Winter is coming in the northern hemisphere and public health officials are asking how the seasonal shift will impact the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19? A new study tested how temperatures and humidity affect the structure of individual SARS-Cov-2 virus-like particles on surfaces. They found that just moderate temperature increases broke down the virus’ structure, while humidity had very little impact. In order to remain infectious, the SARS-Cov-2 membrane needs a specific web of proteins arranged in a particular order. When that structure falls apart, it becomes less infectious. The findings suggest that as temperatures begin to drop, particles on surfaces will remain infectious longer.
Recently, the U's chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) won an Outstanding Chapter Award from the SPS national office. This is the third year in a row the chapter has been recognized for its excellence as a top-tier student-led physical sciences organization, a designation given to fewer than 10% of all SPS chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and internationally.
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s fifth generation collected its very first observations of the cosmos at 1:47 a.m. on October 24, 2020. As the world’s first all-sky time-domain spectroscopic survey, SDSS-V will provide groundbreaking insight into the formation and evolution of galaxies—like our own Milky Way—and of the supermassive black holes that lurk at their centers. SDSS-V spokesperson Gail Zasowski, an assistant professor in the University of Utah’s Department of Physics & Astronomy, talks about mapping the sky.
Recently, the Physics & Astronomy Department spoke with undergraduate Anna Christopherson about a number of things, including why she's a physics major, internships, and the secret to success in college.