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  • richardmitnick 1:09 pm on March 9, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Diverse Approach Key to Carbon Removal", A globally diverse portfolio of carbon removal strategies can mitigate risk while mitigating emissions., , Carbon capture and storage; Ecology, Meeting the world’s climate goals will take more than one form of carbon removal., , The technologies under study include biochar; direct air capture with carbon storage; and bioenergy paired with carbon capture and storage., The work originates from the Joint Global Change Research Institute-a partnership between PNNL and the University of Maryland., To meet the original goal of the Paris Agreement the authors find that roughly 10 gigatons of carbon dioxide must be removed per year., Work is needed to address greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide like methane and nitrous oxide. These non-CO2 gases are several times more potent and simultaneously more difficult to target.   

    From The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: “Diverse Approach Key to Carbon Removal” 

    From The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

    Brendan Bane

    Meeting the world’s climate goals will take more than one form of carbon removal.

    Restoring forests marks one of six approaches PNNL researchers are exploring as they seek to understand which carbon dioxide removal methods can limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. (Photo by Bergadder | Pixabay)

    Diversification reduces risk. That’s the spirit of one key takeaway from a new study led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The effective path to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century likely requires a mix of technologies that can pull carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.

    Overreliance on any one carbon removal method may bring undue risk, the authors caution. And we’ll likely need them all to remove the necessary amount of carbon dioxide—10 gigatons annually—to secure just 1.5 degrees of warming by 2100.

    The new work, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change [below], outlines the carbon-removing potential of six different methods. They range from restoring deforested lands to spreading crushed rock across landscapes, a method known as enhanced weathering.

    This study marks the first attempt to incorporate all carbon dioxide removal approaches recognized in U.S. legislation into a single integrated model that projects how their interactions could measure up on a global scale. It does so while demonstrating how those methods could influence factors like water use, energy demand or available crop land.

    The authors explore the potential of these carbon removal methods by modeling decarbonization scenarios: hypothetical futures that demonstrate what kind of interactions could crop up if the technologies were deployed under varying conditions. They explore pathways, for example, where no climate policy is applied (and warming rises to 3.5 degrees as a result).

    Each carbon dioxide removal method brings unique benefits and tradeoffs. This image depicts the methods under study at PNNL and recognized in U.S. legislation: direct ocean capture, biochar, enhanced weathering, direct air capture with carbon storage, afforestation and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. Floating carbon dioxide molecules hover above the landscape. (Image by Nathan Johnson | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

    A second pathway demonstrates what amount of carbon would need to be removed using the technologies under an ambitious policy in which carbon emissions are constrained to decline to net-zero by mid-century and net-negative by late-century to limit end-of-century warming to below 1.5 degrees.

    The third scenario follows the same emissions pathway but is paired with behavioral and technological changes, like low material consumption and rapid electrification. In this scenario, these societal changes translate to fewer overall emissions released, which helps reduce the amount of residual greenhouse gas emissions that would need to be offset with carbon removal to meet the 1.5-degree goal.

    To meet that target—the original goal of the Paris Agreement—the authors find that roughly 10 gigatons of carbon dioxide must be removed per year. That amount remains the same even if countries were to strengthen efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from all sources.

    “Bringing us back down to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century will require a balanced approach,” said lead author PNNL scientist Jay Fuhrman, whose work stems from the Joint Global Change Research Institute. “If one of these technologies fails to materialize or scale up, we don’t want too many eggs in that basket. If we use a globally diverse portfolio of carbon removal strategies, we can mitigate risk while mitigating emissions.”

    Some of the technologies stand to contribute a great deal, with the potential to remove several gigatons of carbon dioxide per year. Others offer less, yet still stand to play an important role. Enhanced weathering, for example, could remove up to four gigatons of carbon dioxide annually by mid-century.

    Under this method, finely ground rock spread over cropland converts carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into carbonate minerals on the ground. It is among the most cost-effective methods identified in the study.

    In comparison, direct ocean capture with carbon storage, where carbon dioxide is stripped from seawater and stored in Earth’s subsurface, would likely remove much less carbon. On its own, the nascent technology is prohibitively expensive, according to the authors. Pairing this method with desalination plants in regions where demand for desalinated water is high, however, could drive down the cost while delivering more meaningful carbon reductions.

    In addition to the removal methods mentioned above, the technologies under study include biochar; direct air capture with carbon storage; and bioenergy paired with carbon capture and storage.

    Each of the technologies modeled brings unique advantages, costs and consequences. Many of those factors are tied to specific regions. The authors point out Sub-Saharan Africa as an example, where biochar, enhanced weathering and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage stand to contribute significant reductions.

    Yet the authors find much work is needed to address greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide like methane and nitrous oxide. Many of these non-CO2 gases are several times more potent while simultaneously more difficult to target than carbon dioxide.

    While some of the removal methods examined within the new paper are well-studied, their interactions with other, newer methods are less clearly understood. The work originates from the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a partnership between PNNL and the University of Maryland where researchers explore interactions between human, energy and environmental systems.

    Their work focuses on projecting what tradeoffs may flow from a range of possible decarbonization scenarios. The authors seek to better understand how these methods interact so that policymakers may be informed in their efforts to decarbonize.

    “This study underscores the need for continued research on carbon dioxide removal approaches and their potential impacts,” said corresponding author and PNNL scientist Haewon McJeon. “While each approach has its own unique benefits and costs, a diverse portfolio of carbon dioxide removal approaches is essential for effectively addressing climate change. By better understanding the potential impacts of each approach, we can develop a more comprehensive and effective strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global warming.”

    In addition to Fuhrman and McJeon, PNNL authors include Candelaria Bergero and Maridee Weber. Seth Monteith and Frances M. Wang of the ClimateWorks Foundation, as well as Andres F. Clarens, Scott C. Doney and William Shobe of the University of Virginia also contributed to this work. This work was supported by the ClimateWorks Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the University of Virginia Environmental Resilience Institute.

    Nature Climate Change
    From the science paper

    See the full article here.

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


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    Stem Education Coalition

    The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is one of the United States Department of Energy National Laboratories, managed by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The main campus of the laboratory is in Richland, Washington.

    PNNL scientists conduct basic and applied research and development to strengthen U.S. scientific foundations for fundamental research and innovation; prevent and counter acts of terrorism through applied research in information analysis, cyber security, and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction; increase the U.S. energy capacity and reduce dependence on imported oil; and reduce the effects of human activity on the environment. PNNL has been operated by Battelle Memorial Institute since 1965.

  • richardmitnick 11:13 am on February 11, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "DBC": dissolved black carbon, "Deep-sea black carbon comes from hydrothermal vents", Carbon capture and storage; Ecology, , Hydrothermal vents have been identified as a previously undiscovered source of dissolved black carbon in the oceans-furthering the understanding of the role of oceans as a carbon sink.   

    From Hokkaido Imperial University [北海道帝國大學](JP): “Deep-sea black carbon comes from hydrothermal vents” 

    From Hokkaido Imperial University [北海道帝國大學](JP)


    Hydrothermal vents have been identified as a previously undiscovered source of dissolved black carbon in the oceans- furthering the understanding of the role of oceans as a carbon sink.

    R/V Hakuho Maru conducted the observations used for this study. Hakuho Maru conducted the observations used for this study.

    The ocean is one of the largest dynamic carbon sinks in the world, and is susceptible to increased carbon emissions from human activities. There are even proposals to use the ocean to sequester carbon in an effort to reduce the carbon emissions. However, much of the processes by which the ocean functions as a carbon sink are not fully understood.

    Associate Professor Youhei Yamashita and grad student Yutaro Mori at Hokkaido University, along with Professor Hiroshi Ogawa at AORI, The University of Tokyo, have revealed conclusive evidence that hydrothermal vents are a previously unknown source of dissolved black carbon in the deep ocean. Their discoveries were published in the journal Science Advances [below].

    “One of the largest carbon pools on the Earth’s surface is the dissolved organic carbon in the ocean,” explains Ogawa. “We were interested in a portion of this pool, known as dissolved black carbon (DBC), which cannot be utilized by organisms. The source of DBC in the deep sea was unknown, although hydrothermal vents were suspected to be involved.”

    The researchers analyzed the distribution of DBC in the ocean basins of the North Pacific Ocean and Eastern South Pacific Ocean, and compared the data with previously reported concentrations of a helium isotope that is associated with hydrothermal vent emissions, as well as oxygen utilization in these areas.

    In the eastern South Pacific Ocean, excess DBC concentrations increase closer to the equator, and are correlated with helium-3 isotopes from hydrothermal vents. Hydrothermal vents are the primary source of excess DBC (Youhei Yamashita, Yutaro Mori, Hiroshi Ogawa. Science Advances. February 9, 2023).

    Their findings showed that hydrothermal vents were an important source of DBC in the Pacific Ocean. This hydrothermal DBC is most likely formed due to the mixing of the hot fluids from hydrothermal vents with cold seawater, and is transported over long distances — up to thousands of kilometers away.

    “Most importantly, our research indicates that the DBC from hydrothermal vents is an important source of dissolved organic carbon in the deep ocean. In terms of DBC inputs to the ocean, hydrothermal vents may contribute up to half as much DBC as that which is formed by biomass burning or fossil fuel combustion and subsequently transported via rivers or atmospheric deposition,” concluded Yamashita. Further research is required to understand exactly how DBC is formed from hydrothermal vents.

    Science Advances

    Fig. 1. Spatial distribution of δ3He values at a depth of approximately 2500 m and the sampling sites.
    The δ3He data were derived from Jenkins et al. (30*). The open circles are sampling sites with site numbers in the present study along a zonal transect in the subtropical North Pacific Ocean and a meridional transect in the eastern South Pacific Ocean. The closed circles are sampling sites from Yamashita et al. (16), which determined the linear relationship between the DBC concentration and AOU in the central and western Pacific Ocean. The black dashed line shows the position of the EPR axis (37). Two major helium jets extend westward from the EPR axis at 10°N and at 15°S (37).
    *See full science paper for references.

    See the full article here.

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Hokkaido Imperial University [北海道帝國大學](JP) is a Japanese national university in Sapporo, Hokkaido (JP). It was the fifth Imperial University in Japan, which were established to be the nation’s finest institutes of higher education or research, and was selected as a Top Type university of the Top Global University Project by the Japanese government. The main campus is located in downtown Sapporo, just north of Sapporo Station, and stretches approximately 2.4 kilometers northward. It is considered one of the top universities in Japan.

    The history of the university dates to the formal incorporation of Yezo as Hokkaido into the Japanese realm. Director of the Hokkaidō Development Commission Kuroda Kiyotaka, having traveled to America in 1870, looked to the American model of settling the new lands. Upon return he brought General Horace Capron, a commissioner of agriculture who pushed for the adoption of new agricultural practices and crops in Hokkaido’s colder clime. To achieve this an agriculture college was proposed, leading to the founding of Sapporo Agricultural College [札幌農學校](JP) in 1876 by William S. Clark with the help of five faculty members and a first class size of 24 students. In September 1907, Tohoku Imperial University [東北帝國大學] set up the faculty of Agriculture in Sapporo. Tohoku Imperial University ceded the Faculty of Agriculture to Hokkaido Imperial University [北海道帝國大學] on April 1, 1918. It was one of nine Imperial Universities. The School of Medicine was established in 1919, at which time the Agricultural College became the Faculty of Agriculture. This was followed by the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Science, and finally in 1947, the Faculty of Law and Literature. The current name of Hokkaido University also came into use in 1947. In 1953, the Graduate School was established.

    Since 2004 the university has been incorporated as a National University Corporation under a new law which applies to all national universities. Although the incorporation has led to increased financial independence and autonomy, Hokkaido University is still partially controlled by the Japanese Ministry of Education.

    In 2014 the university was selected under the Super Global Universities program that began as an initiative of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe who stated its aim was to help more of Japan’s universities rank in the top 100 worldwide. Under the program, it is listed in the top university category or Type A—(Top Type) The Top Type is for world-class universities that have the potential to be ranked in the top 100 in world university rankings. Each Type A university will receive ¥420 million ($US 4.2 million) annually until 2023.

    In June 2020, Hokkaido University president Toyoharu Nawa was dismissed by Japanese education minister Koichi Hagiuda for abuse of power at the workplace, becoming the first national university president to be dismissed since national universities became independent in 2004. He was succeeded by former neurosurgeon and director of Hokkaido University Hospital Kiyoharu Houkin.

  • richardmitnick 10:15 am on February 9, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Stanford-led study finds global wetlands losses overestimated despite high losses in many regions", , Carbon capture and storage; Ecology, , Global losses of wetlands have likely been overestimated., It remains urgent to halt and reverse the conversion and degradation of wetlands., New chance to protect wetlands, , The area of wetland ecosystems has declined 21-35% since 1700 due to human intervention., The authors estimate that at least 1.3 million square miles of wetlands have been lost globally., The U.S. is estimated to have lost 40% of its wetlands since 1700., , Unrelenting drainage for conversion to human land uses has made wetlands among the world’s most threatened ecosystems in the world., Wetlands purify our water and prevent flooding and are biodiversity superheroes.   

    From The Woods Institute for the Environment At Stanford University: “Stanford-led study finds global wetlands losses overestimated despite high losses in many regions” 


    From The Woods Institute for the Environment


    Stanford University Name

    Stanford University

    New chance to protect wetlands


    Media Contacts

    Etienne Fluet-Chouinard
    ETH Zurich

    Rob Jackson
    Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability
    (650) 497-5841

    Peter McIntyre
    Cornell University
    (608) 516-2640

    Rob Jordan
    Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
    (650) 721-1881

    New analysis shows the U.S. has accounted for more wetland conversion and degradation than any other country. Its findings help better explain the causes and impacts of such losses and inform protection and restoration of wetlands.

    A peatland site at Linnunsuo in North Karelia, Finland. Legacy peat mining has degraded the wetland, as visible in the degraded soil in front. (Image credit: Rob Jackson)

    Sometime this spring or summer, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a case ruling that will legally define whether federal protections should be extended to wetlands outside of navigable waters. The justices might consider reading a new Stanford-led study [Nature (below)] that finds, although wetlands remain threatened in many parts of the world – including the U.S., which accounts for more losses than any other country – global losses of wetlands have likely been overestimated. Published Feb. 8 in Nature, the study’s findings could help better explain the causes and impacts of wetland loss, enabling more informed plans to protect or restore ecosystems crucial for human health and livelihoods.

    “Despite the good news that our results might imply, it remains urgent to halt and reverse the conversion and degradation of wetlands,” said study lead author Etienne Fluet-Chouinard, a postdoctoral associate in Stanford’s Department of Earth System Science at the time of the research. “The geographic disparities in losses are critical to consider because the forgone local benefits from drained wetlands cannot be replaced by wetlands elsewhere.”

    Wetland extent in present day and in 1700. (Image credit: Etienne Fluet-Chouinard)

    Rethinking wetlands

    Now understood to be vital sources of water purification, groundwater recharge, and carbon storage, wetlands were long seen as unproductive areas teeming with disease-bearing insects and good only for draining to grow crops or harvest peat for fuel and fertilizer. Unrelenting drainage for conversion to human land uses, such as farmland and urban areas, in addition to alteration by fires and groundwater extraction, has made wetlands among the world’s most threatened ecosystems in the world.

    Accurately estimating the extent, distribution, and timing of wetland loss is key to understanding their role in natural processes and the impact of wetland drainage on the water and carbon cycles. A lack of historical data has hindered the effort, forcing scientists to make estimates based on incomplete collections of regional data on wetland loss.

    “Wetlands purify our water, prevent flooding, and are biodiversity superheroes,” said study co-author Rob Jackson, the Michelle and Kevin Douglas Provostial Professor of Energy and Environment in the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. “We need the best data possible to save what we have and know what we’ve lost.”

    A second chance

    In a first-of-its-kind historical reconstruction, the researchers combed through thousands of records of wetland drainage and land-use changes in 154 countries, mapping the distribution of drained and converted wetlands onto maps of present-day wetlands to get a picture of what the original wetland area might have looked like in 1700.

    Map of cumulative percent wetland loss per pixel estimated from 1700 to 2020 (yellow to red colors) and map of regions with dense present-day wetland with low or no estimated losses (blue colors). (Image credit: Etienne Fluet-Chouinard)

    They found that the area of wetland ecosystems has declined 21-35% since 1700 due to human intervention. That’s far less than the 50-87% losses estimated by previous studies. Still, the authors estimate that at least 1.3 million square miles of wetlands have been lost globally – an area about the size of Alaska, Texas, California, Montana, New Mexico, and Arizona combined.

    “These new results allow us to better quantify changes in wetlands’ sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere and emission of methane, another powerful greenhouse gas,” said study co-author Avni Malhotra, a Stanford postdoctoral researcher at the time of the research.

    The low estimate is likely the result of the study’s focus beyond regions with historically high wetland losses, and its avoidance of large extrapolations – characteristics of many previous estimates. The researchers note their estimate of losses is likely conservative because they constrained their analysis to available data, which is scarce for the years before 1850.

    Despite what may seem to be good news, the researchers emphasize that wetland losses have been dramatically high in some regions, such as the U.S., which is estimated to have lost 40% of its wetlands since 1700 and accounts for more than 15% of all global losses during the study’s time period. Although wetland conversion and degradation have slowed globally, it continues apace in some regions, such as Indonesia, where farmers and corporations continue to clear large swaths of land for oil palm plantations and other agricultural uses.

    “Discovering that fewer wetlands have been lost than we previously thought gives us a second chance to take action against further declines,” said study co-author Peter McIntyre, an aquatic conservation ecologist at Cornell University. “These results provide a guide for prioritizing conservation and restoration.”


    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    The Woods Institute for the Environment is working toward a future in which societies meet people’s needs for water, food, health and other vital services while sustaining the planet. As the university’s hub of interdisciplinary environment and sustainability research, the Stanford Woods Institute is the go-to place for Stanford faculty, researchers and students to collaborate on environmental research. Their interdisciplinary work crosses sectors and disciplines, advancing solutions to the most critical, complex environmental and sustainability challenges.

    Our Mission
    To produce breakthrough environmental knowledge and solutions that sustain people and planet today and for generations to come.

    Our Vision

    We can feed people, sustain communities and provide clean water while stewarding the environment.

    Working on campus and around the globe, the Stanford Woods Institute community develops environmental leaders; informs decision-makers with unbiased scientific data; and convenes experts from all of Stanford’s seven schools, other leading academic institutions, government, NGOs, foundations and business. The Stanford Woods Institute is pursuing breakthrough knowledge and solutions that link knowledge to action and solve the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow.

    Stanford University campus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    Non-central campus

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

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    https://www6.slac.stanford.edu/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.

    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

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

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

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

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

    Administration and organization

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

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

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

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

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

    Endowment and donations

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

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

    Research centers and institutes

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

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

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

    Computer and applied sciences

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

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

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

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

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

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

    Student body

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

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

    Stanford University Seal

  • richardmitnick 2:04 pm on February 7, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Climate conference explores ways to reduce carbon footprint at colleges", , Carbon capture and storage; Ecology, Climate Resilience Academy, , Intentional Endowments Network, Second Nature,   

    From The University of Miami: “Climate conference explores ways to reduce carbon footprint at colleges” 

    From The University of Miami

    Janette Neuwahl Tannen

    Madeline Pumariega, president of Miami Dade College, left, and Julio Frenk, president of the University of Miami, participated in the Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit being held on the Coral Gables Campus. Photo: Matthew Rembold/University of Miami.

    The University of Miami is welcoming leaders from institutions across the nation this week at the Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit to share ideas on combating the climate crisis.

    University of Miami President Julio Frenk, along with many University faculty and staff members, joined leaders in sustainability and resilience from colleges across the nation Monday for the Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, being held at the Coral Gables Campus.

    “Due to our distinct geographic location, our aim is to transform the University of Miami into the destination for climate innovation,” said Frenk, during one of the opening sessions. “Conferences like this allow us to act as a convening entity; a place where we address global issues and allow scholars to establish ties that can endure and further develop in the future.”

    In one of the morning panels, Frenk spoke alongside Madeline Pumariega, president of Miami Dade College, and Larry Robinson, president of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, to discuss their statewide collaboration to prepare campuses for the inevitable impacts of climate change. Frenk said he learned from the local origins of the COVID-19 pandemic how critical colleges and universities can be to share knowledge and solutions about a range of world issues, such as climate change.

    “As we tackle global challenges, we need to do so rooted in local realities,” said Frenk, a noted public health expert. “And universities are exactly at the interface between the global and the local.”

    Second Nature, which is co-hosting the conference along with the Intentional Endowments Network, is an organization committed to accelerating climate action in and through higher education. They guide many institutions in forming a climate action plan and working toward creating innovative climate solutions.

    “Looking towards the year ahead, Second Nature will be driving equitable and holistic climate solutions by embracing the higher education sector’s diverse assets, including various leadership roles and types of institutions, to create scale and impact,” said Tim Carter, president of Second Nature.

    The University formed its own sustainability goals with the help of Second Nature 16 years ago, when it committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, said Teddy L’Houtellier, the University’s director of sustainability. Last year, the University ranked No. 8 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s top 30 college and universities list for the largest green power users. The University also joined the EPA’s Green Power Partnership program for its environmental leadership.

    “The challenges that we need to address with the climate crisis will require a strong collective effort, and that’s what Second Nature and the Intentional Endowment Network are for,” L’Houtellier said. “I’m thrilled to meet with all my colleagues who are working so hard on making their respective campus carbon neutral.”

    On the final day of the conference Tuesday, three faculty members from the University will host a session titled “Emerging Resilience Research within the Climate Resilience Academy.”

    In the session, Robin Bachin, an associate professor of history, senior associate dean for undergraduate education and director of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement, along with Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos, engineering assistant professor, and Cassandra Gaston, associate professor of atmospheric sciences, will discuss some of their research on resilience, community engagement, and climate-focused innovation in South Florida.

    Many of the 300 attendees, like Jennifer Chirico, Georgia Tech’s associate vice president of sustainability, said she was eager to learn more about how to improve their campus resilience and further reduce their carbon footprint. Ken Shultes, associate vice president of sustainability and facilities planning at Dickinson College, is one of a small group of institutions across the nation that is carbon neutral, and said he was glad to be back at the first in-person conference after the pandemic. Despite Dickinson’s success, which includes building a solar power field and an alumni center that will soon have geothermal heating and cooling, Shulte said he is glad to be a part of a community that is devoted to finding sustainable solutions for college campuses.

    “Higher education institutions really believe in this, so we are leading the way in how all organizations can achieve neutrality,” Shultes said. “And we have all these students, so if we make sustainability part of the learning experience, then our students who go on to work at a business, or own a business, will understand how to make things more energy efficient and less expensive.”

    See the full article here.

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Miami is a private research university in Coral Gables, Florida. As of 2020, the university enrolled approximately 18,000 students in 12 separate colleges and schools, including the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in Miami’s Health District, a law school on the main campus, and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science focused on the study of oceanography and atmospheric sciences on Virginia Key, with research facilities at the Richmond Facility in southern Miami-Dade County.

    The university offers 132 undergraduate, 148 master’s, and 67 doctoral degree programs, of which 63 are research/scholarship and 4 are professional areas of study. Over the years, the university’s students have represented all 50 states and close to 150 foreign countries. With more than 16,000 full- and part-time faculty and staff, The University of Miami is a top 10 employer in Miami-Dade County. The University of Miami’s main campus in Coral Gables has 239 acres and over 5.7 million square feet of buildings.

    The University of Miami is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The University of Miami research expenditure in FY 2019 was $358.9 million. The University of Miami offers a large library system with over 3.9 million volumes and exceptional holdings in Cuban heritage and music.

    The University of Miami also offers a wide range of student activities, including fraternities and sororities, and hundreds of student organizations. The Miami Hurricane, the student newspaper, and WVUM, the student-run radio station, have won multiple collegiate awards. The University of Miami’s intercollegiate athletic teams, collectively known as the Miami Hurricanes, compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The University of Miami’s football team has won five national championships since 1983 and its baseball team has won four national championships since 1982.


    The University of Miami is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. In fiscal year 2016, The University of Miami received $195 million in federal research funding, including $131.3 million from the Department of Health and Human Services and $14.1 million from the National Science Foundation. Of the $8.2 billion appropriated by Congress in 2009 as a part of the stimulus bill for research priorities of The National Institutes of Health, the Miller School received $40.5 million. In addition to research conducted in the individual academic schools and departments, Miami has the following university-wide research centers:

    The Center for Computational Science
    The Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS)
    Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy
    The Miami European Union Center: This group is a consortium with Florida International University (FIU) established in fall 2001 with a grant from the European Commission through its delegation in Washington, D.C., intended to research economic, social, and political issues of interest to the European Union.
    The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies
    John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics – studies possible causes of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration.
    Center on Research and Education for Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE)
    Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research

    The Miller School of Medicine receives more than $200 million per year in external grants and contracts to fund 1,500 ongoing projects. The medical campus includes more than 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m^2) of research space and the The University of Miami Life Science Park, which has an additional 2,000,000 sq ft (190,000 m^2) of space adjacent to the medical campus. The University of Miami’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute seeks to understand the biology of stem cells and translate basic research into new regenerative therapies.

    As of 2008, The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science receives $50 million in annual external research funding. Their laboratories include a salt-water wave tank, a five-tank Conditioning and Spawning System, multi-tank Aplysia Culture Laboratory, Controlled Corals Climate Tanks, and DNA analysis equipment. The campus also houses an invertebrate museum with 400,000 specimens and operates the Bimini Biological Field Station, an array of oceanographic high-frequency radar along the US east coast, and the Bermuda aerosol observatory. The University of Miami also owns the Little Salt Spring, a site on the National Register of Historic Places, in North Port, Florida, where RSMAS performs archaeological and paleontological research.

    The University of Miami built a brain imaging annex to the James M. Cox Jr. Science Center within the College of Arts and Sciences. The building includes a human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) laboratory, where scientists, clinicians, and engineers can study fundamental aspects of brain function. Construction of the lab was funded in part by a $14.8 million in stimulus money grant from the National Institutes of Health.

    In 2016 the university received $161 million in science and engineering funding from the U.S. federal government, the largest Hispanic-serving recipient and 56th overall. $117 million of the funding was through the Department of Health and Human Services and was used largely for the medical campus.

    The University of Miami maintains one of the largest centralized academic cyber infrastructures in the country with numerous assets. The Center for Computational Science High Performance Computing group has been in continuous operation since 2007. Over that time the core has grown from a zero HPC cyberinfrastructure to a regional high-performance computing environment that currently supports more than 1,200 users, 220 TFlops of computational power, and more than 3 Petabytes of disk storage.

  • richardmitnick 12:27 pm on February 7, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Rare and Revealing - Radiocarbon in Service of Paleoceanography", , As a cosmogenic nuclide radiocarbon can provide insights into cosmic radiation fluxes and past variability in solar activity and/or the Earth’s magnetic field., Carbon capture and storage; Ecology, , , Radiocarbon can serve as a useful dating tool in paleoceanography allowing dates for carbon-bearing marine sedimentary components to 50000 years., Radiocarbon is a rare but powerful isotope of carbon that is used widely as a dating tool and as an environmental tracer., Radiocarbon is widely used in the biogeosciences both as a carbon cycle tracer and as a dating tool., While radiocarbon is best known as a dating tool this rare isotope can also provide unique and wide-ranging insights into the cycling of carbon in the Earth system.   

    From “Eos” : “Rare and Revealing – Radiocarbon in Service of Paleoceanography” 

    Eos news bloc

    From “Eos”



    Luke C. Skinner
    Edouard Bard

    While radiocarbon is best known as a dating tool this rare isotope can also provide unique and wide-ranging insights into the cycling of carbon in the Earth system.

    A sample of about 100 hand-picked foraminifera from a sediment core recovered from the Southern Ocean being inspected under the microscope prior to cleaning and preparation for radiocarbon dating. Credit: Luke C. Skinner.

    Radiocarbon is a rare but powerful isotope of carbon that is used widely as a dating tool and as an environmental tracer. A recent study in Reviews of Geophysics [below] explores the use of radiocarbon in the field of paleoceanography. We asked the authors to give an overview of how radiocarbon is used, what recent advances have been made possible by radiocarbon, and what questions remain.

    What is radiocarbon and how is it used in the biogeosciences?

    Radiocarbon is a carbon isotope with mass 14 that is produced in the atmosphere due to cosmic radiation striking nitrogen atoms. Radiocarbon is rare and unstable; it accounts for only about 1.2 x 10^-10 percent of carbon atoms, and undergoes radioactive decay with a half-life of about 5,700 years. The total amount of radiocarbon in the Earth system depends primarily on the rate at which it is produced, which can vary due to changes in the flux of cosmic radiation into the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Radiocarbon is widely used in the biogeosciences both as a carbon cycle tracer and as a dating tool. The utility of radiocarbon derives primarily from the way it is produced in the atmosphere, and its radioactive decay. The most widely known application of radiocarbon is for ‘radiocarbon dating’, where the amount by which the radiocarbon concentration of an object, measured today in the laboratory, has decreased relative to the concentration it had when it formed. This tells us the amount of ‘decay time’ experienced by the object, and therefore its age. However, because it participates in the carbon cycle, radiocarbon can also serve as an environmental ‘tracer’ that provides a measure of carbon residence times and/or carbon exchange between carbon bearing reservoirs in the Earth system. Furthermore, as a cosmogenic nuclide, radiocarbon can also provide insights into cosmic radiation fluxes and therefore past variability in solar activity and/or the Earth’s magnetic field strength.

    Figure 1
    Illustration of key elements of the marine radiocarbon cycle (panel A), including processes operating at the air-sea interface (panel B) and the sediment-seawater interface (panel C). Radiocarbon is produced in the atmosphere (e.g. with a ‘fraction modern’ radiocarbon activity, Fm ~ 1), after which it begins to decay away with a constant half-life while being cycled through the carbon cycle. The average timescale for exchange between a carbon bearing reservoir and the atmosphere will determine the extent of its isotopic enrichment relative to the atmosphere (e.g. yielding marine Fm ~ 0.82-0.95, and ‘radiocarbon-dead’ lithosphere Fm ~ 0). Credit: Skinner and Bard [2022].

    How does radiocarbon provide a “clock” for carbon movement in the environment?

    Radiocarbon atoms are essentially atmospherically ‘tagged’ carbon atoms with a finite lifetime of about 8,267 years on average. The radiocarbon concentration (14C/C ratio) of a given Earth system reservoir, e.g. the ocean, will depend on how long it takes for its carbon pool to be exchanged (directly or indirectly) with the atmosphere, on average. For example, an atom of carbon resides in the deep ocean far longer than it does in the surface ocean, before it is replaced by a ‘new’ carbon atom from the atmosphere. Accordingly, the radiocarbon concentration of the deep ocean is about 17% less than that of the surface ocean, which represents roughly 1,500 years of additional radiocarbon decay in the deep ocean. All else being equal, a slower turnover of the ocean’s carbon pool would cause its radiocarbon concentration to decrease further, relative to the surface ocean and atmosphere.

    Similar principles can be used to study the residence times of other carbon pools, such as particulate organic matter in sediments, or dissolved organic matter in seawater, etc. However, in all cases, the cycling of radiocarbon is rarely completely straightforward: it can provide unique insights on timescales for carbon cycling and exchange, but it must be treated carefully.

    How is radiocarbon used in numerical models?

    Numerical models, of varying complexity, can make use of radiocarbon as an additional tracer, implemented alongside stable carbon, and permitting additional insights into the timescales and processes of carbon exchange in model simulations. This can be useful for tracking impacts, such as gas-exchange or ocean transports on carbon cycling. It can also be extremely useful for comparing model outputs with observations, though only for about the last 50,000 years.

    Radiocarbon is a relatively long-lived isotope (average lifetime of about 8,223 years), which means that it can be difficult to implement in more complex numerical models where the computational cost of simulating several thousands of years (as needed for the radiocarbon cycle to reach an equilibrium state) may be excessive. However, new methods are helping to circumvent these challenges, such that the application of radiocarbon as a tracer in more complex and comprehensive Earth system models is likely to expand.

    Why is radiocarbon such a powerful tool in the field of paleoceanography?

    In the right circumstances, radiocarbon can serve as a uniquely useful dating tool in paleoceanography, allowing accurate dates for carbon-bearing marine sedimentary components back to about 50,000 years. For this application, the principal challenge is knowing how to ‘calibrate’ a calculated radiocarbon age, so as to correct for past changes in the radiocarbon production rate and past changes in radiocarbon cycling within the Earth system. Currently, we only possess a good calibration curve for the atmosphere, and the principal challenge for marine radiocarbon dating arises from the need to correct for ocean-atmosphere radiocarbon offsets, or so-called ‘marine reservoir age’ offsets.

    An alternative application of marine radiocarbon measurements turns this situation on its head, and uses independent dating constraints to investigate past changes in radiocarbon production and cycling instead. This can provide uniquely useful insights into past changes in the carbon cycle, solar activity, or the Earth’s magnetic field strength.

    Figure 5
    (A) Illustration of the contributions to the radiocarbon activity of a parcel of seawater from: 1) air-sea gas exchange effects; 2) transit time effects (e.g. τ 1, τ 2, …τ n); and 3) mixing effects, due to the fractional contribution (e.g. f1, f2, …fn) of each surface source region and its associated air-sea gas exchange and transit time impacts. Particulate fluxes make a minor addition of ‘young’ carbon to the ocean interior (dotted green arrow). (B) Illustration of three ‘metrics’ used for marine radiocarbon activity in paleoceanography: 1) the benthic-planktonic radiocarbon age offset (B-P, measured in radiocarbon years); 2) the benthic-atmospheric radiocarbon age offset (B-Atm, measured in radiocarbon years); the planktonic-atmospheric radiocarbon age offset (R, or the ‘reservoir age offset’, measured in radiocarbon years); and 3) the ‘projection age’ (tproj, measured in calendar years), which represents a hypothetical transit time from a single putative surface water source region (S) to the location in the ocean interior. Credit: Skinner and Bard [2022].

    What have been some exciting recent developments or discoveries?

    Radiocarbon has been used to investigate marine carbon cycle changes for decades, building to a large extent on the pioneering work of Wally Broecker. One exciting development, due to the collective efforts of many people over many years, is the recent emergence of a reasonably clear picture of how the distribution of radiocarbon in the ocean interior has evolved over the last 25,000 years in association with global and regional climate changes. The compiled data show that:

    the ocean’s radiocarbon concentration was on average lower at the Last Glacial Maximum than for the pre-industrial, by the equivalent of several hundred years of radiocarbon decay;
    the ‘rejuvenation’ of the ocean interior occurred in a series of steps that were linked with regional climate anomalies (i.e. the so-called ‘bipolar seesaw’), which involved the alternating predominance of the three key high-latitude regions of ocean-atmosphere heat and carbon exchange (North Atlantic, Southern Ocean and North Pacific);
    the bulk of the reconstructed changes in ocean-atmosphere radiocarbon age offsets for the deep ocean appear to have occurred prior to the approximate mid-point of the last deglaciation (about 15,000 years ago).

    The picture of deglacial radiocarbon cycling that has now come into focus underlines the importance of the Southern Ocean and North Pacific as key regulators of ocean-atmosphere carbon/radiocarbon exchange, which operate in coordination with perturbations to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). At the same time, the collected data raise new questions regarding the mechanistic link between deep ocean ‘ventilation’ and atmospheric CO2. To some extent, the latter may depend on a more explicit characterization of the link between ocean ‘ventilation’ (as defined above) and evolving ocean-atmosphere radiocarbon disequilibrium.

    Figure 14
    ‘Ventilation seesaws’ between the North Atlantic (plot A), and the intermediate depth North Pacific (plot B), and the Southern Ocean (plot C). In plots A and C, the red lines and orange shaded regions are for compiled data from the shallow ocean (less than 2 kilometers), while the solid blue lines and shaded areas are for compiled data from the deep ocean (greater than 2 kilometers). In Plot B, the solid blue line and shaded interval are for compiled data from the intermediate ocean (0.9-2 kilometers), and are compared to the rate of change of atmospheric CO2, as recorded in Antarctic ice-cores (light blue and dashed lines). Vertical shaded bars indicate the approximate timing of Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS1) and the Younger Dryas (YD); light red shaded bar indicates the approximate timing of the Bølling-Allerød (B-A). Credit: Skinner and Bard [2022].

    What are some of the unresolved questions where additional research, data, or modeling are needed?

    One interesting question that has emerged, in light of a handful of puzzling radiocarbon datasets, relates to the significance of sedimentary and/or volcanic/metamorphic carbon fluxes to the deep ocean, and how these may have varied on millennial or glacial-interglacial timescales to affect the radiocarbon cycle. While the balance of evidence appears to rule out an overwhelming input of ‘geological’ carbon to the ocean across the last deglaciation, the question remains an important one to fully clarify and quantify.

    Another exciting and unresolved question bears on the role of ocean ‘ventilation’ (i.e. the combined effects of air-sea gas exchange and overturning) in centennial jumps in atmospheric CO2, which have only recently been identified in new high-resolution ice-core records. Tantalizing, if highly tentative, radiocarbon evidence suggests a role for ocean ventilation in these abrupt CO2 jumps, but the picture remains far from clear.

    Further, one of the main impediments to accurate radiocarbon dating in paleoceanography currently derives from uncertainty in the ‘marine reservoir age’ corrections that should be applied to marine radiocarbon dates prior to calibration using the only available (atmospheric) calibration curve. A key area for future work will be to improve our understanding of temporal and spatial marine reservoir age variability in the past. Due to the complexity of the problem, this emerges as a ‘grand challenge’ that amounts to understanding the evolving closure of the global radiocarbon cycle across the last glacial cycle.

    Reviews of Geophysics

    See the full article here .

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    “Eos” is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

  • richardmitnick 3:14 pm on February 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "To decarbonize the chemical industry electrify it", , As the world races to find pathways to decarbonization the chemical industry has been largely untouched., Carbon capture and storage; Ecology, , In 2019 the industrial sector as a whole was responsible for 24 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions., The chemical industry is the world’s largest industrial energy consumer and the third-largest source of industrial emissions.,   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “To decarbonize the chemical industry, electrify it” 

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Kelley Travers | MIT Energy Initiative

    Electrification powered by low-carbon sources should be considered more broadly as a viable decarbonization pathway for the chemical industry, argue researchers. Photo: David Arrowsmith/Unsplash.

    The chemical industry is the world’s largest industrial energy consumer and the third-largest source of industrial emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. In 2019 the industrial sector as a whole was responsible for 24 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. And yet, as the world races to find pathways to decarbonization the chemical industry has been largely untouched.

    “When it comes to climate action and dealing with the emissions that come from the chemical sector, the slow pace of progress is partly technical and partly driven by the hesitation on behalf of policymakers to overly impact the economic competitiveness of the sector,” says Dharik Mallapragada, a principal research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative.

    With so many of the items we interact with in our daily lives — from soap to baking soda to fertilizer — deriving from products of the chemical industry, the sector has become a major source of economic activity and employment for many nations, including the United States and China. But as the global demand for chemical products continues to grow, so do the industry’s emissions.

    New sustainable chemical production methods need to be developed and deployed and current emission-intensive chemical production technologies need to be reconsidered, urge the authors of a new paper published in Joule [below].

    Graphical abstract from the science paper.

    Researchers from DC-MUSE, a multi-institution research initiative, argue that electrification powered by low-carbon sources should be viewed more broadly as a viable decarbonization pathway for the chemical industry. In this paper, they shine a light on different potential methods to do just that.

    “Generally, the perception is that electrification can play a role in this sector — in a very narrow sense — in that it can replace fossil fuel combustion by providing the heat that the combustion is providing,” says Mallapragada, a member of DC-MUSE. “What we argue is that electrification could be much more than that.”

    The researchers outline four technological pathways — ranging from more mature, near-term options to less technologically mature options in need of research investment — and present the opportunities and challenges associated with each.

    The first two pathways directly replace fossil fuel-produced heat (which facilitates the reactions inherent in chemical production) with electricity or electrochemically generated hydrogen. The researchers suggest that both options could be deployed now and potentially be used to retrofit existing facilities. Electrolytic hydrogen is also highlighted as an opportunity to replace fossil fuel-produced hydrogen (a process that emits carbon dioxide) as a critical chemical feedstock. In 2020, fossil-based hydrogen supplied nearly all hydrogen demand (90 megatons) in the chemical and refining industries — hydrogen’s largest consumers.

    The researchers note that increasing the role of electricity in decarbonizing the chemical industry will directly affect the decarbonization of the power grid. They stress that to successfully implement these technologies, their operation must coordinate with the power grid in a mutually beneficial manner to avoid overburdening it. “If we’re going to be serious about decarbonizing the sector and relying on electricity for that, we have to be creative in how we use it,” says Mallapragada. “Otherwise we run the risk of having addressed one problem, while creating a massive problem for the grid in the process.”

    Electrified processes have the potential to be much more flexible than conventional fossil fuel-driven processes. This can reduce the cost of chemical production by allowing producers to shift electricity consumption to times when the cost of electricity is low. “Process flexibility is particularly impactful during stressed power grid conditions and can help better accommodate renewable generation resources, which are intermittent and are often poorly correlated with daily power grid cycles,” says Yury Dvorkin, an associate research professor at the Johns Hopkins Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute. “It’s beneficial for potential adopters because it can help them avoid consuming electricity during high-price periods.”

    Dvorkin adds that some intermediate energy carriers, such as hydrogen, can potentially be used as highly efficient energy storage for day-to-day operations and as long-term energy storage. This would help support the power grid during extreme events when traditional and renewable generators may be unavailable. “The application of long-duration storage is of particular interest as this is a key enabler of a low-emissions society, yet not widespread beyond pumped hydro units,” he says. “However, as we envision electrified chemical manufacturing, it is important to ensure that the supplied electricity is sourced from low-emission generators to prevent emissions leakages from the chemical to power sector.”

    The next two pathways introduced — utilizing electrochemistry and plasma — are less technologically mature but have the potential to replace energy- and carbon-intensive thermochemical processes currently used in the industry. By adopting electrochemical processes or plasma-driven reactions instead, chemical transformations can occur at lower temperatures and pressures, potentially enhancing efficiency. “These reaction pathways also have the potential to enable more flexible, grid-responsive plants and the deployment of modular manufacturing plants that leverage distributed chemical feedstocks such as biomass waste — further enhancing sustainability in chemical manufacturing,” says Miguel Modestino, the director of the Sustainable Engineering Initiative at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering.

    A large barrier to deep decarbonization of chemical manufacturing relates to its complex, multi-product nature. But, according to the researchers, each of these electricity-driven pathways supports chemical industry decarbonization for various feedstock choices and end-of-life disposal decisions. Each should be evaluated in comprehensive techno-economic and environmental life cycle assessments to weigh trade-offs and establish suitable cost and performance metrics.

    Regardless of the pathway chosen, the researchers stress the need for active research and development and deployment of these technologies. They also emphasize the importance of workforce training and development running in parallel to technology development. As André Taylor, the director of DC-MUSE, explains, “There is a healthy skepticism in the industry regarding electrification and adoption of these technologies, as it involves processing chemicals in a new way.” The workforce at different levels of the industry hasn’t necessarily been exposed to ideas related to the grid, electrochemistry, or plasma. The researchers say that workforce training at all levels will help build greater confidence in these different solutions and support customer-driven industry adoption.

    “There’s no silver bullet, which is kind of the standard line with all climate change solutions,” says Mallapragada. “Each option has pros and cons, as well as unique advantages. But being aware of the portfolio of options in which you can use electricity allows us to have a better chance of success and of reducing emissions — and doing so in a way that supports grid decarbonization.”


    This work was supported, in part, by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    MIT Campus

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

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).


    The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

    From The Kavli Institute For Astrophysics and Space Research

    MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science is a research institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    The MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Science

    The MIT Media Lab

    The MIT School of Engineering

    The MIT Sloan School of Management


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

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

    Foundation and vision

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

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

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

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

    Early developments

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

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

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

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

    Curricular reforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Recent history

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

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

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

  • richardmitnick 11:32 am on February 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What Is Blue Carbon and How Can It Help Fight Climate Change?", , Blue carbon is simply the term for carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems., Carbon capture and storage; Ecology, Carbon from ocean and coastal ecosystems, , ,   

    From The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory At Columbia University: “What Is Blue Carbon and How Can It Help Fight Climate Change?” 


    From The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory


    The Earth Institute


    Columbia U bloc

    Columbia University

    Olga Rukovets

    Researchers at Columbia Climate School discuss the benefits and challenges of working with carbon from ocean and coastal ecosystems.

    Blue carbon is becoming an increasingly popular term, but what exactly does it mean? The answer may vary slightly depending on who you ask. But broadly speaking, according to the National Ocean Service, “blue carbon is simply the term for carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems.”

    So why is it important? And what role can it play in addressing climate change? To find out, we talked to Columbia Climate School researchers Dorothy Peteet, Ajit Subramaniam, and Romany Webb about just some of the opportunities and challenges to working with carbon from ocean and coastal ecosystems.

    Protecting and Leveraging Blue Carbon

    Scientists are exploring blue carbon in two main ways. First, they want to measure and preserve the carbon that’s already stored in the oceans and coastal wetlands, such as marshes and mangrove forests. Second, they want to know how we might leverage these ecosystems to mitigate climate change.

    Dorothy Peteet, a senior research scientist at NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, is trying to solve the first riddle. She and her colleagues at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are measuring the carbon content in the sediments of local marshes.

    “Salt marshes store about 50 times more carbon than terrestrial forests, despite their relatively small area,” she said. “This carbon is at risk with sea level rise, and will contribute to atmospheric greenhouse gas heating if the marshes are flooded.”

    Looking above the sediments, Subramaniam, a research professor and oceanographer at Columbia Climate School’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, focuses on the organisms living in these ecosystems and their ability to store carbon. “There is a lot of carbon stored in the stocks, seagrasses, and microalgae in the ocean and growing along the coast. So you want to make sure that any coastal development or building or human activities, such as shrimp farming or aquaculture, don’t end up releasing this carbon,” he said.

    Studies [Nature Communications (below)] have shown that wetlands store [Science (below)] between 20 and 30% of the world’s carbon, which is particularly impressive compared with the relatively small land surface they cover.

    Carbon storage in biogeomorphic wetlands.
    Organic carbon (A) stocks, (B) densities, and (C) sequestration rates in the world’s major carbon-storing ecosystems. Oceans hold the largest stock, peatlands (boreal, temperate, and tropical aggregated) store the largest amount per unit area, and coastal ecosystems (mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrasses aggregated) support the highest sequestration rates. (D and E) Biogeomorphic feedbacks, indicated with arrows, can be classified as productivity stimulating or decomposition limiting. Productivity-stimulating feedbacks increase resource availability and thus stimulate vegetation growth and organic matter production. Although production is lower in wetlands with decomposition-limiting feedbacks, decomposition is more strongly limited, resulting in net accumulation of organic matter. (D) In fens, organic matter accumulation from vascular plants is amplified by productivity-stimulating feedbacks. Once the peat rises above the groundwater and is large enough to remain waterlogged by retaining rainwater, the resulting bog maintains being waterlogged and acidic, resulting in strong decomposition-limiting feedbacks. (E) Vegetated coastal ecosystems generate productivity-stimulating feedbacks that enhance local production and trapping of external organic matter.

    Figure 1: Map of the distribution of wetland probability sites.
    Sites (black points) were sampled as part of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 National Wetland Condition Assessment (NWCA) and were analysed by five regions, Tidal Saline (blue area), Coastal Plains (green area), Eastern Mountains and Upper Midwest (purple area), Interior Plains (orange area) and West (red area).

    Figure 2: Mean soil organic carbon density to a depth of 120 cm by National Wetland Condition Assessment Wetland Type for wetlands of the conterminous United States.
    Carbon densities are reported as tC ha−1. National Wetland Condition Assessment (NWCA) Wetland Types include estuarine emergent (EH), estuarine woody (EW), palustrine, riverine and lacustrine emergent (PRL-EM), palustrine, riverine and lacustrine shrub (PRL-SS), palustrine, riverine and lacustrine forested (PRL-FO), palustrine, riverine and lacustrine farmed (PRL-f), palustrine, riverine and lacustrine unconsolidated bottom and aquatic bed (PRL-UBAB). The grey hatch within the bars represents the top 10 cm of the soil profile (within the 0–30 cm depth increment), followed by progressively lighter shading to represent 0–30, 30–60, 60–90 and 90–120 cm soil depths from the surface. Error bars (both white and black) represent s.e.m. Numerical values for this figure are presented in Supplementary Table 5 [in the science paper].

    Figure 3: Mean soil organic carbon density to a depth of 120 cm for different subpopulations.
    Carbon densities (tC ha−1) are shown for (a) the nation and in five regions, (b) tidal saline wetlands (blue) and freshwater inland (teal) wetlands and (c) least (green), intermediately (yellow) and most disturbed (red) wetlands. Wetland geographic regions include Tidal Saline (TS; coastal and estuarine), Coastal Plains (CPL), Eastern Mountains and Upper Midwest (EMU), Interior Plains (IPL) and West (W). The grey hatch within the bars represents the top 10 cm of the soil profile (within the 0–30 cm depth increment), followed by progressively lighter shading to represent 0–30, 30–60, 60–90 and 90–120 cm soil depths from the surface. Note the data shown in b,c are calculated using the data shown in a. For 0–10, 0–30, 30–60, 60–90 and 90–120 cm, respectively, the number of samples (n) for each subpopulation (identified in subscript after the n) were as follows: nnational=856, 853, 785, 590 and 435, nts=282, 282, 270, 191 and 127, ncpl=212, 211, 181, 139 and 110, nemu=137, 135, 125, 99 and 71, nipl=109, 109, 97, 71 and 57 and nw=116, 116, 112, 90 and 70. For tidal saline wetlands, n=282, 282, 270, 191 and 127 and for freshwater inland wetlands, n=574, 571, 515, 399 and 308, for 0–10, 0–30, 30–60, 60–90 and 90–120 cm, respectively. nleast disturbed=173, 172, 164, 105 and 69, nintermediately disturbed=404, 404, 363, 278 and 193 and nmost disturbed=279, 277, 258, 207 and 173 for 0–10, 0–30, 30–60, 60–90 and 90–120 cm, respectively. Error bars (both white and black) represent s.e.m. Numerical values for this figure are presented in Supplementary Table 5 [in the science paper].

    Protecting the wetlands with captured carbon is vital, but we can’t stop there, Subramaniam continued, noting that the arguably more important way we think of blue carbon is with the goal of drawing carbon out of the atmosphere.

    “As you go offshore, many of the proposed plans to remove carbon from the atmosphere start with growing kelp—which draws down carbon dioxide during photosynthesis—and then harvesting it. And here again, you have divergent pathways you can take: You can consume or repurpose the kelp. Or you can sink and bury it in a durable way,” he said.

    Subramaniam believes repurposing kelp—in the form of food or biofuel—is not a sufficient approach to address the urgency of climate change, since the carbon would return to the atmosphere once the kelp is consumed or burned. “If you think of green biodiesel, it’s great and one more way to bend the emissions curve downward. But it’s not going to actually reduce the rate of emission or the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.” This is a first step, but “replacing diesel with biodiesel” can’t be the end goal, he said.

    The other option, then, is to sink the kelp deep in the ocean for at least 100 years so that the carbon captured by photosynthesis does not go back into circulation in the atmosphere, Subramaniam said. Ideally, over the course of that century, you’ve also bought scientists and engineers time to come up with new and better technologies.

    “We already have models that help us figure out how deep we need to sink the carbon and for how long it’ll stay there. But when you do this, you’re impacting a different ecosystem, which needs to be considered, too,” he said.

    ‘A Nature-Based Solution’

    For one of his current projects, Subramaniam is proposing what he calls “a nature-based solution” for carbon removal that takes Sargassum macroalgae and sinks it down to 2,000 meters below the ocean’s surface. Sargassum is a pelagic macroalgae, which means it spends its entire lifecycle on the surface of the ocean and is visible to the eye. “It’s never attached to land and doesn’t come onshore unless it’s washed up and beached.”

    Close up view of Sargassum seaweed on Crane Beach, Barbados. Photo: Clump via Creative Commons.

    While this macroalgae has been recognized for centuries, in just over the last 10 or 20 years, there’s a new population growing much closer to the equator, Subramaniam said. “They call it the ‘Great Sargassum Belt,’ essentially extending from the West African coast all the way to the Mexican coast through the Gulf of Mexico in the Caribbean. It’s a major nuisance.”

    This kelp is piling up on beaches in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean and devastating their economy, which is largely dependent on tourism, he added. “How do you get rid of it? You can’t bury it. You can’t take it off the beaches and put it anywhere on land because the islands are too small.”

    Instead, Subramaniam and his colleagues are hoping to use advanced technology including remote sensing, artificial intelligence, and marine robotics “to drive a series of platforms that are pulling nets behind them about 15 or 20 miles offshore to capture the Sargassum before it comes to the beach.”

    Once a net is full of this macroalgae, it is built to break, he explained, and when this happens, there is a fastener on the net designed to close it off. The fastener has a weight attached, which will then sink this Sargassum down to 2,000 meters, meaning “we’d be taking this carbon out of circulation completely,” he said.

    “There are about 1 million metric tons of Carbon in this ‘new’ Sargassum population,” Subramaniam said. As a conservative estimate, he believes they can sink at least 10% of this carbon using the proposed technology, or about 100,000 metric tons a year. “For context, the Orca facility in Iceland, the largest carbon capture plant, has the capacity to pull 4000 metric tons per year from the atmosphere.”

    Of course, one of the important points to consider when proposing a method like this one is the carbon life-cycle analysis. “You can’t expend 100 kilograms of carbon to sink 10 kilograms of carbon, for example. We need to make sure the amount of carbon we expend in sinking it is not more than the carbon we sink,” he said. They hope the use of remote sensing and robotic and artificial intelligence will maximize efficiency.

    Subramaniam noted that he is personally “deeply suspicious of geoengineering,” but because the Sargassum population in question is new—and thus likely already connected to human activity and climate change—he feels comfortable with its removal.

    He is also working with Webb, associate research scholar at Columbia Law School and deputy director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, to look into the legal aspects of this process, since it falls within gray areas of existing environmental laws.

    Legal and Social Considerations


    Romany Webb researches legal issues associated with the development and deployment of negative emissions technologies on land and in the ocean.

    “I think there are a lot of unanswered scientific questions about the role of blue carbon in mitigating climate change,” said Webb, who spends a lot of her time considering the techniques that remove and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and the frameworks meant to ensure they occur in a safe and responsible way.

    But along with the scientific questions, there are also social and governance issues that could affect whether we can make effective use of any proposed strategies, she added. “We may have social or public opposition to projects because they’re seen as being unnatural or as interfering with the ocean ecosystem, which many view as the last untouched part of the Earth, or because they’re seen as affecting other ocean-based activities. Some groups have also expressed concern that, because projects would take place in the ocean, which is part of the global commons, they may be subject to limited oversight and control by national governments.”

    While a large body of international law applies to ocean-based activities, there is no comprehensive international legal framework that deals specifically with ocean carbon removal techniques, she said, leading to a lot of uncertainty. For example, ocean fertilization and ocean alkalinity enhancement, where you’re adding substances to the water, could be viewed as a form of ocean dumping, which has an established international legal framework.

    “That framework, however, was developed to address things like dumping oil into oceans,” she said. Plus, as Subramaniam points out for his project, “in this case you’re taking what’s already in the ocean and moving it to a different place.”

    Another challenge, Webb added, is that the closer you get to shore, the more likely there are to be domestic laws, creating potentially overlapping frameworks. “In the U.S. specifically, domestic laws can include multiple layers of government because you might have federal, state, and even local laws. So there’s a lot of complexity and uncertainty about how different activities will be treated and how they will fit into existing frameworks that were not really developed for carbon removal.”

    Next Steps

    Webb and her colleagues at the Sabin Center are currently working on a book that examines these existing international and national legal frameworks, and how they apply to different ocean-based carbon removal activities. In addition to studying U.S. laws, they are also working with legal academics from six other countries (China, Canada, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, and the U.K.). The book—titled Ocean Carbon Dioxide Removal for Climate Mitigation: The Legal Framework—will be published this spring.

    At the same time, Webb and her colleagues at the Sabin Center are also writing a set of model laws for ocean carbon dioxide removal projects. “We want to draft model legislation that could be enacted by Congress to create a comprehensive legal framework specific for ocean carbon dioxide removal research,” she said. The areas covered by this document would include: the scope of federal jurisdiction over ocean carbon dioxide removal projects, whether responsibility to oversee this research is entirely federal or if the states will have a role to play, which agencies should issue permissions and what factors they will need to consider in doing so, as well as what the environmental review and public consultation process should look like for research projects.

    “We expect to publish a draft of the model legislation early in 2023,” Webb said.

    Through initiatives like these, experts hope to bring more clarity to the growing field of blue carbon research—for scientists, lawmakers, and the general public.

    Nature Communications
    Science 2022

    See the full article here .

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory is the scientific research center of the Columbia Climate School, and a unit of The Earth Institute at Columbia University.

    It focuses on climate and earth sciences and is located on a 189-acre (64 ha) campus in Palisades, New York, 18 miles (29 km) north of Manhattan on the Hudson River.

    The Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory was established in 1949 as the Lamont Geological Observatory on the weekend estate of Thomas W. and Florence Haskell Corliss Lamont, which was donated to the university for that purpose. The Observatory’s founder and first director was Maurice “Doc” Ewing, a seismologist who is credited with advancing efforts to study the solid Earth, particularly in areas related to using sound waves to image rock and sediments beneath the ocean floor. He was also the first to collect sediment core samples from the bottom of the ocean, a common practice today that helps scientists study changes in the planet’s climate and the ocean’s thermohaline circulation.

    In 1969, the Observatory was renamed Lamont–Doherty in honor of a major gift from the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation; in 1993, it was renamed the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory in recognition of its expertise in the broad range of Earth sciences. Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory is Columbia University’s Earth sciences research center and is a core component of the Earth Institute, a collection of academic and research units within the university that together address complex environmental issues facing the planet and its inhabitants, with particular focus on advancing scientific research to support sustainable development and the needs of the world’s poor.

    The Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University is one of the world’s leading research centers developing fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution and future of the natural world. More than 300 research scientists and students study the planet from its deepest interior to the outer reaches of its atmosphere, on every continent and in every ocean. From global climate change to earthquakes, volcanoes, nonrenewable resources, environmental hazards and beyond, Observatory scientists provide a rational basis for the difficult choices facing humankind in the planet’s stewardship.

    To support its research and the work of the broader scientific community, Lamont–Doherty operates the 235-foot (72 m) research vessel, the R/V Marcus Langseth, which is equipped to undertake a wide range of geological, seismological, oceanographic and biological studies.

    The Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory R/V Marcus Langseth.

    Lamont–Doherty also houses the world’s largest collection of deep-sea and ocean-sediment cores as well as many specialized research laboratories.

    Columbia U Campus
    Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.

    University Mission Statement

    Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

    Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. Established in 1754 on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. Columbia is ranked among the top universities in the world by major education publications.

    Columbia was established as King’s College by royal charter from King George II of Great Britain in reaction to the founding of Princeton College. It was renamed Columbia College in 1784 following the American Revolution, and in 1787 was placed under a private board of trustees headed by former students Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. In 1896, the campus was moved to its current location in Morningside Heights and renamed Columbia University.

    Columbia scientists and scholars have played an important role in scientific breakthroughs including brain-computer interface; the laser and maser; nuclear magnetic resonance; the first nuclear pile; the first nuclear fission reaction in the Americas; the first evidence for plate tectonics and continental drift; and much of the initial research and planning for the Manhattan Project during World War II. Columbia is organized into twenty schools, including four undergraduate schools and 15 graduate schools. The university’s research efforts include the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and accelerator laboratories with major technology firms such as IBM. Columbia is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and was the first school in the United States to grant the M.D. degree. With over 14 million volumes, Columbia University Library is the third largest private research library in the United States.

    The university’s endowment stands at $11.26 billion in 2020, among the largest of any academic institution. As of October 2020, Columbia’s alumni, faculty, and staff have included: five Founding Fathers of the United States—among them a co-author of the United States Constitution and a co-author of the Declaration of Independence; three U.S. presidents; 29 foreign heads of state; ten justices of the United States Supreme Court, one of whom currently serves; 96 Nobel laureates; five Fields Medalists; 122 National Academy of Sciences members; 53 living billionaires; eleven Olympic medalists; 33 Academy Award winners; and 125 Pulitzer Prize recipients.

  • richardmitnick 2:56 pm on January 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Electrolyzers": Electrons combine with the reactants at the surface of a solid catalyst., "Researchers say new catalyst design could make better use of captured carbon", Carbon capture and storage; Ecology, Improving the practicality of an electrochemical process that converts captured carbon dioxide into multi-carbon molecules – some of the key building blocks of the chemical industry., One way to upgrade carbon involves electrochemistry – electricity used to drive forward a desired chemical reaction with "electrolyzers"., , , There is an opportunity to use CO2 to replace core chemical feedstocks on which the modern world relies., We can increase the economic incentive to capture rather than emit CO2., We need alternative routes to everyday products that do not require fossil fuel inputs.   

    From The Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering At The University of Toronto (CA): “Researchers say new catalyst design could make better use of captured carbon” 

    From The Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering


    The University of Toronto (CA)

    Tyler Irving

    Post-doctoral researcher Adnan Ozden holds up a sample of the new catalyst, which improves the efficiency of reactions that convert captured CO2 into valuable products such as ethanol and ethylene (photo by Aaron Demeter)

    A new catalyst design created by researchers at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering could significantly improve the practicality of an electrochemical process that converts captured carbon dioxide into multi-carbon molecules – some of the key building blocks of the chemical industry.

    “We need alternative routes to everyday products that do not require fossil fuel inputs,” says David Sinton, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and senior author on a new paper published in Nature Energy [below].

    “With recent advances in carbon capture, there is an opportunity to use CO2 to replace core chemical feedstocks on which the modern world relies. By developing cost-effective ways to upgrade this carbon into products we already need, we can increase the economic incentive to capture, rather than emit, CO2.”

    One way to upgrade carbon involves electrochemistry – electricity used to drive forward a desired chemical reaction. The conversion is carried out in devices known as “electrolyzers”, where electrons combine with the reactants at the surface of a solid catalyst.

    The team has a proven track record of successfully developing innovative ways to improve the efficiency of electrochemical CO2 conversion.

    In their latest published work, the researchers focused on a variant of the process known as “cascade CO2 reduction.” In this two-step process, CO2 is first dissolved in a liquid electrolyte and then passed through an electrolyzer, where it reacts with electrons to form carbon monoxide (CO).

    The CO is then passed through a second electrolyzer where it is converted into two-carbon products such as ethanol, which is commonly used as fuel, and ethylene, which is a precursor to many types of plastics as well as other consumer goods.

    It is at this second step where the team found inefficiencies they believed could be overcome. The challenges were related to selectivity, which is the ability to maximize production of the target molecules by reducing the formation of undesirable side products.

    “One of the key issues is the poor selectivity under low reactant availability,” says post-doctoral researcher Adnan Ozden, one of four lead authors on the new paper.

    “This, in turn, leads to a trade-off between the energy efficiency – meaning how efficiently we use the electrons we pump into the system – versus the carbon efficiency, which is a measure of how efficiently we use CO2 and CO.”

    “There are ways to achieve high energy efficiency, and there are ways to achieve high carbon efficiency, but they are usually approached separately,” says former post-doctoral researcher Jun Li, another of the lead authors, who is now an associate professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

    “Achieving both in a single-operation mode is the key.”

    In this schematic of the catalyst design, the large spheres represent copper nanoparticles, which are covered in a honeycomb-like mesh that represents the covalent organic framework. The blue spheres are positively charged cations and the clear ones are negatively charged anions. The coloured molecules on the surface represent the carbon monoxide reactant (CO) and the reaction product, ethylene (Image courtesy of Alex Tokarev, Kate Zvorykina from Ella Maru studio)

    The team investigated the reasons for this trade-off and found that it originates from excessive accumulation of the positively charged ions, known as cations, on the catalyst surface, as well as the undesirable migration of the negatively charged ions, known as anions, away from the catalyst surface.

    To overcome this challenge, they took inspiration from the design of supercapacitors, another electrochemical system where the transport of ions is critical. They added a porous material, known as a covalent organic framework, onto the surface of the catalyst, which enabled them to control the transport of cations and anions in the local reaction environment.

    “With this modification, we obtained a highly porous, highly hydrophobic catalyst layer,” says Li.

    “In this design, the covalent organic framework interacts with the cations to limit their diffusion to the active sites. The covalent organic framework also confines the locally produced anions due to its high hydrophobicity.”

    Using the new catalyst design, the team built an electrolyzer that converts CO into two-carbon products with 95 per cent carbon efficiency, while also keeping energy efficiency relatively high at 40 per cent.

    “When you look at what has been achieved so far in the field, the various approaches have tended to focus either on getting really high energy efficiency, or really high carbon efficiency,” says Ozden. “Our new design shows that it’s possible to break this trade-off.”

    There is still more work to be done. For example, while the prototype device maintained its performance for more than 200 hours, it will need to last even longer if it’s to be used industrially. Still, the new strategy shows potential in terms of its ability to improve the value proposition of upgrading captured carbon.

    “If this process is going to be adopted commercially, we need to be able to show that we can accomplish the conversion in a way that’s scalable and cost-effective enough to make economic sense,” says Sinton. “I think our approach demonstrates that this is a goal within reach.”

    Nature Energy

    See the full article here .

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering is an academic division of the University of Toronto devoted to study and research in engineering. Founded in 1873 as the School of Practical Science, it is still known today by the longtime nickname of Skule. The faculty is based primarily across 16 buildings on the southern side of the university campus in Downtown Toronto, in addition to operating the Institute for Aerospace Studies facility. The faculty administers undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs, as well as a dual-degree program with the Rotman School of Management.


    Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry (Chem)
    Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering (Civ/Min)
    The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)
    Department of Materials Science & Engineering (MSE)
    Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (MIE)


    Division of Engineering Science (EngSci)
    Division of Environmental Engineering & Energy Systems (DEEES)

    Specialized institutes

    University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS)
    Institute of Biomedical Engineering (BME)

    Affiliated research institutes and centres

    Centre for Advanced Coating Technologies (CACT)
    Centre for Advanced Diffusion-Wave Technologies (CADIFT)
    Centre for Advanced Nanotechnology Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN)
    Centre for Maintenance Optimization & Reliability Engineering (C-MORE)
    Centre for Management of Technology & Entrepreneurship (CMTE)
    Centre for Research in Healthcare Engineering (CRHE)
    Centre for the Resilience of Critical Infrastructure (RCI)
    Centre for Technology & Social Development Emerging Communications Technology Institute (ECTI)
    Identity, Privacy & Security Institute (IPSI)
    Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead)
    Institute for Multidisciplinary Design & Innovation (UT-IMDI)
    Institute for Optical Sciences Institute for Robotics & Mechatronics (IRM)
    Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE)
    Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Centre & Test Bed
    Lassonde Institute of Mining
    Pulp & Paper Centre
    Southern Ontario Centre for Atmospheric Aerosol Research (SOCAAR)
    Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research
    Ontario Centre for the Characterization of Advanced Materials (OCCAM)

    The University of Toronto (CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.


    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

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