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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.

U of U Research Makes Solar Cells More Efficient

Jun 10, 2014
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.

Clear Utah Skies Welcome the 'Blood Moon' Eclipse

Apr 15, 2014
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.

Legislature Approves USTAR Reforms

Mar 12, 2014
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. 

U Study: Low-Elevation Pikas Love Moss

Dec 18, 2013
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 Geologists Discover Supervolcanoes in Utah

Dec 10, 2013
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 Launches Public Wi-Fi Network in Utah

Oct 18, 2013
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.

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.

Aereo Brings Online Television to Utah

Aug 20, 2013

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.

Utah's Piece of the Webb Space Telescope Finished

Aug 15, 2013
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.

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.

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.

Google Fiber to Buy Out Provo’s Fiber Optic Network

Apr 17, 2013
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.

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.

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.

U Plans to Bring Science to Utah Prisons

Mar 19, 2013
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.

Robert Gendler: www.robgendlerastropics.com

Astronomers at the University of Utah are looking for volunteers of all kinds to participate in the Andromeda Project. 

University professors need help examining thousands of images of the Andromeda Galaxy generated by the Hubble Space Telescope.  Anil Seth is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy. He hopes hundreds of volunteers will help his team identify star clusters in the photos.

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