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  • richardmitnick 10:10 am on June 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Webb Space Telescope Peers Behind Bars", , Basic Research, , ,   

    From The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope: “The Webb Space Telescope Peers Behind Bars” 

    NASA Webb Header

    National Aeronautics Space Agency/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/ Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Infrared Space Telescope annotated, finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late.

    From The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

    Editor: Alise Fisher

    This image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068 is a composite from two of the James Webb Space Telescope’s instruments, MIRI and NIRCam. Credits: J. Lee and the PHANGS-JWST Team/NASA/ESA/CSA Webb.

    A delicate tracery of dust and bright star clusters threads across this image from the James Webb Space Telescope. The bright tendrils of gas and stars belong to the barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068, whose bright central bar is visible in the upper left of this image – a composite from two of Webb’s instruments. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson revealed the image Friday during an event with students at the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, Poland.

    NGC 5068 lies around 20 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. This image of the central, bright star-forming regions of the galaxy is part of a campaign to create an astronomical treasure trove, a repository of observations of star formation in nearby galaxies. Previous gems from this collection can be seen here (IC 5332) and here (M74). These observations are particularly valuable to astronomers for two reasons. The first is because star formation underpins so many fields in astronomy, from the physics of the tenuous plasma that lies between stars to the evolution of entire galaxies. By observing the formation of stars in nearby galaxies, astronomers hope to kick-start major scientific advances with some of the first available data from Webb.

    The second reason is that Webb’s observations build on other studies using telescopes including the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories. Webb collected images of 19 nearby star-forming galaxies which astronomers could then combine with Hubble images of 10,000 star clusters, spectroscopic mapping of 20,000 star-forming emission nebulae from the The European Southern Observatory [La Observatorio Europeo Austral] [Observatoire européen austral][Europaiche Sûdsternwarte] (EU)(CL) Very Large Telescope (VLT), and observations of 12,000 dark, dense molecular clouds identified by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

    These observations span the electromagnetic spectrum and give astronomers an unprecedented opportunity to piece together the minutiae of star formation.

    With its ability to peer through the gas and dust enshrouding newborn stars, Webb is particularly well-suited to explore the processes governing star formation. Stars and planetary systems are born amongst swirling clouds of gas and dust that are opaque to visible-light observatories like Hubble or the VLT. The keen vision at infrared wavelengths of two of Webb’s instruments — MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument)[below] and NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) [below] — allowed astronomers to see right through the gargantuan clouds of dust in NGC 5068 and capture the processes of star formation as they happened. This image combines the capabilities of these two instruments, providing a truly unique look at the composition of NGC 5068.

    In this image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068, from the James Webb Space Telescope’s MIRI instrument, the dusty structure of the spiral galaxy and glowing bubbles of gas containing newly-formed star clusters are particularly prominent. Three asteroid trails intrude into this image, represented as tiny blue-green-red dots. Asteroids appear in astronomical images such as these because they are much closer to the telescope than the distant target. As Webb captures several images of the astronomical object, the asteroid moves, so it shows up in a slightly different place in each frame. They are a little more noticeable in images such as this one from MIRI, because many stars are not as bright in mid-infrared wavelengths as they are in near-infrared or visible light, so asteroids are easier to see next to the stars. One trail lies just below the galaxy’s bar, and two more in the bottom-left corner.
    Credits: J. Lee and the PHANGS-JWST Team; NASA/ESA/CSA Webb.

    This view of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068, from the James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam instrument, is studded by the galaxy’s massive population of stars, most dense along its bright central bar, along with burning red clouds of gas illuminated by young stars within. This near-infrared image of the galaxy is filled by the enormous gathering of older stars which make up the core of NGC 5068. The keen vision of NIRCam allows astronomers to peer through the galaxy’s gas and dust to closely examine its stars. Dense and bright clouds of dust lie along the path of the spiral arms: These are H II regions, collections of hydrogen gas where new stars are forming. The young, energetic stars ionize the hydrogen around them, creating this glow represented in red.
    Credits: J. Lee and the PHANGS-JWST Team; NASA/ESA/CSA.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late. Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    Webb is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

    Webb was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST); it was renamed in Sept. 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.

    Webb is an international collaboration between National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center managed the development effort. The main industrial partner is Northrop Grumman; the Space Telescope Science Institute operates Webb.

    Several innovative technologies have been developed for Webb. These include a folding, segmented primary mirror, adjusted to shape after launch; ultra-lightweight beryllium optics; detectors able to record extremely weak signals, microshutters that enable programmable object selection for the spectrograph; and a cryocooler for cooling the mid-IR detectors to 7K.

    There are four science instruments on Webb: The Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and The Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS).

    Webb’s instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Webb NIRCam.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

    Webb has four main science themes: The End of the Dark Ages: First Light and Reionization, The Assembly of Galaxies, The Birth of Stars and Protoplanetary Systems, and Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life.

    Launch was December 25, 2021, ten years late, on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

  • richardmitnick 8:19 am on June 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Eventually everything will evaporate - not only black holes", All large objects in the universe-like the remnants of stars-will eventually evaporate., , , , Basic Research, , , , , , Sometimes a particle falls into the black hole and then the other particle can escape: Hawking radiation. According to Hawking this would eventually result in the evaporation of black holes.   

    From Radboud University [Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen](NL) : “Eventually everything will evaporate – not only black holes” 

    From Radboud University [Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen](NL)

    Dr M.F. Wondrak (Michael)

    Prof. W.D. van Suijlekom (Walter)

    Prof. H.D.E. Falcke (Heino)

    New theoretical research by Michael Wondrak, Walter van Suijlekom and Heino Falcke of Radboud University has shown that Stephen Hawking was right about black holes, although not completely. Due to Hawking radiation, black holes will eventually evaporate, but the event horizon is not as crucial as has been believed. Gravity and the curvature of spacetime cause this radiation too. This means that all large objects in the universe, like the remnants of stars, will eventually evaporate.

    Using a clever combination of quantum physics and Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, Stephen Hawking argued that the spontaneous creation and annihilation of pairs of particles must occur near the event horizon (the point beyond which there is no escape from the gravitational force of a black hole). A particle and its anti-particle are created very briefly from the quantum field, after which they immediately annihilate. But sometimes a particle falls into the black hole, and then the other particle can escape: Hawking radiation. According to Hawking, this would eventually result in the evaporation of black holes.


    In this new study the researchers at Radboud University revisited this process and investigated whether or not the presence of an event horizon is indeed crucial. They combined techniques from physics, astronomy and mathematics to examine what happens if such pairs of particles are created in the surroundings of black holes. The study showed that new particles can also be created far beyond this horizon. Michael Wondrak: “We demonstrate that, in addition to the well-known Hawking radiation, there is also a new form of radiation.”

    Everything evaporates

    Van Suijlekom: “We show that far beyond a black hole the curvature of spacetime plays a big role in creating radiation. The particles are already separated there by the tidal forces of the gravitational field.” Whereas it was previously thought that no radiation was possible without the event horizon, this study shows that this horizon is not necessary.

    Falcke: “That means that objects without an event horizon, such as the remnants of dead stars and other large objects in the universe, also have this sort of radiation. And, after a very long period, that would lead to everything in the universe eventually evaporating, just like black holes. This changes not only our understanding of Hawking radiation but also our view of the universe and its future.”

    The study was published on 2 June in the Physical Review Letters


    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Radboud University [Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen](NL) has seven faculties and enrolls over 19.900 students in 112 study programs (37 bachelor’s and 75 master’s programs).

    As of September 2013, the university offers 36 international master’s programs taught in English and several more taught in Dutch. There are nine bachelor’s programs taught fully in English: American Studies, Artificial Intelligence, Biology, Chemistry, Computing Science, International Economics & Business, International Business Administration, English Language and Culture, and Molecular Life Sciences. International Business Communication, Psychology and Arts and Culture Studies offer English-language tracks. All other bachelors are in Dutch, although most of the required literature is in English. Some exams, papers and even classes may be in English as well, despite the programs being Dutch-taught. All master’s programs have been internationally accredited by the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders(NVAO).

  • richardmitnick 1:02 am on June 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Mysterious dashes revealed in Milky Way’s center", , Basic Research, , , Hundreds of horizontal filaments point toward our central supermassive black hole., ,   

    From The Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences At Northwestern University: “Mysterious dashes revealed in Milky Way’s center” 

    From The Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences


    Northwestern U bloc

    Northwestern University

    Amanda Morris
    (847) 467-6790

    Hundreds of horizontal filaments point toward our central supermassive black hole.

    Two populations of filaments, perpendicular and parallel to the galactic plane. (The galactic plane runs horizontally). Credit: Farhad Yusef-Zadeh.

    An international team of astrophysicists has discovered something wholly new, hidden in the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

    In the early 1980s, Northwestern University’s Farhad Yusef-Zadeh discovered gigantic, one-dimensional filaments dangling vertically near Sagittarius A*, our galaxy’s central supermassive black hole.

    Now, Yusef-Zadeh and his collaborators have discovered a new population of filaments — but these threads are much shorter and lie horizontally or radially, spreading out like spokes on a wheel from the black hole.

    Although the two populations of filaments share several similarities, Yusef-Zadeh assumes they have different origins. While the vertical filaments sweep through the galaxy, towering up to 150 light-years high, the horizontal filaments look more like the dots and dashes of Morse code, punctuating only one side of Sagittarius A*.

    The study was published today (June 2) in The Astrophysical Journal Letters [below].

    “It was a surprise to suddenly find a new population of structures that seem to be pointing in the direction of the black hole,” Yusef-Zadeh said. “I was actually stunned when I saw these. We had to do a lot of work to establish that we weren’t fooling ourselves. And we found that these filaments are not random but appear to be tied to the outflow of our black hole. By studying them, we could learn more about the black hole’s spin and accretion disk orientation. It is satisfying when one finds order in a middle of a chaotic field of the nucleus of our galaxy.”

    An expert in radio astronomy, Yusef-Zadeh is a professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and member of CIERA.

    Decades in the making

    The new discovery may come as a surprise, but Yusef-Zadeh is no stranger to uncovering mysteries at the center of our galaxy, located 25,000 light-years from Earth. The latest study builds on four decades of his research. After first discovering the vertical filaments in 1984 [Nature (below)] with Mark Morris and Don Chance, Yusef-Zadeh along with Ian Heywood and their collaborators later uncovered two gigantic radio-emitting bubbles near Sagittarius A*. Then, in a series of publications in 2022, Yusef-Zadeh (in collaborations with Heywood, Richard Arent and Mark Wardle) revealed nearly 1,000 vertical filaments, which appeared in pairs and clusters, often stacked equally spaced or side by side like strings on a harp.

    A new radio image of the center of the Milky Way. Northwestern.

    Yusef-Zadeh credits the flood of new discoveries to enhanced radio astronomy technology, particularly the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (SARAO) MeerKAT telescope.

    To pinpoint the filaments, Yusef-Zadeh’s team used a technique to remove the background and smooth the noise from MeerKAT images in order to isolate the filaments from surrounding structures.

    “The new MeerKAT observations have been a game changer,” he said. “The advancement of technology and dedicated observing time have given us new information. It’s really a technical achievement from radio astronomers.”

    Horizontal vs. vertical

    After studying the vertical filaments for decades, Yusef-Zadeh was shocked to uncover their horizontal counterparts, which he estimates are about 6 million years old. “We have always been thinking about vertical filaments and their origin,” he said. “I’m used to them being vertical. I never considered there might be others along the plane.”

    Diagram of the outflow from Sagittarius A*. Northwestern.

    While both populations comprise one-dimensional filaments that can be viewed with radio waves and appear to be tied to activities in the galactic center, the similarities end there.

    The vertical filaments are perpendicular to the galactic plane; the horizontal filaments are parallel to the plane but point radially toward the center of the galaxy where the black hole lies. The vertical filaments are magnetic and relativistic; the horizontal filaments appear to emit thermal radiation. The vertical filaments encompass particles moving at speeds near the speed of light; the horizontal filaments appear to accelerate thermal material in a molecular cloud. There are several hundred vertical filaments and just a few hundred horizontal filaments. And the vertical filaments, which measure up to 150 light-years high, far surpass the size of the horizontal filaments, which measure just 5 to 10 light-years in length. The vertical filaments also adorn space around the nucleus of the galaxy; the horizontal filaments appear to spread out to only one side, pointing toward the black hole.

    “One of the most important implications of radial outflow that we have detected is the orientation of the accretion disk and the jet-driven outflow from Sagittarius A* along the galactic plane,” Yusef-Zadeh said.

    ‘Our work is never complete’

    The new discovery is filled with unknowns, and Yusef-Zadeh’s work to unravel its mysteries has just begun. For now, he can only consider a plausible explanation about the new population’s mechanisms and origins.

    “We think they must have originated with some kind of outflow from an activity that happened a few million years ago,” Yusef-Zadeh said. “It seems to be the result of an interaction of that outflowing material with objects near it. Our work is never complete. We always need to make new observations and continually challenge our ideas and tighten up our analysis.”

    The study was supported by NASA (award number 80GSFC21M0002). The SARAO is a facility of the National Research Foundation, an agency of the Department of Science and Innovation.

    The Astrophysical Journal Letters
    Nature 1984

    Figure 2. (a) Color-coded position angles for all identified short and long filaments in the mosaic image (Figure 1) are displayed (east of Galactic north is positive). (b)
    Similar to (a) except that the color table is restricted, indicating a preferred direction of short filaments L 66′′with PAs between −60° and 60°.

    See the science paper for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences is the largest of the twelve schools comprising Northwestern University, located in Evanston, Illinois and downtown Chicago, Illinois.

    It was established in 1851 and today comprises 25 departments and many specialty programs. Weinberg also has special agreements with Chicago’s major cultural institutions, including the Field Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, Chicago Botanic Garden, and American Bar Foundation, to offer courses taught by Chicago-area experts.

    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston, Illinois. Founded in 1851 to serve the former Northwest Territory, the university is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference.

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is known for its focus on interdisciplinary education, extensive research output, and student traditions. The university provides instruction in over 200 formal academic concentrations, including various dual degree programs. The university is composed of eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, which include the Kellogg School of Management, the Pritzker School of Law, the Feinberg School of Medicine, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Bienen School of Music, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Medill School of Journalism, the School of Communication, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Education and Social Policy, and The Graduate School. As of fall 2019, the university had 21,946 enrolled students, including 8,327 undergraduates and 13,619 graduate students.

    Valued at $12.2 billion, Northwestern’s endowment is among the largest university endowments in the United States. Its numerous research programs bring in nearly $900 million in sponsored research each year.

    Northwestern’s main 240-acre (97 ha) campus lies along the shores of Lake Michigan in Evanston, 12 miles north of Downtown Chicago. The university’s law, medical, and professional schools, along with its nationally ranked Northwestern Memorial Hospital, are located on a 25-acre (10 ha) campus in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. The university also maintains a campus in Doha, Qatar and locations in San Francisco, California, Washington, D.C. and Miami, Florida.

    As of October 2020, Northwestern’s faculty and alumni have included 1 Fields Medalist, 22 Nobel Prize laureates, 40 Pulitzer Prize winners, 6 MacArthur Fellows, 17 Rhodes Scholars, 27 Marshall Scholars, 23 National Medal of Science winners, 11 National Humanities Medal recipients, 84 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 10 living billionaires, 16 Olympic medalists, and 2 U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Northwestern alumni have founded notable companies and organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, The Blackstone Group, Kirkland & Ellis, U.S. Steel, Guggenheim Partners, Accenture, Aon Corporation, AQR Capital, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Melvin Capital.

    The foundation of Northwestern University can be traced to a meeting on May 31, 1850, of nine prominent Chicago businessmen, Methodist leaders, and attorneys who had formed the idea of establishing a university to serve what had been known from 1787 to 1803 as the Northwest Territory. On January 28, 1851, the Illinois General Assembly granted a charter to the Trustees of the North-Western University, making it the first chartered university in Illinois. The school’s nine founders, all of whom were Methodists (three of them ministers), knelt in prayer and worship before launching their first organizational meeting. Although they affiliated the university with the Methodist Episcopal Church, they favored a non-sectarian admissions policy, believing that Northwestern should serve all people in the newly developing territory by bettering the economy in Evanston.

    John Evans, for whom Evanston is named, bought 379 acres (153 ha) of land along Lake Michigan in 1853, and Philo Judson developed plans for what would become the city of Evanston, Illinois. The first building, Old College, opened on November 5, 1855. To raise funds for its construction, Northwestern sold $100 “perpetual scholarships” entitling the purchaser and his heirs to free tuition. Another building, University Hall, was built in 1869 of the same Joliet limestone as the Chicago Water Tower, also built in 1869, one of the few buildings in the heart of Chicago to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In 1873 the Evanston College for Ladies merged with Northwestern, and Frances Willard, who later gained fame as a suffragette and as one of the founders of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), became the school’s first dean of women (Willard Residential College, built in 1938, honors her name). Northwestern admitted its first female students in 1869, and the first woman was graduated in 1874.

    Northwestern fielded its first intercollegiate football team in 1882, later becoming a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. In the 1870s and 1880s, Northwestern affiliated itself with already existing schools of law, medicine, and dentistry in Chicago. Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is the oldest law school in Chicago. As the university’s enrollments grew, these professional schools were integrated with the undergraduate college in Evanston; the result was a modern research university combining professional, graduate, and undergraduate programs, which gave equal weight to teaching and research. By the turn of the century, Northwestern had grown in stature to become the third largest university in the United States after Harvard University and the University of Michigan.

    Under Walter Dill Scott’s presidency from 1920 to 1939, Northwestern began construction of an integrated campus in Chicago designed by James Gamble Rogers, noted for his design of the Yale University campus, to house the professional schools. The university also established the Kellogg School of Management and built several prominent buildings on the Evanston campus, including Dyche Stadium, now named Ryan Field, and Deering Library among others. In the 1920s, Northwestern became one of the first six universities in the United States to establish a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC). In 1939, Northwestern hosted the first-ever NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship game in the original Patten Gymnasium, which was later demolished and relocated farther north, along with the Dearborn Observatory, to make room for the Technological Institute.

    After the golden years of the 1920s, the Great Depression in the United States (1929–1941) had a severe impact on the university’s finances. Its annual income dropped 25 percent from $4.8 million in 1930-31 to $3.6 million in 1933-34. Investment income shrank, fewer people could pay full tuition, and annual giving from alumni and philanthropists fell from $870,000 in 1932 to a low of $331,000 in 1935. The university responded with two salary cuts of 10 percent each for all employees. It imposed hiring and building freezes and slashed appropriations for maintenance, books, and research. Having had a balanced budget in 1930-31, the university now faced deficits of roughly $100,000 for the next four years. Enrollments fell in most schools, with law and music suffering the biggest declines. However, the movement toward state certification of school teachers prompted Northwestern to start a new graduate program in education, thereby bringing in new students and much needed income. In June 1933, Robert Maynard Hutchins, president of the University of Chicago, proposed a merger of the two universities, estimating annual savings of $1.7 million. The two presidents were enthusiastic, and the faculty liked the idea; many Northwestern alumni, however, opposed it, fearing the loss of their Alma Mater and its many traditions that distinguished Northwestern from Chicago. The medical school, for example, was oriented toward training practitioners, and alumni feared it would lose its mission if it were merged into the more research-oriented University of Chicago Medical School. The merger plan was ultimately dropped. In 1935, the Deering family rescued the university budget with an unrestricted gift of $6 million, bringing the budget up to $5.4 million in 1938-39. This allowed many of the previous spending cuts to be restored, including half of the salary reductions.

    Like other American research universities, Northwestern was transformed by World War II (1939–1945). Regular enrollment fell dramatically, but the school opened high-intensity, short-term programs that trained over 50,000 military personnel, including future president John F. Kennedy. Northwestern’s existing NROTC program proved to be a boon to the university as it trained over 36,000 sailors over the course of the war, leading Northwestern to be called the “Annapolis of the Midwest.” Franklyn B. Snyder led the university from 1939 to 1949, and after the war, surging enrollments under the G.I. Bill drove dramatic expansion of both campuses. In 1948, prominent anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits founded the Program of African Studies at Northwestern, the first center of its kind at an American academic institution. J. Roscoe Miller’s tenure as president from 1949 to 1970 saw an expansion of the Evanston campus, with the construction of the Lakefill on Lake Michigan, growth of the faculty and new academic programs, and polarizing Vietnam-era student protests. In 1978, the first and second Unabomber attacks occurred at Northwestern University. Relations between Evanston and Northwestern became strained throughout much of the post-war era because of episodes of disruptive student activism, disputes over municipal zoning, building codes, and law enforcement, as well as restrictions on the sale of alcohol near campus until 1972. Northwestern’s exemption from state and municipal property-tax obligations under its original charter has historically been a source of town-and-gown tension.

    Although government support for universities declined in the 1970s and 1980s, President Arnold R. Weber was able to stabilize university finances, leading to a revitalization of its campuses. As admissions to colleges and universities grew increasingly competitive in the 1990s and 2000s, President Henry S. Bienen’s tenure saw a notable increase in the number and quality of undergraduate applicants, continued expansion of the facilities and faculty, and renewed athletic competitiveness. In 1999, Northwestern student journalists uncovered information exonerating Illinois death-row inmate Anthony Porter two days before his scheduled execution. The Innocence Project has since exonerated 10 more men. On January 11, 2003, in a speech at Northwestern School of Law’s Lincoln Hall, then Governor of Illinois George Ryan announced that he would commute the sentences of more than 150 death-row inmates.

    In the 2010s, a 5-year capital campaign resulted in a new music center, a replacement building for the business school, and a $270 million athletic complex. In 2014, President Barack Obama delivered a seminal economics speech at the Evanston campus.

    Organization and administration


    Northwestern is privately owned and governed by an appointed Board of Trustees, which is composed of 70 members and, as of 2011, has been chaired by William A. Osborn ’69. The board delegates its power to an elected president who serves as the chief executive officer of the university. Northwestern has had sixteen presidents in its history (excluding interim presidents). The current president, economist Morton O. Schapiro, succeeded Henry Bienen whose 14-year tenure ended on August 31, 2009. The president maintains a staff of vice presidents, directors, and other assistants for administrative, financial, faculty, and student matters. Kathleen Haggerty assumed the role of interim provost for the university in April 2020.

    Students are formally involved in the university’s administration through the Associated Student Government, elected representatives of the undergraduate students, and the Graduate Student Association, which represents the university’s graduate students.

    The admission requirements, degree requirements, courses of study, and disciplinary and degree recommendations for each of Northwestern’s 12 schools are determined by the voting members of that school’s faculty (assistant professor and above).

    Undergraduate and graduate schools

    Evanston Campus:

    Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (1851)
    School of Communication (1878)
    Bienen School of Music (1895)
    McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science (1909)
    Medill School of Journalism (1921)
    School of Education and Social Policy (1926)
    School of Professional Studies (1933)

    Graduate and professional

    Evanston Campus

    Kellogg School of Management (1908)
    The Graduate School

    Chicago Campus

    Feinberg School of Medicine (1859)
    Kellogg School of Management (1908)
    Pritzker School of Law (1859)
    School of Professional Studies (1933)

    Northwestern University had a dental school from 1891 to May 31, 2001, when it closed.


    In 1996, Princess Diana made a trip to Evanston to raise money for the university hospital’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at the invitation of then President Bienen. Her visit raised a total of $1.5 million for cancer research.

    In 2003, Northwestern finished a five-year capital campaign that raised $1.55 billion, exceeding its fundraising goal by $550 million.

    In 2014, Northwestern launched the “We Will” campaign with a fundraising goal of $3.75 billion. As of December 31, 2019, the university has received $4.78 billion from 164,026 donors.


    In January 2009, the Green Power Partnership (sponsored by the EPA) listed Northwestern as one of the top 10 universities in the country in purchasing energy from renewable sources. The university matches 74 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of its annual energy use with Green-e Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). This green power commitment represents 30 percent of the university’s total annual electricity use and places Northwestern in the EPA’s Green Power Leadership Club. The Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN), supporting research, teaching and outreach in these themes, was launched in 2008.

    Northwestern requires that all new buildings be LEED-certified. Silverman Hall on the Evanston campus was awarded Gold LEED Certification in 2010; Wieboldt Hall on the Chicago campus was awarded Gold LEED Certification in 2007, and the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center on the Evanston campus was awarded Silver LEED Certification in 2006. New construction and renovation projects will be designed to provide at least a 20% improvement over energy code requirements where feasible. At the beginning of the 2008–09 academic year, the university also released the Evanston Campus Framework Plan, which outlines plans for future development of the university’s Evanston campus. The plan not only emphasizes sustainable building construction, but also focuses on reducing the energy costs of transportation by optimizing pedestrian and bicycle access. Northwestern has had a comprehensive recycling program in place since 1990. The university recycles over 1,500 tons of waste, or 30% of all waste produced on campus, each year. All landscape waste at the university is composted.


    Education and rankings

    Northwestern is a large, residential research university, and is frequently ranked among the top universities in the United States. The university is a leading institution in the fields of materials engineering, chemistry, business, economics, education, journalism, and communications. It is also prominent in law and medicine. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the respective national professional organizations for chemistry, psychology, business, education, journalism, music, engineering, law, and medicine, the university offers 124 undergraduate programs and 145 graduate and professional programs. Northwestern conferred 2,190 bachelor’s degrees, 3,272 master’s degrees, 565 doctoral degrees, and 444 professional degrees in 2012–2013. Since 1951, Northwestern has awarded 520 honorary degrees. Northwestern also has chapters of academic honor societies such as Phi Beta Kappa (Alpha of Illinois), Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Sigma Phi (Beta Chapter), Lambda Pi Eta, and Alpha Sigma Lambda (Alpha Chapter).

    The four-year, full-time undergraduate program comprises the majority of enrollments at the university. Although there is no university-wide core curriculum, a foundation in the liberal arts and sciences is required for all majors; individual degree requirements are set by the faculty of each school. The university heavily emphasizes interdisciplinary learning, with 72% of undergrads combining two or more areas of study. Northwestern’s full-time undergraduate and graduate programs operate on an approximately 10-week academic quarter system with the academic year beginning in late September and ending in early June. Undergraduates typically take four courses each quarter and twelve courses in an academic year and are required to complete at least twelve quarters on campus to graduate. Northwestern offers honors, accelerated, and joint degree programs in medicine, science, mathematics, engineering, and journalism. The comprehensive doctoral graduate program has high coexistence with undergraduate programs.

    Despite being a mid-sized university, Northwestern maintains a relatively low student to faculty ratio of 6:1.


    Northwestern was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1917 and is classified as an R1 university, denoting “very high” research activity. Northwestern’s schools of management, engineering, and communication are among the most academically productive in the nation. The university received $887.3 million in research funding in 2019 and houses over 90 school-based and 40 university-wide research institutes and centers. Northwestern also supports nearly 1,500 research laboratories across two campuses, predominately in the medical and biological sciences.

    Northwestern is home to the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics, Northwestern Institute for Complex Systems, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, Materials Research Center, Center for Quantum Devices, Institute for Policy Research, International Institute for Nanotechnology, Center for Catalysis and Surface Science, Buffet Center for International and Comparative Studies, the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, and the Argonne/Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center among other centers for interdisciplinary research.

    Student body

    Northwestern enrolled 8,186 full-time undergraduate, 9,904 full-time graduate, and 3,856 part-time students in the 2019–2020 academic year. The freshman retention rate for that year was 98%. 86% of students graduated after four years and 92% graduated after five years. These numbers can largely be attributed to the university’s various specialized degree programs, such as those that allow students to earn master’s degrees with a one or two year extension of their undergraduate program.

    The undergraduate population is drawn from all 50 states and over 75 foreign countries. 20% of students in the Class of 2024 were Pell Grant recipients and 12.56% were first-generation college students. Northwestern also enrolls the 9th-most National Merit Scholars of any university in the nation.

    In Fall 2014, 40.6% of undergraduate students were enrolled in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, 21.3% in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, 14.3% in the School of Communication, 11.7% in the Medill School of Journalism, 5.7% in the Bienen School of Music, and 6.4% in the School of Education and Social Policy. The five most commonly awarded undergraduate degrees are economics, journalism, communication studies, psychology, and political science. The Kellogg School of Management’s MBA, the School of Law’s JD, and the Feinberg School of Medicine’s MD are the three largest professional degree programs by enrollment. With 2,446 students enrolled in science, engineering, and health fields, the largest graduate programs by enrollment include chemistry, integrated biology, material sciences, electrical and computer engineering, neuroscience, and economics.


    Northwestern is a charter member of the Big Ten Conference. It is the conference’s only private university and possesses the smallest undergraduate enrollment (the next-smallest member, the University of Iowa, is roughly three times as large, with almost 22,000 undergraduates).

    Northwestern fields 19 intercollegiate athletic teams (8 men’s and 11 women’s) in addition to numerous club sports. 12 of Northwestern’s varsity programs have had NCAA or bowl postseason appearances. Northwestern is one of five private AAU members to compete in NCAA Power Five conferences (the other four being Duke, Stanford, USC, and Vanderbilt) and maintains a 98% NCAA Graduation Success Rate, the highest among Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

    In 2018, the school opened the Walter Athletics Center, a $270 million state of the art lakefront facility for its athletics teams.

    Nickname and mascot

    Before 1924, Northwestern teams were known as “The Purple” and unofficially as “The Fighting Methodists.” The name Wildcats was bestowed upon the university in 1924 by Wallace Abbey, a writer for the Chicago Daily Tribune, who wrote that even in a loss to the University of Chicago, “Football players had not come down from Evanston; wildcats would be a name better suited to “[Coach Glenn] Thistletwaite’s boys.” The name was so popular that university board members made “Wildcats” the official nickname just months later. In 1972, the student body voted to change the official nickname to “Purple Haze,” but the new name never stuck.

    The mascot of Northwestern Athletics is “Willie the Wildcat”. Prior to Willie, the team mascot had been a live, caged bear cub from the Lincoln Park Zoo named Furpaw, who was brought to the playing field on game days to greet the fans. After a losing season however, the team decided that Furpaw was to blame for its misfortune and decided to select a new mascot. “Willie the Wildcat” made his debut in 1933, first as a logo and then in three dimensions in 1947, when members of the Alpha Delta fraternity dressed as wildcats during a Homecoming Parade.


    Northwestern’s official motto, “Quaecumque sunt vera,” was adopted by the university in 1890. The Latin phrase translates to “Whatsoever things are true” and comes from the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians (Philippians 4:8), in which St. Paul admonishes the Christians in the Greek city of Philippi. In addition to this motto, the university crest features a Greek phrase taken from the Gospel of John inscribed on the pages of an open book, ήρης χάριτος και αληθείας or “the word full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
    Alma Mater is the Northwestern Hymn. The original Latin version of the hymn was written in 1907 by Peter Christian Lutkin, the first dean of the School of Music from 1883 to 1931. In 1953, then Director-of-Bands John Paynter recruited an undergraduate music student, Thomas Tyra (’54), to write an English version of the song, which today is performed by the Marching Band during halftime at Wildcat football games and by the orchestra during ceremonies and other special occasions.
    Purple became Northwestern’s official color in 1892, replacing black and gold after a university committee concluded that too many other universities had used these colors. Today, Northwestern’s official color is purple, although white is something of an official color as well, being mentioned in both the university’s earliest song, Alma Mater (1907) (“Hail to purple, hail to white”) and in many university guidelines.
    The Rock, a 6-foot high quartzite boulder donated by the Class of 1902, originally served as a water fountain. It was painted over by students in the 1940s as a prank and has since become a popular vehicle of self-expression on campus.
    Armadillo Day, commonly known as Dillo Day, is the largest student-run music festival in the country. The festival is hosted every Spring on Northwestern’s Lakefront.
    Primal Scream is held every quarter at 9 p.m. on the Sunday before finals week. Students lean out of windows or gather in courtyards and scream to help relieve stress.
    In the past, students would throw marshmallows during football games, but this tradition has since been discontinued.


    One of Northwestern’s most notable student charity events is Dance Marathon, the most established and largest student-run philanthropy in the nation. The annual 30-hour event is among the most widely-attended events on campus. It has raised over $1 million for charity every year since 2011 and has donated a total of $13 million to children’s charities since its conception.

    The Northwestern Community Development Corps (NCDC) is a student-run organization that connects hundreds of student volunteers to community development projects in Evanston and Chicago throughout the year. The group also holds a number of annual community events, including Project Pumpkin, a Halloween celebration that provides over 800 local children with carnival events and a safe venue to trick-or-treat each year.

    Many Northwestern students participate in the Freshman Urban Program, an initiative for students interested in community service to work on addressing social issues facing the city of Chicago, and the university’s Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI) programs, including group service-learning expeditions in Asia, Africa, or Latin America in conjunction with the Foundation for Sustainable Development.

    Several internationally recognized non-profit organizations were established at Northwestern, including the World Health Imaging, Informatics and Telemedicine Alliance, a spin-off from an engineering student’s honors thesis.


    Established in 1881, The Daily Northwestern is the university’s main student newspaper and is published on weekdays during the academic year. It is directed entirely by undergraduate students and owned by the Students Publishing Company. Although it serves the Northwestern community, the Daily has no business ties to the university and is supported wholly by advertisers.
    North by Northwestern is an online undergraduate magazine established in September 2006 by students at the Medill School of Journalism. Published on weekdays, it consists of updates on news stories and special events throughout the year. It also publishes a quarterly print magazine.
    Syllabus is the university’s undergraduate yearbook. It is distributed in late May and features a culmination of the year’s events at Northwestern. First published in 1885, the yearbook is published by Students Publishing Company and edited by Northwestern students.
    Northwestern Flipside is an undergraduate satirical magazine. Founded in 2009, it publishes a weekly issue both in print and online.
    Helicon is the university’s undergraduate literary magazine. Established in 1979, it is published twice a year: a web issue is released in the winter and a print issue with a web complement is released in the spring.
    The Protest is Northwestern’s quarterly social justice magazine.

    The Northwestern division of Student Multicultural Affairs supports a number of publications for particular cultural groups including Ahora, a magazine about Hispanic and Latino/a culture and campus life; Al Bayan, published by the Northwestern Muslim-cultural Student Association; BlackBoard Magazine, a magazine centered around African-American student life; and NUAsian, a magazine and blog on Asian and Asian-American culture and issues.
    The Northwestern University Law Review is a scholarly legal publication and student organization at Northwestern University School of Law. Its primary purpose is to publish a journal of broad legal scholarship. The Law Review publishes six issues each year. Student editors make the editorial and organizational decisions and select articles submitted by professors, judges, and practitioners, as well as student pieces. The Law Review also publishes scholarly pieces weekly on the Colloquy.
    The Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property is a law review published by an independent student organization at Northwestern University School of Law.
    The Northwestern Interdisciplinary Law Review is a scholarly legal publication published annually by an editorial board of Northwestern undergraduates. Its mission is to publish interdisciplinary legal research, drawing from fields such as history, literature, economics, philosophy, and art. Founded in 2008, the journal features articles by professors, law students, practitioners, and undergraduates. It is funded by the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies and the Office of the Provost.


    Established in January 2011, Sherman Ave is a humor website that often publishes content on Northwestern student life. Most of its staff writers are current Northwestern undergraduates writing under various pseudonyms. The website is popular among students for its interviews of prominent campus figures, Freshman Guide, and live-tweeting coverage of football games. In Fall 2012, the website promoted a satiric campaign to end the Vanderbilt University football team’s custom of clubbing baby seals.
    Politics & Policy is dedicated to the analysis of current events and public policy. Established in 2010 by students at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, and Medill School of Journalism, the publication reaches students on more than 250 college campuses around the world. Run entirely by undergraduates, it is published several times a week and features material ranging from short summaries of events to extended research pieces. The publication is financed in part by the Buffett Center.
    Northwestern Business Review is a campus source for business news. Founded in 2005, it has an online presence as well as a quarterly print schedule.
    TriQuarterly Online (formerly TriQuarterly) is a literary magazine published twice a year featuring poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, literary essays, reviews, blog posts, and art.
    The Queer Reader is Northwestern’s first radical feminist and LGBTQ+ publication.

    Radio, film, and television

    WNUR (89.3 FM) is a 7,200-watt radio station that broadcasts to the city of Chicago and its northern suburbs. WNUR’s programming consists of music (jazz, classical, and rock), literature, politics, current events, varsity sports (football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, and women’s lacrosse), and breaking news on weekdays.
    Studio 22 is a student-run production company that produces roughly ten films each year. The organization financed the first film Zach Braff directed, and many of its films have featured students who would later go into professional acting, including Zach Gilford of Friday Night Lights.
    Applause for a Cause is currently the only student-run production company in the nation to create feature-length films for charity. It was founded in 2010 and has raised over $5,000 to date for various local and national organizations across the United States.
    Northwestern News Network is a student television news and sports network, serving the Northwestern and Evanston communities. Its studios and newsroom are located on the fourth floor of the McCormick Tribune Center on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. NNN is funded by the Medill School of Journalism.

  • richardmitnick 3:39 pm on June 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Subtle Signs of Fluctuations in Critical Point Search", Analyzing data from gold ion smashups at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, Answering fundamental questions about the makeup of our universe., Basic Research, BNL RHIC’s STAR Collaboration, From collision at energies analyzed most of the data matched theorists’ models of how new nuclei would form as protons and neutrons come together through coalescence- but, From collisions at 19.6 billion election volts (GeV) and 27 GeV—the data jumped out of the baseline predicted by the model hinting at those coveted fluctuations., Marking the spot on the roadmap of nuclear phase changes., , , , RHIC physicists study how the collisions create "QGP" and how it transitions back into ordinary nuclear matter., Scientists expect that as the baryon density of matter increases it’s more likely these protons and neutrons will coalesce-or come together-to form lightweight nuclei when the QGP “freezes out.”, Searching for evidence that nails down a so-called critical point in the way nuclear matter changes from one phase to another., The "QGP"-quark-gluon plasma, , Those two data points- 19.6(GeV) and 27 GeV points-offer a combined significance that still falls below the level required to claim a physics discovery., Tracking fluctuations in the yield ratio of lightweight nuclei such as deuterons and tritons emerging from collisions within the STAR detector should be sensitive to a critical point.   

    From The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory: “Subtle Signs of Fluctuations in Critical Point Search” 

    From The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Written by Kelly Zegers

    Peter Genzer
    (631) 344-3174

    The “heart” of the STAR detector at Brookhaven’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider is the Time Projection Chamber, which tracks and identifies particles emerging from ion collisions. BNL.

    Physicists analyzing data from gold ion smashups at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, are searching for evidence that nails down a so-called critical point in the way nuclear matter changes from one phase to another.

    New findings from members of RHIC’s STAR Collaboration published in Physical Review Letters [below] hint that calculations predicting how many lightweight nuclei should emerge from collisions could help mark that spot on the roadmap of nuclear phase changes. Proof of a critical point—a point where there’s a change in the way nuclear matter transforms from one phase to another—is key to answering fundamental questions about the makeup of our universe.

    Critical point search party

    RHIC’s collisions recreate a hot, dense state of matter that existed for a tiny fraction of a second right after the Big Bang some 14 billion years ago. This matter, called a quark-gluon plasma (QGP), is a soup of “free” quarks and gluons—the building blocks of the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei. Colliding heavy ions at various energies allows RHIC physicists to study how the collisions create this primordial soup and how it transitions back into ordinary nuclear matter.

    Mapping nuclear phase changes is like studying how water changes under different conditions of temperature and pressure (net baryon density for nuclear matter). RHIC’s collisions “melt” protons and neutrons to create quark-gluon plasma (QGP). STAR physicists are exploring collisions at different energies, turning the “knobs” of temperature and baryon density, to look for signs of a “critical point.”

    To look for signs of a critical point—where the type of transition from QGP to ordinary matter changes from a smooth crossover (where two phases coexist, as when butter gradually melts on a warm day) to a sudden shift (like water suddenly boiling)—the scientists look for fluctuations in things they measure coming out of the collisions.

    A previous study [Physical Review Letters (below)] found tantalizing signs of the type of fluctuations scientists would expect around the critical point by looking at the number of net protons produced at the various collision energies. Protons, each made of three quarks, form as the QGP cools, and can serve as stand-ins for the overall baryon density (baryons being all particles made of three quarks, which also includes neutrons).

    Scientists expect that as the baryon density of matter increases it’s more likely these protons and neutrons will coalesce, or come together, to form lightweight nuclei when the QGP “freezes out.” So, in this study, they tried to track the yield of one type of lightweight nucleus known as a triton—made of one proton and two neutrons. Seeing fluctuation patterns in triton production might help them zero in on the critical point.

    As in the previous study, the data were collected by the Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC, a particle detector known as STAR, during phase one of the Beam Energy Scan (BES-I). This program recorded snapshots of collisions at various energies and temperatures from 2010 to 2017, capturing changes in the numbers and types of particles streaming out. This new analysis builds upon a paper that Brookhaven physicist Zhangbu Xu and colleagues published in 2017 [Physics Letters B (below)], predicting that the yield ratio of light nuclei such as tritons should be tied to the critical point.

    “The formation of these light nuclei requires a certain baryon density,” said Dingwei Zhang, a member of RHIC’s STAR Collaboration and PhD student at CCNU. “If the system is approaching the critical point, the baryon density fluctuates a lot. So, we wanted to see through this analysis if we will see the fluctuations, therefore pin down the critical point.”

    Tracking fluctuations in the yield ratio of lightweight nuclei such as deuterons and tritons emerging from collisions within the STAR detector should be sensitive to a critical point. The data (red points) mostly match predictions (shaded areas), but two outlying points may be signs of the types of fluctuations scientists expect to see around the critical point.

    The data at most of the collision energies analyzed matched theorists’ models of how new nuclei would form as protons and neutrons come together through coalescence. But at two points—from collisions at 19.6 billion election volts (GeV) and 27 GeV—the data jumped out of the baseline predicted by the model, hinting at those coveted fluctuations.

    The points offer a combined significance that still falls below the level required to claim a physics discovery.

    “We hoped this analysis would be sensitive to the critical point,” Luo said. “We are very happy to see these outliers here and it’s certainly encouraging. Eventually, if the critical point exists in the energy range we covered, all these observables should give a consistent signal.”

    Researchers are looking forward to seeing what analyses of a plethora of additional collision data will show. In 2021, the STAR collaboration successfully completed the second phase of the Beam Energy Scan (BES II), which captured gold smashup snapshots at various RHIC energies, including the lowest energy of 3 GeV.

    “We hope that the BES II data will help us enhance the sensitivity to a critical point signal,” Luo said. “With higher statistics, we may be able to reach the level of significance required to claim a discovery. And that would be big.”

    The research was funded by the DOE Office of Science (NP), the U.S. National Science Foundation, and a range of international organizations and agencies listed in the scientific paper.

    Physical Review Letters
    Physical Review Letters 2021
    Physics Letters B 2017
    See this science paper for instructive material with images.
    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the The DOE Office of Science, The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.

    Research at BNL specializes in nuclear and high energy physics, energy science and technology, environmental and bioscience, nanoscience and national security. The 5300 acre campus contains several large research facilities, including the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider [below] and National Synchrotron Light Source II [below]. Seven Nobel prizes have been awarded for work conducted at Brookhaven lab.

    BNL is staffed by approximately 2,750 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support personnel, and hosts 4,000 guest investigators every year. The laboratory has its own police station, fire department, and ZIP code (11973). In total, the lab spans a 5,265-acre (21 km^2) area that is mostly coterminous with the hamlet of Upton, New York. BNL is served by a rail spur operated as-needed by the New York and Atlantic Railway. Co-located with the laboratory is the Upton, New York, forecast office of the National Weather Service.

    Major programs

    Although originally conceived as a nuclear research facility, Brookhaven Lab’s mission has greatly expanded. Its foci are now:

    Nuclear and high-energy physics
    Physics and chemistry of materials
    Environmental and climate research
    Energy research
    Structural biology
    Accelerator physics


    Brookhaven National Lab was originally owned by the Atomic Energy Commission and is now owned by that agency’s successor, the United States Department of Energy (DOE). DOE subcontracts the research and operation to universities and research organizations. It is currently operated by Brookhaven Science Associates LLC, which is an equal partnership of Stony Brook University and Battelle Memorial Institute. From 1947 to 1998, it was operated by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), but AUI lost its contract in the wake of two incidents: a 1994 fire at the facility’s high-beam flux reactor that exposed several workers to radiation and reports in 1997 of a tritium leak into the groundwater of the Long Island Central Pine Barrens on which the facility sits.


    Following World War II, the US Atomic Energy Commission was created to support government-sponsored peacetime research on atomic energy. The effort to build a nuclear reactor in the American northeast was fostered largely by physicists Isidor Isaac Rabi and Norman Foster Ramsey Jr., who during the war witnessed many of their colleagues at Columbia University leave for new remote research sites following the departure of the Manhattan Project from its campus. Their effort to house this reactor near New York City was rivalled by a similar effort at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to have a facility near Boston, Massachusetts. Involvement was quickly solicited from representatives of northeastern universities to the south and west of New York City such that this city would be at their geographic center. In March 1946 a nonprofit corporation was established that consisted of representatives from nine major research universities — Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, and Yale University.

    Out of 17 considered sites in the Boston-Washington corridor, Camp Upton on Long Island was eventually chosen as the most suitable in consideration of space, transportation, and availability. The camp had been a training center from the US Army during both World War I and World War II. After the latter war, Camp Upton was deemed no longer necessary and became available for reuse. A plan was conceived to convert the military camp into a research facility.

    On March 21, 1947, the Camp Upton site was officially transferred from the U.S. War Department to the new U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), predecessor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

    Research and facilities

    Reactor history

    In 1947 construction began on the first nuclear reactor at Brookhaven, the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor. This reactor, which opened in 1950, was the first reactor to be constructed in the United States after World War II. The High Flux Beam Reactor operated from 1965 to 1999. In 1959 Brookhaven built the first US reactor specifically tailored to medical research, the Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor, which operated until 2000.

    Accelerator history

    In 1952 Brookhaven began using its first particle accelerator, the Cosmotron. At the time the Cosmotron was the world’s highest energy accelerator, being the first to impart more than 1 GeV of energy to a particle.

    BNL Cosmotron 1952-1966.

    The Cosmotron was retired in 1966, after it was superseded in 1960 by the new Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS).

    BNL Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS).

    The AGS was used in research that resulted in 3 Nobel prizes, including the discovery of the muon neutrino, the charm quark, and CP violation.

    In 1970 in BNL started the ISABELLE project to develop and build two proton intersecting storage rings.

    The groundbreaking for the project was in October 1978. In 1981, with the tunnel for the accelerator already excavated, problems with the superconducting magnets needed for the ISABELLE accelerator brought the project to a halt, and the project was eventually cancelled in 1983.

    The National Synchrotron Light Source operated from 1982 to 2014 and was involved with two Nobel Prize-winning discoveries. It has since been replaced by the National Synchrotron Light Source II. [below].

    BNL National Synchrotron Light Source.

    After ISABELLE’S cancellation, physicist at BNL proposed that the excavated tunnel and parts of the magnet assembly be used in another accelerator. In 1984 the first proposal for the accelerator now known as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)[below] was put forward. The construction got funded in 1991 and RHIC has been operational since 2000. One of the world’s only two operating heavy-ion colliders, RHIC is as of 2010 the second-highest-energy collider after the Large Hadron Collider (CH). RHIC is housed in a tunnel 2.4 miles (3.9 km) long and is visible from space.

    On January 9, 2020, it was announced by Paul Dabbar, undersecretary of the US Department of Energy Office of Science, that the BNL eRHIC design has been selected over the conceptual design put forward by DOE’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility [Jlab] as the future Electron–ion collider (EIC) in the United States.

    In addition to the site selection, it was announced that the BNL EIC had acquired CD-0 from the Department of Energy. BNL’s eRHIC design proposes upgrading the existing Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, which collides beams light to heavy ions including polarized protons, with a polarized electron facility, to be housed in the same tunnel.

    Other discoveries

    In 1958, Brookhaven scientists created one of the world’s first video games, Tennis for Two. In 1968 Brookhaven scientists patented Maglev, a transportation technology that utilizes magnetic levitation.

    Major facilities

    Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), which was designed to research quark–gluon plasma and the sources of proton spin. Until 2009 it was the world’s most powerful heavy ion collider. It is the only collider of spin-polarized protons.

    Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), used for the study of nanoscale materials.

    BNL National Synchrotron Light Source II, Brookhaven’s newest user facility, opened in 2015 to replace the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), which had operated for 30 years. NSLS was involved in the work that won the 2003 and 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, a particle accelerator that was used in three of the lab’s Nobel prizes.
    Accelerator Test Facility, generates, accelerates and monitors particle beams.
    Tandem Van de Graaff, once the world’s largest electrostatic accelerator.

    Computational Science resources, including access to a massively parallel Blue Gene series supercomputer that is among the fastest in the world for scientific research, run jointly by Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University-SUNY.

    Interdisciplinary Science Building, with unique laboratories for studying high-temperature superconductors and other materials important for addressing energy challenges.
    NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, where scientists use beams of ions to simulate cosmic rays and assess the risks of space radiation to human space travelers and equipment.

    Off-site contributions

    It is a contributing partner to the ATLAS experiment, one of the four detectors located at the The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH)[CERN] Large Hadron Collider(LHC). Credit: CERN.

    The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH)[CERN] map. Credit: CERN.

    It is currently operating at The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH) [CERN] near Geneva, Switzerland.

    Brookhaven was also responsible for the design of the Spallation Neutron Source at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee.

    DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory Spallation Neutron Source annotated.

    Brookhaven plays a role in a range of neutrino research projects around the world, including the Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment (CN) nuclear power plant, approximately 52 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong and 45 kilometers east of Shenzhen, China.

    Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment (CN) nuclear power plant, approximately 52 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong and 45 kilometers east of Shenzhen, China .

  • richardmitnick 1:11 pm on June 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Treasure hunt", A search for rare earth minerals might begin by looking for an unusual kind of carbon-rich rock called a carbonatite., Africa collided with North America to form the Appalachian Mountains [but see John McPhee “In Suspect Terrain” which posits not one but four orogenies which created what we have today]., , Basic Research, , Earth Mapping Resources Initiative, , Few topics draw more bipartisan support in Washington D.C. than the need for the United States to find reliable sources of “critical minerals”- a collection of 50 mined substances including “rar, For decades companies had been moving mining operations abroad in part to avoid relatively stringent U.S. environmental regulations., , , Having high-quality large-scale data in the public domain will drive new ideas and new discoveries., Last decade when lawmakers began to ask USGS about U.S. supplies the response was unsettling: The agency did not even know where to look., , , , The first U.S. nationwide geological survey in a generation could reveal badly needed supplies of critical minerals., The list: Yttrium Lanthanum Cerium Praseodymium Neodymium Promethium Samarium Europium Gadolinium Terbium Dysprosium Holmium Erbium Thulium Ytterbium Lutetium Scandium, These days no mineral may be more critical than the lithium-not a "rare earth"., , U.S. is “undermapped” compared with most developed countries including Australia and Canada and even Ireland. “We’re at an embarrassing point.”   

    From “Science Magazine” : “Treasure hunt” 

    From “Science Magazine”

    Paul Voosen

    The first U.S. nationwide geological survey in a generation could reveal badly needed supplies of critical minerals

    The U.S. Geological Survey is funding mapping of metamorphic rocks in eastern Alaska that are likely to hold a number of critical minerals, including rare earths. Adrian Bender/U.S. Geological Survey.

    From the air, Maine is a uniform sea of green: Forests cover 90% of the state. But beneath the foliage and the dirt lies an array of geological terrains that is far more diverse, built from the relics of volcanic islands that collided with North America hundreds of millions of years ago.

    Two years ago, sensor-laden aircraft began to survey these geochemically rich terrains for precious minerals. Researchers spotted an anomalous signal streaming out of Pennington Mountain, 50 kilometers from the Canadian border. State geologists bushwhacked through the paper mill–bound pine forests, taking rock samples. They eventually uncovered deposits containing billions of dollars’ worth of zirconium, niobium, and other elements that are critical in electronics, defense, and renewable energy technologies.

    The anomaly at Pennington Mountain is visible in the geophysical data collected in aerial surveys conducted in 2021. Sources/Usage: Public Domain.
    Above mapping:

    Anjana K Shah
    Research Geophysicist
    Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center

    Alex Demas
    Public Affairs Specialist
    Communications and Publishing

    “It was a perfect discovery,” says John Slack, an emeritus scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) who worked on the Maine find. He expects more like it. “We think there’s potential throughout the Appalachians.”

    Great Appalachian Valley
    Newfoundland and Labrador, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Québec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

    A remarkable feature of the belt is the longitudinal chain of broad valleys, including the Great Appalachian Valley, which in the southerly sections divides the mountain system into two unequal portions.

    Few topics draw more bipartisan support in Washington, D.C., than the need for the United States to find reliable sources of “critical minerals,” a collection of 50 mined substances that now come mostly from other countries, including some that are unfriendly or unstable. The list, created by USGS at the direction of Congress, contains not only the 17 rare earth elements produced mostly in China, but also less exotic materials such as zinc, used to produce steel, and cobalt, used in electric car batteries. “These commodities are necessary for everything,” says Sarah Ryker, USGS’s associate director for energy and minerals. “They’re also a flashpoint for conflict.”

    The list: Yttrium Lanthanum Cerium Praseodymium Neodymium Promethium Samarium Europium
    Gadolinium Terbium Dysprosium Holmium Erbium Thulium Ytterbium Lutetium Scandium

    But last decade, when lawmakers began to ask USGS about U.S. supplies, the response was unsettling: The agency didn’t even know where to look. For decades, companies had been moving mining operations abroad, in part to avoid relatively stringent U.S. environmental regulations. The basic exploration needed to identify mineral resources and spur corporate interest had languished. The last nationwide survey, a quest for uranium, ended in the 1980s. Ryker says the U.S. is “undermapped” compared with most developed countries, including Australia, Canada, and even Ireland. “We’re at an embarrassing point.”

    To start filling in this knowledge void, USGS in 2019 began what it calls the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative, or Earth MRI. With a modest $10 million annual budget, the agency began working with state geological surveys to digitize data and commission fieldwork to map the most promising terrain in fine detail.

    Then, in 2021, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law directed $320 million into the program—nearly one-third of the entire USGS budget—to be spent over 5 years. That spending has already enabled hundreds of survey flights, and it is opening a golden age for economic geology. It is also a boon for basic science—filling in gaps in geologic history, identifying unknown earthquake faults, and revealing geothermal systems. “We’re seeing a renaissance throughout the whole country,” says Virginia McLemore, an economic geologist at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. “I’ve been training all my life to get to this point.”

    The discoveries could spur a rash of mining, and environmentalists are wary. If USGS spots promising ore systems, companies will have to show that they can develop them safely and with minimal environmental impact, says Melissa Barbanell, director of U.S.-international engagement at the World Resources Institute, an environmental nonprofit. “It can never be zero harm,” she says. “But how can we minimize the harm and keep it to the mine itself?”

    Mining companies, meanwhile, are embracing Earth MRI. Donald Hicks, a geophysicist at global mining giant Rio Tinto, which has dozens of operations worldwide but only a few in the U.S., says he has encouraged fellow miners to collaborate and share data with the program. Rio Tinto even funded some USGS flights in Montana, in return for 1 year’s exclusive access to the data. “Having this high-quality, large-scale data in the public domain will drive new ideas and new discoveries,” Hicks says.

    For most of the history of mining, the origin story of a mineral lode was beside the point. Prospectors found it and miners dug it up. But by now, most of the obvious finds are gone, says Anne McCafferty, a USGS geophysicist. “The low-hanging fruit has been picked.”

    This scarcity has pushed Earth MRI into adopting a “mineral systems” approach, first pioneered in Australia, that attempts to predict where critical minerals might be found based on the processes that form them. For example, a search for rare earth minerals might begin by looking for an unusual kind of carbon-rich rock called a carbonatite, which often contains pockets of rare earths formed when it crystallized out of lava. Or geologists might seek out clay-rich rocks or sediments that can capture concentrations of the rare earths after water erodes them from a source rock. Prospectors would also look for signs that these ore rocks were preserved across the eons.

    To assemble these telltale rock histories, USGS scientists need to integrate a variety of information sources. Some already exist: large-scale geological maps based on decades of fieldwork, and surveys of the deep structure of rock formations based on the reflections of seismic waves from artificial or natural earthquakes.

    Earth MRI’s airborne surveys, with flights just 100 meters above the surface, will add much more detail and inform a new generation of sharper geologic maps. One tool affixed to the aircraft is a magnetometer, which detects rocks rich in iron and other magnetic minerals—often a clue that they hold critical minerals. Another is a gamma ray spectrometer, which like a Geiger counter can capture the radiation emitted by thorium, uranium, and potassium. Those elements frequent the same volcanic rocks as rare earth minerals and are often incorporated into their crystal structures. Other aircraft carry laser altimeters that can map surface relief to reveal geologic history. And a pioneering “hyperspectral” instrument developed by NASA can identify minerals exposed on the surface based on the specific wavelengths of light they absorb. In the combined data, “You can see all the geology underneath,” says Anjana Shah, the USGS geophysicist leading the agency’s East Coast airborne surveys. “It’s a very powerful way of understanding the Earth.”

    In early forays, Earth MRI aircraft criss-crossed North and South Carolina, tracing the ancient roots of the landscape. Hidden beneath the states’ tobacco farms are fossilized beaches that mark shorelines left during the warm periods between past ice ages, when sea levels were higher than today. Laser altimeter maps capturing subtle relief bloom with those shorelines and the paleorivers that dissected them, says Kathleen Farrell, a geomorphologist at the North Carolina Geological Survey. “There’s a lot more coastal plain than anyone thought.”

    The ancient beaches hold deposits of black sands, eroded from mountains and deposited by rivers, that are rich in heavy elements. By combining the new airborne data collected by Shah with field mapping and boreholes drilled to sample the deep sediments, Farrell and her colleagues hope to learn how the Carolina sands originated. They want to know how the coastal plains were assembled over time, why the heavy sands formed only during certain periods, and where upriver those sands came from. The answers should help guide geologists to new heavy metal deposits; similar sites in northern Florida are among the few commercial sources of titanium in the U.S.

    The airborne campaigns in South Carolina will have another benefit, Shah adds: They flew over Charleston, collecting magnetic data that, by identifying shifts and offsets in subsurface rocks, reveal the hidden seismic faults that ruptured in 1886 in an earthquake as large as magnitude 7. Such a quake, if it struck again today, would cause billions of dollars in damage.

    This year, an Earth MRI survey covering parts of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, and Indiana will probe another mysterious seismic zone. Buried under kilometers of sediment lurks the Reelfoot Rift, a gash in the continent’s bedrock likely created some 750 million years ago when the Rodinia supercontinent began to crack apart. In 1811 and 1812, faults tied to this rift caused the New Madrid earthquakes, the largest to ever strike the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. But despite the potential hazard, the fault zone remains poorly understood.

    The Reelfoot and nearby bedrock deformations not only create hazards; they also create opportunities for minerals to form. The rifts provided conduits for magma to well up much later in geologic time, when Africa collided with North America to form the Appalachian Mountains [but see John McPhee “In Suspect Terrain” which posits not one but four orogenies which created what we have today]. This magma is thought to have expelled gases that flowed into limestones, chemically altering them. One result is the fluorspar district of southern Illinois, which once produced a majority of the country’s fluorite—used to smelt steel and create hydrofluoric acid.

    Those magma injections could have played a role in creating Hicks Dome, which rises 1 kilometer above the Illinois countryside and is the closest thing the state has to a volcano. Jared Freiburg, critical minerals chief for the Illinois State Geological Survey, calls it “a crazy magmatic cryptovolcanic explosive structure.” It pops out as a magnetic anomaly in USGS airborne data, and cores drilled from the dome are rich in rare earth minerals. Geochemical tracers from the cores hint that deposits deeper in the dome were formed from carbonatites—the unusual volcanic rocks associated with the world’s best rare earth deposits. “It’s like a kitchen sink of critical minerals there,” McCafferty says.

    The midcontinent surveys could also help geologists assess another resource: natural hydrogen, a clean-burning fuel. Currently, all hydrogen is manufactured, but some researchers believe, contrary to conventional wisdom, that Earth produces and traps vast stores of the gas. The iron-rich volcanic rocks of the Reelfoot are exactly the kind that could produce hydrogen. Yaoguo Li, a geophysicist at the Colorado School of Mines, is developing a Department of Energy (DOE) grant proposal to prospect for hydrogen source rocks with the USGS data. “We have not done anything yet,” he says. “But I can see there’s so much we can do.”

    Besides identifying resources to extract, the surveys could pay other dividends. They are pinpointing the steel casings of abandoned oil and gas wells that often leak greenhouse gases. They will help identify porous rock reservoirs, bounded by faults, that could hold carbon dioxide captured from smokestacks, keeping it out of the atmosphere. And they could also map variations in the radioactive rocks that emit radon gas, a health hazard.

    These days, no mineral may be more critical than the lithium, used in cellphone and electric car batteries, that moves an ever-increasing number of the world’s electrons. Yet only one lithium mine exists in the U.S., in Nevada, and its raw lithium is sent abroad for processing. The state has potential to hold much, much more, and could become an international lithium “epicenter,” says James Faulds, Nevada’s state geologist.

    Lithium is often found in igneous rocks—magma that crystallized in the crust or lava that cooled on the surface. Many of the known lithium deposits are in the state’s north, in the McDermitt caldera, a volcanic crater formed 16 million years ago by the deep-Earth hot spot currently fueling Yellowstone. Rainwater falling within the caldera or hot water from below has concentrated lithium within caldera clay deposits to levels not seen elsewhere, in other eruptions of the Yellowstone hot spot. “Why did this mineralization happen?” asks Carolina Muñoz-Saez, a geologist at the University of Nevada, Reno. She and her collaborators are studying the geochemistry of the lithium and the clays to find out whether the element was formed and concentrated during the eruption itself by superheated water or whether the concentration came later, as water infiltrated the caldera’s ash-rich rocks. The answer could lead the geologists to other, equally rich deposits.

    Mountain Pass in California is the only U.S. mine producing rare earth elements. The U.S. Geological Survey hopes the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative will encourage more mining.TMY350/Wikimedia Commons.

    Earth MRI has already shown that lithium prospectors need not stick to calderas. Field geologists have found rocks that seem to be rich in lithium in basins bounded by tectonically uplifted blocks of crust. Nevada, famous for its “basin and range” topography, has a lot of places like that, Faulds says. Even better, the basins tend to host systems of hot brine, a potential source of geothermal power—one reason DOE is funding surveys in the state, says Jonathan Glen, a USGS geophysicist.

    Just south of Nevada, DOE has similarly invested in USGS flights over California’s Salton Sea, which is being stretched apart by the movement of the Northern American and Pacific tectonic plates, leaving the crust thin and hot.

    A woman walks along the shore of the Salton Sea in Southern California Robert Alexander / Getty Images

    “Temperatures are really high,” Glen says. “There’s huge geothermal potential.” Beyond mapping potential lithium deposits and geothermal sites, the surveys have also found new faults at the southern end of the San Andreas, and what appear to be buried volcanoes beneath the Salton Sea. “This is brand new stuff,” Glen says. “We didn’t know any of this.”

    The mineral stibnite is the ore for antimony, used in batteries.Niki Wintzer/USGS.

    Those insights come from magnetometer, radiometric, and laser altimeter flights. But Earth MRI is also planning hyperspectral surveys that will scan the treeless, arid surface for pay dirt. Lithium and rare earth elements, for example, have strong spectral reflections; and other signatures can reveal the iron or clay minerals associated with lithium or other minerals. Beyond prospecting, the data will be valuable for spotting volcanic hazards. Those include rocks on the flanks of volcanoes that have been altered into soft clays by melting snow and heat, says Bernard Hubbard, a remote-sensing geologist at USGS. “Those become unstable—and then they collapse.”

    Besides identifying the rock formations likely to hold mineral deposits, Earth MRI has accelerated USGS efforts to detect valuable resources left behind in tailings from defunct copper or iron mines. Last decade, Shah spotted the distinctive radioactive signatures of rare earths in such piles in Mineville, a hamlet in New York. With state geological agencies, USGS is compiling a national database of mine waste sites, along with methods for researchers to assess the waste’s mineral potential. “What’s the point of digging another hole in the ground if you can remine the rocks?” asks Darcy McPhee, Earth MRI’s program coordinator at USGS.

    Those lingering tailings piles are a reminder of the environmental damage mining can do. For decades, the U.S. avoided environmental debates over mining by outsourcing it to other countries. The new consensus is that work should happen here, Ryker says. “But that means we have to deal with the conflict.” The survey will reveal new resources. But the rest is up to us, she says. “How much should we develop? That’s a much more complicated question.”

    Those questions are now unfolding, state by state. In Nevada, lithium prospecting is booming, spurred by the Inflation Reduction Act’s mandate that electric cars must use some U.S.-sourced minerals for buyers to get a tax credit. But in Maine, legislators enacted a strict mining law in 2017, when the state’s largest landowner, the Canadian forestry company J.D. Irving, considered exploiting reserves of gold, silver, and copper found on its lands. Following the discovery of rare earth deposits at Pennington Mountain and lithium elsewhere in the state, lawmakers are now considering amending the law to allow some responsible mining.

    Given the demands of green technology and the imperative to lower carbon emissions, many environmental groups are softening their stance on critical-mineral mining, Barbanell says. This exploitation doesn’t have to go on forever, she adds. Unlike coal, which must be mined indefinitely as it’s burned, the minerals used for batteries and wind turbines can almost always be recycled—as long as policymakers push for their reuse.

    Slack would also welcome some mining. He retired to Maine for its natural splendor, but until recycling can cover society’s needs, critical mineral exploitation needs to happen somewhere. “We cannot have a low carbon future and green tech without mining,” he says. “It’s not an option. It’s a necessity. It’s essential.”

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 10:37 am on June 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Bright young supernova now visible in Messier 101", , , , Basic Research, , Messier 101 stretches about 22′ across and sits just over 20 million light-years away., Take your small scope out tonight to view the aftermath of a massive star’s death., The new supernova called SN 2023ixf, When a massive star dies it goes out with a bang creating a stunningly bright explosion that can temporarily change the look of the night sky.   

    From “Astronomy Magazine” : “Bright young supernova now visible in Messier 101” 

    From “Astronomy Magazine”

    Alison Klesman

    The box on this image shows the spot where the bright, new supernova SN 2023ixf has appeared in Messier 101. Credit: [-ChristiaN-] (Flickr)

    The bright supernova SN 2023ixf (identified with the vertical lines) was recently discovered in spiral galaxy Messier 101. Credit: Dominique Dierick (Flickr)

    Take your small scope out tonight to view the aftermath of a massive star’s death.

    When a massive star dies, it goes out with a bang, creating a stunningly bright explosion that can temporarily change the look of the night sky. The brightest and closest may be visible with the naked eye, but even those in distant galaxies can be easily spotted with amateur equipment from your backyard. And now, just such an opportunity has appeared: A supernova just went off in the nearby spiral galaxy Messier 101 (NGC 5457) and you can find it tonight in the sky.

    According to NASA, the new supernova, called SN 2023ixf, was first spotted by Koichi Itagaki on May 19. Itagaki discovered the supernova when it was magnitude 14.9, though it quickly brightened over the weekend. After the blast had been identified, astronomers went back through data from the Zwicky Transient Facility and found the first evidence of the supernova two days before that.

    Now that it’s appeared, SN 2023ixf is expected to remain visible in a telescope for months, offering an amazing and unique target for your telescope all summer long.

    Finding Messier 101 and its supernova

    Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are extra-lucky: Messier 101 is located in the circumpolar constellation Ursa Major, meaning it’s always above the horizon. No matter when your observing session starts, it will be up in the sky for you to find, and you can also start looking for it as soon as darkness falls.

    Messier 101 lies in Ursa Major near the last two stars in the Big Dipper’s handle. Credit: Alison Klesman (via TheSkyX)

    The galaxy sits near the end of the Big Dipper’s handle, forming the apex of a triangle with the last two stars in the handle, magnitude 2.2 Mizar and magnitude 1.9 Alkaid, as the base. Draw a line between these two stars, stop halfway along, and look about 4.5° northeast. You’ll land right on 8th-magnitude Messier 101, often called the Pinwheel Galaxy because its face-on nature shows off its stunning spiral arms.

    Messier 101 stretches about 22′ across and sits just over 20 million light-years away. That’s pretty close, by cosmic standards, which means its supernova should be easy to spot. The bright point of light lies just southwest of NGC 5461, a bright knot of glowing hydrogen gas in the galaxy’s southeastern arm. If you have a go-to scope, you can dial in the supernova’s exact coordinates if you like: According to the American Association of Variable Star Observer’s (AAVSO) alert notice, SN 2023ixf is located at R.A. 14h03m38.58s, Dec. 54°18’42.1″. Alternatively, if you start at the nucleus of the galaxy Messier 101, SN 2023ixf is about 228″ east and 134″ south of this point.

    But while you’ll need a good-sized scope to pull out a lot of detail in the galaxy itself, the supernova is so bright — last reported as magnitude 11 on the 23rd — that you’ll see the bright “star” even in a small (4-inch or so) scope! You can continue to follow the supernova’s progress here. If you’re an experienced astroimager or have your own spectroscope, you can even submit your observations to the AAVSO to help astronomers study this event over time.
    An exciting find

    Although it’s millions of light-years away, SN 2023ixf is the closest supernova that has occurred within the past five years. Because it is so close — and so young — astronomers will be eagerly following its evolution. Studying such events, specifically classified as type II supernovae (to differentiate them from their white dwarf, type Ia brethren), gives us a window into how massive stars die and what becomes of them afterward. And a notice published May 20 on The Astronomer’s Telegram has even suggested a possible progenitor star, weighing in at some 15 times the mass of the Sun.

    Regardless of the scientific discoveries yet to come, for now, SN 2023ixf presents the perfect springtime target for your backyard telescope tonight!

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Astronomy is a magazine about the science and hobby of Astronomy. Based near Milwaukee in Waukesha, Wisconsin, it is produced by Kalmbach Publishing. Astronomy’s readers include those interested in astronomy and those who want to know about sky events, observing techniques, astrophotography, and amateur astronomy in general.

    Astronomy was founded in 1973 by Stephen A. Walther, a graduate of The University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point and amateur astronomer. The first issue, August 1973, consisted of 48 pages with five feature articles and information about what to see in the sky that month. Issues contained astrophotos and illustrations created by astronomical artists. Walther had worked part time as a planetarium lecturer at The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and developed an interest in photographing constellations at an early age. Although even in childhood he was interested to obsession in Astronomy, he did so poorly in mathematics that his mother despaired that he would ever be able to earn a living. However, he graduated in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and as a senior class project he created a business plan for a magazine for amateur astronomers. With the help of his brother David, he was able to bring the magazine to fruition. He died in 1977.

  • richardmitnick 7:08 pm on June 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Robots to the Rescue", "TideRider", A/R "CUREE", A/S/V "Alvin", A/S/V "ChemYak", A/S/V "wave glider", A/U/V "Sentry", A/U/V's "Orpheus" and "Eurydice", A/V "Clio", Any individual robot can only do so much., , Basic Research, , , Fleets of long-lived inexpensive robots can fill in the gaps and in some cases already are., , Having access to so much data is changing the game., NOAA "Argo" floats, Ocean and Climate Innovation Accelerator consortium, Ocean robots have grown into new roles., Ocean Vital Signs Network, , OceanX’s M/V "Alucia", One of the major limiting factors for today’s ocean robots is power., One possibility is to allow robots to recharge at underwater docking stations., R/O/V ”Jason”, , Robots are a vital tool for ocean science and their role has only grown over time., Robots of the future will be integral parts of understanding and helping to address some of the biggest challenges facing the ocean., Scientists will never stop wanting a vehicle that can take people to the deep sea to do science in a real 3D space., The technological innovations needed to make this future a reality are not insignificant., , There is a lot of potential for artificial intelligence to make breakthroughs., WHOI "Slocum glider"   

    From The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: “Robots to the Rescue” 

    From The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

    Laura Castanon

    A/R CUREE uses outstretched hydrophones to listen to the sounds of coral reefs in St. John of the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Photo by Austin Greene, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    To monitor changes in a rapidly warming Arctic, scientists deploy A/S/V ChemYak in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where it uses an array of sensors to measure the rapid release of greenhouse gases in the spring thaw. (Photos by William Pardis, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    Victoria Preston watched as ChemYak, a robotic kayak rigged with sensors, navigated the shallow, ice-filled waters of Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, Canada. Preston, a doctoral student at the time, was working with a team of researchers looking into the release of greenhouse gases in the Arctic during the annual spring thaw. ChemYak allowed the team to take thousands of in situ measurements, instead of needing to bring water samples back to the lab.

    When we think about the power of putting instruments on robotic machines that can place those instruments optimally, it’s so different than the oceanography of just a few decades ago,” says Preston, who is now a postdoctoral investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “Having access to so much data is changing the game in many fields.”

    Robots are a vital tool for ocean science and their role has only grown over time. The first videos of deep-sea hydrothermal vents and the unexpected plethora of life they support were taken in 1977 by A/S/V Alvin, WHOI’s crewed submersible.

    Since then, researchers have been able to explore details of the seafloor through remotely operated vehicles (R/O/V’s) like Jason, which are tethered to a ship, or map areas of it with autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) like Sentry, sent out on preprogrammed missions.

    With improved longevity, battery life, processing power, and intelligence, ocean robots have grown into new roles. Some are jacks-of-all trades, with swappable sensor packages for different missions, and others are specialists designed for under-ice exploration or other harsh environments. They act as scouts, explorers, warning systems, monitors, and, increasingly, scientific partners.

    “I don’t think we’ll ever stop wanting a vehicle that can take people to the deep sea to do science in a real, 3D space, but there are a lot of ways that we want to take measurements in the ocean that don’t require us to go out there,” says Anna Michel, chief scientist of WHOI’s National Deep Submergence Facility. “Because of big problems like climate change, there’s a lot of need for technology to monitor the oceans. We’re nowhere near having too many robots.”

    As designs and technology continue to evolve, robots of the future will be integral parts of understanding and helping to address some of the biggest challenges facing the ocean, including the climate crisis, dying coral reefs, and other damages caused by human activity.

    To monitor changes in a rapidly warming Arctic, scientists deploy A/S/VChemYak in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where it uses an array of sensors to measure the rapid release of greenhouse gases in the spring thaw. (Photos by William Pardis, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    But the technological innovations needed to make this future a reality are not insignificant. We need ocean robots that are affordable, independent, long-lasting, networked, and loaded with sensors. We need the capacity to store, process, and transmit vast amounts of data. We need long-lasting batteries and charging stations powered by renewable energy sources. And we need all of this at an unprecedented scale.

    Monitoring a changing ocean

    Robotic platforms like ChemYak provide valuable access to hard-to-reach places and are great for investigating specific events or areas. But their deployments are measured in hours, not weeks or months—researchers have to make sure they’re in the right place at the right time. To make accurate predictions for the ocean and our planet as the climate continues to change, we need to combine these local observations with consistent, long-term data sets to reveal both ongoing changes and sporadic or seasonal events.

    [Hint: Engage ESA’s Copernicus mission.
    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Copernicus mission


    Researchers and research vessels can’t be everywhere at once, but fleets of long-lived, inexpensive robots can fill in the gaps and, in some cases, already are. Around 4,000 Argo floats drift through the world’s oceans, recording temperature and salinity profiles through the water column, which help us predict and track extreme weather.

    Argo float. Credit: NOAA

    Scientific buoys, moored and drifting, collect data on the air-sea interactions that produce El Niño events and alert us to everything from tsunami waves to endangered marine mammals. Torpedo-shaped gliders loaded with sensors coast through different layers of the ocean for months at a time, improving predictions of tropical storm and hurricane intensity, while helping us understand the ocean’s currents, which play a critical role in our climate system.

    Ocean robots are heading towards longer endurances, shore launch, and autonomous recovery capabilities, at-sea maintenance—these trends have been going on for a long time, but some of them are finally maturing,” says Mike Jakuba, a senior engineer at WHOI. “I don’t see research ships or ship-launched A/U/V’s ever going away, but operations are going to become more autonomous and less people-intensive at sea.”

    One of the major limiting factors for today’s ocean robots is power. Engineers often have to make trade-offs between a robot’s capabilities—which sensors it uses, how quickly it travels, what information it can process on board—and how long it can operate independently.

    Jakuba is collaborating with researchers at WHOI and the University of Washington on a low-power system to improve undersea navigation for ocean gliders, autonomous robots that use changes in their buoyancy to cruise slowly through the ocean.

    Slocum glider. Credit: WHOI.

    Typically, underwater navigation systems use a lot of power. To avoid that, ocean gliders only get an accurate location when they surface and connect to satellites. Underwater, they navigate by dead reckoning—estimating their position based on where they started and the speed and direction they have traveled. This type of navigation doesn’t account for ocean currents, so a glider’s estimated location can be off by several kilometers.

    WHOI engineers Mike Jakuba and Victor Naklicki inspect a battery pack while working on A/V Clio, a robot designed for deep-ocean mapping and biochemical sampling. (Photo by Daniel Hentz, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    “Gliders have been a very successful platform for collecting profiles of salinity, temperature, and other things in the water column,” Jakuba says. “But if we had more precision navigation, it would open up new possibilities.”

    Gliders could, for example, be sent out to survey the seafloor to identify the locations of methane seeps or hydrothermal vents. Researchers are still studying how these seafloor phenomena and the unique ecosystems around them affect ocean chemistry and circulation, and understanding their quantity and locations could help improve ocean models and climate predictions.

    The researchers have created an extremely low-power navigation system for ocean gliders by pairing them with an A/S/V called a “wave glider”. The wave glider, which is powered by wave and solar energy, broadcasts a simple acoustic signal under the water and the ocean gliders use that to determine where they are in the water column.

    “If you want to move the ocean glider on the bottom, you would move the wave glider—it follows like a dog on a leash,” Jakuba says. “It speaks to this vision of longer-term robots working in parallel with one another in a scalable system, getting away from the model of needing a ship.”

    Empowering communities

    Closer to shore, volunteers often lead water quality monitoring efforts, collecting samples by hand. As robotic technologies become less expensive and more commercially available, coastal communities may be able to build simple ocean robots to get a better idea of what’s going on in their own backyard. Over the past four years, Jakuba has been working with a local high school student, Patrick McGuire, to design and build an inexpensive coastal profiling float known as the TideRider that can monitor changing ocean conditions.

    Climate change is warming the waters of Cape Cod Bay, shifting seasonal patterns and allowing new species of phytoplankton to bloom and decompose, potentially causing deadly low-oxygen zones along the bottom. One such event occurred in September of 2019, when fishermen in southern Cape Cod Bay started hauling up trap after trap of dead lobsters. A blob of hypoxic water—water with very little oxygen—had formed along the bottom of the bay and any animal that couldn’t escape it had suffocated. If the fishermen had known about the hypoxic water, they could have placed their traps in other areas.

    The TideRider [no image available] was originally designed to help aid in the public understanding of the coastal ocean and to foster a sense of stewardship, but a small fleet of them could also provide continuous data throughout the bay, forming the basis of an alert system for changing conditions. They can be programmed over cell networks to move between the seafloor and the surface, using favorable tides to drift to new locations. And, the instrument costs less than $1,000 to build and can carry sensors to detect dissolved oxygen levels or other water quality data.

    “What we’re imagining is a hypoxia alert system where the TideRider would sit on the seafloor and if the oxygen dips below the level where it’s going to cause fish kills, for example, then it would come to the surface and at least warn you,” Jakuba says.

    Robots as emergency responders

    When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in April of 2010, millions of gallons of oil began gushing out of a damaged seafloor well in the Gulf of Mexico. In the months that followed, as cleanup workers tried to contain and disperse the spill, robots were sent down to survey the damage and help track the currents that would spread the plume of oil. Although they were the best available instruments for the job, none of them had been designed with this sort of emergency in mind. In the years that followed, government agencies and researchers started considering better tools to respond to oil spills.

    WHOI research engineer Amy Kukulya (left in grouping) braces with members of the United States Coast Guard as a USCG Jayhawk prepares to transport a Long-Range AUV (LRAUV) off its cradle during a test deployment in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. (Photo by Daniel Hentz, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    WHOI engineer Kevin Nikolaus stands in between two Long-Range AUV (LRAUV) robots being modified with different sensors in the Scibotics Lab inside the George and Wendy David Center for Ocean Innovation. (Photo by Daniel Hentz, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    The importance of this has only grown as shipping traffic expands in the Arctic and melting ice opens potential new routes for commercial vessels. An oil spill in the Arctic, where resources are scarce and oil may be moving under ice, could be disastrous.

    “Previously, if we got a call that there was a ship that hit an iceberg in northern Alaska waters, we wouldn’t get there quickly,” says Amy Kukulya, a research engineer at WHOI. “There were no assets around to be able to respond to the oil spill.” Kukulya is working with collaborators at WHOI and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) to address this issue. They have been designing and testing a Long-Range AUV, or LRAUV [above], that can be deployed quickly—via helicopter, if necessary—to track and collect data on oil spills or other environmental hazards. The propeller-driven cylindrical robot can sniff out dissolved hydrocarbons (evidence of an oil spill) and other environmental anomalies under ice and stay out for more than two weeks at a time, helping emergency responders determine where a hazard is headed and how cleanup efforts should be deployed.


    “We’ve been working on reliability, software, intelligence, and endurance,” Kukulya says. “And the idea of being able to recharge once you get your robot to the Arctic.”

    One possibility is to allow robots to recharge at underwater docking stations, either on a mooring in the ice or something anchored to the seafloor. After a mission, an A/U/V could return to its dock and attach itself to recharge before heading out again. A dock could even hold multiple LRAUVs intended to work together as a survey fleet. The researchers have already developed docks that allow the robots to wait for retrieval or further instructions, but current versions do not include the ability to recharge the robots yet. Kukulya says that capability will be a critical addition down the line.

    Kukulya and her colleagues are also investigating the possibility of using multiple types of robots in tandem. An A/U/V could survey under the water while a drone spots oil slicks from the air, with a sea-surface robot facilitating communication between the two.

    The LRAUV is already an impressively flexible platform. It has several modes of movement, including hovering in place, swimming through the water column like a glider, and conducting lawnmower-style surveys. The researchers can turn various sensors on and off to save battery life. When searching for a sunken ship leaking oil, for example, the vehicle might start with only its hydrocarbon sensor on. Once it picks up a trail, it might turn on a sensor that could take samples or turn on a camera to collect images.

    By building these options into a rapid-response tool, the researchers have made it simple to change mission parameters on-the-fly. When a nor’easter rolled in while the LRAUV was surveying a shipwreck, instead of packing up and going home, Kukulya and her team switched on a new set of sensors and collected a storms-worth of data about air-sea interactions instead. It’s a platform that could be used to track harmful algal blooms—which contain toxins that can make people and animals sick—map undersea salinity fronts that affect commercial fisheries, or study any number of other ocean anomalies.

    “I’m really excited to have some measurable impact and collect the kind of baseline data that people can learn from and then directly apply,” Kukulya says. “If we can prove that vehicles are reliable and we can run them without much overhead, and we can use the data they send back to shore to make informed decisions, then we can start to get more and more people interested in and investing in ocean technology.”

    Working smarter, not harder

    Hovering above the fragile and complex terrain of a coral reef, CUREE (Curious Underwater Robot for Ecosystem Exploration) focuses its front-facing cameras on a barracuda. The fish glides easily through the water, crossing a sandy patch and touring another group of corals before returning to float, mouth open, at a cleaning station where small fish will pick parasites and dead tissue from its teeth. Throughout the route, CUREE follows, occasionally losing track of the silvery shape but always finding it again.

    “We have been able to follow things like barracudas, stingrays, and some other smaller animals like triggerfish and jacks visually, without any tags,” says Yogi Girdhar, an associate scientist at WHOI. “We can’t follow everything, yet—it’s a very difficult problem to follow things around, especially in a coral reef.”

    Girdhar wants to use this technology, which was developed in his lab by MIT-WHOI Joint Program student Levi Cai, to guide reef restoration efforts. Changes in animal behavior could be an early indicator that a reef is damaged or stressed. Or, if species return to their usual patterns, it could show that coral planting efforts have successfully restored an ecosystem’s function, not just its appearance.

    “The goal should be to restore a reef to something like a rich, old-growth forest environment,” Girdhar says. “We can use artificial intelligence to discover patterns in how these species are interacting with the environment, and identify how these patterns change with external influences like climate change or pollution or invasive species.”

    But teaching a robot to follow fish around is tricky. The robot has to be able to think on its own—avoiding obstacles, finding the right angle to approach without spooking an animal, deciding how close is too close, and keeping track of a moving shape through a dynamic environment. It’s a task that requires the kind of artificial intelligence that most ocean robots don’t have.

    “If we can nail this technology, it’ll be a game changer for how we understand not just marine animals and their behavior, but also the ecosystem they’re in,” Girdhar says.

    Tracking individual animals is just one aspect of Girdhar’s work to turn CUREE into a full-fledged scientific partner. He is also training the robot to identify and monitor biodiversity hotspots on a reef for more accurate surveys and to seek out rare phenomena, the kinds of unexpected discoveries that researchers sometimes stumble on, and investigate them the way any curious scientist would.

    “There is a lot of potential for artificial intelligence to make breakthroughs, helping ocean scientists model and understand these ecosystems in different ways,” Girdhar says. “And that can help us with restoration efforts.”

    While a fully intelligent, curious, autonomous robot would be the ultimate scientific partner, even small amounts of intelligent decision-making could make robots more effective explorers. Orpheus, the first of a new class of A/U/V’s at WHOI that can land and take samples in the deepest parts of the ocean, isn’t currently doing much thinking on its own. But the researchers have plans to make the robot increasingly independent. The first steps in that process will be to program Orpheus to change its behavior when its sensors detect whatever the researchers are interested in (akin to the LRAUV following the scent of hydrocarbons), but eventually Orpheus will be able to make simple judgement calls based on what it sees.

    “The five-to-ten-year vision is to start working on image processing,” says Casey Machado, a research engineer at WHOI and one of Orpheus’ designers. “Since we already have all of the computer smarts and the data pipelines in the vehicle to look at images and be able to analyze them, we can start to teach Orpheus to be smarter about how it uses that information.”

    A/U/V Orpheus sits on the deck of OceanX’s M/V Alucia during a mission in 2018. (Photo by Luis Lamar, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    If Orpheus was sent to take a sediment core sample of the seafloor, for example, the robot could use the images it recorded to determine whether the sediment was too rocky to take a core where it was originally sent. The robot could move slightly and try again, saving a trip to the surface with an empty core barrel.

    Orpheus was built to be a portable, affordable, and flexible platform. The robot can be flown where it’s needed and launched from a small research vessel. Right now, there are two Orpheus A/U/V’s (named Orpheus and Eurydice), but the hope is to have a small fleet of them that can be chartered for deep-sea scientific missions or helping small countries explore and understand their own waters. Adding levels of autonomy will only make it more capable.

    Of course, it’s always good to have an analog backup plan, Machado says. On one of Orpheus’ test dives, the vehicle ran through its battery life faster than expected and stopped responding. Fortunately, the engineers simply had to wait—weights on the bottom of Orpheus were secured with metal clips intended to corrode away in salt water. After a few hours, the weights dropped and Orpheus bobbed cheerfully backed to the surface for recovery.

    “Literally everything else had gone wrong,” Machado says. “But you can always count on the laws of physics applying and corrosion working.”

    An internet of the ocean

    Any individual robot can only do so much. Like any individual scientist, it can only be in one place at a time, but when it shares information and collaborates, it can achieve much more. As we confront the climate crisis, we will need the combined power of all the robotic technologies researchers have been developing.

    The ocean stores a large portion of the excess carbon dioxide we have produced by the burning of fossil fuels, and it may be able to hold more, helping to slow the effects of climate change while we transition to renewable energies. WHOI is working to design a large-scale, full-depth, high-resolution network of robots and sensors in the North Atlantic to monitor ocean changes and track carbon in the ocean and atmosphere. The Ocean Vital Signs Network (OSVN), which would cover roughly one million square kilometers of ocean, would function as a test-bed to study the potential efficacy and impacts of ocean-based carbon dioxide removal (CDR) efforts.

    “It makes no sense at all to pursue CDR if you can’t prove that it works,” said Peter de Menocal, president and director of WHOI, during a TEDx talk in Boston. “This Ocean Vital Signs Network, this internet of the ocean, allows us to do that.”

    Many of the technologies necessary to find, evaluate, and deploy climate solutions already exist, or are in development. But refining and implementing them at the necessary scale will require partnerships between governments, industry, philanthropy, and multiple research organizations. The Ocean and Climate Innovation Accelerator (OCIA) consortium, launched by WHOI and Analog Devices, Inc. in 2021, is laying out a roadmap for what these cross-industry partnerships could look like.

    “We recognized the collective combination of Analog Devices, Inc., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and other like-minded industry players can help us all accelerate the pace of innovation necessary for finding climate solutions,” says Dan Leibholz, chief technology officer for Analog Devices, Inc. “We are on a mission to create a ‘solutions engine’ that leverages people, projects, and places to respond to a wide range of urgent climate challenges, and mobilizes science and engineering brainpower to solve them.”

    The consortium is supporting projects that will advance ocean sensing, optimize technology development, tackle large-scale data processing and lead to real-world impacts—all the developments that ocean robots need to effectively tackle climate change.

    “We live on an ocean planet, so it should come as no surprise that understanding the ocean is going to be key for climate solutions,” de Menocal said. “We have a responsibility and an opportunity to revolutionize our understanding of the oceans and to drive new understanding that’s going to help us lead these solutions.”

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission Statement

    The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.

    Vision & Mission

    The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.

    The Institution is organized into six departments, the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research, and a marine policy center. Its shore-based facilities are located in the village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts and a mile and a half away on the Quissett Campus. The bulk of the Institution’s funding comes from grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation and other government agencies, augmented by foundations and private donations.

    WHOI scientists, engineers, and students collaborate to develop theories, test ideas, build seagoing instruments, and collect data in diverse marine environments. Ships operated by WHOI carry research scientists throughout the world’s oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels (R/V Atlantis and R/V Neil Armstrong); the coastal craft Tioga; small research craft such as the dive-operation work boat Echo; the deep-diving human-occupied submersible Alvin; the tethered, remotely operated vehicle Jason/Medea; and autonomous underwater vehicles such as the REMUS and SeaBED.

    WHOI offers graduate and post-doctoral studies in marine science. There are several fellowship and training programs, and graduate degrees are awarded through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. WHOI is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges . WHOI also offers public outreach programs and informal education through its Exhibit Center and summer tours. The Institution has a volunteer program and a membership program, WHOI Associate.

    On October 1, 2020, Peter B. de Menocal became the institution’s eleventh president and director.


    In 1927, a National Academy of Sciences committee concluded that it was time to “consider the share of the United States of America in a worldwide program of oceanographic research.” The committee’s recommendation for establishing a permanent independent research laboratory on the East Coast to “prosecute oceanography in all its branches” led to the founding in 1930 of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    A $2.5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation supported the summer work of a dozen scientists, construction of a laboratory building and commissioning of a research vessel, the 142-foot (43 m) ketch R/V Atlantis, whose profile still forms the Institution’s logo.

    WHOI grew substantially to support significant defense-related research during World War II, and later began a steady growth in staff, research fleet, and scientific stature. From 1950 to 1956, the director was Dr. Edward “Iceberg” Smith, an Arctic explorer, oceanographer and retired Coast Guard rear admiral.

    In 1977 the institution appointed the influential oceanographer John Steele as director, and he served until his retirement in 1989.

    On 1 September 1985, a joint French-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution identified the location of the wreck of the RMS Titanic which sank off the coast of Newfoundland 15 April 1912.

    On 3 April 2011, within a week of resuming of the search operation for Air France Flight 447, a team led by WHOI, operating full ocean depth autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) owned by the Waitt Institute discovered, by means of sidescan sonar, a large portion of debris field from flight AF447.

    In March 2017 the institution effected an open-access policy to make its research publicly accessible online.

    The Institution has maintained a long and controversial business collaboration with the treasure hunter company Odyssey Marine. Likewise, WHOI has participated in the location of the San José galleon in Colombia for the commercial exploitation of the shipwreck by the Government of President Santos and a private company.

    In 2019, iDefense reported that China’s hackers had launched cyberattacks on dozens of academic institutions in an attempt to gain information on technology being developed for the United States Navy. Some of the targets included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The attacks have been underway since at least April 2017.

  • richardmitnick 2:15 pm on June 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Colorful Kuiper Belt puzzle solved by University of Hawai’i-Manoa researchers", , , Basic Research, , , Objects observed in the Kuiper Belt exhibit a more unique color range than any other solar system population ranging from white to dark reddish., Scientists have speculated that the coloration is likely the result of prolonged exposure to the radiation of organic materials by galactic cosmic rays.,   

    From The University of Hawai’i-Manoa: “Colorful Kuiper Belt puzzle solved by University of Hawai’i-Manoa researchers” 

    From The University of Hawai’i-Manoa


    Aromatic structures linked through unsaturated hydrocarbon chains drive the color variety of hydrocarbon rich surfaces of Kuiper Belt objects. UHawai’i.

    The Kuiper Belt is a massive disk of icy bodies, including Pluto, that is located just outside of Neptune’s orbit in our solar system.

    Objects observed in the Kuiper Belt exhibit a more unique color range than any other solar system population ranging from white to dark reddish. While the source of this diversity in colors is unknown, scientists have speculated that it is likely the result of the prolonged exposure to radiation of organic materials by galactic cosmic rays.

    A new study led by researchers in University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Department of Chemistry has replicated the environment in the Kuiper Belt to discover what is causing the array of colors in hydrocarbon-rich surfaces of Kuiper Belt objects, providing a solution to a long-standing problem in astrophysics. The study was published in Science Advances [below] on May 31.

    The research team led by Professor Ralf I. Kaiser performed the cutting-edge research at UH Mānoa. They used ultrahigh vacuum irradiation experiments and conducted comprehensive analyses to examine the color evolution and their source on the molecular level as galactic cosmic rays processed hydrocarbons, such as methane and acetylene, under Kuiper Belt-like conditions.

    Aromatic (organic molecules with fused benzene rings) structural units carrying up to three rings, for example in chemical compounds phenanthrene, phenalene and acenaphthylene, connected by hydrogen-deficient bridges among each other were found to play a key role in producing reddish colors. The UH experiments demonstrated the level of molecular complexity of galactic cosmic rays processing hydrocarbons and provided insight into the role played by ices exposed to radiation in the early production of biological precursor molecules, a molecule that participates in a chemical reaction that produces another molecule.

    “This research is a critical first step to systematically unravel the carriers of the molecular units responsible for hydrocarbon-rich surfaces of Kuiper Belt objects,” Kaiser said. “Since astronomical detections also detected, e.g., ammonia, water, and methanol, on the surfaces of Kuiper Belt objects, further experiments on the cosmic ray processing of these ices hopefully reveal the nature of the true color diversity of Kuiper Belt objects on the molecular level.”

    The research team consisted of Ralf I. Kaiser, Chaojiang Zhang, Cheng Zhu, Andrew M. Turner and Ivan O. Antonov from UH Mānoa; Adrien D. Garcia and Cornelia Meinert from Côte d’Azur University in France; Leslie A. Young from the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado; and David C. Jewitt from UCLA, who previously worked at UH’s Institute for Astronomy.

    Science Advances

    Fig. 1. UV-vis reflectance spectra collected during the irradiation of 13C-acetylene (13C2H2) and 13C-methane (13CH4) ices.
    (A) 13C2H2 ice irradiated at 10 K. (B) 13C2H2 ice irradiated at 40 K. (C) 13CH4 ice irradiated at 10 K. (D) 13CH4 ice irradiated at 20 K. All the spectra were normalized at 550 nm.

    Fig. 2. Comparison of the color from irradiated 13C-acetylene (13C2H2) and 13C-methane (13CH4) ices with KBOs.
    (A) Color slopes of irradiated 13C-acetylene (13C2H2) and 13C-methane (13CH4). (B) Color-color diagram comparing irradiated 13C-acetylene (13C2H2) and 13C-methane (13CH4) at different doses with KBOs. The colors of 10 K 13C2H2 (square), 40 K 13C2H2 (circle), 10 K 13CH4 (triangle), and 20 K 13CH4 (pentagon) are obtained from their UV-vis spectra. The gray circle indicates the color of the Sun. (C) Images of the residues for 13C-acetylene (13C2H2) ices irradiated at 10 K at distinct doses recorded after annealing the ices to 300 K.

    See the science paper for further instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    System Overview

    The University of Hawai‘i includes 10 campuses and dozens of educational, training and research centers across the Hawaiian Islands. As the public system of higher education in Hawai‘i, UH offers opportunities as unique and diverse as our Island home.

    The 10 UH campuses and educational centers on six Hawaiian Islands provide unique opportunities for both learning and recreation.

    UH is the State’s leading engine for economic growth and diversification, stimulating the local economy with jobs, research and skilled workers.

    The University of Hawaiʻi system is a public college and university system that confers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees through three university campuses, seven community college campuses, an employment training center, three university centers, four education centers and various other research facilities distributed across six islands throughout the state of Hawaii in the United States. All schools of the University of Hawaiʻi system are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The U.H. system’s main administrative offices are located on the property of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Honolulu CDP.

    The University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa is the flagship institution of the University of Hawaiʻi system. It was founded as a land-grant college under the terms of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. Programs include Hawaiian/Pacific Studies, Astronomy, East Asian Languages and Literature, Asian Studies, Comparative Philosophy, Marine Science, Second Language Studies, along with Botany, Engineering, Ethnomusicology, Geophysics, Law, Business, Linguistics, Mathematics, and Medicine. The second-largest institution is the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo on the “Big Island” of Hawaiʻi, with over 3,000 students. The University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu in Kapolei primarily serves students who reside in Honolulu’s western and central suburban communities. The University of Hawaiʻi Community College system comprises four community colleges island campuses on O’ahu and one each on Maui, Kauaʻi, and Hawaiʻi. The schools were created to improve accessibility of courses to more Hawaiʻi residents and provide an affordable means of easing the transition from secondary school/high school to college for many students. University of Hawaiʻi education centers are located in more remote areas of the State and its several islands, supporting rural communities via distance education.

    Research facilities

    Center for Philippine Studies
    Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi
    East-West Center
    Haleakalā Observatory
    Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute
    Institute for Astronomy
    Institute of Geophysics and Planetology
    Institute of Marine Biology
    Lyon Arboretum
    Mauna Kea Observatory
    W. M. Keck Observatory
    Waikīkī Aquarium

    University of Hawaii 2.2 meter telescope.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth.

    W.M. Keck Observatory two ten meter telescopes operated by California Institute of Technology and the University of California Mauna Kea Hawaii, altitude 4207 m (13802 ft). Credit: Caltech.

    The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes near the summit of Maunakea on the island of Hawai’i feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrographs and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

    Pann-STARS 1 Telescope, U Hawaii, situated at Haleakala Observatories near the summit of Haleakala in Hawaii, altitude 3052 m (10013 ft).

  • richardmitnick 12:14 pm on June 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "In a First Caltech's Space Solar Power Demonstrator Wirelessly Transmits Power in Space", "SSPP": Caltech's "Space Solar Power Project", A Momentus Vigoride spacecraft launched aboard a SpaceX rocket on the Transporter-6 mission carried 50-kilogram SSPD to space., , “ALBA”: a collection of 32 different types of photovoltaic cells to enable an assessment of the types of cells that are the most effective in the punishing environment of space., , , Basic Research, , MAPLE features two separate receiver arrays located about a foot away from the transmitter to receive the energy and convert it to direct current (DC) electricity., , SSPP aims to harvest solar power in space and transmit it to the Earth's surface., SSPP will deploy a constellation of modular spacecraft that collect sunlight and transform it into electricity and then convert it to microwaves that will be transmitted to wherever it is needed., , The transmitted energy was detected by a receiver on the roof of the Gordon and Betty Moore Laboratory of Engineering on Caltech's campus in Pasadena.   

    From The California Institute of Technology: “In a First Caltech’s Space Solar Power Demonstrator Wirelessly Transmits Power in Space” 

    Caltech Logo

    From The California Institute of Technology


    Credit: Caltech.

    A space solar power prototype that was launched into orbit in January is operational and has demonstrated its ability to wirelessly transmit power in space and to beam detectable power to Earth for the first time.

    Wireless power transfer was demonstrated by “MAPLE”, one of three key technologies being tested by the Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD-1), the first space-borne prototype from Caltech’s “Space Solar Power Project” (SSPP). SSPP aims to harvest solar power in space and transmit it to the Earth’s surface.

    How Does Wireless Power Transfer Work?

    “MAPLE”, short for “Microwave Array for Power-transfer Low-orbit Experiment” and one of the three key experiments within SSPD-1, consists of an array of flexible lightweight microwave power transmitters driven by custom electronic chips that were built using low-cost silicon technologies. It uses the array of transmitters to beam the energy to desired locations. For SSPP to be feasible, energy transmission arrays will need to be lightweight to minimize the amount of fuel needed to send them to space, flexible so they can fold up into a package that can be transported in a rocket, and a low-cost technology overall.

    MAPLE was developed by a Caltech team led by Ali Hajimiri, Bren Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering and co-director of SSPP.

    Space Solar Power Demonstrator

    “Through the experiments we have run so far, we received confirmation that MAPLE can transmit power successfully to receivers in space,” Hajimiri says. “We have also been able to program the array to direct its energy toward Earth, which we detected here at Caltech. We had, of course, tested it on Earth, but now we know that it can survive the trip to space and operate there.”

    Using constructive and destructive interference between individual transmitters, a bank of power transmitters is able to shift the focus and direction of the energy it beams out—without any moving parts. The transmitter array uses precise timing-control elements to dynamically focus the power selectively on the desired location using the coherent addition of electromagnetic waves. This enables the majority of the energy to be transmitted to the desired location and nowhere else.

    Photo from space of the interior of MAPLE, with the transmission array to the right and the receivers to the left. Credit: SSPP.

    MAPLE features two separate receiver arrays located about a foot away from the transmitter to receive the energy, convert it to direct current (DC) electricity, and use it to light up a pair of LEDs to demonstrate the full sequence of wireless energy transmission at a distance in space. MAPLE tested this in space by lighting up each LED individually and shifting back and forth between them. The experiment is not sealed, so it is subject to the harsh environment of space, including the wide temperature swings and solar radiation that will be faced one day by large-scale SSPP units.

    “To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever demonstrated wireless energy transfer in space even with expensive rigid structures. We are doing it with flexible lightweight structures and with our own integrated circuits. This is a first,” says Hajimiri.

    MAPLE also includes a small window through which the array can beam the energy. The transmitted energy was detected by a receiver on the roof of the Gordon and Betty Moore Laboratory of Engineering on Caltech’s campus in Pasadena. The received signal appeared at the expected time and frequency, and had the right frequency shift as predicted based on its travel from orbit.

    Detecting power from MAPLE on the roof of Moore Laboratory. Credit: Ali Hajimiri.

    Beyond a demonstration that the power transmitters could survive the launch (which took place on January 3) and space flight, and still function, the experiment has provided useful feedback to SSPP engineers. The power transmission antennas are clustered in groups of 16, each group driven by one entirely custom flexible integrated circuit chip, and Hajimiri’s team now is assessing the performance of individual elements within the system by evaluating the interference patterns of smaller groups and measuring difference between various combinations. The painstaking process—which can take up to six months to fully complete—will allow the team to sort out irregularities and trace them back to individual units, providing insight for the next generation of the system.

    Space solar power provides a way to tap into the practically unlimited supply of solar energy in outer space, where the energy is constantly available without being subjected to the cycles of day and night, seasons, and cloud cover—potentially yielding eight times more power than solar panels at any location on Earth’s surface. When fully realized, SSPP will deploy a constellation of modular spacecraft that collect sunlight, transform it into electricity, then convert it to microwaves that will be transmitted wirelessly over long distances to wherever it is needed—including locations that currently have no access to reliable power.

    “The flexible power transmission arrays are essential to the current design of Caltech’s vision for a constellation of sail-like solar panels that unfurl once they reach orbit,” says Sergio Pellegrino, Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor of Aerospace and Civil Engineering and co-director of SSPP.

    “In the same way that the internet democratized access to information, we hope that wireless energy transfer democratizes access to energy,” Hajimiri says. “No energy transmission infrastructure will be needed on the ground to receive this power. That means we can send energy to remote regions and areas devastated by war or natural disaster.”

    SSPP got its start in 2011 after philanthropist Donald Bren, chairman of Irvine Company and a lifetime member of the Caltech Board of Trustees, first learned about the potential for space-based solar energy manufacturing as a young man in an article in the magazine Popular Science. Intrigued by the potential for space solar power, in 2011, Bren approached Caltech’s then-president Jean-Lou Chameau to discuss the creation of a space-based solar power research project. In the years to follow, Bren and his wife, Brigitte Bren, also a Caltech trustee, agreed to make the donation to fund the project. The first of the donations to Caltech (which will eventually exceed $100 million in support for the project and endowed professorships) was made through the Donald Bren Foundation.

    “The hard work and dedication of the brilliant scientists at Caltech have advanced our dream of providing the world with abundant, reliable and affordable power for the benefit of all humankind,” Bren says.

    “The transition to renewable energy, critical for the world’s future, is limited today by energy storage and transmission challenges. Beaming solar power from space is an elegant solution that has moved one step closer to realization due to the generosity and foresight of the Brens,” says Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum. “Donald Bren has presented a formidable technical challenge that promises a remarkable payoff for humanity: a world powered by uninterruptible renewable energy.”

    In addition to the support received from the Brens, Northrop Grumman Corporation also provided Caltech $12.5 million over three years through a sponsored research agreement between 2014 and 2017 that supported for the development of technology and advancement of science for the project.

    “Demonstration of wireless power transfer in space using lightweight structures is an important step toward space solar power and broad access to it globally,” says Harry Atwater, Otis Booth Leadership Chair of Division of Engineering and Applied Science; Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science; Director of the Liquid Sunlight Alliance; and one of the principal investigators of the project. “Solar panels already are used in space to power the International Space Station, for example, but to launch and deploy large enough arrays to provide power to Earth, SSPP has to design and create solar power energy transfer systems that are ultra-lightweight, cheap, and flexible.”

    Individual SSPP units will fold up into packages about 1 cubic meter in volume and then unfurl into flat squares about 50 meters per side, with solar cells on one side facing toward the sun and wireless power transmitters on the other side facing toward Earth.

    A Momentus Vigoride spacecraft launched aboard a SpaceX rocket on the Transporter-6 mission carried 50-kilogram SSPD to space. Momentus is providing ongoing hosted payload support to Caltech, including providing data, communication, commanding and telemetry, and resources for optimal picture taking and solar cell lighting. The entire set of three prototypes within the SSPD was envisioned, designed, built, and tested by a team of about 35 individuals—faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and undergrads—in labs at Caltech.

    SSPD has two main experiments besides MAPLE: DOLCE (Deployable on-Orbit ultraLight Composite Experiment), a structure measuring 6 feet by 6 feet that demonstrates the architecture, packaging scheme, and deployment mechanisms of the modular spacecraft; and “ALBA”, a collection of 32 different types of photovoltaic cells to enable an assessment of the types of cells that are the most effective in the punishing environment of space. The ALBA tests of solar cells are ongoing, and the SSPP has not yet attempted to deploy DOLCE as of press time. Results from those experiments are expected in the coming months.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The California Institute of Technology is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is one among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

    The California Institute of Technology was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, The California Institute of Technology was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of National Aeronautics and Space Administration ‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which The California Institute of Technology continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.

    The California Institute of Technology has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at The California Institute of Technology. Although The California Institute of Technology has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks, student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The The California Institute of Technology Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

    As of October 2020, there are 76 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with The California Institute of Technology, including 40 alumni and faculty members (41 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes). In addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with The California Institute of Technology. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies. Four Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as National Aeronautics and Space Administration. According to a 2015 Pomona College study, The California Institute of Technology ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.


    The California Institute of Technology is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Caltech was elected to The Association of American Universities in 1934 and remains a research university with “very high” research activity, primarily in STEM fields. The largest federal agencies contributing to research are National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Defense, and Department of Energy.

    In 2005, The California Institute of Technology had 739,000 square feet (68,700 m^2) dedicated to research: 330,000 square feet (30,700 m^2) to physical sciences, 163,000 square feet (15,100 m^2) to engineering, and 160,000 square feet (14,900 m^2) to biological sciences.

    In addition to managing NASA-JPL/Caltech , The California Institute of Technology also operates the Caltech Palomar Observatory; The Owens Valley Radio Observatory;the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory; the W. M. Keck Observatory at the Mauna Kea Observatory; the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington; and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory in Corona del Mar, California. The Institute launched the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at The California Institute of Technology in 2006; the Keck Institute for Space Studies in 2008; and is also the current home for the Einstein Papers Project. The Spitzer Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center located on The California Institute of Technology campus, is the data analysis and community support center for NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope [no longer in service].

    The California Institute of Technology partnered with University of California-Los Angeles to establish a Joint Center for Translational Medicine (UCLA-Caltech JCTM), which conducts experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

    The California Institute of Technology operates several Total Carbon Column Observing Network stations as part of an international collaborative effort of measuring greenhouse gases globally. One station is on campus.

  • richardmitnick 10:48 am on June 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Supercomputer simulations provide a better picture of the Sun’s magnetic field", , , , Basic Research, , , , The new findings challenge the conventional understanding of solar dynamics and could improve predictions of solar weather in the future.   

    From Aalto University [Aalto-yliopisto] (FI) And The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [MPG Institut für Sonnensystemforschung](DE): “Supercomputer simulations provide a better picture of the Sun’s magnetic field” 

    From Aalto University [Aalto-yliopisto] (FI)


    The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [MPG Institut für Sonnensystemforschung](DE)

    1.6.23 [Just today in social media.]

    The new findings challenge the conventional understanding of solar dynamics and could improve predictions of solar weather in the future.

    Computer simulation of magnetic structures in solar-like conditions. Image: Jörn Warnecke.

    The Sun’s strong, dynamic magnetic field can catapult huge jets of plasma known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) out into the solar system.

    Sometimes these hit Earth, where they can knock out power grids and damage satellites. Scientists don’t fully understand how magnetic fields are generated and amplified inside the Sun, but a study recently published in Nature Astronomy [below] answers one of the fundamental questions about this complex process. By clarifying the dynamics behind solar weather, these findings could help predict major solar events a few days earlier, providing vital extra time for us to prepare.

    The Sun’s magnetism comes from a process known as the solar dynamo. It consists of two main parts, the large-scale dynamo and the small-scale dynamo, neither of which scientists have been able to fully model yet. In fact, scientists aren’t even sure whether a small-scale dynamo could exist in the conditions found in the Sun. Addressing that uncertainty is important, because a small-scale dynamo would have a large effect on solar dynamics.

    In the new study, scientists at Aalto University and the MPG Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) tackled the small-scale dynamo question by running massive computer simulations on petascale supercomputers in Finland and Germany. The joint computing power enabled the team to directly simulate whether the Sun could have a small-scale dynamo.

    ‘Using one of the largest possible computing simulations currently available, we achieved the most realistic setting to date in which to model this dynamo,’ says Maarit Korpi-Lagg, astroinformatics group leader and associate professor at Aalto University’s Department of Computer Science. ‘We showed not only that the small-scale dynamo exists but also that it becomes more feasible as our model more closely resembles the Sun.’

    Some previous studies have suggested that the small-scale dynamo might not work under the conditions found in stars like the Sun, which have a very low magnetic Prandtl number (PrM), a measure used in fluid and plasma physics to compare how quickly variations in the magnetic field and velocities even out. Korpi-Lagg’s research team modeled conditions of turbulence with unprecedentedly low PrM values and found that, contrary to what has been thought, a small-scale dynamo can occur at such low values.

    ‘This is a major step towards understanding magnetic field generation in the Sun and other stars,’ says Jörn Warnecke, a senior postdoctoral researcher at MPS. ‘This result will bring us closer to resolving the riddle of CME formation, which is important for devising protection for the Earth against hazardous space weather.’

    The research group is currently expanding their study to even lower magnetic Prandtl number values using GPU-accelerated code on the new pan-European pre-exascale supercomputer LUMI.

    Next, they plan to study the interaction of the small-scale dynamo with the large-scale dynamo, which is responsible for the 11-year solar cycle.

    Nature Astronomy

    Fig. 1: Visualization of flow and SSD solution.
    Flow speed (left) and magnetic field strength (right) from a high-resolution SSD-active run with Re = 18,200 and PrM = 0.01 on the surface of the simulation box.

    Fig. 2: SSD growth rate as function of the fluid and magnetic Reynolds numbers (Re and ReM).
    The diamonds represent the results of this work and the triangles represent the results of [ref. 10*]. The colour coding indicates the value of the normalized growth rate λτ with τ = 1/urmskf, a rough estimate for the turnover time. The dotted lines indicate constant magnetic Prandtl number PrM. The white circles indicate zero growth rate for certain PrM, obtained from fitting for the critical magnetic Reynolds number, as shown in Fig. 3; fitting errors are signified by yellow-black bars (Supplementary Section 5). The background colours, including the thin black line (zero growth), are assigned via linear interpolation of the simulation data. The green dashed line shows the power-law fit of the critical ReM for PrM ≤ 0.08, with power 0.125 (Fig. 3b).

    See the science paper for further instructive material with images.

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [MPG Institut für Sonnensystemforschung] (DE) has had an eventful history – with several moves, changes of name, and structural developments. The first prototype of the current institute was founded in 1934 in Mecklenburg; it moved to Katlenburg-Lindau in 1946. Not just the location of the buildings changed – the topic of research also moved, from Earth to outer space. In the first decades the focus of research was the stratosphere and ionosphere of the Earth, but since 1997 the institute exclusively researches the physics of planets and the Sun. In January 2014 the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research has relocated to it’s new home: a new building in Göttingen close to the Northern Campus of the University of Göttingen [Georg-August-Universität Göttingen] (DE).

    The MPG Society for the Advancement of Science [MPG Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.](DE) is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes founded in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and renamed the Max Planck Society in 1948 in honor of its former president, theoretical physicist Max Planck. The society is funded by the federal and state governments of Germany as well as other sources.

    According to its primary goal, the MPG Society supports fundamental research in the natural, life and social sciences, the arts and humanities in its 83 (as of January 2014) MPG Institutes. The society has a total staff of approximately 17,000 permanent employees, including 5,470 scientists, plus around 4,600 non-tenured scientists and guests. Society budget for 2015 was about €1.7 billion.

    The MPG Institutes focus on excellence in research. The MPG Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization, with 33 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists, and is generally regarded as the foremost basic research organization in Europe and the world. In 2013, the Nature Publishing Index placed the MPG institutes fifth worldwide in terms of research published in Nature journals (after Harvard University, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and The National Institutes of Health). In terms of total research volume (unweighted by citations or impact), the Max Planck Society is only outranked by The Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院](CN), The Russian Academy of Sciences [Росси́йская акаде́мия нау́к](RU) and Harvard University. The Thomson Reuters-Science Watch website placed the MPG Society as the second leading research organization worldwide following Harvard University, in terms of the impact of the produced research over science fields.

    The MPG Society and its predecessor Kaiser Wilhelm Society hosted several renowned scientists in their fields, including Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, and Albert Einstein.


    The organization was established in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, or Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (KWG), a non-governmental research organization named for the then German emperor. The KWG was one of the world’s leading research organizations; its board of directors included scientists like Walther Bothe, Peter Debye, Albert Einstein, and Fritz Haber. In 1946, Otto Hahn assumed the position of President of KWG, and in 1948, the society was renamed the Max Planck Society (MPG) after its former President (1930–37) Max Planck, who died in 1947.

    The MPG Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization. In 2006, the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings of non-university research institutions (based on international peer review by academics) placed the MPG Society as No.1 in the world for science research, and No.3 in technology research (behind AT&T Corporation and The DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.

    The domain mpg.de attracted at least 1.7 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com study.

    MPG Institutes and research groups

    The MPG Society consists of over 80 research institutes. In addition, the society funds a number of Max Planck Research Groups (MPRG) and International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS). The purpose of establishing independent research groups at various universities is to strengthen the required networking between universities and institutes of the Max Planck Society.
    The research units are primarily located across Europe with a few in South Korea and the U.S. In 2007, the Society established its first non-European centre, with an institute on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University (US) focusing on neuroscience.
    The MPG Institutes operate independently from, though in close cooperation with, the universities, and focus on innovative research which does not fit into the university structure due to their interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature or which require resources that cannot be met by the state universities.

    Internally, MPG Institutes are organized into research departments headed by directors such that each MPI has several directors, a position roughly comparable to anything from full professor to department head at a university. Other core members include Junior and Senior Research Fellows.

    In addition, there are several associated institutes:

    International Max Planck Research Schools

    Together with the Association of Universities and other Education Institutions in Germany, the Max Planck Society established numerous International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) to promote junior scientists:

    • Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research, Cologne
    • International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems, at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems located in Tübingen and Stuttgart
    • International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World (Uncertainty School), at the Max Planck Institutes for Economics, for Human Development, and/or Research on Collective Goods
    • International Max Planck Research School for Analysis, Design and Optimization in Chemical and Biochemical Process Engineering, Magdeburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics, Heidelberg at the MPI for Astronomy
    • International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics, Garching at the MPI for Astrophysics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Complex Surfaces in Material Sciences, Berlin
    • International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science, Saarbrücken
    • International Max Planck Research School for Earth System Modeling, Hamburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Elementary Particle Physics, Munich, at the MPI for Physics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Environmental, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology, Marburg at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
    • International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology, Plön at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology
    • International Max Planck Research School “From Molecules to Organisms”, Tübingen at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
    • International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Jena at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
    • International Max Planck Research School on Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Hannover and Potsdam MPI for Gravitational Physics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research
    • International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunity, Berlin at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
    • International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, Nijmegen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Neurosciences, Göttingen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience, Tübingen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology (MarMic), joint program of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, the University of Bremen, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, and the Jacobs University Bremen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs, Hamburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Freiburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences, Munich
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Göttingen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering, Dresden
    • International Max Planck Research School Molecular Biomedicine, program combined with the ‘Graduate Programm Cell Dynamics And Disease’ at the University of Münster and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine
    • International Max Planck Research School on Multiscale Bio-Systems, Potsdam
    • International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, at the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
    • International Max Planck Research School on Reactive Structure Analysis for Chemical Reactions (IMPRS RECHARGE), Mülheim an der Ruhr, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion
    • International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nano-Systems, Halle at Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen hosted by MPI for Solar System Research
    • International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Bonn, at the MPI for Radio Astronomy (formerly the International Max Planck Research School for Radio and Infrared Astronomy)
    • International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Cologne
    • International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials, Düsseldorf at Max Planck Institute for Iron Research GmbH
    • International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics, Hamburg

    Max Planck Schools

    • Max Planck School of Cognition
    • Max Planck School Matter to Life
    • Max Planck School of Photonics

    Max Planck Center

    • The Max Planck Centre for Attosecond Science (MPC-AS), POSTECH Pohang
    • The Max Planck POSTECH Center for Complex Phase Materials, POSTECH Pohang

    Max Planck Institutes

    Among others:
    • Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology of Behavior – caesar, Bonn
    • Max Planck Institute for Aeronomics in Katlenburg-Lindau was renamed to Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in 2004;
    • Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen was closed in 2005;
    • Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology in Ladenburg b. Heidelberg was closed in 2003;
    • Max Planck Institute for Economics in Jena was renamed to the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in 2014;
    • Max Planck Institute for Ionospheric Research in Katlenburg-Lindau was renamed to Max Planck Institute for Aeronomics in 1958;
    • Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, Stuttgart
    • Max Planck Institute of Oceanic Biology in Wilhelmshaven was renamed to Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology in 1968 and moved to Ladenburg 1977;
    • Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich merged into the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in 2004;
    • Max Planck Institute for Protein and Leather Research in Regensburg moved to Munich 1957 and was united with the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in 1977;
    • Max Planck Institute for Virus Research in Tübingen was renamed as Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in 1985;
    • Max Planck Institute for the Study of the Scientific-Technical World in Starnberg (from 1970 until 1981 (closed)) directed by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and Jürgen Habermas.
    • Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology
    • Max Planck Institute of Experimental Endocrinology
    • Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Social Law
    • Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics
    • Max Planck Research Unit for Enzymology of Protein Folding
    • Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

    Aalto University [Aalto-yliopisto] (FI) is a university located in Espoo, Finland. It was established in 2010 as a merger of three major Finnish universities: the Helsinki University of Technology (established 1849), the Helsinki School of Economics (established 1904), and the University of Art and Design Helsinki (established 1871). The close collaboration between the scientific, business and arts communities is intended to foster multi-disciplinary education and research. The Finnish government, in 2010, set out to create a university that fosters innovation, merging the three institutions into one.

    The university is composed of six schools with close to 17,500 students and 4,000 staff members, making it Finland’s second largest university. The main campus of Aalto University is located in Otaniemi, Espoo. Aalto University Executive Education operates in the district of Töölö, Helsinki. In addition to the Greater Helsinki area, the university also operates its Bachelor’s Programme in International Business in Mikkeli and the Metsähovi Radio Observatory Metsähovi Radio Observatory [Metsähovin radiotutkimusasema] Aalto University [Aalto-yliopisto](FI) in Kirkkonummi. in Kirkkonummi.

    Aalto University’s operations showcase Finland’s experiment in higher education. The Aalto Design Factory, Aalto Ventures Program and Aalto Entrepreneurship Society (Aaltoes), among others, drive the university’s mission for a radical shift towards multidisciplinary learning and have contributed substantially to the emergence of Helsinki as a hotbed for startups. Aaltoes is Europe’s largest and most active student run entrepreneurship community that has founded major concepts such as the Startup Sauna accelerator program and the Slush startup event.

    The university is named in honour of Alvar Aalto, a prominent Finnish architect, designer and alumnus of the former Helsinki University of Technology, who was also instrumental in designing a large part of the university’s main campus in Otaniemi.

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