Science and Innovation

Chris Richards/University of Arizona

A new smartphone app can anonymously alert people if they’ve been in close proximity to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.  “COVIDWatch” uses Bluetooth to connect with nearby phones that also have the app installed, and alerts users when they’ve been close to an infected person for a significant amount of time. It’s being tested for the first time at the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University is considering adopting it. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Joanna Masel, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the U of A who designed the app’s risk assessment technology.


The Emory oak is a giant among the pinyon and junipers of Arizona’s high country. Its acorns are special, rich in nutrients and free from the bitter tannins that make most acorns unpleasant to eat. They’re also a culturally important food for the western Apache. Ground acorn sits on tabletops next to salt and pepper shakers, to be sprinkled on venison, rolled into tortillas, or stirred into gravy.


Yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country has developed a vaccine that works against the coronavirus disease. But many scientists say there’s a long way to go with testing and research before it’s proved safe and effective. Scientists worldwide are trying out more than 150 potential vaccines to learn the best way to stimulate the body’s immune response to COVID-19. One of them is Todd French, the head of Northern Arizona University’s new COVID-19 Testing Service Center. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with him about the latest developments in the global push to end the pandemic.

NASA/Bill Ingalls

The Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight and tomorrow, offering a dazzling display of shooting stars. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports on how to watch.

Melissa Sevigny

A unique partnership is addressing a home heating crisis on the Navajo and Hopi Nations, by supplying hundreds of cords of firewood from forest restoration projects. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.