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Superconductivity-suppressing charge instability detected across all forms of copper-based superconductors

January 15, 2015

University of British Columbia physicists have detected 'charge ordering' in electron-doped cuprate superconductors for the first time, according to research published today in Science. Charge ordering is a ripple-like instability at the electron level that competes with superconductivity and likely suppresses the temperature at which materials demonstrate superconducting properties. Until now, researchers had only observed the phenomenon in other forms of cuprate materials.

How big data can improve healthcare

January 9, 2015

With the world swimming in data—from endless Twitter streams and Facebook updates, to genetic tests and medical records—it’s up to computer scientists like UBC Computer Science Professor Raymond Ng to help make sense of it all. Ng, Chief Informatics Officer for the PROOF (Prevention of Organ Failure) Centre of Excellence, discusses how big data is revolutionizing medicine, and why privacy is of utmost concern. How can big data improve healthcare?

Astronomers use vanishing neutron star to measure space-time warp

January 8, 2015

In an interstellar race against time, astronomers have measured the space-time warp in the gravity of a binary star and determined the mass of a neutron star—just before it vanished from view. The international team, including University of British Columbia astronomer Ingrid Stairs, measured the masses of both stars in binary pulsar system J1906. The pulsar spins and emits a lighthouse-like beam of radio waves every 144 milliseconds. It orbits its companion star in a little under four hours.

Heart problems triggered by climate change could devastate Chinook salmon stocks

December 22, 2014

Wildlife biologists are trying to predict how animal populations all over the world will respond to climate change. There are many examples of how projected future temperatures will dramatically affect the performance of a wide range of animal species. Some species will acclimate to warmer temperatures; their bodies will adjust. Other species that are able may simply move to cooler habitats. But it’s unknown what species of animals can adapt and survive over the long term to global rising temperatures.

UBC astronomer confirms a new “Super-Earth” planet

December 18, 2014

A University of British Columbia astronomer is a key player in the discovery of a new exoplanet, out beyond our solar system. Jaymie Matthews, who doubles as a mission scientist with Canada’s first space telescope, put the technology to work to confirm the existence of a new planet 180 light years away from Earth. The newly confirmed exoplanet’s official name is HIP 116454 b. The new planet is classified a “Super-Earth”: 2.5 times the diameter of earth and 12 times its mass.

UBC chemist named top young Canadian scientist

December 15, 2014

UBC chemistry professor Mark MacLachlan has been awarded the 2014 Steacie Prize in the natural sciences, Canada’s top award for young scientists and engineers. The award recognizes MacLachlan’s outstanding research and scholarly contributions to the field of supramolecular inorganic chemistry. “I’m honoured to receive the prize – I can only surmise there were no other nominees! I owe this award to the outstanding current and past students, post-docs, and collaborators I’ve been fortunate to work with,” MacLachlan said.

Hummingbird’s hover surprisingly easy to hack

December 8, 2014

Hummingbirds’ remarkable ability to hover in place is highly contingent on the tiny bird having a completely stationary visual field, according to University of British Columbia research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. UBC zoologists Benjamin Goller and Douglas Altshuler projected moving spiral and striped patterns in front of free-flying hummingbirds attempting to feed from a stationary feeder.

National biocatalysis network looks to replace petrochemicals with green alternatives

December 1, 2014

UBC chemists are part of a new research initiative aimed at upgrading the sustainability of Canada’s industrial sector by replacing its lifeblood — petrochemicals — with green alternatives. UBC, Concordia University and the University of Toronto make up the Industrial Biocatalysis Network — a five-year, $5 million program which is part of the federal government's Strategic Network Grants.

Alan Turing: Beyond the code-breaker

November 19, 2014

The Imitation Game, a big-budget biopic of British mathematician and computer science pioneer Alan Turing, hits Canadian theatres in December. The film profiles Turing’s work as a top-secret British code breaker during the Second World War, portraying the man who cracked Nazi Germany’s Enigma code, only to be later prosecuted for his homosexuality. While best known for his work in math and computer science, the British scientist also made fundamental contributions to mathematical biology.

Founding Google investor Cheriton donates $7.5 million to UBC computer science

November 14, 2014

UBC alumnus David Cheriton has donated $7.5 million to UBC to create a chair in computer science and a new first-year course in computational thinking. Cheriton is a professor of computer science at Stanford University, a technology investor and business mentor. In 1998, he was a founding investor in Google. "I have the deepest respect for David Cheriton, a scientist and philanthropist who supports the next generation of innovators," says UBC President Arvind Gupta. "His generosity will bolster computer science research and help UBC lead in an exciting and rapidly changing field."

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