A five-year quest to map the universe and unravel the mysteries of dark energy began officially on May 17, 2021, at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) will capture and study the light from more than 30 million galaxies and other distant objects, allowing scientists to construct a 3-D map of the universe with unprecedented detail.
It was the beginning of a grand experiment unlike anything the world had ever seen. Ten years ago today, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory fully opened its eyes for the first time. Dozens of intrepid technicians, engineers, and scientists had traveled to the South Pole to build the biggest, strangest telescope in the world. The purpose of the unconventional telescope was to detect signals from passing astrophysical neutrinos: mysterious, tiny, extremely lightweight particles created by some of the most energetic and distant phenomena in the cosmos. IceCube’s founders believed that studying these astrophysical neutrinos would reveal hidden parts of the universe. Over the course of the next decade, they would be proven right.
Dr. Perry Hacking has always loved astronomy, so there was nothing for him to do but pursue and follow that passion throughout his life. “I had a one-track mind, and learning about astronomy drove most of my thoughts during my little free time and all of my energy behind my academic and professional life,” he said. “I never wanted some position or title—I just wanted to learn more about astronomy or contribute to the world learning more about it. I’m grateful I’ve been able to devote my life to something I love.”
Isaac Martin, a senior honors student majoring in mathematics and physics, has received the prestigious Churchill Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He is one of only 17 students nationally to receive the award this year and is the sixth consecutive Churchill Scholar from the University of Utah.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have revolutionized the displays industry. LEDs use electric current to produce visible light without the excess heat found in traditional light bulbs, a glow called electroluminescence. This breakthrough led to the eye-popping, high-definition viewing experience we’ve come to expect from our screens. Now, a group of physicists and chemists have developed a new type of LED that utilizes spintronics without needing a magnetic field, magnetic materials or cryogenic temperatures; a “quantum leap” that could take displays to the next level.