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  • richardmitnick 10:45 am on June 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "AI could run a million microbial experiments per year", , Artificial intelligence platform dubbed "BacterAI", , Biology, , , , ,   

    From Engineering At The University of Michigan: “AI could run a million microbial experiments per year” 


    From Engineering


    U Michigan bloc

    The University of Michigan

    5.4.23 [Just today in social media.]
    Jim Lynch

    Professor Paul Jensen (second to the right) and graduate students (from left) Deepthi Suresh, Noelle Toong, and Benjamin David examine their robot performing automated experiments. Photo by Marcin Szczepanski/Michigan Engineering.

    An artificial intelligence system enables robots to conduct autonomous scientific experiments—as many as 10,000 per day—potentially driving a drastic leap forward in the pace of discovery in areas from medicine to agriculture to environmental science.

    Reported today in Nature Microbiology [below], the team was led by a professor now at the University of Michigan.

    Autonomous experiments with AI robots.

    That artificial intelligence platform, dubbed “BacterAI”, mapped the metabolism of two microbes associated with oral health—with no baseline information to start with. Bacteria consume some combination of the 20 amino acids needed to support life, but each species requires specific nutrients to grow. The U-M team wanted to know what amino acids are needed by the beneficial microbes in our mouths so they can promote their growth.

    “We know almost nothing about most of the bacteria that influence our health. Understanding how bacteria grow is the first step toward reengineering our microbiome,” said Paul Jensen, U-M assistant professor of biomedical engineering who was at the University of Illinois when the project started.

    Figuring out the combination of amino acids that bacteria like is tricky, however. Those 20 amino acids yield more than a million possible combinations, just based on whether each amino acid is present or not. Yet BacterAI was able to discover the amino acid requirements for the growth of both Streptococcus gordonii and Streptococcus sanguinis.

    To find the right formula for each species, BacterAI tested hundreds of combinations of amino acids per day, honing its focus and changing combinations each morning based on the previous day’s results. Within nine days, it was producing accurate predictions 90% of the time.

    Unlike conventional approaches that feed labeled data sets into a machine-learning model, BacterAI creates its own data set through a series of experiments. By analyzing the results of previous trials, it comes up with predictions of what new experiments might give it the most information. As a result, it figured out most of the rules for feeding bacteria with fewer than 4,000 experiments.

    “When a child learns to walk, they don’t just watch adults walk and then say ‘Ok, I got it,’ stand up, and start walking. They fumble around and do some trial and error first,” Jensen said.

    “We wanted our AI agent to take steps and fall down, to come up with its own ideas and make mistakes. Every day, it gets a little better, a little smarter.”

    Little to no research has been conducted on roughly 90% of bacteria, and the amount of time and resources needed to learn even basic scientific information about them using conventional methods is daunting. Automated experimentation can drastically speed up these discoveries. The team ran up to 10,000 experiments in a single day.

    But the applications go beyond microbiology. Researchers in any field can set up questions as puzzles for AI to solve through this kind of trial and error.

    “With the recent explosion of mainstream AI over the last several months, many people are uncertain about what it will bring in the future, both positive and negative,” said Adam Dama, a former engineer in the Jensen Lab and lead author of the study. “But to me, it’s very clear that focused applications of AI like our project will accelerate everyday research.”

    The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health with support from NVIDIA.

    Nature Microbiology

    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 support STEM education in your local school system

    Stem Education Coalition

    University of Michigan Engineering campus[/caption]

    Michigan Engineering provides scientific and technological leadership to the people of the world. Through our people-first engineering approach, we’re committed to fostering a community of engineers who will close critical gaps and elevate all people. We aspire to be the world’s preeminent college of engineering serving the common good.


    Leadership and excellence
    Creativity, innovation and daring
    Diversity, equity and social impact
    Collegiality and collaboration
    Transparency and trustworthiness

    U MIchigan Campus

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

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

    At over $12.4 billion in 2019, Michigan’s endowment is among the largest of any university. As of October 2019, 53 MacArthur “genius award” winners (29 alumni winners and 24 faculty winners), 26 Nobel Prize winners, six Turing Award winners, one Fields Medalist and one Mitchell Scholar have been affiliated with the university. Its alumni include eight heads of state or government, including President of the United States Gerald Ford; 38 cabinet-level officials; and 26 living billionaires. It also has many alumni who are Fulbright Scholars and MacArthur Fellows.


    Michigan is one of the founding members (in the year 1900) of the Association of American Universities. With over 6,200 faculty members, 73 of whom are members of the National Academy and 471 of whom hold an endowed chair in their discipline, the university manages one of the largest annual collegiate research budgets of any university in the United States. According to the National Science Foundation, Michigan spent $1.6 billion on research and development in 2018, ranking it 2nd in the nation. This figure totaled over $1 billion in 2009. The Medical School spent the most at over $445 million, while the College of Engineering was second at more than $160 million. U-M also has a technology transfer office, which is the university conduit between laboratory research and corporate commercialization interests.

    In 2009, the university signed an agreement to purchase a facility formerly owned by Pfizer. The acquisition includes over 170 acres (0.69 km^2) of property, and 30 major buildings comprising roughly 1,600,000 square feet (150,000 m^2) of wet laboratory space, and 400,000 square feet (37,000 m^2) of administrative space. At the time of the agreement, the university’s intentions for the space were not set, but the expectation was that the new space would allow the university to ramp up its research and ultimately employ in excess of 2,000 people.

    The university is also a major contributor to the medical field with the EKG and the gastroscope. The university’s 13,000-acre (53 km^2) biological station in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan is one of only 47 Biosphere Reserves in the United States.

    In the mid-1960s U-M researchers worked with IBM to develop a new virtual memory architectural model that became part of IBM’s Model 360/67 mainframe computer (the 360/67 was initially dubbed the 360/65M where the “M” stood for Michigan). The Michigan Terminal System (MTS), an early time-sharing computer operating system developed at U-M, was the first system outside of IBM to use the 360/67’s virtual memory features.

    U-M is home to the National Election Studies and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. The Correlates of War project, also located at U-M, is an accumulation of scientific knowledge about war. The university is also home to major research centers in optics, reconfigurable manufacturing systems, wireless integrated microsystems, and social sciences. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the Life Sciences Institute are located at the university. The Institute for Social Research (ISR), the nation’s longest-standing laboratory for interdisciplinary research in the social sciences, is home to the Survey Research Center, Research Center for Group Dynamics, Center for Political Studies, Population Studies Center, and Inter-Consortium for Political and Social Research. Undergraduate students are able to participate in various research projects through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) as well as the UROP/Creative-Programs.

    The U-M library system comprises nineteen individual libraries with twenty-four separate collections—roughly 13.3 million volumes. U-M was the original home of the JSTOR database, which contains about 750,000 digitized pages from the entire pre-1990 backfile of ten journals of history and economics, and has initiated a book digitization program in collaboration with Google. The University of Michigan Press is also a part of the U-M library system.

    In the late 1960s U-M, together with Michigan State University and Wayne State University, founded the Merit Network, one of the first university computer networks. The Merit Network was then and remains today administratively hosted by U-M. Another major contribution took place in 1987 when a proposal submitted by the Merit Network together with its partners IBM, MCI, and the State of Michigan won a national competition to upgrade and expand the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) backbone from 56,000 to 1.5 million, and later to 45 million bits per second. In 2006, U-M joined with Michigan State University and Wayne State University to create the the University Research Corridor. This effort was undertaken to highlight the capabilities of the state’s three leading research institutions and drive the transformation of Michigan’s economy. The three universities are electronically interconnected via the Michigan LambdaRail (MiLR, pronounced ‘MY-lar’), a high-speed data network providing 10 Gbit/s connections between the three university campuses and other national and international network connection points in Chicago.

  • richardmitnick 6:28 am on June 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "As coral reefs face threats University at Buffalo scientists study the future of soft corals", , As hard corals have steadily declined in abundance the octocorals have increasing importance on reefs., Biology, , , , In many cases octocorals do not bleach as readily as stony corals and if they do bleach they generally recover., , , Mary Alice Coffroth and Howard Lasker are among researchers whose work is shedding light on how climate change may shape reefs., , , Reef corals and octocorals form a symbiosis with single-celled algae that live in the coral tissue., Soft corals-also known as "octocorals"=are the sea fans and sea plumes one sees waving to and fro in videos of reefs., Stony corals have been reduced to such low numbers that they do not recover from hurricanes., Stony corals- also called "scleractinian corals" in the vernacular of researchers-create the framework of the reef., , Their name "octocorals" comes from each polyp having eight tentacles., Under periods of stress such as elevated temperatures the stony corals and octocorals may lose the algal symbionts on which they depend. Then the coral appears white and this is called “coral bleach   

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY: “As coral reefs face threats University at Buffalo scientists study the future of soft corals” 

    SUNY Buffalo

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY

    9.13.22 [Just today in social media.]
    Charlotte Hsu


    Mary Alice Coffroth and Howard Lasker are among researchers whose work is shedding light on how climate change may shape reefs.

    This summer, coral researchers from around the world gathered to share their latest findings at a conference devoted to reef science, conservation and management.

    One question that looms large in the field: As warming waters, ocean acidification and other pressures threaten corals, what will reefs look like in years to come?

    “Much of the conference was focused on the future of coral reefs,” said University at Buffalo scientist Howard Lasker, PhD, who attended the 15th International Coral Reef Symposium in July in Bremen, Germany with fellow UB coral scientist Mary Alice Coffroth, PhD. Both are research professors of geology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences.

    “While it has been a consistent theme that we must reduce CO2 emissions, the focus of many of the papers has been the science behind approaches to facilitate the survival and recovery of reef corals,” Lasker added.

    As part of the symposium, Lasker was honored at a reception for newly named Fellows of the International Coral Reef Society (ICRS), which sponsors the conference. According to the organization, “The status of ICRS Fellow is awarded in recognition of scientific, conservation, or management achievement and service to ICRS over a significant period of time.”

    Prior to the conference, Coffroth participated in the fourth of a series of workshops hosted by the National Science Foundation-funded Coral Bleaching Research Coordination Network. The event was geared toward writing a perspective on the future of coral bleaching research. She also attended the first workshop in 2019 to help develop recommendations for coral bleaching experimental design protocols.

    Lasker and Coffroth have both been studying coral reefs for several decades. Their work has spanned a period where large-scale bleaching events and other dangers linked to climate change have placed many reefs in peril.

    The pair recently took time to share some of their latest research, focused on “soft corals” in the Caribbean, with implications for understanding the future of reefs:

    Q: How has the world’s understanding of the threats facing reefs changed since you began studying corals?

    Lasker: “When I started studying reefs in the 1970s, we were all focused on complex and fascinating questions about how reefs work. The role of corals, fishes, hurricanes, sea urchins and other organisms were all being studied in systems that seemed to have been around ‘forever’ and which we expected would continue ‘forever.’

    “While some researchers were already raising the alarm about the effects humans were having, many, including me, thought of those as concerns for specific places with especially large human populations or especially uncaring approaches to using reefs.

    “We have steadily seen the effects of humans spread through all of the world’s oceans, and the effects of ocean warming pays no attention to local policies. Now it is the rare scientist who does not have to include our altered environments in their research.”

    Q: What are soft corals, and why are they important?

    Show soft corals some love with a shallow lagoon tank. https://reefbuilders.com

    Lasker: “When people hear the word coral, they usually think of stony corals. Those are corals that produce hard skeletons. Stony corals — called “scleractinian corals” in the vernacular of researchers — create the framework of the reef.

    “Soft corals, also known as “octocorals”, are the sea fans and sea plumes one sees waving to and fro in videos of reefs. Their name “octocorals” comes from each polyp having eight tentacles. Like their scleractinian cousins, they create three dimensional structure on the reef, which is used by fishes and other small organisms. Unlike their scleractinian cousins, they do not have a solid skeleton, and when they die they break down into sand.

    “Octocorals have always been present on reefs, but as hard corals have steadily declined in abundance, the octocorals have increasing importance on reefs. And in some places, octocorals, unlike the hard corals, have actually increased in abundance.”

    Q: Dr. Lasker, some of your recent work has documented the rise of soft coral ‘forests’ in Caribbean reefs. Can you talk about these findings?

    An octocoral forest on the south shore of St. John, Virgin Islands. Some stony corals are visible in the foreground, but on this reef and many Caribbean reefs, they no longer dominate the reefscape, says UB coral researcher Howard Lasker. Credit: Howard Lasker.

    Lasker: “Stony corals, also called hard corals, have been in decline for at least the last 50 years, and sadly, many reefs are only a pale shadow of the reefs of 50 years ago.

    “Octocorals have been more resilient to stresses that have killed stony corals, and some reefs have transitioned from a mix of hard corals and octocorals to predominantly octocorals. The soft corals’ upright, tree-like structure creates a ‘forest’ that provides many, but not all, of the ecosystem services that hard corals provide.

    “We have been studying this transition with the goal of understanding why octocorals have been resilient and the important question of whether we can expect that to continue.”

    Q: Dr. Lasker, you co-led a team that was monitoring reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands when two major hurricanes hit in 2017. What did you observe in the years after?

    Lasker: “The first thing to understand is that coral reefs have always been affected by hurricanes, just as fire has been an important component of the dynamics of forests. Historically, hurricanes have caused damage which over the course of years and decades reefs recover from. The difference now is that stony corals have been reduced to such low numbers that they do not recover.

    “What we discovered in the Virgin Islands is that while octocorals were adversely affected at our study sites, the damage was not as great as we feared and, more importantly, the following year, we saw the development of new colonies which with time should lead to the recovery of the octocorals.”

    Q: Dr. Coffroth, you recently studied soft corals and their algal symbionts during a bleaching event. What were some of the most useful findings?

    Coffroth: “Reef corals and octocorals form a symbiosis with single-celled algae that live in the coral tissue. These algal symbionts, in the family Symbiodiniaceae, use energy from the sun to produce nutrients that are passed to the coral, and the coral in return provides the algal symbionts with nitrogen, CO2 and a safe place to live. This symbiosis is a true mutualism where both partners benefit.

    “Much of the normal coloration of corals and octocorals is due to the brownish algal symbionts that they harbor. Under periods of stress, such as elevated temperatures, the stony corals and octocorals may lose the algal symbionts on which they depend. Then the coral appears white, and this is called “coral bleaching”.

    Flasks containing algal symbionts isolated from stony corals and octocorals. These intracellular symbionts provide the corals with nutrients from photosynthesis. Scientists culture these algal symbionts to study a variety of topics, including the symbionts’ thermal tolerance and their ability to adapt to the changing climate. Credit: Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo.

    “We have found that, in many cases, octocorals do not bleach as readily as stony corals, and if they do bleach, they generally recover. Given that there are many species of symbiodinian algal symbionts which have different physiologies, we sought to determine if the symbionts harbored by Caribbean octocorals were more thermotolerant.

    “Our laboratory studies demonstrated that the symbiont types that are found in Caribbean octocorals can grow at temperatures where many stony corals exhibit bleaching. This suggests that at least some of the resilience seen in octocorals may be due to this symbiosis.”

    Flasks containing algal symbionts isolated from stony corals and octocorals. These intracellular symbionts provide the corals with nutrients from photosynthesis. Scientists culture these algal symbionts to study a variety of topics, including the symbionts’ thermal tolerance and their ability to adapt to the changing climate. Credit: Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo.

    Q: What role will soft corals play in the future of coral reefs?

    Lasker: “This is the big, and unknown, question. If conditions continue as they are, octocoral forests may persist. They will not build the reef the way stony corals have, and in the long run that will lead to changes on the reef.

    “Reef scientists refer to ‘flattening of the reef,’ which occurs as the dead skeletons of stony corals erode. However, in the short term, octocoral forests will provide habitat for fishes and other organisms, and if conditions improve, their effects might even facilitate recovery of stony corals.

    “However, that requires a big improvement in environmental conditions. If environmental conditions continue to deteriorate due to warming sea temperatures, overfishing, onshore land use policies and other anthropogenic effects, then octocorals too will suffer.”

    Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Lasker: “If humans do not reverse CO2 emissions and eliminate other stressors to reefs, then the fate of reefs is rather bleak. Some researchers are working on finding and propagating more resistant corals, but that too requires us to stop the decline in environmental conditions.

    “We cannot simply turn back the clock and recreate the reefs of 50 years ago, but we may be able to set the stage for recovery if we can reverse CO2 emissions, eliminate overfishing and adopt land use policies that will not further degrade reefs.”

    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

    SUNY Buffalo Campus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Graduate School of Education was founded in 1931 and is one of the largest graduate schools at University at Buffalo. The school has four academic departments: counseling and educational psychology, educational leadership and policy, learning and instruction, and library and information science.

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

    The School of Law was founded in 1887 and is the only law school in the SUNY system.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • richardmitnick 8:20 pm on May 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A protein mines and sorts rare earths better than humans paving way for green tech", , , Biology, , , ,   

    From The Pennsylvania State University: “A protein mines and sorts rare earths better than humans paving way for green tech” 

    Penn State Bloc

    From The Pennsylvania State University

    Adrienne Berard

    Joseph Cotruvo Jr., associate professor of chemistry at Penn State, holds a sample of a clay containing rare earths. His lab and their collaborators have previously developed a process to use a natural protein discovered by his group to recover rare earths from these types of sources. In a recent study, the team focused on separation of rare earths and discovered a new protein that can sort one rare earth from another. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn State. Creative Commons.

    Rare earth elements, like neodymium and dysprosium, are a critical component to almost all modern technologies, from smartphones to hard drives, but they are notoriously hard to separate from the Earth’s crust and from one another.

    Penn State scientists have discovered a new mechanism by which bacteria can select between different rare earth elements, using the ability of a bacterial protein to bind to another unit of itself, or “dimerize,” when it is bound to certain rare earths, but prefer to remain a single unit, or “monomer,” when bound to others.

    By figuring out how this molecular handshake works at the atomic level, the researchers have found a way to separate these similar metals from one another quickly, efficiently, and under normal room temperature conditions. This strategy could lead to more efficient, greener mining and recycling practices for the entire tech sector, the researchers state.

    “Biology manages to differentiate rare earths from all the other metals out there — and now, we can see how it even differentiates between the rare earths it finds useful and the ones it doesn’t,” said Joseph Cotruvo Jr., associate professor of chemistry at Penn State and lead author on a paper about the discovery published today (May 31) in the journal Nature [below]. “We’re showing how we can adapt these approaches for rare earth recovery and separation.”


    Fig. 1: Hans-LanM diverges from Mex-LanM in sequence and RE versus RE selectivity.
    a) Sequence similarity network of core LanM sequences indicates that Hans-LanM forms a distinct cluster. The sequence similarity network includes 696 LanM sequences connected with 48,647 edges, thresholded at a BLAST E value of 1 × 10^−5 and 65% sequence identity. The black box encloses nodes clustered with Hans-LanM. The LanM sequence associated with Mex (downtriangle) and four within Hansschlegelia (uptriangle) are enlarged compared to other nodes (circles). Colours of the nodes represent the family from which the sequences originate. b) Comparison of the sequences of the four EF hands of Mex- and Hans-LanMs. Residues canonically involved in metal binding in EF hands are in blue; Pro residues are in purple. c) Circular dichroism spectra from a representative titration of Hans-LanM with LaIII, showing the metal-associated conformational response increasing helicity; apoprotein is bold black, LaIII-saturated protein is bold red. d) Circular dichroism titration of Hans-LanM with LaIII, NdIII and DyIII (pH 5.0). Each point represents the mean ± s.d. from three independent experiments. e) Comparison of Kd,app values (pH 5.0) for Mex-LanM (black [18*]) and Hans-LanM (red), plotted versus ionic radius [7*]. Mean ± s.e.m. from three independent experiments.
    *References to the science paper.

    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

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

    Penn State Campus

    The The Pennsylvania State University is a public state-related land-grant research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania, Penn State became the state’s only land-grant university in 1863. Today, Penn State is a major research university which conducts teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. In addition to its land-grant designation, it also participates in the sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant research consortia; it is one of only four such universities (along with Cornell University, Oregon State University, and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa). Its University Park campus, which is the largest and serves as the administrative hub, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township. It has two law schools: Penn State Law, on the school’s University Park campus, and Dickinson Law, in Carlisle. The College of Medicine is in Hershey. Penn State is one university that is geographically distributed throughout Pennsylvania. There are 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special mission campuses located across the state. The University Park campus has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.
    The Pennsylvania State University is a member of The Association of American Universities an organization of American research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education.

    Annual enrollment at the University Park campus totals more than 46,800 graduate and undergraduate students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States. It has the world’s largest dues-paying alumni association. The university offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses.

    Annually, the university hosts the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy. This event is held at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. The university’s athletics teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Penn State Nittany Lions, competing in the Big Ten Conference for most sports. Penn State students, alumni, faculty and coaches have received a total of 54 Olympic medals.

    Early years

    The school was sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society and founded as a degree-granting institution on February 22, 1855, by Pennsylvania’s state legislature as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania. The use of “college” or “university” was avoided because of local prejudice against such institutions as being impractical in their courses of study. Centre County, Pennsylvania, became the home of the new school when James Irvin of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, donated 200 acres (0.8 km2) of land – the first of 10,101 acres (41 km^2) the school would eventually acquire. In 1862, the school’s name was changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, and with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts, Pennsylvania selected the school in 1863 to be the state’s sole land-grant college. The school’s name changed to the Pennsylvania State College in 1874; enrollment fell to 64 undergraduates the following year as the school tried to balance purely agricultural studies with a more classic education.

    George W. Atherton became president of the school in 1882, and broadened the curriculum. Shortly after he introduced engineering studies, Penn State became one of the ten largest engineering schools in the nation. Atherton also expanded the liberal arts and agriculture programs, for which the school began receiving regular appropriations from the state in 1887. A major road in State College has been named in Atherton’s honor. Additionally, Penn State’s Atherton Hall, a well-furnished and centrally located residence hall, is named not after George Atherton himself, but after his wife, Frances Washburn Atherton. His grave is in front of Schwab Auditorium near Old Main, marked by an engraved marble block in front of his statue.

    Early 20th century

    In the years that followed, Penn State grew significantly, becoming the state’s largest grantor of baccalaureate degrees and reaching an enrollment of 5,000 in 1936. Around that time, a system of commonwealth campuses was started by President Ralph Dorn Hetzel to provide an alternative for Depression-era students who were economically unable to leave home to attend college.

    In 1953, President Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, sought and won permission to elevate the school to university status as The Pennsylvania State University. Under his successor Eric A. Walker (1956–1970), the university acquired hundreds of acres of surrounding land, and enrollment nearly tripled. In addition, in 1967, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, a college of medicine and hospital, was established in Hershey with a $50 million gift from the Hershey Trust Company.

    Modern era

    In the 1970s, the university became a state-related institution. As such, it now belongs to the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. In 1975, the lyrics in Penn State’s alma mater song were revised to be gender-neutral in honor of International Women’s Year; the revised lyrics were taken from the posthumously-published autobiography of the writer of the original lyrics, Fred Lewis Pattee, and Professor Patricia Farrell acted as a spokesperson for those who wanted the change.

    In 1989, the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport joined ranks with the university, and in 2000, so did the Dickinson School of Law. The university is now the largest in Pennsylvania. To offset the lack of funding due to the limited growth in state appropriations to Penn State, the university has concentrated its efforts on philanthropy.


    Penn State is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. Over 10,000 students are enrolled in the university’s graduate school (including the law and medical schools), and over 70,000 degrees have been awarded since the school was founded in 1922.

    Penn State’s research and development expenditure has been on the rise in recent years. For fiscal year 2013, according to institutional rankings of total research expenditures for science and engineering released by the National Science Foundation , Penn State stood second in the nation, behind only Johns Hopkins University and tied with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , in the number of fields in which it is ranked in the top ten. Overall, Penn State ranked 17th nationally in total research expenditures across the board. In 12 individual fields, however, the university achieved rankings in the top ten nationally. The fields and sub-fields in which Penn State ranked in the top ten are materials (1st), psychology (2nd), mechanical engineering (3rd), sociology (3rd), electrical engineering (4th), total engineering (5th), aerospace engineering (8th), computer science (8th), agricultural sciences (8th), civil engineering (9th), atmospheric sciences (9th), and earth sciences (9th). Moreover, in eleven of these fields, the university has repeated top-ten status every year since at least 2008. For fiscal year 2011, the National Science Foundation reported that Penn State had spent $794.846 million on R&D and ranked 15th among U.S. universities and colleges in R&D spending.

    For the 2008–2009 fiscal year, Penn State was ranked ninth among U.S. universities by the National Science Foundation, with $753 million in research and development spending for science and engineering. During the 2015–2016 fiscal year, Penn State received $836 million in research expenditures.

    The Applied Research Lab (ARL), located near the University Park campus, has been a research partner with the Department of Defense since 1945 and conducts research primarily in support of the United States Navy. It is the largest component of Penn State’s research efforts statewide, with over 1,000 researchers and other staff members.

    The Materials Research Institute was created to coordinate the highly diverse and growing materials activities across Penn State’s University Park campus. With more than 200 faculty in 15 departments, 4 colleges, and 2 Department of Defense research laboratories, MRI was designed to break down the academic walls that traditionally divide disciplines and enable faculty to collaborate across departmental and even college boundaries. MRI has become a model for this interdisciplinary approach to research, both within and outside the university. Dr. Richard E. Tressler was an international leader in the development of high-temperature materials. He pioneered high-temperature fiber testing and use, advanced instrumentation and test methodologies for thermostructural materials, and design and performance verification of ceramics and composites in high-temperature aerospace, industrial, and energy applications. He was founding director of the Center for Advanced Materials (CAM), which supported many faculty and students from the College of Earth and Mineral Science, the Eberly College of Science, the College of Engineering, the Materials Research Laboratory and the Applied Research Laboratories at Penn State on high-temperature materials. His vision for Interdisciplinary research played a key role in creating the Materials Research Institute, and the establishment of Penn State as an acknowledged leader among major universities in materials education and research.

    The university was one of the founding members of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a partnership that includes 17 research-led universities in the United States, Asia, and Europe. The network provides funding, facilitates collaboration between universities, and coordinates exchanges of faculty members and graduate students among institutions. Former Penn State president Graham Spanier is a former vice-chair of the WUN.

    The Pennsylvania State University Libraries were ranked 14th among research libraries in North America in the 2003–2004 survey released by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The university’s library system began with a 1,500-book library in Old Main. In 2009, its holdings had grown to 5.2 million volumes, in addition to 500,000 maps, five million microforms, and 180,000 films and videos.

    The university’s College of Information Sciences and Technology is the home of CiteSeerX, an open-access repository and search engine for scholarly publications. The university is also the host to the Radiation Science & Engineering Center, which houses the oldest operating university research reactor. Additionally, University Park houses the Graduate Program in Acoustics, the only freestanding acoustics program in the United States. The university also houses the Center for Medieval Studies, a program that was founded to research and study the European Middle Ages, and the Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), one of the first centers established to research postsecondary education.

  • richardmitnick 7:52 am on May 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "In a first researchers capture fleeting 'transition state' in ring-shaped molecules excited by light", "Photochemical ring-opening reaction": triggered when light energy is absorbed by a substance's molecules., "Transition states" generally occur in chemical reactions which are triggered not by light but by heat., , Biology, , , , Scientists have directly imaged a photochemical “transition state”- a specific configuration of a molecule’s atoms determining the chemical outcome., , The investigation of similar critical configurations in photochemical reactions could lead to a better understanding of reactions with key roles in chemistry and biology., The results should further our understanding of similar reactions with vital roles in chemistry such as the production of vitamin D in our bodies., These reactions are important for understanding the quantum mechanics underpinning photochemistry.   

    From The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory: “In a first researchers capture fleeting ‘transition state’ in ring-shaped molecules excited by light” 

    From The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Ali Sundermier

    Using SLAC’s ultrafast “electron camera,” scientists have directly imaged a photochemical “transition state” as it happened. (Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

    With SLAC’s ultrafast “electron camera,” researchers were able to confirm a half-century-old set of rules predicting the outcome of ring-opening reactions, demonstrating that the molecules open exclusively in the way predicted by the rules. The reaction pathway is illustrated in this graphic representation. (Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory) 2021

    The results should further our understanding of similar reactions with vital roles in chemistry such as the production of vitamin D in our bodies.

    Using a high-speed “electron camera” at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and cutting-edge quantum simulations, scientists have directly imaged a photochemical “transition state,” a specific configuration of a molecule’s atoms determining the chemical outcome, during a ring-opening reaction in the molecule α-terpinene. This is the first time that scientists have precisely tracked molecular structure through a “photochemical ring-opening reaction” which is triggered when light energy is absorbed by a substance’s molecules.

    The results, published in Nature Communications [below], could further our understanding of similar reactions with vital roles in chemistry, such as the production of vitamin D in our bodies.

    “Transition states” generally occur in chemical reactions which are triggered not by light but by heat. They are like a point of no return for molecules involved in a chemical reaction: As the molecules gain the energy needed to fuel the reaction, they rearrange themselves into a fleeting configuration before they complete their transformation into new molecules.

    “Transition states really tell you a lot about how and why reactions happen,” said co-author and SLAC scientist Thomas Wolf. “The investigation of similar critical configurations in photochemical reactions could lead to a better understanding of reactions with key roles in chemistry and biology. It’s important that we can now look at some specific characteristics of such reactions using our diffraction techniques.”

    Until now, no method existed that was sensitive enough to capture these fleeting states, which last for only millionths of a billionth of second. At MeV-UED, SLAC’s instrument for ultrafast electron diffraction, the researchers sent an electron beam with high energy, measured in millions of electronvolts (MeV), through a gas to precisely measure distances between the atoms within the molecules in the gas. Taking snapshots of these distances at different intervals after an initial laser flash allows scientists to create a stop-motion movie of the light-induced atomic rearrangements in the molecules.

    “These reactions are important for understanding the quantum mechanics underpinning photochemistry,” said SLAC scientist and co-author Yusong Liu. “Comparing our experimental results with quantum simulations of the reaction allows us to get a highly accurate picture of how molecules behave and benchmark the predictive power of theoretical and computational methods.”

    In a previous study [Science (below)]of a related reaction, MeV-UED allowed the team to capture the coordinated dance between electrons and nuclei. The results provided the first direct confirmation of a half-century-old set of rules about the final product’s stereochemistry, or the three-dimensional arrangement of its atoms.

    In the present experiment, the researchers discovered that some parts of the atomic rearrangements happen earlier than other parts, which provides an explanation for why the specific stereochemistry is created by the reaction.

    “I recently looked back on some old presentations I did in college about these types of reactions and the famous set of rules that predict the outcomes. But these rules don’t actually explain why and how reactions happen.” Wolf said. “And now I’m coming back to that and can start answering these questions and that makes it incredibly exciting for me.”

    Another big motivation for doing these experiments, Wolf said, is that the same reaction also happens in biological processes such as the biosynthesis of vitamin D in human skin. The researchers plan to conduct follow-up studies further exploring this connection.

    MeV-UED is an instrument of SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser facility [below]. LCLS is a DOE Office of Science user facility. This research was supported by the Office of Science.

    Nature Communications

    Fig. 1: Schematic description of the observed electrocyclic ring-opening dynamics of α-terpinene.
    After photoexcitation to the first excited state (S1), the molecule relaxes along a coordinate representing deplanarization with respect to the reactant double bond positions and planarization with respect to the product double bond positions into the pericyclic minimum. The pericyclic minimum is close to, but separated by a shallow barrier from a conical intersection (S0/S1 CI) with the electronic ground state (S0). Population which relaxes through the CI either returns to the S0 reactant minimum or evolves along a carbon–carbon bond dissociation coordinate RC–C into three S0 minima representing different triene photoproduct isomers labeled with cZc, cZt, tZc, and tZt. Visualizations of representative structures along the reaction coordinate are shown together with specific carbon–carbon distances in yellow and blue. Additionally, the distances are reported by color-coded numbers. Both the structures and the distances are extracted from the simulations. The carbon numbering used in the text is shown in black. The double bond positions are highlighted in the structure visualizations as red bars.

    Fig. 2: Experimental and simulated structural information of αTP.
    The line plots in panel a show both the simulated and experimental pair distribution functions (PDFs) of the molecule in the ground state. The histograms below the PDFs represent carbon–carbon distance distribution functions (ccDDF) based on the initial geometries of our ab initio multiple spawning simulations separated and color-coded with respect to carbon coordination spheres. The inset of panel a shows the labeling of the carbon atoms of αTP as used in the text. Additionally, representative distances for the first three coordination spheres are marked by color-coded arrows. Panel b shows experimental and simulated difference PDF (ΔPDF) at a pump-probe delay of 550 fs. The light-orange-colored area-plot indicates the total difference carbon–carbon distance distribution function (ΔccDDF) from all the carbon coordination spheres. Three regions are labeled as α, β, and γ. Uncertainties (s.e.m.) derived from bootstrapping analyses are shown as error bars (experiment) and shaded areas (simulation).

    See this science paper for further instructive material with images.

    Science 2021

    Fig. 1. Conformer-specific photochemistry in α-phellandrene.
    (A) Woodward-Hoffmann predictions for the conformer specificity of photoinduced electrocyclic ring opening in α-phellandrene. Its isopropyl substituent (R) can be in axial or equatorial orientation with respect to the carbon ring. Axial and equatorial conformers are in thermal equilibrium in solution phase (Δ). (6) The Woodward-Hoffmann rules predict a concerted, conrotatory ring-opening motion (orange arrows) yielding isomers with R in different positions depending on the reactant conformer. (B) Schematic based on ab initio multiple spawning simulations of the photoinduced ring opening. Equatorial and axial conformers are photoexcited from their respective ground-state (S0) energy minima to the first excited state (S1); they evolve along an out-of-plane (OOP, green) coordinate toward conical intersections CI-1 and CI-2 or along the ring-opening coordinate (purple) toward CI-3. CI-1 and CI-2 lead to reformation of α-phellandrene, whereas CI-3 leads to both αPH reformation and ring opening. Several different conformers of the ZZDOT/ZEDOT photoproduct minima (cZc, cZt, and tZt) are accessible in the ground state. The two pie charts visualize the photoproduct distribution for axial and equatorial conformers as well as the distribution among the CI geometries CI-1 to CI-3; errors representing 68% confidence intervals were obtained from bootstrap analysis.

    Fig. 2. Comparison of experimental and simulated structural information.
    (A) Experimental (black) and simulated pair distribution functions PDF(r) of six α-phellandrene (αPH) conformers, which are depicted below together with the dihedral angles defining the rotation of the isopropyl group [two gauche orientations (G+/G–) and one trans (T) orientation of the marked isopropyl hydrogen with respect to the marked ring carbon]. Carbon-carbon coordination spheres for axial (red) and equatorial (blue) conformers are shown as bars. Additionally, the α, β, and γ ranges of Fig. 3 are shown. The inset shows the carbon atom numbering used in the text. (B) Experimental difference PDF [ΔPDF(r)] at a pump-probe delay of 0.26 ps (black) and simple simulations of the signature of Woodward-Hoffmann (WH)–allowed and WH-forbidden reaction product signatures of the equatorial (eq-αPH) and axial (ax-αPH) reactant conformers and (3Z,5E)-3,7-dimethylocta-1,3,5-triene (ZEDOT) and (3Z,5Z)-dimethylocta-1,3,5-triene (ZZDOT) product isomers. Shaded areas represent a 68% confidence interval obtained from bootstrap analysis.

    See this 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

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory campus

    The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory originally named Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, is a Department of Energy National Laboratory operated by Stanford University under the programmatic direction of the Department of Energy Office of Science and located in Menlo Park, California. It is the site of the Stanford Linear Accelerator, a 3.2 kilometer (2-mile) linear accelerator constructed in 1966 and shut down in the 2000s, which could accelerate electrons to energies of 50 GeV.
    Today SLAC research centers on a broad program in atomic and solid-state physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine using X-rays from synchrotron radiation and a free-electron laser as well as experimental and theoretical research in elementary particle physics, astroparticle physics, and cosmology.

    Founded in 1962 as the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the facility is located on 172 hectares (426 acres) of Stanford University-owned land on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California—just west of the University’s main campus. The main accelerator is 3.2 kilometers (2 mi) long—the longest linear accelerator in the world—and has been operational since 1966.

    Research at SLAC has produced three Nobel Prizes in Physics

    1976: The charm quark—see J/ψ meson
    1990: Quark structure inside protons and neutrons
    1995: The tau lepton

    SLAC’s meeting facilities also provided a venue for the Homebrew Computer Club and other pioneers of the home computer revolution of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    In 1984 the laboratory was named an ASME National Historic Engineering Landmark and an IEEE Milestone.

    SLAC developed and, in December 1991, began hosting the first World Wide Web server outside of Europe.

    In the early-to-mid 1990s, the Stanford Linear Collider (SLC) investigated the properties of the Z boson using the Stanford Large Detector [below].

    As of 2005, SLAC employed over 1,000 people, some 150 of whom were physicists with doctorate degrees, and served over 3,000 visiting researchers yearly, operating particle accelerators for high-energy physics and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) [below] for synchrotron light radiation research, which was “indispensable” in the research leading to the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to Stanford Professor Roger D. Kornberg.

    In October 2008, the Department of Energy announced that the center’s name would be changed to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The reasons given include a better representation of the new direction of the lab and the ability to trademark the laboratory’s name. Stanford University had legally opposed the Department of Energy’s attempt to trademark “Stanford Linear Accelerator Center”.

    In March 2009, it was announced that the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory was to receive $68.3 million in Recovery Act Funding to be disbursed by Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

    In October 2016, Bits and Watts launched as a collaboration between SLAC and Stanford University to design “better, greener electric grids”. SLAC later pulled out over concerns about an industry partner, the state-owned Chinese electric utility.


    The main accelerator was an RF linear accelerator that accelerated electrons and positrons up to 50 GeV. At 3.2 km (2.0 mi) long, the accelerator was the longest linear accelerator in the world, and was claimed to be “the world’s most straight object.” until 2017 when the European x-ray free electron laser opened. The main accelerator is buried 9 m (30 ft) below ground and passes underneath Interstate Highway 280. The above-ground klystron gallery atop the beamline, was the longest building in the United States until the LIGO project’s twin interferometers were completed in 1999. It is easily distinguishable from the air and is marked as a visual waypoint on aeronautical charts.

    A portion of the original linear accelerator is now part of the Linac Coherent Light Source [below].

    Stanford Linear Collider

    The Stanford Linear Collider was a linear accelerator that collided electrons and positrons at SLAC. The center of mass energy was about 90 GeV, equal to the mass of the Z boson, which the accelerator was designed to study. Grad student Barrett D. Milliken discovered the first Z event on 12 April 1989 while poring over the previous day’s computer data from the Mark II detector. The bulk of the data was collected by the SLAC Large Detector, which came online in 1991. Although largely overshadowed by the Large Electron–Positron Collider at CERN, which began running in 1989, the highly polarized electron beam at SLC (close to 80%) made certain unique measurements possible, such as parity violation in Z Boson-b quark coupling.

    Presently no beam enters the south and north arcs in the machine, which leads to the Final Focus, therefore this section is mothballed to run beam into the PEP2 section from the beam switchyard.

    The SLAC Large Detector (SLD) was the main detector for the Stanford Linear Collider. It was designed primarily to detect Z bosons produced by the accelerator’s electron-positron collisions. Built in 1991, the SLD operated from 1992 to 1998.

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Large Detector


    PEP (Positron-Electron Project) began operation in 1980, with center-of-mass energies up to 29 GeV. At its apex, PEP had five large particle detectors in operation, as well as a sixth smaller detector. About 300 researchers made used of PEP. PEP stopped operating in 1990, and PEP-II began construction in 1994.


    From 1999 to 2008, the main purpose of the linear accelerator was to inject electrons and positrons into the PEP-II accelerator, an electron-positron collider with a pair of storage rings 2.2 km (1.4 mi) in circumference. PEP-II was host to the BaBar experiment, one of the so-called B-Factory experiments studying charge-parity symmetry.

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory BaBar

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory SSRL

    Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope

    SLAC plays a primary role in the mission and operation of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, launched in August 2008. The principal scientific objectives of this mission are:

    To understand the mechanisms of particle acceleration in AGNs, pulsars, and SNRs.
    To resolve the gamma-ray sky: unidentified sources and diffuse emission.
    To determine the high-energy behavior of gamma-ray bursts and transients.
    To probe dark matter and fundamental physics.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Fermi Large Area Telescope

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope.


    KIPAC campus

    The Stanford PULSE Institute (PULSE) is a Stanford Independent Laboratory located in the Central Laboratory at SLAC. PULSE was created by Stanford in 2005 to help Stanford faculty and SLAC scientists develop ultrafast x-ray research at LCLS.

    The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS)[below] is a free electron laser facility located at SLAC. The LCLS is partially a reconstruction of the last 1/3 of the original linear accelerator at SLAC, and can deliver extremely intense x-ray radiation for research in a number of areas. It achieved first lasing in April 2009.

    The laser produces hard X-rays, 10^9 times the relative brightness of traditional synchrotron sources and is the most powerful x-ray source in the world. LCLS enables a variety of new experiments and provides enhancements for existing experimental methods. Often, x-rays are used to take “snapshots” of objects at the atomic level before obliterating samples. The laser’s wavelength, ranging from 6.2 to 0.13 nm (200 to 9500 electron volts (eV)) is similar to the width of an atom, providing extremely detailed information that was previously unattainable. Additionally, the laser is capable of capturing images with a “shutter speed” measured in femtoseconds, or million-billionths of a second, necessary because the intensity of the beam is often high enough so that the sample explodes on the femtosecond timescale.

    The LCLS-II [below] project is to provide a major upgrade to LCLS by adding two new X-ray laser beams. The new system will utilize the 500 m (1,600 ft) of existing tunnel to add a new superconducting accelerator at 4 GeV and two new sets of undulators that will increase the available energy range of LCLS. The advancement from the discoveries using these new capabilities may include new drugs, next-generation computers, and new materials.


    In 2012, the first two-thirds (~2 km) of the original SLAC LINAC were recommissioned for a new user facility, the Facility for Advanced Accelerator Experimental Tests (FACET). This facility was capable of delivering 20 GeV, 3 nC electron (and positron) beams with short bunch lengths and small spot sizes, ideal for beam-driven plasma acceleration studies. The facility ended operations in 2016 for the constructions of LCLS-II which will occupy the first third of the SLAC LINAC. The FACET-II project will re-establish electron and positron beams in the middle third of the LINAC for the continuation of beam-driven plasma acceleration studies in 2019.

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory FACET

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory FACET-II upgrading its Facility for Advanced Accelerator Experimental Tests (FACET) – a test bed for new technologies that could revolutionize the way we build particle accelerators.

    The Next Linear Collider Test Accelerator (NLCTA) is a 60-120 MeV high-brightness electron beam linear accelerator used for experiments on advanced beam manipulation and acceleration techniques. It is located at SLAC’s end station B

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Next Linear Collider Test Accelerator (NLCTA)

    SLAC National Accelerator LaboratoryLCLS

    SLAC National Accelerator LaboratoryLCLS II projected view

    Magnets called undulators stretch roughly 100 meters down a tunnel at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, with one side (right) producing hard x-rays and the other soft x-rays.

    SSRL and LCLS are DOE Office of Science user facilities.

    Stanford University campus

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

    Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

    The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

    As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

    Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

    Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

    Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.


    Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

    Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

    Non-central campus

    Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land. Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

    Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892., in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
    Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

    Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

    The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

    China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

    Administration and organization

    Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

    The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

    As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

    The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

    Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

    Endowment and donations

    The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University, the University of Texas System, and Yale University had larger endowments than Stanford.

    In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Research centers and institutes

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
    Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
    Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
    Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
    John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
    Center for Ocean Solutions
    Together with UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

    Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
    First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
    Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
    Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

    Computer and applied sciences

    ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

    Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

    Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

    Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

    Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

    RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and University of California- Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
    SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

    Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

    The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

    Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

    Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
    Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
    Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
    Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
    Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
    Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
    LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
    Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
    Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
    Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

    Student body

    Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

    Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

    As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.


    As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

    Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

    Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.


    The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
    Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
    Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
    “Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
    “Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
    “Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
    “Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
    Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

    19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
    171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
    109 members of National Academy of Engineering
    76 members of National Academy of Medicine
    288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
    1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
    4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
    49 members of American Philosophical Society
    56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
    4 Pulitzer Prize winners
    31 MacArthur Fellows
    4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
    2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
    14 AAAI fellows
    2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

  • richardmitnick 12:48 pm on May 29, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , "Folding@home - How You and Your Computer Can Play Scientist", 50000 computers are better than one., , , Biology, , , Folding@home forms the largest supercomputer in the world., , , , , The Perelman School of Medicine,   

    From The Perelman School of Medicine At The University of Pennsylvania Folding@home: “Folding@home – How You and Your Computer Can Play Scientist” 

    From The Perelman School of Medicine


    U Penn bloc

    The University of Pennsylvania

    Alex Gardner

    Two heads are better than one. The ethos behind the scientific research project Folding@home is that same idea, multiplied: 50,000 computers are better than one.

    Folding@home is a distributed computing project which is used to simulate protein folding, or how protein molecules assemble themselves into 3-D shapes.


    Research into protein folding allows scientists to better understand how these molecules function or malfunction inside the human body. Often, mutations in proteins influence the progression of many diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and even COVID-19.

    Penn is home to both the computer brains and human minds behind the Folding@home project which, with its network, forms the largest supercomputer in the world [disputed below]. All of that computing power continually works together to answer scientific questions such as what areas of specific protein implicated in Parkinson’s disease may be susceptible to medication or other treatment.

    Led by Gregory Bowman, a Penn Integrates Knowledge professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Perelman School of Medicine who has joint appointments in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Perelman School of Medicine and the Department of Bioengineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Folding@home is open for any individual around the world to participate in and essentially volunteer their computer to join a huge network of computers and do research.

    Using the network hub at Penn, Bowman and his team assign experiments to each individual computer which communicates with other computers and feeds info back to Philly. To date, the network is comprised of more than 50,000 computers spread across the world.

    “What we do is like drawing a map,” said Bowman, explaining how the networked computers work together in a type of system that experts call Markov state models. “Each computer is like a driver visiting different places and reporting back info on those locations so we can get a sense of the landscape.”

    Individuals can participate by signing up and then installing software to their standard personal desktop or laptop. Participants can direct the software to run in the background and limit it to a certain percentage of processing power or have the software run only when the computer is idle.

    When the software is at work, it’s conducting unique experiments designed and assigned by Bowman and his team back at Penn. Users can play scientist and watch the results of simulations and monitor the data in real time, or they can simply let their computer do the work while they go about their lives.

    BOINC-Berkeley Infrastructure for Open Network Computing at UC-Berkeley

    BOINC computing power
    24-hour average: 15.270 PetaFLOPS.
    Active: 44,440 volunteers. 151,719 computers [compare to folding@home’s claim at 50,000 computers to be “the largest supercomputer in the world”.

    BOINC lets you help cutting-edge science research using your computer. The BOINC app, running on your computer, downloads scientific computing jobs and runs them invisibly in the background. It’s easy and safe.

    About 30 science projects use BOINC. They investigate diseases, study climate change, discover pulsars, and do many other types of scientific research.

    The BOINC and Science United projects are located at the University of California-Berkeley and are supported by the National Science Foundation.

    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

    About Penn Medicine

    Our history of patient care began more than two centuries ago with the founding of the nation’s first hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, in 1751 and the nation’s first medical school at the University of Pennsylvania in 1765. Penn Medicine has pioneered medical frontiers with a staff comprised of innovators who have dedicated their lives to advancing medicine through excellence in education, research and patient care.

    When you choose Penn Medicine, you benefit from more than two centuries of the highest standards in patient care, education and research. The caliber of comfort and individual attention you receive is unmatched by any other hospital in the Mid-Atlantic region.

    Nationally Recognized

    We are consistently recognized nationally and internationally for excellence in health care. The cornerstone of our reputation is our medical and support staff, who choose to dedicate their careers to serving the needs of our patients and community.

    The Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania — Penn Presbyterian are proud to be ranked #13 in the nation and once again the #1 hospital in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of Best Hospitals.

    Providing the Community with Resources

    We promote innovation and teaching excellence. We advance medical science through research and create the next generation of leaders in medicine. We’re constantly working towards an even more precise and personalized practice of health care.

    The results of these efforts are passed directly onto you, our patients.

    Health Equity Initiative at Penn Medicine

    At Penn, we strive to provide high quality and family-centered care for our patients and the community, and support an inclusive workforce and clinical learning environment for our employees.

    Mission and History

    U Penn campus

    Academic life at University of Pennsylvania is unparalleled, with 100 countries and every U.S. state represented in one of the Ivy League’s most diverse student bodies. Consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the country, Penn enrolls 10,000 undergraduate students and welcomes an additional 10,000 students to our world-renowned graduate and professional schools.

    Penn’s award-winning educators and scholars encourage students to pursue inquiry and discovery, follow their passions, and address the world’s most challenging problems through an interdisciplinary approach.

    The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The university claims a founding date of 1740 and is one of the nine colonial colleges chartered prior to the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, Penn’s founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum.

    Penn has four undergraduate schools as well as twelve graduate and professional schools. Schools enrolling undergraduates include the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the Wharton School; and the School of Nursing. Penn’s “One University Policy” allows students to enroll in classes in any of Penn’s twelve schools. Among its highly ranked graduate and professional schools are a law school whose first professor wrote the first draft of the United States Constitution, the first school of medicine in North America (Perelman School of Medicine, 1765), and the first collegiate business school (Wharton School, 1881).

    Penn is also home to the first “student union” building and organization (Houston Hall, 1896), the first Catholic student club in North America (Newman Center, 1893), the first double-decker college football stadium (Franklin Field, 1924 when second deck was constructed), and Morris Arboretum, the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was developed at Penn and formally dedicated in 1946. In 2019, the university had an endowment of $14.65 billion, the sixth-largest endowment of all universities in the United States, as well as a research budget of $1.02 billion. The university’s athletics program, the Quakers, fields varsity teams in 33 sports as a member of the NCAA Division I Ivy League conference.

    As of 2018, distinguished alumni and/or Trustees include three U.S. Supreme Court justices; 32 U.S. senators; 46 U.S. governors; 163 members of the U.S. House of Representatives; eight signers of the Declaration of Independence and seven signers of the U.S. Constitution (four of whom signed both representing two-thirds of the six people who signed both); 24 members of the Continental Congress; 14 foreign heads of state and two presidents of the United States, including Donald Trump. As of October 2019, 36 Nobel laureates; 80 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; 64 billionaires; 29 Rhodes Scholars; 15 Marshall Scholars and 16 Pulitzer Prize winners have been affiliated with the university.


    The University of Pennsylvania considers itself the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, though this is contested by Princeton University and Columbia University. The university also considers itself as the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies.

    In 1740, a group of Philadelphians joined together to erect a great preaching hall for the traveling evangelist George Whitefield, who toured the American colonies delivering open-air sermons. The building was designed and built by Edmund Woolley and was the largest building in the city at the time, drawing thousands of people the first time it was preached in. It was initially planned to serve as a charity school as well, but a lack of funds forced plans for the chapel and school to be suspended. According to Franklin’s autobiography, it was in 1743 when he first had the idea to establish an academy, “thinking the Rev. Richard Peters a fit person to superintend such an institution”. However, Peters declined a casual inquiry from Franklin and nothing further was done for another six years. In the fall of 1749, now more eager to create a school to educate future generations, Benjamin Franklin circulated a pamphlet titled Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, his vision for what he called a “Public Academy of Philadelphia”. Unlike the other colonial colleges that existed in 1749—Harvard University, William & Mary, Yale Unversity, and The College of New Jersey—Franklin’s new school would not focus merely on education for the clergy. He advocated an innovative concept of higher education, one which would teach both the ornamental knowledge of the arts and the practical skills necessary for making a living and doing public service. The proposed program of study could have become the nation’s first modern liberal arts curriculum, although it was never implemented because Anglican priest William Smith (1727-1803), who became the first provost, and other trustees strongly preferred the traditional curriculum.

    Franklin assembled a board of trustees from among the leading citizens of Philadelphia, the first such non-sectarian board in America. At the first meeting of the 24 members of the board of trustees on November 13, 1749, the issue of where to locate the school was a prime concern. Although a lot across Sixth Street from the old Pennsylvania State House (later renamed and famously known since 1776 as “Independence Hall”), was offered without cost by James Logan, its owner, the trustees realized that the building erected in 1740, which was still vacant, would be an even better site. The original sponsors of the dormant building still owed considerable construction debts and asked Franklin’s group to assume their debts and, accordingly, their inactive trusts. On February 1, 1750, the new board took over the building and trusts of the old board. On August 13, 1751, the “Academy of Philadelphia”, using the great hall at 4th and Arch Streets, took in its first secondary students. A charity school also was chartered on July 13, 1753 by the intentions of the original “New Building” donors, although it lasted only a few years. On June 16, 1755, the “College of Philadelphia” was chartered, paving the way for the addition of undergraduate instruction. All three schools shared the same board of trustees and were considered to be part of the same institution. The first commencement exercises were held on May 17, 1757.

    The institution of higher learning was known as the College of Philadelphia from 1755 to 1779. In 1779, not trusting then-provost the Reverend William Smith’s “Loyalist” tendencies, the revolutionary State Legislature created a University of the State of Pennsylvania. The result was a schism, with Smith continuing to operate an attenuated version of the College of Philadelphia. In 1791, the legislature issued a new charter, merging the two institutions into a new University of Pennsylvania with twelve men from each institution on the new board of trustees.

    Penn has three claims to being the first university in the United States, according to university archives director Mark Frazier Lloyd: the 1765 founding of the first medical school in America made Penn the first institution to offer both “undergraduate” and professional education; the 1779 charter made it the first American institution of higher learning to take the name of “University”; and existing colleges were established as seminaries (although, as detailed earlier, Penn adopted a traditional seminary curriculum as well).

    After being located in downtown Philadelphia for more than a century, the campus was moved across the Schuylkill River to property purchased from the Blockley Almshouse in West Philadelphia in 1872, where it has since remained in an area now known as University City. Although Penn began operating as an academy or secondary school in 1751 and obtained its collegiate charter in 1755, it initially designated 1750 as its founding date; this is the year that appears on the first iteration of the university seal. Sometime later in its early history, Penn began to consider 1749 as its founding date and this year was referenced for over a century, including at the centennial celebration in 1849. In 1899, the board of trustees voted to adjust the founding date earlier again, this time to 1740, the date of “the creation of the earliest of the many educational trusts the University has taken upon itself”. The board of trustees voted in response to a three-year campaign by Penn’s General Alumni Society to retroactively revise the university’s founding date to appear older than Princeton University, which had been chartered in 1746.

    Research, innovations and discoveries

    Penn is classified as an “R1” doctoral university: “Highest research activity.” Its economic impact on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 2015 amounted to $14.3 billion. Penn’s research expenditures in the 2018 fiscal year were $1.442 billion, the fourth largest in the U.S. In fiscal year 2019 Penn received $582.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.

    In line with its well-known interdisciplinary tradition, Penn’s research centers often span two or more disciplines. In the 2010–2011 academic year alone, five interdisciplinary research centers were created or substantially expanded; these include the Center for Health-care Financing; the Center for Global Women’s Health at the Nursing School; the $13 million Morris Arboretum’s Horticulture Center; the $15 million Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at Wharton; and the $13 million Translational Research Center at Penn Medicine. With these additions, Penn now counts 165 research centers hosting a research community of over 4,300 faculty and over 1,100 postdoctoral fellows, 5,500 academic support staff and graduate student trainees. To further assist the advancement of interdisciplinary research President Amy Gutmann established the “Penn Integrates Knowledge” title awarded to selected Penn professors “whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge”. These professors hold endowed professorships and joint appointments between Penn’s schools.

    Penn is also among the most prolific producers of doctoral students. With 487 PhDs awarded in 2009, Penn ranks third in the Ivy League, only behind Columbia University and Cornell University (Harvard University did not report data). It also has one of the highest numbers of post-doctoral appointees (933 in number for 2004–2007), ranking third in the Ivy League (behind Harvard and Yale University) and tenth nationally.

    In most disciplines Penn professors’ productivity is among the highest in the nation and first in the fields of epidemiology, business, communication studies, comparative literature, languages, information science, criminal justice and criminology, social sciences and sociology. According to the National Research Council nearly three-quarters of Penn’s 41 assessed programs were placed in ranges including the top 10 rankings in their fields, with more than half of these in ranges including the top five rankings in these fields.

    Penn’s research tradition has historically been complemented by innovations that shaped higher education. In addition to establishing the first medical school; the first university teaching hospital; the first business school; and the first student union Penn was also the cradle of other significant developments. In 1852, Penn Law was the first law school in the nation to publish a law journal still in existence (then called The American Law Register, now the Penn Law Review, one of the most cited law journals in the world). Under the deanship of William Draper Lewis, the law school was also one of the first schools to emphasize legal teaching by full-time professors instead of practitioners, a system that is still followed today. The Wharton School was home to several pioneering developments in business education. It established the first research center in a business school in 1921 and the first center for entrepreneurship center in 1973 and it regularly introduced novel curricula for which BusinessWeek wrote, “Wharton is on the crest of a wave of reinvention and change in management education”.

    Several major scientific discoveries have also taken place at Penn. The university is probably best known as the place where the first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was born in 1946 at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering.

    ENIAC UPenn

    It was here also where the world’s first spelling and grammar checkers were created, as well as the popular COBOL programming language. Penn can also boast some of the most important discoveries in the field of medicine. The dialysis machine used as an artificial replacement for lost kidney function was conceived and devised out of a pressure cooker by William Inouye while he was still a student at Penn Med; the Rubella and Hepatitis B vaccines were developed at Penn; the discovery of cancer’s link with genes; cognitive therapy; Retin-A (the cream used to treat acne), Resistin; the Philadelphia gene (linked to chronic myelogenous leukemia) and the technology behind PET Scans were all discovered by Penn Med researchers. More recent gene research has led to the discovery of the genes for fragile X syndrome, the most common form of inherited mental retardation; spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, a disorder marked by progressive muscle wasting; and Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the hands, feet and limbs.

    Conductive polymer was also developed at Penn by Alan J. Heeger, Alan MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa, an invention that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. On faculty since 1965, Ralph L. Brinster developed the scientific basis for in vitro fertilization and the transgenic mouse at Penn and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2010. The theory of superconductivity was also partly developed at Penn, by then-faculty member John Robert Schrieffer (along with John Bardeen and Leon Cooper). The university has also contributed major advancements in the fields of economics and management. Among the many discoveries are conjoint analysis, widely used as a predictive tool especially in market research; Simon Kuznets’s method of measuring Gross National Product; the Penn effect (the observation that consumer price levels in richer countries are systematically higher than in poorer ones) and the “Wharton Model” developed by Nobel-laureate Lawrence Klein to measure and forecast economic activity. The idea behind Health Maintenance Organizations also belonged to Penn professor Robert Eilers, who put it into practice during then-President Nixon’s health reform in the 1970s.

    International partnerships

    Students can study abroad for a semester or a year at partner institutions such as the London School of Economics(UK), University of Barcelona [Universitat de Barcelona](ES), Paris Institute of Political Studies [Institut d’études politiques de Paris](FR), University of Queensland(AU), University College London(UK), King’s College London(UK), Hebrew University of Jerusalem(IL) and University of Warwick(UK).

  • richardmitnick 3:53 pm on May 26, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "At long last ocean drillers exhume a bounty of rocks from Earth’s mantle", , , Biology, , Direct evidence for how ocean crust differs in composition from the upper mantle and better estimates of elemental abundances in the planet’s primary reservoir of rock, Drilling below the seabed in the mid–Atlantic Ocean scientists have collected a core of rock more than 1 kilometer long., , , , , , Helping researchers understand how magma melts out of the mantle and rises through the crust to drive volcanism, IODP International Ocean Discovery Program, It appears the team is already sampling mantle rock that has never melted into magma., It has long been theorized that life could have originated in such settings which are rich in organic molecules., , , , Researchers should be able to learn how magma melts and flows and separates—clues to the workings of volcanoes worldwide., , , The abundance of radioactive elements could improve estimates of how much heat the mantle produces driving the deep convective motions that are the engine of plate tectonics., The cruise aimed to deepen a previously drilled 1.4-kilometer-deep hole pushing to a depth too hot for life where organic compounds that might have provided the raw material for the earliest life migh, The cylinders of gray-green rock present an unparalleled new record., The physical strength can inform studies of how earthquakes fracture and propagate in the upper mantle., This could be a whole step forward for understanding magmatism.,   

    From “Science Magazine” : “At long last ocean drillers exhume a bounty of rocks from Earth’s mantle” 

    From “Science Magazine”

    Paul Voosen

    Researchers have collected an unprecedented amount of mantle rocks from below the sea floor.Johan Lissenberg/Cardiff University & IODP.

    In 1961, geologists off the Pacific coast of Mexico embarked on a daring journey to a foreign land—the planet’s interior. From a ship, they aimed to drill through the thin veneer of Earth’s crust and grab a sample of the mantle, the 2900-kilometer-thick layer of dense rock that fuels volcanic eruptions and makes up most of the planet’s mass. The drill only got a couple hundred meters below the seabed before the project foundered under spiraling costs. But the quest—one of geology’s holy grails—remained.

    This month, researchers onboard the R/V JOIDES Resolution, the flagship of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), say they have finally succeeded.

    Drilling below the seabed in the mid–Atlantic Ocean, they have collected a core of rock more than 1 kilometer long, consisting largely of peridotite, a kind of upper mantle rock. Although it’s not clear how pristine and unaltered the samples are, it is certain the cylinders of gray-green rock present an unparalleled new record, says Susan Lang, a biogeochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a co-lead of the cruise. “These are the types of rock we’ve been hoping to recover for a long time.”

    Researchers on land are eagerly following the ship’s daily scientific logs as it continues to drill, says Jessica Warren, a mantle geochemist at the University of Delaware. “Getting down to this really fresh stuff has been a dream for decades and decades,” she says. “We’re finally going to see the Wizard of Oz.”

    The samples can help answer a host of questions, says Johan Lissenberg, an igneous petrologist from Cardiff University onboard the ship. They can provide direct evidence for how ocean crust differs in composition from the upper mantle and better estimates of elemental abundances in the planet’s primary reservoir of rock. The samples of mantle will also help researchers understand how magma melts out of the mantle and rises through the crust to drive volcanism, Lissenberg says. “This could be a whole step forward for understanding magmatism—and the global composition of the bulk Earth.”

    Recovering a long mantle core was not the primary goal of the cruise, which is probing the Atlantis Massif, an underwater mountain, for clues to the origin of life and which was to study the reactions between olivine and seawater that are believed to be actively occurring at depth in the massif today. The massif rocks contain lots of olivine, a mineral that reacts with water in a process called serpentinization. The reactions generate hydrogen, which serves as an energy source for microbial life at the “Lost City,” a nearby complex of ocean-bottom mineral chimneys deposited by gushers of superheated water.

    “Lost City” on Atlantic Massif. Deborah Kelley. https://www.smithsonianmag.com

    It has long been theorized that life could have originated in such settings which are rich in organic molecules. The cruise aimed to deepen a previously drilled 1.4-kilometer-deep hole, pushing to a depth too hot for life, where organic compounds that might have provided the raw material for the earliest life might lurk. But progress was slow.

    So the ship returned to another site near Lost City, where shallow cores drilled in 2015 had found what appeared to be mantle rocks highly altered by seawater. After punching through a horizontal fault near the seabed, “the drilling just went so magically well,” says Andrew McCaig, a geologist at the University of Leeds and the cruise’s other chief scientist. The only hiccup came when the recovered peridotite rocks contained veins of asbestos, prompting increased safety protocols.

    There’s still some room for debate about whether the rocks are a true sample of the mantle, says Donna Blackman, a geophysicist at the University of California-Santa Cruz. The seismic speedup at the Moho is thought to reflect the lack of water or calcium and aluminum minerals in mantle rocks. Because the samples still show some influence of seawater, Blackman says she might classify them as deep crust. “But the petrology is interesting and special regardless,” she says. And as the team continues drilling into deeper rocks, Lissenberg says, “They’re getting fresher.”

    Indeed, it appears the team is already sampling mantle rock that has never melted into magma, which then cools and crystallizes into different kinds of crustal rocks, says Vincent Salters, a geochemist at Florida State University. By capturing the rock at this point, he says, researchers should be able to learn how magma melts and flows and separates—clues to the workings of volcanoes worldwide.

    The rock cores contained veins of asbestos necessitating extra safety protocols. Lesley Anderson/U.S. Antarctic Program/IODP.

    The rocks could also answer other basic questions, such as how much the lavas collected at midocean ridges—which are often taken as a stand-in for the mantle—differ from the mantle itself, says James Day, a geochemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The abundance of radioactive elements in the rocks could improve estimates of how much heat the mantle produces as a whole, driving the deep convective motions that are the engine of plate tectonics.

    And their physical strength can inform studies of how earthquakes fracture and propagate in the upper mantle. The cores could also help clarify how well the mantle is mixed, reincorporating ingredients from the continental crust that is drawn back into Earth’s interior at deep ocean trenches. “There’s so much more to this than understanding a little piece of ocean floor,” Day says.

    Research on the rocks has already begun in labs onboard the JOIDES Resolution, and eventually the cores will be available at IODP repositories for all. But all the excitement over the rock samples also comes with some bittersweetness: The expedition may be one of the last for the ship. In March, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that, because of cost increases and a lack of a deal with its international collaborators, it will end its operating contract for the ship in September 2024.

    The ship is in great condition and could continue until 2028, says Anthony Koppers, an associate vice president at Oregon State University and a leader in the IODP community. There’s still a slim possibility that the U.S. Congress will fund an extension, he says. But NSF has no plan yet to develop a successor ship. And the other two big contributors to IODP, Europe and Japan, are moving on. This month, they announced the creation of IODP³, a new global drilling program that will make heavy use of Japan’s drill ship, the D/V Chikyū, which in the past has operated mostly in waters near Japan.

    D/V Chikyu

    This was Lang’s first cruise on the JOIDES Resolution, and she was astonished at how well outfitted its labs were and how knowledgeable its technical staff is. The success they’re having testifies to their decades of experience probing beneath the ocean floor, she says. “It’s so unfortunate that something like this is going to be lost.”

    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”.


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  • richardmitnick 2:03 pm on May 26, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Watching over water - Earth’s most precious resource", , Biology, , , , , NASA/GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences [Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Geowissenschaften] (DE) Grace mission, Satellites are helping Europe protect its lakes and lagoons and rivers.   

    From “Horizon” The EU Research and Innovation Magazine : “Watching over water – Earth’s most precious resource” 

    From “Horizon” The EU Research and Innovation Magazine

    Helen Massy-Beresford

    Satellites are helping Europe protect its lakes and lagoons and rivers.

    At Lake Razelm in Romania, researchers are testing new ways of monitoring water quality. © Gabriela Insuratelu, Shutterstock.com

    It is early morning on the Razelm-Sinoe lagoon in Romania when a small boat sets out with instruments and probes. The researchers on board are collecting water samples and measurements to bring to the laboratory for analysis.

    Located on the shores of the Black Sea, Lake Razelm is part of the most extensive wetland in Europe and of a World Heritage site: the Danube Delta.

    Close up and afar

    The researchers are part of an EU-funded project called CERTO tracking water quality along coasts and in places that transition between fresh and saltwater like lagoons, estuaries and large rivers. The team gets support not just from waterborne transport but also from something much more distant: a satellite network.

    ‘Traditionally, people have gone out in boats and sampled,’ said Professor Steve Groom, CERTO coordinator and head of science/earth observation at Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK. ‘But it’s expensive and they can’t be everywhere along the coast on the same day. We’re moving towards using satellites to complement in situ monitoring.’

    The Razelm-Sinoe lagoon was almost closed off from the Black Sea during the 1970s as part of a plan to create a freshwater source for agriculture.

    Nowadays it only has one sea inlet. The limited water exchange with the sea, combined with mineral and nutrient run-off from nearby farms, led in the 1990s to excessive plant and algal growth and low-oxygen levels that harmed fish and wildlife in the lagoon.

    The lagoon’s diversity, including varying water depths and levels of salinity, makes for a valuable study site – and the interest is not just academic. Ensuring the health of coastal waters is vital both for ecosystems and for people who make a living from activities such as fishing, farming and tourism.

    The skyward help that the CERTO researchers receive is through Copernicus, the Earth observation part of the EU’s space programme at The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU).

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Copernicus mission


    ‘CERTO puts the use of satellite data in the spotlight,’ said Adriana Maria Constantinescu, technical leader of a Razelm-Sinoe lagoon case study. ‘We can get good-quality data from satellite images and the work we do in situ helps improve algorithms.’

    Water colours

    CERTO is using on-site measurements and satellite-observation data in six places. Among them are also the world-famous lagoon in Venice, Italy and the Curonian lagoon in Lithuania.

    The project, due to end this September after almost four years, is investigating ways to classify water.

    ‘The technical term is optical water types, but it’s really just a way of saying “this water is a bit muddy” or “this area is nice and blue,”’ said Groom.

    The term categorizes bodies of water based on the colour of the light they reflect.

    Murky green ponds, for example, contain more organic matter such as algae than clear ponds and reflect less blue light. Murky water also indicates a surplus of nutrients that could be harmful to fish and wildlife.

    In this way, using satellites to measure how much light bodies of water reflect can help determine their health without needing to go out in a boat and take samples. It also gives scientists a database to draw on when analyzing waters classified as the same type.

    “The value is that you don’t necessarily have to take in situ measurements to validate your algorithms everywhere,” said Groom. “We’re trying to go from lakes all the way to oceans and come up with a common set of water types for all those waters.”
    User-friendly info

    CERTO also wants to make it easier for scientists to use the available information on water quality and bridge existing gaps in the data.

    At present three Copernicus services, each using different approaches, provide information on water quality, making it hard for scientists to have an overview. In addition, some areas such as transitional waters aren’t covered by any service at all.

    The project’s legacy will be prototype software that can be “plugged in” to existing Copernicus services as well as popular open-source software called SNAP that’s used more widely in the research community.

    Constantinescu, the head of a Razelm-Sinoe study, expects the CERTO work to lead to more research at the lagoon. The filtering properties of reed beds or their role in attenuating wind waves could be some of the nature-based solutions investigated to deal with coastal erosion.

    So-Rad platform used to gauge water colour. © Adriana Maria Constantinescu.

    Vital groundwater

    Satellite data is also used to keep an eye on Europe’s groundwater.

    The EU-funded G3P project tracked variations in vital groundwater reserves for three years through 2022.

    The project used data both from Copernicus and from a joint US-Germany satellite mission known as GRACE that, since its start in 2002, has transformed scientists’ view of how water moves and is stored around the planet.

    ‘Groundwater is one of the major resources for humankind,’ said Professor Andreas Güntner, who coordinated G3P and works at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam.

    Groundwater accounts for almost a third of total freshwater resources worldwide. In the EU, it supplies 65% of drinking water and a quarter of water for agricultural irrigation.

    Groundwater has also been declared an essential climate variable – a critical indicator of how the Earth’s climate is changing – by an international non-governmental organization known as the Global Climate Observing System.

    Copernicus doesn’t yet provide consistent, worldwide data on groundwater reserves and how they’re evolving.

    Data wonders

    The G3P team built a new dataset to fill that gap.

    The researchers relied on information from GRACE, which has featured twin satellites. An initial GRACE mission lasted 15 years and a follow-up one began in 2018.

    The distance between the two satellites changes constantly depending on the mass distribution below them. For example, when one approaches heavy masses such as mountains, ice sheets and large groundwater reserves, it speeds up and the distance from the other satellite increases.

    By tracking the gravitational push and pull on the spacecraft as they fly over different landscapes, scientists were able to map out the distribution of water on and below Earth’s surface and how it’s changing.

    Knowing more about groundwater reserves, their changes and how they are affected by human activities such as farming is essential as countries seek to improve the management of water resources generally.

    ‘In some areas of the world, taking water from aquifers for irrigation has led to more withdrawal than replenishment – in other words unsustainable use,’ Güntner said. ‘The first global observation-based groundwater dataset is really an amazing thing.’

    Still, plenty more research lies ahead to make greater use of the dataset.

    “The next step is in-depth analysis of the groundwater data we obtained to try to understand how groundwater resources have changed over the last 20 years, how those changes may be related to climate change, changing rainfall and how much is due to human interference,” said Güntner.

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

  • richardmitnick 7:07 am on May 25, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Cell Rover"- a flat antenna that could monitor processes inside cells., "Deblina Sarkar is building microscopic machines to enter our brains", , , Biology, Deblina Sarkar makes little machines for which she has big dreams. The machines are so little that they can humbly inhabit living cells., Deblina Sarkar wants to develop miniature machines that may one day help treat Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and other neurological afflictions., , Nanoelectronics, , Sarkar envisions using Cell Rover to spot misfolded proteins in the brain that may be early signs of Alzheimer’s disease., , , , Ultratiny electronic devices some smaller than a mote of dust   

    From The Media Lab At The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Via “Science News” : “Deblina Sarkar is building microscopic machines to enter our brains” 

    From The Media Lab


    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology


    “Science News”

    Nikk Ogasa

    Deblina Sarkar wants to develop miniature machines that may one day help treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological afflictions. Credit: Jimmy Day, MIT Media Lab.

    Deblina Sarkar makes little machines, for which she has big dreams. The machines are so little, in fact, that they can humbly inhabit living cells. And her dreams are so big, they may one day save your mind.

    Sarkar is a nanotechnologist and assistant professor at MIT. She develops ultratiny electronic devices, some smaller than a mote of dust, that she hopes will one day enter the brain. She’s also a fan of Kung Fu movies and likes to dance her own twist on bharata natya, a classical Indian dance form. Occasionally she goes hiking with her graduate students, once taking them as far as Yellowstone. Building camaraderie is vital, Sarkar says. But “I’m probably working day and night on my research,” she confesses. “There is an urgent problem at hand.”

    That problem is Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological afflictions that assault the minds of millions of people worldwide. Sarkar’s solution: Employ minute machines to detect and reverse these disorders.

    “She was always interested in applying … electronics to biological systems,” says collaborator and bioengineering researcher Samir Mitragotri of Harvard University, who has known Sarkar for about a decade and was on her thesis committee. She envisions using her tools to “transform how people are conducting biology,” he says, “bridging the worlds.”

    A focus on nanoelectronics

    Born in Kolkata, India, Sarkar credits both of her parents as early inspirations. Her boldness as a researcher comes from her mother, who as a young woman defied social norms in her village by working to fund her own education and speaking out against the dowry system. Meanwhile, Sarkar’s father sparked her fascination for engineering.

    At the age of 15, he abandoned his dreams of becoming an engineer to find other jobs; he needed to support his parents and the rest of his family after his father, an Indian freedom fighter, was shot in the leg and could no longer work. Still, Sarkar recalls her father finding time for his passion, fashioning devices to make home life more convenient. These included an electricity-free washing machine and vehicles that could freight hefty loads down local byroads to their house.

    “That got me very, very interested in science and technology,” Sarkar says. “Engineering specifically.”

    After earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Dhanbad, Sarkar moved to California to study nanoelectronics at the University of California-Santa Barbara. There, she tested new ways to create nanodevices that could reduce the amount of power consumed by computers and other everyday electronics.

    One standout device Sarkar developed during her graduate work was a transistor that reduced the amount of power lost as heat by 90 percent compared with some of today’s most common silicon transistors (SN: 3/18/22). For the breakthrough, UC Santa Barbara awarded Sarkar’s Ph.D. dissertation the Lancaster Award for its impact in advancing math, physical sciences and engineering.

    When tech meets the body

    Along the way, Sarkar became fascinated with the brain, which she calls “the lowest energy computer.” A project imaging amyloid-beta plaques as a postdoc at MIT opened the door to fusing her dual interests, and she stayed on as an assistant professor to found the Nano-Cybernetic Biotrek group. Her group develops nanodevices that can interface with living cells, and “neuromorphic” computing devices, which have architectures inspired by the human brain and nervous system.

    So far, the group’s most innovative device may be the “Cell Rover”, a flat antenna that could monitor processes inside cells. For a study reported in 2022, Sarkar and her colleagues used magnetic fields to finesse a Cell Rover, roughly the size of a tardigrade, into a mature frog egg cell. The team demonstrated that when stimulated by a magnetic field created by an alternating current, molecules in the nanodevice vibrated at frequencies safe for living cells. Using a wire coil receiver, the researchers were able to detect how those vibrations affected the device’s own magnetic field, thus showing it could communicate with the outside world. Cell Rovers could be outfitted with films that latch onto and detect select proteins or other biomolecules.

    Sarkar envisions using the device to spot misfolded proteins in the brain that may be early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Today, memory loss is the only way to know a living person has Alzheimer’s, but by then, the damage is irreversible, Sarkar says. Cell Rovers could also be paired with nanodevices that harvest energy from and electrically stimulate cells, opening the door for new types of brain electrodes and subcellular pacemakers. Or fleets of remotely controlled devices could replace invasive surgeries — detecting a small tumor growing in the brain, for example, and maybe even killing it.

    When left undisturbed, the magnetic molecules in the Cell Rover are randomly oriented (top). But when subjected to a magnetic field produced by an alternating current, they will repeatedly flip around and reorient themselves (bottom). Those movements strain the device and cause it to vibrate in ways the researchers can detect. Credit: B. Joy et al/Nature Communications 2022.

    Nature Communications [below]

    Sarkar is essentially establishing a new field of science, at the intersection of nanoelectronics and biology, Mitragotri says. “There are many opportunities for the future.”

    One day, Sarkar hopes to insert nanodevices between human neurons to boost the computing speed of the fleshy processor already in our skulls. Our brains are remarkable, she says, but “we could be better than what we are.”

    Nature Communications 2022

    Fig. 1: Schematic representation and operating principle of the “Cell Rover”.
    a) Schematic diagram showing the wireless operation of a Cell Rover from inside a cell (Xenopus oocyte). The zoomed in view shows the Cell Rover and its equivalent circuit representation as a parallel RLC resonator. b) Schematic diagram illustrating the principle of magnetostriction. The red and blue faces indicate north and south poles of the magnetic domains in the material respectively. The randomly oriented magnetic domains align in the direction of an applied magnetic field which in turn causes a strain in the material.

    Fig. 2: Characterization of Cell Rovers in air and water.

    a) Schematic diagram showing the wireless detection of a Cell Rover using a receiving (Rx) coil consisting of two identical but oppositely wound solenoids connected to a lock-in amplifier. The transmission (Tx) coil generates the AC excitation magnetic field and a permanent magnet is used to produce the required DC bias magnetic field. b) Comparison between measured and FEA simulated wirelessly detected voltage amplitude from a Cell Rover in air as a function of frequency of excitation magnetic field. The signal amplitude is maximum (Vmax) at the resonance frequency (4.532 MHz). The calculation for the quality factor (Q) from the Full Width at Half Maximum (FWHM) is also shown. c) FEA simulation of the distribution of strain in the Cell Rover at the resonance frequency (4.532 MHz). d) FEA simulation showing the magnetic flux density distribution in the Rx coil containing the Cell Rover at the resonance frequency (4.532 MHz). A zoomed in view of the mid-plane of the resonator is also shown. e) Impedance vs Frequency of the Cell Rover in air measured using a Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) and the corresponding equivalent circuit model fit which gives a mechanical quality factor (Q) of 497.0 and a magnetomechanical coupling coefficient (k^2) of 1.12%. The calculated values for motional inductance (Lm), motional capacitance (Cm), and motional resistance (Rm) are also shown. Comparison of measured f) voltage amplitude and g) phase of the Cell Rover in air and water as a function of frequency of excitation magnetic field. h) Impedance vs Frequency of the Cell Rover in water measured using a VNA and the corresponding equivalent circuit model fit which gives a resonance frequency of 4.452 MHz, quality factor of 80.0 and magnetomechanical coupling coefficient (k^2) of 1.12%. All measurements shown are for a Cell Rover of dimension 500 μm × 200 μm × 28 μm at optimum bias magnetic field of 125 Oe.

    More instructive images are available in the science paper.

    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”.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    The Media Lab is a research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, growing out of MIT’s Architecture Machine Group in the School of Architecture. Its research does not restrict to fixed academic disciplines, but draws from technology, media, science, art, and design. As of 2014, Media Lab’s research groups include neurobiology, biologically inspired fabrication, socially engaging robots, emotive computing,bionics, and hyperinstruments.

    The Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and former MIT President Jerome Wiesner, and is housed in the Wiesner Building (designed by I. M. Pei), also known as Building E15. The Lab has been written about in the popular press since 1988, when Stewart Brand published The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at M.I.T., and its work was a regular feature of technology journals in the 1990s. In 2009, it expanded into a second building.

    The Media Lab came under scrutiny in 2019 due to its acceptance of donations from convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. This led to the resignation of its director, Joi Ito, and the launch of an “immediate, thorough and independent” investigation into the “extremely serious” and “deeply disturbing allegations about the engagement between individuals at the Media Lab and Jeffrey Epstein” by the president of MIT.

    Some recurring themes of work at the Media Lab include human adaptability, human computer interaction, education and communication, artistic creation and visualization, and designing technology for the developing world. Other research focus includes machines with common sense, sociable robots, prosthetics, sensor networks, musical devices, city design, and public health. Research programs all include iterative development of prototypes which are tested and displayed for visitors.

    Each of these areas of research may incorporate others. Interaction design research includes designing intelligent objects and environments. Educational research has also included integrating more computation into learning activities – including software for learning, programmable toys, and artistic or musical instruments. Examples include Lego Mindstorms, the PicoCricket, and One Laptop per Child.

    Research groups

    As of 2020, the MIT Media Lab has the following research groups:

    Affective Computing: “advancing wellbeing by using new ways to communicate, understand, and respond to emotion”
    Biomechatronics: “enhancing human physical capability.”
    Camera Culture: “making the invisible visible – inside our bodies, around us, and beyond – for health, work, and connection”
    City Science: “looking beyond smart cities”
    Conformable Decoders: “converting the patterns of nature and the human body into beneficial signals and energy”
    Fluid Interfaces: “designing wearable systems for cognitive enhancement”
    Future Sketches: “exploring the essence of code as a creative medium”
    Human Dynamics: “exploring how social networks can influence our lives in business, health, governance, and technology adoption and diffusions”
    Lifelong Kindergarten: “engaging people in creative learning experiences”
    Mediated Matter: “designing for, with, and by nature”
    Molecular Machines: “engineering at the limits of complexity with molecular-scale parts”
    Nano-Cybernetic Biotrek: “inventing disruptive technologies for nanoelectronic computation and creating new paradigms for life-machine symbiosis”
    Opera of the Future: “extending expression, learning, and health through innovations in musical composition, performance, and participation”
    Personal Robots: “building socially engaging robots and interactive technologies to help people live healthier lives, connect with others, and learn better”
    Poetic Justice: “exploring new forms of social justice through art”
    Responsive Environments: “augmenting and mediating human experience, interaction, and perception with sensor networks”
    Sculpting Evolution: “exploring evolutionary and ecological engineering”
    Signal Kinetics: “extending human and computer abilities in sensing, communication, and actuation through signals and networks”
    Social Machines: “promoting deeper learning and understanding in human networks”
    Space Enabled: “advancing justice in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space”
    Tangible Media: “seamlessly coupling the worlds of bits and atoms by giving dynamic physical form to digital information and computation”
    Viral Communications: “creating scalable technologies that evolve with user inventiveness”

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

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

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

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

    Foundation and vision

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

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

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

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

    Early developments

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

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

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

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

    Curricular reforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Recent history

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

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

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

  • richardmitnick 4:42 pm on May 24, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Microbes key to sequestering carbon in soil", , A novel approach to understanding soil carbon dynamics by combining a microbial computer model with data assimilation and machine learning to analyze big data related to the carbon cycle., , Biology, , , , , Earth’s soils hold three times more carbon than the atmosphere., , Microbes are by far the most important factor in determining how much carbon is stored in the soil., , The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The new insights point agricultural researchers toward studying farm management practices that may influence microbial carbon use efficiency to improve soil health, The scientists made a breakthrough and developed a method to integrate big data into an earth system computer model by using data assimilation and machine learning., The scientists’ study method measured microbial carbon use efficiency which tells how much carbon was used by microbes for growth versus how much was used for metabolism., The study’s authors found that the role microbes play in storing carbon in the soil is at least four times more important than any other process including decomposition of biomatter., This work opens the possibility for applying the method to analyze other types of big data sets., When used for metabolism carbon is released as a side product in the air as carbon dioxide where it acts as a greenhouse gas.   

    From The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences At Cornell University Via “The Chronicle”: “Microbes key to sequestering carbon in soil” 

    From The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


    Cornell University


    “The Chronicle”

    Krishna Ramanujan | Cornell Chronicle

    Microbes are by far the most important factor in determining how much carbon is stored in the soil, according to a new study with implications for mitigating climate change and improving soil health for agriculture and food production.

    The research is the first to measure the relative importance of microbial processes in the soil carbon cycle. The study’s authors found that the role microbes play in storing carbon in the soil is at least four times more important than any other process, including decomposition of biomatter.

    That’s important information: Earth’s soils hold three times more carbon than the atmosphere, creating a vital carbon sink in the fight against climate change.

    The study, published May 24 in Nature [below], describes a novel approach to better understanding soil carbon dynamics by combining a microbial computer model with data assimilation and machine learning, to analyze big data related to the carbon cycle.

    The method measured microbial carbon use efficiency which tells how much carbon was used by microbes for growth versus how much was used for metabolism. When used for growth, carbon becomes sequestered by microbes in cells and ultimately in the soil, and when used for metabolism, carbon is released as a side product in the air as carbon dioxide, where it acts as a greenhouse gas. Ultimately, growth of microbes is more important than metabolism in determining how much carbon is stored in the soil.

    “This work reveals that microbial carbon use efficiency is more important than any other factor in determining soil carbon storage,” said Yiqi Luo, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the paper’s senior author.

    The new insights point agricultural researchers toward studying farm management practices that may influence microbial carbon use efficiency to improve soil health, which also helps ensure greater food security. Future studies may investigate steps to increase overall soil carbon sequestration by microbes. Researchers may also study how different types of microbes and substrates (such as those high in sugars) may influence soil carbon storage.

    Soil carbon dynamics have been studied for the last two centuries, but those studies were mainly concerned with how much carbon gets into the soil from leaf litter and roots, and how much is lost to the air in the form of CO2 when organic matter decomposes.

    “But we are the first group that can evaluate the relative importance of microbial processes versus other processes,” Luo said.

    In an example of cutting-edge digital agriculture, Luo and colleagues made a breakthrough and developed a method to integrate big data into an earth system computer model by using data assimilation and machine learning.

    The model revealed that overall carbon use efficiency of microbe colonies was at least four times as important as any of the other components that were evaluated, including decomposition and carbon inputs.

    The new process-based model, machine learning approach, which made this result possible for the first time, opens the possibility for applying the method to analyze other types of big data sets.

    Feng Tao, a researcher at Tsinghua University, Beijing, is the paper’s first author. Xiaomeng Huang, a professor at Tsinghua University, is a corresponding author, along with Luo. Benjamin Houlton, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS and professor in the departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and of Global Development; and Johannes Lehmann, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science in CALS, are both co-authors.

    The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Key Research and Development Program of China and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, among others.


    Fig. 1: Two contrasting pathways in determining the relationship between microbial CUE and SOC storage.
    a) The first pathway indicates that a high CUE favours the accumulation of SOC storage through increased microbial biomass and by-products. b) The second pathway emphasizes that a high CUE stimulates SOC losses via increased microbial biomass and subsequent extracellular enzyme production that enhances SOC decomposition.

    Fig. 2: CUE–SOC relationship.
    a)b) The CUE–SOC relationship that emerged from the meta-analysis of 132 measurements (a) and data assimilation using the microbial model with 57,267 globally distributed vertical SOC profiles (b). The black lines and statistics shown are the partial coefficients from mixed-effects model regressions (see Extended Data Tables 1 and 2 for details).

    More instructive images are available in the science paper.

    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 New York State SUNY-College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University is a statutory college and one of the four New York State contract colleges on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York. With enrollment of approximately 3,100 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students, CALS is the third-largest college of its kind in the United States and the second-largest undergraduate college on the Cornell campus.

    Established as a Land-grant college, CALS administrates New York’s cooperative extension program jointly with the College of Human Ecology. CALS runs the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, and the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, as well as other research facilities in New York.

    In 2007-08, CALS total budget (excluding the Geneva Station) is $283 million, with $96 million coming from tuition and $52 million coming from state appropriations. The Geneva Station budget was an additional $25 million.

    Academic programs

    CALS offers more than 20 majors, each with a focus on Life Sciences, Applied Social Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Agriculture and Food. CALS undergraduate programs lead to a Bachelor of Science degree in one of 23 different majors. The Applied Economics and Management program, for example, was ranked 3rd nationally in BusinessWeek’s Best Undergraduate Business Programs, 2012, edition. CALS also offers graduate degrees in various fields of study, including the M.A.T., M.L.A., M.P.S., M.S., and Ph.D.

    Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is the most renowned institution in its field. In 2019, it is ranked 1st in the “Food and Nutrition” and “Agricultural Sciences” sectors of Niche.com

    With an admission rate of 11.5% for the fall of 2018, admission into the college is extremely competitive and in the middle relative to the other colleges at Cornell.

    Once called “the first American university” by educational historian Frederick Rudolph, Cornell University represents a distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. Adding practical subjects to the classics and admitting qualified students regardless of nationality, race, social circumstance, gender, or religion was quite a departure when Cornell was founded in 1865.

    Today’s Cornell reflects this heritage of egalitarian excellence. It is home to the nation’s first colleges devoted to hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Both a private university and the land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University is the most educationally diverse member of the Ivy League.

    On the Ithaca campus alone nearly 20,000 students representing every state and 120 countries choose from among 4,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. Many undergraduates participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary programs, play meaningful roles in original research, and study in Cornell programs in Washington, New York City, and the world over.

    Cornell University is a private, statutory, Ivy League and land-grant research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell’s founding principle, a popular 1868 quotation from founder Ezra Cornell: “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”

    The university is broadly organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions at its main Ithaca campus, with each college and division defining its specific admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy. The university also administers two satellite medical campuses, one in New York City and one in Education City, Qatar, and The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute in New York City, a graduate program that incorporates technology, business, and creative thinking. The program moved from Google’s Chelsea Building in New York City to its permanent campus on Roosevelt Island in September 2017.

    Cornell is one of the few private land grant universities in the United States. Of its seven undergraduate colleges, three are state-supported statutory or contract colleges through The State University of New York (SUNY) system, including its Agricultural and Human Ecology colleges as well as its Industrial Labor Relations school. Of Cornell’s graduate schools, only the veterinary college is state-supported. As a land grant college, Cornell operates a cooperative extension outreach program in every county of New York and receives annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions. The Cornell University Ithaca Campus comprises 745 acres, but is much larger when the Cornell Botanic Gardens (more than 4,300 acres) and the numerous university-owned lands in New York City are considered.

    Alumni and affiliates of Cornell have reached many notable and influential positions in politics, media, and science. As of January 2021, 61 Nobel laureates, four Turing Award winners and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Cornell. Cornell counts more than 250,000 living alumni, and its former and present faculty and alumni include 34 Marshall Scholars, 33 Rhodes Scholars, 29 Truman Scholars, 7 Gates Scholars, 55 Olympic Medalists, 10 current Fortune 500 CEOs, and 35 billionaire alumni. Since its founding, Cornell has been a co-educational, non-sectarian institution where admission has not been restricted by religion or race. The student body consists of more than 15,000 undergraduate and 9,000 graduate students from all 50 American states and 119 countries.


    Cornell University was founded on April 27, 1865; the New York State (NYS) Senate authorized the university as the state’s land grant institution. Senator Ezra Cornell offered his farm in Ithaca, New York, as a site and $500,000 of his personal fortune as an initial endowment. Fellow senator and educator Andrew Dickson White agreed to be the first president. During the next three years, White oversaw the construction of the first two buildings and traveled to attract students and faculty. The university was inaugurated on October 7, 1868, and 412 men were enrolled the next day.

    Cornell developed as a technologically innovative institution, applying its research to its own campus and to outreach efforts. For example, in 1883 it was one of the first university campuses to use electricity from a water-powered dynamo to light the grounds. Since 1894, Cornell has included colleges that are state funded and fulfill statutory requirements; it has also administered research and extension activities that have been jointly funded by state and federal matching programs.

    Cornell has had active alumni since its earliest classes. It was one of the first universities to include alumni-elected representatives on its Board of Trustees. Cornell was also among the Ivies that had heightened student activism during the 1960s related to cultural issues; civil rights; and opposition to the Vietnam War, with protests and occupations resulting in the resignation of Cornell’s president and the restructuring of university governance. Today the university has more than 4,000 courses. Cornell is also known for the Residential Club Fire of 1967, a fire in the Residential Club building that killed eight students and one professor.

    Since 2000, Cornell has been expanding its international programs. In 2004, the university opened the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. It has partnerships with institutions in India, Singapore, and the People’s Republic of China. Former president Jeffrey S. Lehman described the university, with its high international profile, a “transnational university”. On March 9, 2004, Cornell and Stanford University laid the cornerstone for a new ‘Bridging the Rift Center’ to be built and jointly operated for education on the Israel–Jordan border.


    Cornell, a research university, is ranked fourth in the world in producing the largest number of graduates who go on to pursue PhDs in engineering or the natural sciences at American institutions, and fifth in the world in producing graduates who pursue PhDs at American institutions in any field. Research is a central element of the university’s mission; in 2009 Cornell spent $671 million on science and engineering research and development, the 16th highest in the United States.

    Cornell is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    For the 2016–17 fiscal year, the university spent $984.5 million on research. Federal sources constitute the largest source of research funding, with total federal investment of $438.2 million. The agencies contributing the largest share of that investment are The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Science Foundation , accounting for 49.6% and 24.4% of all federal investment, respectively. Cornell was on the top-ten list of U.S. universities receiving the most patents in 2003, and was one of the nation’s top five institutions in forming start-up companies. In 2004–05, Cornell received 200 invention disclosures; filed 203 U.S. patent applications; completed 77 commercial license agreements; and distributed royalties of more than $4.1 million to Cornell units and inventors.

    Since 1962, Cornell has been involved in unmanned missions to Mars. In the 21st century, Cornell had a hand in the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Cornell’s Steve Squyres, Principal Investigator for the Athena Science Payload, led the selection of the landing zones and requested data collection features for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. NASA-JPL/Caltech engineers took those requests and designed the rovers to meet them. The rovers, both of which have operated long past their original life expectancies, are responsible for the discoveries that were awarded 2004 Breakthrough of the Year honors by Science. Control of the Mars rovers has shifted between National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech and Cornell’s Space Sciences Building.

    Further, Cornell researchers discovered the rings around the planet Uranus, and Cornell built and operated the telescope at Arecibo Observatory located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico(US) until 2011, when they transferred the operations to SRI International, the Universities Space Research Association and the Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico [Universidad Metropolitana de Puerto Rico].

    The Automotive Crash Injury Research Project was begun in 1952. It pioneered the use of crash testing, originally using corpses rather than dummies. The project discovered that improved door locks; energy-absorbing steering wheels; padded dashboards; and seat belts could prevent an extraordinary percentage of injuries.

    In the early 1980s, Cornell deployed the first IBM 3090-400VF and coupled two IBM 3090-600E systems to investigate coarse-grained parallel computing. In 1984, the National Science Foundation began work on establishing five new supercomputer centers, including the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing, to provide high-speed computing resources for research within the United States. As a National Science Foundation center, Cornell deployed the first IBM Scalable Parallel supercomputer.

    In the 1990s, Cornell developed scheduling software and deployed the first supercomputer built by Dell. Most recently, Cornell deployed Red Cloud, one of the first cloud computing services designed specifically for research. Today, the center is a partner on the National Science Foundation XSEDE-Extreme Science Engineering Discovery Environment supercomputing program, providing coordination for XSEDE architecture and design, systems reliability testing, and online training using the Cornell Virtual Workshop learning platform.

    Cornell scientists have researched the fundamental particles of nature for more than 70 years. Cornell physicists, such as Hans Bethe, contributed not only to the foundations of nuclear physics but also participated in the Manhattan Project. In the 1930s, Cornell built the second cyclotron in the United States. In the 1950s, Cornell physicists became the first to study synchrotron radiation.

    During the 1990s, the Cornell Electron Storage Ring, located beneath Alumni Field, was the world’s highest-luminosity electron-positron collider. After building the synchrotron at Cornell, Robert R. Wilson took a leave of absence to become the founding director of DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, which involved designing and building the largest accelerator in the United States.

    Cornell’s accelerator and high-energy physics groups are involved in the design of the proposed ILC-International Linear Collider (JP) and plan to participate in its construction and operation. The International Linear Collider (JP), to be completed in the late 2010s, will complement the The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organisation für Kernforschung](CH)[CERN] Large Hadron Collider(CH) and shed light on questions such as the identity of dark matter and the existence of extra dimensions.

    As part of its research work, Cornell has established several research collaborations with universities around the globe. For example, a partnership with the University of Sussex(UK) (including the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex) allows research and teaching collaboration between the two institutions.

  • richardmitnick 11:41 am on May 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A milestone for parabolic flight", 40th DLR parabolic flight campaign takes off from Bordeaux., , Biology, , During DLR’s 40th parabolic flight campaign volumetric 3D printing using xolography will be tested for the first time under microgravity conditions., During each parabola microgravity conditions are experienced for approximately 22 seconds., , Physiology, Since 1999 DLR has regularly organized parabolic flights to enable biological and physiological and physical and technological and materials science experiments., , The milestone parabolic flight campaign experiment will test the interaction of a special “Zyflex plasma chamber”.   

    From The DLR German Aerospace Center [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.](DE): “A milestone for parabolic flight” 

    From The DLR German Aerospace Center [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.](DE)

    Martin Fleischmann
    Communications & Media Relations, Print Editor
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    German Space Agency at DLR
    Königswinterer Straße 522-524, 53227 Bonn
    Tel: +49 228 447-120

    Katrin Stang
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    German Space Agency at DLR
    Research and Exploration
    Königswinterer Straße 522-524, 53227 Bonn

    40th DLR parabolic flight campaign takes off from Bordeaux.

    The A310 Zero G

    The milestone parabolic flight campaign of the German Space Agency at DLR will take place in Bordeaux from 15 to 25 May 2023.
    Across 40 parabolic flight campaigns, the German Space Agency at DLR has enabled more than 600 experiments by researchers from German institutions to be carried out under microgravity conditions.
    This time, three experiments from the fields of biology and human physiology and eight from fundamental physics, technology and materials science are on board.
    Topics include different 3D printing processes, the effect of refrigerated clothing on blood circulation in the human body and investigations into muscle control under microgravity conditions.
    Focus: Space, microgravity research

    On 23 May 2023, at 09:00, a very special Airbus A310 taxied to the runway at Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport. The aircraft set off on a special flight – the first of a total of three flights that make up the 40th parabolic flight campaign of the German Space Agency at DLR, which will take place in Bordeaux from 15 to 25 May 2023. On board are 11 experiments – three from the fields of biology and human physiology and eight related to fundamental physics, technology and materials science. The researchers need these experiments to defy gravity, and so the pilots steer the aircraft into a trajectory similar to that of a thrown ball – achieving up to 31 periods of ‘weightlessness’, each lasting approximately 22 seconds. These flights are the only feasible way for researchers to conduct their experiments under microgravity conditions.

    “Parabolic flights are an important part of our Research under Space Conditions programme. We bring researchers and their exciting experiments directly into microgravity conditions. Many experiments conducted on the International Space Station ISS were previously demonstrated during parabolic flight campaigns. So, our parabolic flights are also a gateway to space for scientific endeavours,” says Walther Pelzer, DLR Executive Board Member and Director General of the German Space Agency at DLR, who will be on board the aircraft for the first time as part of the milestone campaign.

    “With the 40th campaign, we look back on a long tradition of parabolic flights at DLR. Over 147 flight days, we have flown more than 4000 parabolas. During this time, we have issued a ‘boarding pass’ for microgravity to more than 600 experiments and just as many teams. For them, it is the only opportunity to carry out their own experiments under microgravity conditions,” says Katrin Stang, Parabolic Flight Programme Manager at the German Space Agency at DLR, looking back on the past flights. This milestone campaign features three entirely new experiments: ‘SCARLETT’ investigates the slipping of a hill, mountain or crater wall on a simulated martian surface; the ‘XIM’ experiment tests a new 3D bio-printing technology under microgravity; ‘MALCOM’ explores machine learning methods for studying complex plasmas under microgravity. The eight other experiments have flown on previous campaigns. For these experiments, the upcoming flight will expand their gathered data with new test participants, addressing new questions or testing new materials. The experiments will be flown on three days from 23 to 25 May. The space YouTuber ‘Senkrechtstarter’ will also be on board for the first time.

    SCARLETT – when Mars slopes begin to slip

    Mars has an extremely thin atmosphere. While the atmospheric pressure on the surface of Earth is approximately 1000 hectopascals, it is on average just six hectopascals on the martian surface. This low pressure has consequences; gas can move from cold to warm spots in the porous soil in a process referred to as thermal creep. In the Solar System, this phenomenon is found only in the martian soil. The SCARLETT experiment is investigating whether and how this thermal creep can cause the slope of a hill, mountain or crater to slip above a certain angle of inclination. On Mars, above a certain angle, slopes in craters or on hills become unstable and slip. However, these slopes are much flatter than expected. Thermal creep is a possible cause of these reduced slope angles, as temperature differences occur naturally in the martian soil due to solar radiation. Shadows cast on slopes play a major role here, as they can generate very high local temperature differences. Researchers at the University of Duisburg-Essen are investigating under what conditions and at what angle the slopes begin to slip.

    XIM – development of a volumetric 3D demonstrator

    3D printing has the potential to support space missions as a cost-effective and versatile manufacturing method. For missions on the International Space Station ISS, readily available printing of spare parts and specific tools has already been tested. For long-term missions beyond Earth orbit, supply from Earth will be impossible. Therefore, for these missions to be successful, the necessary parts must be manufactured on board the spacecraft itself. But there is potential to go much further than the production of spare parts. 3D bioprinting may play a prominent role in long-term missions as part of a system of regenerative medicine to ensure the long-term health of the crew. During DLR’s 40th parabolic flight campaign, volumetric 3D printing using xolography will be tested for the first time under microgravity conditions. xolo GmbH will demonstrate that this process can be used regardless of the strength of gravity to precisely manufacture desired components. Thanks to the impressive speed of xolography compared to other methods, many experiments can be carried out in a very short time. Plastic materials will be studied and hydrogels will be printed, which serve as the starting substrate for biotechnological applications in regenerative medicine.

    MALCOM – machine learning supports plasma research

    Plasma is the term used to describe an electrically conductive gas, which is often also referred to as the fourth state of matter alongside solids, liquids and gases. In space, plasma is the default state of matter within stars and in interplanetary and interstellar space. On Earth, simple plasmas are used in fluorescent lamps and for integrated circuit production. But in complex plasmas – also referred to as dusty plasmas – gravity often becomes a major problem. As soon as one wants to create a larger dust cloud and introduce micrometre-sized particles into the plasma, gravity begins to pull the cloud down towards the base of the plasma. On parabolic flights, these experiments can be performed without this disturbing influence. This makes it possible to study and measure novel properties of the dust-plasma system. The behavior of heavy particles in a complex plasma is of particular interest to researchers, as similar plasmas are also found in comet tails, the (dust) rings of planets and in the plasmas used in technological processes. The milestone parabolic flight campaign experiment will test the interaction of a special ‘Zyflex plasma chamber’ that was developed at the DLR Institute of Materials Physics in Space and is now operated by the University of Greifswald. The chamber has a stereoscopic camera setup for three-dimensional particle tracking at the University of Greifswald. Both are central components for the planned Complex Plasma Facility (COMPACT), an experiment which will be installed on the ISS. Machine learning methods are being developed to analyze the stereoscopic data, which will be applied to the data from this parabolic flight campaign.

    DLR parabolic flights

    Since 1999, the German Space Agency at DLR has regularly organized parabolic flights to enable biological, physiological, physical, technological and materials science experiments. The research aircraft, the A310 ZERO-G operated by the French company Novespace, is used once or twice a year for scientific campaigns by DLR, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the French space agency, CNES. A DLR parabolic flight campaign usually consists of three flight days with approximately four flight hours, during each of which up to 31 parabolas are flown. During each parabola, microgravity conditions are experienced for approximately 22 seconds. In total, a flight campaign provides approximately 35 minutes of microgravity conditions as the aircraft alternates between once and almost twice the gravitational acceleration experienced on Earth’s surface. Researchers uses these conditions for their experiments. Up to 40 researchers can take part in a flight, with between ten and 13 experiments on board.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    DLR Center

    The DLR German Aerospace Center [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.](DE) is the national aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. In addition to its own research, as Germany’s space agency, DLR has been given responsibility by the federal government for the planning and implementation of the German space programme. DLR is also the umbrella organization for the nation’s largest project management agency.

    DLR has approximately 10.000 employees at 30 locations in Germany. Institutes and facilities are spread over at 16 locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Goettingen, Hamburg, Juelich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen, and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

    DLR has a budget of €1 billion to cover its own research, development and operations. Approximately 49% of this sum comes from competitively allocated third-party funds (German: Drittmittel). In addition to this, DLR administers around €860 million in German funds for The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU). In its capacity as project management agency, it manages €1.279 billion in research on behalf of German federal ministries. DLR is a full member of the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems and a member of The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.

    In the context of DLR’s initiatives to promote young research talent, ten DLR School Labs were set up at The Technical University of Darmstadt [Technische Universität Darmstadt] (DE), The Hamburg University of Technology [Technische Universität Hamburg](DE), RWTH AACHEN UNIVERSITY [Rheinisch-Westfaelische Technische Hochschule(DE), The Technical University Dresden [Technische Universität Dresden](DE) and in Berlin-Adlershof, Braunschweig, Bremen, Cologne-Porz, Dortmund, Göttingen, Lampoldshausen/Stuttgart, Neustrelitz, and Oberpfaffenhofen over the past years. In the DLR School Labs, pupils can become acquainted with the practical aspects of natural and engineering sciences by conducting interesting experiments.

    DLR’s mission comprises the exploration of the Earth and the solar system, as well as research aimed at protecting the environment and developing environmentally compatible technologies, and at promoting mobility, communication and security. DLR’s research portfolio, which covers the four focus areas Aeronautics, Space, Transportation and Energy, ranges from basic research to innovative applications. DLR operates large-scale research centres, both for the benefit of its own projects and as a service for its clients and partners from the worlds of business and science.

    The objective of DLR’s aeronautics research is to strengthen the competitive advantage of the national and European aeronautical industry and aviation sector, and to meet political and social demands – for instance with regard to climate-friendly aviation. German space research activities range from experiments under conditions of weightlessness to the exploration of other planets and environmental monitoring from space. In addition to these activities, DLR performs tasks of public authority pertaining to the planning and implementation of the German space programme, in its capacity as the official space agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. DLR’s Project Management Agency (German: Projektträger im DLR) has also been entrusted with tasks of public authority pertaining to the administration of subsidies. In the field of energy research, DLR is working on highly efficient, low-CO2 power generation technologies based on gas turbines and fuel cells, on solar thermal power generation, and on the efficient use of heat, including cogeneration based on fossil and renewable energy sources. The topics covered by DLR’s transportation research are maintaining mobility, protecting the environment and saving resources, and improving transportation safety.

    In addition to the already existing projects Mars Express, global navigation satellite system Galileo, and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, the Institute of Space Systems (German: Institut für Raumfahrtsysteme) was founded in Bremen on 26 January 2007. In the future, 80 scientists and engineers will be doing research into topics such as space mission concepts, satellite development and propulsion technology.

    Planetary research

    Mars Express

    The High Resolution Stereo Camera HRSC is the most important German contribution to the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission. It is the first digital stereo camera that also generates multispectral data and that has a very high resolution lens. The camera records images of the Martian surface which formed the basis for a large number of scientific studies. With the HRSC, which was developed at the German Aerospace Center’s Institute of Planetary Research (German: Institut für Planetenforschung), it is possible to analyze details no larger than 10 to 30 meters in three dimensions.

    Rosetta and Philae

    The comet orbiter Rosetta is controlled from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), in Darmstadt, Germany. The DLR has provided the structure, thermal subsystem, flywheel, the Active Descent System (procured by DLR but made in Switzerland), ROLIS, downward-looking camera, SESAME, acoustic sounding and seismic instrument for Philae, the orbiter’s landing unit. It has also managed the project and did the level product assurance. The University of Münster built MUPUS (it was designed and built in Space Research Centre of Polish Academy of Sciences) and the Braunschweig University of Technology the ROMAP instrument. The MPG Institute for Solar System Research [MPG Institut für Sonnensystemforschung](DE) made the payload engineering, eject mechanism, landing gear, anchoring harpoon, central computer, COSAC, APXS and other subsystems.


    The framing cameras, provided by the MPG Institute for Solar System Research and the DLR, are the main imaging instruments of Dawn, a multi-destination space probe to the protoplanets 4 Vesta and 1 Ceres launched in 2007. The cameras offer resolutions of 17 m/pixel for Vesta and 66 m/pixel for Ceres. Because the framing cameras are vital for both science and navigation, the payload has two identical and physically separate cameras (FC1 & FC2) for redundancy, each with its own optics, electronics, and structure.

    Human spaceflight


    DLR operates the Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. It is responsible for the coordination of scientific activities as well as for systems operations and life support on board the orbiting Columbus laboratory.

    In February 2008, the Columbus laboratory, Europe’s core contribution to the International Space Station ISS, was brought into space by the Space Shuttle and docked to the ISS. The cylindrical module, which has a diameter of 4.5 metres (14 ft 9 in), contains state-of-the-art scientific equipment. It is planned to enable researchers on Earth to conduct thousands of experiments in biology, materials science, fluid physics and many other fields under conditions of weightlessness in space.

    Spacelab, Shuttle, Mir, Soyuz

    Germany has near ten astronauts and participates in ESA human space programs including flights of German astronauts aboard US Space Shuttles and Russian spacecraft. Besides missions under ESA and flights on Soyuz and Mir, two Space Shuttle missions with the European built Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by Germany (like a separate few by ESA and one by Japan) with German astronauts on board as hosts and not guests. The first West German mission Deutschland 1 (Spacelab-D1, DLR-1, NASA designation STS-61-A) took place in 1985.

    The second similar mission, Deutschland 2 (Spacelab-D2, DLR-2, NASA designation STS-55), was first planned for 1988, but then due to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was delayed until 1993 when it became the first German human space mission after German reunification.

    Earth-bound research and aeronautics

    Remote sensing of the Earth

    In remote sensing of the Earth, satellites provide comprehensive and continually updated information on “System Earth”. This remote sensing data is used to investigate the Earth’s atmosphere, land and ocean surfaces, and ice sheets. Practical applications of this technology include environmental monitoring and disaster relief.

    Following the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004, for instance, up-to-date maps could be compiled very quickly using Earth observation satellites. These maps could then be used for orientation during relief missions. DLR conducts these research activities at the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) (German: Deutsches Fernerkundungsdatenzentrum), a DLR institute based in Oberpfaffenhofen. Nowadays, satellite data is also important for climate research: it is used to measure temperatures, CO2 levels, particulate matter levels, rainforest deforestation and the radiation conditions of the Earth’s surface (land, oceans, polar ice).


    The German Earth observation satellite TerraSAR-X was launched in June 2007. The objective of this five-year mission was to provide radar remote sensing data to scientific and commercial users. The satellite’s design is based on the technology and expertise developed in the X-SAR and SRTM SAR missions (Synthetic Aperture Radar). The sensor has a number of different modes of operation, with a maximum resolution of one meter, and is capable of generating elevation profiles.

    TerraSAR-X is the first satellite that was jointly paid for by government and industry. DLR contributed about 80 percent of the total expenses, with the remainder being covered by EADS Astrium. The satellite’s core component is a radar sensor operating in the X band and capable of recording the Earth’s surface using a range of different modes of operation, capturing an area of 10 to 100 kilometers in size with a resolution of 1 to 16 meters.

    Astronomical surveys

    The Uppsala–DLR Trojan Survey (UDTS) was a search for asteroids near Jupiter in the 1990s, in collaboration with the Swedish Uppsala Astronomical Observatory. When it concluded there was another survey, the Uppsala–DLR Asteroid Survey, this time with a focus on Near Earth asteroids and both surveys discovered numerous objects.

    Reusable launch systems

    Suborbital Spaceplane

    Studying a suborbital spaceplane, DLR conducted Falke prototype for Hermes spaceplane program, participates in non-realized Sanger II project and since 2005 work under the concept making fast intercontinental passenger transport possible. The SpaceLiner is a reusable vehicle lifting-off vertically and landing like a glider.


    DLR is a partner for RETALT (RETro Propulsion Assisted Landing Technologies), a program aiming to develop two-stage-to-orbit and single-stage to orbit reusable launch systems.

    Aircraft design

    DLR is involved in different European H2020 projects (AGILE, AGILE4.0) concerning aircraft design with the objective to improve multidisciplinary optimization using distributed analysis frameworks.

    Research aircraft

    DLR operates Europe’s largest fleet of research aircraft. The aircraft are used both as research objects and as research tools. DLR’s research aircraft provide platforms for all kinds of research missions. Scientists and engineers can use them for practical, application-oriented purposes: Earth observation, atmospheric research or testing new aircraft components. DLR is for instance investigating wing flutter and possible ways of eliminating it, which would also help to reduce aircraft noise. So-called “flying simulators” can be used to simulate the flight performance of aircraft that have not been built yet. This method was for instance used to test the Airbus A380 in the early stages of its development. The VFW 614 ATTAS was used to test several systems.

    The high-altitude research aircraft HALO (High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft) will be used for atmospheric research and Earth observation from 2009. With a cruising altitude of more than 15 kilometers and a range of over 8,000 kilometers, HALO will provide for the first time the capability to gather data on a continental scale, at all latitudes, from the tropics to the poles, and at altitudes as high as the lower stratosphere.

    The Airbus A320-232 D-ATRA, the latest and largest addition to the fleet, has been in use by the German Aerospace Center since late 2008. ATRA (Advanced Technology Research Aircraft) is a modern and flexible flight test platform which sets a new benchmark for flying test beds in European aerospace research – and not just because of its size.

    DLR and NASA jointly operated the flying infrared telescope SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy). A Boeing 747SP with a modified fuselage enabling it to carry a reflecting telescope developed in Germany was used as an airborne research platform. The aircraft was operated by the Dryden Flight Research Center at Site 9 (USAF Plant 42) in Palmdale, California. Observation flights were flown 3 or 4 nights a week, for up to eight hours at a time and at an altitude of 12 to 14 kilometers. SOFIA was designed to remain operational for a period of 20 years. It is the successor to the Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO), which was deployed from 1974 to 1995.

    On 31 January 2020, the DLR put its newest aircraft into service, a Falcon 2000LX ISTAR (In-flight Systems & Technology Airborne Research).

    Emissions research

    DLR conducts research into CO2 and noise emissions caused by air transport. In order to ensure that increasing traffic volumes do not lead to an increase in the noise pollution caused by air transport, DLR is investigating options for noise reduction. The “Low-noise Approach and Departure Procedures” research project (German: Lärmoptimierte An- und Abflugverfahren), for instance, forms part of the national research project “Quiet Traffic” (German: Leiser Verkehr). The objective of this project is to find flight procedures that can reduce the amount of noise generated during takeoff and landing. One approach is to analyse noise propagation at ground level during takeoff using a large number of microphones. Researchers are also trying to reduce the noise at source, focusing for instance on airframe and engine noise. They hope to minimize noise generated in the engines using so-called “antinoise”.

    The German Aerospace Center’s research work on CO2 emissions caused by air transport focuses for instance on model calculations concerning the effects of converting the global aircraft fleet to hydrogen propulsion. The growth rates of aviation are above average. This raises the question if CO2 emission-free hydrogen propulsion could perhaps limit the effects of growing air traffic volumes on the environment and the climate.

    Hydrogen as an energy carrier

    The Hydrosol and Hydrosol-2 is one of the energy research projects in which DLR scientists are engaged. For the first time, scientists have achieved thermal water splitting using solar energy, generating hydrogen and oxygen without CO2 emissions. For this achievement, the DLR team and several other research groups received the Descartes Prize, a research award created by the European Commission. The FP6 Hydrosol II pilot reactor (around 100 kW) for solar thermochemical hydrogen production at the Plataforma Solar de Almería in Spain started in November 2005 and is in operation since 2008.

    Traffic Congestion

    During the 2006 FIFA World Cup football championship, DLR implemented the Soccer project aimed at preventing traffic congestion. In this transportation research project, traffic data was obtained from the air in Berlin, Stuttgart and Cologne and used as input for traffic forecasting. A sensor system combining a conventional and a thermographic camera was used to obtain the data. A zeppelin, an aeroplane and a helicopter served as flying research platforms. An image analysis software package generated aerial photos showing the current traffic parameters as well as traffic forecasts. In this way, traffic control centres could be provided with almost-real-time traffic information, and road users could be diverted whenever necessary.

    Solar tower power plant

    In 2007, the first commercially operated solar tower power plant, the PS10 solar power tower, was commissioned. It has a capacity of eleven megawatt and it is located near Sevilla, in Sanlúcar la Mayor (Spain). DLR is prominently involved in developing the technology for this type of power plant. In solar tower power plants, sun-tracking mirrors (heliostats) redirect the solar radiation onto a central heat exchanger (receiver) on top of a tower. This generates high-temperature process heat, which can then be used in gas or steam turbine power plants to generate electrical power for the public electricity grid. In the future, solar thermal tower plant technology could also be used to generate solar fuels, such as hydrogen, without CO2 emissions.

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