Neda Lotfizadeh’s favorite memory of graduate school was when she took her first nanotube data. She’d worked on different projects that hadn’t been successful due to the low quality of the material available. This day, however, was different. She measured a high-quality carbon nanotube. “I could see each electron entering the nanotube, and I was over the moon!
Graduate student Ipsita Saha likes physics because it explains the small details of daily life—the science behind how a car works or the mechanics of opening a window. She also likes that physics allows scientists to visualize mathematical equations. During her studies, she harbored a secret desire to become an astronomer but eventually realized she was more interested in the ability of physics to answer intricate biological questions. When she came to the U for graduate studies, she joined a biophysics lab.
One of the biggest unknowns about the coronavirus is how changing seasons will affect its spread. Physicists from the University of Utah have received the university’s first COVID-19-related grant to tackle the question. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant to Michael Vershinin and Saveez Saffarian of the U’s Department of Physics & Astronomy to study the structure of the SARS-COV-2, the coronavirus strain at the center of the pandemic.
Update: Due to the earthquake and aftershocks on March 18, all online classes are canceled until March 19. The University of Utah will shift to all-online instruction beginning March 19 for the rest of spring semester, including finals.
Billions of lightyears away, gigantic clouds of hydrogen gas produce a special kind of radiation, a type of ultraviolet light known as Lyman-alpha emissions. The enormous clouds emitting the light are Lyman-alpha blobs (LABs). LABs are several times larger than our Milky Way galaxy, yet were only discovered 20 years ago. An extremely powerful energy source is necessary to produce this radiation—think the energy output equivalent of billions of our sun—but scientists debate what that energy source could be.