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  • richardmitnick 8:54 pm on July 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Exoplanet research, Leiden Observatory [Sterrewacht Leiden](NL), MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie](DE), The gaseous giant planet TYC 8998-760-1 b at a distance of 300 light-years in the constellation Musca (Fly)., The planet is relatively rich in carbon-13.   

    From MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie] (DE) : “A potential new tracer of exoplanet formation” 

    Max Planck Institut für Astronomie (DE)

    From MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie] (DE)

    July 14, 2021

    Dr. Markus Nielbock
    Press and public relations officer
    +49 6221 528-134
    pr@mpia.de
    MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie](DE), Heidelberg

    Dr. Paul Mollière
    molliere@mpia.de
    MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie](DE), Heidelberg

    Prof. Dr. Ignas A. G. Snellen
    +31 71 527-5838
    snellen@strw.leidenuniv.nl
    Leiden Observatory [Sterrewacht Leiden](NL)

    First measurement of isotopes in the atmosphere of an exoplanet.

    An international team of astronomers, including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, have become the first in the world to detect isotopes in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. It concerns different forms of carbon in the gaseous giant planet TYC 8998-760-1 b at a distance of 300 light-years in the constellation Musca (Fly). The weak signal was measured with ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and seems to indicate that the planet is relatively rich in carbon-13.

    The astronomers hypothesize that this is because the planet formed at a great distance from its parent star. The research will appear in the scientific journal Nature.

    1
    TYC 8998-760-1. Credit: National Aeronautics Space Agency (US).

    Isotopes are different forms of the same atom but with a varying number of neutrons in the nucleus. For example, carbon with six protons typically has six neutrons (carbon-12), but occasionally seven (carbon-13) or eight (carbon-14). This property does not change much the chemical properties of carbon. Still, isotopes form in different ways and often react slightly differently to the prevailing conditions. Isotopes, therefore, provide applications in a wide range of research fields: from detecting cardiovascular disease or cancer to studying climate change and determining the age of fossils and rocks.

    Astronomers from several countries, among them Paul Mollière from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, Germany, discovered an unusual ratio between those isotopes in the atmosphere of the young giant planet TYC 8998-760-1 b. Carbon is present primarily in the form of CO (carbon monoxide) gas. The planet itself exhibits a mass of about 14 Jupiter masses and has almost twice the size of Jupiter. Therefore, astronomers classify it as a super-Jupiter.

    The group of scientists, led by first author Yapeng Zhang, a PhD student at Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands, successfully distinguished carbon-13 from carbon-12 because it absorbs radiation at slightly different colours. “It is really quite special that we can measure this in an exoplanet atmosphere, at such a large distance,” says Zhang. The astronomers had expected to detect about one in 70 carbon atoms to be carbon-13, but it seems to be twice as much for this planet. The idea is that the higher abundance of carbon-13 is somehow related to the formation of the exoplanet.

    Mollière explains: “The planet is more than one hundred and fifty times farther away from its parent star than our Earth is from our Sun. At such a great distance, ices have possibly formed with more carbon-13, causing the higher fraction of this isotope in the planet’s atmosphere today.” Suppose the enrichment in carbon-13 is connected to the freeze-out of CO in the planet-forming protoplanetary disks. In that case, this could mean that Solar System planets did not collect much carbon-13-rich ice. A reason may be that in the Solar System, the distance beyond which CO begins to freeze out of the gas phase, known as the CO snowline, lies beyond Neptune’s orbit. Therefore, CO ices have likely rarely been incorporated into the Solar System planets, leading to a higher isotope ratio. Mollière wrote the data analysis software and contributed to interpreting the results.

    The exoplanet itself, TYC 8998-760-1 b, was discovered only two years ago by Leiden PhD student Alexander Bohn, co-author of the article. He adds: “It’s awesome that this discovery has been made close to ‘my’ planet. It will probably be the first of many.”

    Ignas Snellen, professor in Leiden and the driving force behind this subject for many years, is above all proud. “The expectation is that in the future, isotopes will further help to understand exactly how, where and when planets form. This result is just the beginning.”

    Besides Paul Mollière fom MPIA, the following scientists contributed to the results featured in the paper: Yapeng Zhang, Ignas A. G. Snellen, Alexander J. Bohn, Matthew A. Kenworthy, Frans Snik (all Leiden Observatory), Christian Ginski (Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam [Universiteit van Amsterdam] (NL)), H. Jens Hoeijmakers (Geneva Observatory [Observatoire de Genève] (CH)) and Lund Observatory [Lundobservatoriet] (SE) ), Eric E. Mamajek (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (US) and University of Rochester (US)), Tiffany Meshkat (Caltech IPAC-Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (US)), Maddalena Reggiani (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven [Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven] (BE))

    See the full article here .

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    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelburg, GE

    The MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie] (DE), MPIA) is a research institute of the Max Planck Society (MPG). It is located in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany near the top of the Königstuhl, adjacent to the historic Landessternwarte Heidelberg-Königstuhl astronomical observatory. The institute primarily conducts basic research in the natural sciences in the field of astronomy.

    In addition to its own astronomical observations and astronomical research, the Institute is also actively involved in the development of observation instruments. The instruments or parts of them are manufactured in the institute’s own workshops.

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

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

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

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

    History

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

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

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

    The Max Planck Society consists of over 80 research institutes. In addition, the society funds a number of Max Planck Research Groups (MPRG) and International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS). The purpose of establishing independent research groups at various universities is to strengthen the required networking between universities and institutes of the Max Planck Society.

    The research units are primarily located across Europe with a few in South Korea and the U.S. In 2007, the Society established its first non-European centre, with an institute on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University (US) focusing on neuroscience.

    The Max Planck Institutes operate independently from, though in close cooperation with, the universities, and focus on innovative research which does not fit into the university structure due to their interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature or which require resources that cannot be met by the state universities.
    Internally, Max Planck Institutes are organized into research departments headed by directors such that each MPI has several directors, a position roughly comparable to anything from full professor to department head at a university. Other core members include Junior and Senior Research Fellows.

    In addition, there are several associated institutes:

    International Max Planck Research Schools

    Together with the Association of Universities and other Education Institutions in Germany, the Max Planck Society established numerous International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) to promote junior scientists:
    Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research, Cologne
    International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems, at the MPG Institute for Intelligent Systems (DE) located in Tübingen and Stuttgart
    International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World (Uncertainty School), at the Max Planck Institutes for Economics, for Human Development, and/or Research on Collective Goods
    International Max Planck Research School for Analysis, Design and Optimization in Chemical and Biochemical Process Engineering, Magdeburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics, Heidelberg at the MPG for Astronomy
    International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics, Garching at the MPG Institute for Astrophysics
    International Max Planck Research School for Complex Surfaces in Material Sciences, Berlin
    International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science, Saarbrücken
    International Max Planck Research School for Earth System Modeling, Hamburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Elementary Particle Physics, Munich, at the MPG Institute for Physics
    International Max Planck Research School for Environmental, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology, Marburg at the MPG Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
    International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology, Plön at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology
    International Max Planck Research School “From Molecules to Organisms”, Tübingen at the MPG Institute for Developmental Biology
    International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Jena at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
    International Max Planck Research School on Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Hannover and Potsdam MPG Institute for Gravitational Physics
    International Max Planck Research School for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim at the MPG Institute for Heart and Lung Research
    International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunity, Berlin at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
    International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, Nijmegen
    International Max Planck Research School for Neurosciences, Göttingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience, Tübingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology (MarMic), joint program of the MPG Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, the University of Bremen (DE), the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, and the Jacobs University Bremen
    International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs, Hamburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Freiburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences, Munich[
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Göttingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering, Dresden
    International Max Planck Research School Molecular Biomedicine, program combined with the ‘Graduate Programm Cell Dynamics And Disease’ at the University of Münster (DE) and the MPG Institute for Molecular Biomedicine (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School on Multiscale Bio-Systems, Potsdam
    International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, at the University of Konstanz (DE) and the MPG Institute for Ornithology (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School on Reactive Structure Analysis for Chemical Reactions (IMPRS RECHARGE), Mülheim an der Ruhr, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nano-Systems, Halle at MPG Institute of Microstructure Physics (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science[49] at theUniversity of Göttingen – Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (DE) hosted by MPG Institute for Solar System Research [Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung] (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Bonn, at the MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy [MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) (formerly the International Max Planck Research School for Radio and Infrared Astronomy)
    International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Cologne
    International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials, Düsseldorf at MPG Institute for Iron Research [MPG Institut für Eisenforschung] (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics, Hamburg

     
  • richardmitnick 8:27 pm on July 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Haziness of exoplanet atmospheres depends on properties of aerosol particles", A laboratory study of haze particles produced under different conditions helps explain why some exoplanets may be obscured by hazy atmospheres., Cooler planets located in the habitable zones of their host stars are more likely to have clear atmospheres., Exoplanet research, Haze removal depends on a critical material property of the particles called surface energy., It’s not just haze production but also haze removal that determines how clear the atmosphere is., Many exoplanets have opaque atmospheres obscured by clouds or hazes that make it hard for astronomers to characterize their chemical compositions., Photochemical reactions in the atmospheres of temperate exoplanets lead to the formation of small organic haze particles., The scientists measured the properties of haze particles produced in the laboratory under conditions representative of exoplanet atmospheres., The study found that a critical factor is the temperature at which the haze particles are created.,   

    From University of California-Santa Cruz (US) : “Haziness of exoplanet atmospheres depends on properties of aerosol particles” 

    From University of California-Santa Cruz (US)

    July 12, 2021
    Tim Stephens
    stephens@ucsc.edu

    A laboratory study of haze particles produced under different conditions helps explain why some exoplanets may be obscured by hazy atmospheres.

    1
    Xinting Yu, a 51 Pegasi b Postdoctoral Fellow at UCSC, measured the properties of haze particles produced in the laboratory under conditions representative of exoplanet atmospheres. Photo courtesy of Heising-Simons Foundation.

    2
    Researchers measured the refractive indices at visible wavelengths (n) for haze samples created under a range of conditions. Image credit: Yu et al., Nature Astronomy, 2021)

    Many exoplanets have opaque atmospheres obscured by clouds or hazes that make it hard for astronomers to characterize their chemical compositions. A new study shows that haze particles produced under different conditions have a wide range of properties that can determine how clear or hazy a planet’s atmosphere is likely to be.

    Photochemical reactions in the atmospheres of temperate exoplanets lead to the formation of small organic haze particles. Large amounts of these photochemical hazes form in Earth’s atmosphere every day, yet our planet has relatively clear skies. The reason has to do with how easily haze particles are removed from the atmosphere by deposition processes.

    “It’s not just haze production but also haze removal that determines how clear the atmosphere is,” said Xinting Yu, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Santa Cruz and lead author of the study, published July 12 in Nature Astronomy.

    Yu and her colleagues measured the properties of haze particles produced in the laboratory under conditions representative of exoplanet atmospheres, including a range of gas compositions, temperatures, and energy sources. Coauthor Xi Zhang, assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz, said laboratory experiments like this are essential for understanding haze formation and its impact on observations.

    “We can’t bring haze samples back from exoplanets, so we have to try to mimic the atmospheric conditions in the laboratory,” he said.

    According to Yu, haze removal depends on a critical material property of the particles called surface energy. “Surface energy describes how cohesive or ‘sticky’ the material is,” she said.

    Sticky haze particles readily bond with each other when they collide, growing into larger particles that fall out of the atmosphere onto the surface of the planet (a process called dry deposition). They also make good condensation nuclei for cloud droplets and are easily removed by wet deposition. Hazes produced on Earth typically have high surface energy and are therefore ‘sticky’ and efficiently removed from the atmosphere.

    Yu’s laboratory experiments show that the hazes produced in exoplanet atmospheres are highly diverse, with properties that depend on the conditions in which they are produced.

    “Some of them are similar to the Earth haze, have high surface energy, and are easy to remove, leading to clear skies,” she said. “But some of them have very low surface energy, like a non-stick pan; they do not bond with other particles very well and remain as small particles hanging in the atmosphere for a long time.”

    The study found that a critical factor is the temperature at which the haze particles are created. Hazes produced at around 400 Kelvin (260°F) tended to have the lowest surface energies, leading to less efficient removal and hazier atmospheres. This finding actually corresponds with observed trends, Yu said, noting that exoplanets at temperatures of 400 to 500 K tend to be the haziest.

    Cooler planets located in the habitable zones of their host stars are more likely to have clear atmospheres, she said. “We may not have to worry about habitable exoplanets being too hazy for future observations, as hazes tend to have higher surface energies at lower temperatures,” Yu said. “So it is easy to remove these hazes, leaving relatively clear atmospheres.”

    Astronomers are looking forward to having a powerful tool for characterizing exoplanet atmospheres with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). When an exoplanet transits across the face of its star, its atmosphere filters the light from the star, giving astronomers with a sensitive enough telescope (like JWST) an opportunity to identify the chemical components of the atmosphere using transmission spectroscopy.

    A hazy atmosphere would interfere with transmission spectroscopy, but the hazes themselves may still yield valuable information, according to Zhang.

    “Hazes are not featureless,” he said. “With better telescopes, we may be able to characterize the composition of exoplanet hazes and understand their chemistry. But the observations will be very hard to explain without data from laboratory experiments. This study has revealed the huge diversity of haze particles, and understanding their optical properties will be a high priority for future studies.”

    In addition to Yu and Zhang, the coauthors of the paper include UCSC undergraduate Austin Dymont, astronomy professor Jonathan Fortney, and graduate student Diana Powell at UC Santa Cruz, as well as scientists at Johns Hopkins University (US), Cornell University (US), University of Texas at Austin (US), and University of Grenoble Alpes [Université Grenoble Alpes] (FR). This work was supported by National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) and the Heising-Simons Foundation.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Santa Cruz (US) Lick Observatory Since 1888 Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    UC Observatories Lick Automated Planet Finder fully robotic 2.4-meter optical telescope at Lick Observatory, situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California, USA.

    The UCO Lick C. Donald Shane telescope is a 120-inch (3.0-meter) reflecting telescope located at the Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft).
    UC Santa Cruz (US) campus.

    The University of California-Santa Cruz (US) , opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    UCO Lick Observatory’s 36-inch Great Refractor telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building.

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow


    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego (US) who led the development of the new instrument while at the U Toronto Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA).

    Shelley Wright of UC San Diego with (US) NIROSETI, developed at U Toronto Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA) at the 1-meter Nickel Telescope at Lick Observatory at UC Santa Cruz

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by University of California-Berkeley (US) researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    Frank Drake with his Drake Equation. Credit Frank Drake.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:59 pm on July 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA’s TESS Discovers Stellar Siblings Host ‘Teenage’ Exoplanets", Exoplanet research, , TOI 2076 and TOI 1807 reside over 130 light-years away with some 30 light-years between them.   

    From NASA/MIT TESS: “NASA’s TESS Discovers Stellar Siblings Host ‘Teenage’ Exoplanets” 


    From NASA/MIT TESS

    Jul 12, 2021

    Jeanette Kazmierczak
    jeanette.a.kazmierczak@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    Media contact:
    Claire Andreoli
    claire.andreoli@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
    (301) 286-1940

    1

    Thanks to data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), an international collaboration of astronomers has identified four exoplanets, worlds beyond our solar system, orbiting a pair of related young stars called TOI 2076 and TOI 1807.

    These worlds may provide scientists with a glimpse of a little-understood stage of planetary evolution.

    “The planets in both systems are in a transitional, or teenage, phase of their life cycle,” said Christina Hedges, an astronomer at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute (US) in Moffett Field and NASA’s Ames Research Center (US) in Silicon Valley, both in California. “They’re not newborns, but they’re also not settled down. Learning more about planets in this teen stage will ultimately help us understand older planets in other systems.”

    A paper describing the findings, led by Hedges, was published in The Astronomical Journal.


    TESS Finds Related Stars Have Young Exoplanets.
    Stellar siblings over 130 light-years away host two systems of teenage planets. Watch to learn how NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite discovered these young worlds and what they might tell us about the evolution of planetary systems everywhere, including our own.
    Credits: Chris Smith (KBRwyle)/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    TOI 2076 and TOI 1807 reside over 130 light-years away with some 30 light-years between them, which places the stars in the northern constellations of Boötes and Canes Venatici, respectively. Both are K-type stars, dwarf stars more orange than our Sun, and around 200 million years old, or less than 5% of the Sun’s age. In 2017, using data from ESA’s (the European Space Agency’s) Gaia satellite, scientists showed that the stars are traveling through space in the same direction.

    Astronomers think the stars are too far apart to be orbiting each other, but their shared motion suggests they are related, born from the same cloud of gas.

    Both TOI 2076 and TOI 1807 experience stellar flares that are much more energetic and occur much more frequently than those produced by our own Sun.

    “The stars produce perhaps 10 times more UV light than they will when they reach the Sun’s age,” said co-author George Zhou, an astrophysicist at the University of Southern Queensland (AU). “Since the Sun may have been equally as active at one time, these two systems could provide us with a window into the early conditions of the solar system.”

    TESS monitors large swaths of the sky for nearly a month at a time. This long gaze allows the satellite to find exoplanets by measuring small dips in stellar brightness caused when a planet crosses in front of, or transits, its star.

    Alex Hughes initially brought TOI 2076 to astronomers’ attention after spotting a transit in the TESS data while working on an undergraduate project at Loughborough University (UK), and he has since graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics. Hedges’ team eventually discovered three mini-Neptunes, worlds between the diameters of Earth and Neptune, orbiting the star. Innermost planet TOI 2076 b is about three times Earth’s size and circles its star every 10 days. Outer worlds TOI 2076 c and d are both a little over four times larger than Earth, with orbits exceeding 17 days.

    TOI 1807 hosts only one known planet, TOI 1807 b, which is about twice Earth’s size and orbits the star in just 13 hours. Exoplanets with such short orbits are rare. TOI 1807 b is the youngest example yet discovered of one of these so-called ultra-short period planets.

    Scientists are currently working to measure the planets’ masses, but interference from the hyperactive young stars could make this challenging.

    According to theoretical models, planets initially have thick atmospheres left over from their formation in disks of gas and dust around infant stars. In some cases, planets lose their initial atmospheres due to stellar radiation, leaving behind rocky cores. Some of those worlds go on to develop secondary atmospheres through planetary processes like volcanic activity.

    The ages of the TOI 2076 and TOI 1807 systems suggest that their planets may be somewhere in the middle of this atmospheric evolution. TOI 2076 b receives 400 times more UV light from its star than Earth does from the Sun – and TOI 1807 b gets around 22,000 times more.

    If scientists can discover the planets’ masses, the information could help them determine if missions like NASA’s Hubble and upcoming James Webb space telescopes can study the planets’ atmospheres – if they have them.

    The team is particularly interested in TOI 1807 b because it’s an ultra-short period planet. Theoretical models suggest it should be difficult for worlds to form so close to their stars, but they can form farther out and then migrate inward. Because it would have had to both form and migrate in just 200 million years, TOI 1807 b will help scientists further understand the life cycles of these types of planets. If it doesn’t have a very thick atmosphere and its mass is mostly rock, the planet’s proximity to its star could potentially mean its surface is covered in oceans or lakes of molten lava.

    “Many objects we study in astronomy evolve on such long timescales that a human being can’t see changes month to month or year to year,” said co-author Trevor David, a research fellow at the Flatiron Institute’s (US) Center for Computational Astrophysics (US) in New York. “If you want to see how planets evolve, your best bet is to find many planets of different ages and then ask how they’re different. The TESS discovery of the TOI 2076 and TOI 1807 systems advances our understanding of the teenage exoplanet stage.”

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest dwarf stars in the sky. In a two-year survey of the solar neighborhood, TESS will monitor the brightness of stars for periodic drops caused by planet transits. The TESS mission is finding planets ranging from small, rocky worlds to giant planets, showcasing the diversity of planets in the galaxy.

    Astronomers predict that TESS will discover dozens of Earth-sized planets and up to 500 planets less than twice the size of Earth. In addition to Earth-sized planets, TESS is expected to find some 20,000 exoplanets in its two-year prime mission. TESS will find upwards of 17,000 planets larger than Neptune.

    TESS is a NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission led and operated by MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Dr. George Ricker of MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research serves as principal investigator for the mission. Additional partners include Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Virginia; NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts; MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts; and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. More than a dozen universities, research institutes and observatories worldwide are participants in the mission.

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:52 am on July 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A closer look-the atmospheres of exoplanets", Astronomers estimate there should be at least as many free-floating planets as there are stars in the Milky Way ., , , , Beginning in 2024 the space telescope Twinkle will identify constituents of the atmospheres of exoplanets., , , Excellence Cluster ORIGINS, Exoplanet research, In a computer model the researchers found that cosmic rays could substitute for sunlight to convert molecular hydrogen and carbon dioxide into water and other products., , Moons of rogue planets could have water and life., ORIGINS consortium, Space telescope Twinkle, The data collected during the mission may reveal the presence of substances that are compatible with the possibility of extraterrestrial life on exoplanets., The presence of exomoons orbiting free-floating planets has been theoretically predicted by several models., Twinkle is the first mission that is designed to systematically investigate the atmospheres of several hundred exoplanets., Visible and infrared spectroscopy, While the results indicated that the moon would likely have 10000 times less water than in Earth’s oceans it would still possess 100 times more water than in Earth’s atmosphere.   

    From Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München] (DE) and From EarthSky : “A closer look-the atmospheres of exoplanets” and “Moons of rogue planets could have water and life” Compound Post 

    From Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München] (DE)

    and

    1

    From EarthSky

    9 Jul 2021

    The Excellence Cluster ORIGINS has become a founding member of the Twinkle mission (UK). Lift-off for the new space telescope is planned for 2024.

    Beginning in 2024 the space telescope Twinkle will identify constituents of the atmospheres of exoplanets by analyzing the starlight that passes through them with the aid of visible and infrared spectroscopy (at wavelengths of 0.5-4.5 μm). These spectra contain specific fingerprints that reveal the molecular composition of the atmosphere. Twinkle is the first mission that is designed to systematically investigate the atmospheres of several hundred exoplanets.

    The data collected during the mission may reveal the presence of substances that are compatible with the possibility of extraterrestrial life on exoplanets. Among such compounds are water vapor, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide and organic molecules such as methane, acetylene, ethylene, ethane, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and phosphine.

    The experimental analysis of the atmospheres of exoplanets undertaken by Twinkle is a highly valuable addition to the research being done by the ORIGINS consortium. “Among other things, we are looking at the links between planet formation and the chemical evolution of the earliest prebiotic molecules, using a number of methodological approaches,” says Prof. Barbara Ercolano of the LMU Observatory and one of the principal investigators of the ORIGINS Cluster. “As a founding member of the Twinkle mission, the members of the Cluster will be in a position to make a significant contribution to the mission’s scientific program before it gets off the ground,” she adds. Among the other members of the Cluster’s Twinkle team are Prof. Thomas Preibisch, Prof. Til Birnstiel and Dr. Arno Riffeser.

    The scientific questions of ORIGINS include:

    What thermochemical properties do exoplanets have, and how are these features influenced by the optical, UV, and x-ray emission from their host star?

    Under which conditions and on what time-scales can the atmospheres of exoplanets be destroyed by intense radiation or highly energetic emissions from their host stars?

    What chemical inventories are available for life to emerge?

    Twinkle is the first mission to be undertaken by Blue Skies Space Ltd, a private company registered in England and Wales. Blue Skies Space is financed by both private and public sources, including the UK Space Agency (UKSA), the European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) and other research institutions.


    The Twinkle Space Mission

    Moons of rogue planets could have water and life

    July 10, 2021
    Paul Scott Anderson

    3
    Artist’s concept of a giant free-floating planet with its Earth-sized moon. A new study suggests that some such moons could retain enough heat and water to support life, even as its planet is unattached to any sun. Image via Tommaso Grassi/ Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München](DE).

    Water is abundant in our solar system. Besides Earth, scientists have found evidence for subsurface lakes on Mars and a growing number of subsurface oceans on small icy moons in the outer solar system. It seems reasonable, then, that water might exist on planets and moons in other solar systems. But what about rogue planets, free-floating worlds that don’t orbit a star? A June 2021 study from astrophysicists at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München in Germany focused on the possibility of liquid water on exomoons of rogue planets. The intriguing results show that moons of rogue planets should indeed be able to possess an atmosphere and retain liquid water.

    The peer-reviewed International Journal of Astrobiology published this study on June 8, 2021.

    Billions of free-floating planets

    It might sound weird for planets to exist apart from stars. But astronomers have discovered many of these rogue planets in the past several years. Astronomers estimate there should be at least as many free-floating planets as there are stars in the Milky Way (over 100 billion), and probably more. They drift freely through space, untethered by the gravity of a local star. And some of them should have moons. The paper states:

    “A free-floating planet … is a planetary-mass object that orbits around a non-stellar massive object (e.g. a brown dwarf) or around the galactic center. The presence of exomoons orbiting free-floating planets has been theoretically predicted by several models.”

    3
    Artist’s concept shows a cutaway of Jupiter’s moon Europa, one of at least several icy moons that have subsurface water oceans. According to a new study, moons of planets that are freely floating in space with no suns could also have water, even on their surfaces. Image via NASA/ JPL-Caltech (US)/Space.com.

    Liquid water on moons of rogue planets?

    Could any of these moons have water on their surfaces, or inside? It would seem so, according to the new paper:

    “Under specific conditions, these moons are able to retain an atmosphere capable of ensuring the long-term thermal stability of liquid water on their surface.

    We find that, under specific conditions and assuming stable orbital parameters over time, liquid water can be formed on the surface of the exomoon.

    The final amount of water for an Earth-mass exomoon is smaller than the amount of water in Earth oceans, but enough to host the potential development of primordial life. The chemical equilibrium time-scale is controlled by cosmic rays, the main ionization driver in our model of the exomoon atmosphere.”

    Enough water for life

    In this study, Barbara Ercolano, Tommaso Grassi and their colleagues used a computer to model the atmosphere of an exomoon orbiting a free-floating planet. While the results indicated that the moon would likely have 10,000 times less water than in Earth’s oceans, it would still possess 100 times more water than in Earth’s atmosphere. That is more than enough to support some forms of life.

    Giant planets with giant moons

    In the study, the computer model simulated a moon about the size of Earth orbiting a Jupiter-sized free-floating planet. The largest moon we know of is Ganymede, Jupiter’s biggest satellite, which is about 26% larger than Mercury. The simulation’s large Earth-sized moon might not be that much of a stretch, though. Tentative evidence exists for a giant moon orbiting the planet Kepler-1625b, 8,000 light-years away in the direction of our constellation Cygnus the Swan. In that case, the possible moon is about the size of Neptune and the planet is several times larger than Jupiter.

    5
    One possible large exomoon has been found so far (but not confirmed yet), Kepler-1625b, which is 8,000 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus the Swan. The possible moon in this artist’s concept is about the size of Neptune and the planet is several times larger than Jupiter. Image via HubbleSite.

    Cosmic rays instead of sunlight

    One obvious question is: how could a planetary system with no sun possibly support life? Plants on Earth need sunlight for photosynthesis, and almost all other life depends on plants. In the computer model, the researchers found that cosmic rays could substitute for sunlight to convert molecular hydrogen and carbon dioxide into water and other products.

    The tidal forces exerted by the planet on its moon could provide heat, much as the giant planets in our solar system do with their icy moons. If there were enough carbon dioxide in the moon’s atmosphere, at least 90%, the greenhouse effect would retain enough of that heat to keep water liquid and make life possible. As summarized in the paper:

    “We found that an exomoon orbiting around a free-floating planet provides an environment that might sustain liquid water onto its surface if the optical thickness of the atmosphere is relatively large and the orbital parameters produce enough tidal heating to increase the temperature over the melting point of water.”

    The idea of water and life on worlds that don’t orbit stars might seem like science fiction. But if these researchers are right, it might not be that far-fetched after all. Exomoons are still difficult to detect, but that will change in the coming years. What will astronomers find?

    See the full LMU article here.

    See the full Earthsky article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Welcome to Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München] (DE) – the University in the heart of Munich. LMU is recognized as one of Europe’s premier academic and research institutions. Since our founding in 1472, LMU has attracted inspired scholars and talented students from all over the world, keeping the University at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change our complex world.

    Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München] (DE) is a public research university located in Munich, Germany.

    The University of Munich is Germany’s sixth-oldest university in continuous operation. Originally established in Ingolstadt in 1472 by Duke Ludwig IX of Bavaria-Landshut, the university was moved in 1800 to Landshut by King Maximilian I of Bavaria when Ingolstadt was threatened by the French, before being relocated to its present-day location in Munich in 1826 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. In 1802, the university was officially named Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität by King Maximilian I of Bavaria in his as well as the university’s original founder’s honour.

    The University of Munich is associated with 43 Nobel laureates (as of October 2020). Among these were Wilhelm Röntgen, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Otto Hahn and Thomas Mann. Pope Benedict XVI was also a student and professor at the university. Among its notable alumni, faculty and researchers are inter alia Rudolf Peierls, Josef Mengele, Richard Strauss, Walter Benjamin, Joseph Campbell, Muhammad Iqbal, Marie Stopes, Wolfgang Pauli, Bertolt Brecht, Max Horkheimer, Karl Loewenstein, Carl Schmitt, Gustav Radbruch, Ernst Cassirer, Ernst Bloch, Konrad Adenauer. The LMU has recently been conferred the title of “University of Excellence” under the German Universities Excellence Initiative.

    LMU is currently the second-largest university in Germany in terms of student population; in the winter semester of 2018/2019, the university had a total of 51,606 matriculated students. Of these, 9,424 were freshmen while international students totalled 8,875 or approximately 17% of the student population. As for operating budget, the university records in 2018 a total of 734,9 million euros in funding without the university hospital; with the university hospital, the university has a total funding amounting to approximately 1.94 billion euros.

    Faculties

    LMU’s Institute of Systematic Botany is located at Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg
    Faculty of chemistry buildings at the Martinsried campus of LMU Munich

    The university consists of 18 faculties which oversee various departments and institutes. The official numbering of the faculties and the missing numbers 06 and 14 are the result of breakups and mergers of faculties in the past. The Faculty of Forestry Operations with number 06 has been integrated into the Technical University of Munich [Technische Universität München] (DE) in 1999 and faculty number 14 has been merged with faculty number 13.

    01 Faculty of Catholic Theology
    02 Faculty of Protestant Theology
    03 Faculty of Law
    04 Faculty of Business Administration
    05 Faculty of Economics
    07 Faculty of Medicine
    08 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
    09 Faculty for History and the Arts
    10 Faculty of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Study of Religion
    11 Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
    12 Faculty for the Study of Culture
    13 Faculty for Languages and Literatures
    15 Faculty of Social Sciences
    16 Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics
    17 Faculty of Physics
    18 Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy
    19 Faculty of Biology
    20 Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental Sciences

    Research centres

    In addition to its 18 faculties, the University of Munich also maintains numerous research centres involved in numerous cross-faculty and transdisciplinary projects to complement its various academic programmes. Some of these research centres were a result of cooperation between the university and renowned external partners from academia and industry; the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, for example, was established through a joint initiative between LMU Munich and the Deutsches Museum, while the Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking resulted from the collaboration between the Parmenides Foundation and LMU Munich’s Human Science Center.

    Some of the research centres which have been established include:

    Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich (CIPSM)
    Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences (GSN)
    Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health
    Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM)
    Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking
    Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

     
  • richardmitnick 12:49 pm on July 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Possible Evolution of an Exoplanet’s Atmosphere", , , Exoplanet research   

    From Eos: “The Possible Evolution of an Exoplanet’s Atmosphere” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    23 June 2021 [Just now in social media.]
    Stacy Kish

    1
    Gleise 1132 b is an exoplanet in the constellation Vela, about 40 light-years away from Earth. Credit: R. Hurt (Caltech IPAC-Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (US))National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU).

    Researchers have long been curious about how atmospheres on rocky exoplanets might evolve. The evolution of our own atmosphere is one model: Earth’s primordial atmosphere was rich in hydrogen and helium, but our planet’s gravitational grip was too weak to prevent these lightest of elements from escaping into space. Researchers want to know whether the atmospheres on Earth-like exoplanets experience a similar evolution.

    By analyzing spectroscopic data taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, Mark Swain and his team were able to describe one scenario for atmospheric evolution on Gliese 1132 b (GJ 1132 b), a rocky exoplanet similar in size and density to Earth. In a new study published in The Astronomical Journal, Swain and his colleagues suggest that GJ 1132 b has restored its hydrogen-rich atmosphere after having lost it early in the exoplanet’s history.

    “Small terrestrial planets, where we might find life outside of our solar system, are profoundly impacted by atmosphere loss,” said Swain, a research scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. “We have no idea how common atmospheric restoration is, but it is going to be important in the long-term study of potential habitable worlds.”

    The Atmosphere Conundrum

    GJ 1132 b closely orbits the red dwarf Gliese 1132, about 40 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Vela. Using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, Swain and his team gathered transmission spectrum data as the planet transited in front of the star four times. They checked for the presence of an atmosphere with a tool called Exoplanet Calibration Bayesian Unified Retrieval Pipeline (EXCALIBUR). To their surprise, they detected an atmosphere on GJ 1132 b—one with a remarkable composition.

    “Atmosphere can come back, but we were not expecting to find the second atmosphere rich in hydrogen,” said Raissa Estrela, a postdoctoral fellow at JPL and a contributing author on the paper. “We expected a heavier atmosphere, like the nitrogen-rich one on Earth.”


    Distant Planet May Be On Its 2nd Atmosphere, NASA’s Hubble Finds.

    To explain the presence of hydrogen in the atmosphere, researchers considered the evolution of the exoplanet’s surface, including possible volcanic activity. Like early Earth, GJ 1132 b was likely initially covered by magma. As such planets age and cool, denser substances sink down to the core and mantle and lighter substances solidify as crust and create a rocky surface.

    Swain and his team proposed that a portion of GJ 1132 b’s primordial atmosphere, rather than being lost to space, was absorbed by its magmatic sea before the exoplanet’s interior differentiated. As the planet aged, its thin crust would have acted as a cap on the hydrogen-infused mantle below. If tidal heating prevented the mantle from crystallizing, the trapped hydrogen would escape slowly through the crust and continually resupply the emerging atmosphere.

    “This may be the first paper that explores an observational connection between the atmosphere of a rocky exoplanet and some of the [contributing] geologic processes,” said Swain. “We were able to make a statement that there is outgassing [that has been] more or less ongoing because the atmosphere is not sustainable. It requires replenishment.”

    The Hydrogen Controversy

    Not everyone agrees.

    “I find the idea of a hydrogen-dominated atmosphere to be a really implausible story,” said Raymond Pierrehumbert, Halley Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford (UK), who did not contribute to the study.

    Pierrehumbert pointed to a preprint article from a team of scientists led by Lorenzo V. Mugnai, a Ph.D. student in astrophysics at Sapienza University of Rome[Sapienza Università di Roma] (IT) of Rome. Mugnai’s team examined the same data from GJ 1132 b as Swain’s did, but did not identify a hydrogen-rich atmosphere.

    According to Pierrehumbert, the devil is in the details of how the data were analyzed. Most notably, Mugnai’s team used different software (Iraclis) to analyze the Hubble transit data. Later, Mugnai and his group repeated their analysis using another set of tools (Calibration of Transit Spectroscopy Using Causal Data, or CASCADe) when they saw how profoundly different their findings were.

    “We used two different software programs to analyze the space telescope data,” said Mugnai. “Both of them lead us to the same answer; it’s different from the one found in [Swain’s] work.”

    Another article [The Astronomical Journal], by a team led by University of Colorado (US) graduate student Jessica Libby-Roberts, supported Mugnai’s findings. That study, which also used the Iraclis pipeline, ruled out the presence of a cloud-free, hydrogen- or helium-dominated atmosphere on GJ 1132 b. The analysis did not negate an atmosphere on the planet, just one detectable by Hubble (i.e., hydrogen-rich). This group proposed a secondary atmosphere with a high metallicity (similar to Venus), an oxygen-dominated atmosphere, or perhaps no atmosphere at all.

    Constructive Conflict

    The research groups led by Swain and Mugnai have engaged in constructive conversations to identify the reason for the differences, specifically why the EXCALIBUR, Iraclis, and CASCADe software pipelines are producing such different results.

    “We are very proud and happy of this collaboration,” said Mugnai. “It’s proof of how different results can be used to learn more from each other and help the growth of [the entire] scientific community.”

    “I think both [of our] teams are really motivated by a desire to understand what’s going on,” said Swain.

    The Telescope of the Future

    According to Pierrehumbert, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) may offer a solution to this quandary.

    JWST will allow for the detection of atmospheres with higher molecular weights, like the nitrogen-dominated atmosphere on Earth. If GJ 1132 b lacks an atmosphere, JWST’s infrared capabilities may even allow scientists to observe the planet’s surface. “If there are magma pools or volcanism going on, those areas will be hotter,” Swain explained in a statement. “That will generate more emission, and so they’ll be looking potentially at the actual geologic activity—which is exciting!”

    GJ 1132 b is slated for two observational passes when JWST comes online. Kevin Stevenson, a staff astronomer at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (US), and Jacob Lustig-Yaeger, a postdoctoral fellow there, will lead the teams.

    “Every rocky exoplanet is a world of possibilities,” said Lustig-Yaeger. “JWST is expected to provide the first opportunity to search for signs of habitability and biosignatures in the atmospheres of potentially habitable exoplanets. We are on the brink of beginning to answer [many of] these questions.”

    See the full article here .

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    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 12:34 pm on June 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Exoplanets get a cosmic front-row seat to find backlit Earth", American Museum of Natural History, , , , , , Exoplanet research   

    From Cornell Chronicle (US) : “Exoplanets get a cosmic front-row seat to find backlit Earth” 

    From Cornell Chronicle (US)

    June 23, 2021
    Blaine Friedlander
    bpf2@cornell.edu

    1
    With the plane of the Milky Way galaxy seen stretching from the top to the bottom of the image, this artistic view of the Earth and sun from thousands of miles above our planet, shows that stars (with exoplanets in their own system) can enter and exit a position to see Earth transiting the sun. Credit: OpenSpace/American Museum of Natural History.

    Scientists at Cornell and the American Museum of Natural History have identified 2,034 nearby star-systems – within the small cosmic distance of 326 light-years – that could find Earth merely by watching our pale blue dot cross our sun.

    That’s 1,715 star-systems that could have spotted Earth since human civilization blossomed about 5,000 years ago, and 319 more star-systems that will be added over the next 5,000 years.

    Exoplanets around these nearby stars have a cosmic front-row seat to see if Earth holds life, the scientists said in research published June 23 in Nature.

    “From the exoplanets’ point-of-view, we are the aliens,” said Lisa Kaltenegger, professor of astronomy and director of Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute, in the College of Arts and Sciences.

    “We wanted to know which stars have the right vantage point to see Earth, as it blocks the Sun’s light,” she said. “And because stars move in our dynamic cosmos, this vantage point is gained and lost.”

    Kaltenegger and astrophysicist Jackie Faherty, a senior scientist at the American Museum of Natural History are co-authors of Past, Present and Future Stars That Can See Earth as a Transiting Exoplanet. They used positions and motions from the European Space Agency’s Gaia eDR3 catalog to determine which stars enter and exit the Earth Transit Zone – and for how long.

    “Gaia has provided us with a precise map of the Milky Way galaxy,” Faherty said, “allowing us to look backward and forward in time, and to see where stars had been located and where they are going.

    “Our solar neighborhood is a dynamic place where stars enter and exit that perfect vantage point to see Earth transit the Sun at a rapid pace,” Faherty said.

    Of the 2,034 star-systems passing through the Earth Transit Zone over the 10,000-year period examined, 117 objects lie within about 100 light-years of the sun and 75 of these objects have been in the Earth Transit Zone since commercial radio stations on Earth began broadcasting into space about a century ago. Radio waves broadcast from Earth are a signature of our advanced technological civilization and exoplanets within range may have picked them up.

    Included in the catalog of 2,034 star-systems are seven known to host exoplanets. Each one of these worlds has had or will have an opportunity to detect Earth, just as Earth’s scientists have found thousands of worlds orbiting other stars through the transit technique.

    By watching distant exoplanets transit – or cross – their own sun, Earth’s astronomers can interpret the atmospheres backlit by that sun. If exoplanets hold intelligent life, they can observe Earth backlit by the sun and see our atmosphere’s chemical signatures of life.

    The Ross 128 system, with a red dwarf host star located in the Virgo constellation, is about 11 light-years away and is the second-closest system with an Earth-size exoplanet (about 1.8 times the size of our planet). Any inhabitants of this exoworld could have seen Earth transit our own sun for 2,158 years, starting about 3,057 years ago; they lost their vantage point about 900 years ago.

    The Trappist-1 system, at 45 light-years from Earth, hosts seven transiting Earth-size planets – four of them in the temperate, habitable zone of that star. While we have discovered the exoplanets around Trappist-1, they won’t be able to spot us until their motion takes them into the Earth Transit Zone in 1,642 years. Potential Trappist-1 system observers will remain in the cosmic Earth transit stadium seats for 2,371 years.

    “Our analysis shows that even the closest stars generally spend more than 1,000 years at a vantage point where they can see Earth transit,” Kaltenegger said. “If we assume the reverse to be true, that provides a healthy timeline for nominal civilizations to identify Earth as an interesting planet.”

    The James Webb Space telescope – expected to launch later this year – is set to take a detailed look at several transiting worlds to characterize their atmospheres and ultimately search for signs of life.

    The Breakthrough Starshot initiative is an ambitious project underway that is looking to launch a nano-sized spacecraft toward the closest exoplanet detected around Proxima Centauri – about 4.2 light-years from us – and fully characterize that world.

    “One might imagine that worlds beyond Earth that have already detected us, are making the same plans for our planet and solar system,” said Faherty. “This catalog is an intriguing thought-experiment for which one of our neighbors might be able to find us.”

    The Carl Sagan Institute, the Heising Simons Foundation and the Breakthrough Initiatives program supported this research.

    See the full article here .


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    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    History

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

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

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

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

    Research

    Cornell, a research university, is ranked fourth in the world in producing the largest number of graduates who go on to pursue PhDs in engineering or the natural sciences at American institutions, and fifth in the world in producing graduates who pursue PhDs at American institutions in any field. Research is a central element of the university’s mission; in 2009 Cornell spent $671 million on science and engineering research and development, the 16th highest in the United States. Cornell is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Cornell’s accelerator and high-energy physics groups are involved in the design of the proposed ILC-International Linear Collider(JP) and plan to participate in its construction and operation. The International Linear Collider(JP), to be completed in the late 2010s, will complement the CERN Large Hadron Collider(CH) and shed light on questions such as the identity of dark matter and the existence of extra dimensions.

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

     
  • richardmitnick 2:12 pm on June 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Nightside radio could help reveal exoplanet details", A given planet’s magnetosphere indicates how well it would be protected from the solar wind that radiates from its star., , , Detection of signals from exoplanets will require either a complex of satellites or an installation on the far side of the moon., Exoplanet research, , Planets that orbit within a star’s Goldilocks zone where conditions may otherwise give rise to life could be deemed uninhabitable without evidence of a strong enough magnetosphere., , While radio emissions from the daysides of exoplanets appear to max out during high solar activity those that emerge from the nightside are likely to add significantly to the signal.   

    From Rice University (US) : “Nightside radio could help reveal exoplanet details” 

    From Rice University (US)

    June 22, 2021
    Mike Williams

    Rice team enhances models that will detect magnetospheres in distant solar systems.

    We can’t detect them yet, but radio signals from distant solar systems could provide valuable information about the characteristics of their planets.

    A paper by Rice University scientists describes a way to better determine which exoplanets are most likely to produce detectable signals based on magnetosphere activity on exoplanets’ previously discounted nightsides.

    The study by Rice alumnus Anthony Sciola, who earned his Ph.D. this spring and was mentored by co-author and space plasma physicist Frank Toffoletto, shows that while radio emissions from the daysides of exoplanets appear to max out during high solar activity those that emerge from the nightside are likely to add significantly to the signal.

    1
    Rice University scientists have enhanced models that could detect magnetosphere activity on exoplanets. The models add data from nightside activity that could increase signals by at least an order of magnitude. In this illustration, the planet’s star is at top left, and the rainbow patches are the radio emission intensities, most coming from the nightside. The white lines are magnetic field lines. Illustration by Anthony Sciola.

    This interests the exoplanet community because the strength of a given planet’s magnetosphere indicates how well it would be protected from the solar wind that radiates from its star, the same way Earth’s magnetic field protects us.

    Planets that orbit within a star’s Goldilocks zone where conditions may otherwise give rise to life could be deemed uninhabitable without evidence of a strong enough magnetosphere. Magnetic field strength data would also help to model planetary interiors and understand how planets form, Sciola said.

    The study appears in The Astrophysical Journal.

    Earth’s magnetosphere isn’t exactly a sphere; it’s a comet-shaped set of field lines that compress against the planet’s day side and tail off into space on the night side, leaving eddies in their wake, especially during solar events like coronal mass ejections. The magnetosphere around every planet emits what we interpret as radio waves, and the closer to the sun a planet orbits, the stronger the emissions.

    Astrophysicists have a pretty good understanding of our own system’s planetary magnetospheres based on the Radiometric Bode’s Law, an analytical tool used to establish a linear relationship between the solar wind and radio emissions from the planets in its path. In recent years, researchers have attempted to apply the law to exoplanetary systems with limited success.

    “The community has used these rule-of-thumb empirical models based on what we know about the solar system, but it’s kind of averaged and smoothed out,” Toffoletto said. “A dynamic model that includes all this spiky behavior could imply the signal is actually much larger than these old models suggest. Anthony is taking this and pushing it to its limits to understand how signals from exoplanets could be detected.”

    Sciola said the current analytic model relies primarily on emissions expected to emerge from an exoplanet’s polar region, what we see on Earth as an aurora. The new study appends a numerical model to those that estimate polar region emissions to provide a more complete picture of emissions around an entire exoplanet.

    “We’re adding in features that only show up in lower regions during really high solar activity,” he said.

    It turns out, he said, that nightside emissions don’t necessarily come from one large spot, like auroras around the north pole, but from various parts of the magnetosphere. In the presence of strong solar activity, the sum of these nightside spots could raise the planet’s total emissions by at least an order of magnitude.

    “They’re very small-scale and occur sporadically, but when you sum them all up, they can have a great effect,” said Sciola, who is continuing the work at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (US). “You need a numerical model to resolve those events. For this study, Sciola used the Multiscale Atmosphere Geospace Environment (MAGE) developed by the Center for Geospace Storms (CGS) based at the Applied Physics Laboratory in collaboration which the Rice space plasma physics group.

    “We’re essentially confirming the analytic model for more extreme exoplanet simulations, but adding extra detail,” he said. “The takeaway is that we’re bringing further attention to the current model’s limiting factors but saying that under certain situations, you can get more emissions than that limiting factor suggests.”

    He noted the new model works best on exoplanetary systems. “You need to be really far away to see the effect,” he said. It’s hard to tell what’s going on at the global scale on Earth; it’s like trying to watch a movie by sitting right next to the screen. You’re only getting a little patch of it.”

    Also, radio signals from an Earth-like exoplanet may never be detectable from Earth’s surface, Sciola said. “Earth’s ionosphere blocks them,” he said. “That means we can’t even see Earth’s own radio emission from the ground, even though it’s so close.”

    Detection of signals from exoplanets will require either a complex of satellites or an installation on the far side of the moon. “That would be a nice, quiet place to make an array that won’t be limited by Earth’s ionosphere and atmosphere,” Sciola said.

    He said the observer’s position in relation to the exoplanet is also important. “The emission is ‘beamed,’” Sciola said. “It’s like a lighthouse: You can see the light if you are in line with the beam, but not if you are directly above the lighthouse. So having a better understanding of the expected angle of the signal will help observers determine if they are in line to observe it for a particular exoplanet.”

    Co-authors of the paper are Rice graduate student Alison Farrish and David Alexander, a professor of physics and astronomy and director of the Rice Space Institute, and computational physicist Kareem Sorathia and physicist Viacheslav Merkin at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

    The National Science Foundation (US) and National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) supported the research.

    See the full article here .


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


    Stem Education Coalition

    Rice University (US) [formally William Marsh Rice University] is a private research university in Houston, Texas. It is situated on a 300-acre campus near the Houston Museum District and is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.

    Opened in 1912 after the murder of its namesake William Marsh Rice, Rice is a research university with an undergraduate focus. Its emphasis on education is demonstrated by a small student body and 6:1 student-faculty ratio. The university has a very high level of research activity. Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing, space science, and nanotechnology. Rice has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) since 1985 and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    The university is organized into eleven residential colleges and eight schools of academic study, including the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the School of Social Sciences, School of Architecture, Shepherd School of Music and the School of Humanities. Rice’s undergraduate program offers more than fifty majors and two dozen minors, and allows a high level of flexibility in pursuing multiple degree programs. Additional graduate programs are offered through the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. Rice students are bound by the strict Honor Code, which is enforced by a student-run Honor Council.

    Rice competes in 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports and is a part of Conference USA, often competing with its cross-town rival the University of Houston. Intramural and club sports are offered in a wide variety of activities such as jiu jitsu, water polo, and crew.

    The university’s alumni include more than two dozen Marshall Scholars and a dozen Rhodes Scholars. Given the university’s close links to National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), it has produced a significant number of astronauts and space scientists. In business, Rice graduates include CEOs and founders of Fortune 500 companies; in politics, alumni include congressmen, cabinet secretaries, judges, and mayors. Two alumni have won the Nobel Prize.

    Background

    Rice University’s history began with the demise of Massachusetts businessman William Marsh Rice, who had made his fortune in real estate, railroad development and cotton trading in the state of Texas. In 1891, Rice decided to charter a free-tuition educational institute in Houston, bearing his name, to be created upon his death, earmarking most of his estate towards funding the project. Rice’s will specified the institution was to be “a competitive institution of the highest grade” and that only white students would be permitted to attend. On the morning of September 23, 1900, Rice, age 84, was found dead by his valet, Charles F. Jones, and was presumed to have died in his sleep. Shortly thereafter, a large check made out to Rice’s New York City lawyer, signed by the late Rice, aroused the suspicion of a bank teller, due to the misspelling of the recipient’s name. The lawyer, Albert T. Patrick, then announced that Rice had changed his will to leave the bulk of his fortune to Patrick, rather than to the creation of Rice’s educational institute. A subsequent investigation led by the District Attorney of New York resulted in the arrests of Patrick and of Rice’s butler and valet Charles F. Jones, who had been persuaded to administer chloroform to Rice while he slept. Rice’s friend and personal lawyer in Houston, Captain James A. Baker, aided in the discovery of what turned out to be a fake will with a forged signature. Jones was not prosecuted since he cooperated with the district attorney, and testified against Patrick. Patrick was found guilty of conspiring to steal Rice’s fortune and he was convicted of murder in 1901 (he was pardoned in 1912 due to conflicting medical testimony). Baker helped Rice’s estate direct the fortune, worth $4.6 million in 1904 ($131 million today), towards the founding of what was to be called the Rice Institute, later to become Rice University. The board took control of the assets on April 29 of that year.

    In 1907, the Board of Trustees selected the head of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at Princeton University, Edgar Odell Lovett, to head the Institute, which was still in the planning stages. He came recommended by Princeton University (US)‘s president, Woodrow Wilson. In 1908, Lovett accepted the challenge, and was formally inaugurated as the Institute’s first president on October 12, 1912. Lovett undertook extensive research before formalizing plans for the new Institute, including visits to 78 institutions of higher learning across the world on a long tour between 1908 and 1909. Lovett was impressed by such things as the aesthetic beauty of the uniformity of the architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, a theme which was adopted by the Institute, as well as the residential college system at Cambridge University in England, which was added to the Institute several decades later. Lovett called for the establishment of a university “of the highest grade,” “an institution of liberal and technical learning” devoted “quite as much to investigation as to instruction.” [We must] “keep the standards up and the numbers down,” declared Lovett. “The most distinguished teachers must take their part in undergraduate teaching, and their spirit should dominate it all.”

    Establishment and growth

    In 1911, the cornerstone was laid for the Institute’s first building, the Administration Building, now known as Lovett Hall in honor of the founding president. On September 23, 1912, the 12th anniversary of William Marsh Rice’s murder, the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Letters, Science, and Art began course work with 59 enrolled students, who were known as the “59 immortals,” and about a dozen faculty. After 18 additional students joined later, Rice’s initial class numbered 77, 48 male and 29 female. Unusual for the time, Rice accepted coeducational admissions from its beginning, but on-campus housing would not become co-ed until 1957.

    Three weeks after opening, a spectacular international academic festival was held, bringing Rice to the attention of the entire academic world.

    Per William Marsh Rice’s will and Rice Institute’s initial charter, the students paid no tuition. Classes were difficult, however, and about half of Rice’s students had failed after the first 1912 term. At its first commencement ceremony, held on June 12, 1916, Rice awarded 35 bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree. That year, the student body also voted to adopt the Honor System, which still exists today. Rice’s first doctorate was conferred in 1918 on mathematician Hubert Evelyn Bray.

    The Founder’s Memorial Statue, a bronze statue of a seated William Marsh Rice, holding the original plans for the campus, was dedicated in 1930, and installed in the central academic quad, facing Lovett Hall. The statue was crafted by John Angel. In 2020, Rice students petitioned the university to take down the statue due to the founder’s history as slave owner.

    During World War II, Rice Institute was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which offered students a path to a Navy commission.

    The residential college system proposed by President Lovett was adopted in 1958, with the East Hall residence becoming Baker College, South Hall residence becoming Will Rice College, West Hall becoming Hanszen College, and the temporary Wiess Hall becoming Wiess College.

    In 1959, the Rice Institute Computer went online. 1960 saw Rice Institute formally renamed William Marsh Rice University. Rice acted as a temporary intermediary in the transfer of land between Humble Oil and Refining Company and NASA, for the creation of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (now called Johnson Space Center) in 1962. President John F. Kennedy then made a speech at Rice Stadium reiterating that the United States intended to reach the moon before the end of the decade of the 1960s, and “to become the world’s leading space-faring nation”. The relationship of NASA with Rice University and the city of Houston has remained strong to the present day.

    The original charter of Rice Institute dictated that the university admit and educate, tuition-free, “the white inhabitants of Houston, and the state of Texas”. In 1963, the governing board of Rice University filed a lawsuit to allow the university to modify its charter to admit students of all races and to charge tuition. Ph.D. student Raymond Johnson became the first black Rice student when he was admitted that year. In 1964, Rice officially amended the university charter to desegregate its graduate and undergraduate divisions. The Trustees of Rice University prevailed in a lawsuit to void the racial language in the trust in 1966. Rice began charging tuition for the first time in 1965. In the same year, Rice launched a $33 million ($268 million) development campaign. $43 million ($283 million) was raised by its conclusion in 1970. In 1974, two new schools were founded at Rice, the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management and the Shepherd School of Music. The Brown Foundation Challenge, a fund-raising program designed to encourage annual gifts, was launched in 1976 and ended in 1996 having raised $185 million. The Rice School of Social Sciences was founded in 1979.

    On-campus housing was exclusively for men for the first forty years, until 1957. Jones College was the first women’s residence on the Rice campus, followed by Brown College. According to legend, the women’s colleges were purposefully situated at the opposite end of campus from the existing men’s colleges as a way of preserving campus propriety, which was greatly valued by Edgar Odell Lovett, who did not even allow benches to be installed on campus, fearing that they “might lead to co-fraternization of the sexes”. The path linking the north colleges to the center of campus was given the tongue-in-cheek name of “Virgin’s Walk”. Individual colleges became coeducational between 1973 and 1987, with the single-sex floors of colleges that had them becoming co-ed by 2006. By then, several new residential colleges had been built on campus to handle the university’s growth, including Lovett College, Sid Richardson College, and Martel College.

    Late twentieth and early twenty-first century

    The Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations was held at Rice in 1990. Three years later, in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy was created. In 1997, the Edythe Bates Old Grand Organ and Recital Hall and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, renamed in 2005 for the late Nobel Prize winner and Rice professor Richard E. Smalley, were dedicated at Rice. In 1999, the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology was created. The Rice Owls baseball team was ranked #1 in the nation for the first time in that year (1999), holding the top spot for eight weeks.

    In 2003, the Owls won their first national championship in baseball, which was the first for the university in any team sport, beating Southwest Missouri State (US) in the opening game and then the University of Texas and Stanford University twice each en route to the title. In 2008, President David Leebron issued a ten-point plan titled “Vision for the Second Century” outlining plans to increase research funding, strengthen existing programs, and increase collaboration. The plan has brought about another wave of campus constructions, including the erection the newly renamed BioScience Research Collaborative building (intended to foster collaboration with the adjacent Texas Medical Center), a new recreational center and the renovated Autry Court basketball stadium, and the addition of two new residential colleges, Duncan College and McMurtry College.

    Beginning in late 2008, the university considered a merger with Baylor College of Medicine, though the merger was ultimately rejected in 2010. Rice undergraduates are currently guaranteed admission to Baylor College of Medicine upon graduation as part of the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars program. According to History Professor John Boles’ recent book University Builder: Edgar Odell Lovett and the Founding of the Rice Institute, the first president’s original vision for the university included hopes for future medical and law schools.

    In 2018, the university added an online MBA program, MBA@Rice.

    In June 2019, the university’s president announced plans for a task force on Rice’s “past in relation to slave history and racial injustice”, stating that “Rice has some historical connections to that terrible part of American history and the segregation and racial disparities that resulted directly from it”.

    Campus

    Rice’s campus is a heavily wooded 285-acre (115-hectare) tract of land in the museum district of Houston, located close to the city of West University Place.

    Five streets demarcate the campus: Greenbriar Street, Rice Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Main Street, and University Boulevard. For most of its history, all of Rice’s buildings have been contained within this “outer loop”. In recent years, new facilities have been built close to campus, but the bulk of administrative, academic, and residential buildings are still located within the original pentagonal plot of land. The new Collaborative Research Center, all graduate student housing, the Greenbriar building, and the Wiess President’s House are located off-campus.

    Rice prides itself on the amount of green space available on campus; there are only about 50 buildings spread between the main entrance at its easternmost corner, and the parking lots and Rice Stadium at the West end. The Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum, consisting of more than 4000 trees and shrubs (giving birth to the legend that Rice has a tree for every student), is spread throughout the campus.

    The university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, intended for the campus to have a uniform architecture style to improve its aesthetic appeal. To that end, nearly every building on campus is noticeably Byzantine in style, with sand and pink-colored bricks, large archways and columns being a common theme among many campus buildings. Noteworthy exceptions include the glass-walled Brochstein Pavilion, Lovett College with its Brutalist-style concrete gratings, Moody Center for the Arts with its contemporary design, and the eclectic-Mediterranean Duncan Hall. In September 2011, Travel+Leisure listed Rice’s campus as one of the most beautiful in the United States.

    Lovett Hall, named for Rice’s first president, is the university’s most iconic campus building. Through its Sallyport arch, new students symbolically enter the university during matriculation and depart as graduates at commencement. Duncan Hall, Rice’s computational engineering building, was designed to encourage collaboration between the four different departments situated there. The building’s foyer, drawn from many world cultures, was designed by the architect to symbolically express this collaborative purpose.

    The campus is organized in a number of quadrangles. The Academic Quad, anchored by a statue of founder William Marsh Rice, includes Ralph Adams Cram’s masterpiece, the asymmetrical Lovett Hall, the original administrative building; Fondren Library; Herzstein Hall; the original physics building and home to the largest amphitheater on campus; Sewall Hall for the social sciences and arts; Rayzor Hall for the languages; and Anderson Hall of the Architecture department. The Humanities Building winner of several architectural awards is immediately adjacent to the main quad. Further west lies a quad surrounded by McNair Hall of the Jones Business School; the Baker Institute; and Alice Pratt Brown Hall of the Shepherd School of Music. These two quads are surrounded by the university’s main access road, a one-way loop referred to as the “inner loop”. In the Engineering Quad, a trinity of sculptures by Michael Heizer, collectively entitled 45 Degrees; 90 Degrees; 180 Degrees are flanked by Abercrombie Laboratory; the Cox Building; and the Mechanical Laboratory housing the Electrical; Mechanical; and Earth Science/Civil Engineering departments respectively. Duncan Hall is the latest addition to this quad providing new offices for the Computer Science; Computational and Applied Math; Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Statistics departments.

    Roughly three-quarters of Rice’s undergraduate population lives on campus. Housing is divided among eleven residential colleges which form an integral part of student life at the university The colleges are named for university historical figures and benefactors.While there is wide variation in their appearance; facilities; and dates of founding are an important source of identity for Rice students functioning as dining halls; residence halls; sports teams among other roles. Rice does not have or endorse a Greek system with the residential college system taking its place. Five colleges: McMurtry; Duncan; Martel; Jones; and Brown are located on the north side of campus across from the “South Colleges”; Baker; Will Rice; Lovett, Hanszen; Sid Richardson; and Wiess on the other side of the Academic Quadrangle. Of the eleven colleges Baker is the oldest originally built in 1912 and the twin Duncan and McMurtry colleges are the newest and opened for the first time for the 2009–10 school year. Will Rice; Baker; and Lovett colleges are undergoing renovation to expand their dining facilities as well as the number of rooms available for students.

    The on-campus football facility-Rice Stadium opened in 1950 with a capacity of 70000 seats. After improvements in 2006 the stadium is currently configured to seat 47,000 for football but can readily be reconfigured to its original capacity of 70000, more than the total number of Rice alumni living and deceased. The stadium was the site of Super Bowl VIII and a speech by John F. Kennedy on September 12 1962 in which he challenged the nation to send a man to the moon by the end of the decade. The recently renovated Tudor Fieldhouse formerly known as Autry Court is home to the basketball and volleyball teams. Other stadia include the Rice Track/Soccer Stadium and the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium. A new Rec Center now houses the intramural sports offices and provide an outdoor pool and training and exercise facilities for all Rice students while athletics training will solely be held at Tudor Fieldhouse and the Rice Football Stadium.

    The university and Houston Independent School District jointly established The Rice School-a kindergarten through 8th grade public magnet school in Houston. The school opened in August 1994. Through Cy-Fair ISD Rice University offers a credit course based summer school for grades 8 through 12. They also have skills based classes during the summer in the Rice Summer School.

    Innovation District

    In early 2019 Rice announced the site where the abandoned Sears building in Midtown Houston stood along with its surrounding area would be transformed into the “The Ion” the hub of the 16-acre South Main Innovation District. President of Rice David Leebron stated “We chose the name Ion because it’s from the Greek ienai, which means ‘go’. We see it as embodying the ever-forward motion of discovery, the spark at the center of a truly original idea.”

    Students of Rice and other Houston-area colleges and universities making up the Student Coalition for a Just and Equitable Innovation Corridor are advocating for a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)-a contractual agreement between a developer and a community coalition. Residents of neighboring Third Ward and other members of the Houston Coalition for Equitable Development Without Displacement (HCEDD) have faced consistent opposition from the City of Houston and Rice Management Company to a CBA as traditionally defined in favor of an agreement between the latter two entities without a community coalition signatory.

    Organization

    Rice University is chartered as a non-profit organization and is governed by a privately appointed board of trustees. The board consists of a maximum of 25 voting members who serve four-year terms. The trustees serve without compensation and a simple majority of trustees must reside in Texas including at least four within the greater Houston area. The board of trustees delegates its power by appointing a president to serve as the chief executive of the university. David W. Leebron was appointed president in 2004 and succeeded Malcolm Gillis who served since 1993. The provost six vice presidents and other university officials report to the president. The president is advised by a University Council composed of the provost, eight members of the Faculty Council, two staff members, one graduate student, and two undergraduate students. The president presides over a Faculty Council which has the authority to alter curricular requirements, establish new degree programs, and approve candidates for degrees.

    The university’s academics are organized into several schools. Schools that have undergraduate and graduate programs include:

    The Rice University School of Architecture
    The George R. Brown School of Engineering
    The School of Humanities
    The Shepherd School of Music
    The Wiess School of Natural Sciences
    The Rice University School of Social Sciences

    Two schools have only graduate programs:

    The Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management
    The Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies

    Rice’s undergraduate students benefit from a centralized admissions process which admits new students to the university as a whole, rather than a specific school (the schools of Music and Architecture are decentralized). Students are encouraged to select the major path that best suits their desires; a student can later decide that they would rather pursue study in another field or continue their current coursework and add a second or third major. These transitions are designed to be simple at Rice with students not required to decide on a specific major until their sophomore year of study.

    Rice’s academics are organized into six schools which offer courses of study at the graduate and undergraduate level, with two more being primarily focused on graduate education, while offering select opportunities for undergraduate students. Rice offers 360 degrees in over 60 departments. There are 40 undergraduate degree programs, 51 masters programs, and 29 doctoral programs.

    Faculty members of each of the departments elect chairs to represent the department to each School’s dean and the deans report to the Provost who serves as the chief officer for academic affairs.

    Rice Management Company

    The Rice Management Company manages the $6.5 billion Rice University endowment (June 2019) and $957 million debt. The endowment provides 40% of Rice’s operating revenues. Allison Thacker is the President and Chief Investment Officer of the Rice Management Company, having joined the university in 2011.

    Academics

    Rice is a medium-sized highly residential research university. The majority of enrollments are in the full-time four-year undergraduate program emphasizing arts & sciences and professions. There is a high graduate coexistence with the comprehensive graduate program and a very high level of research activity. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (US) as well as the professional accreditation agencies for engineering, management, and architecture.

    Each of Rice’s departments is organized into one of three distribution groups, and students whose major lies within the scope of one group must take at least 3 courses of at least 3 credit hours each of approved distribution classes in each of the other two groups, as well as completing one physical education course as part of the LPAP (Lifetime Physical Activity Program) requirement. All new students must take a Freshman Writing Intensive Seminar (FWIS) class, and for students who do not pass the university’s writing composition examination (administered during the summer before matriculation), FWIS 100, a writing class, becomes an additional requirement.

    The majority of Rice’s undergraduate degree programs grant B.S. or B.A. degrees. Rice has recently begun to offer minors in areas such as business, energy and water sustainability, and global health.

    Student body

    As of fall 2014, men make up 52% of the undergraduate body and 64% of the professional and post-graduate student body. The student body consists of students from all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, two U.S. Territories, and 83 foreign countries. Forty percent of degree-seeking students are from Texas.

    Research centers and resources

    Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of nanotechnology, artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing and space science.

    Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship – supports entrepreneurs and early-stage technology ventures in Houston and Texas through education, collaboration, and research, ranked No. 1 among university business incubators.
    Baker Institute for Public Policy – a leading nonpartisan public policy think-tank
    BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) – interdisciplinary, cross-campus, and inter-institutional resource between Rice University and Texas Medical Center
    Boniuk Institute – dedicated to religious tolerance and advancing religious literacy, respect and mutual understanding
    Center for African and African American Studies – fosters conversations on topics such as critical approaches to race and racism, the nature of diasporic histories and identities, and the complexity of Africa’s past, present and future
    Chao Center for Asian Studies – research hub for faculty, students and post-doctoral scholars working in Asian studies
    Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (CSWGS) – interdisciplinary academic programs and research opportunities, including the journal Feminist Economics
    Data to Knowledge Lab (D2K) – campus hub for experiential learning in data science
    Digital Signal Processing (DSP) – center for education and research in the field of digital signal processing
    Ethernest Hackerspace – student-run hackerspace for undergraduate engineering students sponsored by the ECE department and the IEEE student chapter
    Humanities Research Center (HRC) – identifies, encourages, and funds innovative research projects by faculty, visiting scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students in the School of Humanities and beyond
    Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) – facilitates the translation of interdisciplinary research and education in biosciences and bioengineering
    Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology – advances applied interdisciplinary research in the areas of computation and information technology
    Kinder Institute for Urban Research – conducts the Houston Area Survey, “the nation’s longest running study of any metropolitan region’s economy, population, life experiences, beliefs and attitudes”
    Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) – a resource for education and research breakthroughs and advances in the broad, multidisciplinary field of nanophotonics
    Moody Center for the Arts – experimental arts space featuring studio classrooms, maker space, audiovisual editing booths, and a gallery and office space for visiting national and international artists
    OpenStax CNX (formerly Connexions) and OpenStax – an open source platform and open access publisher, respectively, of open educational resources
    Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) – space for undergraduate students to design, prototype and deploy solutions to real-world engineering challenges
    Rice Cinema – an independent theater run by the Visual and Dramatic Arts department at Rice which screens documentaries, foreign films, and experimental cinema and hosts film festivals and lectures since 1970
    Rice Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL) – inspires, educates, and develops ethical leaders in technology who will excel in research, industry, non-engineering career paths, or entrepreneurship
    Religion and Public Life Program (RPLP) – a research, training and outreach program working to advance understandings of the role of religion in public life
    Rice Design Alliance (RDA) – outreach and public programs of the Rice School of Architecture
    Rice Center for Quantum Materials (RCQM) – organization dedicated to research and higher education in areas relating to quantum phenomena
    Rice Neuroengineering Initiative (NEI) – fosters research collaborations in neural engineering topics
    Rice Space Institute (RSI) – fosters programs in all areas of space research
    Smalley-Curl Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (SCI) – the nation’s first nanotechnology center
    Welch Institute for Advanced Materials – collaborative research institute to support the foundational research for discoveries in materials science, similar to the model of Salk Institute and Broad Institute
    Woodson Research Center Special Collections & Archives – publisher of print and web-based materials highlighting the department’s primary source collections such as the Houston African American, Asian American, and Jewish History Archives, University Archives, rare books, and hip hop/rap music-related materials from the Swishahouse record label and Houston Folk Music Archive, etc.

    Student life

    Situated on nearly 300 acres (120 ha) in the center of Houston’s Museum District and across the street from the city’s Hermann Park, Rice is a green and leafy refuge; an oasis of learning convenient to the amenities of the nation’s fourth-largest city. Rice’s campus adjoins Hermann Park, the Texas Medical Center, and a neighborhood commercial center called Rice Village. Hermann Park includes the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre and an 18-hole municipal golf course. NRG Park, home of NRG Stadium and the Astrodome, is two miles (3 km) south of the campus. Among the dozen or so museums in the Museum District was (until May 14, 2017) the Rice University Art Gallery, open during the school year from 1995 until it closed in 2017. Easy access to downtown’s theater and nightlife district and to Reliant Park is provided by the Houston METRORail system, with a station adjacent to the campus’s main gate. The campus recently joined the Zipcar program with two vehicles to increase the transportation options for students and staff who need but currently don’t utilize a vehicle.

    Residential colleges

    In 1957, Rice University implemented a residential college system, which was proposed by the university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett. The system was inspired by existing systems in place at University of Oxford (UK) and University of Cambridge (UK) and at several other universities in the United States, most notably Yale University (US). The existing residences known as East, South, West, and Wiess Halls became Baker, Will Rice, Hanszen, and Wiess Colleges, respectively.

    List of residential colleges:

    Baker College, named in honor of Captain James A. Baker, friend and attorney of William Marsh Rice, and first chair of the Rice Board of Governors.
    Will Rice College, named for William M. Rice, Jr., the nephew of the university’s founder, William Marsh Rice.
    Hanszen College, named for Harry Clay Hanszen, benefactor to the university and chairman of the Rice Board of Governors from 1946 to 1950.
    Wiess College, named for Harry Carothers Wiess (1887–1948), one of the founders and one-time president of Humble Oil, now ExxonMobil.
    Jones College, named for Mary Gibbs Jones, wife of prominent Houston philanthropist Jesse Holman Jones.
    Brown College, named for Margaret Root Brown by her in-laws, George R. Brown.
    Lovett College, named after the university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett.
    Sid Richardson College, named for the Sid Richardson Foundation, which was established by Texas oilman, cattleman, and philanthropist Sid W. Richardson.
    Martel College, named for Marian and Speros P. Martel, was built in 2002.
    McMurtry College, named for Rice alumni Burt and Deedee McMurtry, Silicon Valley venture capitalists.
    Duncan College, named for Charles Duncan, Jr., Secretary of Energy.

    Much of the social and academic life as an undergraduate student at Rice is centered around residential colleges. Each residential college has its own cafeteria (serveries) and each residential college has study groups and its own social practices.

    Although each college is composed of a full cross-section of students at Rice, they have over time developed their own traditions and “personalities”. When students matriculate they are randomly assigned to one of the eleven colleges, although “legacy” exceptions are made for students whose siblings or parents have attended Rice. Students generally remain members of the college that they are assigned to for the duration of their undergraduate careers, even if they move off-campus at any point. Students are guaranteed on-campus housing for freshman year and two of the next three years; each college has its own system for determining allocation of the remaining spaces, collectively known as “Room Jacking”. Students develop strong loyalties to their college and maintain friendly rivalry with other colleges, especially during events such as Beer Bike Race and O-Week. Colleges keep their rivalries alive by performing “jacks,” or pranks, on each other, especially during O-Week and Willy Week. During Matriculation, Commencement, and other formal academic ceremonies, the colleges process in the order in which they were established.

    Student-run media

    Rice has a weekly student newspaper (The Rice Thresher), a yearbook (The Campanile), college radio station (KTRU Rice Radio), and now defunct, campus-wide student television station (RTV5). They are based out of the RMC student center. In addition, Rice hosts several student magazines dedicated to a range of different topics; in fact, the spring semester of 2008 saw the birth of two such magazines, a literary sex journal called Open and an undergraduate science research magazine entitled Catalyst.

    The Rice Thresher is published every Wednesday and is ranked by Princeton Review as one of the top campus newspapers nationally for student readership. It is distributed around campus, and at a few other local businesses and has a website. The Thresher has a small, dedicated staff and is known for its coverage of campus news, open submission opinion page, and the satirical Backpage, which has often been the center of controversy. The newspaper has won several awards from the College Media Association, Associated Collegiate Press and Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

    The Rice Campanile was first published in 1916 celebrating Rice’s first graduating class. It has published continuously since then, publishing two volumes in 1944 since the university had two graduating classes due to World War II. The website was created sometime in the early to mid 2000s. The 2015 won the first place Pinnacle for best yearbook from College Media Association.

    KTRU Rice Radio is the student-run radio station. Though most DJs are Rice students, anyone is allowed to apply. It is known for playing genres and artists of music and sound unavailable on other radio stations in Houston, and often, the US. The station takes requests over the phone or online. In 2000 and 2006, KTRU won Houston Press’ Best Radio Station in Houston. In 2003, Rice alum and active KTRU DJ DL’s hip-hip show won Houston PressBest Hip-hop Radio Show. On August 17, 2010, it was announced that Rice University had been in negotiations to sell the station’s broadcast tower, FM frequency and license to the University of Houston System to become a full-time classical music and fine arts programming station. The new station, KUHA, would be operated as a not-for-profit outlet with listener supporters. The FCC approved the sale and granted the transfer of license to the University of Houston System on April 15, 2011, however, KUHA proved to be an even larger failure and so after four and a half years of operation, The University of Houston System announced that KUHA’s broadcast tower, FM frequency and license were once again up for sale in August 2015. KTRU continued to operate much as it did previously, streaming live on the Internet, via apps, and on HD2 radio using the 90.1 signal. Under student leadership, KTRU explored the possibility of returning to FM radio for a number of years. In spring 2015, KTRU was granted permission by the FCC to begin development of a new broadcast signal via LPFM radio. On October 1, 2015, KTRU made its official return to FM radio on the 96.1 signal. While broadcasting on HD2 radio has been discontinued, KTRU continues to broadcast via internet in addition to its LPFM signal.

    RTV5 is a student-run television network available as channel 5 on campus. RTV5 was created initially as Rice Broadcast Television in 1997; RBT began to broadcast the following year in 1998, and aired its first live show across campus in 1999. It experienced much growth and exposure over the years with successful programs like Drinking with Phil, The Meg & Maggie Show, which was a variety and call-in show, a weekly news show, and extensive live coverage in December 2000 of the shut down of KTRU by the administration. In spring 2001, the Rice undergraduate community voted in the general elections to support RBT as a blanket tax organization, effectively providing a yearly income of $10,000 to purchase new equipment and provide the campus with a variety of new programming. In the spring of 2005, RBT members decided the station needed a new image and a new name: Rice Television 5. One of RTV5’s most popular shows was the 24-hour show, where a camera and couch placed in the RMC stayed on air for 24 hours. One such show is held in fall and another in spring, usually during a weekend allocated for visits by prospective students. RTV5 has a video on demand site at rtv5.rice.edu. The station went off the air in 2014 and changed its name to Rice Video Productions. In 2015 the group’s funding was threatened, but ultimately maintained. In 2016 the small student staff requested to no longer be a blanket-tax organization. In the fall of 2017, the club did not register as a club.

    The Rice Review, also known as R2, is a yearly student-run literary journal at Rice University that publishes prose, poetry, and creative nonfiction written by undergraduate students, as well as interviews. The journal was founded in 2004 by creative writing professor and author Justin Cronin.

    The Rice Standard was an independent, student-run variety magazine modeled after such publications as The New Yorker and Harper’s. Prior to fall 2009, it was regularly published three times a semester with a wide array of content, running from analyses of current events and philosophical pieces to personal essays, short fiction and poetry. In August 2009, The Standard transitioned to a completely online format with the launch of their redesigned website, http://www.ricestandard.org. The first website of its kind on Rice’s campus, The Standard featured blog-style content written by and for Rice students. The Rice Standard had around 20 regular contributors, and the site features new content every day (including holidays). In 2017 no one registered The Rice Standard as a club within the university.

    Open, a magazine dedicated to “literary sex content,” predictably caused a stir on campus with its initial publication in spring 2008. A mixture of essays, editorials, stories and artistic photography brought Open attention both on campus and in the Houston Chronicle. The third and last annual edition of Open was released in spring of 2010.

    Vahalla is the Graduate Student Association on-campus bar under the steps of the chemistry building.

    Athletics

    Rice plays in NCAA Division I athletics and is part of Conference USA. Rice was a member of the Western Athletic Conference before joining Conference USA in 2005. Rice is the second-smallest school, measured by undergraduate enrollment, competing in NCAA Division I FBS football, only ahead of Tulsa.

    The Rice baseball team won the 2003 College World Series, defeating Stanford, giving Rice its only national championship in a team sport. The victory made Rice University the smallest school in 51 years to win a national championship at the highest collegiate level of the sport. The Rice baseball team has played on campus at Reckling Park since the 2000 season. As of 2010, the baseball team has won 14 consecutive conference championships in three different conferences: the final championship of the defunct Southwest Conference, all nine championships while a member of the Western Athletic Conference, and five more championships in its first five years as a member of Conference USA. Additionally, Rice’s baseball team has finished third in both the 2006 and 2007 College World Series tournaments. Rice now has made six trips to Omaha for the CWS. In 2004, Rice became the first school ever to have three players selected in the first eight picks of the MLB draft when Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Townsend were selected third, fourth, and eighth, respectively. In 2007, Joe Savery was selected as the 19th overall pick.

    Rice has been very successful in women’s sports in recent years. In 2004–05, Rice sent its women’s volleyball, soccer, and basketball teams to their respective NCAA tournaments. The women’s swim team has consistently brought at least one member of their team to the NCAA championships since 2013. In 2005–06, the women’s soccer, basketball, and tennis teams advanced, with five individuals competing in track and field. In 2006–07, the Rice women’s basketball team made the NCAA tournament, while again five Rice track and field athletes received individual NCAA berths. In 2008, the women’s volleyball team again made the NCAA tournament. In 2011 the Women’s Swim team won their first conference championship in the history of the university. This was an impressive feat considering they won without having a diving team. The team repeated their C-USA success in 2013 and 2014. In 2017, the women’s basketball team, led by second-year head coach Tina Langley, won the Women’s Basketball Invitational, defeating UNC-Greensboro 74–62 in the championship game at Tudor Fieldhouse. Though not a varsity sport, Rice’s ultimate frisbee women’s team, named Torque, won consecutive Division III national championships in 2014 and 2015.

    In 2006, the football team qualified for its first bowl game since 1961, ending the second-longest bowl drought in the country at the time. On December 22, 2006, Rice played in the New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana against the Sun Belt Conference champion, Troy. The Owls lost 41–17. The bowl appearance came after Rice had a 14-game losing streak from 2004–05 and went 1–10 in 2005. The streak followed an internally authorized 2003 McKinsey report that stated football alone was responsible for a $4 million deficit in 2002. Tensions remained high between the athletic department and faculty, as a few professors who chose to voice their opinion were in favor of abandoning the football program. The program success in 2006, the Rice Renaissance, proved to be a revival of the Owl football program, quelling those tensions. David Bailiff took over the program in 2007 and has remained head coach. Jarett Dillard set an NCAA record in 2006 by catching a touchdown pass in 13 consecutive games and took a 15-game overall streak into the 2007 season.

    In 2008, the football team posted a 9-3 regular season, capping off the year with a 38–14 victory over Western Michigan University (US) in the Texas Bowl. The win over Western Michigan marked the Owls’ first bowl win in 45 years.

    Rice Stadium also serves as the performance venue for the university’s Marching Owl Band, or “MOB.” Despite its name, the MOB is a scatter band that focuses on performing humorous skits and routines rather than traditional formation marching.

    Rice Owls men’s basketball won 10 conference titles in the former Southwest Conference (1918, 1935*, 1940, 1942*, 1943*, 1944*, 1945, 1949*, 1954*, 1970; * denotes shared title). Most recently, guard Morris Almond was drafted in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. Rice named former Cal Bears head coach Ben Braun as head basketball coach to succeed Willis Wilson, fired after Rice finished the 2007–2008 season with a winless (0-16) conference record and overall record of 3-27.

    Rice’s mascot is Sammy the Owl. In previous decades, the university kept several live owls on campus in front of Lovett College, but this practice has been discontinued, due to public pressure over the welfare of the owls.

    Rice also has a 12-member coed cheerleading squad and a coed dance team, both of which perform at football and basketball games throughout the year.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:43 pm on June 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Gap in Exoplanet Size Shifts with Age", As time goes on larger planets lose their atmospheres which explains the evolution of the radius valley the researchers suggested., , , , Changes with Age, , , Exoplanet research, It’s been proposed that some planets lose their atmospheres over time which causes them to change size., Most planets develop atmospheres early on but then lose them effectively shrinking in size from just below Neptune’s (roughly 4 times Earth’s radius) to just above Earth’s., , That deluge of data has inadvertently revealed a cosmic mystery: Planets just a bit larger than Earth appear to be relatively rare in the exoplanet canon., Today thousands of exoplanets are known to inhabit our local swath of the Milky Way., Twenty-six years ago astronomers discovered the first planet orbiting a distant Sun-like star.   

    From Eos: “Gap in Exoplanet Size Shifts with Age” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    6.21.21
    Katherine Kornei

    1
    Planets just slightly larger than Earth are unusually rare in the Milky Way. Credit: iStock.com/oorka.

    Twenty-six years ago astronomers discovered the first planet orbiting a distant Sun-like star. Today thousands of exoplanets are known to inhabit our local swath of the Milky Way, and that deluge of data has inadvertently revealed a cosmic mystery: Planets just a bit larger than Earth appear to be relatively rare in the exoplanet canon.

    A team has now used observations of hundreds of exoplanets to show that this planetary gap isn’t static but instead evolves with planet age—younger planetary systems are more likely to be missing slightly smaller planets, and older systems are more apt to be without slightly larger planets. This evolution is consistent with the hypothesis that atmospheric loss—literally, a planet’s atmosphere blowing away over time—is responsible for this so-called “radius valley,” the researchers suggested.

    Changes with Age

    In 2017, scientists reported [The Astronomical Journal] the first confident detection of the radius valley. (Four years earlier, a different team had published a tentative detection [The Astrophysical Journal). Defined by a relative paucity of exoplanets roughly 50%–100% larger than Earth, the radius valley is readily apparent when looking at histograms of planet size, said Julia Venturini, an astrophysicist at the ISSI:International Space Science Institute in Bern (CH), Switzerland, not involved in the new research. “There’s a depletion of planets at about 1.7 Earth radii.”

    Trevor David, an astrophysicist at the Flatiron Institute (US) in New York, and his colleagues were curious to know whether the location of the radius valley—that is, the planetary size range it encompasses—evolves with planet age. That’s an important question, said David, because finding evolution in the radius valley can shed light on its cause or causes. It’s been proposed that some planets lose their atmospheres over time which causes them to change size. If the timescale over which the radius valley evolves matches the timescale of atmospheric loss, it might be possible to pin down that process as the explanation, said David.

    In a new study published in The Astronomical Journal, the researchers analyzed planets originally discovered using the Kepler Space Telescope. They focused on a sample of roughly 1,400 planets whose host stars had been observed spectroscopically. Their first task was to determine the planets’ ages, which they assessed indirectly by estimating the ages of their host stars. (Because it takes just a few million years for planets to form around a star, these objects, astronomically speaking, have very nearly the same ages.)

    The team calculated planet ages ranging from about 500 million years to 12 billion years, but “age is one of those parameters that’s very difficult to determine for most stars,” David said. That’s because estimates of stars’ ages rely on theoretical models of how stars evolve, and those models aren’t perfect when it comes to individual stars, he said. For that reason, the researchers decided to base most of their analyses on a coarse division of their sample into two age groups, one corresponding to stars younger than a few billion years and one encompassing stars older than about 2–3 billion years.

    A Moving Valley

    When David and his collaborators looked at the distribution of planet sizes in each group, they indeed found a shift in the radius valley: Planets within it tended to be about 5% smaller, on average, in younger planetary systems compared with older planetary systems. It wasn’t wholly surprising to find this evolution, but it was unexpected that it persisted over such long timescales [billions of years], said David. “What was surprising was how long this evolution seems to be.”

    These findings are consistent with planets losing their atmospheres over time, David and his colleagues proposed. The idea is that most planets develop atmospheres early on but then lose them effectively shrinking in size from just below Neptune’s (roughly 4 times Earth’s radius) to just above Earth’s. “We’re inferring that some sub-Neptunes are being converted to super-Earths through atmospheric loss,” David told Eos. As time goes on larger planets lose their atmospheres which explains the evolution of the radius valley the researchers suggested.

    Kicking Away Atmospheres

    Atmospheric loss can occur via several mechanisms, scientists believe, but two in particular are believed to be relatively common. Both involve energy being transferred into a planet’s atmosphere to the point that it can reach thousands of degrees kelvin. That input of energy gives the atoms and molecules within an atmosphere a literal kick, and some of them, particularly lighter species like hydrogen, can escape.

    “You can boil the atmosphere of a planet,” said Akash Gupta, a planetary scientist at the University of California-Los Angeles (US) not involved in the research.

    In the first mechanism—photoevaporation—the energy is provided by X-ray and ultraviolet photons emitted by a planet’s host star. In the second mechanism—core cooling—the source of the energy is the planet itself. An assembling planet is formed from successive collisions of rocky objects, and all of those collisions deposit energy into the forming planet. Over time, planets reradiate that energy, some of which makes its way into their atmospheres.

    Theoretical studies [The Astrophysical Journal] have predicted that photoevaporation functions over relatively short timescales—about 100 million years—while core cooling persists over billions of years. But concluding that core cooling is responsible for the evolution in the radius valley would be premature, said David, because some researchers have suggested that photoevaporation can also act over billions of years in some cases. It’s hard to pinpoint which is more likely at play, said David. “We can’t rule out either the photoevaporation or core-powered mass loss theories.”

    It’s also a possibility that the radius valley might arise because of how planets form, not how they evolve. In the future, David and his colleagues plan to study extremely young planets, those only about 10 million years old. These youngsters of the universe should preserve more information about their formation, the researchers hope.

    See the full article here .

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

    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 9:17 pm on June 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Kepler 52 and Kepler 968-Young exoplanet siblings", , , , , , , Exoplanet research   

    From Columbia University (US) via COSMOS (AU) : “Kepler 52 and Kepler 968-Young exoplanet siblings” 

    Columbia U bloc

    From Columbia University (US)

    via

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    COSMOS (AU)

    16 June 2021
    Richard A. Lovett

    The exoplanets Kepler 52 and Kepler 968 are really part of a bigger system.

    Two exoplanet systems – Kepler 52 and Kepler 968 – that have been drifting across the galaxy for hundreds of millions of years have proven to be parts of a 400-member star cluster.

    The two systems were discovered several years ago by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which spotted them when they passed between us and their stars, causing their stars’ light to dim briefly.

    At the time, they were thought to be unrelated. But in 2019, astronomers using data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia space telescope realised they were part of a far-flung cluster called Theia 520, which spans a 20-degree swath across the northern sky.

    This isn’t a cluster you could see on your own. “It’s really diffuse and sprawling,” says Jason Curtis of Columbia University, speaking last week at a virtual meeting of the American Astronomical Society (US).

    Science paper

    It was only the precision of the Gaia space telescope that allowed it to be spotted at all, because Gaia’s hyper-precise star-tracking data revealed all the stars in it to be moving in a single, coherent group. This indicated that they had come from the same birth cluster, now dispersing.

    The next step, Curtis says, was to figure out how old the two planetary systems were. Prior estimates of the ages of their stars had been inconclusive, serving up answers that spanned pretty much the entire age of the universe.

    But once he knew they were both members of a cluster, Curtis says, it was possible to use a different method to determine the age of the cluster, rather than the individual stars.

    To do that, he and a team of high school students used data from Kepler, Gaia, and a 48-inch telescope on Mount Palomar in Southern California to calculate the rotation rates of 130 of Theia 520’s stars, graphing them against the stars’ masses.

    All of this was done with publicly available date, easily available online.

    “This underscores the importance of all-sky surveys and public archives,” says Marcel Agüeros, an astronomer at Columbia University and a co-author of the study.

    The results proved that the Kepler 52 and Kepler 968 stars aren’t all that ancient. Instead, Curtis says, they appear to be about 350 million years old.

    That’s because stars in a cluster are born spinning at a fairly wide range of rates, ranging from a few hours to a few days or tens of days. But as they age, they slow down, with faster-rotating stars slowing more quickly than slower-rotating ones, and bigger ones responding differently from smaller ones.

    By graphing the distribution of spin rates against mass, Curtis says, it’s possible to estimate the age of a cluster. “At any age there’s a unique signature,” he says.

    Doing this for clusters with known exoplanet systems is important, he adds, because it helps astronomers understand how planetary systems evolve over time.

    “Planets in clusters provide us with a snapshot in time,” says Elisabeth Newton, an astronomer at Dartmouth College who was not involved in the study. “When we know exactly how old planets are, we can use them to piece together the story of how planets and planetary systems evolve. Knowing that Kepler 52 and 968 are only a few hundred million years old is especially valuable because we haven’t yet found many planets that young.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Columbia U Campus
    Columbia University (US) 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 7:41 am on June 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Rogue Exoplanets Lurking in Space Could Have Habitable Moons Scientists Say", , , , , Exoplanet research, , , University of Concepción [Universidad de Concepción] (CL)   

    From University of Concepción [Universidad de Concepción] (CL) via Science Alert (AU) : “Rogue Exoplanets Lurking in Space Could Have Habitable Moons Scientists Say” 

    From University of Concepción [Universidad de Concepción] (CL)

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert (AU)

    12 JUNE 2021
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    Artist’s impression of a potentially habitable exomoon. (Tommaso Grassi/LMU)

    It’s hard to tell what’s lurking out there, in the dark voids between the stars.

    Evidence, however, suggests the existence of a vast population of rogue exoplanets, set adrift and tethered to no star. Far from the live-giving warmth a star provides, these lonely exoplanets are unlikely to be habitable.

    Their moons might be another story.

    According to new mathematical modeling, some of those moons – at least, those with very specific conditions – could potentially harbor both atmospheres and liquid water, thanks to a combination of cosmic radiation and the tidal forces exerted on the moon by the gravitational interaction with its planet.

    While it’s difficult to catalog exoplanets in general, never mind exoplanets unattached to a star, surveys have identified candidates by studying the gravitational effect these exoplanets should have on distant starlight.

    Estimates from these surveys suggest there may be at least one rogue Jupiter-sized gas giant exoplanet for every star in the Milky Way.

    If so, that’s at least 100 billion rogue exoplanets – and previous research found that at least some of these rogue exoplanets could have been yeeted out of their home system along with an exomoon. (We’ve not yet conclusively detected an exomoon, but given the preponderance of moons within the Solar System, the existence of exomoons is all but certain.)

    Here on Earth, most life relies upon a food web resting on a foundation of photosynthesis – that is, it absolutely requires the light and heat of the Sun. This heat is also what helps keep the water on Earth’s surface liquid – a prerequisite for life as we know it.

    Yet, out beyond the Solar System’s frost line, where liquid water is expected to freeze, there are places where it can still be found. These are the ice moons Ganymede and Europa, in orbit around Jupiter, and Enceladus, in Saturnian orbit.

    Although encased in thick shells of ice, these moons harbor liquid oceans below their surfaces, thought to be kept from freezing by internal heat generated by the stretching and squeezing exerted by the planets’ gravitational field as the moons orbit.

    Thus, it’s thought that Europa and Enceladus might harbor life. Although shielded from sunlight, there is a type of ecosystem here on Earth that doesn’t rely on the photosynthetic food web – the hydrothermal vents, where heat and chemicals escape from Earth’s interior, into the bottom of the ocean.

    Around these vents, bacteria that harness energy from chemical reactions thrive; on those bacteria, other organisms can feed, building a whole new food web that doesn’t involve sunlight at all.

    So, a team of scientists led by astronomer Patricio Javier Ávila of the University of Concepción in Chile sought to model the possibility of such exomoons existing around rogue gas giant exoplanets.

    Specifically, an exoplanet the mass of Jupiter, hosting an exomoon the mass of Earth with an atmosphere that’s 90 percent carbon dioxide and 10 percent hydrogen, over the system’s evolutionary history.

    Their findings suggest that a significant amount of water can be formed in the exomoon’s atmosphere, and retained in liquid form.

    Cosmic radiation would be the main driver of chemical kinematics to convert hydrogen and carbon dioxide into water. This would produce 10,000 times less water than Earth’s oceans, but 100 times more than the atmosphere – that, the researchers said, would be sufficient for life.

    Tidal forces from the exoplanet’s gravity would then generate much of the heat required to keep the water liquid. Even more heat could be contributed by carbon dioxide in the exomoon’s atmosphere, which could create a greenhouse effect to also help keep the world temperate.

    “The presence of water on the surface of the exomoon, affected by the capability of the atmosphere to keep a temperature above the melting point, might favor the development of prebiotic chemistry,” the researchers wrote in their paper [International Journal of Astrobiology].

    “Under these conditions, if the orbital parameters are stable to guarantee a constant tidal heating, once water is formed, it remains liquid over the entire system evolution, and therefore providing favorable conditions for the emergence of life.”

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    University of Concepción [Universidad de Concepción] (CL) is a traditional Chilean private university, the work of the Penquista community, one of the most traditional and prestigious in its country, considered complex due to its extensive research in the various areas of knowledge. Founded on May 14, 1919, it is the third oldest university in Chile, and one of the 25 universities belonging to the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities [Universidad Católica del Norte] (CL).

    Its headquarters are located in the city of Concepción, and also has two other campuses in Chillán and Los Ángeles. In a citizen survey carried out in 2012, it was chosen as the symbol that most identifies Penquists.

    It was the first University created in the center-south zone of the country, besides being the 1st to be constituted as a private law corporation and belong to the Cruz del Sur University Network; it also belongs to the G9 University Network. The University of Concepción also had a pioneering role in the reform movement of Chilean universities that took place at the end of the 1960s. It was the first Chilean university that approved the University Reform in that period (1968), giving greater participation to students in university management.

    Its main promoter was Chilean educator and lawyer Enrique Molina Garmendia, who sought to create the 1st secular university in Chile. As part of its educational line, the University of Concepción devotes a large part of its budget to academic research. It has in its facilities the most complete museum of Chilean art in the country, several sports centers and a network of 11 libraries, the main one occupying an area of 10,000 m² with a total of 100,000 volumes.

    By 2012, the total number of graduates of this house of studies amounted to 57,000. It also teaches 23,700 students, 2,166 of them graduate programs; 72% of its professors have doctorates or master’s degrees and its infrastructure, with 243,556 m² built, is one of the largest in Chile.

    It is currently accredited by the National Accreditation Commission (CNA-Chile) for the maximum period of 7 years (of a maximum of 7), from November 2016 to November 2023. Figure in the third position within the Chilean universities according to the webometric classification of the CSIC (July 2017) and in the third position according to the AméricaEconomía 2017 ranking as well as national and international rankings. Within the Chilean universities, it is also among the 11 that figure in the QS 2017 world university ranking, among the 10 that appear in the Times Higher Education 2017 ranking, and among the 25 that appear in the ranking of Scimago Institution Rankings (SIR) 2017, with the 3rd position nationally and 572th worldwide.

    Its Concepción campus was declared a National Heritage in 2016 by the Council of National Monuments of Chile; what makes it the 1st and only University in Chile to have this recognition due to the design and architectural style of its environment that has been implemented in its buildings and campus-level environment since its foundation; the proclamation grants the university special protection and conservation of the campus and its space by the state; therefore, any intervention to the same has to be reported to the Council of Monuments, while any damage and type of vandalism that jeopardizes the integrity and security of the campus will be seriously penalized according to the law that regulates and covers the National Monuments, as well as the prompt construction of the 1st and only Bío Bío Technological Science Park (PACYT) in all of Chile located in the Bío-Bío Region, near the campus of the Universidad de Concepción; which at the same time will be in charge of the administration, organization, and projection of new ideas with a view to the future of it together with the Government of Chile; this initiative is going to be projected as a productive space of the future and a relevant pole of the development of the country, the place where all the creative potential will be housed, knowledge and innovations of high impact will be generated.

    Schools and Departments

    The University of Concepción is made up of 19 schools and departments:

    Department of Agronomy.
    Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Geography.
    Department of Biological Sciences.
    School of Economics and Business Administration.
    Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics.
    Department of Forestry.
    School of Law and Social Sciences.
    Department of Natural and Oceanographic Sciences.
    Department of Chemical Sciences.
    Department of Nursing.
    Department of Social Sciences.
    School of Veterinary Science.
    School of Education.
    Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry.
    School of Humanities and Arts.
    Department of Engineering.
    Department of Agricultural Engineering.
    School of Medicine.
    School of Dentistry.
    School of Pharmacy.
    School of Environmental Sciences

     
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