Not only is teleportation real, but they keep distance records for it! So when a team of quantum scientists from the University of Calgary broke that record and published their findings in September, news of their accomplishment made headlines around the world and their story topped the list of this year’s most-read UToday articles about research.
No, they did not teleport a Starfleet captain. Instead, it was encrypted information communicated at the speed of light — and without the physical movement of any particles — from one photon at City Hall to its “twin” six kilometres away at the University of Calgary. The research, led by the Faculty of Science’s Wolfgang Tittel, has applications in the development of highly secure and speedy quantum computing and it relies on entanglement, a phenomenon in physics so mysterious it stumped even Einstein, who famously called it “spooky action at a distance.”
The teleportation story and nine others make up the UToday readers’ top 10 research stories of the year, showcasing the important advances made at the University of Calgary across a range of disciplines. Read on and click the links below for more details about the discoveries and who was involved, in fields ranging from animal behaviour to autoimmune disease, from tooth decay prevention to chemically improved solar batteries.
Study says half of bear attacks are result of inappropriate human behaviour: Bear attack and safety expert Stephen Herrero, a professor emeritus in the Faculty of Environmental Design, has discovered that human actions trigger about half of all large carnivore attacks. With more people enjoying time outdoors, humans need to take more responsibility and learn how to behave.
New app helps those with celiac disease: Because keeping a paper journal on diet and symptoms can be tedious and time-consuming, Faculty of Kinesiology researcher Justine Dowd and her colleagues created the MyHealthyGut app with digestive health information, meal plans, top foods, and a safe food database for people living with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
Enzymes from carnivorous plant could help people digest gluten: Research from David Schriemer’s Cumming School of Medicine lab opens the door to a potential new way of treating the celiac disease: using enzymes found in a species of tropical, carnivorous pitcher plant, supplements could one day be developed to help people digest gluten before it causes any problems in the small intestine.
Chemists quietly reshape future of solar power: Greg Welch in the Faculty of Science constructs innovative materials on a molecular level including solar cells that can be printed like newspaper at a low cost and high speed, opening up a wind range of applications from windows and decorations, to solar-powered tents, cell phone chargers and even solar clothes.
Study examines emotional state of Stampede rodeo bulls: In the first study of its kind, Ed Pajor, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine animal welfare and behaviour expert, looked at the stress levels of bucking bulls at the Calgary Stampede, and found that the majority of bulls did not show behavioural indicators of fear prior to the performance. In fact, the more experienced the bull, the less activity it showed in the chute.
A new approach to treating autoimmune diseases: One of the great challenges of treating autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis is how to stop the disease without impairing normal immunity. Pere Santamaria at the Cumming School of Medicine has developed nanomedicines that can act as “bait” for disease-causing white blood cells, reprogramming those cells to suppress the disease they intended to cause.
Tooth decay worsened in Calgary children after fluoride removal: In a study comparing data of 5,000 children, Lindsay McLaren from the Cumming School found that since the discontinuation of fluoridation of Calgary drinking water in 2011, the number of tooth surfaces with decay per child increased by 3.8 surfaces in Calgary compared to only 2.1 in Edmonton where water is still fluoridated.
Low-carb, high-fat diet shows promise as potential autism therapy: A new study by a team of researchers at the Cumming School shows a ketogenic diet triggers changes to microbiome by reducing the number of gut flora. There is a highly complex interplay between the gut microbiome and the brain, but with consensus building that some bacteria play a role in certain types of autistic behaviour, the ability to manipulate the bacteria through diet could lead to promising therapies, says lead author Christopher Newell.
Chance meeting on Banff ski trip sparks collaboration in multiple sclerosis therapy research: Michael Keough, a joint MD-PhD student in the Leaders in Medicine program at the Cumming School, was searching for better therapies for patients with MS when he hit a roadblock: he needed a cheaper supply of a certain promising nerve regeneration compound. He found his solution when, by chance, he was carpooling to Sunshine Village with a chemistry student working in a lab that could do exactly what he needed.