Tagged: Brown University Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 6:38 pm on June 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A regular quantum computer — one without non-Abelian anyons — would require error correction, Abelian anyons behave more or less like conventional fermions, Brown University, But an even more powerful computational platform would come from what’s known as parafermions which have been theorized but not yet shown to exist. Perhaps their existence could also be proven with , Eliminate error correction which is a major stumbling block in the development of quantum computers, For one useful quantum bit of information you need multiple additional quantum bits to correct errors that arise from random fluctuations in the system, Non-Abelian anyons are for lack of a better way of saying it completely insane. They have very strange properties that could be used in quantum computing or more specifically for what’s known as top, Non-Abelian anyons- quantum quasi-particles that retain a “memory” of their relative positions in the past, , Quantum Hall liquid, This work suggests that a particular entity known as a Majorana particle is at work in the particular system that we studied. And that suggests that a Majorana-based quantum computer is possible., topological quantum computing — which requires the presence of non-Abelian anyons — is unique in that it doesn’t need error correction to make the quantum bits useful,   

    From Brown University: “New research hints at ‘insane’ particles useful in quantum computing” 

    Brown University
    From Brown University

    June 5, 2018
    Kevin Stacey
    kevin_stacey@brown.edu

    1
    Quantum heat. An image of the experimental setup used to produce evidence of strange quasi-particles called non-Abelian anyons.
    A new measurement of heat conduction in an exotic state of matter points to the presence of strange particles that could be useful in quantum computers.

    In a paper published this week in the journal Nature, a research team including a Brown University physicist has characterized how heat is conducted in a matter state known as a quantum Hall liquid, in which electrons are confined to two dimensions. The findings suggest the presence of non-Abelian anyons, quantum quasi-particles that retain a “memory” of their relative positions in the past. Theorists have suggested that the ability of these particles to retain information could be useful in developing ultra-fast quantum computing systems that don’t require error correction, which is a major stumbling block in the development of quantum computers.

    The research was led by an experimental group at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

    Weizmann Institute Campus


    Dmitri Feldman, a professor of physics at Brown, was part of the research group. He discussed the findings in an interview.

    Q: Could you explain more about what you and your colleagues found?

    A: We were looking at thermal conductance — which simply means the flow of heat from a higher temperature to a lower temperature — in what’s known as a 5/2 quantum Hall liquid. Quantum Hall liquids are not ‘liquids’ in the conventional sense of the word. The term refers to the behavior of electrons inside certain materials when the electrons become confined in two dimensions in a strong magnetic field.

    What we found was that the quantized heat conductance — meaning a fundamental unit of conductance — in this system is fractional. In other words, the value was not an integer, and that has interesting implications for what’s happening in the system. When the quantum thermal conductance is not an integer, it means that quasi-particles known as non-Abelian anyons are present in this system.

    Q: Can you explain more about non-Abelian anyons?

    A: In the Standard Model of particle physics, there are only two categories of particles: fermions and bosons.

    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics from Symmetry Magazine

    That’s all there is in the world we experience on a daily basis. But in two-dimensional systems like quantum Hall liquids, there can be other types of particles known as anyons. Generally speaking, there are two types of anyons: Abelian anyons and non-Abelian anyons. Abelian anyons behave more or less like conventional fermions, but non-Abelian anyons are, for lack of a better way of saying it, completely insane. They have very strange properties that could be used in quantum computing, or more specifically, for what’s known as topological quantum memory.

    Q: What’s the connection between non-Abelian anyons and quantum computing?

    A: A regular quantum computer — one without non-Abelian anyons — would require error correction. For one useful quantum bit of information, you need multiple additional quantum bits to correct errors that arise from random fluctuations in the system. That’s extremely demanding and a big problem in quantum computing. But topological quantum computing — which requires the presence of non-Abelian anyons — is unique in that it doesn’t need error correction to make the quantum bits useful. That’s because in a non-Abelian system, you can produce states that are completely indistinguishable locally, but globally the states are completely different. So you can have random perturbations of these local quantum numbers, but it won’t change the global quantum numbers, which means the information is safe.

    Q: Where does this line of research go from here?

    A: This work suggests that a particular entity known as a Majorana particle is at work in the particular system that we studied. And that suggests that a Majorana-based quantum computer is possible. But an even more powerful computational platform would come from what’s known as parafermions, which have been theorized but not yet shown to exist. Perhaps their existence could also be proven with similar experimental tools in the future.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition
    Welcome to Brown

    Brown U Robinson Hall
    Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

    With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

    Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting and online students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

    Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

    Advertisements
     
  • richardmitnick 11:15 pm on April 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brown University, , Experiments using a high-powered projectile cannon show how impacts by water-rich asteroids can deliver surprising amounts of water to planetary bodies, The findings could have significant implications for understanding the presence of water on Earth, The origin and transportation of water and volatiles is one of the big questions in planetary science, Water delivered to Earth by steroids?   

    From Brown University: “Projectile cannon experiments show how asteroids can deliver water” 

    Brown University
    Brown University

    April 25, 2018
    Kevin Stacey
    kevin_stacey@brown.edu
    401-863-3766

    1
    Special delivery. Experiments using a high-powered projectile cannon suggest that asteroids can deliver surprising amounts of water when they smash into planetary bodies.
    Schultz Lab / Brown University

    New research shows that a surprising amount of water survives simulated asteroid impacts, a finding that may help explain how asteroids deposit water throughout the solar system.

    Experiments using a high-powered projectile cannon show how impacts by water-rich asteroids can deliver surprising amounts of water to planetary bodies. The research, by scientists from Brown University, could shed light on how water got to the early Earth and help account for some trace water detections on the Moon and elsewhere.

    “The origin and transportation of water and volatiles is one of the big questions in planetary science,” said Terik Daly, a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University who led the research while completing his Ph.D. at Brown. “These experiments reveal a mechanism by which asteroids could deliver water to moons, planets and other asteroids. It’s a process that started while the solar system was forming and continues to operate today.”

    The research is published in Science Advances.

    The source of Earth’s water remains something of a mystery. It was long thought that the planets of the inner solar system formed bone dry and that water was delivered later by icy comet impacts. While that idea remains a possibility, isotopic measurements have shown that Earth’s water is similar to water bound up in carbonaceous asteroids. That suggests asteroids could also have been a source for Earth’s water, but how such delivery might have worked isn’t well understood.

    “Impact models tell us that impactors should completely devolatilize at many of the impact speeds common in the solar system, meaning all the water they contain just boils off in the heat of the impact,” said Pete Schultz, co-author of the paper and a professor in Brown’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences. “But nature has a tendency to be more interesting than our models, which is why we need to do experiments.”

    2
    Hypervelocity impact experiments, like the one shown here, reveal key clues about how impacts deliver water to asteroids, moons, and planets. In this experiment, a water-rich impactor collides with a bone-dry pumice target at around 11,200 miles per hour. The target was designed to rupture partway through the experiment in order to capture materials for analysis. This high-speed video, taken at 130,000 frames per second, slows down the action, which in real time is over in less than a second.

    For the study, Daly and Schultz used marble-sized projectiles with a composition similar to carbonaceous chondrites, meteorites derived from ancient, water-rich asteroids. Using the Vertical Gun Range at the NASA Ames Research Center, the projectiles were blasted at a bone-dry target material made of pumice powder at speeds around 5 kilometers per second (more than 11,000 miles per hour). The researchers then analyzed the post-impact debris with an armada of analytical tools, looking for signs of any water trapped within it.

    They found that at impact speeds and angles common throughout the solar system, as much as 30 percent of the water indigenous in the impactor was trapped in post-impact debris. Most of that water was trapped in impact melt, rock that’s melted by the heat of the impact and then re-solidifies as it cools, and in impact breccias, rocks made of a mish-mash of impact debris welded together by the heat of the impact.

    The research gives some clues about the mechanism through which the water was retained. As parts of the impactor are destroyed by the heat of the collision, a vapor plume forms that includes water that was inside the impactor.

    “The impact melt and breccias are forming inside that plume,” Schultz said. “What we’re suggesting is that the water vapor gets ingested into the melts and breccias as they form. So even though the impactor loses its water, some of it is recaptured as the melt rapidly quenches.”

    3
    Samples of impact glasses created during an impact experiment. In impact experiments, these glasses capture surprisingly large amounts of water delivered by water-rich, asteroid-like impactors.

    The findings could have significant implications for understanding the presence of water on Earth. Carbonaceous asteroids are thought to be some of the earliest objects in the solar system — the primordial boulders from which the planets were built. As these water-rich asteroids bashed into the still-forming Earth, it’s possible that a process similar to what Daly and Schultz found enabled water to be incorporated in the planet’s formation process, they say. Such a process could also help explain the presence of water within the Moon’s mantle, as research has suggested that lunar water has an asteroid origin as well.

    The work could also explain later water activity in the solar system. Water found on the Moon’s surface in the rays of the crater Tycho could have been derived from the Tycho impactor, Schultz says. Asteroid-derived water might also account for ice deposits detected in the polar regions of Mercury.

    “The point is that this gives us a mechanism for how water can stick around after these asteroid impacts,” Schultz said. “And it shows why experiments are so important because this is something that models have missed.”

    The research was supported by NASA (NNX13AB75G), the National Science Foundation (DGE-1058262) and the NASA Rhode Island Space Grant (NNX15AI06H).

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Welcome to Brown

    Brown U Robinson Hall
    Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

    With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

    Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting and online students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

    Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:39 am on April 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: $100 million gift to Brown will name Carney Institute for Brain Science which it is hoped will advance discoveries and cures, , , , Brown University,   

    From Brown University: “$100 million gift to Brown will name Carney Institute for Brain Science, advance discoveries and cures” 

    Brown University
    Brown University

    [This post is dedicated to EJM and EBM]

    April 18, 2018
    No writer credit

    Brown U Carney Institute for Brain Science

    No image credit.

    A new $100 million gift to Brown University’s brain science institute from alumnus Robert J. Carney and Nancy D. Carney will drive an ambitious agenda to quicken the pace of scientific discovery and help find cures to some of the world’s most persistent and devastating diseases, such as ALS and Alzheimer’s.

    Carney graduated in Brown’s undergraduate Class of 1961, is a long-serving Brown trustee, and is founder and chairman of Vacation Publications Inc. Previously, he was a founder of Jet Capital Corp., a financial advisory firm, and Texas Air Corp., which owned Continental Airlines and several other airlines. Nancy Doerr Carney is a former television news producer.

    The Carneys’ gift changes the name of the Brown Institute for Brain Science to the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science, and establishes the institute as one of the best-endowed university brain institutes in the country. Brown President Christina Paxson said the $100 million donation — one of the largest single gifts in Brown’s history — will help establish the University as a leader in devising treatments and technologies to address brain-related disease and injury.

    “This is a signal moment when scientists around the world are poised to solve some of the most important puzzles of the human brain,” Paxson said. “This extraordinarily generous gift will give Brown the resources to be at the forefront of this drive for new knowledge and therapies. We know that discoveries in brain science in the years to come will dramatically reshape human capabilities, and Brown will be a leader in this critical endeavor.”

    The gift will allow the Carney Institute to accelerate hiring of leading faculty and postdoctoral scholars in fields related to brain science, supply seed funding for high-impact new research, and also fund essential new equipment and infrastructure in technology-intensive areas of exploration.

    Core areas of research at the institute include work on brain-computer interfaces to aid patients with spinal injury and paralysis; innovative advances in computational neuroscience to address behavior and mood disorders; and research into mechanisms of cell death as part of efforts to identify therapies for neurodegenerative diseases that include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s.

    Carney said he is excited that he and his wife are making their gift at a time when brain science has emerged as one of the fastest growing programs at Brown, both in terms of research and student interest.

    “Nancy and I have long been impressed by the phenomenal research and education of bright young minds that we see at Brown,” Carney said. “We are excited to see the brain institute continue to grow and serve society in ways that are vitally important.”


    VIDEO: Brain Science at Brown. No video credit.

    With up to 45 labs across campus engaged in research at any given time — and 130 affiliated professors in departments ranging from neurology and neurosurgery to engineering and computer science — Brown’s brain science institute already has built a reputation for studying the brain at all scales, said Diane Lipscombe, the director of the institute since 2016 and a professor of neuroscience. From studying genes and circuits, to healthy behavior and psychiatric disorder, the institute’s faculty contribute expertise to routinely produce insights and tools to see, map, understand and fix problems in the nervous system.

    In addition, as the brain institute’s work grows in its breadth, undergraduates continue to take on key roles as researchers, reflecting a distinctive aspect of Brown’s undergraduate curriculum. About a quarter of all Brown undergraduates take Introduction to Neuroscience, demonstrating the excitement in the field.

    “This is a transformative moment that is going to catapult Brown and our brain science institute,” said Lipscombe, who is president-elect of the Society for Neuroscience, the field’s international professional organization. “We will be able to crack the neural codes, push discoveries forward and address some of the largest challenges facing humanity, at the same time training the next generation of brain scientists.”

    Investments like the gift from the Carneys are the “lifeblood to driving innovation and discovery,” Lipscombe said.

    The Carneys’ gift is part of Brown University’s $3-billion BrownTogether comprehensive campaign, which has raised $1.7 billion to date. In total, $148 million has been raised to support research and education in brain science. The gifts support one of the core research priorities defined in Brown’s Building on Distinction strategic plan: understanding the human brain. The study of the brain and its relationship to cognition, behavior and disease is often described as the “last frontier” in biomedical science.

    Leading in research

    The Carney Institute had its start at Brown as the Brain Science Program in 1999, later becoming the Brown Institute for Brain Science. The scope of its work has increased dramatically in recent years, and the institute now has affiliated faculty spanning 19 academic departments, including clinical departments in the Warren Alpert Medical School.

    Since 2011, core faculty members have led projects with more than $116 million in grant funding from federal and other sources. Many of the institute’s researchers have been recognized as pioneering leaders, winning top national awards in recent years. This includes faculty such as Eric Morrow, associate professor of biology and psychiatry, a 2017 winner of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

    3
    Faculty and Student Voices

    Brown’s brain scientists talk about the brain as ‘final frontier’

    We asked researchers at Brown what excites them about brain science, why they chose to conduct research here, and how Brown’s unique approach to collaborative problem-solving is unlocking and explaining the complexity of the brain.

    Full story here.

    The funding from the Carneys’ gift will help support what has become a signature program of Brown’s brain institute over the past decade: cutting-edge efforts to help those who have lost the ability to move and communicate through paralysis to regain those abilities. Research into brain-computer interfaces, part of the BrainGate project, uses tiny micro-electrode arrays implanted into the brain.

    “This is the area of research that said to us, ‘Look what can be done if you pull groups together from a wide range of academic disciplines within and beyond the life sciences to take an integrative approach to big, challenging questions,’” Lipscombe said. “The breakthroughs we have seen in confronting paralysis could not have happened without the integrative approach that is distinctive to the way Brown approaches brain science.”

    The study of neurodegenerative diseases and the growing research field of computational neuroscience are among the other areas in the institute that are poised for further expansion.

    “The general challenge is that, despite 20 or 30 years of focused effort by pharmaceutical companies and labs, we still don’t know why neurons die in neurodegenerative disorders,” Lipscombe said. “ALS is part of a group of disorders that takes people’s lives way too early. We need more research into the basic mechanisms that lead to cell death.”

    Computational neuroscience is an increasingly influential field that employs mathematical models to understand the brain and develops quantitative approaches to diagnosing and treating complex brain disorders.

    Scientists working in computational psychiatry at Brown are thinking about how they can use their work modeling the brain to address psychiatric disease, such as depression.

    “And when you are catalyzing innovative research in areas such as this by bringing together great faculty from different disciplines, having a pool of seed funding is critical to move from exciting ideas to research and discovery,” Lipscombe said. “From there, federal funding follows. Now we can say we have the people, resources and the new research space to support big ideas to address key problems in brain science.”

    4
    A new technology called “trans-Tango” allows scientists to exploit the connections between pairs of neurons to make discoveries in neuroscience. Developing the system required decades of work and a dedicated team of brain scientists at Brown. No image credit.

    The Carney Institute will move into expanded new quarters at 164 Angell Street early next year, after extensive renovation of the building that formerly housed Brown administrative offices. The building will give the institute state-of-the-art shared lab spaces that will further promote collaboration among teams from cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience and neuroengineering. These scientists are working on processes such as decoding neural signals, developing new ways to use neural signals in assistive technology, and mining neural data for more accurate predictors of psychiatric illnesses.

    The new location will be in the same building as Brown’s Data Science Initiative and directly across the street from the new home of Brown’s Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, stimulating opportunities for collective work that will support discoveries and their impact on society.

    Inspired giving

    The gift from the Carneys is one of three single gifts of $100 million to Brown in its 254-year history. Brown announced in 2004 that New York businessman Sidney E. Frank, a member of the Brown Class of 1942, had pledged $100 million for undergraduate financial aid. A $100 million gift from the Warren Alpert Foundation announced by Brown in 2007 funded research, faculty recruitment, a new building and named Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School.

    5
    Brown President Christina Paxson (standing, left) joined Robert J. Carney and Nancy D. Carney to celebrate the couple’s generous gift at an event in Houston on April 18. No image credit.

    This wonderful gift from the Carneys is one of the most significant in the long, distinguished history of Brown University,” Brown Chancellor Samuel M. Mencoff said. “The gift represents a substantial long-term investment in what Brown does exceptionally well — bringing together the people and expertise to solve problems and benefit society.”

    The Carneys said they were inspired to make their gift by many previous positive experiences with Brown, as well as the opportunities they saw for the University in brain science.

    “Brown has meant so much to Nancy and me,” Carney said. “We feel extremely fortunate to be able to help expand Brown’s brain institute and carry forward such a significant priority for the University.”

    The Carneys, of Houston, are long-time supporters of Brown, including as the donors of two endowed professorships — the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney University Professor of Economics and the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Assistant Professor of Neuroscience. This spring, Carney will finish his third term as a trustee on the Corporation of Brown University. His volunteerism includes having served as the co-chair of the 50th reunion gift committee for the Class of 1961.

    Former Brown Chancellor Thomas J. Tisch, currently a member of the Corporation’s Board of Fellows, said about the Carneys, “They have always done things worth doing, quietly and with modesty and deep intelligence. Bob and Nancy have a great combined sense of caring and commitment to things important.”

    As part of a celebration in Houston coinciding with the announcement of the Carneys’ gift to the brain science institute, Paxson on behalf of the University conferred honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees on both of the Carneys.

    The citation read, in part: “Through your steadfast support of Brown’s ambitions to expand its reach through excellence in teaching and research in particular, you have played a major role in bolstering its reputation as a world-class learning institution.”

    6
    After implantation with the BrainGate brain-computer interface (which originated in a Brown research laboratory) and stimulative electrodes in his arm, a Cleveland man with quadriplegia was able to again move his arm to eat and drink. Cleveland FES Center.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Welcome to Brown

    Brown U Robinson Hall
    Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

    With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

    Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting and online students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

    Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:11 am on March 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Big wage gap between male and female R.I. doctors, Brown University, , Providence Journal,   

    From Brown University via Providence Journal: Women in STEM -“My Turn: Katherine M. Sharkey: Big wage gap between male and female R.I. doctors” 

    Brown University
    Brown University

    1

    Providence Journal

    Mar 21, 2018

    2
    Katherine M. Sharkey, M.D.

    “I grew up in Rhode Island. I am always thrilled when Providence makes it onto a list of the top five hippest cities or our beaches are singled out as the most beautiful in the world.

    The other day, though, Little Rhody made it onto a Top Five list of more dubious distinction: a national survey of 65,000 physicians showed that Providence-area women physicians have the fourth-largest gender wage gap in the nation — at a whopping 31 percent difference between men and women — and the fifth-lowest average salary for female physicians.

    Translated into dollars and cents, this means that a woman physician in Rhode Island earns about $110,000 less per year than her male counterparts. Added up over the course of a career, the compensation difference is staggering.

    Many possible explanations for the lack of gender equity in physician compensation have been put forth.

    One hypothesis is that male physicians are in higher-paying specialties than women. The data, however, do not support this explanation. Indeed, although women in more lucrative specialties have higher salaries than the average women physician’s salary, the gap is even wider in higher paying specialties.

    Perhaps then, male physicians have higher salaries because they do a better job than women? Again, the data do not support this explanation. A 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine showed that patients who were cared for by women physicians had lower death rates and were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital than patients treated by a male physician.

    Finally, there is a theory that women don’t get raises because they simply do not ask. Once again, the data do not bear this out. A 2017 study of 70,000 people by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co showed that women do ask, but they are denied more frequently than men and are viewed more negatively after broaching the issue of a raise.

    While discussing these data with a male colleague, he responded, “There is only so much money in the system, so if women doctors get paid more, then men will end up getting paid less.” My reply: “That is exactly what women experience. It doesn’t feel good, does it?”

    Now is the time to call this gender gap in pay — in medicine, science, and other industries — exactly what it is. The people in power want to hold onto that power and are reluctant to give it up. And often they are indignant when they are confronted about the issue, as if to say, “Wait a minute, we’ve been so generous and let you in to our boys’ club, and now you have the nerve to ask to be treated equally?”

    Some may wonder why this issue matters, and here the data are clear. Paying women less hurts working families and perpetuates the structural sexism and racism that has advantaged men and white people across occupations and industries for generations. Men who accept this gap in compensation for their female colleagues are complicit in prolonging these inequities.

    While it is true that no male physician today is responsible for the sexism and racism in our field, it is time for them to join the fight to end these disparities. As Maya Angelou said “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

    What can be done? First, both male and female physicians must demand transparency with regard to salaries. Until we break the taboo of discussing money, and pay gap information is examined in the light of day, we cannot come up with solutions to divide the pot more equally.

    I also call upon my colleagues to support legislation, such as the Fair Pay Act currently before the General Assembly, that would make gender pay gaps illegal.”

    Katherine M. Sharkey, M.D., is associate professor of medicine and psychiatry and human behavior, and assistant dean for women in medicine and science at Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

    See the full article here.

    [Full disclosure: I have personal interests in what goes on at Brown Univertsity and in the State of Rhode Island.]

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Welcome to Brown

    Brown U Robinson Hall
    Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

    With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

    Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting and online students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

    Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:07 pm on February 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brown University, , Lead-free perovskite material for solar cells   

    From Brown: “Researchers discover new lead-free perovskite material for solar cells” 

    Brown University
    Brown University

    February 13, 2018
    Kevin Stacey
    kevin_stacey@brown.edu
    401-863-3766

    1
    Getting the lead out
    Researchers have shown that titanium is an attractive choice to replace the toxic lead in the prevailing perovskite thin film solar cells. Padture Lab / Brown University

    A class of materials called perovskites has emerged as a promising alternative to silicon for making inexpensive and efficient solar cells. But for all their promise, perovskites are not without their downsides. Most contain lead, which is highly toxic, and include organic materials that are not particularly stable when exposed to the environment.

    Now a group of researchers at Brown University and University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) has come up with a new titanium-based material for making lead-free, inorganic perovskite solar cells. In a paper published in the journal Joule (a new energy-focused sister journal to Cell), the researchers show that the material can be a good candidate, especially for making tandem solar cells — arrangements in which a perovskite cells are placed on top of silicon or another established material to boost the overall efficiency.

    “Titanium is an abundant, robust and biocompatible element that, until now, has been largely overlooked in perovskite research,” said the senior author of the new paper, Nitin Padture, the Otis E. Randall University Professor in Brown’s School of Engineering and director of Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation. “We showed that it’s possible to use titanium-based material to make thin-film perovskites and that the material has favorable properties for solar applications which can be tuned.”

    Interest in perovskites, a class of materials with a particular crystalline structure, for clean energy emerged in 2009, when they were shown to be able to convert sunlight into electricity. The first perovskite solar cells had a conversion efficiency of only about 4 percent, but that has quickly skyrocketed to near 23 percent, which rivals traditional silicon cells. And perovskites offer some intriguing advantages. They’re potentially cheaper to make than silicon cells, and they can be partially transparent, enabling new technologies like windows that generate electricity.

    “One of the big thrusts in perovskite research is to get away from lead-based materials and find new materials that are non-toxic and more stable,” Padture said. “Using computer simulations, our theoretician collaborators at UNL predicted [ACS Energy Letters] that a class of perovskites with cesium, titanium and a halogen component (bromine or/and iodine) was a good candidate. The next step was to actually make a solar cell using that material and test its properties, and that’s what we’ve done here.”

    The team made semi-transparent perovskite films that had bandgap — a measure of the energy level of photons the material can absorb — of 1.8 electron volts, which is considered to be ideal for tandem solar applications. The material had a conversion efficiency of 3.3 percent, which is well below that of lead-based cells, but a good start for an all-new material, the researchers say.

    “There’s a lot of engineering you can do to improve efficiency,” Yuanyuan Zhou, an assistant professor (research) of engineering at Brown and a study co-author. “We think this material has a lot of room to improve.”

    Min Chen, a Ph.D. student of materials science at Brown and the first author of the paper, used a high-temperature evaporation method to prepare the films, but says the team is investigating alternative methods. “We are also looking for new low-temperature and solvent-based methods to reduce the potential cost of cell fabrication,” he said.

    The research showed the material has several advantages over other lead-free perovskite alternatives. One contender for a lead-free perovskite is a material made largely from tin, which rusts easily when exposed to the environment. Titanium, on the hand, is rust-resistant. The titanium-perovskite also has an open-circuit voltage — a measure of the total voltage available from a solar cell — of over one volt. Other lead-free perovskites generally produce voltage smaller than 0.6 volts.

    “Open-circuit voltage is a key property that we can use to evaluate the potential of a solar cell material,” Padture said. “So, having such a high value at the outset is very promising.”

    The researchers say that material’s relatively large bandgap compared to silicon makes it a prime candidate to serve as the top layer in a tandem solar cell. The titanium-perovskite upper layer would absorb the higher-energy photons from the sun that the lower silicon layer can’t absorb because of its smaller bandgap. Meanwhile, lower energy photons would pass through the semi-transparent upper layer to be absorbed by the silicon, thereby increasing the cell’s total absorption capacity.

    “Tandem cells are the low-hanging fruit when it comes to perovskites,” Padture said. “We’re not looking to replace existing silicon technology just yet, but instead we’re looking to boost it. So if you can make a lead-free tandem cell that’s stable, then that’s a winner. This new material looks like a good candidate.”

    Other co-authors on the paper were Ming-Gang Ju, Alexander Carl, Yingxia Zong, Ronald Grimm, Jiajun Gu and Xiao Cheng Zeng. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (OIA-1538893, DMR-1420645).

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Welcome to Brown

    Brown U Robinson Hall
    Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

    With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

    Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting and online students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

    Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:38 pm on February 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Brown University, , Dark Matter May Be a Product of Gravitational Waves with a Twist,   

    From Brown University via Futurism: “Dark Matter May Be a Product of Gravitational Waves with a Twist” 

    Brown University
    Brown University

    futurism-bloc

    Futurism

    February 12, 2018
    Dom Galeon

    1
    Give us a wave! Right-handed or left-handed? Henze/NASA.

    It is said that the universe is made up of over 80 percent dark matter. What dark matter exactly is, however, has continued to elude experts. Theories abound, and a recent one suggests an entirely different approach involving gravitational waves.

    Breaking Symmetry

    For decades now, the exact composition of matter in the universe has baffled astronomers and physicists alike. It would seem that, given the basic assumptions about the origins of the universe, there is still no way to account for the “missing” dark matter that makes up for as much as a quarter of all matter in the universe. That’s why a trio of researchers has proposed a new dark matter theory, which could explain how dark matter came about.

    We know dark matter exists because we can observe how its gravity interacts with visible matter and electromagnetic radiation. There is something there, although we can’t yet see it, or put a finger on what it is.

    In the new study, Evan McDonough and Stephon Alexander from Brown University, with David Spergel from Princeton University, suggest that a mechanism involving gravitational waves — basically, ripples in the fabric of space and time, first theorized by Einstein and confirmed to exist only in 2016 — could explain how dark matter came to be.

    McDonough’s team used a model of the primordial universe that assumed the presence of particles called dark matter quarks, which aren’t the same as today’s dark matter. These dark quarks could have a property called chirality, referring to the way the particles twist, similar to neutrinos. The chirality or “handedness” of these dark quarks could have then interacted with the chiral gravitational waves in the early universe, producing the kind of dark matter we have today.

    Lighter and Wimpier

    Supposedly, as the universe settled into a cooler state, the interactions between chiral dark quarks and chiral gravitational waves resulted in a small excess of the former. These condensed into a quirky state of matter called a superfluid, which could still exist as a background field today. What we know to be dark matter are proposed as excitations of this background field, in the same way photons are excitations of an electromagnetic field.

    Interestingly, the dark matter particles resulting from such a model would be lighter than what’s known as weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), which many researchers believe could make up dark matter. There hasn’t been enough evidence to suggest, however, that this is the case. At any rate, being lighter than WIMPs would mean that dark matter wouldn’t interact with normal matter. “It’s much wimpier than WIMPs,” Spergel told New Scientist.

    As such, this dark matter theory could change how we should “look” for dark matter, as it wouldn’t be possible to see such particles directly at all. Unlike WIMPs, these particles would also be distributed more evenly across the galaxy. At the same time, the ratio of dark matter and normal matter wouldn’t necessarily be constant throughout the universe.

    Spergel explained, however, that this unique behavior could also provide us with a way to find dark matter. A more uniform, non-clustered distribution of dark matter could spill over into cosmic microwave background — the Big Bang’s residual radiation — and produce a unique signature. It could even affect the formation of larger-scale structures, like galaxy clusters. It could also, perhaps, have an effect on gravitational waves.

    In any case, any new dark matter theory is certainly a welcome one, as experts continue exploring other possibilities to account for dark matter — or even dismiss it altogether.

    “It’s a cool idea,” Stanford University’s Michael Peskin, who wasn’t part of the study, told New Scientist. “Right now, dark matter is completely open. Anything you can do that brings in a new idea into this area, it opens a door. And then you have to walk down that corridor and see whether there are interesting things there that suggest new experiments. This opens another door.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Futurism covers the breakthrough technologies and scientific discoveries that will shape humanity’s future. Our mission is to empower our readers and drive the development of these transformative technologies towards maximizing human potential.

    Welcome to Brown

    Brown U Robinson Hall
    Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

    With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

    Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting and online students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

    Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:17 pm on February 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brown University, , , Researchers take terahertz data links around the bend   

    From Brown via phys.org: “Researchers take terahertz data links around the bend” 

    Brown University
    Brown University

    phys.org

    February 6, 2018
    Kevin Stacey

    1
    New research shows that non-line-of-site terahertz data links are possible because the waves can bounce off of walls without losing too much data. Credit: Mittleman lab / Brown University

    An off-the-wall new study by Brown University researchers shows that terahertz frequency data links can bounce around a room without dropping too much data. The results are good news for the feasibility of future terahertz wireless data networks, which have the potential to carry many times more data than current networks.

    Today’s cellular networks and Wi-Fi systems rely on microwave radiation to carry data, but the demand for more and more bandwidth is quickly becoming more than microwaves can handle. That has researchers thinking about transmitting data on higher-frequency terahertz waves, which have as much as 100 times the data-carrying capacity of microwaves. But terahertz communication technology is in its infancy. There’s much basic research to be done and plenty of challenges to overcome.

    For example, it’s been assumed that terahertz links would require a direct line of sight between transmitter and receiver. Unlike microwaves, terahertz waves are entirely blocked by most solid objects. And the assumption has been that it’s not possible to bounce a terahertz beam around—say, off a wall or two—to find a clear path around an object.

    “I think it’s fair to say that most people in the terahertz field would tell you that there would be too much power loss on those bounces, and so non-line-of-sight links are not going to be feasible in terahertz,” said Daniel Mittleman, a professor in Brown University’s School of Engineering and senior author of the new research published in APL Photonics. “But our work indicates that the loss is actually quite tolerable in some cases—quite a bit less than many people would have thought.”

    For the study, Mittleman and his colleagues bounced terahertz waves at four different frequencies off of a variety of objects—mirrors, metal doors, cinderblock walls and others—and measured the bit-error-rate of the data on the wave after the bounces. They showed that acceptable bit-error-rates were achievable with modest increases in signal power.

    “The concern had been that in order to make those bounces and not lose your data, you’d need more power than was feasible to generate,” Mittleman said. “We show that you don’t need as much power as you might think because the loss on the bounce is not as much as you’d think.”

    In one experiment, the researchers bounced a beam off two walls, enabling a successful link when transmitter and receiver were around a corner from each other, with no direct line-of-sight whatsoever. That’s a promising finding to support the idea of terahertz local-area networks.

    2
    In an effort to better understand the architecture needed for future terahertz data networks, Brown University researchers investigate how terahertz waves propagate and bounce off of objects both indoors and out. Credit: Mittleman Lab / Brown University

    “You can imagine a wireless network,” Mittleman explained, “where someone’s computer is connected to a terahertz router and there’s direct line-of-sight between the two, but then someone walks in between and blocks the beam. If you can’t find an alternative path, that link will be shut down. What we show is that you might still be able to maintain the link by searching for a new path that could involve bouncing off a wall somewhere. There are technologies today that can do that kind of path-finding for lower frequencies and there’s no reason they can’t be developed for terahertz.”

    The researchers also performed several outdoor experiments on terahertz wireless links. An experimental license issued by the FCC makes Brown the only place in the country where outdoor research can be done legally at these frequencies. The work is important because scientists are just beginning to understand the details of how terahertz data links behave in the elements, Mittleman says.

    Their study focused on what’s known as specular reflection. When a signal is transmitted over long distances, the waves fan out forming an ever-widening cone. As a result of that fanning out, a portion the waves will bounce off of the ground before reaching the receiver. That reflected radiation can interfere with the main signal unless a decoder compensates for it. It’s a well-understood phenomenon in microwave transmission. Mittleman and his colleagues wanted to characterize it in the terahertz range.

    They showed that this kind of interference indeed occurs in terahertz waves, but occurs to a lesser degree over grass compared to concrete. That’s likely because grass has lots of water, which tends to absorb terahertz waves. So over grass, the reflected beam is absorbed to a greater degree than concrete, leaving less of it to interfere with the main beam. That means that terahertz links over grass can be longer than those over concrete because there’s less interference to deal with, Mittleman says.

    “The specular reflection represents another possible path for your signal,” Mittleman said. “You can imagine that if your line-of-site path is blocked, you could think about bouncing it off the ground to get there.”

    Mittleman says that these kinds of basic studies on the nature of terahertz data transmission are critical for understanding how to design the network architecture for future terahertz data systems.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Welcome to Brown

    Brown U Robinson Hall
    Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

    With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

    Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting and online students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

    Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:44 pm on December 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Brown University, Computer modeling used in study, , Earlier studies of Europa’s surface geology that found regions where the moon’s ice shell looks to be expanding in a way that’s similar to the mid-ocean spreading ridges on Earth, If indeed there’s life in that ocean subduction offers a way to supply the nutrients it would need, , , Research bolsters possibility of plate tectonics on Europa, The computer model showed that if there were varying amounts of salt in the surface ice shell it could provide the necessary density differences for a slab to subduct, The research also suggests a new place in the solar system to study a process that’s played a crucial role in the evolution of our own planet   

    From Brown University: “Research bolsters possibility of plate tectonics on Europa” 

    Brown University
    Brown University

    November 29, 2017
    Kevin Stacey
    kevin_stacey@brown.edu
    401-863-3766

    1
    An icy world
    Previous studies had hinted that something like subduction may have been happening on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. A new study provides geophysical evidence that it could indeed be happening on the moon’s icy shell. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

    Jupiter’s moon Europa could have subduction zones, a new study shows, which could supply chemical food for life to a subsurface ocean.

    A Brown University study provides new evidence that the icy shell of Jupiter’s moon Europa may have plate tectonics similar to those on Earth. The presence of plate tectonic activity could have important implications for the possibility of life in the ocean thought to exist beneath the moon’s surface.

    The study, published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, uses computer modeling to show that subduction — when a tectonic plate slides underneath another and sinks deep into a planet’s interior — is physically possible in Europa’s ice shell. The findings bolster earlier studies of Europa’s surface geology that found regions where the moon’s ice shell looks to be expanding in a way that’s similar to the mid-ocean spreading ridges on Earth. The possibility of subduction adds another piece to the tectonic puzzle.

    “We have this evidence of extension and spreading, so the question becomes where does that material go?” said Brandon Johnson, an assistant professor in Brown’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences and a lead author of the study. “On Earth, the answer is subduction zones. What we show is that under reasonable assumptions for conditions on Europa, subduction could be happening there as well, which is really exciting.”

    Part of the excitement, Johnson says, is that surface crust is enriched with oxidants and other chemical food for life. Subduction provides a means for that food to come into contact with the subsurface ocean scientists think probably exists under Europa’s ice.

    “If indeed there’s life in that ocean, subduction offers a way to supply the nutrients it would need,” Johnson said.

    Subduction on ice

    On Earth, subduction is driven largely by differences in temperature between a descending slab and the surrounding mantle. Crustal material is much cooler than mantle material, and therefore denser. That increased density provides the negative buoyancy needed to sink a slab deep into the mantle.

    The tectonic plates of the world were mapped in 1996, USGS.

    Though previous geological studies had hinted that something like subduction could be happening on Europa, it wasn’t clear exactly how that process would work on an icy world. There’s evidence, Johnson says, that Europa’s ice shell has a two layers: a thin outer lid of very cold ice that sits atop a layer of slightly warmer, convecting ice. If a plate from the outer ice lid was pushed down into the warmer ice below, its temperature would quickly warm to that of the surrounding ice. At the point, the slab would have the same density of the surrounding ice and would therefore stop descending.

    But the model developed by Johnson and his colleagues showed a way that subduction could happen on Europa, regardless of temperature differences. The model showed that if there were varying amounts of salt in the surface ice shell, it could provide the necessary density differences for a slab to subduct.

    “Adding salt to an ice slab would be like adding little weights to it because salt is denser than ice,” Johnson said. “So rather than temperature, we show that differences in the salt content of the ice could enable subduction to happen on Europa.”

    And there’s good reason to suspect that variations in salt content do exist on Europa. There’s geological evidence for occasional water upwelling from Europa’s subsurface ocean — a process similar to the upwelling of magma from Earth’s mantle. That upwelling would leave high salt content in the crust under which it rises. There’s also a possibility of cryovolcanism, where salty ocean contents actually spray out onto the surface.

    In addition to bolstering the case for a habitable ocean on Europa, Johnson says, the research also suggests a new place in the solar system to study a process that’s played a crucial role in the evolution of our own planet.

    “It’s fascinating to think that we might have plate tectonics somewhere other than Earth,” he said. “Thinking from the standpoint of comparative planetology, if we can now study plate tectonics in this very different place, it might be able to help us understand how plate tectonics got started on the Earth.”

    Johnson’s co-authors on the paper — Rachel Sheppard, Alyssa Pascuzzo, Elizabeth Fisher and Sean Wiggins — are all graduate students at Brown. They took a class Johnson offered called Ocean Worlds, which focused on bodies like Europa that are thought to have oceans beneath icy shells.

    “This paper emerged as a class project we did together,” Johnson said, “and it’s exciting that we came up with some interesting results.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Welcome to Brown

    Brown U Robinson Hall
    Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

    With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

    Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting and online students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

    Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:40 pm on November 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Brown University, , Sangeeta Bhatia,   

    From Brown: Women in STEM- “Building a Better Way” Sangeeta Bhatia 

    Brown University
    Brown University

    November/December 2017
    Louise Sloan

    1
    Sangeeta Bhatia. Geordie Wood

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Be Recognized for Who You Are

    Sangeeta Bhatia ’90 may not have had many role models to look up to as a woman engineer, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t learn a lot of lessons along the way. Here’s some of her advice for people from any group that has been historically underrepresented in the field.

    STAY CONFIDENT. Being one of the only women or people of color in your field is difficult. Keep focused on your strengths. Bhatia says she struggled with “imposter syndrome.” “There’s this feeling that you don’t belong, and you’re always second guessing yourself. That does diminish with time.”

    TAKE THAT MEETING. With famous scientists or engineers, Bhatia learned to ask questions or strike up a conversation about the person’s most recent paper. The collaboration that led to one of her most important breakthroughs was a result of following up on a colleague’s offer of an introduction. Worst case, making connections can make a dull meeting more interesting. “Okay, I’m at a conference,” she’d tell herself; “Who are the people I want to meet? What the heck? Let’s meet them.”

    SPEAK UP EARLY ON. In business meetings, Bhatia says, often “I was the only woman, only engineer, only person of color.” And she looked young. “One thing I quickly realized was that I needed to make a comment or ask an insightful question pretty early in the convening of a group.” It wasn’t her personal style to do this, but, she realized, “there are times where you’ve got a group of really high-powered people together, and you’re there for an hour, and nobody knows who you are. You have something important to add. You have to make it clear early in the conversation why you’re at the table.”

    IDENTIFY MENTORS. When Bhatia and Theresia Gouw ’90 were seniors and looked into what made some women stay in engineering while so many others left, they found that what the women who’d stayed all had in common was mentors—whether that was a professor, parents, or a family friend. Bhatia concedes it’s hard to force these relationships. It’s clear that her mentors came not just through luck but also through her own efforts in cultivating relationships with key people around her and following up on any advice and opportunities.

    STUDY SUCCESS. Identify your weaknesses and look around at who is doing that thing well. Bhatia says she was comfortable expressing her ideas one-on-one, and as a professor she also became comfortable speaking to a lecture hall. But groups of between 10 and 30 people in faculty meetings or on advisory boards felt awkward to her. “I started studying it and looking at who is really effective in this setting. How have they managed to be effective? At what points are they choosing to speak up? What offline work have they done to grease this conversation so that by the time they speak up, they’re able to carry the room? I made kind of a project of it, trying to figure it out, because I realized I wasn’t actually naturally good at that.”

    BE YOUR OWN BOSS. “This is something Theresia has taught me, which is that one of the answers to diversity is to create your own organization, put yourself at the top, make the culture that you want it to be.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________
    3
    Lego characters designed by Maia Weinstock ’99, Photo by Erik Gould
    Lego minifigures, like engineers, are disproportionately
 male. But Sangeeta Bhatia ’90 has her own, custom-made in 2015 by Maia Weinstock ’99. It’s a fitting tribute to the engineer, physician, biotech entrepreneur, and mom who takes tiny pieces and puts them together in unexpected ways.

    Bhatia is literally a soccer mom when she’s not coming up with incredible scientific breakthroughs. Her husband, Jagesh Shah, coaches their daughters’ teams. But take heart, mere mortals. “My car is a mess; it smells like a dead animal right now,” she has admitted. “I don’t cook. At all.”

    Bhatia does a lot of things a little differently. She has used microfabrication, the technology behind microchips, to grow human liver cells outside the body. This has allowed drug companies to test toxicity on these “micro livers” in the lab and to hope that they can someday manufacture whole human livers for transplant patients. She is a senior scientist at a top institution, but instead of spending nights and weekends at the lab, she insists on balance so that, for example, Wednesdays are “Mommy Day” spent with her kids.

    Her very presence in the field of bioengineering as an engaging, stylish woman of color is de facto doing things differently. “Many people still have this image of an engineer as a kind of nerdy guy, interested in taking things apart,” Bhatia said in an October 2015 speech at Brown celebrating the groundbreaking of the new engineering building (it just opened this fall). “Someone who stays up all night playing video games and eating Doritos, with very few social skills. Right?”

    Bhatia, a petite figure in a sleeveless top and capri pants, her toenails a chic shade of blue, is not that guy. She took a gap year after Brown in which she backpacked and taught aerobics. She does classical Indian dance to relax—she thinks that’s what caught the attention of Brown’s admission office—and, with husband Jagesh Shah, a professor at Harvard, she runs her kids’ elementary school science fair. She’s literally a soccer mom—Shah coaches their daughters’ teams. But take heart, mere mortals. “My car is a mess; it smells like a dead animal right now,” she admitted to Nova ScienceNOW when they profiled her in 2009. “I don’t cook. At all.”

    What she does do, with the team she’s assembled at her lab at MIT, is figure out which sequences of amino acids can get into a tumor, then put them on synthetic materials that are way smaller than the diameter of a human hair, and use that to detect cancer. They’ve managed to grow the dormant version of malaria in a dish so drugs can be tested in vitro before being tested in humans. They’ve also prototyped breathalyzer and urine tests for cancer.

    Bhatia has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors, and she was one of the youngest women ever elected to the National Academy of Engineering. She’s won prestigious national prizes and awards, including the Lemelson-MIT Prize, known as the “Oscar for inventors.” In addition to having her own lab, the Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies, she recently launched The Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine at MIT. The prize for cleanest car in the Boston area can probably wait.

    The door to her future was in the Biomed Center

    Bhatia, who was born and raised in Boston, got interested in bioengineering at Brown when, in order to get to her human physiology lab, she had to walk past a door in the Biomed Center that was labeled “artificial organs.” That sounded cool to her, so one day she knocked on the door. “I begged them to let me intern,” she says. She spent the summer working on using electricity-producing plastics (piezoelectrics) to enhance nerve regeneration and became hooked on the field that is now called tissue engineering. After Brown and that post-undergrad gap year, in which she also worked for a pharmaceutical company pressing pills (“it was really boring”), she started grad school at MIT.

    Her parents approved. Bhatia’s father was an engineer, and her mother was one of the first women in India to earn an MBA. They considered three careers acceptable: doctor, engineer, or entrepreneur. So when Bhatia said she wanted to pursue a PhD because bioengineering bosses seemed to have them, her father, who felt PhDs are often impractical, asked, “When are you going to start a company?”

    It took a few years. In 2008 she launched Hepregen to bring the artificial liver technology to the commercial market, and she started Glympse Bio in 2015 to commercialize the urine-test diagnostics, with investment from her Brown roommate, longtime friend, and venture capitalist Theresia Gouw ’90. “We are scheduled to start, we hope, our first clinical trials next year,” Bhatia says, “It’s like having another child.”

    Bhatia’s work producing artificial livers started in her second year at MIT, when she joined the lab of Mehmet Toner, a biomedical engineer who was trying to develop a device that would use human liver cells to process the blood of patients with liver failure. Bhatia set out to figure out how to get liver cells to grow outside the body. She tried and failed for two years. Then she had a breakthrough.

    In the body, liver cells don’t just grow on their own, Bhatia explains. They grow in a particular structure—a community, she calls it—with connective tissue cells. But just throwing both types of cells into a petri dish didn’t work. Instead, Bhatia hit on the idea of creating the right structure for these cells by using microfabrication techniques designed to create computer chips. Instead of putting tiny circuits on a chip, she etched a glass culture dish with the geometric configuration in which liver cells grow in the body. Success: the liver cells, organized in the right way and supported by connective tissue cells, could live for several weeks outside the body. Today, pharmaceutical companies around the world use Bhatia’s micro livers, grown from human liver cells, to test whether or not their drugs are toxic to humans before they try them on actual people.

    While Bhatia worked in Toner’s lab, she started taking the year’s worth of medical school classes at Harvard that her biomedical engineering program required. Fascinated, she added even more med school classes. Then after she finished up her bioengineering PhD, she transferred into Harvard Medical School as a third-year med student—a foray into one of her other parentally approved career paths. But she still threw her hat in the ring for academic gigs and later that year accepted a junior professor position at UC San Diego. So in 1999, her fourth year of medical school, she multitasked, working at both a hospital (“for inspiration”) and a research lab (“where my heart is”). The combination remains crucial for her work, Bhatia says. “Over my career, I have always looked to the clinic to recognize what the real unmet medical needs are,” she explains.

    In 2005, after six years in San Diego, Bhatia returned with Shah and their first daughter to Boston to accept a professorship at MIT.

    How to build a kinder, gentler top academic lab

    When Bhatia was in grad school she looked “up the pipeline” to the lives of research scientists and engineers, and she didn’t like what she saw. When she popped into the lab one Saturday night at 3 am, her colleagues were still working. When she thought about her future, she says, “I realized I didn’t want to be there every Saturday night.” So when she set up her own lab at MIT, she prioritized excellence but she had other key concerns.

    As with the liver cells she studies, she feels people thrive best in a community and with support. For her own sake and to enhance the success of her lab, Bhatia makes it a priority to hire people who aren’t just great at what they do but can also get along well with others. Like some high-tech entrepreneurs, she encourages them to both work hard and live a balanced life—and to spend 20 percent of their work time “tinkering” on creative projects that may or may not pan out. (The breathalyzer test for cancer came out of one of these “submarine” projects, so called because they’re hidden from Bhatia unless they succeed.) Bhatia’s lab manager, Lian-Ee Ch’ng, says the lab, a warren-like series of rooms on the fourth floor of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, feels very different from others she has worked in. “Sangeeta has a very personal touch,” Ch’ng says.

    Thirty people work in Bhatia’s lab, including a research director, scientists, and the grad students. It looks like any top facility, with row after row of workstations and separate rooms for incubators, specialized microscopes, ultra-low-temperature freezers, and massive tanks of liquid nitrogen. They have a 3-D printer and, perhaps the most high-tech piece of equipment in the lab, Ch’ng says, the Pannoramic 250, a high-speed, five-color slide scanner that produces beautiful digital images of the cells on a microscope slide.

    It looks like a place built for workaholics, where it would be easy to keep your head down and your focus on yourself. But Bhatia doesn’t allow it. She sets a tone of collegiality, Ch’ng says, which really makes a difference: “People talk to each other.”

    There’s an inherent tension, Bhatia admits, in bringing together excellent, ambitious people and also prioritizing work-life balance, community, and citizenship. “They’re not all exactly the same thing,” she says. But this combination of priorities may be an important reason why the Bhatia lab has a staff that’s about half female. “I have an orientation that attracts young moms,” she says. Her male staff members who have kids are probably able to be better dads, too.

    “I think Sangeeta’s a wonderful role model for women,” then-grad student Geoffrey Von Maltzahn told Nova. “But she’s a terrific role model for anybody. One of the hardest things in life is to make a clear distinction between how much time you’re going to dedicate to your work and how much time you’re going to dedicate to your family and your friends. She’s able to manage that with a sense of ease that I think is inspirational, independent of whether you’re a man or a woman.”

    However, when Bhatia started working from home on Wednesdays so that she could pick up her daughters from school, she felt it was professionally risky. So at first she called it “working off campus.” Now, everyone knows it’s “Mommy Wednesday.” She makes a point of modeling work-life balance to show that it can be done without sacrificing success.

    She’s also purposely using her visibility as a top scientist to be a role model for women in engineering. “There are not a lot of engineers that look like me, still.” Yet when she first got to Brown, she didn’t see what all the “diversity” fuss was about. “I looked around the classroom and thought that there were plenty of women.”

    Then, when she was a senior, she and her friend Theresia Gouw looked around again, and there were many fewer women—only seven in a class of 100. “We realized that we had just witnessed the so-called disproportionate attrition, the leaky pipeline.”

    Bhatia started reading about the subtle bias and the feeling of “not belonging” that discourages many women from pursuing the field. She and Gouw surveyed the other women who stayed in engineering and found that “every one of them had had mentors or parents who encouraged them.”

    As a newcomer to MIT, and as one of the few women engineering graduate students, Bhatia got a clear taste of that “not belonging” feeling when a thermodynamics professor asked her, on the first day, if she was in the right class. At first, Bhatia says she did what she could to downplay her femininity, wearing pants and not much makeup, trying to disappear. But later, she realized she had to be visible to make a difference and help patch up that leaky pipeline. So she makes a point of speaking openly and specifically about being a woman engineer.

    Bhatia thinks her attitude stems from the orientation towards public service she got in college. “I think that’s very Brown,” she says. “Not just noticing, but taking action.” But she says that her commitment to gender and other types of diversity also happens to be good business. “Just look at the metrics,” she points out. “Quality of ideas, return on investment, time to profitability, every objective metric has shown to be improved with diversity.”

    Though living a balanced life was important to Bhatia, she feared the consequences on her career. “I said to myself, ‘This is a tradeoff I’m willing to make. If it means I’m not at the top of my field, that’s absolutely a decision I’m making with my eyes open.’”

    Instead, she found that her choice to have a life outside the lab had the opposite effect: it helped her excel. “You have to find a way to sustain your energy and your creative spirit,” she says. As many workplace productivity studies have shown, having downtime increases productivity, and Bhatia is no exception to this rule. “I feel like if I worked the way that I thought I was supposed to, I actually think I wouldn’t be as productive. For me it’s helpful to come in and out of those worlds.”

    The tiniest tools 
on earth

    Bhatia’s still working with livers, but microfabrication is now old technology. Much of her current work uses nanotechnology: “You make materials so tiny that they can circulate in the body,” she explains.

    It’s with these insanely small tools that Bhatia set out to find better ways to diagnose and treat cancer. While still at UC San Diego, she began collaborating with renowned cancer researcher Erkki Ruoslahti, who had figured out how to engineer viruses so they’d home in on tumors. Bhatia replicated that, not with viruses but with materials, such as quantum dots (qdots), little semiconductor crystals that are more than ten thousand times smaller than the width of a strand of human hair.

    Bhatia coated qdots with peptide sequences that would allow them to enter tumor cells. Then she injected the qdots into mice that had cancer. Sure enough, the qdots homed in on the tumors. In 2002, Bhatia and Ruoslahti published a paper on their findings. “A lot of people say it was one of the first of its kind in what later became this field of nanomedicine,” Bhatia says.

    The urine test for cancer was an outgrowth of that work—and a happy accident. In the Bhatia lab, they were trying to make “smart contrast agents,” materials that would light up in tumors and thus show up on an MRI. “That was when the students noticed that whenever the animals were tumor-bearing, the bladder would light up,” Bhatia says. “Then we realized we didn’t need an MRI at all, that we had created this kind of urine diagnostic.” All they had to do was create a paper test to detect the biomarker that appeared in the urine and voilà, an inexpensive and relatively noninvasive test for cancer.

    “We think it’s a platform technology,” says Bhatia, who is investigating the use of this type of diagnostic with other diseases, including liver disease, which could help patients avoid expensive and invasive biopsies. The test works great in mice, so their biggest hurdle is to work with the FDA so that it can be tested on people.

    The “blue-sky” goal

    One of Bhatia’s dreams is to create a functioning human liver made outside the body that can be implanted into it. That goal is still far away, but it’s getting closer. In June, she published a paper that explained her group’s successful attempt to grow working livers in mice.

    Building on her micro liver technology, they used a 3-D printer to produce tiny liver “seeds” that they populated with a community of liver cells and helper cells. The configuration, they thought, would allow the cells to respond to regeneration cues—the liver being one of the only organs in the body that can regenerate.

    They implanted these seeds in mice with failing livers—and the lab-created livers grew 50 times larger in the mice’s bodies. They also looked a lot like real livers and performed liver functions. Making a liver for a human obviously requires many more cells than making one for a mouse, though.

    “We think you probably need about 10 billion cells to get up to clinically relevant tissue, which is a lot and too many to print practically in a reasonable amount of time,” Bhatia says. “We have a long way to go.”

    In the meantime, they have found another use for the micro livers: testing malaria drugs. “There’s a really elusive dormant form of vivax malaria that can hide out in a liver,” Bhatia explains. The only drug that’s been known to clear this dormant form of the disease is primaquine, which has been around since World War II. But it can cause blood damage in patients, and some strains of the dormant malaria have developed resistance to it. “There’s been a big push for new drugs since 2008, when the World Health Organization announced a new malaria eradication campaign,” Bhatia says.

    What Bhatia’s team has been able to do is grow this dormant strain of malaria in their micro livers, allowing drugs to be tested against it. “Now we’re trying to molecularly describe it, which has never been done,” she says.

    The malaria work came about because a lab member, graduate student Nil Gural, wanted to work on the untreatable form of the disease. “When she came, we had never grown [the dormant strain] before. We had no access to it.” Gural, who is originally from Turkey, said she was willing to live in Bangkok for a while to get it going.

    Gural has now been working on this for a couple of years, going back and forth from Boston to Bangkok. The work is going really well, Bhatia says. The lab is working with Medicine for Malaria Ventures, the organization that is coordinating the effort to develop new drugs that will work on the dormant stage of the disease. Given that there are about 212 million malaria cases that cause nearly half a million deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization, it’s research that has great potential for positive impact.

    Bhatia says her commitment to malaria work comes out of her entrepreneurial instincts as shaped by Brown. “My professional work has started out in what I would say is a very high-tech place,” she says, “and that’s growing 3-D livers. That’s probably going to be an expensive solution for patients with liver failure. The same thing for our cancer work. We’re working on really, really, really cutting-edge but still expensive ideas.”

    Expensive ideas are, of course, where the profit lies for an entrepreneur. But Bhatia says Brown taught her to look beyond profit to ask, “What can you do to make the world a better place?” For Bhatia, that’s finding global health applications for her work, such as taking the micro livers and using them to help eradicate malaria, or using the nanotechnology the lab comes up with to create inexpensive paper-based diagnostic urine tests for lung, colon, and ovarian cancers, allowing patients to be tested and even treated right on the spot, including in remote areas of developing countries where follow-up can be next to impossible. That’s still a dream, but as she said in her Spring 2017 TED Talk, “We already have this working in mice.”

    Half of Bhatia’s staff crowds into her office every Friday—it switches back and forth between the cancer and liver groups. It’s a medium-sized office with a desk, a small table, and a small couch. Behind her desk is a large framed print of something that looks like a lush white flower in full bloom. It’s actually a genetically engineered colony of yeast. Her Lego figure is perched on a window sash, and below it an unusual clock keeps the time. Six metal figures in the clock itself appear to hoist a seventh who hangs below, though every time the seventh figure gets almost to the top, it falls down again. Her husband gave it to her as a present when she got tenure. “What he said was, ‘Look at all these people helping you climb. You’re leading a team and they’re helping you achieve your vision.”

    “I was like, that’s nice, but once you get tenure”—the figure plummets to the bottom again as if to illustrate her point—“you climb the next ladder.”

    Fifteen people assemble in this space that would comfortably seat half as many. “They sit on the floor and the table,” Bhatia says. “We keep saying maybe we should move to the conference room but I think they like the intimacy of barreling into my office for 90 minutes.” The group uses the time to talk about early results of experiments and to “cross-fertilize.”

    “I’m continually reinforcing that,” Bhatia says. “Otherwise they don’t talk to each other.” Science is a lot of failure, she adds. “You have to think of all different ways to keep your team energized and excited and engaged. The best way is if they’re constantly learning.”

    Bhatia has improved and perhaps saved many lives already, thanks to the drugs that now are not tested in humans if they are toxic to micro livers. An off-the-shelf liver or a urine test for cancer or liver disease could also be lifesaving.

    But when asked what she’s proudest of, she says it’s her students, because she gets to be what she calls a “multiplier.” She trains her grad students and post-docs in a way of working and a way of thinking, and then they go out into the world. “I feel like they’ve all gone on to do really interesting things,” Bhatia says. “One of them is a venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur. He built a bunch of companies. Some of them are professors training their own students. There’s a lot of them out there. It’s the most amazing thing to feel like you’ve played a role in that.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Welcome to Brown

    Brown U Robinson Hall
    Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

    With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

    Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting and online students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

    Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:58 pm on November 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Brown University, , , , Physicists describe new dark matter detection strategy,   

    From Brown: “Physicists describe new dark matter detection strategy” 

    Brown University
    Brown University

    November 1, 2017
    Kevin Stacey
    401-863-3766

    Physicists from Brown University have devised a new strategy for directly detecting dark matter, the elusive material thought to account for the majority of matter in the universe.

    1
    Superfluid dark matter catcher
    A proposed dark matter detector using superfluid helium might detect particles with much lower mass than most current detectors.
    Maris/Seidel/Stein/Brown University

    The new strategy, which is designed to detect interactions between dark matter particles and a tub of superfluid helium, would be sensitive to particles in a much lower mass range than is possible with any of the large-scale experiments run so far, the researchers say.

    “Most of the large-scale dark matter searches so far have been looking for particles with a mass somewhere between 10 and 10,000 times the mass of a proton,” said Derek Stein, a physicist who co-authored the work with two of his Brown University colleagues, Humphrey Maris and George Seidel. “Below 10 proton masses, these experiments start to lose their sensitivity. What we want to do is extend sensitivity down in mass by three or four orders of magnitude and explore the possibility of dark matter particles that are much lighter.”

    A paper describing the new detector is published in Physical Review Letters.

    Missing matter

    Though it has not yet been detected directly, physicists are fairly certain that dark matter must exist in some form. The way in which galaxies rotate and the degree to which light bends as it travels through the universe suggest that there’s some kind of unseen stuff throwing its gravity around.

    The leading idea for the nature of dark matter is that it’s some kind of particle, albeit one that interacts very rarely with ordinary matter. But nobody is quite sure what a dark matter particle’s properties might be because nobody has yet recorded one of those rare interactions.

    There’s been good reason, Stein says, to search in the mass range where most dark matter experiments have focused thus far. A particle in that mass range would tie up a lot of loose theoretical ends. For example, the theory of supersymmetry — the idea that all the common particles we know and love have hidden partner particles — predicts dark matter candidates of the order of hundreds of proton masses.

    But the no-show of those particles in experiments so far has some physicists thinking about how to look elsewhere. This has led theorists to propose models in which dark matter would have much lower mass.

    A new approach

    The detection strategy that the Brown researchers have come up with involves a tub of superfluid helium. The idea is that dark matter particles passing through the tub should, on very rare occasions, smack into the nucleus of a helium atom. That collision would produce phonons and rotons — tiny excitations roughly similar to sound waves — which propagate with no loss of kinetic energy inside the superfluid. When those excitations reach the surface of the fluid, they’ll cause helium atoms to be released into a vacuum space above the surface. The detection of those released atoms would be the signal that a dark matter interaction has taken place in the tub.

    “The last bit is the tricky part,” said Maris, who has worked on similar helium-based detection schemes for other particles like solar neutrinos. The collision of a low-mass dark matter particle might result in only a single atom being released from the surface. That single atom would carry only about one milli-electron volt of energy, making it virtually impossible to detect through any traditional means. The novelty of this new detection scheme is a means to amplify that tiny, single-atom energy signature.

    It works by generating an electric field in the vacuum space above the liquid using an array of small, positively charged metal pins. As an atom released from the helium surface draws close to a pin, the positively charged tip will steal an electron from it, creating a positively charged helium ion. That newly created positive ion would be in close proximity to the positively charged pin, and because like charges repel each other, the ion will fly off with enough energy to be easily detectable by a standard calorimeter, a device that detects a temperature change when a particle runs into it.

    “If we put 10,000 volts on those little pins, then that ion going is going to fly away with 10,000 volts on it,” Maris said. “So it’s this ionization feature that gives us a new way to detect just the single helium atom that could be associated with a dark matter interaction.”

    Sensitive at low mass

    This new kind of detector wouldn’t be the first to use the tub-of-liquid-gas idea. The recently completed Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment and its successor, LUX-ZEPLIN, both use tubs of xenon gas. Using helium instead provides an important advantage in looking for particles with lower mass, the researchers say.

    For a collision to be detectable, the incoming particle and the target atomic nuclei must be of compatible mass. If the incoming particle is much smaller in mass than the target nuclei, any collision would result in the particle simply bouncing off without leaving a trace. Since LUX and L-Z are intended for the detection of particles with mass greater than five times that of a proton, they used xenon, which has a nucleus of around 100 proton masses. Helium has a nuclear mass only four times that of a proton, making a more compatible target for particles with much less mass.

    But even more important than the light target, the researchers say, is the ability of the new scheme to detect only a single atom evaporated from the helium surface. That kind of sensitivity would enable the device to detect the tiny amounts of energy deposited in the detector by particles with very small masses. The Brown team thinks its device would be sensitive to masses down to about twice the mass of an electron, roughly 1,000 to 10,000 times lighter than the particles detectable in large-scale dark matter experiments so far.

    Stein says that the first steps in actually making such a detector a reality will be fundamental experiments to better understand aspects of what’s happening in the superfluid helium and the precise dynamics of the ionization scheme.

    “From those fundamental experiments,” Stein says, “we would craft designs for a bigger and more complete dark matter experiment.”

    The research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation (DMR-1505044).

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Welcome to Brown

    Brown U Robinson Hall
    Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

    With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

    Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting and online students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

    Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: