Science

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

UNESCO Talks Sustainability at the UA

Posted By on Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 11:30 AM

MOUAGIP/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Mouagip/Creative Commons
In a weekend filled with sustainability initiatives, UNESCO will hold a conference in the UA North Ballroom (1303 E. University Blvd.) to address water scarcity and management as well as desert food systems on Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5 until 5 p.m.

Sustainability scholars from Oman, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe and Mexico will meet with UA researchers and Tucson community members to talk about climate change and the earth's environment.

According to UANews, conference organizers are expecting 230 community members to attend the conference including international dignitaries, students and faculty. This is a free, all-ages event and space is limited. Online registration is now closed but attendees are encourages to register in-person the day of the conference.

For more information click here

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Light the Candle: OSIRIS-REx Launches Today

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 10:38 AM

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OSIRIS-REx, the asteroid-hunting space probe designed by the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab in partnership with NASA and Lockheed Martin, is scheduled for liftoff from Kennedy Space Center at 4:05 Tucson time today.

The plucky space probe will spend two years chasing down the near-earth asteroid Bennu and then spend another two years studying the asteroid before flying right up next to it to gather a few ounces of asteroid dust. Then it will fly on back to Earth and send the sample back to the Utah desert.

You can read all about the seven-year mission here.

Watch the liftoff at a launch party at Hotel Congress this afternoon. And the gang at downtown's Borderland Brewing is throwing a Brews for Bennu bash.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Go See Flandrau's New Dome Digital Projection System

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 9:31 AM

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If you didn't think Tucson was cool enough already, the UA Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium is giving you yet another reason. The planetarium opened on the UA campus in 1975, but has recently been completely renovated from its original digs.

Flandrau is a big deal: It's one of only two planetariums in the entire sate, and it's one of only a few nationwide that is part of a university. Considering the UA is world renowned for its studies in astronomy and planetary science, its planetarium should be equally as impressive. 

About two years ago the university decided to begin the renovation process by installing a full dome digital projection system “which is the current state of the art in planetarium projection,” said Shipherd Reed, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Flandarau Science Center. After the technological systems were updated, it became very evident that the rest of the establishment was outdated, prompting an entire building remodel. The remodel includes better acoustics, lighting, and most importantly seating that takes advantage of the cutting edge projection system.
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The Planetarium opened its renovated doors on Saturday, Aug. 27. Go check out the interactive exhibits and the IMAX-esque full dome show. The Planetarium is open seven days a week and offers shows every day except Monday. For more information on specific hours and times of shows visit http://flandrau.org/.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Countdown Is On: UA Is Headed Back Into Space with OSIRIS-REx

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 3:00 PM

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The UA is headed back out to space with a new NASA mission in roughly three weeks.

Asteroid hunter OSIRIS-REx is scheduled for liftoff on Thursday, Sept. 8.

The pretty damn cool science mission, led by Principal Investigator and UA Professor of Planetary Science Dante Lauretta, will spend the next two years chasing down the near-earth asteroid Bennu. Once OSIRIS-REx catches up with Bennu in October 2018, it will start relaying photos and other data back to earth about the makeup of the asteroid. On Independence Day 2020, the robotic spacelab will scoot right on up next to Bennu before reaching out with a robot arm to blast some dust from the surface and catch it with a container. Sometime around March 2021, OSIRIS-REx heads back to earth—hopefully without having been infected with a techo-organic virus that will destroy mankind—and in September 2023, the capsule with the asteroid dust pops loose of OSIRIS-REx and lands somewhere in the Utah desert. From there, the science teams will be off to races with their analysis of the sample.

Asteroids like Bennu are loaded with the primordial building blocks of the planets, so scientists hope to learn more about what the young earth was like and see if they can find clues as to the origin of life.

“To me, the mission is driven by the return of pristine organic molecules from the early solar system so I’m really hopeful that we can get some unique material that isn’t in our meteorite collections,” Lauretta said today at a NASA press conference to update reporters on the looming launch. "It really is a great adventure. We're going out into the unknown and bringing back scientific treasure. I'm looking forward to the day in 2023 when we open up that sample return capsule."

Read more about the OSIRIS-REx and its instrument suite here. Here's a great timeline about the mission. Here's the OSIRIS-REx’s website.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New Findings in a 'Living River' says Recently Released Report

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 10:00 AM

BIGSTOCK
  • BigStock

Living River, a report newly released by Pima County and the Sonoran Institute, reveals that upgrades to water reclamation centers have improved the water quality and surrounding natural environments of the Lower Santa Cruz River. The EPA-funded report has been tracking changing conditions in this part of the river from Oct. 1, 2014 to Sept. 30, 2015.

The Lower Santa Cruz runs year-round through northwest Tucson and Marana and gets much of its water from WRCs Tres Rios and the new Agua Nueva, both of which receive and treat a portion of the over 62 million gallons of sanitary sewage a day seen by Pima County's treatment facilities. The state-of-the-art Agua Nueva, in particular, helps Pima County meet EPA standards of effluent discharges in the Santa Cruz River. This stretch of the river focused on by the report is the largest length of river dominated by effluent (wastewater) in the state. 

Since the improvements to Tres Rios and the establishment of Agua Nueva, the report shows improvements to water quality/clarity and a decrease in odor. The report also states that four species of fish now reside in the river, three more than in previous years. Increased recharge of the aquifer, another positive change, means water pollution no longer flows as far downstream as it used to. Areas that saw a reduction in aquatic habitats as a result of this pollution now "appear to be reverting to a more desert-like environment" according to the release.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Zona Politics: UA College Dean Joaquin Ruiz Talks Biosphere Anniversary, Amy Silverman Talks About Her New Book & More!

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 4:57 PM

May 1st, 2016 from Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel on Vimeo.

On this week's episode of Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel: UA College of Science Dean Joaquin Ruiz stops by to talk what's going on at the Biosphere—including the One Young World conference, the Landscape Evolution Observatory and some plans for farming—as the giant terrarium's 25th anniversary approaches. He also fills us in on some of the latest news with the Lunar and Planetary Lab's space program. Then Phoenix New Times managing editor Amy Silverman joins us to discuss her new book, My Heart Can't Even Believe It, about how having a daughter with Down syndrome changed her family's life. And then Valerie Trouet of the UA Tree Ring Lab talks about some of her work, including a new study that used tree rings and shipwrecks to recreate a Caribbean hurricane record that dates back centuries.

You can catch the show at 8 a.m. Sunday mornings on the CW Tucson, Channel 8 on Cox and Comcast and Channel 58 on DirecTV, Dish and broadcast. You can also hear it Sunday afternoons at 5 p.m. on KXCI Community Radio, 91.3 FM. Or you can watch it online here.

Here's a rush transcript of the show:

(Nintzel) Hello, everyone. I'm Tucson Weekly senior writer Jim Nintzel, your host for Zona Politics. Today We're going to detour away from politics to talk about science and books. We begin with our friend, Joaquin Ruiz, the dean of the U of A College of Science. Dean Ruiz, welcome to Zona Politics.

(Ruiz) Always a pleasure to be here.

(Nintzel) So the Biosphere is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. You have a big event coming up there this month One Young World Environmental Summit. What's that all about?

(Ruiz) Well, this organization called One Young World specializes in having meetings around the world, in which 18-to-30-year-old leaders meet and discuss whatever the topic may be. The last one was in Thailand. And now they've decided that they want to focus on the environment, specifically a summit on the environment. They're using the Biosphere as the venue, so it's beautiful. We expect to have at least 300 people, maybe even more. Again, leaders. They're either from Apple or Caterpillar or other companies and people from other countries and it will be a day and a half of meetings, conferences. We have inspirational people that are going to come and talk, and to me, the most important thing about the whole meeting is, one, allowing folks from around the world to come and see the Biosphere, and coming to see Tucson and what the UA has to offer with respect to the environment.

(Nintzel) And you have had the Biosphere, now, in the control of the College of Science for almost ten years, and, how's it going out there?

Continue reading »

Friday, April 22, 2016

Zona Politics: Meteorite Hunting, County Attorney Barbara LaWall & More!

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 5:30 PM

April 24th, 2016 from Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel on Vimeo.

On this week's episode of Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel: Meteorite hunter Geoff Notkin, the former host of the Discover Channel's Meteorite Men, talks about his longtime fascination with space rocks and his upcoming meteorite-hunting boot camp; County Attorney Barbara LaWall tells us why she wants a sixth term as Pima County's top prosecutor; and Democrat Courtney Frogge explains why she wants to represent Tucson in the Arizona House of Representatives.

You can watch the show Sunday morning on the CW Tucson, Channel 8 on Cox and Comcast and Channel 58 on DirecTV, Dish and broadcast. You can also listen to it at 5 p.m. Sunday on Community Radio KXCI, 91.3 FM. Or you can watch it online by just clicking play above.

Here's a rush transcript of the show:

(Nintzel) Hello, everyone. I'm Tucson Weekly senior writer Jim Nintzel, your host for Zona Politics. Today, we'll be talking with County Attorney Barbara LaWall, as well as Courtney Frogge, a candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives. But we begin with Geoff Notkin, the former co-host of the Discover Channel's Meteorite Men series and one of the world's foremost, and most entertaining, experts on meteorites. Mr. Notkin makes his home here in Tucson, and will be hosting a three-day boot camp to teach you how to hunt for meteorites, May 1 through 3. Geoff, welcome to Zona Politics.

(Notkin) Thank you! What a fantastic intro!

(Nintzel) So, what got you interested in these space rocks.

(Notkin) It's been a Lifelong fascination, Jim, and I became interested as a very little boy in all things scientific, but particularly astronomy, and anything to do with rock-hounding. So as a little boy growing up in Southern England, I was always out in the quarries and the forests looking for rocks and fossils. And then, my dad was an amateur astronomer. He had his head in the stars. He would wake me up in the middle of the night "Geoffrey, look through this telescope. You can see alien worlds!" And I was dazzled by this concept, that a little boy in England could see bodies in outer space. And then when my parents took me to the geological museum in London as a kid, and I saw meteorites for the first time, that's when it all hit me, and I thought, "Well, these are rocks from outer space!" That's science-fiction, and astronomy and rockhounding and everything cool wrapped up into one. So I was bitten very young by the meteorite bug, and it never let go.

(Nintzel) Tell us about this meteorite right here on our table.

Continue reading »

Friday, April 1, 2016

Zona Politics: The Reason for Flowers, Jan. 8 Memorial Efforts and the Supercollider

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 5:28 PM

April 3rd, 2016 from Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel on Vimeo.

On this week's episode of Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel: We speak with UA professor Stephen Buchmann, the author of The Reason for Flowers; Dot Kret of the January 8 Memorial Foundation about the plans for a memorial to commemorate the mass shooting at Gabby Giffords' Congress on Your Corner; and UA physicists Mike Shupe and Shufang Su, who talk about their work with the Large Hadron Collider.

The show airs at 8 a.m. Sunday on the CW Tucson, Channel 8 on Cox and Comcast and Channel 58 on DirecTV, Dish and broadcast. You can also hear it at 5 p.m. Sunday on community radio KXCI, 91.3 FM. Or watch it online above.

Here's a rush transcript of the show:

(Nintzel) Hello, everyone. I'm Tucson Weekly's senior writer Jim Nintzel and we're here to talk Zona Politics. Today, we're back to talking about books. My first guest is Stephen Buchmann, a U of A professor and author of nearly a dozen books. The most recent, The Reason for Flowers, is just out in paperback. Steve, welcome to Zona Politics.

(Buchmann) Hi, Jim. It's great to be here.

(Nintzel) You know, this book The Reason for Flowers, it's really a celebration of flowers and the role they play in nature. Why do you find flowers so fascinating?

(Buchmann) The bottom line, I think, is, I like to think that if flowers didn't exist, if they hadn't come on the scene over a hundred million years ago, that maybe humans wouldn't be here. So I think of our distant common relatives as seeing flowers as the harbinger of fruits and food that would soon come next, so they noticed I think this has a lot to do with our innate preference for flowers, and the fact that since they do turn into fruits and seeds, they end up feeding the world.

Continue reading »

Staff Pick

Fanaux: Paintings by Hank Tusinski and Tim Mosman

Recent paintings and drawings by Mosman and Tusinski. Artist reception 5:30-7:30pm, Sept16 at Temple Gallery. Hours: 10-5,… More

@ Temple Gallery Fri., Sept. 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Dec. 31 Temple of Music and Art. 330 S. Scott Ave.

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