News archive - March 2022

Thursday, March 31, 2022

A new look at the universe and galaxy formation

Technical rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope on a background of stars

The world watched breathlessly as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched on Christmas morning and travelled 1.5 million kilometers to its earth-trailing orbit. Now, we breathe a sigh of relief as the telescope has begun sending us the first images as it aligns and prepares for research, launching a new chapter in humanity’s endeavor to study the universe.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Stabilizing low blood sugar in infancy prevents long-term brain damage

Medical person pricking new born baby heel for blood samples testing

Low blood sugar in infancy is serious, but treatment can ward off long-term brain damage in infants, a new study has found.

The study from the University of Waterloo and the University of Auckland is the first research of its kind to declare stabilizing blood sugar levels in newborns with hypoglycemia prevents brain damage.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Waterloo chemists find new method for distinguishing mirror image molecules

Pharmaceutical drugs often take advantage of a specific shape in order to bind to the biological target. Some molecules, however, can exist with two versions that are mirror images of each other, similar to a left-handed and right-handed pair of gloves. In the body, often only one of the two molecules is an active pharmaceutical drug due to the difference in shape.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Smoke from major wildfires destroys the ozone layer

Forest fire, bushfire with flames and sun illuminated smoke clouds at dusk on mountain ridge, Blue Mountains, Australia

A new study shows that smoke from wildfires destroys the ozone layer. Researchers caution that if major fires become more frequent with a changing climate, more damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sun will reach the ground.

Atmospheric chemists from the University of Waterloo found that smoke from the Australian wildfires of 2019 and 2020 destroyed atmospheric ozone in the Southern Hemisphere for months. The ozone shield is a part of the stratosphere layer of the Earth’s atmosphere that absorbs UV rays from the sun. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Finetuning chemistry by quantum interference

Atoms and molecules are the building blocks of chemistry and are important to our understanding of the world. By cooling atoms and molecules to ultracold temperatures it opens up a new understanding of quantum chemistry. Working with nanokelvin temperatures, one billion times colder than Antarctica during winter, researchers can observe and control particles in ways not possible at room temperature. When really cold, particles behave in strange and exciting ways. Researchers are discovering unexpected results by looking at particles from a quantum perspective.