Science

From physics to social studies, and paleontology to computers, science is important to our everyday lives. This page is a collection of such topics and stories.

nps.gov

For his first movie about a mouse, Walt Disney showcased Mickey navigating the river waters by steamboat. But for Dr. Laurie Dizney, the filming of mice happened in the dry Utah desert. Her work shows how using mice and cameras could help protect people from hantavirus and other deadly diseases.


Utah Museum Highlights Modern Uses of Ancient Mummies

Jan 17, 2016
leonardo.org

Mummies of the World is on view at The Leonardo museum in Salt Lake City, with recently discovered mummies from Hungary, as well as mummies from Ancient Egypt and South America. 


Algae As A Source Food For Livestock

Sep 28, 2015
Diego Mendiola

Friday, in a follow up to Growing Algae From Fracking Wastewater As A Biofuel, the research team at USU is finding new ways to feed the world as well, they have found that algae is high in protein and in nutrients.

 

In a small, shanty greenhouse a churning machine spins disks and barrels covered in black green colored algae. The researchers here are testing the most efficient way of growing these multipurpose organisms.

USU Professor Launches Exploration Of Northern Lights

Feb 9, 2015
Jamie Adkins/NASA

In the early hours of Jan. 28, NASA launched a rocket from Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska as part of the Auroral Spatial Structures Probe mission. The rocket’s trajectory was aimed at the Aurora Borealis in an effort to learn more about how solar events affect earth’s atmosphere. Attached to the rocket were six payloads consisting of probes built at the Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University. There to lead the mission was Charles Swenson, director of the Center for Space Engineering at USU.

USU Opens New Synthetic Spider Silk Facility

Feb 6, 2015
Evan Hall

Thursday saw the opening of the USTAR Bioproducts Scale Up facility on the Innovation Campus of Utah State University. The facility was designed for the mass production of material and chemicals derived from renewable biological materials. One of the major areas of interest at the research facility will be synthetic spider silk.

According to Scott Hinton, Director of the Synthetic Biomanufacturing Institute at USU, synthetic spider silk derived from the silk of the banana spider has a wide variety of applications.

How Climate Change Is Altering Western Winters

Feb 5, 2015
NASA GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER

You don’t need me to tell you that the winter in Utah has been rather lackluster this year. While our mountain peaks are still white, any snow we have seen in the valleys has all but melted off. According to Simon Wang, assistant director of the Utah Climate Center, this is due to how weather patterns coming inland from the Pacific Ocean have changed.

Jennifer Pemberton

On a cold and clear night in Logan there’s a low-hanging crescent moon, Venus is shining bright above the horizon, and on the side of the Caine Performance Hall on the main campus of Utah State University, there’s an animated waterfall of light. This is Particle Falls, a large-scale work of public art created by Andrea Polli. Polli was invited to display Particle Falls as part of ARTsySTEM, a semester long project initiative to integrate Art & Design with the STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.


NASA Sends USU-made Probes Into Northern Lights

Jan 29, 2015
rocket launch
NASA

A rocket launched yesterday morning with help from Utah State University in partnership with NASA. The Oriole IV rocket blasted off just before 4 a.m. at the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska as part of NASA's Auroral Spatial Structures probe mission.

The rocket's trajectory was aimed for the aurora borealis, better known as the northern lights, in an effort to understand more about solar events and how they affect satellites and other instruments.

prof
Jon Kovash / Utah Public Radio

On the Logan main campus, work is underway on a permaculture teaching garden, which will demonstrate alternatives for dealing with storm water in the city. A USU Professor is now doing the same thing in Moab.

Like many Utah towns, Moab struggles to conserve water. There’s still a lot of Kentucky bluegrass, with the sprinkler runoff flowing down the gutters, heavy irrigation for hobby alfalfa farms, aggressive storm drainage, and the city still sells tap water to oil and gas drillers. Enter Dr. Roslynn Brain, USU professor in Sustainable Communities. During the last year Brain has helped launch an effort to build “rain gardens” all over Moab. She says she was inspired by local bee keeper Jerry Shue.

"He had an idea to put in pollinator gardens throughout the town. Then we found out that people with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the BLM, there are individuals throughout the community of Moab who are interested in these concepts. And so we all met together and came up with the idea of collaborating on an initiative to put in bee-inspired gardens. There’s already a strong movement in Moab of gardeners and of sustainability. People seem to understand these concepts," Brain said.

More than a decade after it went missing, British scientists say they have found a small spacecraft on the surface of Mars.

ct.gov

This year’s flu has been hitting the nation especially hard, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has listed the virus’ hold on Utah as widespread. In Utah County alone there have been nine flu-related deaths.

To help counteract the illness, hospitals across the state have been turning to a Utah-developed technology that has drastically cut the time it takes doctors to learn whether at patient is sick with the flu, or not.

Earthquakes Felt Near Nephi Over The Weekend

Dec 29, 2014
earthquake seismology
University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Small earthquakes were reported in Juab County over the weekend. The U.S. Geological Survey says two small earthquakes larger than 3.0 magnitude hit central Utah late Sunday night about eight miles southwest of Nephi.

The first earthquake of 3.7 magnitude occurred at 11:08 p.m. Just before midnight, an aftershock registered at 3.2. The shakes were felt in Nephi but it wasn't clear Monday if any damage or injuries were reported.

A ship full of marine scientists is floating over the deepest part of the world: the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. They're sending down probes to study life in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

This week the researchers are targeting the two deepest spots in the trench — the Sirena Deep and the Challenger Deep — which each extend down about 7 miles beneath the ocean's surface.

Utah's First Wild-Hatched California Condor Dies

Dec 17, 2014
Fish and Wildlife Service

In a Wednesday press release, program biologists from The Peregrine Fund and Zion National Park announced Utah’s first wild-hatched California condor since the reintroduction of the bird to California and Arizona has died.

Chris Parish, Condor Program Director for The Peregrine Fund, which manages the wild Arizona-Utah flock, said investigators were able to determine the status of the fledgling by observing parental visits to the cave it inhabited.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

On the roof of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., in a large plastic tank, a sea otter mother named Abby floats with her adopted pup, known as 671.

For up to nine months, Abby will raise her little adoptee, and when 671 is ready, she will be released into a protected inland salt marsh called Elkhorn Slough, just off Monterey Bay.

That's where 671 will set to work to preserve the estuary, says Tim Tinker, who tracks otters for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Geminid Meteor Showers Light Up Both Hemispheres

Dec 14, 2014

The annual Geminid meteor shower dazzled Earthlings around the world late Saturday and early Sunday.

Pieces of gravel and dust from a "rock comet" called 3200 Phaethon shot across the sky and lit up discussion boards from NASA.gov to Twitter — for those who could tear their eyes away long enough to type.

Dinosaurs And Autism On Friday's Access Utah

Dec 12, 2014
pageresource.com

Paleontologist Kenneth Carpenter is the museum director of the Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum and author or co-author of several books on dinosaurs and Mesozoic life. His main research interests are armored dinosaurs as well as the Early Cretaceous dinosaurs from the Cedar Mountain Formation in eastern Utah. He joins us on Friday’s Access Utah.

Then Science Questions takes a look at autism with Temple Grandin. 

Making The Human Condition Computable

Dec 10, 2014

For centuries, the central challenge in health care was ignorance. There simply wasn't enough information to know what was making a person sick, or what to do to cure them.

Now, health care is being flooded with information. Advances in computing technology mean that gathering, storing and analyzing health information is relatively cheap, and it's getting cheaper by the day. As computers continue to fall in price, the cost of sequencing a single person's genome is tumbling, too.

There's a simple test that scientists could use to make sure the cells they're studying in the lab are what they think they are. But most of the time, academic scientists don't bother.

That omission is a problem. One study found that between 18 percent and 36 percent of all cell lines have been misidentified. And this kind of mistaken identity is one reason that many results from experiments run in scientific labs can't be reproduced elsewhere.

Study: Young Utahns Harmed By Incarceration

Dec 9, 2014

A newly released study from the Justice Policy Institute shows that Utah spends over $78,000 per year to incarcerate one young adult. According to Marc Schindler, Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, that money is not well spent.

“If my child was in trouble with the law and somebody said to me, ‘you can have $80,000 to try to provide whatever you want to get your child back on the right track,’ I think the last thing I would choose would be to lock them up,” he said.

The national average cost to incarcerate a juvenile offender is nearly $150,000 a year. However, Utah taxpayers pay one of the lowest amounts to incarcerate its youth. While much of the incarceration is unnecessary, the state has a positive track record in offering alternatives for its delinquents, Schindler said.

Tim Garrett

In the 2010 Doctor Who Christmas Special, the Doctor, a time traveling alien with a special place in his heart for humanity and the downtrodden, must convince a Scrooge-like character to save a crashing spaceship by turning off a thick cloud belt he controls.

The clouds are teaming with aquatic life including large, scary sharks. And as it turns out, they can be frozen by a voice at the right frequency.

While flying sharks are not real, it turns out frozen clouds are.

Humanity has snapped detailed portraits of planets and moons throughout our solar system. But there's one missing from the album: Pluto.

Although Pluto was discovered in 1930, it has remained stubbornly hard to photograph. The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the best pictures, and frankly, they stink.

Orion Mission A Delayed Success

Dec 5, 2014
Orion launch
nasa.gov

"Five, four, three, two, one, and liftoff, at dawn! The dawn of Orion and a new era of American space exploration,” NASA commentators exclaimed Friday morning at the inaugural launch of the Orion spacecraft.

The craft finally took to the skies Friday after a postponed launch. It was scheduled to take off early Thursday, but due to reported gusty winds and a malfunctioning fuel valve, the mission was grounded until conditions cleared.

Orion circled the earth twice, reaching about 20,000 mph during its journey back to earth.


Paleontologist Excavates Vandalized Dinosaur Fossil

Dec 3, 2014
Dinosaur National Monument

Three months after a dinosaur fossil was found vandalized in Dinosaur National Monument, the mineralized bone has been excavated and taken to Brigham Young University for repair. On Tuesday, BYU paleontologist Brooks Britt traveled to the monument outside of Vernal to remove the damaged humerus from the rocks along the Fossil Discovery Trail.

Dan Johnson, chief of interpretation and visitor services at the monument, said the damaged juvenile sauropod bone was among the most prominent fossils on the trail.

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