Science & Technology

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Ecologist James Ehleringer elected to National Academy of Sciences

May 4, 2016

Distinguished professor of biology James R. Ehleringer, who has pioneered applications of stable isotopes, was elected May 3 as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Ehleringer is among 84 U.S. scientist-scholars and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries elected at the Academy’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. He joins more than 20 other current […]


A crab-eating macaque, one of the many mammals that can be found on Luzon Island.

Natural History Museum of Utah to showcase new book The Mammals of Luzon Island

April 26, 2016

Based on more than a century of accumulated data and 15 years of intensive field work, The Mammals of Luzon Island is part field guide and part general reference book for all those interested in the mammals of Luzon, the largest of the Philippine Islands and fifteenth largest island in the world. On Wednesday, April […]


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Speedy bridge repair

April 25, 2016

  In just 30 seconds, a devastating earthquake like the ones that struck Japan and Ecuador can render a city helpless. With roadways split and bridges severely damaged, residents and emergency personnel could be prevented from moving around to rebuild. Normally, it takes weeks to repair the cracking or spalling of columns on just one […]


A view of the University of Utah physics laboratory where researchers showed that a phenomenon named the inverse spin Hall effect works in several organic semiconductors when pulsed microwaves are applied to the materials. The effect converts so-called spin current to electric current and may find use in future generations of batteries, solar cells and electronic devices.

A new way to get electricity from magnetism

April 18, 2016

By showing that a phenomenon dubbed the “inverse spin Hall effect” works in several organic semiconductors – including carbon-60 buckyballs – University of Utah physicists changed magnetic “spin current” into electric current. The efficiency of this new power conversion method isn’t yet known, but it might find use in future electronic devices including batteries, solar […]


Anthropogenic burning in Hadza country.

The pyrophilic primate

April 12, 2016

Fire, a tool broadly used for cooking, constructing, hunting and even communicating, was arguably one of the earliest discoveries in human history. But when, how and why it came to be used is hotly debated among scientists. A new scenario crafted by University of Utah anthropologists proposes that human ancestors became dependent on fire as […]


A stream in the Rocky Mountains

How climate change dries up mountain streams

April 10, 2016

The western United States relies on mountain snow for its water supply. Water stored as snow in the mountains during winter replenishes groundwater and drives river runoff in spring, filling reservoirs for use later in summer. But how could a warming globe and a changing climate interrupt this process? In a new study published today […]


A specimen of Lystrosaurus from the Albany Museum in Grahamstown, South Africa.

How to survive extinction: live fast, die young

April 1, 2016

Two hundred and fifty-two million years ago, a series of Siberian volcanoes erupted and sent the Earth into the greatest mass extinction of all time. As a result of this mass extinction, known as the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction, billions of tons of carbon were propelled into the atmosphere, radically altering the Earth’s climate. Yet, some […]


Ben Bunes (left), Ling Zang and Chen Wang (in lab coat), all researchers from the University of Utah's material sciences and engineering department, demonstrate a new prototype detector that can sense explosive materials and toxic gases. The research team developed a new material for the detector that can sense alkane fuel, a key ingredient in such combustibles as gasoline, airplane fuel and homemade bombs.

Sniffing out a dangerous vapor

March 25, 2016

Alkane fuel is a key ingredient in combustible material such as gasoline, airplane fuel, oil — even a homemade bomb. Yet it’s difficult to detect and there are no portable scanners available that can sniff out the odorless and colorless vapor. But University of Utah engineers have developed a new type of fiber material for […]


Harry Hill, M.D., immunologist and professor of pathology, pediatrics, and medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Within Six Families, a Path to Personalized Treatment for an Immune Disorder

March 16, 2016

At age 56, Roma Jean Ockler was continually afflicted with sinus infections and pneumonia, and despite treatments, only seemed to be getting worse. For decades, immunologist Harry R. Hill, M.D., had seen patients like her. At the time he couldn’t have known that her family’s genetic information, combined with that of five other families from […]


An English trumpeter breed of domestic pigeon with very large foot feathers, known as muffs.

Pigeon foot feather genes identified

March 14, 2016

University of Utah scientists identified two genes that make some pigeon breeds develop feathered feet known as muffs, while others have scaled feet. The same or similar genes might explain scaled feet in chickens and other birds, and provide insight into how some dinosaurs got feathers before they evolved into birds. The study found that […]