Science & Tech

This will be a good year to view some planets even without a telescope or binoculars, says U of A astrophysicist.

21
January
2020

The ‘20s kick off with plenty to enjoy for fans of the night skies, says a University of Alberta astrophysicist.

“2020 is a good year to view some of the planets after dark, since they’ll be so bright that people won’t need telescopes or binoculars to enjoy them,” said Sharon Morsink, director of the U of A’s Astronomical Observatory. 

RELATED: Connecting kids with the wonders of astronomy RELATED: How to enjoy Alberta’s summer skies—day and night

Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are especially visible from Earth this year, and keen skywatchers can track how they change as they move across the sky over the months, said Morsink, adding that the observatory will have viewing hours throughout the year. 

“These worlds are really close to us, and it’s exciting to know that you can see their locations changing every night.”

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20
February
2020
| 19:00 America/Tegucigalpa

U of A scientist lending expertise to NASA Mars 2020 rover mission

Mission will mark first attempt to collect samples from Mars for potential return to Earth.

A University of Alberta scientist has been chosen for a key role in NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. The mission, slated to launch this summer, marks the first time samples will be collected and stored in
18
February
2020
| 16:44 America/Tegucigalpa

Agricultural ‘mini-internship’ gives U of A students hands-on career experience

Three-day placements during Reading Week offer a taste of in-demand jobs in fields like food safety and animal welfare.

For most University of Alberta students, Reading Week is a break from the books, spent lounging around the house in pyjamas or on the ski hill. For Faith Jensen, it’s about happily probing the
14
February
2020
| 18:06 America/Tegucigalpa

New computing technique could help make Bitcoin mining faster and greener

U of A researchers' algorithm improves on “brute force” method that makes cryptocurrency mining consume massive amounts of energy.

A new algorithm by computing scientists at the University of Alberta could be the first step in reducing the massive amounts of energy and computing power it takes to mine cryptocurrencies like
14
February
2020
| 14:05 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Wildfires threaten North American water supplies

Flash floods and water contamination after massive wildfires aren't just a problem in Australia, researchers find.

As rain offers a welcome relief to fire-scorched Australia, concerns over flash floods and freshwater contamination cast a shadow on the joy. Already, massive fish kills have been reported due to
13
February
2020
| 15:06 America/Tegucigalpa

Major investment from Shell helps U of A biofuel spinoff company build commercial-scale production plant

New facility is expected to produce 25 million litres of renewable biofuels annually.

Forge Hydrocarbons, a University of Alberta spinoff company producing renewable gasoline and diesel, has received a major investment from Shell Ventures to help build a $30-million, industrial-scale
13
February
2020
| 13:50 America/Tegucigalpa

Proper-fitting fire-retardant workwear for women being developed at U of A

Heavy equipment operator enlists help of textile scientists to develop garments expected to hit the market this year.

After bulky, ill-fitting coveralls caused her to have some near-misses in her job as a heavy equipment operator, Jess Black decided to take matters into her own hands and create a line of clothing
11
February
2020
| 17:00 America/Tegucigalpa

New research reveals surprising seasonal changes in Hudson Bay currents

Flow reversal in May and June may be partly due to hydroelectric power generation, studies by U of A oceanographers suggest.

Research by University of Alberta oceanographers is shedding new light on the complexities of currents in Hudson Bay—and how the hydroelectric power industry may be affecting them. “Our most
10
February
2020
| 17:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Diseases spread from wildlife pose risk to livestock and humans in Alberta, scientists find

U of A biologists determine when and where disease transmission between elk and cattle is most likely, develop guidelines to help ranchers prevent it.

Diseases transmitted from wildlife are a common threat to livestock and humans in Alberta, according to new research by University of Alberta biologists.  “One of the biggest risks to the
28
January
2020
| 18:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Virtual assistants provide disappointing advice when asked for first aid, emergency information: study

Google Home and Alexa more reliable than Siri and Cortana, U of A researchers find.

Virtual assistants don’t yet live up to their considerable potential when it comes to providing users with reliable and relevant information on medical emergencies, according to a new study from
17
January
2020
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Newly developed screening processes will help accelerate carbon capture research

U of A researchers are helping make carbon capture more efficient, screening 120,000 carbon capturing solids in hours—instead of thousands of years.

University of Alberta researchers have developed techniques that save a significant amount of time in developing more efficient carbon capture technologies, which may help lower the costs to use the
10
January
2020
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

New technique could accelerate waste-to-methane production

U of A engineering researchers find ways to turn waste fat, oil and grease into a supply of renewable energy.

University of Alberta engineers have found a way to turn waste fat, oil and grease into a steady supply of renewable energy. In a recent study, environmental engineering master’s student Bappi