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  • richardmitnick 11:28 pm on September 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What Can a Young Star Teach Us about the Birth of Our Planet; Sun; and Solar System?", A young star named GM Aur, , , , Boston University (US),   

    From Boston University (US) : “What Can a Young Star Teach Us about the Birth of Our Planet; Sun; and Solar System?” 

    From Boston University (US)

    September 1, 2021
    Jessica Colarossi

    Astronomers have discovered a strangely shaped spot on the surface of a baby star 450 million light-years away, revealing new insights into how our solar system formed.

    1
    This image depicts a young star named GM Aur eating up gas and dust particles of a protoplanetary disk, which is represented by the green material surrounding the bright star. Image by M. M. Romanova.

    The familiar star at the center of our solar system has had billions of years to mature and ultimately provide life-giving energy to us here on Earth. But a very long time ago, our sun was just a growing baby star. What did the sun look like when it was so young? That’s long been a mystery that, if solved, could teach us about the formation of our solar system—so-named because sol is the Latin word for sun—and other stellar systems made up of planets and cosmic objects orbiting stars.

    “We’ve detected thousands of planets in other stellar systems in our galaxy, but where did all of these planets come from? Where did Earth come from? That’s what really drives me,” says Catherine Espaillat, lead author on the paper and a Boston University College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of astronomy.

    A new research paper published in Nature by Espaillat and collaborators finally provides new clues as to what forces were at play when our sun was in its infancy, detecting, for the first time, a uniquely shaped spot on a baby star that reveals new information about how young stars grow.

    When a baby star is forming, Espaillat explains, it eats up dust and gas particles swirling around it in what’s called a protoplanetary disk. The particles slam into the surface of the star in a process called accretion.

    “This is the same process the sun went through,” Espaillat says.

    Protoplanetary disks are found within magnetized molecular clouds, which throughout the universe are known by astronomers to be breeding grounds for the formation of new stars. It’s been theorized that the protoplanetary disks and the stars are connected by a magnetic field, and the particles follow the field on to the star. As particles collide into the surface of the growing star, hot spots—which are extremely hot and dense—form at the focal points of the accretion process.

    Looking at a young star about 450 million light-years away from Earth, Espaillat and her team’s observations confirm, for the first time, the accuracy of astronomers’ accretion models developed to predict the formation of hot spots. Those computer models have until now relied on algorithms that calculate how the structure of magnetic fields direct particles from protoplanetary disks to crash into specific points on the surface of growing stars. Now, observable data backs those calculations.

    The BU team, including graduate student John Wendeborn, and postdoctoral researcher Thanawuth Thanathibodee, closely studied a young star called GM Aur, located in the Taurus-Auriga molecular cloud of the Milky Way. It’s currently impossible to photograph the surface of such a faraway star, Espaillat says, but other types of images are possible given that different parts of a star’s surface emit light in different wavelengths. The team spent a month taking daily snapshots of light wavelengths emitting from GM Aur’s surface, compiling datasets of X-ray, ultraviolet (UV), infrared, and visual light. To peek at GM Aur, they relied on the “eyes” of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), Swift Observatory, and the Las Cumbres Observatory global telescope network.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) TESS

    NASA/MIT Tess in the building

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US) TESS – Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite replaced the Kepler Space Telescope in search for exoplanets. TESS is a NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission led and operated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US)


    Additional partners include Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Virginia; NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; the Center for Astrophysics – Harvard and Smithsonian; MIT Lincoln Laboratory; and the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute (US) in Baltimore.







    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    [caption id="attachment_32526" align="alignnone" width="200"] National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory.

    This particular star, GM Aur, makes a full rotation in about one week, and in that time the brightness levels are expected to peak and wane as the brighter hot spot turns away from Earth and then back around to face our planet again. But when the team first lined up their data side by side, they were stumped by what they saw.

    “We saw that there was an offset [in the data] by a day,” Espaillat says. Instead of all light wavelengths peaking at the same time, UV light was at its brightest about a day before all the other wavelengths reached their peak. At first, they thought they may have gathered inaccurate data.

    “We went over the data so many times, double-checked the timing, and realized this was not an error,” she says. They discovered that the hot spot itself is not totally uniform, and it has an area within it that is even hotter than the rest of it.

    “The hot spot is not a perfect circle…it’s more like a bow with one part of the bow that is hotter and denser than the rest,” Espaillat says. The unique shape explains the misalignment in the light wavelength data. This is a phenomenon in a hot spot never previously detected.

    “This [study] teaches us that the hot spots are footprints on the stellar surface created by the magnetic field,” Espaillat says. At one time, the sun also had hot spots—different from sunspots, which are areas of our sun that are cooler than the rest of its surface—concentrated in the areas where it was eating up particles from a surrounding protoplanetary disk of gas and dust.

    Eventually, protoplanetary disks fade away, leaving behind stars, planets, and other cosmic objects that make up a stellar system, Espaillat says. There is still evidence of the protoplanetary disk that fueled our solar system, she says, found in the existence of our asteroid belt and all the planets. Espaillat says that studying young stars that share similar properties with our sun is key to understanding the birth of our own planet.

    This work was funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation (US).

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Boston University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. The university is nonsectarian but has a historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church. It was founded in 1839 by Methodists with its original campus in Newbury, Vermont, before moving to Boston in 1867.

    The university now has more than 4,000 faculty members and nearly 34,000 students, and is one of Boston’s largest employers. It offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctorates, and medical, dental, business, and law degrees through 17 schools and colleges on three urban campuses. The main campus is situated along the Charles River in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore and Allston neighborhoods, while the Boston University Medical Campus is located in Boston’s South End neighborhood. The Fenway campus houses the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, formerly Wheelock College, which merged with BU in 2018.

    BU is a member of the Boston Consortium for Higher Education (US) and the Association of American Universities (US). It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Among its alumni and current or past faculty, the university counts eight Nobel Laureates, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, 10 Rhodes Scholars, six Marshall Scholars, nine Academy Award winners, and several Emmy and Tony Award winners. BU also has MacArthur, Fulbright, and Truman Scholars, as well as American Academy of Arts and Sciences (US) and National Academy of Sciences (US) members, among its past and present graduates and faculty. In 1876, BU professor Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in a BU lab.

    The Boston University Terriers compete in the NCAA Division I. BU athletic teams compete in the Patriot League, and Hockey East conferences, and their mascot is Rhett the Boston Terrier. Boston University is well known for men’s hockey, in which it has won five national championships, most recently in 2009.

    Research

    In FY2016, the University reported in $368.9 million in sponsored research, comprising 1,896 awards to 722 faculty investigators. Funding sources included the National Science Foundation (US), the National Institutes of Health (US), the Department of Defense (US), the European Commission of the European Union, the Susan G. Komen Foundation (US), and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (US). The University’s research enterprise encompasses dozens of fields, but its primary focus currently lies in seven areas: Data Science, Engineering Biology, Global Health, Infectious Diseases, Neuroscience, Photonics, and Urban Health.

    The University’s strategic plan calls for the removal of barriers between previously siloed departments, schools, and fields. The result has been an increasing emphasis by the University on interdisciplinary work and the creation of multidisciplinary centers such as the Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering, a $140 million, nine-story research facility that has brought together life scientists, engineers, and physicians from the Medical and Charles River Campuses; the Institute for Health Systems Innovation & Policy, a cross-campus initiative combining business, health law, medicine, and public policy; a neurophotonics center that combines photonics and neuroscience to study the brain; and the Software and Application Innovation Lab, where technologists work with colleagues in the arts and humanities and together develop digital research tools. The University also made a large investment in an emerging field, when it created a new university-wide academic unit called the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences in 2019 and began construction of the nineteen-story Center for Computing & Data Sciences, slated to open in 2022.

    In 2003, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded Boston University a grant to build one of two National Biocontainment Laboratories. The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) was created to study emerging infectious diseases that pose a significant threat to public health. NEIDL has biosafety level 2, 3, and 4 (BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4, respectively) labs that enable researchers to work safely with the pathogens. BSL-4 labs are the highest level of biosafety labs and work with diseases with a high risk of aerosol transmission.

    The strategic plan also encouraged research collaborations with industry and government partners. In 2016, as part of a broadbased effort to solve the critical problem of antibiotic resistance, the US Department of Health & Human Services selected the Boston University School of Law (LAW)—and Kevin Outterson, a BU professor of law—to lead a $350 million trans-Atlantic public-private partnership called CARB-X to foster the preclinical development of new antibiotics and antimicrobial rapid diagnostics and vaccines.

    That same year, BU researcher Avrum Spira joined forces with Janssen Research & Development and its Disease Interception Accelerator group. Spira—a professor of medicine, pathology and laboratory medicine, and bioinformatics—has spent his career at BU pursuing a better, and earlier, way to diagnose pulmonary disorders and cancers, primarily using biomarkers and genomic testing. In 2015, under a $13.7 million Defense Department grant, Spira’s efforts to identify which members of the military will develop lung cancer and COPD caught the attention of Janssen, part Johnson & Johnson. They are investing $10.1 million to collaborate with Spira’s lab with the hope that his discoveries—and potential therapies—could then apply to the population at large.

    In its effort to increase diversity and inclusion, Boston University appointed Ibram X. Kendi in July 2020 as a history professor and the director and founder of its newly established Center for Antiracist Research. The university also appointed alumna Andrea Taylor as its first senior diversity officer.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:40 pm on August 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Why Is This Weird, , , , Boston University (US), , , The star known as LP 40−365 one of a unique breed of fast-moving stars—remnant pieces of massive white dwarf stars—that have survived in chunks after a gigantic stellar explosion.   

    From Boston University (US) : “Why Is This Weird, Metallic Star Hurtling Out of the Milky Way?” 

    From Boston University (US)

    July 8, 2021 [Just today in social media.]
    Jessica Colarossi

    1
    A close pair of white dwarf stars set up to eventually explode in a supernova. Credit: Caltech/Zwicky Transient Facility.

    About 2,000 light-years away from Earth, there is a star catapulting toward the edge of the Milky Way. This particular star, known as LP 40−365, is one of a unique breed of fast-moving stars—remnant pieces of massive white dwarf stars—that have survived in chunks after a gigantic stellar explosion.

    3
    Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

    “This star is moving so fast that it’s almost certainly leaving the galaxy…[it’s] moving almost two million miles an hour,” says JJ Hermes, Boston University College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of astronomy. But why is this flying object speeding out of the Milky Way? Because it’s a piece of shrapnel from a past explosion—a cosmic event known as a supernova—that’s still being propelled forward.

    “To have gone through partial detonation and still survive is very cool and unique, and it’s only in the last few years that we’ve started to think this kind of star could exist,” says Odelia Putterman, a former BU student who has worked in Hermes’ lab.

    In a new paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Hermes and Putterman uncover new observations about this leftover “star shrapnel” that gives insight to other stars with similar catastrophic pasts.

    Putterman and Hermes analyzed data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which surveys the sky and collects light information on stars near and far. By looking at various kinds of light data from both telescopes, the researchers and their collaborators found that LP 40−365 is not only being hurled out of the galaxy, but based on the brightness patterns in the data, is also rotating on its way out.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) TESS

    Additional partners include Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Virginia; NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; the Center for Astrophysics – Harvard and Smithsonian; MIT Lincoln Laboratory; and the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute (US) in Baltimore.


    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    “The star is basically being slingshotted from the explosion, and we’re [observing] its rotation on its way out,” says Putterman, who is second author on the paper.

    “We dug a little deeper to figure out why that star [was repeatedly] getting brighter and fainter, and the simplest explanation is that we’re seeing something at [its] surface rotate in and out of view every nine hours,” suggesting its rotation rate, Hermes says. All stars rotate—even our sun slowly rotates on its axis every 27 days. But for a star fragment that’s survived a supernova, nine hours is considered relatively slow.

    “This [paper] adds one more layer of knowledge into what role these stars played when the supernova occurred,” and what can happen after the explosion, Putterman says. “By understanding what’s happening with this particular star, we can start to understand what’s happening with many other similar stars that came from a similar situation.”

    “These are very weird stars,” Hermes says. Stars like LP 40–365 are not only some of the fastest stars known to astronomers, but also the most metal-rich stars ever detected. Stars like our sun are composed of helium and hydrogen, but a star that has survived a supernova is primarily composed of metal material, because “what we’re seeing are the by-products of violent nuclear reactions that happen when a star blows itself up,” Hermes says, making star shrapnel like this especially fascinating to study.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Boston University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. The university is nonsectarian but has a historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church. It was founded in 1839 by Methodists with its original campus in Newbury, Vermont, before moving to Boston in 1867.

    The university now has more than 4,000 faculty members and nearly 34,000 students, and is one of Boston’s largest employers. It offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctorates, and medical, dental, business, and law degrees through 17 schools and colleges on three urban campuses. The main campus is situated along the Charles River in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore and Allston neighborhoods, while the Boston University Medical Campus is located in Boston’s South End neighborhood. The Fenway campus houses the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, formerly Wheelock College, which merged with BU in 2018.

    BU is a member of the Boston Consortium for Higher Education (US) and the Association of American Universities (US). It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Among its alumni and current or past faculty, the university counts eight Nobel Laureates, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, 10 Rhodes Scholars, six Marshall Scholars, nine Academy Award winners, and several Emmy and Tony Award winners. BU also has MacArthur, Fulbright, and Truman Scholars, as well as American Academy of Arts and Sciences (US) and National Academy of Sciences (US) members, among its past and present graduates and faculty. In 1876, BU professor Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in a BU lab.

    The Boston University Terriers compete in the NCAA Division I. BU athletic teams compete in the Patriot League, and Hockey East conferences, and their mascot is Rhett the Boston Terrier. Boston University is well known for men’s hockey, in which it has won five national championships, most recently in 2009.

    Research

    In FY2016, the University reported in $368.9 million in sponsored research, comprising 1,896 awards to 722 faculty investigators. Funding sources included the National Science Foundation (US), the National Institutes of Health (US), the Department of Defense (US), the European Commission of the European Union, the Susan G. Komen Foundation (US), and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (US). The University’s research enterprise encompasses dozens of fields, but its primary focus currently lies in seven areas: Data Science, Engineering Biology, Global Health, Infectious Diseases, Neuroscience, Photonics, and Urban Health.

    The University’s strategic plan calls for the removal of barriers between previously siloed departments, schools, and fields. The result has been an increasing emphasis by the University on interdisciplinary work and the creation of multidisciplinary centers such as the Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering, a $140 million, nine-story research facility that has brought together life scientists, engineers, and physicians from the Medical and Charles River Campuses; the Institute for Health Systems Innovation & Policy, a cross-campus initiative combining business, health law, medicine, and public policy; a neurophotonics center that combines photonics and neuroscience to study the brain; and the Software and Application Innovation Lab, where technologists work with colleagues in the arts and humanities and together develop digital research tools. The University also made a large investment in an emerging field, when it created a new university-wide academic unit called the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences in 2019 and began construction of the nineteen-story Center for Computing & Data Sciences, slated to open in 2022.

    In 2003, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded Boston University a grant to build one of two National Biocontainment Laboratories. The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) was created to study emerging infectious diseases that pose a significant threat to public health. NEIDL has biosafety level 2, 3, and 4 (BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4, respectively) labs that enable researchers to work safely with the pathogens. BSL-4 labs are the highest level of biosafety labs and work with diseases with a high risk of aerosol transmission.

    The strategic plan also encouraged research collaborations with industry and government partners. In 2016, as part of a broadbased effort to solve the critical problem of antibiotic resistance, the US Department of Health & Human Services selected the Boston University School of Law (LAW)—and Kevin Outterson, a BU professor of law—to lead a $350 million trans-Atlantic public-private partnership called CARB-X to foster the preclinical development of new antibiotics and antimicrobial rapid diagnostics and vaccines.

    That same year, BU researcher Avrum Spira joined forces with Janssen Research & Development and its Disease Interception Accelerator group. Spira—a professor of medicine, pathology and laboratory medicine, and bioinformatics—has spent his career at BU pursuing a better, and earlier, way to diagnose pulmonary disorders and cancers, primarily using biomarkers and genomic testing. In 2015, under a $13.7 million Defense Department grant, Spira’s efforts to identify which members of the military will develop lung cancer and COPD caught the attention of Janssen, part Johnson & Johnson. They are investing $10.1 million to collaborate with Spira’s lab with the hope that his discoveries—and potential therapies—could then apply to the population at large.

    In its effort to increase diversity and inclusion, Boston University appointed Ibram X. Kendi in July 2020 as a history professor and the director and founder of its newly established Center for Antiracist Research. The university also appointed alumna Andrea Taylor as its first senior diversity officer.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:04 pm on July 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , About 2000 light years away from Earth there is a star catapulting toward the edge of the Milky Way., Boston University (US), It’s a piece of shrapnel from a past explosion—a cosmic event known as a supernova—that’s still being propelled forward., Supernovas occur when a white dwarf gets too massive to support itself eventually triggering a cosmic detonation of energy., This particular star known as LP 40−365., This star is moving so fast that it’s almost certainly leaving the galaxy., To have gone through partial detonation and still survive is very cool and unique.,   

    From Boston University (US) : “Why Is This Weird Metallic Star Hurtling Out of the Milky Way?” 

    From Boston University (US)

    July 8, 2021
    Jessica Colarossi

    Supernova Shrapnel

    BU astronomers analyzed light data from a piece of supernova shrapnel—a star called LP 40−365—to gain clues about where it came from.

    1
    A close pair of white dwarf stars set up to explode in what is called a supernova.Photo courtesy of California Institute of Technology (US)/Caltech Palomar Zwicky Transient Factory.

    About 2,000 light years away from Earth there is a star catapulting toward the edge of the Milky Way. This particular star, known as LP 40−365, is one of a unique breed of fast-moving stars—remnant pieces of massive white dwarf stars—that have survived in chunks after a gigantic stellar explosion.

    “This star is moving so fast that it’s almost certainly leaving the galaxy…[it’s] moving almost two million miles an hour,” says JJ Hermes, Boston University College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of astronomy. But why is this flying object speeding out of the Milky Way? Because it’s a piece of shrapnel from a past explosion—a cosmic event known as a supernova—that’s still being propelled forward.

    “To have gone through partial detonation and still survive is very cool and unique, and it’s only in the last few years that we’ve started to think this kind of star could exist,” says Odelia Putterman, a former BU student who has worked in Hermes’ lab.

    In a new paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Hermes and Putterman uncover new observations about this leftover “star shrapnel” that gives insight to other stars with similar catastrophic pasts.

    Putterman and Hermes analyzed data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which surveys the sky and collects light information on stars near and far. By looking at various kinds of light data from both telescopes, the researchers and their collaborators found that LP 40−365 is not only being hurled out of the galaxy but, based on the brightness patterns in the data, is also rotating on its way out.

    “The star is basically being slingshotted from the explosion, and we’re [observing] its rotation on its way out,” says Putterman, who previously studied astronomy at BU and is second author on the paper.

    “We dug a little deeper to figure out why that star [was repeatedly] getting brighter and fainter, and the simplest explanation is that we’re seeing something at [its] surface rotate in and out of view every nine hours,” suggesting its rotation rate, Hermes says. All stars rotate—even our sun slowly rotates on its axis every 27 days. But for a star fragment that’s survived a supernova, nine hours is considered relatively slow.

    Supernovas occur when a white dwarf gets too massive to support itself eventually triggering a cosmic detonation of energy. Finding the rotation rate of a star like LP 40−365 after a supernova can lend clues into the original two-star system it came from. It’s common in the universe for stars to come in close pairs, including white dwarfs, which are highly dense stars that form toward the end of a star’s life.

    If one white dwarf gives too much mass to the other, the star being dumped on can self-destruct, resulting in a supernova. Supernovas are commonplace in the galaxy and can happen in many different ways, according to the researchers, but they are usually very hard to see. This makes it hard to know which star did the imploding and which star dumped too much mass onto its star partner.

    Based on LP 40−365’s relatively slow rotation rate, Hermes and Putterman feel more confident that it is shrapnel from the star that self-destructed after being fed too much mass by its partner, when they were once orbiting each other at high speed. Because the stars were orbiting each other so quickly and closely, the explosion slingshotted both stars, and now we only see LP 40–365.

    “This [paper] adds one more layer of knowledge into what role these stars played when the supernova occurred,” and what can happen after the explosion, Putterman says. “By understanding what’s happening with this particular star, we can start to understand what’s happening with many other similar stars that came from a similar situation.”

    “These are very weird stars,” Hermes says. Stars like LP 40–365 are not only some of the fastest stars known to astronomers, but also the most metal-rich stars ever detected. Stars like our sun are composed of helium and hydrogen, but a star that has survived a supernova is primarily composed of metal material, because “what we’re seeing are the byproducts of violent nuclear reactions that happen when a star blows itself up,” Hermes says, making star shrapnel like this especially fascinating to study.

    This research was supported by a NASA TESS Cycle 2 grant; the European Research Council; a UK Science and Technology Facilities Council grant; the postdoctoral fellowship program Beatriu de Pinós, funded by the Secretary of Universities and Research (Government of Catalonia); the Horizon 2020 program of research and innovation of the European Union under a Maria Skłodowska-Curie grant; NASA’s Astrophysics Theory Program; and by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Boston University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. The university is nonsectarian but has a historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church. It was founded in 1839 by Methodists with its original campus in Newbury, Vermont, before moving to Boston in 1867.

    The university now has more than 4,000 faculty members and nearly 34,000 students, and is one of Boston’s largest employers. It offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctorates, and medical, dental, business, and law degrees through 17 schools and colleges on three urban campuses. The main campus is situated along the Charles River in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore and Allston neighborhoods, while the Boston University Medical Campus is located in Boston’s South End neighborhood. The Fenway campus houses the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, formerly Wheelock College, which merged with BU in 2018.

    BU is a member of the Boston Consortium for Higher Education (US) and the Association of American Universities (US). It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Among its alumni and current or past faculty, the university counts eight Nobel Laureates, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, 10 Rhodes Scholars, six Marshall Scholars, nine Academy Award winners, and several Emmy and Tony Award winners. BU also has MacArthur, Fulbright, and Truman Scholars, as well as American Academy of Arts and Sciences (US) and National Academy of Sciences (US) members, among its past and present graduates and faculty. In 1876, BU professor Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in a BU lab.

    The Boston University Terriers compete in the NCAA Division I. BU athletic teams compete in the Patriot League, and Hockey East conferences, and their mascot is Rhett the Boston Terrier. Boston University is well known for men’s hockey, in which it has won five national championships, most recently in 2009.

    Research

    In FY2016, the University reported in $368.9 million in sponsored research, comprising 1,896 awards to 722 faculty investigators. Funding sources included the National Science Foundation (US), the National Institutes of Health (US), the Department of Defense (US), the European Commission of the European Union, the Susan G. Komen Foundation (US), and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (US). The University’s research enterprise encompasses dozens of fields, but its primary focus currently lies in seven areas: Data Science, Engineering Biology, Global Health, Infectious Diseases, Neuroscience, Photonics, and Urban Health.

    The University’s strategic plan calls for the removal of barriers between previously siloed departments, schools, and fields. The result has been an increasing emphasis by the University on interdisciplinary work and the creation of multidisciplinary centers such as the Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering, a $140 million, nine-story research facility that has brought together life scientists, engineers, and physicians from the Medical and Charles River Campuses; the Institute for Health Systems Innovation & Policy, a cross-campus initiative combining business, health law, medicine, and public policy; a neurophotonics center that combines photonics and neuroscience to study the brain; and the Software and Application Innovation Lab, where technologists work with colleagues in the arts and humanities and together develop digital research tools. The University also made a large investment in an emerging field, when it created a new university-wide academic unit called the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences in 2019 and began construction of the nineteen-story Center for Computing & Data Sciences, slated to open in 2022.

    In 2003, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded Boston University a grant to build one of two National Biocontainment Laboratories. The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) was created to study emerging infectious diseases that pose a significant threat to public health. NEIDL has biosafety level 2, 3, and 4 (BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4, respectively) labs that enable researchers to work safely with the pathogens. BSL-4 labs are the highest level of biosafety labs and work with diseases with a high risk of aerosol transmission.

    The strategic plan also encouraged research collaborations with industry and government partners. In 2016, as part of a broadbased effort to solve the critical problem of antibiotic resistance, the US Department of Health & Human Services selected the Boston University School of Law (LAW)—and Kevin Outterson, a BU professor of law—to lead a $350 million trans-Atlantic public-private partnership called CARB-X to foster the preclinical development of new antibiotics and antimicrobial rapid diagnostics and vaccines.

    That same year, BU researcher Avrum Spira joined forces with Janssen Research & Development and its Disease Interception Accelerator group. Spira—a professor of medicine, pathology and laboratory medicine, and bioinformatics—has spent his career at BU pursuing a better, and earlier, way to diagnose pulmonary disorders and cancers, primarily using biomarkers and genomic testing. In 2015, under a $13.7 million Defense Department grant, Spira’s efforts to identify which members of the military will develop lung cancer and COPD caught the attention of Janssen, part Johnson & Johnson. They are investing $10.1 million to collaborate with Spira’s lab with the hope that his discoveries—and potential therapies—could then apply to the population at large.

    In its effort to increase diversity and inclusion, Boston University appointed Ibram X. Kendi in July 2020 as a history professor and the director and founder of its newly established Center for Antiracist Research. The university also appointed alumna Andrea Taylor as its first senior diversity officer.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:43 am on June 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Why Scientists Want to Solve an Underground Mystery about Where Microbes Live", , , , Boston University (US), Building a framework for forecasting the soil microbiome at sites across the US will improve the understanding of seasonal and interannual change., , It’s typical to see several hundred different types of fungi and bacteria in a single pinch of soil off the ground., , phylogenetic scale-a system that classifies organisms based on evolutionary relatedness., , The more scientists learn the more they realize how important soil microbes are for agriculture; public health; and climate change., The soil under our feet is very much alive., Women in STEM-Jennifer Bhatnagar and Zoey Werbin   

    From Boston University (US) :Women in STEM-Jennifer Bhatnagar and Zoey Werbin “Why Scientists Want to Solve an Underground Mystery about Where Microbes Live” 

    From Boston University (US)

    May 7, 2021
    Jessica Colarossi

    1
    Boston University researchers develop first-of-its-kind model to predict which species of soil organisms live in different environments, with huge implications for agriculture, climate change, and public health. Credit: Florian van Duyn on Unsplash.

    Though it might seem inanimate, the soil under our feet is very much alive. It’s filled with countless microorganisms actively breaking down organic matter, like fallen leaves and plants, and performing a host of other functions that maintain the natural balance of carbon and nutrients stored in the ground beneath us.

    “Soil is mostly microorganisms, both alive and dead,” says Jennifer Bhatnagar, soil microbiologist and Boston University College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of biology. It’s typical to see several hundred different types of fungi and bacteria in a single pinch of soil off the ground, she says, making it one of the most diverse ecosystems that exist.

    Because there’s still so much unknown about soil organisms, until now scientists have not attempted to predict where certain species or groups of soil microbes live around the world. But having that knowledge about these organisms—too small to see with the naked eye—is key to better understanding the soil microbiome, which is made up of the communities of different microbes that live together.

    A team of BU biologists, including Bhatnagar, took on that challenge—and their research reveals, for the first time, that it is possible to accurately predict the abundance of different species of soil microbes in different parts of the world. The team recently published their findings in a new paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

    “If we know where organisms are on earth, and we know how they change through space and time due to different environmental forces, and something about what different species are doing, then we can much better predict how the function of these communities will change in terms of carbon and nutrient cycling,” Bhatnagar says. That kind of knowledge would have huge implications for agriculture, climate change, and public health.

    “The health of the soils is so tied to the soil microbes,” says Michael Dietze, senior author on the study and a BU College of Arts & Sciences professor of earth and environment. Dietze, Bhatnagar, and researchers from their labs joined forces to work on this project, which involved analyzing hundreds of soil samples collected by National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) (US) research sites. Bhatnagar and her lab members brought to the team their soil expertise, while Dietze and his lab offered their unique ability to develop precise ecological forecasts and near-term environmental predictions.

    The team learned that microbe predictability increases as spatial area increases, so the bigger the piece of land their model makes forecasts about, the more likely the predictions about what types of microbes live there will be accurate.

    Dietze says the ability to accurately predict which microbes would likely be found in a given soil sample also increased as the researchers looked at organism groupings higher up on the phylogenetic scale, a system that classifies organisms based on evolutionary relatedness. On the smallest end of the scale, a “species” represents the finest level of classification; on the other end, a “phylum” makes up the largest and most diverse groupings of organisms. They were surprised to find that they were better able to predict the presence of a whole phylum, as opposed to individual species.

    After receiving the genomic data of the soil samples from NEON, the research team’s forecasting models take into account environmental factors specific to the place where the soil came from—what plants live there, the soil acidity (pH), temperature, climate, and many others. They found their model was best able to predict the presence of microorganisms based on their symbiotic relationship with local plant species. Mycorrhizal fungi, for example, is a very common soil microbe that about 90 percent of plant families associate with, including pines and oak trees in New England.

    In contrast, the team found it was more difficult to predict large groups of organisms based on their relationship with soil acidity. Despite knowing soil acidity levels, and what types of bacteria would typically like to live in that environment, their model couldn’t accurately predict the amount of bacteria that were actually present in the soil sample, Bhatnagar says. “That means there is something else beyond the relationship with [acidity], beyond the relationship with any other environmental factor that we typically measure in our ecosystems,” she says.

    Now, Dietze and Bhatnagar’s team are expanding their forecasts beyond predicting microbes based on only their location, to also include specific times of the year.

    “Building a framework for forecasting the soil microbiome at sites across the US will improve our understanding of seasonal and interannual change,” says Zoey Werbin, a PhD student working in Bhatnagar’s lab and an author on the paper. “This could help us anticipate how climate change could affect microbial processes like decomposition or nitrogen cycling.”

    With her dissertation project, Werbin hopes to answer fundamental questions about how and why the soil microbiome varies over time and space.

    “The more we learn the more we realize how important soil microbes are for agriculture; public health; and climate change. It’s really exciting to investigate how microscopic organisms can have such large-scale effects,” Werbin says. “We know certain factors, like temperature and moisture, affect microbial communities. But we don’t know how important those factors are compared to natural variability, or interactions between microbes. My PhD project will help identify the driving forces of the soil microbiome, as well as the biggest sources of uncertainty.”

    This work was funded by the National Science Foundation (US) and the Swiss National Science Foundation [Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung] [Fonds national suisse de la recherche scientifique] (CH).

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Boston University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. The university is nonsectarian but has a historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church. It was founded in 1839 by Methodists with its original campus in Newbury, Vermont, before moving to Boston in 1867.

    The university now has more than 4,000 faculty members and nearly 34,000 students, and is one of Boston’s largest employers. It offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctorates, and medical, dental, business, and law degrees through 17 schools and colleges on three urban campuses. The main campus is situated along the Charles River in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore and Allston neighborhoods, while the Boston University Medical Campus is located in Boston’s South End neighborhood. The Fenway campus houses the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, formerly Wheelock College, which merged with BU in 2018.

    BU is a member of the Boston Consortium for Higher Education (US) and the Association of American Universities (US). It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Among its alumni and current or past faculty, the university counts eight Nobel Laureates, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, 10 Rhodes Scholars, six Marshall Scholars, nine Academy Award winners, and several Emmy and Tony Award winners. BU also has MacArthur, Fulbright, and Truman Scholars, as well as American Academy of Arts and Sciences (US) and National Academy of Sciences (US) members, among its past and present graduates and faculty. In 1876, BU professor Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in a BU lab.

    The Boston University Terriers compete in the NCAA Division I. BU athletic teams compete in the Patriot League, and Hockey East conferences, and their mascot is Rhett the Boston Terrier. Boston University is well known for men’s hockey, in which it has won five national championships, most recently in 2009.

    Research

    In FY2016, the University reported in $368.9 million in sponsored research, comprising 1,896 awards to 722 faculty investigators. Funding sources included the National Science Foundation (US), the National Institutes of Health (US), the Department of Defense (US), the European Commission of the European Union, the Susan G. Komen Foundation (US), and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (US). The University’s research enterprise encompasses dozens of fields, but its primary focus currently lies in seven areas: Data Science, Engineering Biology, Global Health, Infectious Diseases, Neuroscience, Photonics, and Urban Health.

    The University’s strategic plan calls for the removal of barriers between previously siloed departments, schools, and fields. The result has been an increasing emphasis by the University on interdisciplinary work and the creation of multidisciplinary centers such as the Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering, a $140 million, nine-story research facility that has brought together life scientists, engineers, and physicians from the Medical and Charles River Campuses; the Institute for Health Systems Innovation & Policy, a cross-campus initiative combining business, health law, medicine, and public policy; a neurophotonics center that combines photonics and neuroscience to study the brain; and the Software and Application Innovation Lab, where technologists work with colleagues in the arts and humanities and together develop digital research tools. The University also made a large investment in an emerging field, when it created a new university-wide academic unit called the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences in 2019 and began construction of the nineteen-story Center for Computing & Data Sciences, slated to open in 2022.

    In 2003, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded Boston University a grant to build one of two National Biocontainment Laboratories. The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) was created to study emerging infectious diseases that pose a significant threat to public health. NEIDL has biosafety level 2, 3, and 4 (BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4, respectively) labs that enable researchers to work safely with the pathogens. BSL-4 labs are the highest level of biosafety labs and work with diseases with a high risk of aerosol transmission.

    The strategic plan also encouraged research collaborations with industry and government partners. In 2016, as part of a broadbased effort to solve the critical problem of antibiotic resistance, the US Department of Health & Human Services selected the Boston University School of Law (LAW)—and Kevin Outterson, a BU professor of law—to lead a $350 million trans-Atlantic public-private partnership called CARB-X to foster the preclinical development of new antibiotics and antimicrobial rapid diagnostics and vaccines.

    That same year, BU researcher Avrum Spira joined forces with Janssen Research & Development and its Disease Interception Accelerator group. Spira—a professor of medicine, pathology and laboratory medicine, and bioinformatics—has spent his career at BU pursuing a better, and earlier, way to diagnose pulmonary disorders and cancers, primarily using biomarkers and genomic testing. In 2015, under a $13.7 million Defense Department grant, Spira’s efforts to identify which members of the military will develop lung cancer and COPD caught the attention of Janssen, part Johnson & Johnson. They are investing $10.1 million to collaborate with Spira’s lab with the hope that his discoveries—and potential therapies—could then apply to the population at large.

    In its effort to increase diversity and inclusion, Boston University appointed Ibram X. Kendi in July 2020 as a history professor and the director and founder of its newly established Center for Antiracist Research. The university also appointed alumna Andrea Taylor as its first senior diversity officer.

     
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