Physicists create new model to hunt for colliding neutron stars

Speeds up search to observe collisions in first hours when scientists can learn most

Physicists create new model to hunt for colliding neutron starsUniversity of Alberta physicists have created a new, simpler way to model collisions between neutron stars. The model will enable scientists to predict the brightness of early neutron star mergers more reliably than before – allowing telescopes to gain more information from these events. “Studying the light and electromagnetic waves emitted from these collisions allows…

Fossil thought to be missing link between lizards, snakes debunked

The ‘snake with four legs’ is instead a long-bodied marine lizard

Fossil thought to be missing link between lizards, snakes debunkedFilling in the links of the evolutionary chain with a fossil record of a “snake with four legs” connecting lizards and early snakes would be a dream come true for paleontologists. But a specimen formerly thought to fit the bill is not the missing piece of the puzzle, according to a new study led by…

Artificial intelligence predicts new illegal drugs before they hit the streets

Staying one step ahead of illicit drug makers

Artificial intelligence predicts new illegal drugs before they hit the streetsAn international team of researchers is using artificial intelligence to predict new illegal drugs before they hit the streets – which could help save lives and fight crime. “We are anticipating what street drugs, or novel psychoactive substances, will appear before they are made or before they enter communities,” said team member David Wishart, University…

Researchers using AI to project COVID-19 cases further into the future

Computing scientists developing AI to combat pandemic by taking advantage of health data

Researchers using AI to project COVID-19 cases further into the futureHow many new COVID-19 cases will be in the ICU three weeks from today? University of Alberta scientists are using the wealth of public health data on COVID-19 to build AI-powered tools to help project and combat the pandemic. “Our team is using ideas from epidemiology and machine learning to develop tools to forecast the…

Understanding the social effects of climate change critical to adaptation

Balancing physical and social needs key to ensuring equity in affected communities

Understanding the social effects of climate change critical to adaptationAs our world adapts to climate change, a renewed focus on social vulnerability is critical to supporting affected communities, according to a study by University of Alberta urban planning experts. “Our research shows we must expand our thinking beyond solely the physical aspects of climate change, and to instead design for the social effects of…

Biophysicists target mechanism that makes Zika virus so dangerous

Paves the way for potential new drugs for viruses including dengue, yellow fever and West Nile

Biophysicists target mechanism that makes Zika virus so dangerousA new study by University of Alberta biophysicists has revealed how a rare structure forms within RNA from the Zika virus that makes it resistant to our bodies’ immune systems. The results provide a potential target for new drug therapies to combat the virus and others like it. “Due to the structure formed within the…

How do zebra finches learn to build their nests?

By observing the building techniques of other birds

How do zebra finches learn to build their nests?Like archeologists learning how past humans built their homes, birds can learn construction techniques by observing unoccupied nests, according to a new study. University of Alberta scientists found that zebra finches learn about nest building by observing an empty nest – but only if they first learn what a nest is. “We gave half our…

Student discovers threatened beetle is actually two separate subspecies

Discovery means the nationally threatened Gibson’s big sand tiger beetle is more at risk than previously thought

Student discovers threatened beetle is actually two separate subspeciesAn undergraduate research study has found that a threatened type of beetle found in Saskatchewan and Colorado is, in fact, made up of two genetically distinct subspecies. The discovery has important implications for conservation efforts for the insects and shows that both populations of Gibson’s big sand tiger beetle are more threatened than previously thought.…

New AI-powered deep learning model supports medical diagnostics

Computing scientist lost in Flight PS752 contributed to the study

New AI-powered deep learning model supports medical diagnosticsA new deep learning model can learn to identify diseases from medical scans faster and more accurately, according to new research by a team of University of Alberta computing scientists and the U of A spinoff company MEDO. The breakthrough model is the work of a team of researchers in the Faculty of Science – including Pouneh…

Caves in Northern Canada provide a history of ancient permafrost

Geoscientist sheds new light on permafrost thaw in the geologic past and what it could mean for our future

Caves in Northern Canada provide a history of ancient permafrostGeoscientists have uncovered surprising results that reveal a complex history of ancient permafrost thaw – with implications for understanding the effects of permafrost thawing and climate change in the Canadian Arctic today. “Permafrost is really a geological expression of climate, so permafrost response to past periods of global warming is like a natural experiment for…
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