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  • richardmitnick 4:21 pm on July 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "WEAVE is ready to start operating in La Palma", , , Commissioning WEAVE will start after the instrument has been integrated and will last between two and three months., , , , The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has played an outstanding role in the design and production of the parts of this instrument., WEAVE has been designed and developed by a large team of technicians and scientists in Spain; the United Kingdom; the Netherlands; France; Italy; Hungary; and Mexico., WEAVE: William Herschel Telescope Enhanced Area Velocity Explorer spectrograph   

    From IAC Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias] (ES) : “WEAVE is ready to start operating in La Palma” 

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía

    From IAC Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias] (ES)

    22/07/2021

    All the main components of the new multiobject spectrograph WEAVE on the William Herschel Telescope (WHT) in the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma) have arrived on the island.

    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has played an outstanding role in the design and production of the parts of this instrument, the work of an international collaboration, which will start its commissioning after immediate integration on the telescope.

    1
    WEAVE’s fibre positioner after being unpacked at the William Herschel Telescope (WHT). Credit: Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING), La Palma.

    3
    WEAVE’s spectrograph installed at the WHT. Credit: NOVA.

    The WEAVE (William Herschel Telescope Enhanced Area Velocity Explorer) spectrograph, will widen the field of view of the telescope to two degrees on the sky, four times the apparent diameter of the Moon, which will allow it to observe up to a thousand astronomical objects at a time during night-time observations; these will be carried out for the next five years. It will also allow scientists to follow the sources observed in the Gaia space mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and study objects from white dwarfs close to the Sun to the host galaxies of sources of gravitational waves.

    Scott Trager, researcher at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen [Rijksuniversiteit Groningen] (NL) and project scientist on the WEAVE Survey Consortium expressed his satisfaction at reaching this important milestone: “WEAVE will give tens of millions of spectra of stars and galaxies during the next five years, and its survey will yield data which will help to answer questions such as the formation of the galaxies, including the Milky Way and its stars, and about the nature of dark matter and dark energy”.

    WEAVE has been designed and developed by a large team of technicians and scientists in Spain; the United Kingdom; the Netherlands; France; Italy; Hungary; and Mexico. Gavin Dalton, Principal Investigator on Weave, from the University of Oxford (UK) and of the Science and Technology Facilities Council‘s RAL Space (UK), says: “It is most exciting to see the sustained efforts of so many people united at the telescope, and at last to be able to set working the positioning system. WEAVE has required ten years of development, with many complex moving pars, and components developed in laboratories throughout Europe. As a result, at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory we are about to offer astronomers a new and improved way to look at the stars”.

    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias is a member of the WEAVE consortium from the start, and has taken charge of supplying important instrumental packages for the full instrument. The main components of WEAVE provided by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias have been the field rotator, designed and made in collaboration with the IDOM company (Spain) and the prime focus corrector, designed in collaboration with the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) with the support of the Konkoly Observatory of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences [ Konkoly Thege Miklós Csillagászati Intézet](HU), and manufactured by the SENER aerospace company (Spain). In addition, the IAC has given its support to the development of the fibres positioner and the spectrograph, as well as the development of software for the analysis of the data from WEAVE.

    According to José Alfonso López Aguerri, the Principal Investigator for WEAVE in the IAC, “the WEAVE project has permitted Spanish companies to obtain know-how in front-line technologies which will let them opt for contracts in major future scientific projects. It has been a pleasure to work with a great technical team to complete the instrumental packages which we were assigned within the consortium”.

    Commissioning WEAVE will start after the instrument has been integrated and will last between two and three months, after which there will be observations for science verification, followed by routine observations and open time. The first assignations of open time have already been awarded. They are part of an International Time Project (ITP) and an announcement of opportunity for open time will be published once the commissioning of the instrument has been completed.

    For Marc Balcells, the Director of the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING), “the ING initiated the project to build WEAVE after a wide consultation of the international community which used the observatory. Our vision is to guarantee that the WHT will continue to supply the astronomers with the data they need to answer some of the most pressing current problems about the Universe. It has been exciting to build some of the parts of WEAVE, with the strong support of the STFC, and to start the tests, now that the hardware is being set up and made ready. We really want to use it on the sky and to start scientific research with it in a few months”.

    The Spanish astronomical community has been interested from the beginning of the project in the capacities and in the science which WEAVE will produce. In particular, some 60 Spanish astronomers from different institutions have been active in the design of the astronomical surveys which WEAVE will carry out in the next five years. Several of these surveys will be led by IAC researchers.

    For Jesús Falcón Barroso, Principal Investigator of the WEAVE-Aperif survey, “WEAVE opens a unique window to explore the Universe. The large surveys of stars and galaxies which will be made will give a radically different view, not only of our own Galaxy but of tens of thousands of galaxies at cosmological distances. This will let us tackle some key problems in Astrophysics, such as the formation and evolution of the Milky Way, or the effects of environment in the transformation and the evolution of galaxies in general. WEAVE represents the best laboratory to unveil the physical mechanisms which govern the formation of structures on different scales in the Universe”.

    More information can be found in the press release from the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING): http://www.ing.iac.es/PR/press/weave_july_2021.html

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    IAC Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias] (ES) operates two astronomical observatories in the Canary Islands:

    Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma
    Teide Observatory on Tenerife.

    The seeing statistics at ORM make it the second-best location for optical and infrared astronomy in the Northern Hemisphere, after Mauna Kea Observatory Hawaii (US).

    Maunakea Observatories Hawai’i (US) altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)

    The site also has some of the most extensive astronomical facilities in the Northern Hemisphere; its fleet of telescopes includes the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias, the world’s largest single-aperture optical telescope as of July 2009, the William Herschel Telescope (second largest in Europe), and the adaptive optics corrected Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope.

    The observatory was established in 1985, after 15 years of international work and cooperation of several countries with the Spanish island hosting many telescopes from Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, and other countries. The island provided better seeing conditions for the telescopes that had been moved to Herstmonceux by the Royal Greenwich Observatory, including the 98 inch aperture Isaac Newton Telescope (the largest reflector in Europe at that time). When it was moved to the island it was upgraded to a 100-inch (2.54 meter), and many even larger telescopes from various nations would be hosted there.

    Teide Observatory [Observatorio del Teide], IAU code 954, is an astronomical observatory on Mount Teide at 2,390 metres (7,840 ft), located on Tenerife, Spain. It has been operated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias since its inauguration in 1964. It became one of the first major international observatories, attracting telescopes from different countries around the world because of the good astronomical seeing conditions. Later the emphasis for optical telescopes shifted more towards Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:43 pm on July 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Successful tests pave the way for Fermilab’s next-generation particle accelerator", A highly anticipated particle accelerator project at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab is one step closer to becoming a reality., , Once complete PIP-II will be one of the highest-energy and highest-power linear particle accelerators in the world., or PIP2IT., PIP-II will feature five different types of superconducting cavities. Each type needs to be separately prototyped and tested., PIP-II will provide the international particle physics community with a world-class scientific facility that will enable discovery-focused research using neutrinos; muons; and protons., SSR1 cryomodule-designed and constructed at Fermilab.., Testing wrapped up at the PIP-II Injector Test Facility, The feat was a culmination of over eight years of work on the Proton Improvement Plan-II., The PIP-II accelerator will be 215 meters long and propel particles to 84% the speed of light., The team also demonstrated the implementation of artificial intelligence in PIP2IT.   

    From DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory(US): “Successful tests pave the way for Fermilab’s next-generation particle accelerator” 

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    From DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory(US), an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    particle accelerator

    July 22, 2021
    Diana Kwon

    A highly anticipated particle accelerator project at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab is one step closer to becoming a reality. This spring, amidst the pandemic, testing wrapped up at the PIP-II Injector Test Facility, or PIP2IT. The successful outcome paves the way for the construction of a new particle accelerator that will power record-breaking neutrino beams and drive a broad physics research program at Fermilab over the next 50 years.

    The feat was a culmination of over eight years of work on the Proton Improvement Plan-II, or PIP-II, by a dedicated group of scientists, technicians and engineers.

    “I’m very proud, first and foremost, of how the entire team came together in the middle of the pandemic and achieved so much under such adverse circumstances,” said Fermilab PIP-II Project Director Lia Merminga.

    1
    In February 2020, PIP-II engineer Lidija Kokoska (left) and project director Lia Merminga stand in the PIP-II Test Injector Facility. In spring 2021, the PIP-II team successfully completed testing of the front end of the new particle accelerator. Photo: Al Johnson, Fermilab.

    Prototyping a next-generation accelerator

    Once complete PIP-II will be one of the highest-energy and highest-power linear particle accelerators in the world. It is the first accelerator project in the U.S. with significant international contributions, with partner institutions in France, India, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom.

    PIP-II will provide the international particle physics community with a world-class scientific facility that will enable discovery-focused research using neutrinos, muons and protons. It will power the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, as well as many other particle physics experiments at Fermilab that aim to transform our understanding of the universe. Along the way, it strengthens the connection between advances in fundamental science and technological innovation.

    The PIP-II accelerator will be 215 meters long and propel particles to 84% the speed of light. It will have the unique ability to deliver particle beams in either a steady stream or a pulsed mode. The machine will comprise 23 cryomodules — large vessels that house and cool structures known as superconducting cavities. These cavities will provide the bulk of the particle acceleration in PIP-II.


    How will Fermilab’s new accelerator propel particles close to the speed of light?

    PIP-II’s ambitious specifications come with many technical challenges. For example, PIP-II will feature five different types of superconducting cavities. Each type needs to be separately prototyped and tested.

    “Some of the capabilities that are embedded in the design of PIP-II are encountered by the international community for the first time, therefore intense development and technology validation is required,” Merminga said. “Since PIP-II is built with components from around the world, ensuring that all these systems integrate seamlessly is of paramount importance.”

    PIP2IT was conceived, constructed and operated to serve as a proof-of-concept for the front end of PIP-II. It comprises the particle source and the first section, which is approximately 30 meters long.

    “We wanted to build this because it is one of the most complicated parts of PIP-II,” said Eduard Pozdeyev, PIP-II project scientist and commissioning manager. “The main idea behind PIP2IT was to prototype the critical systems of the main accelerator.”

    Two stages to success

    The construction and testing of PIP2IT took place in two stages. The first phase, which began in 2013, focused on building the room-temperature portion of the machine. This included three parts: an ion source that generates the hydrogen ions; a radio-frequency quadrupole module, or RFQ, designed and built by DOE’s Berkeley Lab, which focuses and accelerates the particle beam; and a transport line for carrying the beam to the superconducting section of the accelerator.

    The team then carried out stage-one tests from 2016 to 2018. Testing ended with the generation of a beam that reached the goal of 2.1 million electronvolts of energy. The successful testing of all room-temperature components was a key step necessary to progress to the project’s next stage.

    “The ion source puts out these H-minus ions at 30,000 electronvolts, which is comparable to the energy that old-fashioned cathode-ray tube televisions used to produce,” said Fermilab engineer Curtis Baffes, the linac installation manager for PIP-II. “Then the RFQ takes that up to 2.1 million electronvolts — that’s a very significant energy increase.”

    During the second stage, which began in 2019, the PIP2IT team installed and tested the first parts of the cold section of the machine, which uses superconducting radiofrequency technology. They installed two cryomodules known as HWR, contributed by DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory (US) , and SSR1, designed and constructed at Fermilab.

    SSR1 also integrated a new feature called the strongback technology. Typically, technicians link the cavities within a cryomodule to one another. The strongback technique connects the cavities to a common frame instead. This reduces vibration and enables easier alignment and assembly.

    Meeting all goals

    Cooling down these two cryomodules with liquid helium, then demonstrating that they could accelerate beams was “a big accomplishment,” Baffes said. “When the two cryomodules were cooled down, powered up and validated, they were individually big milestones. Then the final milestone was putting everything together and operating it with a particle beam.”

    2
    The PIP-II team cooled down and successfully operated two cryomodules, including this SSR1 cryomodule, to accelerate particles to a beam energy of 16.5 million electronvolts. Photo: Tom Nicol, Fermilab.

    Despite the global pandemic, the PIP2IT team managed several novel feats for Fermilab. That included the first acceleration of a proton beam using superconducting technology; the completion of SSR1, the first cryomodule entirely developed and built in-house; and the employment of the novel strongback technology. The Bhabha Atomic Research Center in India, an international partner of PIP-II, supplied one of the SSR1 cavities, meeting the stringent specifications for the component. BARC also provided the radio frequency power amplifiers that powered the SSR1 cryomodule and successfully enabled beam acceleration in PIP2IT.

    The test accelerator met the team’s goals. The machine reached the beam parameters needed for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, which will generate the neutrinos for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. PIP2IT achieved a beam energy of 16.5 million electronvolts, a current of 2 milliamps with 550-microsecond-long pulses and a 20-Hertz repetition rate. It also demonstrated the seamless integration of national and international partner deliverables.

    Bringing the many pieces of PIP2IT together and making sure that they met all the operational requirements was no easy feat. It was one that took years of painstaking effort by a dedicated team, Pozdeyev said. “Once we demonstrated this whole complex system operated, we breathed a big sigh of relief.”

    On top of the technical challenges posed by the project, working during a pandemic brought additional obstacles. The PIP2IT team had to temporarily shut down activities and introduce all the necessary precautions — such as setting up plexiglass barriers and establishing strict social distancing rules — before restarting.

    “We achieved all the main goals and milestones, even with all those difficulties,” said Lionel Prost, the manager for the warm front end of PIP-II. “It is gratifying that we were able to do it during those times.”

    Testing novel features: beam chopping and artificial intelligence

    The PIP2IT team also tested a novel technique for PIP-II: bunch-by-bunch chopping.

    Accelerators typically propel and deliver particles in bunches — parcels that hold trillions of particles each — that are mere nanoseconds apart. A so-called chopper system within PIP2IT enables operators to eject bunches of particles at controlled intervals. This enables the machine to deliver unique beam patterns catered to the needs of a given experiment.

    “One particularity of this chopping system is that it should be able to take any of the bunches that come out of the RFQ and be capable of kicking them to the absorber or letting them pass,” Prost said. “That has been a tricky and difficult technical achievement, because this technology doesn’t exist anywhere else.”

    The team also demonstrated the implementation of artificial intelligence in PIP2IT. They used machine learning algorithms to align the beam trajectory within the cryomodules. The eventual goal is to use such AI/ML technology more broadly in PIP-II and beyond.

    “The ultimate vision is an autonomous accelerator,” Merminga said. “A scientist comes in, dials in the beam parameters that they want for an experiment and then the software tunes the machine to deliver them. Minimal to no human intervention.”

    A new beginning

    PIP2IT completed its final run in April. Now, the team is working on disassembling the machine. They will store the cryomodules and other components until the construction of the PIP-II building is complete.

    4
    This rendering shows the buildings that will house the new PIP-II particle accelerator at Fermilab. Construction of the cryoplant building, shown at the top of this image, is underway. The 16-story Wilson Hall is partially visible in the bottom right corner. Illustration: Fermilab.

    Meanwhile, the project team will convert the cave that currently houses PIP2IT into a PIP-II cryomodule test facility. Before installation, each of PIP-II’s 23 cryomodules needs to be cooled down to cryogenic temperatures and tested.

    PIP2IT was an important learning experience. The project taught the team important lessons about the operation of the machine’s complex components such as its cryomodules. It also demonstrated the coordination that is necessary to integrate the numerous systems that come together.

    “All these lessons learned are going to be used to improve, update, modify and test designs for PIP-II,” Pozdeyev said. “When you start commissioning a new machine, sometimes you don’t know what’s going to happen. The test results obtained from PIP2IT significantly reduce the risk of future operations.”

    While PIP2IT is now complete, PIP-II’s journey continues.

    “Demonstrating that the front of PIP-II can meet its requirements is certainly a great milestone for the project,” Baffes said. “But it’s definitely not the end of the story.”

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory(US), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Since 2007, Fermilab has been operated by the Fermi Research Alliance, a joint venture of the University of Chicago, and the Universities Research Association (URA). Fermilab is a part of the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor.

    Fermilab’s Tevatron was a landmark particle accelerator; until the startup in 2008 of the Large Hadron Collider(CH) near Geneva, Switzerland, it was the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, accelerating antiprotons to energies of 500 GeV, and producing proton-proton collisions with energies of up to 1.6 TeV, the first accelerator to reach one “tera-electron-volt” energy. At 3.9 miles (6.3 km), it was the world’s fourth-largest particle accelerator in circumference. One of its most important achievements was the 1995 discovery of the top quark, announced by research teams using the Tevatron’s CDF and DØ detectors. It was shut down in 2011.

    In addition to high-energy collider physics, Fermilab hosts fixed-target and neutrino experiments, such as MicroBooNE (Micro Booster Neutrino Experiment), NOνA (NuMI Off-Axis νe Appearance) and SeaQuest. Completed neutrino experiments include MINOS (Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search), MINOS+, MiniBooNE and SciBooNE (SciBar Booster Neutrino Experiment). The MiniBooNE detector was a 40-foot (12 m) diameter sphere containing 800 tons of mineral oil lined with 1,520 phototube detectors. An estimated 1 million neutrino events were recorded each year. SciBooNE sat in the same neutrino beam as MiniBooNE but had fine-grained tracking capabilities. The NOνA experiment uses, and the MINOS experiment used, Fermilab’s NuMI (Neutrinos at the Main Injector) beam, which is an intense beam of neutrinos that travels 455 miles (732 km) through the Earth to the Soudan Mine in Minnesota and the Ash River, Minnesota, site of the NOνA far detector. In 2017, the ICARUS neutrino experiment was moved from CERN to Fermilab.
    In the public realm, Fermilab is home to a native prairie ecosystem restoration project and hosts many cultural events: public science lectures and symposia, classical and contemporary music concerts, folk dancing and arts galleries. The site is open from dawn to dusk to visitors who present valid photo identification.

    Asteroid 11998 Fermilab is named in honor of the laboratory.

    Weston, Illinois, was a community next to Batavia voted out of existence by its village board in 1966 to provide a site for Fermilab.

    The laboratory was founded in 1969 as the National Accelerator Laboratory; it was renamed in honor of Enrico Fermi in 1974. The laboratory’s first director was Robert Rathbun Wilson, under whom the laboratory opened ahead of time and under budget. Many of the sculptures on the site are of his creation. He is the namesake of the site’s high-rise laboratory building, whose unique shape has become the symbol for Fermilab and which is the center of activity on the campus.

    After Wilson stepped down in 1978 to protest the lack of funding for the lab, Leon M. Lederman took on the job. It was under his guidance that the original accelerator was replaced with the Tevatron, an accelerator capable of colliding protons and antiprotons at a combined energy of 1.96 TeV. Lederman stepped down in 1989. The science education center at the site was named in his honor.

    The later directors include:

    John Peoples, 1989 to 1996
    Michael S. Witherell, July 1999 to June 2005
    Piermaria Oddone, July 2005 to July 2013
    Nigel Lockyer, September 2013 to the present

    Fermilab continues to participate in the work at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC); it serves as a Tier 1 site in the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid.

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  • richardmitnick 2:36 pm on July 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "DeepMind and EMBL release the most complete database of predicted 3D structures of human proteins", , , , European Molecular Biology Laboratory,   

    From European Molecular Biology Laboratory : “DeepMind and EMBL release the most complete database of predicted 3D structures of human proteins” 

    EMBL European Molecular Biology Laboratory bloc

    From European Molecular Biology Laboratory

    22 Jul 2021

    1
    Protein structures representing the data obtained via AlphaFold. Source image: AlphaFold. Design credit: Karen Arnott/EMBL-EBI.

    DeepMind today announced its partnership with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Europe’s flagship laboratory for the life sciences, to make the most complete and accurate database yet of predicted protein structure models for the human proteome. This will cover all ~20,000 proteins expressed by the human genome, and the data will be freely and openly available to the scientific community. The database and artificial intelligence system provide structural biologists with powerful new tools for examining a protein’s three-dimensional structure, and offer a treasure trove of data that could unlock future advances and herald a new era for AI-enabled biology.

    AlphaFold’s recognition in December 2020 by the organisers of the Critical Assessment of protein Structure Prediction (CASP) benchmark as a solution to the 50-year-old grand challenge of protein structure prediction was a stunning breakthrough for the field. The AlphaFold Protein Structure Database builds on this innovation and the discoveries of generations of scientists, from the early pioneers of protein imaging and crystallography, to the thousands of prediction specialists and structural biologists who’ve spent years experimenting with proteins since. The database dramatically expands the accumulated knowledge of protein structures, more than doubling the number of high-accuracy human protein structures available to researchers. Advancing the understanding of these building blocks of life, which underpin every biological process in every living thing, will help enable researchers across a huge variety of fields to accelerate their work.

    Last week, the methodology behind the latest highly innovative version of AlphaFold, the sophisticated AI system announced last December that powers these structure predictions, and its open source code were published in Nature. Today’s announcement coincides with a second Nature paper that provides the fullest picture of proteins that make up the human proteome, and the release of 20 additional organisms that are important for biological research.

    “Our goal at DeepMind has always been to build AI and then use it as a tool to help accelerate the pace of scientific discovery itself, thereby advancing our understanding of the world around us,” said DeepMind Founder and CEO Demis Hassabis, PhD. “We used AlphaFold to generate the most complete and accurate picture of the human proteome. We believe this represents the most significant contribution AI has made to advancing scientific knowledge to date, and is a great illustration of the sorts of benefits AI can bring to society.”

    AlphaFold is already helping scientists to accelerate discovery

    The ability to predict a protein’s shape computationally from its amino acid sequence – rather than determining it experimentally through years of painstaking, laborious and often costly techniques – is already helping scientists to achieve in months what previously took years.

    “The AlphaFold database is a perfect example of the virtuous circle of open science,” said EMBL Director General Edith Heard. “AlphaFold was trained using data from public resources built by the scientific community so it makes sense for its predictions to be public. Sharing AlphaFold predictions openly and freely will empower researchers everywhere to gain new insights and drive discovery. I believe that AlphaFold is truly a revolution for the life sciences, just as genomics was several decades ago and I am very proud that EMBL has been able to help DeepMind in enabling open access to this remarkable resource.”

    AlphaFold is already being used by partners such as the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), which has advanced their research into life-saving cures for diseases that disproportionately affect the poorer parts of the world, and the Centre for Enzyme Innovation (CEI) is using AlphaFold to help engineer faster enzymes for recycling some of our most polluting single-use plastics. For those scientists who rely on experimental protein structure determination, AlphaFold’s predictions have helped accelerate their research. For example, a team at the University of Colorado Boulder is finding promise in using AlphaFold predictions to study antibiotic resistance, while a group at the University of California-San Francisco (US) has used them to increase their understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology.

    The AlphaFold Protein Structure Database

    The AlphaFold Protein Structure Database builds on many contributions from the international scientific community, as well as AlphaFold’s sophisticated algorithmic innovations and EMBL-EBI’s decades of experience in sharing the world’s biological data. DeepMind and EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) are providing access to AlphaFold’s predictions so that others can use the system as a tool to enable and accelerate research and open up completely new avenues of scientific discovery.

    “This will be one of the most important datasets since the mapping of the Human Genome,” said EMBL Deputy Director General, and EMBL-EBI Director Ewan Birney. “Making AlphaFold predictions accessible to the international scientific community opens up so many new research avenues, from neglected diseases to new enzymes for biotechnology and everything in between. This is a great new scientific tool, which complements existing technologies, and will allow us to push the boundaries of our understanding of the world.”

    In addition to the human proteome, the database launches with ~350,000 structures including 20 biologically-significant organisms such as E.coli, fruit fly, mouse, zebrafish, malaria parasite and tuberculosis bacteria. Research into these organisms has been the subject of countless research papers and numerous major breakthroughs. These structures will enable researchers across a huge variety of fields – from neuroscience to medicine – to accelerate their work.

    The future of AlphaFold

    The database and system will be periodically updated as we continue to invest in future improvements to AlphaFold, and over the coming months we plan to vastly expand the coverage to almost every sequenced protein known to science – over 100 million structures covering most of the UniProt reference database.

    To learn more, please see the Nature papers describing our full method and the human proteome, and read the Authors’ Notes. See the open-source code to AlphaFold if you want to view the workings of the system, and Colab notebook to run individual sequences. To explore the structures, visit EMBL-EBI’s searchable database that is open and free to all.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EMBL European Molecular Biology Laboratory campus

    European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EU) is Europe’s flagship laboratory for the life sciences, with more than 80 independent groups covering the spectrum of molecular biology. EMBL is international, innovative and interdisciplinary – its 1800 employees, from many nations, operate across five sites: the main laboratory in Heidelberg, and outstations in Grenoble; Hamburg; Hinxton, near Cambridge (the European Bioinformatics Institute (EU)), and Monterotondo, near Rome. Founded in 1974, EMBL is an inter-governmental organisation funded by public research monies from its member states. The cornerstones of EMBL’s mission are: to perform basic research in molecular biology; to train scientists, students and visitors at all levels; to offer vital services to scientists in the member states; to develop new instruments and methods in the life sciences and actively engage in technology transfer activities, and to integrate European life science research. Around 200 students are enrolled in EMBL’s International PhD programme. Additionally, the Laboratory offers a platform for dialogue with the general public through various science communication activities such as lecture series, visitor programmes and the dissemination of scientific achievements.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:35 pm on July 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Water resources-defusing conflict and promoting cooperation", An international research team led by ETH Zürich has now developed a strategic toolkit that can help to defuse such conflicts over water use., DAFNE uses state-​of-the-art modelling techniques and digital solutions to enable participatory planning., Rivers are lifelines for many countries. They create valuable ecosystems; provide drinking water for people; and raw water for agriculture and industry., , The EU funded project DAFNE has developed a methodology for avoiding conflicts of use in transboundary rivers. The model-​based procedure allows for participatory planning and cooperative management, The models aim to facilitate continuous negotiation between stakeholders – which is a key element of the DAFNE approach.   

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “Water resources-defusing conflict and promoting cooperation” 

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    23.07.2021
    Michael Keller

    The EU funded project DAFNE has developed a methodology for avoiding conflicts of use in transboundary rivers. The model-​based procedure allows for participatory planning and cooperative management of water resources. The aim is now for the DAFNE methodology to be implemented in other regions of the world.

    1
    The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River, taken on 25 November 2017. The dam provoked tensions between Ethiopia and its neighbours – echoing the situation following construction of Gibe III mega-​dam on the Omo River. (Image: Gioia Forster/Keystone.

    Rivers are lifelines for many countries. They create valuable ecosystems; provide drinking water for people; and raw water for agriculture and industry. In the Global South in particular, there is strong competition for access to freshwater resources. The increasing use of hydropower has recently intensified this competition further.

    Take Ethiopia, for example: when the country began filling the mega-​dam Gibe III on the Omo River in 2015, downstream users saw a drop in water volumes. Natural flooding declined, reducing the volume of fertile mud washed onto the floodplain. The level of Kenya’s Lake Turkana, into which the Omo flows, fell temporarily by two metres, resulting in significant consequences for people and agriculture.

    2
    The Omo River in Ethiopia. The country has already built three hydropower schemes (Gibe I to III), fed by two dams on the Omo, with a third reservoir (Koysha) is already under construction. (Image: Tiziana_P/iStock.

    Addressing the nexus

    The network of interactions between water, energy, food and ecosystems – referred to by experts as the “water-​energy-food (WEF) nexus” – often leads to wide-​ranging disputes in the catchment areas of transboundary rivers. Large-​scale infrastructure construction projects such as dams and irrigation schemes have caused political tensions between neighbouring states at various points in the past.

    An international research team led by ETH Zürich has now developed a strategic toolkit that can help to defuse such conflicts over water use, through an objective analysis of stakeholder’s interests. In the EU’s Horizon 2020 project DAFNE, 14 research partners from Europe and Africa worked together to find approaches to a more equitable management of water resources.

    “We wanted to show how it is possible to sustainably manage the nexus between water, energy, food and ecosystems, even in large and transboundary river basins with a wide range of users,” says Paolo Burlando, Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources Management at ETH Zürich.

    Integrating and balancing different interests

    While it is now recognised that watershed planning should take a holistic approach that respects the needs of all stakeholders, multidimensional decision-​making problems with significant numbers of stakeholders make it difficult to negotiate generally accepted solutions.

    “Conventional planning tools are usually overwhelmed with challenges such as these,” explains Burlando, who has led the DAFNE consortium for the past four years. This is why the project team developed a novel method to map and quantify trade-​offs in the WEF nexus.

    The approach is based on the principles of the participatory and integrated planning and management of water resources, which focuses on the role and interests of stakeholders. The DAFNE methodology is designed to engage stakeholders and find compromises and synergies in a joint approach. “The key is to find solutions that benefit everyone, take the environment into account and also make economic sense,” explains Burlando.

    Enabling dialogue through models

    DAFNE uses state-​of-the-art modelling techniques and digital solutions to enable participatory planning. A strategic decision tool allows the social, economic and environmental consequences of interventions to be assessed in a quantitative approach, enabling users to identify viable development pathways. Stakeholder selected pathways are simulated in detail using a hydrological model driven by high-​resolution climate scenarios, in order to accurately analyse the impact on the respective water resources. Additional sub-​models can be used to model other aspects of the nexus. Finally, a visualisation tool helps to illustrate interrelationships and assess problems from various user perspectives.

    “The models aim to facilitate continuous negotiation between stakeholders – which is a key element of the DAFNE approach,” says Senior Scientist Scott Sinclair, who co-​developed the modelling approach.

    Case studies with local stakeholders

    The DAFNE project focused on two large river basins in East, and Southern Africa – the Omo-​Turkana and Zambezi – where the researchers tested their methodology in two case studies. In both case studies, real stakeholders were involved in the development of the DAFNE approaches, working with them to test alternative operating modes for the power plants and irrigation schemes, to design more sustainable use scenarios for their catchment areas. They exchanged their different perspectives in simulated negotiations to illustrate the process.

    4
    Mega-​dam on the Omo River: Gibe III (2016). (Image: Mimi Abebayehu/Wikimedia Commons)

    In the Omo-​Turkana basin, the scientists also used their methodology in a retrospective analysis of the controversial two-​year filling phase of the Gibe III mega-​dam in Ethiopia. “We observed that the negative impact on downstream neighbours was exacerbated by a prolonged drought,” reports Burlando. The DAFNE consortium partner from Politecnico di Milano were able to show in a study published in Nature Communications together with Burlando and Sinclair, that such problems can be reduced by combining DAFNE tools with seasonal drought forecasts and flexibly adapting the filling regime to hydroclimatic conditions.

    Dams on the advance worldwide

    The results of the study are highly topical: Ethiopia is currently building another mega-​dam in the Omo-​Turkana catchment area, and filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. Worldwide, around 500 dam projects are being planned in regions affected by climate feedbacks through teleconnections. Growing populations and increasing prosperity will continue to boost demand for energy, food and water. The researchers hope that the DAFNE methodology will one day become a reference.

    “We designed the modelling tools to be transferable to other regions with competing water needs,” says Burlando. Follow-​up projects are already under way to apply and further develop the technology in several river basins worldwide.


    DAFNE Project: Official video.
    Project partners and stakeholders report on their experiences with the DAFNE methodology from two case studies conducted on the Omo and Zambezi rivers under real-​life conditions. (Video: DAFNE project consortium.)

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus
    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische Schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische Schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas the University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form the Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US) and University of Cambridge(UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education WorldUniversity Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US), California Institute of Technology(US), Princeton University(US), University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK).

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE ExcellenceRanking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London(UK) and the University of Cambridge(UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:44 pm on July 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , "The anatomy of a planet", "Seismic detection of the Martian core.", "Thickness and structure of the Martian crust from InSight seismic data.", " Upper mantle structure of Mars from InSight seismic data."   

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “The anatomy of a planet” 

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    22.07.2021

    Researchers at ETH Zürich working together with an international team have been able to use seismic data to look inside Mars for the first time. They measured the crust, mantle and core and narrowed down their composition. The three resulting articles are being published together as a cover story in the journal Science.

    2
    Using seismic data, researchers have now measured the red planet’s crust, mantle and core (Graphic: Chris Bickel/Science, Data: InSight Mars SEIS Data Service (2019). Reprinted with permission from American Association for the Advancement of Science (US))

    Since early 2019, researchers have been recording and analysing marsquakes as part of the InSight mission. This relies on a seismometer whose data acquisition and control electronics were developed at ETH Zürich. Using this data, the researchers have now measured the red planet’s crust, mantle and core – data that will help determine the formation and evolution of Mars and, by extension, the entire solar system.

    Mars once completely molten

    We know that Earth is made up of shells: a thin crust of light, solid rock surrounds a thick mantle of heavy, viscous rock, which in turn envelopes a core consisting mainly of iron and nickel. Terrestrial planets, including Mars, have been assumed to have a similar structure. “Now seismic data has confirmed that Mars presumably was once completely molten before dividing into the crust, mantle and core we see today, but that these are different from Earth’s,” says Amir Khan, a scientist at the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zürich and at the Physics Institute at the University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ](CH). Together with his ETH colleague Simon Stähler, he analysed data from NASA’s InSight [above] mission, in which ETH Zürich is participating under the leadership of Professor Domenico Giardini.

    No plate tectonics on Mars

    The researchers have discovered that the Martian crust under the probe’s landing site near the Martian equator is between 15 and 47 kilometres thick. Such a thin crust must contain a relatively high proportion of radioactive elements, which calls into question previous models of the chemical composition of the entire crust.

    Beneath the crust comes the mantle with the lithosphere of more solid rock reaching 400–600 kilometres down – twice as deep as on Earth. This could be because there is now only one continental plate on Mars, in contrast to Earth with its seven large mobile plates. “The thick lithosphere fits well with the model of Mars as a ‘one-​plate planet’,” Khan concludes.

    The measurements also show that the Martian mantle is mineralogically similar to Earth’s upper mantle. “In that sense, the Martian mantle is a simpler version of Earth’s mantle.” But the seismology also reveals differences in chemical composition. The Martian mantle, for example, contains more iron than Earth’s. However, theories as to the complexity of the layering of the Martian mantle also depend on the size of the underlying core – and here, too, the researchers have come to new conclusions.

    The core is liquid and larger than expected

    The Martian core has a radius of about 1,840 kilometres, making it a good 200 kilometres larger than had been assumed 15 years ago, when the InSight mission was planned. The researchers were now able to recalculate the size of the core using seismic waves. “Having determined the radius of the core, we can now calculate its density,” Stähler says.

    “If the core radius is large, the density of the core must be relatively low,” he explains: “That means the core must contain a large proportion of lighter elements in addition to iron and nickel.” These include sulphur, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen, and make up an unexpectedly large proportion. The researchers conclude that the composition of the entire planet is not yet fully understood. Nonetheless, the current investigations confirm that the core is liquid – as suspected – even if Mars no longer has a magnetic field.

    Reaching the goal with different waveforms

    The researchers obtained the new results by analysing various seismic waves generated by marsquakes. “We could already see different waves in the InSight data, so we knew how far away from the lander these quake epicentres were on Mars,” Giardini says. To be able to say something about a planet’s inner structure calls for quake waves that are reflected at or below the surface or at the core. Now, for the first time, researchers have succeeded in observing and analysing such waves on Mars.

    “The InSight mission was a unique opportunity to capture this data,” Giardini says. The data stream will end in a year when the lander’s solar cells are no longer able to produce enough power. “But we’re far from finished analysing all the data – Mars still presents us with many mysteries, most notably whether it formed at the same time and from the same material as our Earth.” It is especially important to understand how the internal dynamics of Mars led it to lose its active magnetic field and all surface water. “This will give us an idea of whether and how these processes might be occurring on our planet,” Giardini explains. “That’s our reason why we are on Mars, to study its anatomy.”

    References

    Khan A et al.: Upper mantle structure of Mars from InSight seismic data. Science.

    Stähler S et al.: Seismic detection of the Martian core. Science.

    Knapmeyer-​Endrun B et al.: Thickness and structure of the Martian crust from InSight seismic data. Science.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus
    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische Schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische Schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas the University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form the Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US) and University of Cambridge(UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education WorldUniversity Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US), California Institute of Technology(US), Princeton University(US), University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK).

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE ExcellenceRanking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London(UK) and the University of Cambridge(UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:02 pm on July 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A machine learning breakthrough uses satellite images to improve lives", Deep streams of data from Earth-imaging satellites arrive in databases every day but advanced technology and expertise are required to access and analyze the data., In a sense Hsiang said "MOSAIKS" could do for satellite databases what Google in the early days did for the Internet: map the data; make it accessible and user-friendly at low cost., More than 700 imaging satellites are orbiting the earth. Every day they beam vast oceans of information-including data that reflects climate change; health; and poverty — to databases on the ground., Now a team based at University of California-Berkeley has devised a machine learning system to tap the problem-solving potential of satellite imaging using low-cost easy-to-use technology., short for Multi-Task Observation using Satellite Imagery & Kitchen Sinks., The growing fleet of imaging satellites beam data back to Earth 24/7 — some 80 terabytes every day according to the research-a number certain to grow in coming years., The research paper details how MOSAIKS was able to replicate with reasonable accuracy reports prepared at great cost by the U.S. Census Bureau., The system that emerged from the Berkeley-based research is called "MOSAIKS", , While the geospatial data could help researchers and policymakers address critical challenges only those with considerable wealth and expertise can access it.   

    From University of California-Berkeley (US) : “A machine learning breakthrough uses satellite images to improve lives” 

    From University of California-Berkeley (US)

    July 20, 2021
    Edward Lempinen
    lempinen@berkeley.edu

    1
    Deep streams of data from Earth-imaging satellites arrive in databases every day but advanced technology and expertise are required to access and analyze the data. Now a new system, developed in research based at the University of California-Berkeley, uses machine learning to drive low-cost, easy-to-use technology that one person could run on a laptop, without advanced training, to address their local problems. (Photo by NASA via Pxfuel.)

    More than 700 imaging satellites are orbiting the earth. Every day they beam vast oceans of information-including data that reflects climate change; health; and poverty — to databases on the ground. There’s just one problem: While the geospatial data could help researchers and policymakers address critical challenges only those with considerable wealth and expertise can access it.

    Now a team based at University of California-Berkeley (US) has devised a machine learning system to tap the problem-solving potential of satellite imaging using low-cost easy-to-use technology that could bring access and analytical power to researchers and governments worldwide. The study was published July 20, 2021 in the journal Nature Communications.

    “Satellite images contain an incredible amount of data about the world, but the trick is how to translate the data into usable insights without having a human comb through every single image,” said co-author Esther Rolf, a final-year Ph.D. student in computer science. “We designed our system for accessibility, so that one person should be able to run it on a laptop, without specialized training, to address their local problems.”

    “We’re entering a regime in which our actions are having truly global impact,” said co-author Solomon Hsiang, director of the Global Policy Lab at the Goldman School of Public Policy. “Things are moving faster than they’ve ever moved in the past. We’re changing resource allocations faster than ever. We’re transforming the planet. That requires a more responsive management system that is able to see these things happen, so that we can respond in a timely, effective way.”

    The project was a collaboration between the Global Policy Lab, which Hsiang directs, and Benjamin Recht’s research team in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. Other co-authors are Berkeley Ph.D. graduates Tamma Carleton, now at University of California-Santa Barbara (US); Jonathan Proctor, now at Harvard University (US)’s Center for the Environment and Data Science Initiative; Ian Bolliger, now at the Rhodium Group; and Vaishaal Shankar, now at Amazon; and Berkeley Ph.D. student Miyabi Ishihara.

    All of them were at University of California-Berkeley (US) when the project began. Their collaboration has been remarkable for bringing together disciplines that often look at the world in different ways and speak different languages: computer science, environmental and climate science, statistics, economics and public policy.

    But they have been guided by a common interest in creating an open access tool that democratizes the power of technology, making it usable even by communities and countries that lack resources and advanced technical skill. “It’s like Ford’s Model T, but with machine learning and satellites,” Hsiang said. “It’s cheap enough that everyone can now access this new technology.”

    “MOSAIKS”: Improving lives, protecting the planet

    The system that emerged from the Berkeley-based research is called “MOSAIKS”, short for Multi-Task Observation using Satellite Imagery & Kitchen Sinks. It ultimately could have the power to analyze hundreds of variables drawn from satellite data — from soil and water conditions to housing, health and poverty — at a global scale.

    3
    In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, a satellite image shows hundreds of green aquaculture ponds where local farmers grow fish and shrimp. Geospatial imaging holds enormous potential for developing nations to address challenges related to agriculture, poverty, health and human migration, scholars at University of California-Berkeley (US) say. But until now, the technology and expertise needed to efficiently access and analyze satellite data usually has been limited to developed countries. (NASA Earth Observatory (US) images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.)

    The research paper details how MOSAIKS was able to replicate with reasonable accuracy reports prepared at great cost by the U.S. Census Bureau. It also has enormous potential in addressing development challenges in low-income countries and to help scientists and policymakers understand big-picture environmental change.

    “Climate change is diffuse and difficult to see at any one location, but when you step back and look at the broad scale, you really see what is going on around the planet,” said Hsiang, who also serves as co-director of the multi-institution Climate Impact Lab.

    For example, he said, the satellite data could give researchers deep new insights into expansive rangeland areas such as the Great Plains in the U.S. and the Sahel in Africa, or into areas such as Greenland or Antarctica that may be shedding icebergs as temperatures rise.

    “These areas are so large, and to have people sitting there and looking at pictures and counting icebergs is really inefficient,” Hsiang explained. But with MOSAIKS, he said, “you could automate that and track whether these glaciers are actually disintegrating faster, or whether this has been happening all along.”

    For a government in the developing world, the technology could help guide even routine decisions, such as where to build roads.

    “A government wants to build roads where the most people are and the most economic activity is,” Hsiang said. “You might want to know which community is underserved, or the condition of existing infrastructure in a community. But often it’s very difficult to get that information.”

    The challenge: Organizing trillions of bytes of raw satellite data

    The growing fleet of imaging satellites beam data back to Earth 24/7 — some 80 terabytes every day according to the research-a number certain to grow in coming years.

    But often, imaging satellites are built to capture information on narrow topics — supplies of fresh water, for example, or the condition of agricultural soils. And the data doesn’t arrive as neat, orderly images, like snapshots from a photo shop. It’s raw data, a mass of binary information. Researchers who access the data have to know what they’re looking for.

    Merely storing so many terabytes of data requires a huge investment. Distilling the layers of data embedded in the images requires additional computing power and advanced human expertise to tease out strands of information that are coherent and useful to other researchers, policymakers or funding agencies.

    Inevitably, exploiting satellite images is largely limited to scholars or agencies in wealthy nations, Rolf and Hsiang said.

    “If you’re an elite professor, you can get someone to build your satellite for you,” said Hsiang. “But there’s no way that a conservation agency in Kenya is going to be able to access the technology and the experts to do this work.

    “We wanted to find a way to empower them. We decided to come up with a Swiss Army Knife — a practical tool that everyone can access.”

    Like Google for satellite imagery, sort of

    Especially in low-income countries, one dimension of poverty is a poverty of data. But even communities in the U.S. and other developed countries usually don’t have ready access to geospatial data in a convenient, usable format for addressing local challenges.

    Machine learning opens the door to solutions.

    4
    The illustrations show how the MOSAIKS machine learning system developed at University of California-Berkeley (US) predicts, in fine detail, forest cover (above, in green) and population (below). (Image courtesy of Esther Rolf, Jonathan Proctor, Tamma Carleton, Ian Bolliger, Miyabi Ishihara, Vaishaal Shankar, Benjamin Recht and Solomon Hsiang)

    In a general sense, machine learning refers to computer systems that use algorithms and statistical modeling to learn on their own, without step-by-step human intervention. What the new research describes is a system that can assemble data delivered by many satellites and organize it in ways that are accessible and useful.

    There are precedents for such systems: Google Earth Engine and Microsoft’s Planetary Computer are both platforms for accessing and analyzing global geospatial data, with a focus on conservation. But, Rolf said, even with these technologies, considerable expertise is often required to convert the data into new insights.

    The goal of MOSAIKS is not to develop more complex machine learning systems, Rolf said. Rather, its innovation is in making satellite data widely useable for addressing global challenges. The team did this by making the algorithms radically simpler and more efficient.

    MOSAIKS starts with learning to recognize minuscule patterns in the images — Hsiang compares it to a game of Scrabble, in which the algorithm learns to recognize each letter. In this case, however, the tiles are minuscule pieces of satellite image, 3 pixels by 3 pixels.

    But MOSAIKS doesn’t conclude “this is a tree” or “this is pavement.” Instead, it recognizes patterns and groups them together, said Proctor. It learns to recognize similar patterns in different parts of the world.

    When thousands of terabytes from hundreds of sources are analyzed and organized, researchers can choose a village or a country or a region and draw out organized data that can touch on themes as varied as soil moisture, health conditions, human migration and home values.

    In a sense Hsiang said “MOSAIKS” could do for satellite databases what Google in the early days did for the Internet: map the data; make it accessible and user-friendly at low cost; and perhaps make it searchable. But Rolf, a machine learning scholar based in the Berkeley Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences department, said the Google comparison goes only so far.

    MOSAIKS “is about translating an unwieldy amount of data into usable information,” she explained. “Maybe a better analogy would be that the system takes very dense information — say, a very large article — and produces a summary.”

    Creating a living atlas of global data

    Both Hsiang and Rolf see the potential for MOSAIKS to evolve in powerful and elegant directions.

    Hsiang imagines the data being collected into computer-based, continually evolving atlases. Turn to any given “page,” and a user could access broad, deep data about conditions in a country or a region.

    Rolf envisions a system that can take the stream of data from humanity’s fleet of imaging satellites and remote sensors and transform it into a flowing, real-time portrait of Earth and its inhabitants, continually in a state of change. We could see the past and the present, and so discern emerging challenges and address them.

    “We’ve sent so much stuff to space,” Hsiang says. “It’s an amazing achievement. But we can get a lot more bang for our buck for all of this data that we’re already pulling down. Let’s let the world use it in a useful way. Let’s use it for good.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of California-Berkeley US) is a public land-grant research university in Berkeley, California. Established in 1868 as the state’s first land-grant university, it was the first campus of the University of California (US) system and a founding member of the Association of American Universities (US). Its 14 colleges and schools offer over 350 degree programs and enroll some 31,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students. Berkeley is ranked among the world’s top universities by major educational publications.

    Berkeley hosts many leading research institutes, including the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Space Sciences Laboratory. It founded and maintains close relationships with three national laboratories at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory(US), DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory(US) and DOE’s Los Alamos National Lab(US), and has played a prominent role in many scientific advances, from the Manhattan Project and the discovery of 16 chemical elements to breakthroughs in computer science and genomics. Berkeley is also known for student activism and the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s.

    Berkeley alumni and faculty count among their ranks 110 Nobel laureates (34 alumni), 25 Turing Award winners (11 alumni), 14 Fields Medalists, 28 Wolf Prize winners, 103 MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipients, 30 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 19 Academy Award winners. The university has produced seven heads of state or government; five chief justices, including Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren; 21 cabinet-level officials; 11 governors; and 25 living billionaires. It is also a leading producer of Fulbright Scholars, MacArthur Fellows, and Marshall Scholars. Berkeley alumni, widely recognized for their entrepreneurship, have founded many notable companies.

    Berkeley’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA, primarily in the Pac-12 Conference, and are collectively known as the California Golden Bears. The university’s teams have won 107 national championships, and its students and alumni have won 207 Olympic medals.

    Made possible by President Lincoln’s signing of the Morrill Act in 1862, the University of California was founded in 1868 as the state’s first land-grant university by inheriting certain assets and objectives of the private College of California and the public Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College. Although this process is often incorrectly mistaken for a merger, the Organic Act created a “completely new institution” and did not actually merge the two precursor entities into the new university. The Organic Act states that the “University shall have for its design, to provide instruction and thorough and complete education in all departments of science, literature and art, industrial and professional pursuits, and general education, and also special courses of instruction in preparation for the professions”.

    Ten faculty members and 40 students made up the fledgling university when it opened in Oakland in 1869. Frederick H. Billings, a trustee of the College of California, suggested that a new campus site north of Oakland be named in honor of Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley. The university began admitting women the following year. In 1870, Henry Durant, founder of the College of California, became its first president. With the completion of North and South Halls in 1873, the university relocated to its Berkeley location with 167 male and 22 female students.

    Beginning in 1891, Phoebe Apperson Hearst made several large gifts to Berkeley, funding a number of programs and new buildings and sponsoring, in 1898, an international competition in Antwerp, Belgium, where French architect Émile Bénard submitted the winning design for a campus master plan.

    20th century

    In 1905, the University Farm was established near Sacramento, ultimately becoming the University of California, Davis. In 1919, Los Angeles State Normal School became the southern branch of the University, which ultimately became the University of California, Los Angeles. By 1920s, the number of campus buildings had grown substantially and included twenty structures designed by architect John Galen Howard.

    In 1917, one of the nation’s first ROTC programs was established at Berkeley and its School of Military Aeronautics began training pilots, including Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. Berkeley ROTC alumni include former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Army Chief of Staff Frederick C. Weyand as well as 16 other generals. In 1926, future fleet admiral Chester W. Nimitz established the first Naval ROTC unit at Berkeley.

    In the 1930s, Ernest Lawrence helped establish the Radiation Laboratory (now DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US)) and invented the cyclotron, which won him the Nobel physics prize in 1939. Using the cyclotron, Berkeley professors and Berkeley Lab researchers went on to discover 16 chemical elements—more than any other university in the world. In particular, during World War II and following Glenn Seaborg’s then-secret discovery of plutonium, Ernest Orlando Lawrence’s Radiation Laboratory began to contract with the U.S. Army to develop the atomic bomb. Physics professor J. Robert Oppenheimer was named scientific head of the Manhattan Project in 1942. Along with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley founded and was then a partner in managing two other labs, Los Alamos National Laboratory (1943) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1952).

    By 1942, the American Council on Education ranked Berkeley second only to Harvard University (US) in the number of distinguished departments.

    In 1952, the University of California reorganized itself into a system of semi-autonomous campuses, with each campus given its own chancellor, and Clark Kerr became Berkeley’s first Chancellor, while Sproul remained in place as the President of the University of California.

    Berkeley gained a worldwide reputation for political activism in the 1960s. In 1964, the Free Speech Movement organized student resistance to the university’s restrictions on political activities on campus—most conspicuously, student activities related to the Civil Rights Movement. The arrest in Sproul Plaza of Jack Weinberg, a recent Berkeley alumnus and chair of Campus CORE, in October 1964, prompted a series of student-led acts of formal remonstrance and civil disobedience that ultimately gave rise to the Free Speech Movement, which movement would prevail and serve as precedent for student opposition to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

    In 1982, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) was established on campus with support from the National Science Foundation and at the request of three Berkeley mathematicians — Shiing-Shen Chern, Calvin Moore and Isadore M. Singer. The institute is now widely regarded as a leading center for collaborative mathematical research, drawing thousands of visiting researchers from around the world each year.

    21st century

    In the current century, Berkeley has become less politically active and more focused on entrepreneurship and fundraising, especially for STEM disciplines.

    Modern Berkeley students are less politically radical, with a greater percentage of moderates and conservatives than in the 1960s and 70s. Democrats outnumber Republicans on the faculty by a ratio of 9:1. On the whole, Democrats outnumber Republicans on American university campuses by a ratio of 10:1.

    In 2007, the Energy Biosciences Institute was established with funding from BP and Stanley Hall, a research facility and headquarters for the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, opened. The next few years saw the dedication of the Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, funded by a lead gift from billionaire Li Ka-shing; the opening of Sutardja Dai Hall, home of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society; and the unveiling of Blum Hall, housing the Blum Center for Developing Economies. Supported by a grant from alumnus James Simons, the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing was established in 2012. In 2014, Berkeley and its sister campus, Univerity of California-San Fransisco (US), established the Innovative Genomics Institute, and, in 2020, an anonymous donor pledged $252 million to help fund a new center for computing and data science.

    Since 2000, Berkeley alumni and faculty have received 40 Nobel Prizes, behind only Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) among US universities; five Turing Awards, behind only MIT and Stanford; and five Fields Medals, second only to Princeton University (US). According to PitchBook, Berkeley ranks second, just behind Stanford University, in producing VC-backed entrepreneurs.

    UC Berkeley Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 11:07 am on July 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , In the vicinity of black holes space is so warped that even light rays may curve around them several times. This phenomenon may enable us to see multiple versions of the same thing.,   

    From Niels Bohr Institute [Niels Bohr Institutet] (DK): “Danish Student solves how the Universe is reflected near black holes” 

    Niels Bohr Institute bloc

    From Niels Bohr Institute [Niels Bohr Institutet] (DK)

    at

    University of Copenhagen [Københavns Universitet] [UCPH] (DK)

    12 July 2021

    Albert Sneppen
    asneppen@gmail.com
    +45 2897 6434

    Astrophysics:In the vicinity of black holes space is so warped that even light rays may curve around them several times. This phenomenon may enable us to see multiple versions of the same thing. While this has been known for decades, only now do we have an exact, mathematical expression, thanks to Albert Sneppen, student at the Niels Bohr Institute. The result, which even is more useful in realistic black holes, has just been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

    1
    A disk of glowing gas swirls into the black hole “Gargantua” from the movie Interstellar. Because space curves around the black hole, it is possible to look round its far side and see the part of the gas disk that would otherwise be hidden by the hole. Our understanding of this mechanism has now been increased by Danish master’s student at NBI, Albert Sneppen (credit: interstellar.wiki/CC BY-NC License).

    You have probably heard of black holes — the marvelous lumps of gravity from which not even light can escape. You may also have heard that space itself and even time behave oddly near black holes; space is warped.

    In the vicinity of a black hole, space curves so much that light rays are deflected, and very nearby light can be deflected so much that it travels several times around the black hole. Hence, when we observe a distant background galaxy (or some other celestial body), we may be lucky to see the same image of the galaxy multiple times, albeit more and more distorted.

    Galaxies in multiple versions

    The mechanism is shown on the figure below: A distant galaxy shines in all directions — some of its light comes close to the black hole and is lightly deflected; some light comes even closer and circumvolves the hole a single time before escaping down to us, and so on. Looking near the black hole, we see more and more versions of the same galaxy, the closer to the edge of the hole we are looking.

    3
    Light circling black hole side
    Light from the background galaxy circles a black hole an increasing number of times, the closer it passes the hole, and we therefore see the same galaxy in several directions. Credit: Peter Laursen.

    How much closer to the black hole do you have to look from one image to see the next image? The result has been known for over 40 years, and is some 500 times (for the math aficionados, it is more accurately the “exponential function of two pi”, written e^2π).

    Calculating this is so complicated that, until recently, we had not yet developed a mathematical and physical intuition as to why it happens to be this exact factor. But using some clever, mathematical tricks, master’s student Albert Sneppen from the Cosmic Dawn Center — a basic research center under both the Niels Bohr Institute and DTU Space — has now succeeded in proving why.

    “There is something fantastically beautiful in now understanding why the images repeat themselves in such an elegant way. On top of that, it provides new opportunities to test our understanding of gravity and black holes,” Albert Sneppen clarifies.

    Proving something mathematically is not only satisfying in itself; indeed, it brings us closer to an understanding of this marvelous phenomenon. The factor “500” follows directly from how black holes and gravity work, so the repetitions of the images now become a way to examine and test gravity.

    Spinning black holes

    As a completely new feature, Sneppen’s method can also be generalized to apply not only to “trivial” black holes, but also to black holes that rotate. Which, in fact, they all do.

    4
    The situation seen “face-on”, i.e. how we would actually observe it from Earth. The extra images of the galaxy become increasingly squeezed and distorted, the closer we look at the black hole. Credit: Peter Laursen.

    It turns out that when the it rotates really fast, you no longer have to get closer to the black hole by a factor 500, but significantly less. In fact, each image is now only 50, or 5, or even down to just 2 times closer to the edge of the black hole”, explains Albert Sneppen.

    Having to look 500 times closer to the black hole for each new image, means that the images are quickly “squeezed” into one annular image, as seen in the figure on the right. In practice, the many images will be difficult to observe. But when black holes rotate, there is more room for the “extra” images, so we can hope to confirm the theory observationally in a not-too-distant future. In this way, we can learn about not just black holes, but also the galaxies behind them:

    The travel time of the light increases, the more times it has to go around the black hole, so the images become increasingly “delayed”. If, for example, a star explodes as a supernova in a background galaxy, one would be able to see this explosion again and again.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Stem Education Coalition

    Niels Bohr Institute Campus

    Niels Bohr Institutet (DK) is a research institute of the Københavns Universitet [UCPH] (DK). The research of the institute spans astronomy, geophysics, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum mechanics and biophysics.

    The Institute was founded in 1921, as the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the Københavns Universitet [UCPH] (DK), by the Danish theoretical physicist Niels Bohr, who had been on the staff of the University of Copenhagen since 1914, and who had been lobbying for its creation since his appointment as professor in 1916. On the 80th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s birth – October 7, 1965 – the Institute officially became The Niels Bohr Institutet (DK). Much of its original funding came from the charitable foundation of the Carlsberg brewery, and later from the Rockefeller Foundation.

    During the 1920s, and 1930s, the Institute was the center of the developing disciplines of atomic physics and quantum physics. Physicists from across Europe (and sometimes further abroad) often visited the Institute to confer with Bohr on new theories and discoveries. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is named after work done at the Institute during this time.

    On January 1, 1993 the institute was fused with the Astronomic Observatory, the Ørsted Laboratory and the Geophysical Institute. The new resulting institute retained the name Niels Bohr Institutet (DK)).

    Københavns Universitet (UCPH) (DK) is the oldest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479 as a studium generale, it is the second oldest institution for higher education in Scandinavia after Uppsala University (1477). The university has 23,473 undergraduate students, 17,398 postgraduate students, 2,968 doctoral students and over 9,000 employees. The university has four campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the headquarters located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has several thousands of foreign students, about half of whom come from Nordic countries.

    The university is a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), along with University of Cambridge (UK), Yale University (US), The Australian National University (AU), and University of California-Berkeley (US), amongst others. The 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks the University of Copenhagen as the best university in Scandinavia and 30th in the world, the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings as 120th in the world, and the 2016-2017 QS World University Rankings as 68th in the world. The university has had 9 alumni become Nobel laureates and has produced one Turing Award recipient.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:16 am on July 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Grad Student Discovers Immense Weakness of Universe’s Magnetic Fields", , , , Faraday Rotation, ,   

    From Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA) : “Grad Student Discovers Immense Weakness of Universe’s Magnetic Fields” 

    From Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA)

    At

    University of Toronto (CA)

    7.7.21

    Meaghan MacSween
    Communications and Multimedia Officer
    Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics
    University of Toronto
    meaghan.macsween@utoronto.ca

    1
    Ariel Amaral

    A U of T graduate student has discovered that the largest magnetic fields in the Universe are weaker than a fridge magnet – in fact, about three billion times weaker.

    PhD student Ariel Amaral from the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics and the University of Toronto has led a team of researchers that have helped define the strength of magnetism in the Universe.

    Unlocking the mysteries of magnetism is a major key to understanding many astronomical processes – such as the formation of stars, planets, and even galaxies.

    Astronomers knew that these magnetic fields should exist based on theory, which Amaral explains was the starting point to the project. Because of their weakness, however, they hadn’t been able to be detected before. “So now we know that the largest magnetic fields must be less than 30nG – which for scale was 3 billion times smaller than a fridge magnet,” she says.

    Although the physical size of the magnetic fields studied was immense (about 6 quadrillion times larger than the diameter of the Earth), Amaral says the extent of the magnetism’s weakness was not overly surprising. “Magnetic fields even on Earth are quite weak. If these magnetic fields were much stronger you would be able to notice their effects more – such as in how things are shaped in the Universe.”

    2

    Her process was much more hands-on than previous magnetism research. “Prior to this, it’s mostly been theoretical papers that predicted the strengths of magnetic fields,” Amaral explains, “but those fields have never been directly observed or detected.”

    Because the fields can’t actually be viewed, Amaral and her colleagues knew they needed to use an indirect method to observe their effects. To do this, they used radio signals. More specifically, they applied a technique called Faraday Rotation, to study the subtle effect magnetic fields have on light. The amount that the light rotates is directly related to the strength of the magnetism at play.

    Amaral’s research was published in the MNRAS in May, 2021.

    3

    Relatively speaking, astronomers know very little about the Universe’s magnetism, but this may be about to change. “We’re entering an age where we’ll soon have millions of [radio galaxy] sources to perform the same technique that we used,” explains Amaral.

    With these sources, astronomers will be able to more precisely measure the properties of magnetism– things like scale, turbulence, and strength.

    “We’re really setting the stage here to actually outright detect these magnetic fields. We’ve kind of set up our research so that as new datasets come out, you can use our technique and get results.”

    “This will tell us even more about what was going on at earlier times in the Universe.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Dunlap Institute campus

    The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics (CA) at University of Toronto (CA) is an endowed research institute with nearly 70 faculty, postdocs, students and staff, dedicated to innovative technology, ground-breaking research, world-class training, and public engagement. The research themes of its faculty and Dunlap Fellows span the Universe and include: optical, infrared and radio instrumentation; Dark Energy; large-scale structure; the Cosmic Microwave Background; the interstellar medium; galaxy evolution; cosmic magnetism; and time-domain science.

    The Dunlap Institute (CA), University of Toronto Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (CA), Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CA), and Centre for Planetary Sciences (CA) comprise the leading centre for astronomical research in Canada, at the leading research university in the country, the University of Toronto (CA).

    The Dunlap Institute (CA) is committed to making its science, training and public outreach activities productive and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, nationality or religion.

    Our work is greatly enhanced through collaborations with the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (CA), Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CA), David Dunlap Observatory (CA), Ontario Science Centre (CA), Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (CA), the Toronto Public Library (CA), and many other partners.

    The University of Toronto(CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities (US) outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.

    Research

    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:03 am on July 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New clues to why there’s so little antimatter in the universe", , ,   

    From Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) : “New clues to why there’s so little antimatter in the universe” 

    MIT News

    From Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

    July 7, 2021 [Science paper just became available
    Jennifer Chu

    1
    MIT physicists find radioactive molecules are sensitive to subtle nuclear effects, and could be ideal probes for explaining why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. Credit: stock image edited by MIT News.

    2
    Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

    Imagine a dust particle in a storm cloud, and you can get an idea of a neutron’s insignificance compared to the magnitude of the molecule it inhabits.

    But just as a dust mote might affect a cloud’s track, a neutron can influence the energy of its molecule despite being less than one-millionth its size. And now physicists at MIT and elsewhere have successfully measured a neutron’s tiny effect in a radioactive molecule.

    The team has developed a new technique to produce and study short-lived radioactive molecules with neutron numbers they can precisely control. They hand-picked several isotopes of the same molecule, each with one more neutron than the next. When they measured each molecule’s energy, they were able to detect small, nearly imperceptible changes of the nuclear size, due to the effect of a single neutron.

    The fact that they were able to see such small nuclear effects suggests that scientists now have a chance to search such radioactive molecules for even subtler effects, caused by dark matter, for example, or by the effects of new sources of symmetry violations related to some of the current mysteries of the universe.

    “If the laws of physics are symmetrical as we think they are, then the Big Bang should have created matter and antimatter in the same amount. The fact that most of what we see is matter, and there is only about one part per billon of antimatter, means there is a violation of the most fundamental symmetries of physics, in a way that we can’t explain with all that we know,” says Ronald Fernando Garcia Ruiz, assistant professor of physics at MIT.

    “Now we have a chance to measure these symmetry violations, using these heavy radioactive molecules, which have extreme sensitivity to nuclear phenomena that we cannot see in other molecules in nature,” he says. “That could provide answers to one of the main mysteries of how the universe was created.”

    Ruiz and his colleagues have published their results today in Physical Review Letters.

    A special asymmetry

    Most atoms in nature host a symmetrical, spherical nucleus, with neutrons and protons evenly distributed throughout. But in certain radioactive elements like radium, atomic nuclei are weirdly pear-shaped, with an uneven distribution of neutrons and protons within. Physicists hypothesize that this shape distortion can enhance the violation of symmetries that gave origin to the matter in the universe.

    “Radioactive nuclei could allow us to easily see these symmetry-violating effects,” says study lead author Silviu-Marian Udrescu, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Physics. “The disadvantage is, they’re very unstable and live for a very short amount of time, so we need sensitive methods to produce and detect them, fast.”

    Rather than attempt to pin down radioactive nuclei on their own, the team placed them in a molecule that futher amplifies the sensitivity to symmetry violations. Radioactive molecules consist of at least one radioactive atom, bound to one or more other atoms. Each atom is surrounded by a cloud of electrons that together generate an extremely high electric field in the molecule that physicists believe could amplify subtle nuclear effects, such as effects of symmetry violation.

    However, aside from certain astrophysical processes, such as merging neutron stars, and stellar explosions, the radioactive molecules of interest do not exist in nature and therefore must be created artificially. Garcia Ruiz and his colleagues have been refining techniques to create radioactive molecules in the lab and precisely study their properties. Last year, they reported on a method to produce molecules of radium monofluoride, or RaF, a radioactive molecule that contains one unstable radium atom and a fluoride atom.

    In their new study, the team used similar techniques to produce RaF isotopes, or versions of the radioactive molecule with varying numbers of neutrons. As they did in their previous experiment, the researchers utilized the Isotope mass Separator On-Line, or ISOLDE, facility at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland, to produce small quantities of RaF isotopes.

    The facility houses a low-energy proton beam, which the team directed toward a target — a half-dollar-sized disc of uranium-carbide, onto which they also injected a carbon fluoride gas. The ensuing chemical reactions produced a zoo of molecules, including RaF, which the team separated using a precise system of lasers, electromagnetic fields, and ion traps.

    The researchers measured each molecule’s mass to estimate of the number of neutrons in a molecule’s radium nucleus. They then sorted the molecules by isotopes, according to their neutron numbers.

    In the end, they sorted out bunches of five different isotopes of RaF, each bearing more neutrons than the next. With a separate system of lasers, the team measured the quantum levels of each molecule.

    “Imagine a molecule vibrating like two balls on a spring, with a certain amount of energy,” explains Udrescu, who is a graduate student of MIT’s Laboratory for Nuclear Science. “If you change the number of neutrons in one of these balls, the amount of energy could change. But one neutron is 10 million times smaller than a molecule, and with our current precision we didn’t expect that changing one would create an energy difference, but it did. And we were able to clearly see this effect.”

    Udrescu compares the sensitivity of the measurements to being able to see how Mount Everest, placed on the surface of the sun, could, however minutely, change the sun’s radius. By comparison, seeing certain effects of symmetry violation would be like seeing how the width of a single human hair would alter the sun’s radius.

    The results demonstrate that radioactive molecules such as RaF are ultrasensitive to nuclear effects and that their sensitivity may likely reveal more subtle, never-before-seen effects, such as tiny symmetry-violating nuclear properties, that could help to explain the universe’s matter-antimmater asymmetry.

    “These very heavy radioactive molecules are special and have sensitivity to nuclear phenomena that we cannot see in other molecules in nature,” Udrescu says. “This shows that, when we start to search for symmetry-violating effects, we have a high chance of seeing them in these molecules.”

    This research was supported, in part, by the Office of Nuclear Physics, U.S. Department of Energy; the MISTI Global Seed Funds; the European Research Council; the Belgian FWO Vlaanderen and BriX IAP Research Program; the German Research Foundation; the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, and the Ernest Rutherford Fellowship Grant.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Bates Center, and the Haystack Observatory, as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad and Whitehead Institutes.

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia (US), wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst (US)). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University (US) president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities (US)in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT (US) Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO (US) was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology (US), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation (US) .

    MIT/Caltech Advanced aLigo .

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:17 am on July 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Better understanding of Earth’s atmospheric chemistry from studying Mars?", ESA's Mars Express, ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, , ,   

    From European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) : “Better understanding of Earth’s atmospheric chemistry from studying Mars?” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)

    23/07/2021

    Long-term studies of ozone and water vapour in the atmosphere of Mars could lead to better understanding of atmospheric chemistry for the Earth. A new analysis of data from ESA’s Mars Express mission has revealed that our knowledge of the way these atmospheric gases interact with each other is incomplete.

    Using four martian years of observations from the SPICAM (Spectroscopy for the Investigation of the Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars) instrument, which corresponds to seven and a half Earth years, a team of researchers from Europe and Russia uncovered the gap in our knowledge when trying to reproduce their data with a global climate model of Mars.

    1
    SPICAM (Spectroscopy for the Investigation of the Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars) instrument.

    2
    Understanding ozone on Mars.

    Ozone and water vapour do not make good atmospheric companions. The ozone (O3) is produced when molecules of carbon dioxide (CO2), which comprises 95% of the martian atmosphere, are split apart by ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. In turn, the ozone can be split apart by molecules called hydrogen radicals (HOX), which contain an atom of hydrogen and one or more atoms of oxygen. The hydrogen radicals themselves are produced when water vapour is split apart by ultraviolet light.

    On Mars, since the carbon dioxide is ubiquitous, there should be a global signature of ozone – unless a particular region contains water vapour. In that circumstance, the water will be split into hydrogen radicals, which will react with the ozone molecule and pull it apart.

    Thus, wherever SPICAM detected water vapour, it should have seen a decrease in ozone. The more water vapour, the less ozone. The team investigated this inverse relationship, also known as an anticorrelation. They found that they could reproduce the general inverse nature of it with a climate model but not achieve the precise relationship. Instead, for a given amount of water vapour, the model produced only 50% of the ozone seen in the SPICAM data.

    “It suggests that the efficiency of ozone destruction is overstated in the computer simulations,” says Franck Lefèvre, of the Laboratoire atmosphères, milieux, observations spatiales (LATMOS), National Centre for Scientific Research [Centre national de la recherche scientifique, [CNRS] (FR)/Sorbonne University [Sorbonne Université] (FR), France, who led the study.

    At present, however, the reason for this over-estimation is not clear. Understanding the behaviour of hydrogen radicals on Mars is essential. “It plays a key role in the atmospheric chemistry of Mars but also in the global composition of the planet,” says Franck.

    The chemical model used in this work was built specifically by Franck and colleagues to analyse Mars. It was based on a model of part of the Earth’s upper atmosphere; the mesosphere. Here, between roughly 40-80 kilometres in altitude, the chemistry and conditions are broadly similar to those found in Mars’s atmosphere.

    3
    Ten things you did not know about Mars: 5. Ozone.

    Indeed, the discrepancy found in the models could have important repercussions for the way we simulate the Earth’s climate using atmospheric models. This is because the mesosphere on Earth contains part of the ozone layer, which will experience the same interactions with HOx as take place on Mars.

    “HOx chemistry is important for the global equilibrium of the Earth’s ozone layer,” says Franck.

    So, understanding what is happening in the atmosphere of Mars could benefit the precision with which we can perform climate simulations on Earth. And with so much data now available from SPICAM, the modelling has clearly shown that there is something we don’t understand.

    Could that something be the action of clouds?

    When Franck and colleagues introduced calculations for the way HOx is absorbed by the icy particles that make up clouds on Mars, they found that more ozone survived in their models. This is because HOx molecules were absorbed before they could pull apart the ozone. But this only partially explained their results.

    “It doesn’t work in all the cases,” says Franck. And so the team are looking elsewhere too.

    One particular area for further study is measuring reaction rates at the low temperatures found in the martian atmosphere and Earth’s mesosphere. At present, these are not well known, and so could also be skewing the models.

    Now that the current work has highlighted in a quantitative way where the gaps lie in our knowledge, the team will collect more data using other UV instruments operating at Mars and continue their investigations and update the model.

    “With Mars Express, we have a completed the longest survey of the martian atmosphere to date, regardless of the mission. We started in 2004, and now have 17 years of data, which has led us to look at almost seven martian years in a row, including four martian years of combined ozone and water vapour measurements before the UV channel of SPICAM, which measured ozone, ceased operating near the end of 2014. This is unique in the story of planetary exploration,” adds Franck Montmessin, also from LATMOS, and the principal investigator of the SPICAM instrument.

    Building on the extraordinary dataset from Mars Express, new results are now coming in from ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter, which has been circling Mars since October 2016.

    It carries two instruments, ACS (Atmospheric Chemistry Suite) and NOMAD (Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery) that are analysing the martian atmosphere. NASA’s Maven mission also carries ultraviolet equipment that monitors ozone abundance. So, the vital piece of information that finally unlocks this mystery could come at any time.

    The long-term monitoring of atmospheric parameters and their variations by Mars Express provides a unique data set with which to study the martian atmosphere as a complex dynamic system.

    “Maybe adding up all these years together will eventually hold the key to how the HOx really controls the Martian atmosphere, benefiting our understanding of planetary atmospheres in general,” says Franck Montmessin.

    Science paper:
    Journal of Geophysical Research

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL)in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.

    Foundation

    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization), and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency(US), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Indian Space Research Organisation, the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos(RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programmes include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.

    Mission

    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Launchers
    Navigation
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Operations
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate

    Programmes

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme

    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programmes:

    Technology Development Element Programme
    Science Core Technology Programme
    General Study Programme
    European Component Initiative

    Optional

    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programmes, listed according to:

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres
    University of Central Lancashire

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Canada
    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, the Canadian Space Agency takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).

    Enlargement

    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.

    History

    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organisations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organisations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programmes. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialised in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US)

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    Future ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.


    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency(CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside the Russian Space Agency, one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

     
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