Science

Mauna Kea telescopes help find most distant quasar

An international team of astronomers announced today the discovery of the most distant known supermassive black hole, seen as a luminous quasar caused by gas falling into the black hole. The discovery came to light using data from an ongoing infrared sky survey being conducted at the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) and critical follow-up confirmation observations with the Gemini North telescope, both on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The results are presented in the June 30, 2011 issue of the Journal Nature. The light from the quasar started its journey toward us when the universe was only 6% of its present age, a mere 770 million years after the Big Bang, at a ‘redshift’ of about 7.1. “This gives astronomers a headache,” says lead author Daniel Mortlock, from Imperial College London. “It’s difficult to understand how a black hole a billion times more massive than the Sun can have grown so early in the history of the universe. It’s like rolling a snowball down the hill and suddenly you find that it’s 20 feet across!” [...]

UH to study vog forecasting

A feasibility study to determine if vog forecasts are achievable and useful is being made available to the public through a new website hosted by the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. The website is a product of the Vog Measurement and Prediction (VMAP) project. Principal investigator for the VMAP project is Steven Businger, who along with lead vog modeler Roy Huff are members of UH Mānoa’s Department of Meteorology. [...]

UH prof writes nanoscale physics guide

Human organs from nanomaterials, particles penetrating the skin, quantum dots for cancer detection, and nanorobots that destroy toxic chemicals—what is all this about? Does such research help us to realize a sustainable future? How can we educate a new generation of nanoscientists and nanoengineers? A new book publication three and a half years in the making, titled “Handbook of Nanophysics,” gives answers to such important questions. [...]

UH research focuses on vertebrae development

Researchers at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa have developed innovative techniques that could have profound effects on congenital cervical vertebrae malformation research. In the cover-featured research article of the November issue of Molecular Reproduction and Development, researchers looked into congenital cervical vertebrae malformation in humans that can cause neural problems and increase susceptibility to stillbirth in women. [...]

New director to lead Institute for Astronomy in 2011

Günther Hasinger, an expert in astrophysical studies whose work has been instrumental in the operation of x-ray satellites and the development of future observatories, has been appointed director of the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) at UH Mānoa, effective January 2, 2011. Hasinger is currently the scientific director at the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching, near Munich, Germany. [...]