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  • richardmitnick 4:39 pm on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Race Logic: Novel Circuitry Solves a Myriad of Computationally Intensive Problems With a Minimum of Energy", A key feature of race logic is that it encodes information differently from a standard computer., From the branching pattern of leaf veins to the variety of interconnected pathways that spread the coronavirus nature thrives on networks — grids that link the different components of complex system, In contrast race logic encodes and processes information by representing it as time signals., , The researchers have now begun building the hardware based on their design., The scientists created a design for an electronic hardware system that directly replicates the architecture of many types of networks.   

    From National Institute of Standards and Technology (US) : “Race Logic: Novel Circuitry Solves a Myriad of Computationally Intensive Problems With a Minimum of Energy” 

    From National Institute of Standards and Technology (US)

    May 11, 2021

    Media Contact
    Ben P. Stein
    (301) 975-2763

    Technical Contact
    Mark D. Stiles
    (301) 975-3745

    Advait Madhavan
    (301) 975-6488

    From the branching pattern of leaf veins to the variety of interconnected pathways that spread the coronavirus nature thrives on networks — grids that link the different components of complex systems. Networks underlie such real-life problems as determining the most efficient route for a trucking company to deliver life-saving drugs and calculating the smallest number of mutations required to transform one string of DNA into another.

    Instead of relying on software to tackle these computationally intensive puzzles, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) took an unconventional approach. They created a design for an electronic hardware system that directly replicates the architecture of many types of networks.

    The researchers demonstrated that their proposed hardware system, using a computational technique known as race logic, can solve a variety of complex puzzles both rapidly and with a minimum expenditure of energy. Race logic requires less power and solves network problems more rapidly than competing general- purposed computers.

    The scientists, who include Advait Madhavan of NIST and the University of Maryland (US) in College Park and Matthew Daniels and Mark Stiles of NIST, describe their work in Volume 17, Issue 3, May 2021 of the ACM Journal on Emerging Technologies in Computing Systems.

    A key feature of race logic is that it encodes information differently from a standard computer. Digital information is typically encoded and processed using values of computer bits — a “1” if a logic statement is true and a “0” if it’s false. When a bit flips its value, say from 0 to 1, it means that a particular logic operation has been performed in order to solve a mathematical problem.

    In contrast race logic encodes and processes information by representing it as time signals — the time at which a particular group of computer bits transitions, or flips, from 0 to 1. Large numbers of bit flips are the primary cause of the large power consumption in standard computers. In this respect, race logic offers an advantage because signals encoded in time involve only a few carefully orchestrated bit flips to process information, requiring much less power than signals encoded as 0s or 1s.

    Computation is then performed by delaying some time signals relative to others, determined by the physics of the system under study. For example, consider a group of truck drivers who starts at point A and must deliver medicine to point E as fast as possible. Different possible routes go through three intersections — call them B, C and D. To determine the most efficient route, the race logic circuit evaluates each possible segment of the trip, such as A-B and A-D. If A-B takes more time to travel than A-D, whether it’s because the path is longer or has more traffic, A-B will be assigned a longer delay time. In the team’s design, the longer time delay is implemented by adding additional resistance to the slower segment.

    Credit: NIST

    Race logic does indeed involve a race, but in this contest all the truck drivers initially drive in different directions. To determine which route to the final destination is fastest, they race over all possible routes through the different intermediate delivery points. In the new circuit, the NIST researchers inserted a group of time-encoded signals at the starting point, each acting as a different driver that speeds through the team’s simulated hardware circuit.

    Whenever a driver arrives at one of her intermediate destination points in the race, the model system sends out new drivers (new time signals) who fan out in different directions to the remaining destinations. If a driver arrives at a destination that another driver has already been to, that driver drops out, because her path is no longer competitive. The winner of the race — the first driver to arrive at the end of the circuit — indicates the solution to the particular puzzle that the hardware was programmed to solve.

    Madhavan began pioneering work on race logic circuits while a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2016. Those first systems used specialized circuits and silicon chips that were designed to simulate specific networks, such as DNA manipulation, and therefore could solve only a limited number of network-related problems.

    At NIST, Madhavan and his colleagues have begun work on more advanced race logic circuits. Simulations conducted by Madhavan, Daniels and Stiles showed that their design, which has not yet been incorporated into a working device, can handle a much broader class of networks, enabling race logic to tackle a wider variety of computational puzzles. These puzzles include finding the best alignment between two proteins or two strings of nucleotides — the molecules that form the building blocks of DNA — and determining the shortest path between two destinations in a network.

    “We showed how to use memory, which has not been used in previous implementations of race logic, to create a more general temporal computer,” said Stiles. “Incorporating memory will allow us to treat a broad class of problems with the next race logic chip that we are planning to make,” he added.

    The researchers have now begun building the hardware based on their design.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NIST Campus, Gaitherberg, MD, USA

    National Institute of Standards and Technology (US)‘s Mission, Vision, Core Competencies, and Core Values


    To promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

    NIST’s vision

    NIST will be the world’s leader in creating critical measurement solutions and promoting equitable standards. Our efforts stimulate innovation, foster industrial competitiveness, and improve the quality of life.

    NIST’s core competencies

    Measurement science
    Rigorous traceability
    Development and use of standards

    NIST’s core values

    NIST is an organization with strong values, reflected both in our history and our current work. NIST leadership and staff will uphold these values to ensure a high performing environment that is safe and respectful of all.

    Perseverance: We take the long view, planning the future with scientific knowledge and imagination to ensure continued impact and relevance for our stakeholders.
    Integrity: We are ethical, honest, independent, and provide an objective perspective.
    Inclusivity: We work collaboratively to harness the diversity of people and ideas, both inside and outside of NIST, to attain the best solutions to multidisciplinary challenges.
    Excellence: We apply rigor and critical thinking to achieve world-class results and continuous improvement in everything we do.


    The Articles of Confederation, ratified by the colonies in 1781, contained the clause, “The United States in Congress assembled shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective states—fixing the standards of weights and measures throughout the United States”. Article 1, section 8, of the Constitution of the United States (1789), transferred this power to Congress; “The Congress shall have power…To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures”.

    In January 1790, President George Washington, in his first annual message to Congress stated that, “Uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures of the United States is an object of great importance, and will, I am persuaded, be duly attended to”, and ordered Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson to prepare a plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States, afterwards referred to as the Jefferson report. On October 25, 1791, Washington appealed a third time to Congress, “A uniformity of the weights and measures of the country is among the important objects submitted to you by the Constitution and if it can be derived from a standard at once invariable and universal, must be no less honorable to the public council than conducive to the public convenience”, but it was not until 1838, that a uniform set of standards was worked out. In 1821, John Quincy Adams had declared “Weights and measures may be ranked among the necessities of life to every individual of human society”.

    From 1830 until 1901, the role of overseeing weights and measures was carried out by the Office of Standard Weights and Measures, which was part of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in the Department of the Treasury.

    Bureau of Standards

    In 1901 in response to a bill proposed by Congressman James H. Southard (R- Ohio) the National Bureau of Standards was founded with the mandate to provide standard weights and measures and to serve as the national physical laboratory for the United States. (Southard had previously sponsored a bill for metric conversion of the United States.)

    President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Samuel W. Stratton as the first director. The budget for the first year of operation was $40,000. The Bureau took custody of the copies of the kilogram and meter bars that were the standards for US measures, and set up a program to provide metrology services for United States scientific and commercial users. A laboratory site was constructed in Washington DC (US) and instruments were acquired from the national physical laboratories of Europe. In addition to weights and measures the Bureau developed instruments for electrical units and for measurement of light. In 1905 a meeting was called that would be the first National Conference on Weights and Measures.

    Initially conceived as purely a metrology agency the Bureau of Standards was directed by Herbert Hoover to set up divisions to develop commercial standards for materials and products. Some of these standards were for products intended for government use; but product standards also affected private-sector consumption. Quality standards were developed for products including some types of clothing; automobile brake systems and headlamps; antifreeze; and electrical safety. During World War I, the Bureau worked on multiple problems related to war production even operating its own facility to produce optical glass when European supplies were cut off. Between the wars Harry Diamond of the Bureau developed a blind approach radio aircraft landing system. During World War II military research and development was carried out including development of radio propagation forecast methods; the proximity fuze and the standardized airframe used originally for Project Pigeon; and shortly afterwards the autonomously radar-guided Bat anti-ship guided bomb and the Kingfisher family of torpedo-carrying missiles.

    In 1948, financed by the United States Air Force the Bureau began design and construction of SEAC: the Standards Eastern Automatic Computer. The computer went into operation in May 1950 using a combination of vacuum tubes and solid-state diode logic. About the same time the Standards Western Automatic Computer, was built at the Los Angeles office of the NBS by Harry Huskey and used for research there. A mobile version- DYSEAC- was built for the Signal Corps in 1954.

    Due to a changing mission, the “National Bureau of Standards” became the “National Institute of Standards and Technology (US)” in 1988.

    Following September 11, 2001, NIST conducted the official investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings.


    NIST is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and operates a facility in Boulder, Colorado, which was dedicated by President Eisenhower in 1954. NIST’s activities are organized into laboratory programs and extramural programs. Effective October 1, 2010, NIST was realigned by reducing the number of NIST laboratory units from ten to six. NIST Laboratories include:

    Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL)
    Engineering Laboratory (EL)
    Information Technology Laboratory (ITL)
    Center for Neutron Research (NCNR)
    Material Measurement Laboratory (MML)
    Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML)

    Extramural programs include:

    Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a nationwide network of centers to assist small and mid-sized manufacturers to create and retain jobs, improve efficiencies, and minimize waste through process improvements and to increase market penetration with innovation and growth strategies;
    Technology Innovation Program (TIP), a grant program where NIST and industry partners cost share the early-stage development of innovative but high-risk technologies;
    Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which administers the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest award for performance and business excellence.

    NIST’s Boulder laboratories are best known for NIST‑F1 which houses an atomic clock. NIST‑F1 serves as the source of the nation’s official time. From its measurement of the natural resonance frequency of cesium—which defines the second—NIST broadcasts time signals via longwave radio station WWVB near Fort Collins in Colorado, and shortwave radio stations WWV and WWVH, located near Fort Collins and Kekaha in Hawai’i, respectively.

    NIST also operates a neutron science user facility: the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). The NCNR provides scientists access to a variety of neutron scattering instruments which they use in many research fields (materials science; fuel cells; biotechnology etc.).

    The SURF III Synchrotron Ultraviolet Radiation Facility is a source of synchrotron radiation in continuous operation since 1961. SURF III now serves as the US national standard for source-based radiometry throughout the generalized optical spectrum. All NASA-borne extreme-ultraviolet observation instruments have been calibrated at SURF since the 1970s, and SURF is used for measurement and characterization of systems for extreme ultraviolet lithography.

    The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) performs research in nanotechnology, both through internal research efforts and by running a user-accessible cleanroom nanomanufacturing facility. This “NanoFab” is equipped with tools for lithographic patterning and imaging (e.g., electron microscopes and atomic force microscopes).


    NIST has seven standing committees:

    Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC)
    Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR)
    National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee (NCST Advisory Committee)
    Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB)
    Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT)
    Board of Overseers for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA Board of Overseers)
    Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Advisory Board (MEPNAB)

    Measurements and standards

    As part of its mission, NIST supplies industry, academia, government, and other users with over 1,300 Standard Reference Materials (SRMs). These artifacts are certified as having specific characteristics or component content, used as calibration standards for measuring equipment and procedures, quality control benchmarks for industrial processes, and experimental control samples.

    Handbook 44

    NIST publishes the Handbook 44 each year after the annual meeting of the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM). Each edition is developed through cooperation of the Committee on Specifications and Tolerances of the NCWM and the Weights and Measures Division (WMD) of the NIST. The purpose of the book is a partial fulfillment of the statutory responsibility for “cooperation with the states in securing uniformity of weights and measures laws and methods of inspection”.

    NIST has been publishing various forms of what is now the Handbook 44 since 1918 and began publication under the current name in 1949. The 2010 edition conforms to the concept of the primary use of the SI (metric) measurements recommended by the Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988.

  • richardmitnick 4:11 pm on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "World’s fastest information-fuelled engine designed by SFU researchers", , Engines of this type were first proposed over 150 years ago but actually making them has only recently become possible., , , , This engine converts the random jiggling of a microscopic particle into stored energy.   

    From Simon Fraser University (CA): “World’s fastest information-fuelled engine designed by SFU researchers” 

    From Simon Fraser University (CA)

    May 11, 2021

    Simon Fraser University researchers have designed a remarkably fast engine that taps into a new kind of fuel — information.

    PhD student Tushar Saha working on the information ratchet, an experimental apparatus that lifts a heavy microscopic particle using information.

    The development of this engine which converts the random jiggling of a microscopic particle into stored energy, is outlined in research published this week in the PNAS and could lead to significant advances in the speed and cost of computers and bio-nanotechnologies.

    SFU physics professor and senior author John Bechhoefer says researchers’ understanding of how to rapidly and efficiently convert information into “work” may inform the design and creation of real-world information engines.

    “We wanted to find out how fast an information engine can go and how much energy it can extract, so we made one,” says Bechhoefer, whose experimental group collaborated with theorists led by SFU physics professor David Sivak.

    Engines of this type were first proposed over 150 years ago but actually making them has only recently become possible.

    “By systematically studying this engine, and choosing the right system characteristics, we have pushed its capabilities over ten times farther than other similar implementations, thus making it the current best-in-class,” says Sivak.

    The information engine designed by SFU researchers consists of a microscopic particle immersed in water and attached to a spring which, itself, is fixed to a movable stage. Researchers then observe the particle bouncing up and down due to thermal motion.

    “When we see an upward bounce, we move the stage up in response,” explains lead author and PhD student Tushar Saha. “When we see a downward bounce, we wait. This ends up lifting the entire system using only information about the particle’s position.”

    Repeating this procedure, they raise the particle “a great height, and thus store a significant amount of gravitational energy,” without having to directly pull on the particle.

    Saha further explains that, “in the lab, we implement this engine with an instrument known as an optical trap, which uses a laser to create a force on the particle that mimics that of the spring and stage.”

    Joseph Lucero, a Master of Science student adds, “in our theoretical analysis, we find an interesting trade-off between the particle mass and the average time for the particle to bounce up. While heavier particles can store more gravitational energy, they generally also take longer to move up.”

    “Guided by this insight, we picked the particle mass and other engine properties to maximize how fast the engine extracts energy, outperforming previous designs and achieving power comparable to molecular machinery in living cells, and speeds comparable to fast-swimming bacteria,” says postdoctoral fellow Jannik Ehrich.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Simon Fraser University (CA) is a public research university in British Columbia, Canada, with three campuses: Burnaby (main campus), Surrey, and Vancouver. The 170-hectare (420-acre) main Burnaby campus on Burnaby Mountain, located 20 kilometres (12 mi) from downtown Vancouver, was established in 1965 and comprises more than 30,000 students and 160,000 alumni. The university was created in an effort to expand higher education across Canada.

    Simon Fraser University (CA) is a member of multiple national and international higher education, including the Association of Commonwealth Universities, International Association of Universities, and Universities Canada (CA). Simon Fraser University has also partnered with other universities and agencies to operate joint research facilities such as the TRIUMF- Canada’s particle accelerator centre [Centre canadien d’accélération des particules] (CA) for particle and nuclear physics, which houses the world’s largest cyclotron, and Bamfield Marine Station, a major centre for teaching and research in marine biology.

    Undergraduate and graduate programs at Simon Fraser University (CA) operate on a year-round, three-semester schedule. Consistently ranked as Canada’s top comprehensive university and named to the Times Higher Education list of 100 world universities under 50, Simon Fraser University (CA)is also the first Canadian member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the world’s largest college sports association. In 2015, Simon Fraser University (CA) became the second Canadian university to receive accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Simon Fraser University (CA) faculty and alumni have won 43 fellowships to the Royal Society of Canada [Société royale du Canada](CA), three Rhodes Scholarships and one Pulitzer Prize. Among the list of alumni includes two former premiers of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell and Ujjal Dosanjh, owner of the Vancouver Canucks NHL team, Francesco Aquilini, Prime Minister of Lesotho, Pakalitha Mosisili, director at the Max Planck Society [Max Planck Gesellschaft](DE) , Robert Turner, and humanitarian and cancer research activist, Terry Fox.

  • richardmitnick 3:52 pm on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Harnessing the hum of fluorescent lights for more efficient computing", A team led by University of Michigan researchers has developed a material that’s at least twice as “magnetostrictive” and far less costly than other materials in its class., , , Magnetoelectric chips could make everything from massive data centers to cell phones far more energy efficient., Magnetoelectric devices use magnetic fields instead of electricity to store the digital ones and zeros of binary data.   

    From University of Michigan : “Harnessing the hum of fluorescent lights for more efficient computing” 

    U Michigan bloc

    From University of Michigan

    May 12, 2021

    Gabe Cherry

    Nicole Casal Moore

    The property that makes fluorescent lights buzz could power a new generation of more efficient computing devices that store data with magnetic fields, rather than electricity.

    A team led by University of Michigan researchers has developed a material that’s at least twice as “magnetostrictive” and far less costly than other materials in its class. In addition to computing, it could also lead to better magnetic sensors for medical and security devices.

    Magnetostriction, which causes the buzz of fluorescent lights and electrical transformers, occurs when a material’s shape and magnetic field are linked—that is, a change in shape causes a change in magnetic field. The property could be key to a new generation of computing devices called magnetoelectrics.

    Magnetoelectric chips could make everything from massive data centers to cell phones far more energy efficient, slashing the electricity requirements of the world’s computing infrastructure.

    Made of a combination of iron and gallium, the material is detailed in a paper published May 12 in Nature Communications. The team is led by U-M materials science and engineering professor John Heron and includes researchers from Intel; Cornell University (US); University of California-Berkeley (US); University of Wisconsin (US); Purdue University (US) and elsewhere.

    Magnetoelectric devices use magnetic fields instead of electricity to store the digital ones and zeros of binary data. Tiny pulses of electricity cause them to expand or contract slightly, flipping their magnetic field from positive to negative or vice versa. Because they don’t require a steady stream of electricity, as today’s chips do, they use a fraction of the energy.

    “A key to making magnetoelectric devices work is finding materials whose electrical and magnetic properties are linked.” Heron said. “And more magnetostriction means that a chip can do the same job with less energy.”

    Cheaper magnetoelectric devices with a tenfold improvement

    Most of today’s magnetostrictive materials use rare-earth elements, which are too scarce and costly to be used in the quantities needed for computing devices. But Heron’s team has found a way to coax high levels of magnetostriction from inexpensive iron and gallium.

    Ordinarily, explains Heron, the magnetostriction of iron-gallium alloy increases as more gallium is added. But those increases level off and eventually begin to fall as the higher amounts of gallium begin to form an ordered atomic structure.

    So the research team used a process called low-temperature molecular-beam epitaxy to essentially freeze atoms in place, preventing them from forming an ordered structure as more gallium was added. This way, Heron and his team were able to double the amount of gallium in the material, netting a tenfold increase in magnetostriction compared to unmodified iron-gallium alloys.

    “Low-temperature molecular-beam epitaxy is an extremely useful technique—it’s a little bit like spray painting with individual atoms,” Heron said. “And ‘spray painting’ the material onto a surface that deforms slightly when a voltage is applied also made it easy to test its magnetostrictive properties.”

    Researchers are working with Intel’s MESO program

    The magnetoelectric devices made in the study are several microns in size—large by computing standards. But the researchers are working with Intel to find ways to shrink them to a more useful size that will be compatible with the company’s magnetoelectric spin-orbit device (or MESO) program, one goal of which is to push magnetoelectric devices into the mainstream.

    “Intel is great at scaling things and at the nuts and bolts of making a technology actually work at the super-small scale of a computer chip,” Heron said. “They’re very invested in this project and we’re meeting with them regularly to get feedback and ideas on how to ramp up this technology to make it useful in the computer chips that they call MESO.”

    While a device that uses the material is likely decades away, Heron’s lab has filed for patent protection through the U-M Office of Technology Transfer.

    The research is supported by IMRA America and the National Science Foundation (grant numbers NNCI-1542081, EEC-1160504 DMR-1719875 and DMR-1539918).

    Other researchers on the paper include U-M associate professor of materials science and engineering Emmanouil Kioupakis; U-M assistant professor of materials science and engineering Robert Hovden; and U-M graduate student research assistants Peter Meisenheimer and Suk Hyun Sung.

    See the full article here .


    Please support STEM education in your local school system

    Stem Education Coalition

    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities (US).

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States, the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

  • richardmitnick 3:28 pm on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Smaller Chips Open Door to New RFID Applications", , , Researchers at North Carolina State University have made what is believed to be the smallest state-of-the-art RFID chip which should drive down the cost of RFID tags., The chip’s design makes it possible to embed RFID tags into high value chips such as computer chips.   

    From North Carolina State University : “Smaller Chips Open Door to New RFID Applications” 

    NC State bloc

    From North Carolina State University

    May 12, 2021

    Paul Franzon

    Matt Shipman


    Researchers at North Carolina State University have made what is believed to be the smallest state-of-the-art RFID chip which should drive down the cost of RFID tags. In addition, the chip’s design makes it possible to embed RFID tags into high value chips such as computer chips, boosting supply chain security for high-end technologies.

    “As far as we can tell, it’s the world’s smallest Gen2-compatible RFID chip,” says Paul Franzon, corresponding author of a paper on the work and Cirrus Logic Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State.

    Gen2 RFID chips are state of the art and are already in widespread use. One of the things that sets these new RFID chips apart is their size. They measure 125 micrometers (μm) by 245μm. Manufacturers were able to make smaller RFID chips using earlier technologies, but Franzon and his collaborators have not been able to identify smaller RFID chips that are compatible with the current Gen2 technology.

    “The size of an RFID tag is largely determined by the size of its antenna – not the RFID chip,” Franzon says. “But the chip is the expensive part.”

    The smaller the chip, the more chips you can get from a single silicon wafer. And the more chips you can get from the silicon wafer, the less expensive they are.

    “In practical terms, this means that we can manufacture RFID tags for less than one cent each if we’re manufacturing them in volume,” Franzon says.

    That makes it more feasible for manufacturers, distributors or retailers to use RFID tags to track lower-cost items. For example, the tags could be used to track all of the products in a grocery store without requiring employees to scan items individually.

    “Another advantage is that the design of the circuits we used here is compatible with a wide range of semiconductor technologies, such as those used in conventional computer chips,” says Kirti Bhanushali, who worked on the project as a Ph.D. student at NC State and is first author of the paper. “This makes it possible to incorporate RFID tags into computer chips, allowing users to track individual chips throughout their life cycle. This could help to reduce counterfeiting, and allow you to verify that a component is what it says it is.”

    “We’ve demonstrated what is possible, and we know that these chips can be made using existing manufacturing technologies,” Franzon says. “We’re now interested in working with industry partners to explore commercializing the chip in two ways: creating low-cost RFID at scale for use in sectors such as grocery stores; and embedding RFID tags into computer chips in order to secure high-value supply chains.”

    The paper, A 125μm×245μm Mainly Digital UHF EPC Gen2 Compatible RFID tag in 55nm CMOS process, was presented April 29 at the IEEE International Conference on RFID. The paper was co-authored by Wenxu Zhao, who worked on the project as a Ph.D. student at NC State; and Shepherd Pitts, who worked on the project while a research assistant professor at NC State.

    The work was done with support from the National Science Foundation, under grant 1422172; and from NC State’s Chancellor’s Innovation Fund.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NC State campus

    NC State was founded with a purpose: to create economic, societal and intellectual prosperity for the people of North Carolina and the country. We began as a land-grant institution teaching the agricultural and mechanical arts. Today, we’re a pre-eminent research enterprise that excels in science, technology, engineering, math, design, the humanities and social sciences, textiles and veterinary medicine.

    NC State students, faculty and staff take problems in hand and work with industry, government and nonprofit partners to solve them. Our 34,000-plus high-performing students apply what they learn in the real world by conducting research, working in internships and co-ops, and performing acts of world-changing service. That experiential education ensures they leave here ready to lead the workforce, confident in the knowledge that NC State consistently rates as one of the best values in higher education.

  • richardmitnick 3:08 pm on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scaling down Ionic Transistors to the ultimate limit", , Scientists have developed an atomic-scale ion transistor based on electrically gated graphene channels of around 3 angstrom width which demonstrated highly selective ion transport., University of Hong Kong [香港大學] (HKU) (HK)   

    From The University of Hong Kong [香港大學] (HKU) (HK): “Scaling down Ionic Transistors to the ultimate limit” 

    From The University of Hong Kong [香港大學] (HKU) (HK)

    12 May 2021

    Schematic of the atomic-scale ion transistor made of graphene channels of 3 angstrom size. The electric potential is applied to mimic the electric charge on the walls of biological channels and enables ion intercalation and permeable ion transport beyond a percolation threshold. Credit: Yahui Xue.

    The human brain is a vast network of billions of biological cells called Neurons which fires electrical signals that process information, resulting in our sense and thoughts. The ion channels of atomic scale in each neuron cell membrane plays a key role in such firings that opens and closes the ion flow in an individual cell by the electrical voltage applied across the cell membrane, acting as a “biological transistor” similar to electronic transistors in computers. For decades, scientists have learned that biological ion channels are life’s transistors capable to gate extremely fast and precisely selective permeation of ions through the atomic-scale selectivity filters to maintain vital living functions. However, it remains a grand challenge to date to produce artificial structures to mimic such biological systems for fundamental understanding and practical applications.

    Researchers led by Professor Xiang Zhang, the President of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), have developed an atomic-scale ion transistor based on electrically gated graphene channels of around 3 angstrom width which demonstrated highly selective ion transport. They also found that ions move a hundred times faster in such a tiny channel than they do in bulk water.

    This breakthrough, recently reported in Science, not only provides fundamental understanding of fast ion sieving in atomic scale, but also leads to highly switchable ultrafast ion transport that can find important applications in electrochemical and biomedical applications.

    Electrochemical and biomedical applications.

    “This innovative ion transistor demonstrates electrically switching of ultrafast and simultaneously selective ion transport through atomic-scale channels like biological ion channels functioning in our brain,” said principle investigator Professor Xiang Zhang. “It deepens our fundamental understanding of ion transport at ultrasmall limit and will significantly impact important applications such as sea water desalination and medical dialysis.”

    The development of artificial ion channels using traditional pore structures has been hindered by the trade-off between permeability and selectivity for ion transport. Pore sizes exceeding the diameters of hydrated ions render ion selectivity largely vanished. Elevated selectivity of monovalent metal ions can be achieved with precisely controlled channel dimension at the angstrom scale. However, these angstrom-scale channels significantly preclude the fast diffusion due to steric resistance for hydrated ions to enter narrower channel space.

    “We observed ultrafast selective ion transport through the atomic scale graphene channel with an effective diffusion coefficient as high as Deff ≈ 2.0´10-7 m2/s.” said study lead author Yahui Xue, a former postdoctoral researcher in Professor Zhang’s group. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the fastest diffusion observed in concentration-driven ion permeation through artificial membranes and even surpasses the intrinsic diffusion coefficient observed in biological channels.”

    Scientists from Hong Kong and University of California-Berkeley (US) first used gate voltage to control the surface potential of graphene channels and realized ultrahigh density of charge packing inside these channels. The neighboring charges exhibit strong electrostatic interaction with each other. This results in a dynamic charging equilibrium state so that the insertion of one charge from one end of the channel would lead to the ejection of another at the other end. The resultant concerted charge movement greatly enhances the overall transport speed and efficiency.

    “Our in situ optical measurements revealed a charge density as high as 1.8´10^14 /cm^2 at the largest applied gate voltage.” said Yang Xia, a former PhD student in Professor Zhang’s group. “It is surprisingly high, and our mean field theoretical modeling suggests the ultrafast ion transport is attributed to highly dense packing of ions and their concerted movement inside the graphene channels.”

    The atomic-scale ion transistor has also demonstrated superior switching capability, similar to that in biological channels, originating from a threshold behavior induced by the critical energy barrier for hydrated ion insertion. The smaller channel size than the hydration diameters of alkali metal ions creates an intrinsic energy barrier that forbids ion entry in the open circuit condition. By applying gating electric potential, the hydration shell could be distorted or partially striped off to overcome the ion-entry energy barrier, enabling ion intercalation and eventually permeable ion transport beyond a percolation threshold.

    The atomic scale graphene channel was made of a single flake of reduced graphene oxide flake. This configuration has the advantage of intact layer structures for fundamental property investigation and also preserves large flexibility for scaling-up fabrication in the future.

    The selection sequence of alkali metal ions through the atomic-scale ion transistor was found to resemble that of biological potassium channels. This also implies a controlling mechanism similar to biological systems, which combines ion dehydration and electrostatic interaction.

    This work is a fundamental breakthrough in the study of ion transport through atomic scale solid pores. The integration of the atomic-scale ion transistors into large-scale networks can even make it possible to produce exciting artificial neural systems and even brain-like computers.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Hong Kong [香港大學] (HKU)(HK) is a public research university in Hong Kong. Founded in 1911, its origins trace back to the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese, which was founded in 1887. It is the oldest tertiary institution in Hong Kong. HKU was also the first university established by the British in East Asia.

    As of 2020, HKU ranks third in Asia and 22nd internationally by QS, and fourth in Asia and 35th internationally by THE. It has been commonly regarded as one of the most internationalized universities in the world as well as one of the most prestigious universities in Asia. Today, HKU has ten academic faculties with English as the main language of instruction. HKU also ranks highly in the sciences, dentistry, biomedicine, architecture, education, humanities, law, economics, business administration, linguistics, political science, and the social work and social administration.

    The University of Hong Kong was also the first team in the world to successfully isolate the coronavirus SARS-CoV, the causative agent of SARS.


    The university is a founding member of Universitas 21, an international consortium of research-led universities, and a member of the Association for Pacific Rim Universities, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Washington University in St. Louis’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy, and many others. HKU benefits from a large operating budget supplied by high levels of government funding compared to many Western countries. In 2018/19, the Research Grants Council (RGC) granted HKU a total research funding of HK$12,127 million (41.3% of overall RGC funding), which was the highest among all universities in Hong Kong. HKU professors were among the highest paid in the world as well, having salaries far exceeding those of their US counterparts in private universities. However, with the reduction of salaries in recent years, this is no longer the case.

    HKU research output, researchers, projects, patents and theses are profiled and made publicly available in the HKU Scholars Hub. 100 members of academic staff (>10% of professoriate staff) from HKU are ranked among the world’s top 1% of scientists by the Thomson Reuters’ Essential Science Indicators, by means of the citations recorded on their publications. The university has the largest number of research postgraduate students in Hong Kong, making up approximately 10% of the total student population. All ten faculties and departments provide teaching and supervision for research (MPhil and PhD) students with administration undertaken by the Graduate School.

  • richardmitnick 1:41 pm on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Detector Technology Developed at Berkeley Lab Yields Unprecedented 3D Images Heralding Far Larger Application to Study Neutrinos", , , , , FNAL DUNE LBNF (US), ,   

    From DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US): “Detector Technology Developed at Berkeley Lab Yields Unprecedented 3D Images Heralding Far Larger Application to Study Neutrinos” 

    From DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US)

    May 13, 2021

    Media Relations
    (510) 486-5183

    Bill Schulz

    A LArPix sensor with 4900 pixels under testing at Berkeley Lab before shipment to the University of Bern [Universität Bern](CH) for installation. Credit: Thor Swift, Berkeley Lab.

    An experiment to capture unprecedented 3D images of the trajectories of charged particles has been demonstrated using cosmic rays as they strike and travel through a cryostat filled with a ton of liquid argon. The results confirm the capabilities of a novel detector technology for particle physics developed by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in collaboration with several university and industrial partners.

    Groundbreaking in scale for this new technology, the experiment at University of Bern [Universität Bern](CH) – directed remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic – demonstrates readiness for a far larger and more ambitious project: the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory DUNE/LBNF experiment (US), said Berkeley Lab scientist and team leader Dan Dwyer.

    In just a few short years, the Berkeley Lab team has turned an ambitious concept called LArPix (liquid argon pixels) into a reality, Dwyer said. “We have overcome challenges in noise, power consumption, cryogenic compatibility, and most recently scalability/reliability by transferring many aspects of this technology to industrial fabrication.”

    DUNE is a major new science facility being built by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to study the properties of subatomic neutrinos that will be fired off underground from an accelerator at DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) near Chicago, Dwyer explained. Neutrinos are extremely light particles that interact weakly with matter ­– something researchers would like to understand better in their quest to answer fundamental questions about the universe.

    Neutrinos produced by the Fermilab accelerator will pass through a near detector, instrumented with LArPix, on the Fermilab site before moving on to complete their 700-mile journey at a deep underground mine in South Dakota.

    LArPix is a leap forward in how to detect and record signals in liquid argon time projection chambers (LArTPCs), a technology of choice for future neutrino and dark matter experiments, Dwyer explained.

    In a LArTPC, energetic subatomic particles enter the chamber and liberate or ionize electrons in the liquid argon. A strong, externally applied electric field drifts the electrons toward an anode side of the detector chamber where typically a plane of wires acts as sensitive antennae to read these signals and create stereoscopic 2D images of the event. But this technology is not enough to cope with the intensity and complexity of the neutrino events to be read for the DUNE Near Detector, Dwyer said.

    “So, that’s where we at Berkeley Lab come in with this true 3D pixel readout provided by LArPix,” Dwyer said. “It will allow us to image DUNE neutrinos with high fidelity in a very busy environment.“

    Using LArPix, he explained, the planes of wires are replaced with arrays of metallic pixels fabricated on standard electronic circuit boards, which can be readily manufactured. The low-power electronics, he said, are compatible with the demands of the cryogenic state of the liquid argon medium.

    This latest achievement would not have been possible without the strong partnership with the ArgonCube Collaboration, a team of scientists focused on advancing LArTPC technology, centered at the University of Bern. For the Bern experiments, the researchers used a detector chamber with 80,000 pixels submerged in a ton of liquid argon at -330 degrees Fahrenheit. The system, he said, provided high fidelity, true 3D-imaging of cosmic ray showers as they traveled through the detector.

    “This is a major milestone in the development of LArTPCs and the DUNE Near Detector,” said Michele Weber, Director of the Laboratory for High Energy Physics at the University of Bern who also serves as leader of the DUNE International Consortium responsible for building this detector.

    “It’s vastly more complicated than anything that’s ever been built for LArTPCs,” said Brooke Russell, a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley Lab and member of the LArPix team. With 80,000 channels, she said, the LArPix run at Bern far surpassed the previous state-of-the-art 15,000 channel LArTPC. “The level of complexity going from wires to pixels grew exponentially,” she said.

    Partners from University of California at Berkeley (US), California Institute of Technology (US), Colorado State University (US), Rutgers University (US), University of California Davis (US), University of California Irvine (US), University of California Santa Barbara (US), University of Pennsylvania (US), and the University of Texas- Arlington (US) helped the researchers develop and test this much larger system.

    For DUNE, Dwyer said, the system must scale to more than 10 million pixels that will sit in some 300 tons of liquid argon. He said this is doable both because of the modular nature of the detector chambers as well as the ability to tile LArPix boards made up of thousands of individual pixel detectors.

    “This technology will enable the DUNE Near Detector to overcome signal pileup resulting from the high-intensity of the neutrino beam at the site,” Dwyer said. “It may also find use in the DUNE Far Detectors, other physics experiments, as well as non-physics applications,” he said.

    At the DUNE Far Detectors, scientists will measure how the quantum flavor of the neutrinos changes in transit from the near detector.

    By studying neutrinos, “we think we can learn something about the deeper mysteries of the universe – particularly such questions as why there’s more matter than antimatter in the universe,” Dwyer explained.

    For DUNE to succeed, particle physicists “needed a level of thinking outside the box when it comes to detector technology,” Russell said. “For any breakthroughs in experimental particle physics of course you need novel ideas,” she added. “But if your hardware can’t deliver then you simply can’t make the measurement.”

    This research is supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, in part through the Office of Science Early Career Research Program.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LBNL campus

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World

    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) (US) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California(UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a University of California, Berkeley(US) physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.



    The laboratory was founded on August 26, 1931, by Ernest Lawrence, as the Radiation Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley, associated with the Physics Department. It centered physics research around his new instrument, the cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939.

    LBNL 88 inch cyclotron.

    Throughout the 1930s, Lawrence pushed to create larger and larger machines for physics research, courting private philanthropists for funding. He was the first to develop a large team to build big projects to make discoveries in basic research. Eventually these machines grew too large to be held on the university grounds, and in 1940 the lab moved to its current site atop the hill above campus. Part of the team put together during this period includes two other young scientists who went on to establish large laboratories; J. Robert Oppenheimer founded DOE’s Los Alamos Laboratory(US), and Robert Wilson founded Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory(US).


    Leslie Groves visited Lawrence’s Radiation Laboratory in late 1942 as he was organizing the Manhattan Project, meeting J. Robert Oppenheimer for the first time. Oppenheimer was tasked with organizing the nuclear bomb development effort and founded today’s Los Alamos National Laboratory to help keep the work secret. At the RadLab, Lawrence and his colleagues developed the technique of electromagnetic enrichment of uranium using their experience with cyclotrons. The “calutrons” (named after the University) became the basic unit of the massive Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Lawrence’s lab helped contribute to what have been judged to be the three most valuable technology developments of the war (the atomic bomb, proximity fuse, and radar). The cyclotron, whose construction was stalled during the war, was finished in November 1946. The Manhattan Project shut down two months later.


    After the war, the Radiation Laboratory became one of the first laboratories to be incorporated into the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) (now Department of Energy(US). The most highly classified work remained at Los Alamos, but the RadLab remained involved. Edward Teller suggested setting up a second lab similar to Los Alamos to compete with their designs. This led to the creation of an offshoot of the RadLab (now the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory(US)) in 1952. Some of the RadLab’s work was transferred to the new lab, but some classified research continued at Berkeley Lab until the 1970s, when it became a laboratory dedicated only to unclassified scientific research.

    Shortly after the death of Lawrence in August 1958, the UC Radiation Laboratory (both branches) was renamed the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory. The Berkeley location became the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in 1971, although many continued to call it the RadLab. Gradually, another shortened form came into common usage, LBNL. Its formal name was amended to Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1995, when “National” was added to the names of all DOE labs. “Ernest Orlando” was later dropped to shorten the name. Today, the lab is commonly referred to as “Berkeley Lab”.

    The Alvarez Physics Memos are a set of informal working papers of the large group of physicists, engineers, computer programmers, and technicians led by Luis W. Alvarez from the early 1950s until his death in 1988. Over 1700 memos are available on-line, hosted by the Laboratory.

    The lab remains owned by the Department of Energy(US), with management from the University of California(US). Companies such as Intel were funding the lab’s research into computing chips.

    Science mission

    From the 1950s through the present, Berkeley Lab has maintained its status as a major international center for physics research, and has also diversified its research program into almost every realm of scientific investigation. Its mission is to solve the most pressing and profound scientific problems facing humanity, conduct basic research for a secure energy future, understand living systems to improve the environment, health, and energy supply, understand matter and energy in the universe, build and safely operate leading scientific facilities for the nation, and train the next generation of scientists and engineers.

    The Laboratory’s 20 scientific divisions are organized within six areas of research: Computing Sciences; Physical Sciences; Earth and Environmental Sciences; Biosciences; Energy Sciences; and Energy Technologies. Berkeley Lab has six main science thrusts: advancing integrated fundamental energy science; integrative biological and environmental system science; advanced computing for science impact; discovering the fundamental properties of matter and energy; accelerators for the future; and developing energy technology innovations for a sustainable future. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab tradition that continues today.

    Berkeley Lab operates five major National User Facilities for the DOE Office of Science(US):

    The Advanced Light Source (ALS) is a synchrotron light source with 41 beam lines providing ultraviolet, soft x-ray, and hard x-ray light to scientific experiments.


    The ALS is one of the world’s brightest sources of soft x-rays, which are used to characterize the electronic structure of matter and to reveal microscopic structures with elemental and chemical specificity. About 2,500 scientist-users carry out research at ALS every year. Berkeley Lab is proposing an upgrade of ALS which would increase the coherent flux of soft x-rays by two-three orders of magnitude.

    The Joint Genome Institute (JGI) supports genomic research in support of the DOE missions in alternative energy, global carbon cycling, and environmental management. The JGI’s partner laboratories are Berkeley Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory(US)(ORNL), DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory(US) (PNNL), and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology(US). The JGI’s central role is the development of a diversity of large-scale experimental and computational capabilities to link sequence to biological insights relevant to energy and environmental research. Approximately 1,200 scientist-users take advantage of JGI’s capabilities for their research every year.

    The LBNL Molecular Foundry(US) [above] is a multidisciplinary nanoscience research facility. Its seven research facilities focus on Imaging and Manipulation of Nanostructures; Nanofabrication; Theory of Nanostructured Materials; Inorganic Nanostructures; Biological Nanostructures; Organic and Macromolecular Synthesis; and Electron Microscopy. Approximately 700 scientist-users make use of these facilities in their research every year.

    The DOE’s NERSC National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center(US) is the scientific computing facility that provides large-scale computing for the DOE’s unclassified research programs. Its current systems provide over 3 billion computational hours annually. NERSC supports 6,000 scientific users from universities, national laboratories, and industry.

    National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    The Genepool system is a cluster dedicated to the DOE Joint Genome Institute’s computing needs. Denovo is a smaller test system for Genepool that is primarily used by NERSC staff to test new system configurations and software.

    PDSF is a networked distributed computing cluster designed primarily to meet the detector simulation and data analysis requirements of physics, astrophysics and nuclear science collaborations.


    NERSC is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

    The DOE’s Energy Science Network(US) is a high-speed network infrastructure optimized for very large scientific data flows. ESNet provides connectivity for all major DOE sites and facilities, and the network transports roughly 35 petabytes of traffic each month.

    Berkeley Lab is the lead partner in the DOE’s Joint Bioenergy Institute(US) (JBEI), located in Emeryville, California. Other partners are the DOE’s Sandia National Laboratory(US), the University of California (UC) campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science(US), and DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory(US) (LLNL). JBEI’s primary scientific mission is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels – liquid fuels derived from the solar energy stored in plant biomass. JBEI is one of three new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs).

    Berkeley Lab has a major role in two DOE Energy Innovation Hubs. The mission of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) is to find a cost-effective method to produce fuels using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. The lead institution for JCAP is the California Institute of Technology(US) and Berkeley Lab is the second institutional center. The mission of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) is to create next-generation battery technologies that will transform transportation and the electricity grid. DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory(US) leads JCESR and Berkeley Lab is a major partner.

  • richardmitnick 12:30 pm on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Anchors Aweigh", , , , University of California-Santa Barbara (US)   

    From University of California-Santa Barbara (US) : “Anchors Aweigh” 

    UC Santa Barbara Name bloc

    From University of California-Santa Barbara (US)

    May 11, 2021
    Sonia Fernandez

    After months of COVID-related delays and cancellations, research vessels are once again sailing the ocean to study its carbon cycle.

    Credit: National Aeronautics Space Agency (US).

    So there wasn’t the pre-cruise party that would normally have taken place — rather they all carefully isolated from one another right up to the launch — but the 56 scientists aboard the RRS Discovery and the RRS James Cook were nevertheless excited to finally get together and put out to sea.

    Their mission? To continue their study of how exactly the world’s oceans deal with carbon for the large-scale, NASA-led EXPORTS field campaign.

    “Everybody’s in super good spirits,” UC Santa Barbara professor David Siegel said from his isolation room prior to the voyage. His group, along with fellow UCSB marine scientists Mark Brzezinski and Craig Carlson and their research groups, join colleagues from multiple research institutions to piece together the complex puzzle that is the ocean’s carbon cycle.

    “We need to understand how to predict how the ocean’s going to respond to global warming,” said Siegel, the science lead for the expedition. The Earth’s largest carbon sink, the ocean moves about 10 petagrams (10×10^15 grams) of organic carbon from the surface to the depths every year. That’s a rough estimate, however, and little is known about how things might change as temperatures increase and carbon dioxide accumulates.

    “Our predictive capability of how these pathways work is horrible — we don’t have a good sense of how to predict changes in the future,” he said.

    Improving these predictive capabilities has been the focus of the EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing (EXPORTS) project, an ambitious international effort that has a multidisciplinary set of scientists using state-of-the art technology — from oceangoing robots to satellites — and the latest science to gather data about how carbon moves in the ocean.

    It’s a huge endeavor. The ocean’s carbon cycle is a symphony of physical and biological processes taking place over a variety of spatial and time scales, and at various depths. Tiny phytoplankton, the main driver of ocean carbon sequestration, use atmospheric carbon and dissolved carbon dioxide at the ocean’s surface to photosynthesize and grow. They die or are eaten and their carbon sinks ever so slowly to depth, or they can be eaten by the hordes of zooplankton and other animals that conduct a massive diel vertical migration from the deep ocean to the surface and back. In other cases, currents and traveling animals can take the carbon on a less direct route to the bottom. Rising ocean temperatures affect these interlocking processes and ecosystems, and it’s the researchers’ job to gather enough data to create a model that can predict future carbon cycle states.

    The EXPORTS team already has one research cruise under its belt — a visit to the northeastern Pacific Ocean in summer of 2018. Plans for the 2020 trip for field work in the North Atlantic were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating some fancy footwork to get the project back on track. Now armed with vaccinations and strict COVID-safe protocols, the researchers made their way to their Southampton, UK, departure point to quarantine in time for the 2021 North Atlantic Spring Bloom, a widespread and ephemeral profusion of phytoplankton off northeastern Canada. Storms from the previous winter have brought nutrients to the surface, which, along with increasing amounts of sunlight, is causing the phytoplankton population to double every two to three weeks.

    “There should be fewer grazers than we saw in the Pacific,” Siegel said. “So what we hope to see in the post-bloom study is a big signal.” In contrast, the 2018 study in the northeastern Pacific had a far lower energy environment, he noted, both in current and wave action, and with the phytoplankton.

    “The phytoplankton didn’t really go through the same sort of blooming process — at least it was much more muted,” he said. “We found that much of the flux was driven by animals.” With fewer grazing animals and in a more productive and energetic environment, the researchers are interested in the roles other factors may play in the movement of carbon.

    “So we have all this phytoplankton up in the surface ocean, and we want to look at how this decays, what happens to it,” Siegel said. They’ll be conducting their research at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain(link is external), a marine observatory in the North Atlantic coordinated by the UK’s National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. Another ship from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s (US) Ocean Twilight Zone project will join them for a stretch as its researchers investigate how carbon moves through the area’s mesopelagic, or “twilight” zone, where the waters become cooler and darker.

    Data from this research cruise is expected to give NASA enough information to create parameters for a sophisticated model of the ocean’s carbon cycle, said Siegel, who credits the agency for the “great efforts to make this happen,” especially in light of the global pandemic.

    “NASA’s charged with figuring out how our ecosystems are changing and what the implications are of that on the global carbon cycle,” he said. “Just characterizing ecosystems is not enough to understand the carbon cycle. You really do need to know how much carbon leaves the surface water; you need to know how far into the interior it goes.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Santa Barbara Seal

    The University of California-Santa Barbara (US) is a public land-grant research university in Santa Barbara, California, and one of the ten campuses of the University of California(US) system. Tracing its roots back to 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, UCSB joined the University of California system in 1944, and is the third-oldest undergraduate campus in the system.

    The university is a comprehensive doctoral university and is organized into five colleges and schools offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 55 graduate degrees. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation(US), UC Santa Barbara spent $235 million on research and development in fiscal year 2018, ranking it 100th in the nation. In his 2001 book The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities, author Howard Greene labeled UCSB a “Public Ivy”.

    UC Santa Barbara is a research university with 10 national research centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (US) and the Center for Control, Dynamical-Systems and Computation. Current UCSB faculty includes six Nobel Prize laureates; one Fields Medalist; 39 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 27 members of the National Academy of Engineering; and 34 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. UCSB was the No. 3 host on the ARPANET and was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1995. The faculty also includes two Academy and Emmy Award winners and recipients of a Millennium Technology Prize; an IEEE Medal of Honor; a National Medal of Technology and Innovation; and a Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

    The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos compete in the Big West Conference of the NCAA Division I. The Gauchos have won NCAA national championships in men’s soccer and men’s water polo.


    UCSB traces its origins back to the Anna Blake School, which was founded in 1891, and offered training in home economics and industrial arts. The Anna Blake School was taken over by the state in 1909 and became the Santa Barbara State Normal School which then became the Santa Barbara State College in 1921.

    In 1944, intense lobbying by an interest group in the City of Santa Barbara led by Thomas Storke and Pearl Chase persuaded the State Legislature, Gov. Earl Warren, and the Regents of the University of California to move the State College over to the more research-oriented University of California system. The State College system sued to stop the takeover but the governor did not support the suit. A state constitutional amendment was passed in 1946 to stop subsequent conversions of State Colleges to University of California campuses.

    From 1944 to 1958, the school was known as Santa Barbara College of the University of California, before taking on its current name. When the vacated Marine Corps training station in Goleta was purchased for the rapidly growing college Santa Barbara City College moved into the vacated State College buildings.

    Originally the regents envisioned a small several thousand–student liberal arts college a so-called “Williams College (US) of the West”, at Santa Barbara. Chronologically, UCSB is the third general-education campus of the University of California, after UC Berkeley (US) and UCLA (US) (the only other state campus to have been acquired by the UC system). The original campus the regents acquired in Santa Barbara was located on only 100 acres (40 ha) of largely unusable land on a seaside mesa. The availability of a 400-acre (160 ha) portion of the land used as Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara until 1946 on another seaside mesa in Goleta, which the regents could acquire for free from the federal government, led to that site becoming the Santa Barbara campus in 1949.

    Originally only 3000–3500 students were anticipated but the post-WWII baby boom led to the designation of general campus in 1958 along with a name change from “Santa Barbara College” to “University of California, Santa Barbara,” and the discontinuation of the industrial arts program for which the state college was famous. A chancellor- Samuel B. Gould- was appointed in 1959.

    In 1959 UCSB professor Douwe Stuurman hosted the English writer Aldous Huxley as the university’s first visiting professor. Huxley delivered a lectures series called The Human Situation.

    In the late ’60s and early ’70s UCSB became nationally known as a hotbed of anti–Vietnam War activity. A bombing at the school’s faculty club in 1969 killed the caretaker Dover Sharp. In the spring of 1970 multiple occasions of arson occurred including a burning of the Bank of America branch building in the student community of Isla Vista during which time one male student Kevin Moran was shot and killed by police. UCSB’s anti-Vietnam activity impelled then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to impose a curfew and order the National Guard to enforce it. Armed guardsmen were a common sight on campus and in Isla Vista during this time.

    In 1995 UCSB was elected to the Association of American Universities– an organization of leading research universities with a membership consisting of 59 universities in the United States (both public and private) and two universities in Canada.

    On May 23, 2014 a killing spree occurred in Isla Vista, California, a community in close proximity to the campus. All six people killed during the rampage were students at UCSB. The murderer was a former Santa Barbara City College student who lived in Isla Vista.

    Research activity

    According to the National Science Foundation (US), UC Santa Barbara spent $236.5 million on research and development in fiscal 2013, ranking it 87th in the nation.

    From 2005 to 2009 UCSB was ranked fourth in terms of relative citation impact in the U.S. (behind Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), California Institute of Technology(US), and Princeton University (US)) according to Thomson Reuters.

    UCSB hosts 12 National Research Centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, the Southern California Earthquake Center, the UCSB Center for Spatial Studies, an affiliate of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, and the California Nanosystems Institute. Eight of these centers are supported by the National Science Foundation. UCSB is also home to Microsoft Station Q, a research group working on topological quantum computing where American mathematician and Fields Medalist Michael Freedman is the director.

    Research impact rankings

    The Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked UCSB 48th worldwide for 2016–17, while the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in 2016 ranked UCSB 42nd in the world; 28th in the nation; and in 2015 tied for 17th worldwide in engineering.

    In the United States National Research Council rankings of graduate programs, 10 UCSB departments were ranked in the top ten in the country: Materials; Chemical Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Physics; Marine Science Institute; Geography; History; and Theater and Dance. Among U.S. university Materials Science and Engineering programs, UCSB was ranked first in each measure of a study by the National Research Council of the NAS.

  • richardmitnick 11:55 am on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Which neutrino is the heaviest?", , , ,   

    From Symmetry: “Which neutrino is the heaviest?” 

    Symmetry Mag

    From Symmetry

    Scott Hershberger

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Corinne Mucha.

    The question may seem simple, but physicists don’t yet know the answer. New measurements aim to change that.

    Neutrinos are the featherweights of the subatomic world. These extremely plentiful, rarely interacting particles are at least 500,000 times lighter than electrons. They are produced in the sun, in exploding stars, and in decay processes on Earth—even ones in your own body. But they interact so infrequently with other matter that you’d hardly know there are so many of them around.

    For decades physicists thought these ghostly particles were massless. But experiments revealed that neutrinos do have mass. In fact, there are three types of neutrinos and three different masses.

    Scientists have yet to measure the exact value of each of these masses. But even finding out which neutrino is the heaviest would be a huge leap in our understanding of both neutrinos and the physics that govern our universe. A lot rides on the answer to this puzzle, known as the “neutrino mass hierarchy” or “neutrino mass ordering.”

    Sun, sky and earth

    Neutrinos interact with matter as electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos or tau neutrinos, named after the partner particles they like to hang around with. And neutrinos can oscillate, meaning they shift between those three identities.

    The nuclear processes in the sun’s core generate a deluge of electron neutrinos, many of which turn into muon and tau neutrinos by the time they reach Earth. When high-energy particles strike Earth’s atmosphere, muon neutrinos are created; they may oscillate to electron or tau neutrinos before being detected.

    But the three types of neutrinos do not correspond directly to the three masses. Instead, there are three “neutrino mass states” numbered 1, 2 and 3, each with different likelihoods of interacting with matter as an electron neutrino, a muon neutrino or a tau neutrino.

    Knowing the rates at which neutrinos oscillate from one type to another allows scientists to make some inferences about the relationships between the three mass states. Careful measurements of solar neutrinos show that the second mass state is only slightly heavier than the first. Measurements of the oscillations of atmospheric and accelerator-made muon neutrinos indicate a large difference in mass between the third mass state and the other two.

    But so far scientists have been unable to determine whether mass state 3 is much heavier or much lighter than states 1 and 2.

    To distinguish between the “normal mass hierarchy” (the order 1, 2, 3) and the “inverted mass hierarchy” (3, 1, 2), researchers fire beams of neutrinos through hundreds of kilometers of solid rock in what are called “long-baseline” neutrino experiments.

    “When a neutrino is traveling, the electron neutrino part of it wants to interact with the electrons in the Earth, and the muon and tau neutrino parts are unaffected,” says Zoya Vallari, a postdoc at Caltech. “This extra impact affects how much oscillation will happen.”

    The current leading long-baseline experiments—the NOvA experiment in the United States and the T2K experiment in Japan—have helped refine scientists’ understanding of oscillation. But their measurements of the mass hierarchy so far remain inconclusive.

    A key puzzle piece

    Whether the third neutrino is the lightest or the heaviest carries massive implications (pun intended) for our understanding of these abundant particles. For instance, the source of neutrinos’ mass remains unknown. Determining if it is akin to the Higgs mechanism, which is responsible for other particles’ mass, depends in part on figuring out the hierarchy.

    Also, since neutrinos have no electric charge, they could theoretically be their own antimatter particles. Knowing the mass ordering will guide experiments that are testing this hypothesis, a gateway to deep questions about the entire universe.

    In pursuit of an answer to the neutrino hierarchy question, the NOvA experiment sends beams of neutrinos and antineutrinos about 500 miles from Fermilab in Illinois to a detector in Ash River, Minnesota. The T2K experiment sends them about 190 miles from J-PARC in Tokai, Japan, to a detector under Mount Ikeno.

    Scientists at the experiments compare the rate of neutrino oscillations to the rate of antineutrino oscillations. Any differences between them could help scientists figure out what’s going on with neutrino masses. It could also help them discern why matter won over antimatter in the early universe. We might owe our existence to neutrinos, but we can’t be sure yet.

    NOvA currently does not see a strong asymmetry between neutrino and antineutrino oscillations. The T2K experiment has reported tantalizing evidence that neutrinos may oscillate differently than antineutrinos. T2K is currently undergoing an upgrade, and NOvA will continue collecting data through the middle of the decade.

    Between the two possibilities, the inverted hierarchy would make several future experiments easier. “So if I could choose, I would choose the inverted hierarchy, but apparently it’s not up to me,” says Pedro Machado, a theorist at the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. “And without experimental results, theory doesn’t go forward.”

    For Vallari, too, the inverted hierarchy would be more “fun,” but “if I had to place a bet, I would do it on the normal hierarchy,” she says.

    An answer within reach

    Unlike many mysteries in particle physics, the neutrino mass hierarchy has a clear path toward resolution. The answer lies well within the capabilities of the next generation of experiments.

    The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment [ depiction above], an international experiment hosted by DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (US) and scheduled to come online in the late 2020s, will send neutrinos on a 1300-kilometer journey from Illinois to South Dakota—60% farther than NOvA, providing more matter for the neutrinos to interact with. Both experiments receive support from the DOE Office of Science and other funding agencies.

    Such a long voyage will amplify the Earth’s influence on neutrino oscillations, enabling researchers to tease out the mass hierarchy, says Vallari, who is part of the DUNE and NOvA collaborations. In Japan, the planned Hyper-Kamiokande upgrade to the T2K experiment should also yield an answer within a few years of data collection.

    “I feel pretty confident in saying that in the early 2030s, we should have a definitive measurement of the mass hierarchy from at least one of the experiments,” Vallari says.

    Even then, we will know only the differences between the three neutrino masses—the overall magnitude of the masses will remain a mystery.

    See the full article here .


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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.

  • richardmitnick 10:58 am on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "MIT unveils a new action plan to tackle the climate crisis", , , , , ,   

    From MIT : “MIT unveils a new action plan to tackle the climate crisis” 

    MIT News

    From MIT

    May 12, 2021
    David L. Chandler

    “The Blue Marble” is a famous photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon at a distance of about 29,000 kilometres (18,000 mi). It shows Africa, Antarctica, and the Arabian Peninsula. Credit: National Aeronautics Space Agency (US).

    MIT has released an ambitious new plan for action to address the world’s accelerating climate crisis. The plan, titled “Fast Forward: MIT’s Climate Action Plan for the Decade,” includes a broad array of new initiatives and significant expansions of existing programs, to address the needs for new technologies, new policies, and new kinds of outreach to bring the Institute’s expertise to bear on this critical global issue.

    As MIT President L. Rafael Reif and other senior leaders have written in a letter to the MIT community announcing the new plan, “Humanity must find affordable, equitable ways to bring every sector of the global economy to net-zero carbon emissions no later than 2050.” And in order to do that, “we must go as far as we can, as fast as we can, with the tools and methods we have now.” But that alone, they stress, will not be enough to meet that essential goal. Significant investments will also be needed to invent and deploy new tools, including technological breakthroughs, policy initiatives, and effective strategies for education and communication about this epochal challenge.

    “Our approach is to build on what the MIT community does best — and then aspire for still more. Harnessing MIT’s long record as a leader in innovation, the plan’s driving force is a series of initiatives to ignite research on, and accelerate the deployment of, the technologies and policies that will produce the greatest impact on limiting global climate change,” says Vice President for Research Maria Zuber, who led the creation and implementation of MIT’s first climate action plan and oversaw the development of the new plan alongside Associate Provost Richard Lester and School of Engineering Dean Anantha Chandrakasan.

    The new plan includes a commitment to investigate the essential dynamics of global warming and its impacts, increasing efforts toward more precise predictions, and advocating for science-based climate policies and increased funding for climate research. It also aims to foster innovation through new research grants, faculty hiring policies, and student fellowship opportunities.

    Decarbonizing the world’s economy in time will require “new ideas, transformed into practical solutions, in record time,” the plan states, and so it includes a push for research focused on key areas such as cement and steel production, heavy transportation, and ways to remove carbon from the air. The plan affirms the imperative for decarbonization efforts to emphasize the need for equity and fairness, and for broad outreach to all segments of society.

    Charting a shared course for the future

    Having made substantial progress in implementing the Institute’s original five-year Plan for Action on Climate Change, MIT’s new plan outlines measures to build upon and expand that progress over the next decade. The plan consists of five broad areas of action: sparking innovation, educating future generations, informing and leveraging government action, reducing MIT’s own climate impact, and uniting and coordinating all of MIT’s climate efforts.

    MIT is already well on its way to reaching the initial target, set in 2015, to reduce the Institute’s net carbon emissions by at least 32 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030. That goal is being met through a combination of innovative off-campus power purchase agreements that enable the construction of large-scale solar and wind farms, and an array of renewable energy and building efficiency measures on campus. In the new plan, MIT commits to net-zero direct carbon emissions by 2026.

    The initial plan focused largely on intensifying efforts to find breakthrough solutions for addressing climate change, through a series of actions including the creation of new low-carbon energy centers for research, and the convening of researchers, industry leaders, and policymakers to facilitate the sharing of best practices and successful measures. The new plan expands upon these actions and incorporates new measures, such as climate-focused faculty positions and student work opportunities to help tackle climate issues from a variety of disciplines and perspectives.

    A long-running series of symposia, community forums, and other events and discussions helped shape a set of underlying principles that apply to all of the plan’s many component parts. These themes are:

    -The centrality of science, to build on MIT’s pioneering work in understanding the dynamics of global warming and its effects;
    -The need to innovate and scale, requiring new ideas to be made into practical solutions quickly;
    -The imperative of justice, since many of those who will be most affected by climate change are among those with the least resources to adapt;
    -The need for engagement, dealing with government, industry, and society as a whole, reflecting the fact that decarbonizing the world’s economy will require working with leaders in all sectors; and
    -The power of coordination, emphasizing the need for the many different parts of the Institute’s climate research, education, and outreach to have clear structures for decision making, action, and accountability.

    Bolstering research and innovation

    The new plan features a wide array of action items to encourage innovation in critical areas, including new programs as well as the expansions of existing programs. This includes the Climate Grand Challenges, announced last year, which focus on game-changing research advances across disciplines spanning MIT.

    “We must, and we do, call for critical self-examination of our own footprint, and aspire to substantial reductions. We also must, and we do, renew and bolster our commitment to the kind of paradigm-shifting research and innovation, across every sector and in every field of human endeavor, that the world expects from MIT,” notes Professor Lester. “An existential challenge like climate change calls for both immediate action and extraordinary long shots. I believe the people of MIT are capable of both.”

    The plan also calls for expanding the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium, created earlier this year, to foster collaborations among companies and researchers to work for solutions to climate problems. The aim is to greatly accelerate the adoption of large-scale, real-world climate solutions, across different industries around the world, by working with large companies as they work to find ways to meet new net-zero climate targets, in areas ranging from aerospace to packaged food.

    Another planned action is to establish a Future Energy Systems Center, which will coalesce the work that has been fostered through MIT’s Low-Carbon Energy Centers, created under the previous climate action plan. The Institute is also committing to devoting at least 20 upcoming faculty positions to climate-focused talent. And, there will be new midcareer ignition grants for faculty to spur work related to climate change and clean energy.

    For students, the plan will provide up to 100 new Climate and Sustainability Energy Fellowships, spanning the Institute’s five schools and one college. These will enable work on current or new projects related to climate change. There will also be a new Climate Education Task Force to evaluate current offerings and make recommendations for strengthening research on climate-related topics. And, in-depth climate or clean-energy-related research opportunities will be offered to every undergraduate who wants one. Climate and sustainability topics and examples will be introduced into courses throughout the Institute, especially in the General Institute Requirements that all undergraduates must take.

    This emphasis on MIT’s students is reflected in the plan’s introductory cover letter from Reif, Zuber, Lester, Chandrakasan, and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Glen Shor. They write: “In facing this challenge, we have very high expectations for our students; we expect them to help make the impossible possible. And we owe it to them to face this crisis by coming together in a whole-of-MIT effort — deliberately, wholeheartedly, and as fast as we can.”

    The plan’s educational components provide “the opportunity to fundamentally change how we have our graduates think in terms of a sustainable future,” Chandrakasan says. “I think the opportunity to embed this notion of sustainability into every class, to think about design for sustainability, is a very important aspect of what we’re doing. And, this plan could significantly increase the faculty focused on this critical area in the next several years. The potential impact of that is tremendous.”

    Reaching outward

    The plan calls for creating a new Sustainability Policy Hub for undergraduates and graduate students to foster interactions with sustainability policymakers and faculty, including facilitating climate policy internships in Washington. There will be an expansion of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, which started last year to bring together various groups to consider the climate crisis and its impacts on how people might live now and in the future.

    “The proposed new Sustainability Policy Hub, coordinated by the Technology and Policy Program, will help MIT students and researchers engage with decision makers on topics that directly affect people and their well-being today and in the future,” says Noelle Selin, an associate professor in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. “Ensuring sustainability in a changed climate is a collaborative effort, and working with policymakers and communities will be critical to ensure our research leads to action.”

    A new series of Climate Action Symposia, similar to a successful series held in 2019-2020, will be convened. These events may include a focus on climate challenges for the developing world. In addition, MIT will develop a science- and fact-based curriculum on climate issues for high school students. These will be aimed at under served populations and at countering sources of misinformation.

    Building on its ongoing efforts to provide reliable, evidence-based information on climate science, technology, and policy solutions to policymakers at all levels of government, MIT is establishing a faculty-led Climate Policy Working Group, which will work with the Institute’s Washington office to help connect faculty members doing relevant research with officials working in those areas.

    In the financial arena, MIT will lead more research and discussions aimed at strengthening the financial disclosures relating to climate that corporations need to make, thus making the markets more sensitive to the true risks to investors posed by climate change. In addition, MIT will develop a series of case studies of companies that have made a conversion to decarbonized energy and to sustainable practices, in order to provide useful models for others.

    MIT will also expand the reach of its tools for modeling the impacts of various policy decisions on climate outcomes, economics, and energy systems. And, it will continue to send delegations to the major climate policy forums such as the UN’s Conference of the Parties, and to find new audiences for its Climate Portal, web-based Climate Primer, and TILclimate podcast.

    “This plan reaffirms MIT’s commitment to developing climate change solutions,” says Christopher Knittel, the George P. Shultz Professor of Applied Economics. “It understands that solving climate change will require not only new technologies but also new climate leaders and new policy. The plan leverages MIT’s strength across all three of these, as well as its most prized resources: its students. I look forward to working with our students and policymakers in using the tools of economics to provide the research needed for evidence-based policymaking.”

    Recognizing that the impacts of climate change fall most heavily on some populations that have contributed little to the problem but have limited means to make the needed changes, the plan emphasizes the importance of addressing the socioeconomic challenges posed by major transitions in energy systems, and will focus on job creation and community support in these regions, both domestically and in the developing world. These programs include the Environmental Solutions Initiative’s Natural Climate Solutions Program, and the Climate Resilience Early Warning System Network, which aims to provide fine-grained climate predictions.

    “I’m extraordinarily excited about the plan,” says Professor John Fernández, director of the Environmental Solutions Initiative and a professor of building technology. “These are exactly the right things for MIT to be doing, and they align well with an increasing appetite across our community. We have extensive expertise at MIT to contribute to diverse solutions, but our reach should be expanded and I think this plan will help us do that.”

    “It’s so encouraging to see environmental justice issues and community collaborations centered in the new climate action plan,” says Amy Moran-Thomas, the Alfred Henry and Jean Morrison Hayes Career Development Associate Professor of Anthropology. “This is a vital step forward. MIT’s policy responses and climate technology design can be so much more significant in their reach with these engagements done in a meaningful way.”

    Decarbonizing campus

    MIT’s first climate action plan produced mechanisms and actions that have led to significant reductions in net emissions. For example, through an innovative collaborative power purchase agreement, MIT enabled the construction of a large solar farm and the early retirement of a coal plant, and also provided a model that others have since adopted. Because of the existing agreement, MIT has already reduced its net emissions by 24 percent despite a boom in construction of new buildings on campus. This model will be extended moving forward, as MIT explores a variety of possible large-scale collaborative agreements to enable solar energy, wind energy, energy storage, and other emissions-curbing facilities.

    Using the campus as a living testbed, the Institute has studied every aspect of its operations to assess their climate impacts, including heating and cooling, electricity, lighting, materials, and transportation. The studies confirm the difficulties inherent in transforming large existing infrastructure, but all feasible reductions in emissions are being pursued. Among them: All new purchases of light vehicles will be zero-emissions if available. The amount of solar generation on campus will increase fivefold, from 100 to 500 kilowatts. Shuttle buses will begin converting to electric power no later than 2026, and the number of car-charging stations will triple, to 360.

    Meanwhile, a new working group will study possibilities for further reductions of on-campus emissions, including indirect emissions encompassed in the UN’s Scope 3 category, such as embedded energy in construction materials, as well as possible measures to offset off-campus Institute-sponsored travel. The group will also study goals relating to food, water, and waste systems; develop a campus climate resilience plan; and expand the accounting of greenhouse gas emissions to include MIT’s facilities outside the campus. It will encourage all labs, departments, and centers to develop plans for sustainability and reductions in emissions.

    “This is a broad and appropriately ambitious plan that reflects the headway we’ve made building up capacity over the last five years,” says Robert Armstrong, director of the MIT Energy Initiative. “To succeed we’ll need to continually integrate new understanding of climate science, science and technology innovations, and societal engagement from the many elements of this plan, and to be agile in adapting ongoing work accordingly.”

    Examining investments

    To help bring MIT’s investments in line with these climate goals, MIT has already begun the process of decarbonizing its portfolio, but aims to go further.

    Beyond merely declaring an aspirational goal for such reductions, the Institute will take this on as a serious research question, by undertaking an intensive analysis of what it would mean to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050 in a broad investment portfolio.

    “I am grateful to MITIMCO for their seriousness in affirming this step,” Zuber says. “We hope the outcome of this analysis will help not just our institution but possibly other institutional managers with a broad portfolio who aspire to a net-zero carbon goal.”

    MIT’s investment management company will also review its environmental, social, and governance investment framework and post it online. And, as a member of Climate Action 100+, MIT will be actively engaging with major companies about their climate-change planning. For the planned development of the Volpe site in Kendall square, MIT will offset the entire carbon footprint and raise the site above the projected 2070 100-year flood level.

    Institute-wide participation

    A centerpiece of the new plan is the creation of two high-level committees representing all parts of the MIT community. The MIT Climate Steering Committee, a council of faculty and administrative leaders, will oversee and coordinate MIT’s strategies on climate change, from technology to policy. The steering committee will serve as an “orchestra conductor,” coordinating with the heads of the various climate-related departments, labs, and centers, as well as issue-focused working groups, seeking input from across the Institute, setting priorities, committing resources, and communicating regularly on the progress of the climate plan’s implementation.

    The second committee, called the Climate Nucleus, will include representatives of climate- and energy-focused departments, labs, and centers that have significant responsibilities under the climate plan, as well as the MIT Washington Office. It will have broad responsibility for overseeing the management and implementation of all elements of the plan, including program planning, budgeting and staffing, fundraising, external and internal engagement, and program-level accountability. The Nucleus will make recommendations to the Climate Steering Committee on a regular basis and report annually to the steering committee on progress under the plan.

    “We heard loud and clear that MIT needed both a representative voice for all those pursuing research, education, and innovation to achieve our climate and sustainability goals, but also a body that’s nimble enough to move quickly and imbued with enough budgetary oversight and leadership authority to act decisively. With the Climate Steering Committee and Climate Nucleus together, we hope to do both,” Lester says.

    The new plan also calls for the creation of three working groups to address specific aspects of climate action. The working groups will include faculty, staff, students, and alumni and give these groups direct input into the ongoing implementation of MIT’s plans. The three groups will focus on climate education, climate policy, and MIT’s own carbon footprint. They will track progress under the plan and make recommendations to the Nucleus on ways of increasing MIT’s effectiveness and impact.

    “MIT is in an extraordinary position to make a difference and to set a standard of climate leadership,” the plan’s cover letter says. “With this plan, we commit to a coordinated set of leadership actions to spur innovation, accelerate action, and deliver practical impact.”

    “Successfully addressing the challenges posed by climate change will require breakthrough science, daring innovation, and practical solutions, the very trifecta that defines MIT research,” says Raffaele Ferrari, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Oceanography. “The MIT climate action plan lays out a comprehensive vision to bring the whole Institute together and address these challenges head on. “Last century, MIT helped put humans on the moon. This century, it is committing to help save humanity and the environment from climate change here on Earth.”

    See the full article here .

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    MIT Seal

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)(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, MIT 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 MIT. The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. MIT 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, 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 MIT 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. In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    MIT 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, MIT faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University 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 MIT 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, MIT 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 in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at MIT 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.

    MIT’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 MIT’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, MIT 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 MIT 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 MIT 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, MIT 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 MIT’s defense research. In this period MIT’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. MIT ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT 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 MIT 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 MIT over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, MIT’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    MIT 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 OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 MIT 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.

    MIT 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, MIT 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, MIT 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 MIT faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    MIT 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 MIT community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, MIT 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 MIT 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 Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology, MIT, and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation.

    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 MIT physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an MIT graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of MIT 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 MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

  • richardmitnick 9:11 am on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Webb’s golden mirror wings open one last time on Earth", , , , ,   

    From European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) : “Webb’s golden mirror wings open one last time on Earth” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

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


    Webb’s golden mirror wings open one last time on Earth.

    The world’s most powerful space science telescope has opened its primary mirror for the last time on Earth.

    As part of the international NASA /ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (US) final tests, the 6.5 meter (21 feet 4 inch) mirror was commanded to fully expand and lock itself into place, just like it would in space. The conclusion of this test represents the team’s final checkpoint in a long series of tests designed to ensure Webb’s 18 hexagonal mirrors are prepared for a long journey in space, and a life of profound discovery. After this, all of Webb’s many movable parts will have confirmed in testing that they can perform their intended operations after being exposed to the expected launch environment.

    Making the testing conditions close to what Webb will experience in space helps to ensure the observatory is fully prepared for its science mission one million miles away from Earth.

    Commands to unlatch and deploy the side panels of the mirror were relayed from Webb’s testing control room at Northrop Grumman, in Redondo Beach, California. The software instructions sent, and the mechanisms that operated are the same as those used in space. Special gravity offsetting equipment was attached to Webb to simulate the zero-gravity environment in which its complex mechanisms will operate. All of the final thermal blanketing and innovative shielding designed to protect its mirrors and instruments from interference were in place during testing.

    Webb is an international partnership between National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) and Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA). The telescope will launch on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Credit: Chris Gunn/NASA.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    From 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.


    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.


    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.”


    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

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


    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme


    Every member country must contribute to these programmes:

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


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

    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Space Situational Awareness


    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
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    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.

    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).


    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.


    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. Astronaut selection announcements are expected within two years of the 2024 scheduled launch date.

    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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