement that he "remains absolutely committed to finding science-based solutions" to save the crust.
Utah clawed back the majority of the funding after it got no matching federal funds.
"They're doing what they can with $1 million, which has not spread nearly far enough," Handy said, noting that it was ultimately the job of the federal government, not Utah, to manage the land.
But while solutions and the extent to which different parties are responsible is debatable, nobody disagrees that the landscape is a jewel worth preserving. Kneeling down, the crust of fused crystals looks like popcorn. From afar, the surface is moon-like, and draws hundreds of visitors daily, some coming in brightly colored dresses at sunset in search of the perfect picture.
"The fact that you can go out here and see this vast, white expanse with such a beautiful texture on the crust. It unleashes something, maybe more primal in yourself," Bernau said, looking off into the distance.