When a bird flaps its wings or a seal dives into the ocean, it’s generating energy. Michael Shafer, an assistant professor in mechanical engineering at Northern Arizona University, says it’s possible to harvest the energy that an animal produces and use it to power transmitters that collect information for biologists.
Astronaut Mark Kelly says New York’s Times Square is the brightest place on Earth when looking down from space. After that, the next brightest is the Strip in Las Vegas. What may not be readily seen from space is Flagstaff, the first International Dark Sky City. That’s a designation he and his wife, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, fully support. Kelly recently spoke on the campus of Northern Arizona University.
A machine that helped astronauts get used to what it feels like to walk in space is now being used at Northern Arizona University. Physical Therapy Professor Dirk de Heer says the Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill teaches students about biomechanics.
In the near future, so-called smart materials may eliminate the need for batteries in hybrid cars and in solar panels. Cornell Ciocanel is a mechanical engineer at Northern Arizona University. He’s developing a new smart material that’s strong enough to be used in the body of a car and also stores electricity like a battery.
A Northern Arizona University professor emeritus says he’s never seen anything like a recent find in the Utah desert. This, despite 25 years spent studying rock art at thousands of sites. Retired ethnolinguist Ekkehart Malotki is researching what could be the oldest known realistic engravings of Columbian mammoths in the Western Hemisphere: petroglyphs from the Ice Age near the San Juan River.
NASA wants to catch an asteroid, place it into orbit around the Earth, and send astronauts to retrieve pieces of it for scientific study. The agency just needs the right asteroid. NASA has asked Northern Arizona University astronomer David Trilling, one of the world’s foremost asteroid experts, to find it — a task much easier said than done.
As we get ready to celebrate Valentine's Day, Northern Arizona University ecology professor Nancy Collins Johnson reminds us that we can learn a lot about relationships from nature. Collins is a soils expert who studies mycorrhizal symbiosis - or, healthy relationships between fungi and the roots of plants.
A Northern Arizona University regents’ biology professor is studying how the speed with which frogs catch insects can improve the mechanics of artificial limbs for humans. Kiisa Nishikawa has discovered the connection is a protein called titin. It essentially enables muscles to “think,” reacting in milliseconds, rather than waiting for a signal from the brain.