Science & Technology

Science news

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 The images were published in the journal Nano Letters, but the paper has since been retracted.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.

NASA

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.

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.

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. 

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.  

BYU

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.  

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.

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.

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.

Utah Paleontologists Discover New Tyrannosaurus Species

Nov 6, 2013
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.

Comcast

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.

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.

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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