Science & Technology

Science news

Brooks Britt / Brigham Young University

Utah paleontologists are telling the world about a quarry of fossils they’ve been unearthing on the northeastern edge of the state. It offers clues about what life was like during a mysterious period of time in the American West.

University of Utah Health Sciences

For years, he didn’t really think about it when he’d pass the Hogle Zoo on his way to work each day. But Joshua Schiffman knows now that the elephants inside offer important clues about preventing cancer.

Hogle Zoo’s African elephants trumpet on command and paint with their trunks. But you can’t see their most extraordinary trick: avoiding cancer.

Screenshot / Web Page

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is zipping past the dwarf planet Pluto. Scientists are excited about what they might learn from the data it gathers during its brief fly by.

Google Fiber

Google Fiber is one step closer to entering homes in Salt Lake City. Residents will soon see Google workers digging holes and stringing wires as they begin the construction phase of their rollout of fiber internet service.

Courtesy photo / BLM

An active dinosaur excavation site will be opened for public tours on Friday. The Bureau of Land Management Utah is partnering with the Burpee Museum of Illinois, to conduct guided tours at a quarry in Wayne County.

Photo Credit: Dan Hixson/University of Utah College of Engineering

Engineers at the University of Utah are developing a device that could significantly increase the speed of computers.

Credit: “Windows into the Earth,” Robert B. Smith and Lee J. Siegel

A team of seismologists, including four from the University of Utah, revealed research this week that shows the Yellowstone supervolcano is connected to a magma chamber that is more than 11 times the size of the Grand Canyon.

File: University of Utah College of Engineering

Researchers in the University of Utah Department of Bioengineering announced Monday that they’re receiving a $1.4 million dollar grant to continue developing a bionic hand.

Scientists at the University of Utah have found that high-fructose corn syrup is nearly twice as deadly to female mice as regular table sugar.

Turkey Germs Could Lead to New Antibiotics

Nov 26, 2014
Scott Bauer / Wikimedia Commons

  Some of the turkeys raised for your Thanksgiving dinner can resist common infections – and that’s helped scientists at Brigham Young University to a discovery that could lead to new treatments for disease in people. 

Turkeys raised on poultry farms are susceptible to an infection called synovitis that causes pain in the joints.  But BYU microbiology Professor Rich Robison says some turkeys don’t get it, thanks to a unique strain of a germ called staphylococcus epidermidis.

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

A chemical engineering student at the University of Utah will not be receiving his doctorate after investigators determined that he fabricated data in an academic publication. But his senior co-author has been cleared of wrongdoing.

University of Utah investigators found that graduate student Rajasekhar Anumolu manipulated images of microscopic structures called nanorods. The images were published in the journal Nano Letters, but the paper has since been retracted. Jeffrey Botkin is the Associate Vice President for Research Integrity at the university.

Zaniac courtesy photo

A Utah company that specializes in after-school science and technology courses is offering a new class, but this one is just for girls. Zaniac starts its new gender-specific computer programming course Monday. It will include the same material as traditional Zaniac programs, but will be taught by female instructors and only available to girls. The company’s president Sidharth Oberoi speaks to KUER’s Andrea Smardon.

Photo Credit: Dan Hixon, University of Utah College of Engineering

University of Utah engineers have developed a better a better bomb sniffer, that they hope will soon be in the hands of public safety officials.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

As many as a thousand genes may contribute to the risk for autism. That’s according to a new study by the Autism Sequencing Consortium published his week in the journal Nature. In the largest study of its kind, researchers examined DNA samples from more than 14,000 individuals, including several hundred Utah families. The result was that they dramatically expanded the list of genes identified with autism spectrum disorder.

University of Utah

A University of Utah astronomer has discovered that there might be a lot more supermassive black holes in the universe than previously thought.

A supermassive black hole is a black hole that is at least a million times larger than the mass of the sun. They’re found at the center of most large galaxies, including our own Milky Way galaxy.

Anil Seth is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Utah. In a new study, he and his colleagues discovered one of these supermassive black holes somewhere they’ve never found one before, in an ultracompact dwarf galaxy.


A massive solar flare has erupted from the sun and is sending geomagnetic disturbance and solar radiation straight at the earth. But you shouldn't be worried, and you might even want to grab your camera.

Bill Murtagh is the program coordinator at the National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center. He says the geomagnetic disturbances and increased solar radiation the Earth will see Friday and Saturday aren’t really a health concern, but they’ll still have impacts.

courtesy photo

  A University of Utah communication professor says popular social media platforms are analyzing your internet use in ever more sophisticated ways.  And he thinks there are ways to make that job harder.

Utah Valley University has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to attract and retain science and engineering students. UVU officials say they will use the money to increase the number of local graduates who can fill the demand for high tech work.

This year, the number of computer science majors at UVU is going to grow almost 30 percent. That’s according to Michael Savoie, Dean of Technology & Computing. 

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.

Volunteer 'Ambassador' Receiving NASA Honor

Jul 18, 2014
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.

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.

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.

Moths Invade Utah

Jun 6, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Kennecott Slides Caused Earthquakes

Jan 6, 2014
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.

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.