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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wild Briefs

    UA works on significant telescope

    The UA College of Optical Sciences has secured a contract with the Lowell Observatory and the Discovery Channel to complete the primary mirror of the Discovery Channel Telescope, according to a press release.

    The primary mirror blank is currently being stored in Pittsburg, Penn., and is set to arrived at the UA near the end of August, said Martin J. Valente, principal investigator on the project and director of OSC’s Optical Fabrication and Engineering Facility.

    A Discovery Channel camera crew is scheduled to be on site for the delivery of the approximately 6,700-pound mirror to the Optical Engineering and Fabrication Facility, where UA scientists, professors and students will perfect the mirror’s optics, Valente said.

    Those involved in the project will grind, polish, and test the mirror for about two and a half years, Valente said.

    There are six organizations in the world that have and operate the specialized equipment needed to grind and polish the mirrors of a telescope of the DCT’s size; two of these facilities are at the UA, said Byron Smith, Lowell Observatory DCT project manager.

    UA professors and students are very excited to work on this “”significant astronomical telescope,”” said Jim Burge, co-investigator on the project and UA professor.

    “”It’s not just a contrite project,”” Burge said. “”It has to work.””

    The DCT project will allow many UA optical science students firsthand experience in design and testing of a primary mirror, Burge said.

    When completed, the telescope will be located about 40 miles southeast of Flagstaff in Happy Jack, Ariz., according to a press release.

    This will be a major advance in technology for the Lowell Observatory from its current telescope, which was built in the 1960s, Smith said.

    UA law professor to serve on Nigerian presidential cabinet

    A professor in the James E. Rogers College of Law has been selected to join the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a minister, according to a press release.

    Leslye Obiora was chosen by President Olusegun Oba-sanjo to join her native country’s ministry and presidential cabinet, according to a press release.

    Obiora will head up the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, according to a press release.

    The position will require Obiora to oversee several agencies, including the Nigerian Coal Corporation, the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency and the Nigerian Mining Corporation, according to a press release.

    “”This opportunity to (affect) change in her home country will provide her with unique experience that will surely find its way into her teaching and future writing,”” wrote Toni Massaro, dean of the College of Law, in an e-mail.

    It is rare for law professors to receive a chance like this to affect policy at a high level of government, Massaro said.

    UA researchers discover new truths about AIDS

    Recent research by UA researchers explains the reason why HIV progresses faster in infected infants than in adults.

    Nafees Ahmad, professor of microbiology and immunology and AIDS researcher, said the research compared the immune system cells of infant cord blood and the blood of adults.

    The study showed that the virus is able to multiply faster and produce a “”higher viral load”” in infants, Ahmad said.

    “”They get the disease more quickly because of the different cellular factors that support HIV multiplication more efficiently,”” Ahmad said.

    Ahmad said it is possible that the progression of AIDS in infants can be slowed by developing drugs that target the cellular factors that cause the virus to develop more quickly in infants.

    The study was published August 1 in “”Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,”” according to a press release.

    Vasudha Sundaravaradan, Shailendra Saxena, Rajesh Ramakrishnan, Venkat Yedavalli, and David Harris also authored the study.

    -Compiled from staff reports

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