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Looking back on the University of Arizona's contributions to science

It was a good year for science at UArizona
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Posted at 6:11 AM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 08:11:42-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — The new year is around the corner and 2019 will soon be coming to a close. For the University of Arizona it was another year of being a leader in the world of science.

The first ever image of a black hole may have been the biggest headline of the year, but UArizona has been contributing to science for over a century.

“The University of Arizona has been an absolute leader in arid lands study for decades,” said Desert Laboratory Director Ben Wilder.

The Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill established in the early 1900s gave birth to the sciences of plant physiology, ecology and arid land studies.

“The plots that they established continue to be monitored today by U of A scientists and that is a 115 year span of time, so it is longest continuously monitored vegetation plot in the world.”

Scientific achievements can be found across many disciplines.

“The University of Arizona helped pave the way to a new thinking or new approach to manage chronic pain,” said Associate Professor Mohab Ibrahim.

The University of Arizona helped develop compression only CPR, guided men on the moon, constructed the biosphere 2, and worked in an international effort to get that image of a black hole.

“This is the first time ever we managed to take a picture of a black hole with a resolution that allowed us to see the point of no return where even light cannot escape from it,” said Professor of Astronomy and Physics Dr. Dimitrios Psaltis.

Psaltis says the school is one of the most critical universities in the world of astrophysics.

“This is the place where the first simulations of formation and structure of galaxies has happened, this is the place where the first simulations of supernova explosions have happened.”

The scientists and researchers we talked to say the University of Arizona has had an impressive track record in science. And they say the accomplishments of the past will be a foundation for new discoveries in the future.

“The extremes are getting more extreme, global weirding, so that baseline that we have of data on Tumamoc Hill is the best baseline the best data set for any arid region in the world,” said Wilder.