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  • richardmitnick 4:15 pm on May 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAAS, , , Europe’s science spending set for another big boost, Global Challenges, Horizon Europe, Open Innovation, Open Science, The program could be worth €97.6 billion between 2021 and 2027   

    From AAAS: “Europe’s science spending set for another big boost” 


    From AAAS

    May. 31, 2018
    Tania Rabesandratana

    The company that developed HELIOtube, an inflatable solar heat collector, received funding under Horizon 2020. The European Commission plans to give innovation a bigger boost in Horizon Europe. HELIOVIS AG.

    On 7 June, the European Commission will lay out detailed plans for one of the biggest single research programs on the planet. Called Horizon Europe, the program could be worth €97.6 billion between 2021 and 2027, up from about €77 billion for the current 7-year program, Horizon 2020. Its influence, however, will go beyond size.

    Europe’s research programs provide stable funding for 7 years, some of it up for grabs for researchers around the world. And although they represent less than 10% of the total research money available in the European Union, the continuous growth of the EU science budget in the past decades, at the expense of agriculture and regional development, is a clear signal that it sees research and innovation as the future drivers of its economy.

    Next week’s proposals are unlikely to contain major surprises, because the commission has unveiled its main ideas over the past months, in particular its overall 7-year budget plan, issued on 2 May. Although Horizon Europe will keep Horizon 2020’s main features, the commission has laid the groundwork for several novelties, including a new agency to tackle the continent’s perennial innovation problem and a big, separate push on collaborative defense research. But contentious negotiations lie ahead. The United Kingdom is negotiating the terms of its impending exit from the European Union, and some member states want to tighten budgets. Meanwhile, research advocates want more generous spending, noting the low application success rates in Horizon 2020—a frustrating 11.9% so far.

    Like previous programs, Horizon Europe will have three main “pillars”; next week’s plan will detail how much money could go to each. The first component, called Open Science, will provide funding for projects “driven by researchers themselves,” as the commission puts it, through the well-liked basic research grants of the European Research Council (ERC) in Brussels and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships for doctoral programs, postdocs, and staff exchanges. This part of the program is largely unchanged from Horizon 2020.

    The second pillar, Global Challenges, will set so-called missions addressing issues “that worry us daily such as the fight against cancer, clean mobility, and plastic-free oceans,” says a commission fact sheet. The “missions” are meant to be flexible, as priorities change, and they appear to have a sharper focus than the “societal challenges” named in a comparable pillar of Horizon 2020, including energy and food security.

    The third part of Horizon Europe, called Open Innovation, addresses an old problem: Europe’s shortage of successful innovative businesses, despite its world-class science. At the moment, EU science funding for businesses largely goes through sizable public-private partnerships involving big firms, for example in the fields of aeronautics and pharmaceuticals. Now, EU research commissioner Carlos Moedas is launching a new project, the European Innovation Council (EIC), to encourage startup companies and “breakthrough technologies.”

    The commission says EIC will differ from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) in Budapest, set up in 2008. EIT—the pet project of former commission President José Manuel Barroso—brings together businesses, research centers, and universities in six pan-European “Innovation Communities.” Some observers say EIC’s creation signals that EIT didn’t quite deliver and is being marginalized.

    Science on the rise

    The European Union’s average annual research spending would continue to grow under the commission’s proposal for Horizon Europe.

    EIC will use the ingredients that made ERC successful: focusing on individual entrepreneurs rather than big cross-border teams, letting ideas emerge from the bottom up, and keeping grants and procedures simple. Its success “will depend on putting the right evaluation system into place,” says Austrian sociologist and former ERC President Helga Nowotny. “It takes excellence to recognize excellence.” But many universities are upset that the current pilot program for EIC, worth €2.7 billion for 3 years, didn’t include them in its group of advisers. “Next to CEOs and entrepreneurs, there is also room for researchers,” says Kurt Deketelaere, secretary-general of the League of European Research Universities in Leuven, Belgium. He adds that there are more pressing barriers to innovation than a lack of funding, noting that the European Union’s 28 member states “have 28 different schemes for taxation, intellectual property, bankruptcy.”

    In addition to Horizon Europe, the commission has proposed another bold move for research: setting aside €4.1 billion over 7 years as a separate budget line for defense research, up from just €90 million under an ongoing 3-year pilot program. Member states have long been lukewarm about cooperation in this secretive area, where national interests prevail. But in times of growing “geopolitical instability,” as the commission puts it, some member states seem more willing to pool resources.

    Yet some 700 scientists have signed a petition against any EU funding of military research; others worry the plan could come at the expense of nonmilitary science. “We will oppose anything that could take funding away from Horizon Europe’s civilian research,” says Maud Evrard, head of policy at Science Europe in Brussels, a group of national science funding agencies and research organizations.

    The commission’s €97.6 billion opening bid represents a 27% increase from the previous 7-year period—or even a 46% rise if compared to Horizon 2020 without the share of the United Kingdom, which is leaving the European Union in March 2019. But with some member states keen to tighten the European Union’s purse strings, Horizon Europe’s budget is likely to go down in coming negotiations with the European Parliament and EU member states. As a result, both Evrard and Deketelaere say they are disappointed that the commission didn’t aim higher.

    Negotiations for such programs can easily stretch to at least 18 months, but the commission wants to make as much progress as possible before elections to renew the European Parliament—which usually is very supportive of research—in May 2019. That will give the United Kingdom a chance to help shape the 7-year plan before it loses its seats in Parliament and the European Council. “We need to make the most of these channels whilst we can,” Jessica Cole, head of policy at the Russell Group, a London-based group of 24 leading U.K. universities, wrote in a blog post on 4 May.

    The United Kingdom has made clear that it wants to keep taking part in EU research programs after it leaves the bloc. This will require buying its way in through a bilateral association agreement, as other, smaller, non-EU countries such as Norway and Israel do. Other non-EU countries will be following the negotiations closely. Under Moedas’s mantra of “Open Science, Open Innovation, Open to the World,” the commission is likely to lift restrictions and make it easier for countries outside Europe and its immediate neighborhood to buy a stake in the research flagship—a sign that Europe’s horizons are widening further.

    See the full article here .

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.


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  • richardmitnick 2:58 pm on October 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAAS, An Update on the Event Horizon Telescope,   

    From AAAS: “An Update on the Event Horizon Telescope” 



    October 5, 2017
    Sheperd Doeleman
    Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

    The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is an international collaboration aiming to capture the first image of a black hole by creating a virtual Earth-sized radio telescope. We recently launched a new website that contains background material, the latest news from our team, and educational resources.

    At present, the EHT team is processing observations from a week-long observing campaign in April 2017 that linked together eight telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona, Spain, Mexico, Chile, and the South Pole via the technique of very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI). This global array targeted two supermassive black holes, one at the center of the Milky Way and the other in M87, a giant elliptical galaxy about 50 million light-years away in Virgo. For each of these, the EHT has the magnifying power and sensitivity to form images of the millimeter-wavelength light emitted by hot gas near the event horizon. Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicts that the EHT should see a silhouette formed by the intense gravity of the black hole warping the light from infalling hot gas. The dynamics of matter may also be detected as hot blobs of material orbit the black hole and shear into turbulent flows.

    The South Pole Telescope illuminated by aurora australis and the Milky Way. Jupiter is brightly visible at lower left. The outside temperature is -60°C. [Daniel Michalik / South Pole Telescope]

    Most data recorded at all the sites have been shipped to two central processing facilities, one at MIT Haystack Observatory and another at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, where the signals are combined in VLBI correlators. We are still waiting for the hard disks containing data from the South Pole, where they have been stored during the long polar winter when there are no flights to/from the Amundsen-Scott station. Some data, however, were sent back from the South Pole via satellite, so we have confirmed that all the sites in the EHT worked well, and analysis of the data is getting started.

    On the technical side, the EHT has broken new ground by making VLBI observations at the shortest wavelengths to date. And the array has been extended to bandwidths, or data capture rates, that are more than 10 times what was possible just a few years ago. Parallel advances in theory are providing direction for analysis techniques through detailed modeling and simulations of black hole accretion. For more information on current EHT work in both of these areas, as well as updates, we encourage you to visit the project website.

    Event Horizon Telescope Array

    Arizona Radio Observatory
    Arizona Radio Observatory/Submillimeter-wave Astronomy (ARO/SMT)

    Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment

    CARMA Array no longer in service
    Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA)

    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)
    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)

    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO)

    IRAM NOEMA interferometer
    Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique (IRAM) 30m

    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano
    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano

    CfA Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO
    Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array, Chile

    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL
    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL

    Future Array/Telescopes

    Plateau de Bure interferometer
    Plateau de Bure interferometer

    See the full article here .

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

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  • richardmitnick 12:19 pm on January 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAAS, , , Experts Seek to Boost Knowledge and Allies for Teaching STEM,   

    From AAAS: “Experts Seek to Boost Knowledge and Allies for Teaching STEM” 



    3 January 2017
    Kathleen O’Neil

    Multidisciplinary science organizations are working together to devise a plan for improving undergraduate STEM programs, calling for more collaboration across disciplines.industrieblick/Adobe Stock

    If you ever dropped differently-sized objects to see if one fell faster as part of your physics class, or watched a stalk of celery turn colors when placed in dye instead of listening to a lecture on capillary action, you have benefited from research into how students learn and understand science.

    Educational best practices that apply to all the fields of science recognize common observations, such as knowing that students tend to learn more from hands-on activities than a lecture. Yet, much more research is needed to frame more effective approaches to teaching science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) topics with their complex and sometimes interlocking concepts.

    Discipline-based education research, however, has traditionally stayed in its respective STEM field, with separate journals, conferences and research topics and largely eschewed collaborative approaches that could better integrate teaching in the STEM fields.

    Now, a small group of researchers and organizations including AAAS and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), are trying to help break the knowledge their respective communities have free from such constraints. They aim to increase collaborations across disciplines by organizing a community of discipline-based education research (DBER) practitioners who want to improve undergraduate education across the STEM fields.

    About two dozen leaders in this area of STEM education research met 18-19 November in Washington, D.C. to discuss the potential goals and benefits of a cross-disciplinary community that they are calling the STEM DBER Alliance. It would supplement and enhance existing DBER group activities. The founders are working on a white paper and have plans to share their vision and solicit input more widely at other scientific and education meetings, including at the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston in February.

    The nascent effort came about after several researchers, including Scott Franklin, a physics professor and director of a STEM education center at Rochester Institute of Technology, Charles Henderson, a physics professor at Western Michigan University, and Shirley Malcom, head of Education and Human Resources at AAAS, discussed forming a national interdisciplinary group at the public and land-grant universities’ group workshop in June.

    “It was quite clear that we needed an umbrella that was going to help us really understand how we could contribute to each other’s understanding,” Malcom said. “We said ‘Maybe we’re smarter together.’”

    Franklin said he and Henderson have seen the benefits of cross-discipline discussions at their own institutions and been interested in expanding it nationally. “We’ve seen firsthand the discussions that result from the very different experiences and backgrounds, and how these have supported research in unexpected directions,” Franklin said. He said the STEM DBER Alliance will bring him into contact with more researchers who can contribute ideas and opportunities for collaboration, and help the group tackle difficult issues, such as diversity, inclusion and broadening participation.

    Such collaborations could greatly help improve student retention and diversity in STEM fields, Malcom said. If a college student studying engineering is having trouble with the required mathematics, for example, it is not just a problem with how the engineering is taught, but rather how the math is taught, Malcom said. Engineering faculty could benefit greatly from learning how math educators teach those concepts and how students learn mathematical concepts.

    Sciences that deal with some of the same basic concepts could also begin to make those connections to help students better grasp fundamental principles. For example, students learn about energy in physics and biology, and whether the examples deal with colliding cars or sugar stored in plants, “it’s still energy,” said Susan Rundell Singer, lead editor of a 2012 National Academies of Science report on DBER.

    Singer combined biology DBER research with research on the developmental biology of flowering in plants in her 30 years as a professor at Carleton College before recently becoming vice president for academic affairs and provost at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.

    This kind of interdisciplinary teaching and education research is essential in preparing learners to address global challenges,, Singer said. “We need systems thinkers in engineering, biology, and chemistry to address climate change,” she said. “If we aren’t talking to each other and figuring out how these shared concepts are understood, then our students lose, and ultimately, our nation loses.”

    Efforts to improve science and mathematics education began in the early 1900s, when professors realized that traditional ways of teaching concepts to undergraduates could be improved. DBER had a resurgence in the 1960s post-Sputnik push to increase the number of STEM graduates. However, it was not until the 1990s that discipline-based education began to grow into an active research field in most STEM disciplines, with physics education research taking the lead.. It is now solidly established in each STEM field, with more faculty members being added each year.

    Singer hopes the cross-disciplinary community will “get people out of their STEM silos and talking with fields including economics and cultural anthropology, social psychology — not just to borrow their methodologies, but to think in new ways together.”

    See the full article here .

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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  • richardmitnick 3:41 pm on December 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAAS, AAAS Reaches Out to Theology Students, , , Science for Seminaries program,   

    From AAAS: “AAAS Reaches Out to Theology Students” 



    Program Fosters Dialogue Between Scientific and Religious Communities

    20 December 2016
    Michaela Jarvis

    Participants in the Science for Seminaries program met for a curriculum meeting at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University | AAAS/David Buller

    Many Americans turn to religious leaders with questions about science and its implications, yet clergy members often have little exposure to science in their training. AAAS has taken the lead, based on years of planning, in addressing this conundrum by organizing the Science for Seminaries program, with a pilot project launched in 2013. The pilot effort provided science resources for seminaries as they sought to equip future religious leaders with solid scientific information and with connections to scientists.

    The initial results are appreciable. One seminary professor, Bill Brown, reported a “dramatic rise” in students’ appreciation of science, describing activities associated with the project as “transformative.”

    Brown, the William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, elaborated on the most recent campus science events undertaken as part of the project. “We’ve had the best attendance yet among our students, followed by both formal and informal conversations. … In short, it seems that a sense of wonder about science is being cultivated on campus.”

    To most effectively connect with seminaries, AAAS partnered with the Association of Theological Schools, an accrediting association for graduate schools that train clergy. The pilot project, involving 10 seminaries representing a wide variety of Christian religious traditions, was designed to help professors incorporate relevant science into at least two of each seminary’s core courses. The participating schools also set out to organize at least one campus-wide event each to explore the relevance of science to theological education.

    By the most recent count at the close of the pilot project, more than 116 courses across the pilot schools had been revised, and at least 77 related events took place. Similarly, 137 applicants vied for 37 spots at related summer retreats designed to engage new seminary professors beyond those from the first 10 pilot schools. Perhaps most importantly, the project brought practicing scientists and seminary professors together to sculpt the most effective ways of conveying scientific advances and relevance to students.

    “We were pleasantly surprised by the wide range of science topics that seminaries chose to explore, including cosmology, genetics, neuroscience, paleontology, and more,” said Jennifer Wiseman, the director of the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program, which led the effort. “We were also pleased by the large number of scientists who were eager to get involved with the program, by, for example, giving guest science lectures in seminary classrooms and developing relationships with seminary professors.”

    Last summer’s retreats brought together pilot project faculty and scientists with representatives of additional theological schools, providing a venue for sharing insights and strategies. After being introduced to Science for Seminaries at one of the retreats, Beth Rath, an assistant professor of philosophy, went back to Borromeo Seminary and offered a class called “What Does Science Prove?: Topics at the Intersection of Science and Religion.”

    One of the students who took the class, Andrew Karpinski, said it helped him develop a new understanding of the science of evolution, which he had learned in high school, though feeling somewhat dissatisfied with the totally secular discussion offered in school.

    “If you incorporate science into your religious education, you get the fullest picture of the world we live in,” said Karpinski, an aspiring religious leader who said he feels ready to incorporate science into his work with young people in inner-city Cleveland.

    Rath said Karpinski was among many in the class who came away with new insights.

    “This was the first time I’ve ever offered the course,” Rath said, “and it has been hugely successful. The impact that the class made on the students was more than I had hoped for.” Rath added that the retreat she attended put her in touch with neuroscientist Nancy Adleman, of the Catholic University of America, who helped Rath incorporate scientific articles into a unit on free will and moral responsibility.

    Others who attended have also begun incorporating science into their courses. Jim Higginbotham, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling at Earlham School of Religion, in Richmond, Indiana, has prepared a class on death and dying that will ask students to address the bioethical issues related to the end of life, to “create a critical dialogue” between the natural sciences and spirituality. Grace Kao, associate ethics professor at Claremont School of Theology, in Claremont, California, mentioned additions she will make to her Introduction to Christian Ethics course, such as discussing epigenetic alterations associated with war trauma for a session on war and peace, the science behind shopping and the ways that poverty can change your genes for a segment about economics, and an exploration of whether genes can predict a person’s liberalism and conservatism for a session on religion and politics. Steven Studebaker, associate professor of systematic and historical theology and the Howard & Shirley Bengal Chair in evangelical thought at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, is planning on including in his Protestant theologians class John Polkinghorne, physicist and Anglican priest, and Philip Clayton, philosopher of religion and science. “The activities of the retreat cast a vision for what integrating science in the seminary classroom can look like,” Studebaker said.

    As students at the 10 seminaries who participated in the three-year pilot project experience the revised classes and campus-wide science-religion events, the schools continue to survey their reactions. The results have generally been extremely positive.

    At Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, Oregon, most students responded that they strongly agreed or agreed with statements such as “I recognize that scientific discoveries might have a bearing on how I approach life, work, and ministry,” the surveys showed.

    In April, a two-day religion and science conference at Multnomah received rave reviews.

    “The conference was a refreshing example of dialogue, rather than war, between faith and science,” said Sara Mannen, Multnomah Master of Arts in Theological Studies student. “Recognizing our shared values of awe at the universe and desiring the good of society helped provide me with a starting point for conversations concerning faith and science.”

    Almost all of the students at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said they had enjoyed science education opportunities including public lectures by scientists such as cosmologist John Barrow and science field trips such as to the Kennedy Space Center, said Associate Professor of Christian Ethics Kevin Jung.

    Given the impact of the pilot Science for Seminaries project, DoSER is expanding the effort to assist seminaries, which is seen as an opportunity to affect public understanding and support for science — and the degree to which science can benefit society, a mission of AAAS.

    “There were many more interested seminaries and seminary professors that we could not accommodate in this initial pilot project,” said Se Kim, associate director of DoSER. “We’d like to provide science assistance for more seminaries and will also continue to help interested scientists get connected to seminaries interested in their scientific expertise.”

    In offshoots of the program, DoSER is now working with continuing education programs for active clergy at four institutions, and is assisting two Rabbinic training institutions with their efforts to incorporate science.

    Meanwhile, as the pilot seminaries build upon their initial efforts, they are sharing with other seminaries resources they have developed so far, such as revised syllabi, via the project website: scienceforseminaries.org. Additionally, AAAS has produced a series of discussion-provoking films for classroom use, called “Science: The Wide Angle.” The film series features 14 of the world’s leading scientists and three historians of science discussing exciting scientific advances — and their own wonder and amazement as they explore our world.

    As for enduring impact, Professor Jung quoted one of the Wake Forest students asked about the experience of exploring science as part of a religious education: “I think it will resonate for many years,” the student wrote, “as I continue to dig deeper into the issues of my congregants.”

    More information about the Science for Seminaries program, and the “Science: The Wide Angle” films, are available at the Science for Seminaries website.

    See the full article here .

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

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  • richardmitnick 2:18 pm on October 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAAS, , Searching for Extraterrestrial Contact   

    From AAAS: “Searching for Extraterrestrial Contact” 



    21 September 2016
    Nathan Gilles

    Dr.Jill Taeter, SETI Institute

    Growing up in New York City, 8-year-old Jill Tarter had never experienced dark like it. She was in Florida. She had traveled to the Sunshine State only to experience a true absence of light, but the sky wasn’t dark at all. It was filled with bright, shining stars. As she walked along the beach with her father, the specks of flickering illumination feeding her imagination, Tarter experienced an insight that would define the rest of her life.

    Gazing upward, she asked herself: What if, revolving around one of those stars, was a planet much like Earth? And what if, on that planet there was a beach where a young creature walked with her father, watching the stars from her own galactic neighborhood? And what if, as this creature gazed and wondered, she glimpsed the light of a distant star around which a small planet revolved on which there was a beach where Tarter walked with her father, looking up and wondered: What if we’re not alone?

    “That became my worldview; that was just my mindset for as long as I can remember,” Tarter reflected.

    An AAAS Fellow since 2002, Tarter has spent the majority of her career in astronomy transmuting the wonder she felt on that beach into a systematic search for intelligent life elsewhere in our galaxy as head of the research arm of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, better known as the SETI Institute.

    Beloved by many and disliked by others, the SETI Institute has for decades aimed radio telescopes at the sky in an effort to tease out potential signals of extraterrestrial origin from the cosmic noise of space. What became the SETI Institute began as independent scientific searches, eventually falling under a series of NASA programs until, in the mid-1990s, U.S. lawmakers cut the programs’ funding.

    However, the search endured. Tarter and other researchers associated with NASA’s SETI work created the nonprofit SETI Institute a decade earlier as a way to continue their search if public funding dissolved. When it did, Tarter and the Institute turned to private donations, mostly from Silicon Valley luminaries, such as Bill Hewlett and David Packard of Hewlett-Packard. During this time, Tarter became the most recognizable face of SETI, pitching the project’s science and philosophy to private philanthropists while honing SETI’s search techniques through overseeing the construction of new hardware and new computer algorithms. Her tenacity even earned her a place in pop culture history, when in 1981, her friend and colleague Carl Sagan based the protagonist of his science fiction novel Contact on her. The book was later made into a movie in 1997 staring Jodie Foster.

    “When Carl sent me a pre-publication copy of the book, I was flummoxed. There was so much in that character that was in common with my life,” said Tarter.

    A look at Tarter’s career shows the accolade from the iconoclastic Sagan was well-deserved.

    While her childhood experience on that Florida beach stuck with her into early adulthood, Tarter nonetheless began her career in science with an aspiration that was a little closer to home: “I wanted to go to the moon,” said Tarter.

    However, in the early 1960s, when she started her undergraduate program in engineering, science and engineering, let alone becoming an astronaut, were culturally off-limits for most women. So much so that Tarter found herself in the awkward position of being the only woman in a class of some 300 students. Nonetheless she excelled, and soon she began to stretch beyond engineering to astronomy, eventually earning her Ph.D. in the subject. It was around this time that she first waded into scientific controversy.

    In the mid-1970s, it was believed that there existed approximately 10 percent more mass in the Milky Way than could be accounted for by observations. Tarter proposed that some of this missing mass was due to a type of star that hadn’t yet been found. She believed these stars would not be massive enough to fuse hydrogen into helium, as our sun does. This meant they would be cool and, for all practical purposes, invisible to our instruments. She called these strange stars Brown Dwarfs.

    When she first proposed Brown Dwarfs, Tarter had a hard time convincing scientific publications that these small, cool stars existed. Meanwhile, the amount of missing mass grew in calculations, eventually being pinned largely on mysterious dark matter. Nonetheless, the idea of Brown Dwarfs caught on, and the first of what would be many Brown Dwarfs was discovered in the mid-1990s. Tarter was vindicated.

    “That was a lot of fun. That was a very enjoyable time,” said Tarter of the discovery.

    Tarter has yet to be vindicated in her search for extraterrestrial intelligence, but she hasn’t given up hope. Since SETI investigations began in the 1960s, only a miniscule portion of the night sky has been surveyed—the equivalent, by Tarter’s calculations, of taking a single glass of water from the world’s oceans. What’s more, as Tarter knows, searching for signals in space is complicated. Space as viewed through a radio telescope is a noisy place. Then there’s the fact that information-laden signals tend to look like noise at first glance. Add to this the multiple frequencies that could be used for broadcasting, the fact that all the sources of broadcast are in constant motion, and, most important, time—the time it takes for complex life to evolve, technological civilizations to develop, and the cosmic speed limit that is the speed of light—and you find yourself with a complex engineering problem.

    “After millennia of asking priests and philosophers what we should believe, suddenly we engineers and scientists have tools, telescopes and computers, to actually figure out what is,” said Tarter.

    Tarter’s first opportunity to apply her skills to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence came in the late 1970s. A colleague of hers wanted to do a search by piggybacking on a radio telescope, and he needed a computer programmer. Tarter just happened to be one of the few people who could program the computer he was using. The researchers’ plan was simple: Take recordings from the radio telescope using magnetic tape, then search the recordings using a computer algorithm programmed by Tarter. This is essentially how SETI still works.

    “Only we’ve now gone from 100 channels to 100 million channels. That’s been the progress that computing power has allowed us to achieve,” said Tarter.

    SETI, like other data-heavy endeavors, has benefited from the recent explosion in computing. This has allowed SETI to search for more complex and seemingly noisier signals. SETI’s hardware has also significantly improved, most notably on projects like the Allen Telescope Array, named after funder and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

    Still, Tarter is realistic. Even with the best hardware and software there could be a lot of searching before we get pinged with a message from the stars, if one shows up at all. That’s because for two civilizations to talk they not only need to be close enough in space to discover one another but also close enough in the long history of our galaxy to overlap. But if they do overlap, that raises the possibility that technological civilizations might be sustainable in cosmic time, raising the further possibility that young civilization like ours could one day overcome the ecological and social upheavals our technologies have produced. This, says Tarter, as much as answering the question she first asked walking along that Florida beach is what should feed our collective imaginations.

    “If technologies pop up around the universe frequently, but in very short time they do themselves in or turn themselves off, then you are never going to get two technological civilizations that are coeval. But, if we know someone else has succeeded, that could be the motivation we need to help us find the solution to the problems that we’re facing,” said Tarter.

    See the full article here .

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

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  • richardmitnick 7:10 am on October 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAAS, , , Comet may have struck Earth just 10 million years after dinosaur extinction,   

    From AAAS: “Comet may have struck Earth just 10 million years after dinosaur extinction” 



    Sep. 28, 2016
    Paul Voosen

    A comet may have hit Earth 56 million years ago, leaving behind telltale glassy spheres in sediment cores. James Thew/iStockphoto

    Some 56 million years ago, carbon surged into Earth’s atmosphere, raising temperatures by 5°C to 8°C and causing huge wildlife migrations—a scenario that might mirror the world’s future, thanks to global warming. But what triggered this so-called Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) has remained a mystery.

    Now, in new work presented on 27 September here at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, a group of scientists bolsters its claim that a small comet impact kicked off the PETM, stirring up the carbon just 10 million years after a similar event decimated the dinosaurs. The group announced the discovery of glassy, dark beads, set in eight sediment cores tied to the PETM’s start—spheres that are often associated with extraterrestrial strikes.

    The critical evidence was hardly the result of a targeted campaign, according to Morgan Schaller, a geochemist at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, who presented the team’s work. The spheres were hiding in plain sight—in sediments off the coast of New Jersey.

    For a summer project, Schaller and Megan Fung, his graduate student and co-author, combed through the cores, looking for the fossils of microscopic organisms called foraminifera, often used as a dating tool. But instead of “forams,” they discovered a series of dark, glassy spheres. The spheres looked like microtektites, the debris created and tossed aside when comets or asteroids strike Earth at high speeds. This was a surprise to the team: These sediments had been studied many times before. The spheres may have blended against the background of the black trays that are commonly used to hunt for light-colored forams, as visible as a full moon in the night.

    The team is convinced the glassy spherules weren’t erupted from a volcano—another way they could have been made. Their water content is less than 0.03%, much lower than volcanic spheres, and they contain inclusions of the fused quartz glass that is characteristic of a hot impact. Their chemistry is different from microtektites from other known impacts. But the spheres will still face a high bar before being accepted as the real thing by other geologists.

    Separate work by Fung clinches the case for an impact, the team noted at the geology meeting. Three of the cores she examined had large spikes in charcoal immediately above (and, therefore, just after) the layers with the spheres. The charcoal, which contains signs of charred plants, points to widespread wildfires sparked by the impact, they said. PETM-associated sediments elsewhere in the world bear signs of similar charcoal events.

    The story may appear to be all wrapped up, but the group’s interpretation is misguided, says Jerry Dickens, an oceanographer at Rice University in Houston, Texas, who attended the talks. “They have completely misinterpreted the data and missed the correct, and more cool, story.” Dickens does not doubt that the spheres originated in an impact, or that the charcoal stemmed from forest fires. But both the spheres and charcoal were likely present throughout the PETM-associated clays, not just in small layers at the start. As the PETM got going, and erosion rates sped up in the warming world, sediments rich in carbon and oxygen accrued at faster rates at the New Jersey sites. This abundance of oxygen and carbon would have fueled microbes to degrade the charcoal and spheres, eliminating evidence for them higher up in a way that they couldn’t at the core’s base. This vanished evidence, he said, results “in a strange thing where they imagine a boundary horizon where it looks very important, but it’s not.”

    Others at the session were more convinced. “It is a really amazing discovery,” says Birger Schmitz, a geologist at Lund University in Sweden who also attended the talks. “The data look sound.” He says the evidence points to a small impact event of an asteroid or comet, maybe a body a couple kilometers across. However, similar objects hit Earth without triggering a global disturbance, he notes. “I have no idea of how a small asteroid could have triggered all the things that happened during the PETM.” To spark such a large carbon influx, the strike must have hit an unusual carbon-filled place like an oil reservoir, he says.

    News of the spherules has bounced around the community of PETM researchers for months, says Ellen Thomas, a geologist at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Thomas “absolutely” believes Schaller has found microtektites. But she is perplexed because she has since re-examined several different PETM cores from New Jersey and has not found any spherules; similarly, she has never seen them in global samples. If the team successfully dates the spherules to the start of the PETM, she will consider it real evidence of an impact. “If they have not dated them,” she says, “I think they may well be contamination.” The New Jersey cores were dug with rotary drills, and there’s abundant contamination in the samples, along with many spherules dating to impacts from different eras.

    If accepted, and that’s a big if, the strike could join a list of events associated with the PETM’s carbon injection. Many scientists believe the spike could have come from a chain reaction of events, starting with ocean volcanism cooking organic carbon out of rocks and into the atmosphere. Rising temperatures may have then released seafloor methane or thawed permafrost, driving up temperatures further.

    The scientists are cautious about how a small impact might fit in that chain of climate events—not all extraterrestrial strikes are the same. The PETM strike may have been a world-changing event like the dinosaur killer just 10 million years earlier. Or, it could have been like the object that struck and excavated the Chesapeake Bay 35 million years ago: locally devastating, but globally survivable.

    See the full article here .

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

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  • richardmitnick 2:23 pm on September 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAAS, , , , ,   

    From AAAS: “Scientists Build Giant Petri Dish to Film Bacteria Resistance” 



    8 September 2016
    Meagan Phelan

    Researchers have developed a large plate on which to film bacteria as they mutate in the presence of higher and higher concentrations of antibiotics, providing unprecedented insights into the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance.

    “Our device allows us to systematically map the different ways by which bacteria can become resistant to a range of antibiotics and antibiotic combinations,” said co-author Roy Kishony, a professor in the department of systems biology at Harvard Medical School and a principal investigator at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

    The ultimate goal, Kishony added, is to develop tools “that can predict the evolution of pathogens under different treatments, and better guide treatment choice.”

    “With our plate device, the evolutionary paths that the bacteria follow to achieve antibiotic resistance appear clearly and visually,” said co-author Michael Baym, a postdoctoral fellow in the Kishony Lab at Harvard Medical School, “and will hopefully let us start tailoring our approaches to treating resistance to different evolutionary modes.”

    The 2-by-4 foot petri dish used by the researchers to grow the bacteria contains nine bands at its base that can support varying concentrations of antibiotic. The results are reported in the 9 September issue of Science.

    Antibiotics have been used to treat patients since the 1940s, greatly reducing illness and death. However, these drugs have been used so frequently that the bacteria they are designed to kill have adapted to them in many cases, making the drugs less effective. At least 2 million people become infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and at least 23,000 of these die as a result.

    “We know quite a bit about the internal defense mechanisms bacteria use to evade antibiotics,” Baym said, “but we don’t really know much about their physical movements across space as they adapt to survive in different environments.”

    To better understand how antibiotic resistance evolves in space and time, Baym and his colleagues developed a device called the microbial evolution growth arena plate, or MEGA-plate. The researchers used the antibiotics trimethoprim and ciprofloxacin in the MEGA plate in concentrations from zero to 10,000 times the original dose.

    On the right side of the plate where antibiotic levels were zero, Baym, Kishony, and colleagues grew Escherichia coli bacteria, which appeared white on the inky black background. Over two weeks, a camera mounted on the ceiling above the plate took periodic snapshots of the bacteria mutating.

    In the band with no antibiotic, the bacteria spread up until the point where they could no longer survive as they mingled with the first traces of antibiotic. Then, a small group of bacteria developed genetic mutations that allowed them to persist.

    Researchers traced the branching patterns of bacterial evolution on the MEGA plate. | Katharine Sutliff/ Science

    As these drug-resistant mutants arose, their descendants migrated to areas of higher and higher antibiotic concentration, developing further mutations to compete with other mutants around them. As they continued their journey to the highest antibiotic concentration level, all remaining bacterial mutants had to evolve further still.

    Through this process of cumulative, successive mutations, the researchers could visualize how bacteria that are normally sensitive to antibiotics can evolve resistance to extremely high concentrations — those up to 100,000-fold higher than the one that killed their predecessors — in just over ten days.

    The bacteria were unable to adapt directly from zero antibiotic to the highest concentrations, for both drugs tested, revealing that exposure to intermediate concentrations of antibiotics is essential for the bacteria to evolve resistance.

    Initial mutations at each new band on the plate led to slower growth, hinting that bacteria adjusting to the antibiotic aren’t able to grow at ideal speed while developing mutations. Once fully resistant, however, such bacteria regained normal growth rates.

    “One of our main objectives in the lab is to reveal such evolutionary tradeoffs,” said Kishony, “whereby a bacterium becoming resistant to a drug confers a cost we might be able to exploit. We might potentially use other drugs to enhance such resistance-associated weakness.”

    Intriguingly, the researchers also found that the location of bacterial species played a role in their success in developing resistance. For example, when the researchers moved the trapped mutants — those behind their fast-moving, fit counterparts — to the “frontlines” of the growing bacteria, they were able to grow into new regions where the frontline bacteria could not.

    “What we saw suggests that evolution is not always led by the most resistant mutants,” said Baym. “The strongest mutants are, in fact, often moving behind more vulnerable strains.”

    This overturns the assumption that mutants that survive the highest concentration of a drug drive the fitness of bacterial populations; rather, it is those mutants that are both sufficiently fit and arise sufficiently close to the advancing front that lead the evolutionary road.

    The work of Baym, Kishony, and colleagues was inspired by Hollywood wizardry, the authors say. Kishony saw a digital billboard advertising the 2011 film Contagion, a grim narrative about a deadly viral pandemic. The marketing tool was built using a giant lab dish to show hordes of painted, glowing microbes creeping slowly across a dark backdrop to spell out the title of the movie.

    “This project was fun and joyful throughout,” Kishony said. “Seeing the bacteria spread for the first time was a thrill. Our MEGA-plate takes complex, often obscure, concepts in evolution, such as mutation selection, lineages, parallel evolution and clonal interference, and provides a visual seeing-is-believing demonstration of these otherwise vague ideas. It’s also a powerful illustration of how easy it is for bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.”

    See the full article here .

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

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  • richardmitnick 6:04 pm on July 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAAS, , , , SESAME   

    From Science: “Physics lab aims to bridge political divides in Middle East” 



    Jul. 28, 2016
    Erik Stokstad

    Jordan is on the verge of opening the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East as workers enter homestretch of synchrotron’s construction. CERN.

    An experiment in science diplomacy is on the threshold of success. Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), an $80 million synchrotron lab in Allan, Jordan, announced this week its first call for research that will be conducted on two beamlines expected to switch on this autumn. Research should start in earnest early next year.

    “The news is that it’s working, against the odds,” says Chris Llewellyn Smith, a physicist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and president of the SESAME Council. The project was behind schedule because of political complications—visa restrictions for scientists, for example, and sanctions against Iran, a partner—and a freak snowstorm that collapsed the main building’s roof in 2013. Now, “we are in the final stage,” Eliezer Rabinovici, a theoretical physicist at Hebrew University of Jerusalem said at a 27 July press conference here at the EuroScience Open Forum. “To see dreams become reality, this is a very special moment.”

    A synchrotron is an important tool for many fields, as it creates intense beams of light that are used to probe biological cells or materials. There are about 60 synchrotrons in the world; SESAME is the first in the Middle East. Projects envisioned for the synchrotron include analyzing breast cancer tissue samples, studying Red Sea corals and soil pollution, and probing archaeological remains.

    The initiative was conceived in the 1990s as a partnership among many countries. Germany donated a big-ticket component: the injector that sends particles into the main storage ring. That project has attracted about $30 million in donations from outside the region, supplementing the construction costs financed primarily by Israel, Jordan, and Turkey. Iran has also pledged $5 million, but its contributions have been delayed by sanctions. SESAME’s operating costs are paid for by its member states: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian National Authority, and Turkey.

    Smith says the facility is on track for commissioning in December. Two beamlines will be ready this year—for x-rays and infrared light—and two more will be built by 2019. Gihan Kamel, SESAME’s infrared beam line scientist, says researchers from the Middle East have already begun working at the facility, by hooking up detectors and microscopes to lower-power sources at the facility. Once the synchrotron fires up, the resolution and brightness will increase dramatically.

    In the conflict-riven Middle East, security at SESAME is a worry. “There are severe concerns,” Rabinovici says. The lab is building a guest house for visiting scientists inside its perimeter fence. Rabinovici hopes the physics oasis will help ease regional tensions. “We are offering light at the end of one tunnel.”

    See the full article here .

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

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  • richardmitnick 6:19 am on July 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAAS, , , Spring tides trigger tremors deep on California’s San Andreas fault   

    From Science: “Spring tides trigger tremors deep on California’s San Andreas fault” 



    Jul. 18, 2016
    Eric Hand

    Hundreds of thousands of tremors on the San Andreas fault are triggered by Earth’s tides. Ikluft/Wikimedia

    Things have been pretty quiet lately along the earthquake-prone San Andreas fault, where the grinding of tectonic plates is slowly shearing part of California off of North America. But 20 to 30 kilometers down, there’s a whole lot of shaking going on. Below the town of Parkfield, California, hundreds of thousands of slow microearthquakes called tremors go off routinely where Earth’s brittle crust gets weaker and softer. Now, scientists have shown that these tremors are triggered by the rhythmic pulsing of the tides: not just the twice-daily tides that occur as the moon revolves around Earth, but also the twice-monthly spring tides that occur when the sun and moon align and pull strongly on the planet. The finding gives scientists a new window into a deeper part of the San Andreas fault, and new insight into how stress builds up on small patches of the fault until they snap.

    “We’re finding out something about the loading rate on the faults and how fast this stress is accumulating on these patches,” says Nicholas van der Elst, a seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena, California, and the lead author of the study.

    Stress builds up along the San Andreas fault as the Pacific plate tries to slip past the North American plate at a rate of several centimeters per year. But along most of the fault, the plates get jammed up and remain stuck until they reach a snapping point or are triggered to release the accumulated strain. Scientists have long wondered whether the tides could provide the proverbial straw. The tides not only slosh the oceans back and forth, but they also induce the shell of the solid earth to flex ever so slightly—sometimes in directions that happen to be aligned with faults.

    However, the tidal forces are incredibly weak in comparison with the forces that arise from the tectonic plate motions, and there are only a few confirmed examples of a connection between quakes and tides, mostly from deep faults underneath the edges of the oceans. That’s because in these regions, ocean sloshing forces add to the flexing of the earth, and water can lubricate and weaken faults. In 2002, scientists showed that tides triggered tremors on underwater volcanoes. And in 2004, scientists found that tidally triggered earthquakes could occur on some faults where ocean plates dive under continental plates. But for the most part, scientists have been unable to find a strong connection between tides and quakes on faults like the San Andreas—at least big quakes in the upper crust, says Eliza Richardson, a seismologist at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, who was not involved in the study. “In general there’s not a big, strong signal,” she says. “It’s considered elusive.”

    But as seismometers got more sensitive and were laid down in more places, scientists started to identify tremors in the lower crust. In these deeper regions, faults are weaker, and that means that tides can play a more important role. In 2012, scientists spotted deep tremors on the San Andreas fault below Parkfield that were tidally triggered, at the twice-a-day tidal peaks associated with the lunar day. In the new study, Van der Elst and his team found that bursts of tremors were also triggered during waxing of the twice-monthly spring tides, when the moon is aligned with the sun. Using a catalog of 4 million tremors that occurred between 2008 and 2015, they pinpointed the location and timing of the tremors in relation to the tides, they report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Van der Elst says that the daily tidal peaks seem to trigger the littlest, deepest tremors, whereas the larger spring tide sets off larger patches of slip higher up.

    Richardson says that the study team has identified a transition zone between the upper crust, where big earthquakes go off on the rare occasions when there is slip, and the deep, soft crust, where the fault grinds along more quietly, through the slippage of nearly continuous little tremors. “There’s kind of a gradation,” she says. “These guys have figured out that there’s a class of these [tremors] that are shallower, and they behave differently than the ones that are a little deeper.”

    The tremors can’t predict the next “big one,” but in the long term, they could help scientists understand how big ones are set off. Some major earthquakes, such as the 2011 magnitude-9 Tohoku quake in Japan, are preceded by large “slow-slip events,” in which part of the fault moves quietly, without seismic notice, loading the fault to the point of rupture. Some scientists think that a burst of small tremors could signal a slow-slip event and imply that a big rupture is imminent. “We’re all waiting to see if the tremor pattern changes before or after a big earthquake,” Van der Elst says.

    See the full article here .

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

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  • richardmitnick 6:10 am on July 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAAS, , ,   

    From Science: “Better views of TB lungs may save lives and stop spread” 



    Jul. 19, 2016
    Jon Cohen

    A computed tomography scan of a tuberculosis patient’s lungs. Hanif Esmail

    High-tech images of the lungs of people with “latent” tuberculosis (TB) identified those at risk of developing symptoms. The new work, which researchers presented in a special TB session at the 21st International AIDS Conference being held in Durban, South Africa, this week, suggests new ways to evaluate whether treatment has cured an infection. But it could also upend the conventional wisdom that billions of people are walking around with dormant TB in their lungs that could one day erupt in full-fledged disease.

    “Active” TB kills an estimated 1.5 million people annually, but the World Health Organization (WHO) believes that fully one-third of the world’s population has latent TB, which means that Mycobacterium tuberculosis can’t be cultured from their sputum, but their immune cells still release interferon-gamma if mixed with pieces of the microbe. A skin test called “delayed type hypersensitivity” also is widely used to determine latency. Only about 10% of these people will develop TB at some point in their lives, and one of the big challenges in TB control is that there is no way to tell who is at risk. X-rays of latent patients’ lungs show nothing abnormal. WHO recommendations call for treating HIV-infected people who have latent TB with one drug, isoniazid, as a prophylaxis, but that’s often not done.

    In the new study, scientists used more sophisticated techniques to look at the lungs of 35 HIV-infected people from South Africa who had latent TB, according to the standard tests. One scan used computed tomography (CT), which shows the anatomy of the lung in far greater detail than an x-ray; the other is a positron emission tomography (PET) scan that uses an injection of radioactive glucose, which is taken up by metabolically active cells and indicates the presence of M. tuberculosis.

    Ten people had clear “hot” nodules in their lungs. “We saw pretty magnificent manifestations of disease,” says Clifton Barry, who heads TB research at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, and also has a lab at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. (Barry’s team performed the work with Rob Wilkinson’s group at UCT.) The team saw no hot spots in the lungs of the other 25 patients.

    The researchers planned to put everyone in the study on isoniazid. But in the few weeks between the scans and when treatment began, four of the 10 patients with hot spots or abnormal CT scans developed TB symptoms, and M. tuberculosis showed up in the sputum of two others. In essence, the scans had revealed the people who were about to become sick and had a pressing need for the full-fledged TB treatment—three different drugs taken for 6 months. “The data are really compelling,” says David Russell, a TB researcher at Cornell University. “There’s nothing out there with that resolution.”

    The researchers continued to do lung scans during the treatment period, and they showed the lung abnormalities dissolving, which means they could use the technique to analyze treatment efficacy. “For many of us, this opened a new door of thinking about whether we really need to treat for six months,” says Jens Lundgren, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Copenhagen. “This is really a very exciting area for personalized medicine if we can separate those who can have a shorter period of treatment.” That would be welcome, because the standard regimen is a challenge for many patients.

    Although the TB in these 10 people was far from “latent,” Barry says, he is convinced that many, if not most, of the other 25 people, did not have any TB. He suspects they only had interferon gamma responses to M. tuberculosis because their immune systems had cleared the microbe at some time in the past. “It’s wrong to say that one third of the world has latent TB,” Barry says. “That number makes great starts for scientific papers but it’s totally misleading.”

    Lucica Ditiu, who leads the Stop TB Partnership, a nonprofit in Geneva, Switzerland, agrees that “latent” is not an accurate term. “These data are extremely interesting and something we should push forward,” Ditiu says.

    Unfortunately, CT and PET scans are very expensive, Barry acknowledges, and it would be impractical to screen the more than 2 billion people, most of them in poor countries, who meet the definition of latent TB. But the scans could be very useful in research, he says, for instance in early tests of new TB drugs to see which ones deserve large-scale efficacy studies. Wilkinson also found a possible alternative way to identify people with active infection. He did a so-called transcriptome analysis that compared the immune genes that were turned on in the 10 people who had hot spots and the 25 who did not. Six “biomarkers” surfaced that theoretically might identify those people who are most likely to develop symptomatic disease and transmit the infection. (Other labs recently have identified transcriptional biomarkers, too.)

    Barry notes that on average, each person who has an active M. tuberculosis infection transmits the pathogen to 10 others. “If we can identify people with subclinical disease before they transmit, that’s potentially a game-changer in terms of TB eradication,” he says.

    See the full article here .

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

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