Science & Technology

Science & Technology
10:43 am
Wed July 23, 2014

New Pioneer Mortality Rates Put Trek Deaths in Perspective

A group of Mormon pioneers at South Pass, Wyoming, circa 1859. Photo by Charles Roscoe Savage
Harold B. Lee Library

Every year on Pioneer Day, we hear about the hardships and sacrifices made by Utah’s early Mormon settlers. But a new study from Brigham Young University shows most of those who made the trek arrived in good shape. 

Statistics professor Dennis Tolley wanted his students to work on an actuarial problem, like an insurance company calculating its rates. So he turned to a database compiled by the LDS church on Utah’s pioneer handcart companies and wagon trains.

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Science & Technology
2:28 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Volunteer 'Ambassador' Receiving NASA Honor

Patrick Wiggins, NASA's Solar System Ambassador in Utah
courtesy photo

  Patrick Wiggins, who represents NASA as a volunteer Solar System Ambassador in Utah, is receiving one of the space agency’s highest honors.

NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors work to educate the public about astronomy and space exploration.  They commit to eight events a year – but the agency says Wiggins averages about 88 a year, more than a thousand since he started working in the program 12 years ago.

Wiggins says it’s something he just likes to do.

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Science & Technology
3:13 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Small Bountiful-Area Earthquake Felt Across the Wasatch Front

Epicenter of 3.3 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday
Credit File: US Geological Survey

Authorities received thousands of widespread reports of last night’s small earthquake 10 miles east of Bountiful. Katherine Whidden, research seismologist with the University of Utah Seismology Stations, says the reports were extensive because the epicenter was so close to the metro area.

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Science & Technology
3:17 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

U of U Research Makes Solar Cells More Efficient

A thin rectangular layer called a polychromat can be integrated into the cover glass of a solar panel. This layer sorts sunlight into colors can be absorbed by solar cells to increase their efficiency without increasing the cost
Dan Hixson, University of Utah

University of Utah researches have developed a thin glass film that could boost the overall efficiency of solar cells to more than 50%. To achieve the increase in efficiency researches at the U have created a film that is five times thinner than a human hair.  It can separate the broad-spectrum rays of sunlight into individual colors, sort of like a prism.

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Science & Technology
2:39 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Moths Invade Utah

An Army Cutworm Moth
Brian Grimmett

If you’ve noticed an unusual number of moths flying around inside your house or garage lately, you’re not alone. But where did they come from and should you be worried?

Utah State University entomologist Diane Alston says the invasion of the army cutworm or miller moth is mainly due to recent weather trends.

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Science & Technology
11:09 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Clear Utah Skies Welcome the 'Blood Moon' Eclipse

The 'Blood Moon' which is caused by light that is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere and reflects off of the moon.
Brian Grimmett

Last night many Utahns stayed up until the early morning hours to witness a total lunar eclipse, also known as a "blood moon" because of the distinct orange-redish color that the moon becomes during totality. This is the first of four lunar eclipses that will take place about every six months for the next year and a half.

Check out some of the pictures and a timelapse made by KUER Reporter Brian Grimmett.

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Science & Technology
9:03 am
Mon April 14, 2014

There's A 'Blood Moon' Eclipse Tonight, But Will You Be Able To See It?

This combination of 10 separate images shows the moon during a total lunar eclipse in 2011 from the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife.
Desiree Martin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 2:30 pm

It's looking like clouds will obscure Monday night's lunar eclipse for nearly all of the U.S. East Coast, but much of the West and Midwest should be able to see it.

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Science & Technology
2:28 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

U of U Seismic Stations Tracking Largest Event Since the Early 1980's

Image saved from the University of Utah Seismograph Stations showing number and strength of recent earthquake event in Yellowstone National Park.
Credit University of Utah

A series of earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park is being reported by the University of Utah Seismograph Stations that began last Thursday. The strongest temblor was Sunday morning around 6:30 with a magnitude 4.8 on the Richter scale. 

Jamie Farrell is a Post Doctoral Research Associate is the U’s department of geology and geophysics. He says in the estimated 3,000 seismic events each year in and around Yellowstone, this one stands out.

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Science & Technology
9:21 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Legislature Approves USTAR Reforms

USTAR building on the University of Utah campus
University of Utah

A bill to reform the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) is heading to the governor’s desk for his approval. The legislation comes after an audit found that the program exaggerated the number of jobs created.

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Science & Technology
3:51 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

House Approves Tax Incentives For Alternative Fueled Vehicles

Flickr: TheDigitel Myrtle Beach

A bill that could make purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle, like an electric car, a little easier on the pocket book passed out of the Utah House Tuesday.

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Science & Technology
2:48 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Kennecott Slides Caused Earthquakes

Landslides on April 10, 2013 brought down more than 160 million tons of rock and debris in the Kennecott Bingham Canyon copper mine.
University of Utah

  The huge landslides that shut down Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon copper mine last year were bad news for the company, but they’ve yielded a scientific breakthrough for researchers at the University of Utah.

  That’s a recording of the seismic waves from one of the landslides that sent 165-million tons of rock from the top to the bottom of the Kennecott mine on April 10th. 

Seismologist Kristine Pankow says what follows are two small earthquakes.

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Science & Technology
1:06 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Huntsman Cancer Institute Research Finds New Breast Cancer Metastasis Mechanism

The discovery of a new cellular mechanism of breast cancer metastasis and working therapy could reduce the spread of breast and other types of cancers in the body.
Credit File: Sarah Vaughn

Researchers from the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah have discovered a cellular mechanism that drives the spread of breast cancer, known as metastasis, to other parts of the body. 

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Science & Technology
12:29 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

U Study: Low-Elevation Pikas Love Moss

Low-elevation pikas (Ochotona princeps) in the Columbia River Gorge thrive by eating moss
Jo Varner, University of Utah

  Pikas are furry creatures related to rabbits that live in rockslide areas at the tops of mountains in the West.  They’re not often found below about eight thousand feet.  But a new study from the University of Utah has discovered how a population of pikas is thriving close to sea level.  

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Science & Technology
4:10 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

BYU Geologists Discover Supervolcanoes in Utah

BYU geologist Myron Best at the site of the discovery

Brigham Young University geologists have found evidence of some of the largest volcanic eruptions in earth’s history in their own backyard. The scientific journal Geosphere has published some of their recent findings about supervolcanoes.

Looking at the land West of Cedar City, known as Wah Wah Springs, there is no indication that there was any kind of volcano, let alone one of the largest eruptions in earth’s history. But BYU geologist Myron Best says it’s been hidden in plain sight for millions of years.  

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Science & Technology
2:51 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

U of U Biologists Surprised to Discover "Ultrafast Recycling" at Nerve Synapses

University of Utah Biologists Erik Jorgensen (left) and Shigeki Watanabe at the Biology Lab's Electron Microscope.
Credit Bob Nelson

University of Utah biologists have discovered that nerve cells work very differently and much faster than previously thought. Erik Jorgensen is a professor of biology at the U, and senior author of the study.

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Science & Technology
3:00 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Major Dinosaur Discovery in Spain has a Utah Connection

Europelta carbonensis
Lukas Panzarin

Archeologists at an open pit coal mine in Spain have discovered the most well preserved ankylosaur, ever found in Europe, but the discovery has roots right here in Utah.

Dr. James Kirkland is the state paleontologist at the Utah Geological Survey. He’s been studying dinosaurs for 40 years. Recently, he’s been working on reclassifying all of the wide, heavily armored kind of dinosaurs. So when researchers in Spain called him up to ask his help identifying newly discovered fossils, he didn’t hesitate to say yes.

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Science & Technology
6:09 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

First Annual Utah "America Recycles Day" Has Humble Beginning

First Annual Utah "America Recycles Day" by the Recycling Coalition of Utah
Credit Bob Nelson

The America Recycles Day in Utah was held today at the South Towne Expo Center. If the size of the crowd at the first annual event was any indication, Utahns are not very excited about recycling. But Brad Mertz, the Executive Director of the Recycling Coalition of Utah says using things over and over again is just the right thing to do.

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Science & Technology
4:07 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Utah Paleontologists Discover New Tyrannosaurus Species

A model of the newly discovered Lythronax argestes
Karina Puikkonen

Paleontologists working in the fossil beds of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument have discovered a new dinosaur species, a close cousin of Tyrannosaurus Rex. A new study shows the bones found are now some of the oldest in this predator’s lineage.

Mark Loewen is a Research Associate at the Natural History Museum of Utah. He shows visitors the skull and 24-foot model skeleton of a new dinosaur species with a fitting name.

"This animal which we’ve named Lythronax argestes, the name actually means 'gore king from the southwest,'" Loewen says.

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Science & Technology
2:52 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Comcast Launches Public Wi-Fi Network in Utah


Comcast is launching a new public wireless internet network that will allow its customers to connect to more than one thousand Wi-Fi hot spots across the state for free. Non-Comcast customers will be able to use the service for a small fee. At launch the spots are located at places like restaurants and parks where people like to gather. Comcast spokesman Ray Child says as time goes on the number of hotspots will only grow.

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Science & Technology
12:02 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

U and BYU Team Developing Sodium MRI Coil for More Accurate Breast Cancer Screening

Neal Bangerter, Associate Professor at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah specializing in magnetic resonance imaging.
Credit File BYU Communications

Development of new a MRI device may bring a drastic reduction in false positives during breast cancer screening. A unique team of electrical engineers and radiologists from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University have made groundbreaking improvements to current Magnetic Resonance Imaging or M-R-I techniques.

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Science & Technology
4:55 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Google Fiber to Offer 25 Provo Nonprofits Free Gigabit Internet

Google Fiber and the city of Provo are looking for 25 nonprofit organizations to join Google Fiber’s Community Connection Program. The program offers Google Fiber’s one gigabit per second internet service for free.

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Science & Technology
4:06 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

U Investigates Alleged Fraud in Chemical Engineering Department

Nano Letters, Article ASAP (DOI: 10.1021/nl400959z). Copyright 2013 American Chemical Society.

The University of Utah is investigating whether chemical engineering researchers altered images in an academic paper. The journal Nano Letters withdrew the paper on August 15th due to concerns over the integrity of the data.

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Science & Technology
4:21 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Aereo Brings Online Television to Utah

Utahns can now record and watch live television from their computers or mobile devices. Aereo Inc. launched its online television technology in the state this week. Utah is the fourth location the company has offered the service, after New York, Boston, and Atlanta.

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Science & Technology
5:00 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Utah's Piece of the Webb Space Telescope Finished

Carbon fiber composite structure built for the James Webb Space Telescope at ATK Space Systems in West Valley City, Utah
Dan Bammes

  For the past 11 years, ATK Space Systems has been working on its contribution to an advanced space telescope system.  Its carbon fiber composite structure is shipping out next week for further testing – and it’ll eventually wind up a million miles out in space. 

The James Webb Space Telescope is meant to replace the venerable Hubble Space Telescope as the most advanced astronomical system available to science.

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Science & Technology
2:32 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Discovery of New Triceratops Species Announced at the Natural History Museum of Utah

Nasutoceratops titusi discovered in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Southern Utah
Credit File: Samantha Zimmerman, Natural History Museum of Utah

Officials at the Natural History Museum of Utah announced today the discovery of a new dinosaur species related to Triceratops. Paleontologists made the discovery in the nearly 2 million acres of wilderness in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Doctor Scott Sampson led the study following the initial find in 2006. He says the Nasutoceratops titusi  was unique for an oversized nose and long, curving horns.

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Science & Technology
2:38 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

New Natural History Museum Exhibit Gives a Look Into the Eye of the Storm

Lisa Thompson shows 4th graders from Rose Creek Elementary what will happen to sandy soil during an earthquake.
Brian Grimmett

The Natural History Museum of Utah is opening a new exhibit that examines how some of the Earth’s most dangerous natural disasters happen.

At one of the several hands-on learning experiences at the new Nature Unleashed exhibit, a group of 4th graders from Rose Creek Elementary School learn about what happens to buildings built on sandy soil during an earthquake. Lisa Thompson, the manager of public programs, says she hopes hands on experiences like this one help people make an emotional connection with the powerful natural events that help shape the Earth.

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Science & Technology
5:51 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Google Fiber to Buy Out Provo’s Fiber Optic Network

Governor Gary Herbert and Provo Mayor John Curtis Cheer a Pending Agreement with Google Fiber
Andrea Smardon

It was billed as an epic announcement in Provo. Mayor John Curtis announced Wednesday an agreement to make Provo the third US city to have access to Google Fiber’s ultra-high-speed Gigabit Internet, after Kansas City and Austin. 

Google Fiber General Manager Kevin Lo stood on the roof of the Utah Valley Convention Center with the Wasatch mountains behind him, buffeted by strong winds. He promised all Provo residents would have access to free basic Internet, with the option to upgrade to speeds 100 times faster than the average American can access.

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Science & Technology
4:44 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Researcher Brings Neuroscience to Utah Foster Families

Dr. Daniel Siegel takes part in the Utah Foster Care Symposium, featuring the findings of his book, The Whole-Brain Child.

The Utah Foster Care Foundation held a Symposium Monday focused on the latest science of child brain development, and how neuroscience is helping foster families overcome trauma and attachment issues.

Foster parents need help and support, according to Mick Woolsey, Director of Education for Utah Foster Care.

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Science & Technology
4:08 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

U of U Researcher Gives a New Perspective to the Average Snowflake

A University of Utah researcher is taking pictures of snowflakes in a way that’s never been done before and the results could help forecasters better predict the weather.

If you’ve ever seen a picture of a snowflake it probably looked a lot like the paper cut-outs made every winter by thousands of first and second graders across the country: unique, but perfectly symmetrical and flat. But according to Tim Garrett, an atmospheric science professor at the U who helped develop a new way to photograph snowflakes, that image is a lie.

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Science & Technology
4:47 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

U Plans to Bring Science to Utah Prisons

Biologist Nalini Nadkarni presents a lecture on trees to prison inmates in Washington state.
Benj Drummond

The University of Utah wants to bring science and sustainability into the state’s prisons. The U is developing a project that would work with inmates on recycling, gardening, and composting among other things. It’s part of a trend toward environmental sustainability in prisons – the subject of a workshop at the university that starts Wednesday and runs through Friday. KUER’s Andrea Smardon talks to the scientist who’s working on the university’s new program, Nalini Nadkarni.

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