Many of today’s most successful companies were created by groups of friends: Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started HP in a garage in Palo Alto; Microsoft was cofounded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, childhood friends from Lakewood, Washington; and Google established by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, part of the same Ph.D. cohort at Stanford.
Nitin Phadnis, an Assistant Professor of Biology, is trying to solve a genetics puzzle that has eluded scientists, and philosophers, for nearly two centuries – how do two species evolve from one species?
It is well known that speciation – the process by which one species splits into two – involves the evolution of reproductive isolating barriers such as the sterility or inviability of hybrids between certain populations.
Shelley Minteer, a USTAR Professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering, is flipping the switch on ammonia production. She recently published a new process to make ammonia – a valuable chemical and widely used fertilizer – in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
In nature, plants engage in a never-ending battle to avoid being eaten. Unable to run away, plant species have evolved defenses to deter herbivores; they have spines, produce nasty chemicals, or grow tough leaves that are difficult to chew. For years, scientists have assumed that herbivores and plants are locked into evolutionary competition in which a plant evolves a defense, the herbivore evolves a workaround, and so on.
Transition metal silicides, a distinct class of semiconducting materials that contain silicon, demonstrate superior oxidation resistance, high temperature stability and low corrosion rates, which make them promising for a variety of future developments in electronic devices. Despite their relevance to modern technology, however, fundamental aspects of the chemical bonding between their transition metal atoms and silicon remain poorly understood. One of the most important, but poorly known, properties is the strength of these chemical bonds -- the thermochemical bond dissociation energy.
Shanti Deemyad, an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, recently helped solve a long-standing mystery about lithium, the first element in the periodic table that is metallic at ambient conditions. Lithium, which is a key element in electronics and battery technology, has played an important role in the development of modern condensed matter theories.
The crystal structure of materials at zero pressure and temperature is one of their most basic properties. Until now, it was thought that a complex arrangement of lithium atoms, observed during cooling in the laboratory, was its lowest energy state. But the idea baffled theoretical physicists since lithium has only three electrons and therefore should have a simple atomic structure.
Davar Khoshnevisan, a Professor of Mathematics, was recently appointed as the Department Chair for Mathematics at the U. He started a three-year term on July 1, 2017. “I am honored to serve as Department Chair,” says Khoshnevisan. “We have a world-class faculty, an amazing staff, not to mention fantastic graduate students, visitors, and post docs. It will be a pleasure to work more closely with them toward our many common goals.”
On a balmy morning in late May, fifteen newly-graduated high schoolers and their families filed into the Art Works for Kids Auditorium on the University of Utah campus, greeting one another with excited chatter. The parents beamed with pride — many of their sons and daughters were the first in the family to attend college. Tino Nyawelo, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, cleared his throat in a futile attempt for the group’s attention. Failing to get it, he smiled at the crowd, thinking of his own journey to the university against overwhelming odds. He cleared his throat again, and this time won over the room.
Your body is full of math. From the constant flow of molecules in and out of your cells to the nerve signals zipping through your brain, your physiological processes can be described in terms of mathematical terms and models. It’s an approach to biology and physiology that moves from observational science into fundamental physical principles, according to some mathematicians, including the University of Utah’s James Keener. This week, Keener and his fellow mathematical biologists gather at the U for the 2017 annual meeting of the Society for Mathematical Biology. As part of the proceedings, the society will award Keener the inaugural John Jungck Prize for Excellence in Education. Keener recently spoke with @theU.
HawkWatch International and the University of Utah are partnering on two studies in the Horn of Africa: a new effort studying raptor migration over the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait in Djibouti, and a continuation of vulture extinction studies based in Ethiopia. Evan Buechley, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah, will manage the two projects in conjunction with HawkWatch International scientists and University of Utah Biology Professor Cagan Sekercioglu.