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  • Carbon in soil could speed climate change, study finds
    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Huge amounts of carbon trapped in the soils of U.S. forests will be released into the air as the planet heats up, contributing to a "vicious cycle" that could accelerate climate change, a new study concluded.

    "As the Earth warms, there will be more carbon released from soils, and that will make the Earth warm even faster," said Eric Davidson, who studies soil carbon at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts but was not involved in the new study.

    ...

  • NOAA: So far, 2012 is the warmest year on record in US
    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Call it spring's fever. Federal records show the U.S. just finished its hottest spring on record.

    March, April and May in the Lower 48 states beat the oldest spring temperature record by a full 2 degrees. The three months averaged 57.1 degrees, more than 5 degrees above average. That's the most above normal for any U.S. season on record. Meteorologists define those three months as spring.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also reported Thursday that it...

  • Telescope design was a breakthrough
    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    The Multiple Mirror Telescope outlived its name.

    Its original design featured six mirrors, each with a diameter of 1.8 meters, that gave it the light-gathering power of a single 4.5-meter telescope.

    Aden Meinel, founding director of both Kitt Peak National Observatory and the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, had procured the mirrors from an abandoned Air Force spy project.

    He and Fred Whipple of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory led the drive to...

  • UA veggie garden for space readied for an earthly trek
    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    A greenhouse designed for extraterrestrial use is taking a more terrestrial trip this summer.

    Someday, the University of Arizona's Lunar Greenhouse will provide a life-support system for astronauts on prospective missions to the moon, Mars and beyond. But before it gets to the moon, the Lunar Greenhouse is hitting the road.

    Designed by a team at the University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, the greenhouse is being exhibited at the San Diego County...

  • Observatory now one of world's largest
    Monday, June 11, 2012

    The Arizona Daily Star's Centennial salute to science in Arizona runs all summer. Each day, for 100 days, we'll record a milestone in the state's scientific history.

    The original small dome on the University of Arizona campus, built with a donation from Oracle resident Lavinia Steward, was dedicated in 1923. It housed a 36-inch reflecting telescope - at the time, one of the largest in the world.

    The observatory's first director was A.E. Douglass, who came to...

  • The Marriage of Biology and Math
    Friday, June 8, 2012

    It may seem like the manipulation of mathematical symbols and the observation of living things have little in common. 

    But researchers advancing stronger connections between mathematics and the life sciences say a merger of the disciplines can result in improved research, especially to help answer important questions in fields such as environmental science and medical science.

    The University of Arizona is among the institutions where such a merger is under way. 

    ...
  • US created its first experimental forest
    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    The Arizona Daily Star's Centennial salute to science in Arizona runs all summer. Each day, for 100 days, we'll record a milestone in the state's scientific history.

    The U.S. Forest Service established its first experimental forest northwest of Flagstaff in 1908, initially called the Coconino Experiment Station.

    Flagstaff's Riordan brothers had asked Forest Service head Gifford Pinchot to find out why the ponderosa pine forests were so slow in regenerating after...

  • Planet faces devastating threats, UN report says
    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    The Earth's environmental systems "are being pushed towards their biophysical limits," beyond which loom sudden, irreversible and potentially catastrophic changes, the United Nations Environment Program warned Wednesday.

    In a 525-page report on the health of the planet, the agency paints a grim picture: The melting of the polar ice caps, desertification in Africa, deforestation of tropical jungles, and the spiraling use of chemicals are just some of the myriad...

  • 100 days of science: $3.6B CAP project an engineering marvel
    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    The Arizona Daily Star's Centennial salute to science in Arizona runs all summer. Each day, for 100 days, we'll record a milestone in the state's scientific history.

    Water flows uphill in Arizona.

    The Central Arizona Project, built to achieve that feat, is most expensive project ever undertaken by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation - $3.6 billion. It is a political miracle as well as an engineering marvel.

    Discussed since the 1920s, the plan to bring Colorado...

  • A Prime Seat to a Once-in-a-Lifetime Spectacle
    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    On Nov. 24, 1639, in the tiny village of Much Hoole not far from Liverpool, England, a poor farmer's son and self-taught astronomer affixed a sheet of paper in front of a makeshift telescope pointed at the sun and waited.

    Thirty-five minutes before sunset, a dark, round spot appeared right next to the bright disc that was the sun's face projected on the paper, and made Jeremiah Horrocks, only 20 years old at the time, the first known human to predict, observe and record a...