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  • richardmitnick 10:28 am on July 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Quasiparticle camera images superfluid vortices in helium-3", Applied Research & Technology, Physicists in the UK have created a camera that can image the complex tangles of vortices that form inside a helium-3 superfluid., , , The approach could help researchers to better understand the behaviour of quantum fluids.   

    From “physicsworld.com” : “Quasiparticle camera images superfluid vortices in helium-3” 

    From “physicsworld.com”

    On reflection Diagram showing how some particles are blocked by superfluid vortices by the process of Andreev reflection. (Courtesy: MT Noble et al/Phys. Rev. B)

    Physicists in the UK have created a camera that can image the complex tangles of vortices that form inside a helium-3 superfluid. Developed by Theo Noble and colleagues at Lancaster University, the approach could help researchers to better understand the behaviour of quantum fluids.

    When cooled to temperatures just above absolute zero, liquid helium-3 becomes a superfluid, which below a certain critical velocity, can flow without any loss of kinetic energy. The effect arises because at very low temperatures atoms of helium-3 – which are fermions – can form Cooper pairs. These pairs are bosons, which means that helium-3 can become a superfluid.

    Physicists are fascinated by the dynamics of superfluid helium-3 at high flow velocities. Here, thermal fluctuations break Cooper pairs to create quasiparticles that propagate through the superfluid. These structures cannot exist within a certain energy range, which can prevent them from entering certain regions of a superfluid. As quasiparticles approach these regions, they will trap a partner to form a Cooper pair, leaving behind a quasiparticle called a hole, which propagates in the opposite direction – a process called “Andreev reflection”.

    Tangled vortices

    This process can be triggered by the quantized vortices that form around obstacles to the flow of a superfluid. In liquid helium-3, these vortices can exist as a disorderly tangle of strings just tens of nanometres thick and can shift the forbidden range of quasiparticles in the fluid by a certain amount – which varies with distance from the vortex.

    A variety of techniques have been used to probe these structures: including measuring the magnetic fields surrounding helium-3 nuclei and passing sound waves through the fluid. Yet so far, physicists have struggled to image these tangles directly without the use of invasive techniques, such as artificial tracer particles.

    The Lancaster team used a partially closed box within their superfluid to create quasiparticles using a vibrating curved wire. Some of the quasiparticles could move into the rest of the superfluid via a small hole in the box – thus creating a beam of quasiparticles. Upon leaving the box, the beam encounters another vibrating wire that creates a “turbulent tangle” of vortices. Quasiparticles that pass through the tangle are then detected using a 5×5 array of quartz tuning fork resonators.

    New discoveries

    This allowed the team to produce a series of pixelated images revealing the shadows of vortices, where the quasiparticle beam had been blocked by Andreev reflection. Using this method, the team has already made new discoveries about the properties of superfluid helium-3. For example, they observed many more vortices appeared on the inner edge of the curved wire than its outer edge, despite flow velocities being roughly the same on each side.

    The team intends to study these effects in more detail through further improvements to the set-up: including larger pixel arrays, and higher operation speeds to enable video recordings. If achieved, these improvements could allow researchers to mimic a wide variety of complex, large-scale flow patterns in quantum fluids: including sudden accelerations in the rotations of neutron stars; and the break-up of Cooper pairs by incoming cosmic rays, or even by as-yet undiscovered dark matter particles.

    The research is described in Physical Review B.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    http://www.stemedcoalition.org/”>Stem Education Coalition

    physicsworld is a publication of the Institute of Physics. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

    We engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.

  • richardmitnick 10:01 am on July 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Flexible organic LED produces ‘romantic’ candle-like light", Applied Research & Technology, , ,   

    From “physicsworld.com” : “Flexible organic LED produces ‘romantic’ candle-like light” 

    From “physicsworld.com”

    29 Jun 2022
    Isabelle Dumé

    A bendable organic LED with a natural mica backing releases a strong, candlelight-like glow. (Courtesy: Andy Chen and Ambrose Chen)

    A new bendable organic light-emitting diode (OLED) that produces warm, candle-like light with hardly any emissions at blue wavelengths might find a place in flexible lighting and smart displays that can be used at night without disrupting the body’s biological clock. The device, which is an improved version of one developed recently by a team of researchers from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, is made from a light-emitting layer on a mica substrate that is completely free of plastic.

    Jwo-Huei Jou and Ying-Hao Chu of the National Tsing Hua University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and colleagues recently patented OLEDS that produce warm, white light. However, these earlier devices still emit some unwanted blue light, which decreases the production of the “sleep hormone” melatonin and can therefore disrupt sleeping patterns. A further issue is that these OLEDs were made of solid materials and were therefore not flexible.

    Mica, a natural layered mineral

    One way to make OLEDs flexible is to paste them onto a plastic backing, but most plastics cannot be bent repeatedly – a prerequisite for real-world flexible applications. Jou, Chu and colleagues therefore decided to investigate backings made from mica, a natural layered mineral that can be cleaved into bendable, transparent sheets.

    The researchers began by depositing a clear indium tin oxide (ITO) film onto a mica sheet as the LED’s anode. They then mixed a luminescent material, N,N’-dicarbazole-1,1’-biphenyl, with red and yellow phosphorescent dyes to fabricate the device’s light-emitting layer. Next, they sandwiched this layer between electrically conductive solutions with the anode on one side and an aluminium layer in the other to create a flexible OLED.

    Tests showed that when coated with a transparent conductor, the mica substrate is robust to bending curvatures of 1/5 mm^-1 – a record high – and 50 000 bending cycles at a 7.5 mm bending radius. The OLED is also highly resistant to moisture and oxygen and has a lifetime that is 83% of similar devices on glass.

    “Romantic” light

    The new device emits bright, warm light upon the application of a constant current. This light contains even less blue-wavelength light than natural candlelight, Jou and Chu report, meaning that the exposure limit for humans is 47 000 seconds compared to just 320 s for a cold-white counterpart, according to the team’s calculations. This means that a person exposed to the OLED for 1.5 hours would see their melatonin production suppressed by about 1.6%, compared to 29% for a cold-white compact fluorescent lamp over the same period.

    “We have fabricated an OLED emitting a psychologically-warm but physically-cool, scorching-free romantic candle-like light on a bendable mica substrate using our patented candlelight OLED technology,” Jou tells Physics World. “This technology could provide designers and artists with more freedom in designing variable lighting systems that fit into different spaces, thanks to their flexibility.”

    The researchers now hope to make their OLEDs completely transparent. “When lit, these candlelight OLEDs could then be seen from both sides,” Chu says.

    The present work is detailed in ACS Applied Electronic Materials.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    http://www.stemedcoalition.org/”>Stem Education Coalition

    physicsworld is a publication of the Institute of Physics. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

    We engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.

  • richardmitnick 8:43 am on July 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The current state of Citizen Science", Applied Research & Technology, , Citizen-or community-Science continues to grow and engage nonscientists in scientific research., It’s safe to say many projects would not function without community volunteers.   

    From “COSMOS (AU)” : “The current state of Citizen Science” 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    From “COSMOS (AU)”

    3 July 2022
    Qamariya Nasrullah

    The ups and downs of volunteer-based research.

    Credit: zorandimzr / Getty.

    Citizen-or community-Science continues to grow and engage nonscientists in scientific research. Depending on who you ask, citizen science can be anything from planting trees, counting birds or analyzing data, all the way through to formulating and executing a science project in its entirety.

    While it’s impossible to put a dollar value on citizen science, it’s safe to say many projects would not function without community volunteers. For example, 17% of research publication on the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and 50% of studies on migratory birds and climate change have utilized citizen science efforts.

    CSIRO’s own Radio Galaxy Zoo involved over 12,000 volunteers who analysed radio sky images, and made over 2.29 million classifications – equivalent to 122 years of full-time work if done by a single astronomer.

    Radio Galaxy Zoo

    Radio Galaxy Zoo joined Zooniverse in December 2013, asking citizen scientists to analyse radio sky images from the Very Large Array in New Mexico, CSIRO’s Australia Telescope Compact Array, and infrared images from NASA’s Spitzer and WISE Space Telescopes which maps the stars in galaxies.

    The main idea was to ask citizen scientists to match the radio plasma (radio images) with the galaxy (seen in infrared) that they thought the plasma is originating from. The radio plasma typically come from the process of star formation or the result of supermassive black hole growth within galaxies.

    Despite the use of volunteers for science research, little investigation has been done on the bigger picture. Is citizen science data usable? In which areas do we need to improve to make citizen science sustainable?

    Is Citizen Science accessible for everyone?

    New research published in BioScience has found that of the 3894 participants surveyed, 77% of them were involved in multiple Citizen Science projects. Some volunteers were even “super-users”, taking part in as many as 50 projects. This suggests that Citizen Science is primarily being carried out by a small pool of already interested volunteers.

    Participants were also five times more likely to have an advanced degree than the general population, and six to seven times more likely to already be working in STEM fields. Less than 5% of the volunteers who answered questions about their cultural background identified as Black, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Native American, or Latin American.

    “Participation in Citizen Science isn’t reaching as far into different segments of the public as we had hoped for in the field,” says study co-author Associate Professor Caren Cooper, from North Carolina State University. “We’re seeing that most volunteers are mostly highly educated white people, with a high percentage of STEM professionals. We’re not even reaching other types of professionals. This is part of the wake-up call that’s underway in the field right now.”

    “Through these projects, volunteers can learn about science, but also about their own communities,” says lead author Bradley Allf, also from NC State. “If those benefits are being concentrated in people who already have a lot of access to power in society, and to science generally, then Citizen Science is doing a disservice to the underserved.”

    A potential way to get more of the community engaged in Citizen Science may be through school-based programs. Dr Erinn Fagan-Jeffries of the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide has been leading a program called Insect Investigators, which has seen students and teachers across 50 regional schools in South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia set up and run insect traps. The insects are then collected and sent back to entomologists for identification and DNA barcoding. The students even get to help come up with scientific names if any new species are discovered.

    “The response has been really positive so far,” says Fagan-Jeffries. “We’ve had really good success rates in terms of completing the trapping and sending back the samples to us. We’ve also had quite a bit of engagement through a discussion board online with quite a lot of schools posting photos and comments.”

    The Flinders University Palaeontology Laboratory has always been a hub for a diverse range of science-trained and community volunteers. A few years ago, the FU Palaeo laboratory introduced the James Moore Memorial Prize, with the aim of providing rural high school students with the opportunity to participate in a paleontology excavation and assist with laboratory research. It’s already showing signs of increasing accessibility of science to more remote communities.

    “I’m already seeing names popping up in degree enrollments from previous James Moore Prize applicants from over the past few years,” says Professor Gavin Prideaux, one of the leaders at the FU Palaeo lab. The program has now expanded to fund one rural and one metro school student per year.

    Another way to make Citizen Science more accessible is through technology. Over 7.26 billion (91.54%) of the world’s population has a smart phone.

    The iNaturalist app, a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic Society, has more than 2.5 million current users around the world, at all age and education levels. Last year over 29 million observations were made by citizen scientists, which resulted in over 39 million identifications confirmed by trained scientists. The peak month for observations in Australia is October, when the annual Great Southern BioBlitz survey happens.

    The recently released machine-learning-powered app BirdNET gives users free bird sound identification. The app includes more than 3,000 species; it supports 13 languages, with species names translated into an additional 12 languages. In the past three years of its trial phase, more than 2 million users from over 100 countries have generated over 40 million submissions. Some of the scientific results based on data collected by the BirdNET app have been published in PLOS Biology.

    “The most exciting part of this work is how simple it is for people to participate in bird research and conservation,” says lead author Dr Connor Wood, from Cornell University. “You don’t need to know anything about birds, you just need a smartphone, and the BirdNET app can then provide both you and the research team with a prediction for what bird you’ve heard. This has led to tremendous participation worldwide, which translates to an incredible wealth of data. It’s really a testament to an enthusiasm for birds that unites people from all walks of life.”

    Is citizen science data usable?

    The easy answer is yes. In general, citizen scientists do a great job. The main variables are the complexity of the task, and the level of training they receive.

    A new study utilized Citizen Science in a project at Chicago’s Field Museum, in the US. In order to better understand the impacts of climate change on the liverwort, a type of tiny plant, guests were asked to draw fine lines on photographs of microscopic lobes (a type of primitive leaf) to measure how lobe size has changed across different regions and through time. After two years, a total of 11,000 participants generated almost 100,000 measurements.

    “It was surprising how all age groups from young children, families, youth, and adults were able to generate high-quality taxonomic data sets, making observations and preparing measurements, and at the same time empowering community scientists through authentic contributions to science,” says Dr Matt von Konrat, Head of Botanical Collections at the museum, and co-author of research published in Research Ideas and Outcomes.

    However, not all citizen scientist projects are easily done. For the FU Palaeo lab, due to the delicate and complicated nature of fossils, volunteers need adequate training if they’re to produce usable data.

    “It’s a cost-benefit situation,” says Prideaux. “For researchers who are time poor, who would like to have volunteers, it’s a huge investment in both time and resources to properly train them.”

    One strategy to fix this is getting university students involved and to use them as volunteers, for instance Bachelor of Science (Palaeontology) students who are already being instructed in paleontological techniques from day 1 of their degree.

    Flinders University – Palaeontology Clean Labs.

    “In an ideal world, I would have sufficient funding to train and supervise a team of volunteers,” says Prideaux. “Although it’s unfortunate not to be able to include the broader community, at the moment it’s most feasible to prioritise an investment in these students.”

    “I think comes down to the design of the project and set up to make things easy to follow, says Fagan-Jeffries. “Are you providing training to your participants or volunteers so that they have the skills to be able to do it well? And accurately?”

    Science for all citizens

    Perhaps the greatest benefit of Citizen Science is the opportunity it provides for everyone to have a level of scientific literacy that will help them throughout their life.

    “Not all people are going to become scientists, because that’s not a job for everyone,” says Fagan-Jeffries. “What we need is a society where people who are in all different careers have an appreciation for science and an understanding of why it’s important and how it’s done.

    “An understanding of science allows you to make more informed decisions when you’re looking into policies or voting for governments, or even just reading the back of a skincare product, just that general awareness of the scientific process and critical thinking.”

    Citizen Science: Everybody Counts | Caren Cooper | TEDxGreensboro.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 8:05 am on July 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Keeping the Energy in The Room", "MKIDs": Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors, A Cooper pair is able to move about without resistance., A thin layer of the metal indium-placed between the superconducting sensor and the substrate-drastically reduced the energy leaking out of the sensor., An MKID Exoplanet Camera can detect even faint signals., An MKID uses a superconductor in which electricity can flow with no resistance., Applied Research & Technology, , CMOS sensors are semiconductors based on silicon., , In a superconductor all the electrons are paired up., In a superconductor two electrons will pair up-one spin up and one spin down-in a Cooper pair., , Right now scientists can only do spectroscopy for a tiny subset of exoplanets-those where the planet passes between its star and Earth., Scientists can use spectroscopy to identify the composition of objects both nearby and across the entire visible universe., Sensor Technology, , The gap energy in a superconductor is about 10000 times less than in semiconductors based on silicon., The indium essentially acted like a fence., The photo-electric effect CMOS sensor: a photon strikes the sensor knocking off an electron that can then be detected as a signal suitable for processing by a microprocessor., The scientists chose indium because it is also a superconductor at the temperatures at which the MKID will operate and adjacent superconductors tend to cooperate if they are thin., The technique cut down the wavelength measurement uncertainty from 10% to 5%., The University of California-Santa Barbara, This will all soon be possible with the capabilities of the next generation of 30-meter telescopes., With better MKIDs scientists can use light reflected off the surface of a planet rather than transmitted through its narrow atmosphere alone.   

    From The University of California-Santa Barbara: “Keeping the Energy in The Room” 

    UC Santa Barbara Name bloc

    From The University of California-Santa Barbara

    July 1, 2022

    Harrison Tasoff
    (805) 893-7220

    Professor Ben Mazin talks superconductors, exoplanets and dance clubs as he explains advances in sensor technology.

    The sensor mounted for use in an MKID Exoplanet Camera. Photo Credit: Ben Mazin.

    It may seem like technology advances year after year, as if by magic. But behind every incremental improvement and breakthrough revolution is a team of scientists and engineers hard at work.

    UC Santa Barbara Professor Ben Mazin is developing precision optical sensors for telescopes and observatories. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, he and his team improved the spectra resolution of their superconducting sensor, a major step in their ultimate goal: analyzing the composition of exoplanets.

    “We were able to roughly double the spectral resolving power of our detectors,” said first author Nicholas Zobrist, a doctoral student in the Mazin Lab.

    “This is the largest energy resolution increase we’ve ever seen,” added Mazin. “It opens up a whole new pathway to science goals that we couldn’t achieve before.”

    The Mazin lab works with a type of sensor called an MKID. Most light detectors — like the CMOS sensor in a phone camera — are semiconductors based on silicon. These operate via the photo-electric effect: a photon strikes the sensor knocking off an electron that can then be detected as a signal suitable for processing by a microprocessor.

    An MKID uses a superconductor in which electricity can flow with no resistance. In addition to zero resistance, these materials have other useful properties. For instance, semiconductors have a gap energy that needs to be overcome to knock the electron out. The related gap energy in a superconductor is about 10,000 times less, so it can detect even faint signals.

    What’s more, a single photon can knock many electrons off of a superconductor, as opposed to only one in a semiconductor. By measuring the number of mobile electrons, an MKID can actually determine the energy (or wavelength) of the incoming light. “And the energy of the photon, or its spectra, tells us a lot about the physics of what emitted that photon,” Mazin said.

    Leaking energy

    The researchers had hit a limit as to how sensitive they could make these MKIDs. After much scrutiny, they discovered that energy was leaking from the superconductor into the sapphire crystal wafer that the device is made on. As a result, the signal appeared weaker than it truly was.

    In typical electronics, current is carried by mobile electrons. But these have a tendency to interact with their surroundings, scattering and losing energy in what’s known as resistance. In a superconductor two electrons will pair up — one spin up and one spin down — and this Cooper pair, as it’s called, is able to move about without resistance.

    “It’s like a couple at a club,” Mazin explained. “You’ve got two people who pair up, and then they can move together through the crowd without any resistance. Whereas a single person stops to talk to everybody along the way, slowing them down.”

    In a superconductor, all the electrons are paired up. “They’re all dancing together, moving around without interacting with other couples very much because they’re all gazing deeply into each other’s eyes.

    “A photon hitting the sensor is like someone coming in and spilling a drink on one of the partners,” he continued. “This breaks the couple up, causing one partner to stumble into other couples and create a disturbance.” This is the cascade of mobile electrons that the MKID measures.

    But sometimes this happens at the edge of the dancefloor. The offended party stumbles out of the club without knocking into anyone else. Great for the rest of the dancers, but not for the scientists. If this happens in the MKID, then the light signal will seem weaker than it actually was.

    Fencing them in

    Mazin, Zobrist and their co-authors discovered that a thin layer of the metal indium — placed between the superconducting sensor and the substrate — drastically reduced the energy leaking out of the sensor. The indium essentially acted like a fence around the dancefloor, keeping the jostled dancers in the room and interacting with the rest of the crowd.

    They chose indium because it is also a superconductor at the temperatures at which the MKID will operate, and adjacent superconductors tend to cooperate if they are thin. The metal did present a challenge to the team, though. Indium is softer than lead, so it has a tendency to clump up. That’s not great for making the thin, uniform layer the researchers needed.

    But their time and effort paid off. The technique cut down the wavelength measurement uncertainty from 10% to 5%, the study reports. For example, photons with a wavelength of 1,000 nanometers can now be measured to a precision of 50 nm with this system. “This has real implications for the science we can do,” Mazin said, “because we can better resolve the spectra of the objects that we’re looking at.”

    Different phenomena emit photons with specific spectra (or wavelengths), and different molecules absorb photons of different wavelengths. Using this light, scientists can use spectroscopy to identify the composition of objects both nearby and across the entire visible universe.

    Mazin is particularly interested in applying these detectors to exoplanet science. Right now scientists can only do spectroscopy for a tiny subset of exoplanets. The planet needs to pass between its star and Earth, and it must have a thick atmosphere so that enough light passes through it for researchers to work with. Still, the signal to noise ratio is abysmal, especially for rocky planets, Mazin said.

    With better MKIDs scientists can use light reflected off the surface of a planet rather than transmitted through its narrow atmosphere alone. This will soon be possible with the capabilities of the next generation of 30-meter telescopes.

    The Mazin group is also experimenting with a completely different approach to the energy-loss issue. Although the results from this paper are impressive, Mazin said he believes the indium technique could be obsolete if his team is successful with this new endeavor. Either way, he added, the scientists are rapidly closing in on their goals.

    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 is a public land-grant research university in Santa Barbara, California, and one of the ten campuses of the University of California system. Tracing its roots back to 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, The University of California-Santa Barbara 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, The University of California-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 The University of California-Santa Barbara a “Public Ivy”.

    The University of California-Santa Barbara is a research university with 10 national research centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Center for Control, Dynamical-Systems and Computation. Current University of California-Santa Barbara 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. The University of California-Santa Barbara 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 University of California-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.


    The University of California-Santa Barbara 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 of the West”, at Santa Barbara. Chronologically, The University of California-Santa Barbara is the third general-education campus of the University of California, after The University of California-Berkeley and The University of California-Los Angeles (the only other state campus to have been acquired by the University of California 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 The University of California-Santa Barbara 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 The University of California-Santa Barbara 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. The University of California-Santa Barbara ‘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 The University of California-Santa Barbara 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 The University of California-Santa Barbara. The murderer was a former Santa Barbara City College student who lived in Isla Vista.

    Research activity

    According to the National Science Foundation, The University of California-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, California Institute of Technology, and Princeton University) according to Thomson Reuters.

    The University of California-Santa Barbara 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 The University of California-Santa Barbara 48th worldwide for 2016–17, while the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in 2016 ranked https://www.nsf.gov/ 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 University of California-Santa Barbara 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, The University of California-Santa Barbara was ranked first in each measure of a study by the National Research Council of the NAS.

    The Centre for Science and Technologies Studies at

  • richardmitnick 12:28 pm on July 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "When autism spectrum disorder occurs with intellectual disability a convergent mechanism for two top-ranking risk genes may be the cause", A significant proportion — approximately 31% — of people with ASD also exhibit ID., Applied Research & Technology, , , , , Microglia are very sensitive to pathological changes in the central nervous system and are the main form of active immune defense to maintain brain health., Preclinical study reveals that immune cells in the brain could be possible new drug targets for ASD and intellectual disability., The paper focuses on ADNP and POGZ-the two top-ranked risk factor genes for ASD/ID., The researchers are hopeful that future research will determine whether chronic neuroinflammation in which targeting microglia or inflammatory signaling pathways could prove to be a useful treatment., The University at Buffalo-SUNY, two top-ranked genetic risk factors for autism spectrum disorder/intellectual disability (ASD/ID) lead to these neurodevelopmental disorders.   

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY: “When autism spectrum disorder occurs with intellectual disability a convergent mechanism for two top-ranking risk genes may be the cause” 

    SUNY Buffalo

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY

    June 30, 2022
    Ellen Goldbaum

    “When designing clinical trials to evaluate treatment effectiveness, I think our research underscores the importance of considering the genetic factors involved in an individual’s ASD/ID,” said Conrow-Graham. The paper published in Brain is the culmination of her PhD work in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. (Photo: Sandra Kicman)

    Preclinical study reveals that immune cells in the brain could be possible new drug targets for ASD and intellectual disability.

    University at Buffalo scientists have discovered a convergent mechanism that may be responsible for how two top-ranked genetic risk factors for autism spectrum disorder/intellectual disability (ASD/ID) lead to these neurodevelopmental disorders.

    While ASD is distinct from ID, a significant proportion — approximately 31% — of people with ASD also exhibit ID. Neither condition is well-understood at the molecular level.

    “Given the vast number of genes known to be involved in ASD/ID and the many potential mechanisms contributing to the disorders, it is exciting to find a shared process between two different genes at the molecular level that could be underlying the behavioral changes,” said Megan Conrow-Graham, first author and an MD/PhD candidate in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.

    Published today in the journal Brain, the paper focuses on ADNP and POGZ, the two top-ranked risk factor genes for ASD/ID. The research demonstrates that mutations in these genes result in abnormal activation and overexpression of immune response genes and genes for a type of immune cell in the brain called microglia.

    “Our finding opens the possibility of targeting microglia and immune genes for treating ASD/ID, but much remains to be studied, given the heterogeneity and complexity of these brain disorders,” said Zhen Yan, PhD, senior author and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the Jacobs School.

    The UB scientists found that mutations in the two genes studied activate microglia and cause immune genes in the brain to be overexpressed. The hypothesized result is the abnormal function of synapses in the brain, a characteristic of ASD/ID.

    The research involved studies on postmortem brain tissue from humans with ASD/ID, as well as studies on mice in which ADNP and POGZ were silenced through viral delivery of small interference RNA. These mice exhibited impaired cognitive task performance, such as spatial memory, object recognition memory and long-term memory.

    Weakening a repressive function

    “Under normal conditions, cells in the central nervous system should not express large quantities of genes that activate the immune system,” said Conrow-Graham. “ADNP and POGZ both work to repress these genes so that inflammatory pathways are not continuously activated, which could damage surrounding cells. When that repression is weakened, these immune and inflammatory genes are then able to be expressed in large quantities.”

    The upregulated genes in the mouse prefrontal cortex caused by the deficiencies in ADNP or POGZ activated the pro-inflammatory response.

    “This is consistent with what we see in upregulated genes in the prefrontal cortex of humans with ASD/ID,” said Conrow-Graham. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for executive function, such as cognition and emotional control.

    The mutated genes also activate the glial cells in the brain called microglia, which serve as support cells for neurons and have an immune function in the brain; they comprise 10-15% of all brain cells.

    Sensitive microglia

    “Microglia are very sensitive to pathological changes in the central nervous system and are the main form of active immune defense to maintain brain health,” explained Yan. “Aberrant activation of microglia, which we demonstrate occurs as a result of deficiency in ADNP or POGZ, could lead to the damage and loss of synapses and neurons.”

    The researchers are hopeful that future research will determine whether chronic neuroinflammation could be directly contributing to at least some cases of ASD/ID, in which targeting microglia or inflammatory signaling pathways could prove to be a useful treatment.

    The researchers pointed out that the clinical presentation of both ASD and ID is incredibly varied. Significant variation also likely is present in the kinds of mechanisms responsible for the symptoms of ASD and/or ID.

    “We found that changes in two risk genes lead to a convergent mechanism, likely involving immune activation,” said Conrow-Graham. “However, this probably isn’t the case for all individuals with ASD/ID. When designing clinical trials to evaluate treatment effectiveness, I think our research underscores the importance of considering the genetic factors involved in an individual’s ASD/ID.”

    The research is the culmination of Conrow-Graham’s PhD work; she has now returned to complete the last two years of the MD degree in the Jacobs School. She described her experience pursuing both an MD and a PhD as extremely complementary.

    The immune system has a role

    “My training at each level was super helpful to supplement the other,” she said. “When I began my PhD, I had completed two years of MD training, so I was familiar with the basics of physiology, anatomy and pathology. Because of this, I was able to bring a broader perspective to my neuroscience research, identifying how the immune system might be playing a role. Prior to this, our lab had not really investigated immunology-related pathways, so having that background insight was really beneficial.”

    She added that she learned so much from all of her colleagues in Yan’s lab, including faculty members, lab technicians and other students. “I learned so many technical skills that I had never used before joining the lab, thanks to the dedication of lab co-workers for my training,” she said.

    Her experience at the lab bench working on the basic science underlying neuropsychiatric disorders will definitely influence her work as a clinician.

    “I plan to pursue a career as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, so I may be able to work directly with this patient population,” she said. “We’re learning now that better care may be able to be provided by taking a personalized medicine approach, taking into account genetics, psychosocial factors and others. Being able to take a very deep dive into the field of psychiatric genetics was a privilege that I hope will help me to provide the best care for patients.”

    The research was funded by the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation and by a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual Predoctoral NRSA for MD/PhD F30 fellowship for Conrow-Graham.

    In addition to Conrow-Graham and Yan, co-authors are Jamal B. Williams, PhD, former graduate student; Jennifer Martin, PhD, former postdoctoral fellow; Ping Zhong, PhD, senior research scientist; Qing Cao, PhD, postdoctoral fellow; and Benjamin Rein, PhD, former graduate student.

    All are current or former members of Yan’s lab.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SUNY Buffalo Campus

    The University at Buffalo-SUNY is a public research university with campuses in Buffalo and Amherst, New York, United States. The university was founded in 1846 as a private medical college and merged with the State University of New York system in 1962. It is one of four university centers in the system, in addition to The University at Albany-SUNY, The University at Binghampton-SUNY, and The University at Stony Brook-SUNY . As of fall 2020, the university enrolls 32,347 students in 13 colleges, making it the largest public university in the state of New York.

    Since its founding by a group which included future United States President Millard Fillmore, the university has evolved from a small medical school to a large research university. Today, in addition to the College of Arts and Sciences, the university houses the largest state-operated medical school, dental school, education school, business school, engineering school, and pharmacy school, and is also home to SUNY’s only law school. The University at Binghampton has the largest enrollment, largest endowment, and most research funding among the universities in the SUNY system. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in over 100 areas of study, as well as 205 master’s degrees, 84 doctoral degrees, and 10 professional degrees. The University at Buffalo and The University of Virginia are the only colleges founded by United States Presidents.

    The University at Buffalo is classified as an R1 University, meaning that it engages in a very high level of research activity. In 1989, UB was elected to The Association of American Universities, a selective group of major research universities in North America. University at Buffalo’s alumni and faculty have included five Nobel laureates, five Pulitzer Prize winners, one head of government, two astronauts, three billionaires, one Academy Award winner, one Emmy Award winner, and Fulbright Scholars.

    The University at Buffalo intercollegiate athletic teams are the Bulls. They compete in Division I of the NCAA, and are members of the Mid-American Conference.

    The University at Buffalo is organized into 13 academic schools and colleges.

    The School of Architecture and Planning is the only combined architecture and urban planning school in the State University of New York system, offers the only accredited professional master’s degree in architecture, and is one of two SUNY schools that offer an accredited professional master’s degree in urban planning. In addition, the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning also awards the original undergraduate four year pre-professional degrees in architecture and environmental design in the SUNY system. Other degree programs offered by the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning include a research-oriented Master of Science in architecture with specializations in historic preservation/urban design, inclusive design, and computing and media technologies; a PhD in urban and regional planning; and, an advanced graduate certificate in historic preservation.

    The College of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1915 and is the largest and most comprehensive academic unit at University at Buffalo with 29 degree-granting departments, 16 academic programs, and 23 centers and institutes across the humanities, arts, and sciences.

    The School of Dental Medicine was founded in 1892 and offers accredited programs in DDS, oral surgery, and other oral sciences.

    The Graduate School of Education was founded in 1931 and is one of the largest graduate schools at University at Buffalo. The school has four academic departments: counseling and educational psychology, educational leadership and policy, learning and instruction, and library and information science. In academic year 2008–2009, the Graduate School of Education awarded 472 master’s degrees and 52 doctoral degrees.

    The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was founded in 1946 and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in six departments. It is the largest public school of engineering in the state of New York. University at Buffalo is the only public school in New York State to offer a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

    The School of Law was founded in 1887 and is the only law school in the SUNY system. The school awarded 265 JD degrees in the 2009–2010 academic year.

    The School of Management was founded in 1923 and offers AACSB-accredited undergraduate, MBA, and doctoral degrees.

    The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is the founding faculty of the University at Buffalo and began in 1846. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the biomedical and biotechnical sciences as well as an MD program and residencies.

    The School of Nursing was founded in 1936 and offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in nursing practice and patient care.

    The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences was founded in 1886, making it the second-oldest faculty at University at Buffalo and one of only two pharmacy schools in the SUNY system.

    The School of Public Health and Health Professions was founded in 2003 from the merger of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and the University at Buffalo School of Health Related Professions. The school offers a bachelor’s degree in exercise science as well as professional, master’s and PhD degrees.

    The School of Social Work offers graduate MSW and doctoral degrees in social work.

    The Roswell Park Graduate Division is an affiliated academic unit within the Graduate School of UB, in partnership with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, an independent NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Roswell Park Graduate Division offers five PhD programs and two MS programs in basic and translational biomedical research related to cancer. Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center was founded in 1898 by Dr. Roswell Park and was the world’s first cancer research institute.

    The University at Buffalo houses two New York State Centers of Excellence (out of the total 11): Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS) and Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI). Emphasis has been placed on developing a community of research scientists centered around an economic initiative to promote Buffalo and create the Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics and Life Sciences as well as other advanced biomedical and engineering disciplines.

    Total research expenditures for the fiscal year of 2017 were $401 million, ranking 59th nationally.

    SUNY’s administrative offices are in Albany, the state’s capital, with satellite offices in Manhattan and Washington, D.C.

    With 25,000 acres of land, SUNY’s largest campus is The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, which neighbors the State University of New York Upstate Medical University – the largest employer in the SUNY system with over 10,959 employees. While the SUNY system doesn’t officially recognize a flagship university, the University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University are sometimes treated as unofficial flagships.

    The State University of New York was established in 1948 by Governor Thomas E. Dewey, through legislative implementation of recommendations made by the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University (1946–1948). The commission was chaired by Owen D. Young, who was at the time Chairman of General Electric. The system was greatly expanded during the administration of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who took a personal interest in design and construction of new SUNY facilities across the state.

    Apart from units of the unrelated City University of New York (CUNY), SUNY comprises all state-supported institutions of higher education.

  • richardmitnick 11:58 am on July 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "US and Czech Scientists Collaborate To Explore Gamma-Ray Production With High Power Lasers", Applied Research & Technology, , , , , , , , The L3-HAPLS laser system installed at the ELI Beamlines Research Center in Dolní Břežany Czech Republic.,   

    From The University of California-San Diego: “US and Czech Scientists Collaborate To Explore Gamma-Ray Production With High Power Lasers” 

    From The University of California-San Diego

    July 01, 2022
    Daniel Kane

    The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Czech Science Foundation (GACR) are funding a new collaborative project of scientists from the University of California San Diego in the U.S. and ELI Beamlines (Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences) in the Czech Republic which aims to leverage the capabilities of the ELI Beamlines multi-petawatt laser facility.

    Researchers hope these experiments can achieve a breakthrough by demonstrating efficient generation of dense gamma-ray beams.

    Stellar objects like pulsars can create matter and antimatter directly from light because of their extreme energies. In fact, the magnetic field, or “magnetosphere,” of a pulsar is filled with electrons and positrons that are created by colliding photons.

    Reproducing the same phenomena in a laboratory on Earth is extremely challenging. It requires a dense cloud of photons with energies that are millions of times higher than visible light, an achievement that has so far eluded the scientists working in this field. However, theories suggest that high-power lasers ought to be able to produce such a photon cloud.

    As the first international laser research infrastructure dedicated to the application of high-power and high-intensity lasers, the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI ERIC) facilities will enable such research possibilities. The ELI ERIC is a multi-site research infrastructure based on specialized and complementary facilities ELI Beamlines (Czech Republic) and ELI ALPS (Hungary). The new capabilities at ELI will create the necessary conditions to test the theories in a laboratory.

    Super computer simulation of energetic gamma-ray emission (yellow arrows) by a dense plasma (green) irradiated by a high-intensity laser beam (red and blue). The laser propagates from left to right, with the emitted photons flying in the same direction. The smooth blue and red regions represent a strong magnetic field generated by the plasma, whereas the oscillation region corresponds to the laser magnetic field.

    This project combines theoretical expertise from the University of California San Diego (U.S.), experimental expertise from ELI Beamlines, as well as target fabrication and engineering expertise from General Atomics (U.S.). The roughly $1,000,000 project, jointly funded by NSF and GACR, will be led by Prof. Alexey Arefiev at UC San Diego. Target development for rep-rated deployment will take place at General Atomics, led by Dr. Mario Manuel, while the primary experiments will be conducted at ELI Beamlines by a team led by Dr. Florian Condamine and Dr. Stefan Weber.

    The concept for the project was developed by Arefiev’s research group at UC San Diego, which specializes in supercomputer simulations of intense light-matter interactions. The approach for this project leverages an effect that occurs when electrons in a plasma are accelerated to near light speeds by a high-powered laser. This effect is called “relativistic transparency” because it causes a previously opaque dense plasma to become transparent to laser light.

    In this regime, extremely strong magnetic fields are generated as the laser propagates through the plasma. During this process, the relativistic electrons oscillate in the magnetic field, which in turn causes the emission of gamma-rays, predominantly in the direction of the laser.

    “It is very exciting that we are in a position to generate the sort of magnetic fields that previously only existed in extreme astrophysical objects, such as neutron stars,” says Arefiev. “The ability of the ELI Beamlines lasers to reach very high on-target intensity is the key to achieving this regime.”

    These experiments will provide the first statistically relevant study of gamma-ray generation using high-powered lasers. Researchers hope the work will open the way for secondary high-energy photon sources that can be used not only for fundamental physics studies, but also for a range of important industrial applications such as material science, nuclear waste imaging, nuclear fuel assay, security, high-resolution deep-penetration radiography, etc. Such “extreme imaging” requires robust, reproducible, and well-controlled gamma-ray sources. The present proposal aims exactly at the development of such unprecedented sources.

    The experiments will be greatly assisted by another technological advance. Until recently, high-power laser facilities could execute about one shot every hour, which limited the amount of data that could be collected. However, new facilities like ELI Beamlines are capable of multiple shots per second. These capabilities allow for statistical studies of laser-target interactions in ways that were impossible only a few years ago. That means a shift in the way such experiments are designed and executed is necessary to take full advantage of the possibilities.

    “The P3 installation at ELI Beamlines is a unique and versatile experimental infrastructure for sophisticated high-field experiments and perfectly adapted to the planned program,” comments Condamine. Weber notes, “This collaboration between San Diego and ELI Beamlines is expected to be a major step forward to bring together the US community and the ELI-team for joint experiments.”

    Thus, a major part of this project is training the next generation of scientists at ELI Beamlines to develop techniques that can fully leverage its rep-rated capabilities. UC San Diego students and postdoctoral researchers will also train on rep-rated target deployment and data acquisition on General Atomics’ new GALADRIEL laser facility to help improve the efficiency of the experiments conducted at ELI Beamlines.

    The P3 (Plasma Physics Platform)-installation at ELI Beamlines where the experiments will take place.

    “This is the first project funded by the Czech Science Foundation and the US National Science Foundation. I believe that the new collaboration between the agencies will lead to a number of successful projects and collaborating scientific teams from the Czech Republic and the USA will benefit from it,” says GACR president Dr. Petr Baldrian.

    “We are thrilled to be working with our counterparts in the Czech Republic to further expand international scientific cooperation in artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and plasma science research. I am optimistic this will be the first of many collaborative projects between NSF and GACR,” says the Director of NSF, Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of California- San Diego, is a public research university located in the La Jolla area of San Diego, California, in the United States. The university occupies 2,141 acres (866 ha) near the coast of the Pacific Ocean with the main campus resting on approximately 1,152 acres (466 ha). Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California-San Diego is the seventh oldest of the 10 University of California campuses and offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, enrolling about 22,700 undergraduate and 6,300 graduate students. The University of California-San Diego is one of America’s “Public Ivy” universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States. The University of California-San Diego was ranked 8th among public universities and 37th among all universities in the United States, and rated the 18th Top World University by U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 rankings.

    The University of California-San Diego is organized into seven undergraduate residential colleges (Revelle; John Muir; Thurgood Marshall; Earl Warren; Eleanor Roosevelt; Sixth; and Seventh), four academic divisions (Arts and Humanities; Biological Sciences; Physical Sciences; and Social Sciences), and seven graduate and professional schools (Jacobs School of Engineering; Rady School of Management; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; School of Global Policy and Strategy; School of Medicine; Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and the newly established Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science). University of California-San Diego Health, the region’s only academic health system, provides patient care; conducts medical research; and educates future health care professionals at the University of California-San Diego Medical Center, Hillcrest; Jacobs Medical Center; Moores Cancer Center; Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center; Shiley Eye Institute; Institute for Genomic Medicine; Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion and various express care and urgent care clinics throughout San Diego.

    The university operates 19 organized research units (ORUs), including the Center for Energy Research; Qualcomm Institute (a branch of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology); San Diego Supercomputer Center; and the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, as well as eight School of Medicine research units, six research centers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and two multi-campus initiatives, including the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. The University of California-San Diego is also closely affiliated with several regional research centers, such as the Salk Institute; the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute; the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine; and the Scripps Research Institute. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation, UC San Diego spent $1.265 billion on research and development in fiscal year 2018, ranking it 7th in the nation.

    The University of California-San Diego is considered one of the country’s “Public Ivies”. As of February 2021, The University of California-San Diego faculty, researchers and alumni have won 27 Nobel Prizes and three Fields Medals, eight National Medals of Science, eight MacArthur Fellowships, and three Pulitzer Prizes. Additionally, of the current faculty, 29 have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, 70 to the National Academy of Sciences, 45 to the National Academy of Medicine and 110 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


    When the Regents of the University of California originally authorized the San Diego campus in 1956, it was planned to be a graduate and research institution, providing instruction in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Local citizens supported the idea, voting the same year to transfer to the university 59 acres (24 ha) of mesa land on the coast near the preexisting Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The Regents requested an additional gift of 550 acres (220 ha) of undeveloped mesa land northeast of Scripps, as well as 500 acres (200 ha) on the former site of Camp Matthews from the federal government, but Roger Revelle, then director of Scripps Institution and main advocate for establishing the new campus, jeopardized the site selection by exposing the La Jolla community’s exclusive real estate business practices, which were antagonistic to minority racial and religious groups. This outraged local conservatives, as well as Regent Edwin W. Pauley.

    University of California President Clark Kerr satisfied San Diego city donors by changing the proposed name from University of California, La Jolla, to University of California-San Diego. The city voted in agreement to its part in 1958, and the University of California approved construction of the new campus in 1960. Because of the clash with Pauley, Revelle was not made chancellor. Herbert York, first director of DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was designated instead. York planned the main campus according to the “Oxbridge” model, relying on many of Revelle’s ideas.

    According to Kerr, “San Diego always asked for the best,” though this created much friction throughout the University of California system, including with Kerr himself, because University of California-San Diego often seemed to be “asking for too much and too fast.” Kerr attributed University of California-San Diego’s “special personality” to Scripps, which for over five decades had been the most isolated University of California unit in every sense: geographically, financially, and institutionally. It was a great shock to the Scripps community to learn that Scripps was now expected to become the nucleus of a new University of California campus and would now be the object of far more attention from both the university administration in Berkeley and the state government in Sacramento.

    The University of California-San Diego was the first general campus of the University of California to be designed “from the top down” in terms of research emphasis. Local leaders disagreed on whether the new school should be a technical research institute or a more broadly based school that included undergraduates as well. John Jay Hopkins of General Dynamics Corporation pledged one million dollars for the former while the City Council offered free land for the latter. The original authorization for the University of California-San Diego campus given by the University of California Regents in 1956 approved a “graduate program in science and technology” that included undergraduate programs, a compromise that won both the support of General Dynamics and the city voters’ approval.

    Nobel laureate Harold Urey, a physicist from the University of Chicago, and Hans Suess, who had published the first paper on the greenhouse effect with Revelle in the previous year, were early recruits to the faculty in 1958. Maria Goeppert-Mayer, later the second female Nobel laureate in physics, was appointed professor of physics in 1960. The graduate division of the school opened in 1960 with 20 faculty in residence, with instruction offered in the fields of physics, biology, chemistry, and earth science. Before the main campus completed construction, classes were held in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

    By 1963, new facilities on the mesa had been finished for the School of Science and Engineering, and new buildings were under construction for Social Sciences and Humanities. Ten additional faculty in those disciplines were hired, and the whole site was designated the First College, later renamed after Roger Revelle, of the new campus. York resigned as chancellor that year and was replaced by John Semple Galbraith. The undergraduate program accepted its first class of 181 freshman at Revelle College in 1964. Second College was founded in 1964, on the land deeded by the federal government, and named after environmentalist John Muir two years later. The University of California-San Diego School of Medicine also accepted its first students in 1966.

    Political theorist Herbert Marcuse joined the faculty in 1965. A champion of the New Left, he reportedly was the first protester to occupy the administration building in a demonstration organized by his student, political activist Angela Davis. The American Legion offered to buy out the remainder of Marcuse’s contract for $20,000; the Regents censured Chancellor William J. McGill for defending Marcuse on the basis of academic freedom, but further action was averted after local leaders expressed support for Marcuse. Further student unrest was felt at the university, as the United States increased its involvement in the Vietnam War during the mid-1960s, when a student raised a Viet Minh flag over the campus. Protests escalated as the war continued and were only exacerbated after the National Guard fired on student protesters at Kent State University in 1970. Over 200 students occupied Urey Hall, with one student setting himself on fire in protest of the war.

    Early research activity and faculty quality, notably in the sciences, was integral to shaping the focus and culture of the university. Even before The University of California-San Diego had its own campus, faculty recruits had already made significant research breakthroughs, such as the Keeling Curve, a graph that plots rapidly increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and was the first significant evidence for global climate change; the Kohn–Sham equations, used to investigate particular atoms and molecules in quantum chemistry; and the Miller–Urey experiment, which gave birth to the field of prebiotic chemistry.

    Engineering, particularly computer science, became an important part of the university’s academics as it matured. University researchers helped develop University of California-San Diego Pascal, an early machine-independent programming language that later heavily influenced Java; the National Science Foundation Network, a precursor to the Internet; and the Network News Transfer Protocol during the late 1970s to 1980s. In economics, the methods for analyzing economic time series with time-varying volatility (ARCH), and with common trends (cointegration) were developed. The University of California-San Diego maintained its research intense character after its founding, racking up 25 Nobel Laureates affiliated within 50 years of history; a rate of five per decade.

    Under Richard C. Atkinson’s leadership as chancellor from 1980 to 1995, the university strengthened its ties with the city of San Diego by encouraging technology transfer with developing companies, transforming San Diego into a world leader in technology-based industries. He oversaw a rapid expansion of the School of Engineering, later renamed after Qualcomm founder Irwin M. Jacobs, with the construction of the San Diego Supercomputer Center and establishment of the computer science, electrical engineering, and bioengineering departments. Private donations increased from $15 million to nearly $50 million annually, faculty expanded by nearly 50%, and enrollment doubled to about 18,000 students during his administration. By the end of his chancellorship, the quality of The University of California-San Diego graduate programs was ranked 10th in the nation by the National Research Council.

    The university continued to undergo further expansion during the first decade of the new millennium with the establishment and construction of two new professional schools — the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Rady School of Management—and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, a research institute run jointly with University of California Irvine. The University of California-San Diego also reached two financial milestones during this time, becoming the first university in the western region to raise over $1 billion in its eight-year fundraising campaign in 2007 and also obtaining an additional $1 billion through research contracts and grants in a single fiscal year for the first time in 2010. Despite this, due to the California budget crisis, the university loaned $40 million against its own assets in 2009 to offset a significant reduction in state educational appropriations. The salary of Pradeep Khosla, who became chancellor in 2012, has been the subject of controversy amidst continued budget cuts and tuition increases.

    On November 27, 2017, the university announced it would leave its longtime athletic home of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, an NCAA Division II league, to begin a transition to Division I in 2020. At that time, it will join the Big West Conference, already home to four other UC campuses (Davis, Irvine, Riverside, Santa Barbara). The transition period will run through the 2023–24 school year. The university prepares to transition to NCAA Division I competition on July 1, 2020.


    Applied Physics and Mathematics

    The Nature Index lists The University of California-San Diego as 6th in the United States for research output by article count in 2019. In 2017, The University of California-San Diego spent $1.13 billion on research, the 7th highest expenditure among academic institutions in the U.S. The university operates several organized research units, including the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS), the Center for Drug Discovery Innovation, and the Institute for Neural Computation. The University of California-San Diego also maintains close ties to the nearby Scripps Research Institute and Salk Institute for Biological Studies. In 1977, The University of California-San Diego developed and released the University of California-San Diego Pascal programming language. The university was designated as one of the original national Alzheimer’s disease research centers in 1984 by the National Institute on Aging. In 2018, The University of California-San Diego received $10.5 million from the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration to establish the Center for Matters under Extreme Pressure (CMEC).

    The university founded the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) in 1985, which provides high performance computing for research in various scientific disciplines. In 2000, The University of California-San Diego partnered with The University of California-Irvine to create the Qualcomm Institute – University of California-San Diego, which integrates research in photonics, nanotechnology, and wireless telecommunication to develop solutions to problems in energy, health, and the environment.

    The University of California-San Diego also operates the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, one of the largest centers of research in earth science in the world, which predates the university itself. Together, SDSC and SIO, along with funding partner universities California Institute of Technology, San Diego State University, and The University of California-Santa Barbara, manage the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network.

  • richardmitnick 2:19 pm on July 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Novel NASA Instrument Sets Sights on Earth-bound Solar Radiation", Applied Research & Technology, , Compact Total Irradiance Monitor (CTIM), , , The sum of all solar energy Earth receives from the Sun — also known as “total solar irradiance.”   

    From NASA Earth Sciences: “Novel NASA Instrument Sets Sights on Earth-bound Solar Radiation” 

    From NASA Earth Sciences

    Jul 1, 2022
    By Gage Taylor
    NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office

    NASA’s Compact Total Irradiance Monitor (CTIM) instrument, which will help researchers better understand how solar energy impacts innumerable Earth systems. Credit: Tim Hellickson / University of Colorado-Boulder.

    A very small instrument has a big job ahead of it: measuring all Earth-directed energy coming from the Sun and helping scientists understand how that energy influences our planet’s severe weather, climate change and other global forces.

    About the size of a shoebox or gaming console, the Compact Total Irradiance Monitor (CTIM) is the smallest satellite ever dispatched to observe the sum of all solar energy Earth receives from the Sun — also known as “total solar irradiance.”

    CTIM-FD: Compact Total Irradiance Monitor Flight Demonstration.

    Total solar irradiance is a major component of the Earth radiation budget, which tracks the balance between incoming and outgoing solar energy. Increased amounts of greenhouse gases emitted from human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, trap increased amounts of solar energy within Earth’s atmosphere.

    That increased energy raises global temperatures and changes Earth’s climate, which in turn drives things like rising sea levels and severe weather.

    “By far the dominant energy input to Earth’s climate comes from the Sun,” said Dave Harber, a senior researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and principal investigator for CTIM. “It’s a key input for predictive models forecasting how Earth’s climate might change over time.”

    NASA missions like the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment and NASA instruments like CERES have allowed climate scientists to maintain an unbroken record of total solar irradiance stretching back 40 years.

    This enabled researchers to rule out increased solar energy as a culprit for climate change and recognize the role greenhouse gases play in global warming.

    Ensuring that record remains unbroken is of paramount importance to Earth scientists. With an unbroken total solar irradiance record, researchers can detect small fluctuations in the amount of solar radiation Earth receives during the solar cycle, as well as emphasize the impact greenhouse gas emissions have on Earth’s climate.

    For example, last year, researchers from NASA and NOAA relied on the unbroken total solar irradiance record to determine that, between 2005 and 2019, the amount of solar radiation that remains in Earth’s atmosphere nearly doubled.

    “In order to make sure we can continue to collect these measurements, we need to make instruments as efficient and cost-effective as possible,” Harber said.

    CTIM is a prototype: its flight demonstration will help scientists determine if small satellites could be as effective at measuring total solar irradiance as larger instruments, such as the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) instrument used aboard the completed SORCE mission and the ongoing TSIS-1 mission on the International Space Station. If successful, the prototype will advance the approaches used for future instruments.

    CTIM’s radiation detector takes advantage of a new carbon nanotube material that absorbs 99.995% of incoming light. This makes it uniquely well suited for measuring total solar irradiance.

    LASP researchers working on CTIM at the University of Colorado, Boulder. About the size of a shoebox, CTIM is the smallest instrument ever dispatched to study total solar irradiance.
    Credits: Tim Hellickson / University of Colorado-Boulder.

    Reducing a satellite’s size reduces the cost and complexity of deploying that satellite into low-Earth orbit. That allows scientists to prepare spare instruments that can preserve the TSI data record should an existing instrument malfunction.

    CTIM’s novel radiation detector – also known as a bolometer – takes advantage of a new material developed alongside researchers at the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

    “It looks a bit like a very, very dark shag carpet. It was the blackest substance humans had ever manufactured when it was first created, and it continues to be an exceptionally useful material for observing TSI,” Harber said.

    Made of minuscule carbon nanotubes arranged vertically on a silicon wafer, the material absorbs nearly all light along the electromagnetic spectrum.

    Together, CTIM’s two bolometers take up less space than the face of a quarter. This allowed Harber and his team to develop a tiny instrument fit for gathering total irradiance data from a small CubeSat platform.

    A sister instrument, the Compact Spectral Irradiance Monitor (CSIM), used the same bolometers in 2019 to successfully explore variability within bands of light present in sunlight. Future NASA missions may merge CTIM and CSIM into a single compact tool for both measuring and dissecting solar radiation.

    “Now we’re asking ourselves, ‘How do we take what we’ve developed with CSIM and CTIM and integrate them together,’” Harber said.

    Harber expects CTIM to begin collecting data about a month after launch, currently scheduled for June 30, 2022, aboard STP-28A, a Space Force mission executed by Virgin Orbit. Once Harber and his LASP colleagues unfold CTIM’s solar panels and check each of its subsystems, they will activate CTIM. It’s a delicate process, one that requires diligence and extreme care.

    “We want to take our time and make sure that we’re doing these steps rigorously, and that each component of this instrument is working correctly before we move on to the next step,” Harber said. “Just demonstrating that we can gather these measurements with a CubeSat would be a big deal. That would be very gratifying.”

    Funded through the InVEST program in NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office, CTIM launches from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California aboard Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket as part of the United States Space Force STP-S28A mission.

    Another NASA graduate from the InVEST technology program, NACHOS-2, will also be aboard. A NACHOS twin, NACHOS-2 will help the Department of Energy monitor trace gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA Earth Science

    Earth is a complex, dynamic system we do not yet fully understand. The Earth system, like the human body, comprises diverse components that interact in complex ways. We need to understand the Earth’s atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere as a single connected system. Our planet is changing on all spatial and temporal scales. The purpose of NASA’s Earth science program is to develop a scientific understanding of Earth’s system and its response to natural or human-induced changes, and to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards.

    A major component of NASA’s Earth Science Division is a coordinated series of satellite and airborne missions for long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, solid Earth, atmosphere, and oceans. This coordinated approach enables an improved understanding of the Earth as an integrated system. NASA is completing the development and launch of a set of Foundational missions, new Decadal Survey missions, and Climate Continuity missions.

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

  • richardmitnick 12:20 pm on July 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Chemists Crack Complete Quantum Nature of Water", Applied Research & Technology, , , , , q-AQUA software provides a universal tool for studying water.,   

    From Emory University: “Chemists Crack Complete Quantum Nature of Water” 

    From Emory University

    Carol Clark


    Chemists have produced the first full quantum mechanical model of water — one of the key ingredients of life. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters published the breakthrough, which used machine learning to develop a model that gives a detailed, accurate description for how large groups of water molecules interact with one another.

    “We believe we have found the missing piece to a complete, microscopic understanding of water,” says Joel Bowman, professor of theoretical chemistry at Emory University and senior author of the study. “It appears that we now have all that we need to know to describe water molecules under any conditions, including ice, liquid or vapor over a range of temperature and pressure.”

    The researchers developed free, open-source software for the model, which they dubbed “q-AQUA.”

    The q-AQUA software provides a universal tool for studying water. “We anticipate researchers using it for everything from predicting whether an exoplanet may have water to deepening our understanding of the role of water in cellular function,” Bowman says.

    Bowman is one of the founders of the specialty of theoretical reaction dynamics and a leader in exploring mysteries underlying questions such as why we need water to live.

    First author of the study is Qi Yu, a former Emory PhD candidate in the Bowman Lab who has since graduated and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Yale. Co-authors include Emory graduate student Apurba Nandi, a PhD candidate in the Bowman Lab; Riccardo Cone, a former Emory postdoctoral fellow in the Bowman Lab, who is now at the University of Milan; and Paul Houston, former dean of science at Georgia Institute of Technology and now an emeritus professor at Cornell University.

    The discovery made the cover of The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

    Water covers most of the Earth’s surface and is vital to all living organisms. It consists of simple molecules, each made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, bound by hydrogen.

    Despite water’s simplicity and ubiquity, describing the interactions of clusters of H2O molecules under any conditions presents major challenges.

    Newton’s law governs the behavior of heavy objects in the so-called classical world, including the motion of planets. Extremely light objects, however, at the level of atoms and electrons, are part of the quantum world which is governed by the Schrodinger equation of quantum-mechanical systems.

    “The hydrogen atom is the lightest atom of all, which makes it the most quantum mechanical,” Bowman explains. “It has the quantum weirdness of being both a particle and a wave at the same time.”

    Although large, complex problems in the classical world can be divided into pieces to be solved, objects in the quantum world are too “fuzzy” to be broken down into discrete pieces.

    Researchers have tried to produce a quantum model of water by breaking it into the interactions of clusters of water molecules. Bowman compares it to people at a party clustered into conversational groups of two, three or four people.

    “Imagine you’re trying to come up with a model to describe the conversations in each of these clusters of people that can be extended to the entire party,” he says. “First you gather the data for two people talking and determine what they are saying, who is saying what and what the conversation means. It gets harder when you try to model the conversations among three people. And when you get up to four people, it gets nearly impossible because so much data is coming at you.”

    For the current paper, the researchers used powerful machine-learning techniques that enabled computers to capture the interactions of groups of two, three and four molecules. “Taking it to the four-body level was very hard and something that no one had done and published before,” Bowman says. “We knew that if we could achieve that we would be far along to having a nearly complete solution. In a sense, it was the capstone of the whole process.”

    Instead of words coming out of the mouths of people, the analyses involved thousands of numbers coming out of computers. Unlike people, however, individual water molecules are all identical. This symmetry allowed the researchers to build on the model for interactions among sets of two, three and four water molecules so that it applies to even larger groups of molecules.

    “The four-body interaction of water molecules appears to be the final one that governs all interactions of water molecules,” Bowman says.

    To test their model, the researchers ran computer simulations over a range of temperatures for as many as 256 water molecules interacting in groups of two, three and four molecules simultaneously. The results showed that the model was highly accurate even at that scale.

    “We think we can take our model up to as many as 3,000 or 4,000 water molecules interacting,” Bowman says. “The computer effort will go up a lot, but those are simulations we plan to run next now that we’ve established proof of concept for our model.”

    The model may also serve as a springboard to develop similar, more simplified, models that require less computer power but are still accurate enough to make useful predictions regarding the quantum mechanics of water, Bowman says.

    Meanwhile, the authors hope that other researchers will download the free q-AQUA software and use it to delve deeper into unanswered questions about water.

    “We’re about 70% water by weight,” Bowman says, “and yet, from a chemical standpoint, we don’t really understand how water molecules interact with biological systems. Now that we have a good template for understanding how water molecules interact among themselves, we have a basis to deepen our understanding of the role of water in biochemical processes essential to life.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Emory University is a private research university in metropolitan Atlanta, located in the Druid Hills section of DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. The university was founded as Emory College in 1836 in Oxford, Georgia by the Methodist Episcopal Church and was named in honor of Methodist bishop John Emory. In 1915, the college relocated to metropolitan Atlanta and was rechartered as Emory University. The university is the second-oldest private institution of higher education in Georgia and among the fifty oldest private universities in the United States.

    Emory University has nine academic divisions: Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Oxford College, Goizueta Business School, Laney Graduate School, School of Law, School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Rollins School of Public Health, and the Candler School of Theology. Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Peking University in Beijing, China jointly administer the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. The university operates the Confucius Institute in Atlanta in partnership with Nanjing University. Emory has a growing faculty research partnership with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Emory University students come from all 50 states, 6 territories of the United States, and over 100 foreign countries.

  • richardmitnick 11:22 am on July 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "CAPSTONE Launches to Test New Orbit for NASA’s Artemis Moon Missions", Applied Research & Technology, , , The NASA Ames Research Center   

    From The NASA Ames Research Center: “CAPSTONE Launches to Test New Orbit for NASA’s Artemis Moon Missions” 

    NASA Ames Icon

    From The NASA Ames Research Center

    Jun 28, 2022

    Sarah Frazier
    Headquarters, Washington

    Gerelle Dodson
    Headquarters, Washington

    Tiffany Blake
    Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley, Calif.

    NASA’s CubeSat designed to test a unique lunar orbit is safely in space and on the first leg of its journey to the Moon. The spacecraft is heading toward an orbit intended in the future for Gateway, a lunar space station built by the agency and its commercial and international partners that will support NASA’s Artemis program, including astronaut missions.

    The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, mission launched at 5:55 a.m. EDT (09:55 UTC) on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket from the Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand Tuesday.

    “CAPSTONE is an example of how working with commercial partners is key for NASA’s ambitious plans to explore the Moon and beyond,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate. “We’re thrilled with a successful start to the mission and looking forward to what CAPSTONE will do once it arrives at the Moon.”

    CAPSTONE is currently in low-Earth orbit, and it will take the spacecraft about four months to reach its targeted lunar orbit. NASA invites the public to follow the spacecraft’s journey live using NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System interactive real-time 3D data visualization. Starting about one week after launch, virtually ride along with the CubeSat with a simulated view of our solar system. NASA will post updates about when to see CAPSTONE in the visualization on NASA’s Ames Research Center’s home page as well as Twitter and Facebook.

    CAPSTONE is attached to Rocket Lab’s Lunar Photon, an interplanetary third stage that will send CAPSTONE on its way to deep space. Shortly after launch, Lunar Photon separated from Electron’s second stage. Over the next six days, Photon’s engine will periodically ignite to accelerate it beyond low-Earth orbit, where Photon will release the CubeSat on a ballistic lunar transfer trajectory to the Moon. CAPSTONE will then use its own propulsion and the Sun’s gravity to navigate the rest of the way to the Moon. The gravity-driven track will dramatically reduce the amount of fuel the CubeSat needs to get to the Moon.

    “Delivering the spacecraft for launch was an accomplishment for the entire mission team, including NASA and our industry partners. Our team is now preparing for separation and initial acquisition for the spacecraft in six days,” said Bradley Cheetham, principal investigator for CAPSTONE and chief executive officer of Advanced Space, which owns and operates CAPSTONE on behalf of NASA. “We have already learned a tremendous amount getting to this point, and we are passionate about the importance of returning humans to the Moon, this time to stay!”

    At the Moon, CAPSTONE will enter an elongated orbit called a near rectilinear halo orbit, or NRHO. Once in the NRHO, CAPSTONE will fly within 1,000 miles of the Moon’s North Pole on its near pass and 43,500 miles from the South Pole at its farthest. It will repeat the cycle every six and a half days and maintain this orbit for at least six months to study dynamics.

    “CAPSTONE is a pathfinder in many ways, and it will demonstrate several technology capabilities during its mission timeframe while navigating a never-before-flown orbit around the Moon,” said Elwood Agasid, project manager for CAPSTONE at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “CAPSTONE is laying a foundation for Artemis, Gateway, and commercial support for future lunar operations.”

    During its mission, CAPSTONE will provide data about operating in an NRHO and showcase key technologies. The mission’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System, developed by Advanced Space with support from NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research program, is a spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation and communications system that will work with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to determine the distance between the two lunar orbiting spacecraft.

    This technology could allow future spacecraft to determine their position in space without relying exclusively on tracking from Earth. CAPSTONE also carries a new precision one-way ranging capability built into its radio that could reduce the amount of ground network time needed for in-space operations.

    In addition to New Zealand hosting CAPSTONE’s launch, New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and a University of Canterbury-led team are collaborating with NASA on a research effort to track Moon-orbiting spacecraft. New Zealand helped develop the Artemis Accords – which establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations participating in NASA’s 21st century lunar exploration plans. In May 2021, New Zealand was the 11th country to sign the Artemis Accords.

    The microwave-oven sized CubeSat was designed and built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, a Terran Orbital Corporation. CAPSTONE includes contributions from Stellar Exploration, Inc., Space Dynamics Lab, Tethers Unlimited, Inc., and Orion Space Systems. NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) funds the demonstration mission. The program is based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. The development of CAPSTONE’s navigation technology is supported by NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program, also within STMD. The Artemis Campaign Development Division within NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate funds the launch and supports mission operations. The Launch Services Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida manages the launch service. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory supports the communication, tracking, and telemetry downlink via NASA’s Deep Space Network, Iris radio design, and groundbreaking 1-way navigation algorithms.

    Learn more about the mission at:


    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The NASA Ames Research Center, one of 10 NASA field Centers, is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. For over 60 years, Ames has led NASA in conducting world-class research and development. With 2500 employees and an annual budget of $900 million, Ames provides NASA with advancements in:
    Entry systems: Safely delivering spacecraft to Earth & other celestial bodies
    Supercomputing: Enabling NASA’s advanced modeling and simulation
    NextGen air transportation: Transforming the way we fly
    Airborne science: Examining our own world & beyond from the sky
    Low-cost missions: Enabling high value science to low Earth orbit & the moon
    Biology & astrobiology: Understanding life on Earth — and in space
    Exoplanets: Finding worlds beyond our own
    Autonomy & robotics: Complementing humans in space

  • richardmitnick 10:57 am on July 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Found:: The ‘holy grail of catalysis’ — turning methane into methanol under ambient conditions using light", Applied Research & Technology, , , ,   

    From The DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory: “Found:: The ‘holy grail of catalysis’ — turning methane into methanol under ambient conditions using light” 

    From The DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    June 28, 2022

    University of Manchester scientists have developed the “holy grail of catalysis,” a fast and economical method of converting methane, or natural gas, into liquid methanol at ambient temperature and pressure. Credit: ORNL/Jill Hemman.

    An international team of researchers, led by scientists at the University of Manchester, has developed a fast and economical method of converting methane, or natural gas, into liquid methanol at ambient temperature and pressure. The method takes place under continuous flow over a photo-catalytic material using visible light to drive the conversion.

    To help observe how the process works and how selective it is, the researchers used neutron scattering at the VISION instrument at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source [below].

    The method involves a continuous flow of methane/oxygen-saturated water over a novel metal-organic framework (MOF) catalyst. The MOF is porous and contains different components that each have a role in absorbing light, transferring electrons and activating and bringing together methane and oxygen. The liquid methanol is easily extracted from the water. Such a process has commonly been considered “a holy grail of catalysis” and is an area of focus for research supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Details of the team’s findings are published in Nature Materials.

    Naturally occurring methane is an abundant and valuable fuel, used for ovens, furnaces, water heaters, kilns, automobiles and turbines. However, methane can also be dangerous due to the difficulty of extracting, transporting and storing it.

    Methane gas is also harmful to the environment when it is released or leaks into the atmosphere, where it is a potent greenhouse gas. Leading sources of atmospheric methane include fossil fuel production and use, rotting or burning biomass such as forest fires, agricultural waste products, landfills and melting permafrost.

    Excess methane is commonly burned off, or flared, to reduce its environmental impact. However, this combustion process produces carbon dioxide, which itself is a greenhouse gas.

    Industry has long sought an economical and efficient way to convert methane into methanol, a highly marketable and versatile feedstock used to make a variety of consumer and industrial products. This would not only help reduce methane emissions, but it would also provide an economic incentive to do so.

    Methanol is a more versatile carbon source than methane and is a readily transportable liquid. It can be used to make thousands of products such as solvents, antifreeze and acrylic plastics; synthetic fabrics and fibers; adhesives, paint and plywood; and chemical agents used in pharmaceuticals and agrichemicals. The conversion of methane into a high-value fuel such as methanol is also becoming more attractive as petroleum reserves dwindle.

    Breaking the bond

    A primary challenge of converting methane (CH4) to methanol (CH3OH) has been the difficulty of weakening or breaking the carbon-hydrogen (C-H) chemical bond in order to insert an oxygen (O) atom to form a C-OH bond. Conventional methane conversion methods typically involve two stages, steam reforming followed by syngas oxidation, which are energy intensive, costly and inefficient as they require high temperatures and pressures.

    The fast and economical methane-to-methanol process developed by the research team uses a multicomponent MOF material and visible light to drive the conversion. A flow of CH4 and O2 saturated water is passed through a layer of the MOF granules while exposed to the light. The MOF contains different designed components that are located and held in fixed positions within the porous superstructure. They work together to absorb light to generate electrons which are passed to oxygen and methane within the pores to form methanol.

    “To greatly simplify the process, when methane gas is exposed to the functional MOF material containing mono-iron-hydroxyl sites, the activated oxygen molecules and energy from the light promote the activation of the C-H bond in methane to form methanol,” said Sihai Yang, a professor of chemistry at Manchester and corresponding author. “The process is 100% selective – meaning there is no undesirable by-product – comparable with methane monooxygenase, which is the enzyme in nature for this process.”

    The experiments demonstrated that the solid catalyst can be isolated, washed, dried and reused for at least 10 cycles, or approximately 200 hours of reaction time, without any loss of performance.

    The new photocatalytic process is analogous to how plants convert light energy to chemical energy during photosynthesis. Plants absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide through their leaves. A photocatalytic process then converts these elements into sugars, oxygen and water vapor.

    “This process has been termed the ‘holy grail of catalysis.’ Instead of burning methane, it may now be possible to convert the gas directly to methanol, a high-value chemical that can be used to produce biofuels, solvents, pesticides and fuel additives for vehicles,” said Martin Schröder, vice president and dean of faculty of science and engineering at Manchester and corresponding author. “This new MOF material may also be capable of facilitating other types of chemical reactions by serving as a sort of test tube in which we can combine different substances to see how they react.”

    Using neutrons to picture the process

    “Using neutron scattering to take ‘pictures’ at the VISION instrument initially confirmed the strong interactions between CH4 and the mono-iron-hydroxyl sites in the MOF that weaken the C-H bonds,” said Yongqiang Cheng, instrument scientist at the ORNL Neutron Sciences Directorate.

    “VISION is a high-throughput neutron vibrational spectrometer optimized to provide information about molecular structure, chemical bonding and intermolecular interactions,” said Anibal “Timmy” Ramirez Cuesta, who leads the Chemical Spectroscopy Group at SNS. “Methane molecules produce strong and characteristic neutron scattering signals from their rotation and vibration, which are also sensitive to the local environment. This enables us to reveal unambiguously the bond-weakening interactions between CH4 and the MOF with advanced neutron spectroscopy techniques.”

    Fast, economical and reusable

    By eliminating the need for high temperatures or pressures, and using the energy from sunlight to drive the photo-oxidation process, the new conversion method could substantially lower equipment and operating costs. The higher speed of the process and its ability to convert methane to methanol with no undesirable byproducts will facilitate the development of in-line processing that minimizes costs.

    Funding and resources were provided by the Royal Society; the University of Manchester; the EPSRC National Service for EPR Spectroscopy at Manchester; the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program; the Diamond Light Source at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire; the U.S. Department of Energy’s Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory [below] and the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory; and the Aichi Synchrotron Radiation Centre in Seto City. Computing resources at ORNL were made available through the VirtuES and ICE-MAN projects funded by ORNL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program and Compute and Data Environment for Science.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Established in 1942, The DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest science and energy national laboratory in the Department of Energy system (by size) and third largest by annual budget. It is located in the Roane County section of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Its scientific programs focus on materials, neutron science, energy, high-performance computing, systems biology and national security, sometimes in partnership with the state of Tennessee, universities and other industries.

    ORNL has several of the world’s top supercomputers, including Summit, ranked by the TOP500 as Earth’s second-most powerful, and the exascale Frontier.

    ORNL OLCF IBM Q AC922 SUMMIT supercomputer, was No.1 on the TOP500..

    The lab is a leading neutron and nuclear power research facility that includes the Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor.

    ORNL Spallation Neutron Source annotated.

    It hosts the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, the BioEnergy Science Center, and the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Nuclear Reactors.

    ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

    Areas of research

    ORNL conducts research and development activities that span a wide range of scientific disciplines. Many research areas have a significant overlap with each other; researchers often work in two or more of the fields listed here. The laboratory’s major research areas are described briefly below.

    Chemical sciences – ORNL conducts both fundamental and applied research in a number of areas, including catalysis, surface science and interfacial chemistry; molecular transformations and fuel chemistry; heavy element chemistry and radioactive materials characterization; aqueous solution chemistry and geochemistry; mass spectrometry and laser spectroscopy; separations chemistry; materials chemistry including synthesis and characterization of polymers and other soft materials; chemical biosciences; and neutron science.
    Electron microscopy – ORNL’s electron microscopy program investigates key issues in condensed matter, materials, chemical and nanosciences.
    Nuclear medicine – The laboratory’s nuclear medicine research is focused on the development of improved reactor production and processing methods to provide medical radioisotopes, the development of new radionuclide generator systems, the design and evaluation of new radiopharmaceuticals for applications in nuclear medicine and oncology.
    Physics – Physics research at ORNL is focused primarily on studies of the fundamental properties of matter at the atomic, nuclear, and subnuclear levels and the development of experimental devices in support of these studies.
    Population – ORNL provides federal, state and international organizations with a gridded population database, called Landscan, for estimating ambient population. LandScan is a raster image, or grid, of population counts, which provides human population estimates every 30 x 30 arc seconds, which translates roughly to population estimates for 1 kilometer square windows or grid cells at the equator, with cell width decreasing at higher latitudes. Though many population datasets exist, LandScan is the best spatial population dataset, which also covers the globe. Updated annually (although data releases are generally one year behind the current year) offers continuous, updated values of population, based on the most recent information. Landscan data are accessible through GIS applications and a USAID public domain application called Population Explorer.

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