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  • richardmitnick 1:56 pm on July 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Another material in the sediments is cosmogenic dust from outer space-tiny micrometeorites that bombard the Earth each day., , Dust is not only found on land though that is where it is most familiar to us. The pesky particles that build up on coffee tables also infiltrate our oceans., Geochemistry, Knowing how nutrient content levels have changed over millions of years can tell us more about how different plankton communities involved in the biological carbon pump have evolved ., , , Plankton use iron and other nutrients from the tiny specks to grow., , Recent research suggests that vents could be an important source of iron., , The scientists had to trek 10000 nautical miles through the South Pacific to a location near the Point Nemo region-the furthest point in the global ocean from land., There are no near-shore areas that will give you 100 million years of climate history so scientists need to go extreme locations to drill for sediments of that age.,   

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US) : “Secrets in the Dust” 

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US)

    September 24, 2020 [Re-presented 7.15.21]
    Evan Lubofsky

    1
    Credit: Natalie Renier © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    In the spring of 2010, a satellite the size of a small school bus plunged through the upper atmosphere like a fiery cannonball as it fell to the South Pacific Ocean, hair-raisingly close to where scientists aboard the research vessel (R/V) JOIDES Resolution happened to be working.

    “We got an alert from the European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) that it was bringing a satellite back down, basically telling us that we had to move within the next 24 hours,” says WHOI deputy director Rick Murray, who was there.

    The ship moved to a new location and avoided a catastrophic, albeit unlikely, collision with spacecraft. But, Murray says, the incident was “a stark reminder of how far away we actually were from everything else on this planet.”

    The researchers were in that desolate stretch of ocean— an area so removed from humanity that it’s become a cemetery for dying spacecraft—to learn about earlier episodes of climate change that can help inform future changes. Specifically, they were coring for ocean sediments, which contain various amounts of dust. “We can use the dust,” Murray says, “to tease out information about how climate changed in the Southern Hemisphere over millions of years.”

    A dusty ocean

    Dust is not only found on land though that is where it is most familiar to us. The pesky particles that build up on coffee tables also infiltrate our oceans, thanks to winds that constantly sweep it off land into the atmosphere. And that’s good, since plankton use iron and other nutrients from the tiny specks to grow. In the process, they draw down heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere above. When plankton eventually die and sink, some of them become buried in the seafloor. The carbon they’ve captured is buried along with them. As a result, dust has a direct and important impact on climate.

    Scientists at WHOI are investigating the amount of dust blown into the Southern Ocean over tens of millions of years. In doing so, they hope to pinpoint when the Earth went through periods of warm, slightly moister weather, and when the planet turned cooler and drier.

    Ann Dunlea, a marine geochemist at WHOI and one of Murray’s former graduate students when they were at Boston University (US), has been analyzing sediment samples from the 2010 R/V JOIDES Resolution expedition. She says looking at dust fluxes in the ocean over time enables her to understand the climatic history of the Southern Hemisphere and know, for example, at what point Australia became a dry and dusty place. It happened after the land mass dislodged from Antarctica 50-35 million years ago and migrated north, she says.

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    WHOI marine geochemist Ann Dunlea samples sediment from a core drilled on the R/V JOIDES Resolution. Analysis of dust in the samples allows her to reconstruct the climatic history of the Southern Hemisphere over tens of millions of years. Photo by Alex Reis.

    “In my data, you can see when the continent became desert-like as it tectonically migrated to 30 degrees south latitude,” Dunlea says. She can tell by the amount of dust that came off and drifted into the open ocean.

    Dust quantities are helping her reconstruct the region’s climactic history, which can inform predictions of future climate. But Dunlea is also analyzing the “oozy clay goo” to understand more about how iron and other micronutrients have cycled across ocean basins and influenced biological productivity in this oceanic desert, where nutrients run scarce. “Knowing how nutrient content levels have changed over millions of years can tell us more about how different plankton communities involved in the biological carbon pump have evolved over these time scales,” she says.

    A place of extremes

    None of these analyses would be possible without ancient ocean sediments, those that go way back to when dinosaurs walked the Earth.

    To collect sediments of that vintage, Murray and his colleagues had to trek 10,000 nautical miles through the South Pacific to a location near the Point Nemo region-the furthest point in the global ocean from land. “The sediment there is unique in that it accumulates incredibly slowly—about a meter per million years,” Murray says. “This means that there is a lot of time for the sediments to collect dust and minerals that we can use for analysis.”

    He says there are no near-shore areas that will give you 100 million years of climate history so scientists need to go extreme locations to drill for sediments of that age.

    “We were so far from anything, we would have been in a lot of trouble if something went wrong during the cruise. Like a satellite crashing down on us,” he laughs.

    Dust isn’t the only thing that persists in these ancient sediments. They also contain dormant deep-sea microbes that researchers from the JAPAN AGENCY FOR MARINE-EARTH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY [国立研究開発法人海洋研究開発機構] (JP) (JAMSTEC) recently incubated, fed, and woke from their 100-million-year snooze fests.

    Another extreme, Murray says, was the tap-water-like clarity of the seawater where they drilled. “At one point we looked over the side of the ship and saw what appeared to be five-inch fish swimming deep down. When they came up to the surface, we couldn’t believe these tiny fish were actually 18-foot sharks!”

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    Due to incredibly clear waters, 18-foot sharks like the white-tipped shark shown here, looked like small fish down deep from the side of the ship during the 2010 R/V JOIDES Resolution expedition. Photo by Carlos Alvarez Zarikian, International Ocean Discovery Program, Texas A&M University (US))

    Understanding the sources

    Dunlea has found a window into ancient climate patterns, but the process hasn’t been without challenges. For instance, she has had to develop analytical techniques to distinguish continental dust from volcanic ash, which look identical even under a microscope. She must analyze the chemical composition of the sediments and ferret out hidden trends in the data with advanced statistical techniques.

    “It’s important to know what’s dust and what’s ash, since ash won’t tell us anything about warm or cold periods in the geologic record, and factoring it in will skew our results,” Dunlea says. “The ash can tell us, however, more about the history of volcanism, how many eruptions there have been, and how that may have impacted global climate.”

    Another material she has found in the sediments is cosmogenic dust from outer space-tiny micrometeorites that bombard the Earth each day. Dunlea says the slowly-accumulating sediment in the South Pacific Gyre also allows for a high concentration of these cosmic particles, some of which she can extract with a magnet.

    The next phase of the research will involve investigating how much iron content in the ocean may be coming from another source: metal-rich fluids erupting from hydrothermal vents on the seafloor.

    “It is commonly assumed that almost all iron in surface waters comes from dust, but recent research suggests that vents could be another important source of iron,” Dunlea says. “It’s unclear how far hydrothermal plumes can travel or if iron from them can reach surface waters, so those are some of the questions we’re trying to tackle in order to better understand past climate patterns and improve our predictions of future ones.”

    This research is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences (US).

    See the full article here .

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    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

    Mission Statement

    The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US) is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.

    Vision & Mission

    The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.

    The Institution is organized into six departments, the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research, and a marine policy center. Its shore-based facilities are located in the village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts(US) and a mile and a half away on the Quissett Campus. The bulk of the Institution’s funding comes from grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation(US) and other government agencies, augmented by foundations and private donations.

    WHOI scientists, engineers, and students collaborate to develop theories, test ideas, build seagoing instruments, and collect data in diverse marine environments. Ships operated by WHOI carry research scientists throughout the world’s oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels (R/V Atlantis and R/V Neil Armstrong); the coastal craft Tioga; small research craft such as the dive-operation work boat Echo; the deep-diving human-occupied submersible Alvin; the tethered, remotely operated vehicle Jason/Medea; and autonomous underwater vehicles such as the REMUS and SeaBED.
    WHOI offers graduate and post-doctoral studies in marine science. There are several fellowship and training programs, and graduate degrees are awarded through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US). WHOI is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (US). WHOI also offers public outreach programs and informal education through its Exhibit Center and summer tours. The Institution has a volunteer program and a membership program, WHOI Associate.

    On October 1, 2020, Peter B. de Menocal became the institution’s eleventh president and director.

    History

    In 1927, a National Academy of Sciences(US) committee concluded that it was time to “consider the share of the United States of America in a worldwide program of oceanographic research.” The committee’s recommendation for establishing a permanent independent research laboratory on the East Coast to “prosecute oceanography in all its branches” led to the founding in 1930 of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution(US).

    A $2.5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation supported the summer work of a dozen scientists, construction of a laboratory building and commissioning of a research vessel, the 142-foot (43 m) ketch R/V Atlantis, whose profile still forms the Institution’s logo.

    WHOI grew substantially to support significant defense-related research during World War II, and later began a steady growth in staff, research fleet, and scientific stature. From 1950 to 1956, the director was Dr. Edward “Iceberg” Smith, an Arctic explorer, oceanographer and retired Coast Guard rear admiral.

    In 1977 the institution appointed the influential oceanographer John Steele as director, and he served until his retirement in 1989.

    On 1 September 1985, a joint French-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution identified the location of the wreck of the RMS Titanic which sank off the coast of Newfoundland 15 April 1912.

    On 3 April 2011, within a week of resuming of the search operation for Air France Flight 447, a team led by WHOI, operating full ocean depth autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) owned by the Waitt Institute discovered, by means of sidescan sonar, a large portion of debris field from flight AF447.

    In March 2017 the institution effected an open-access policy to make its research publicly accessible online.

    The Institution has maintained a long and controversial business collaboration with the treasure hunter company Odyssey Marine. Likewise, WHOI has participated in the location of the San José galleon in Colombia for the commercial exploitation of the shipwreck by the Government of President Santos and a private company.

    In 2019, iDefense reported that China’s hackers had launched cyberattacks on dozens of academic institutions in an attempt to gain information on technology being developed for the United States Navy. Some of the targets included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The attacks have been underway since at least April 2017.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:03 pm on July 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New Type of Stellar Grain Discovered", Allende meteorite (which fell to Earth in 1969), CAIs: calcium- and aluminum-rich inclusions found in certain meteorites., , , Geochemistry, , Rubidium-87, Unusually high amounts of strontium-84-a relatively rare light isotope of the element strontium that is so-named for the 84 neutrons in its nucleus.   

    From California Institute of Technology (US) : “New Type of Stellar Grain Discovered” 

    Caltech Logo

    From California Institute of Technology (US)

    July 09, 2021
    Robert Perkins
    (626) 395‑1862
    rperkins@caltech.edu

    Unusual chemistry of grain could tell scientists more about the origin of Earth’s water.

    1
    Allende meteorite (which fell to Earth in 1969)

    Scientists have discovered a new type of star dust whose composition indicates that it formed during a rare form of nucleosynthesis (the process through which new atomic nuclei are created) and could shed new light on the history of water on Earth.

    A team led by cosmochemists from Caltech and Victoria University of Wellington (NZ) studied ancient minerals aggregates within the Allende meteorite (which fell to Earth in 1969) and found that many of them had unusually high amounts of strontium-84-a relatively rare light isotope of the element strontium that is so-named for the 84 neutrons in its nucleus.

    “Strontium-84 is part of a family of isotopes produced by a nucleosynthetic process, named the p-process, which remains mysterious,” says Caltech’s François L. H. Tissot, assistant professor of geochemistry. “Our results points to the survival of grains possibly containing pure strontium-84. This is exciting, as the physical identification of such grains would provide a unique chance to learn more about the p-process.”

    Tissot and collaborator Bruce L. A. Charlier of Victoria University of Wellington are co-lead authors on a study describing the findings that was published in Science Advances on July 9.

    “This is really interesting,” Charlier says. “We want to know what the nature of this material is and how it fits into the mix of ingredients that went to form the recipe for the planets.”

    Strontium (atomic symbol: Sr), a chemically reactive metal, has four stable isotopes: strontium-84 and its heavier cousins that have 86, 87, or 88 neutrons in their nuclei.

    3
    Strontium. https://www.britannica.com/science/strontium.

    Scientists have found that strontium is useful when attempting to date objects from the early solar system because one of its heavy isotopes, strontium-87, is produced by the decay of the radioactive isotope rubidium-87 (atomic symbol: Rb).

    4
    Rubidium. https://www.britannica.com/science/rubidium

    Rubidium-87 has a very long half-life, 49 billion years, which is more than three times the age of the universe. Half-life represents the amount of time required for the radioactivity of an isotope to drop to one-half its original value, allowing these isotopes to serve as chronometers for dating samples on varying time scales. The most famous radioactive isotope used for dating is carbon-14, the radioactive isotope of carbon; with its half-life of roughly 5,700 years, carbon-14 can be used to determine the ages of organic (carbon-containing) materials on human timescales, up to about 60,000 years. Rubidium-87, in contrast, can be used to date the oldest objects in the universe, and, closer to home, the objects in the solar system.

    What is particularly attractive about using the Rb–Sr pair for dating is that rubidium is a volatile element—that is, it tends to evaporate to form a gas phase at even relatively low temperatures—while strontium is not volatile. As such, rubidium is present at a higher proportion in solar system objects that are rich in other volatiles (such as water), because they formed at lower temperatures.

    5
    A CAI inclusion in the Allende meteorite. This inclusion contains strontium, which was isolated and studied by Tissot and colleagues.

    Counterintuitively, Earth has an Rb/Sr ratio that is 10 times lower than that of water-rich meteorites, implying that the planet either accreted from water-poor (and thus rubidium-poor) materials or it accreted from water-rich materials but lost most of its water over time as well as its rubidium. Understanding which of these scenarios took place is important for understanding the origin of water on Earth.

    In theory, the Rb–Sr chronometer should be able to tease apart these two scenarios, as the amount of Sr-87 produced by radioactive decay in a given amount of time will not be the same if Earth started with a lot of rubidium versus less of the material.

    In the latter scenario, i.e., with less rubidium, the newly formed Earth would have been poor in volatiles such as water, thus the amount of Sr-87 in the earth and in volatile-poor meteorites would be similar to that observed in the oldest-known solar system solids, the so-called CAIs. CAIs are calcium- and aluminum-rich inclusions found in certain meteorites. Dating back 4.567 billion years, CAIs represent the first objects that condensed in the early solar nebula, the flattened, rotating disk of gas and dust from which the solar system was born. As such, CAls offer a geologic window into how and from what type of stellar materials the solar system formed.

    “They are critical witnesses to the processes that were happening while the solar system was forming,” says Tissot.

    However, the composition of CAIs has long muddled scientists’ ability to determine if Earth formed mostly dry or not. That is because CAls, unlike other solar-system materials, have anomalous ratios of the four strontium isotopes, with a slightly elevated proportion of strontium-84. Thus, they pose a challenge to the validity of the rubidium–strontium dating system. And they also raise a key question: Why are they different?

    To learn more, Tissot and Charlier took nine specimens of so-called fine-grained CAls. Fine-grained CAIs have preserved their condensate (that is, snowflake-like) texture, which testifies to their pristine nature.

    The team painstakingly leached out these CAIs by bathing them in gradually harsher acids to strip away the more chemically reactive minerals (and the strontium they contain), leaving a concentrate of only the most resistant fraction. The final sample contained almost pure Sr-84, while a typical sample is composed of 0.56 percent Sr-84.

    “Step-leaching is a little bit of a blunt instrument because you are not entirely sure what exactly it is you are destroying at each step,” Charlier says. “But the nub of what we’ve found is, once you have stripped away 99 percent of the common components within the CAIs, what we are left with is something highly exotic that we weren’t expecting.”

    “The signature is unlike anything else found in the solar system,” Tissot says. The grains carrying this signature, Tissot and Charlier concluded, must have formed prior to the birth of the solar system and survived that cataclysmic process during which stellar grains were heated to extremely high temperatures, vaporized, and then condensed into solid materials.

    Given the relative abundance of strontium-84, the discovery points to the likely existence in meteorites of nanometer-sized grains containing almost pure strontium-84 that were formed during a rare nucleosynthetic process before the formation of the solar system itself. The nature of these grains is still a mystery, as only their isotopic composition in strontium reveals their existence. But the high levels of Sr-84 in the CAIs suggest that Earth and volatile-poor meteorites have more strontium-87 than CAIs, favoring the scenario in which Earth accreted with more water and volatile elements, which were subsequently lost within the first few million years after their formation.

    Co-authors include Caltech graduate student Ren T. Marquez, Hauke Vollstaedt of Thermo Fisher Scientific in Bremen, Germany, Nicolas Dauphas of the University of Chicago (US), and Colin J. N. Wilson of Victoria University of Wellington. Funding to support this research came from Victoria University of Wellington, Caltech, National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), the National Science Foundation (US), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US).

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Caltech campus

    The California Institute of Technology (US) is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is one among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

    Caltech was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US)’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.

    Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at Caltech. Although Caltech has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks, student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The Caltech Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

    As of October 2020, there are 76 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with Caltech, including 40 alumni and faculty members (41 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes). In addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with Caltech. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies. Four Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute(US) as well as National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US). According to a 2015 Pomona College(US) study, Caltech ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.

    Research

    Caltech is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934 and remains a research university with “very high” research activity, primarily in STEM fields. The largest federal agencies contributing to research are National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US); National Science Foundation(US); Department of Health and Human Services(US); Department of Defense(US), and Department of Energy(US).

    In 2005, Caltech had 739,000 square feet (68,700 m^2) dedicated to research: 330,000 square feet (30,700 m^2) to physical sciences, 163,000 square feet (15,100 m^2) to engineering, and 160,000 square feet (14,900 m^2) to biological sciences.

    In addition to managing JPL, Caltech also operates the Caltech Palomar Observatory(US); the Owens Valley Radio Observatory(US);the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory(US); the W. M. Keck Observatory at the Mauna Kea Observatory(US); the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Livingston, Louisiana and Richland, Washington; and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory(US) in Corona del Mar, California. The Institute launched the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech in 2006; the Keck Institute for Space Studies in 2008; and is also the current home for the Einstein Papers Project. The Spitzer Science Center(US), part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center(US) located on the Caltech campus, is the data analysis and community support center for NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope [no longer in service].

    Caltech partnered with University of California at Los Angeles(US) to establish a Joint Center for Translational Medicine (UCLA-Caltech JCTM), which conducts experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

    Caltech operates several Total Carbon Column Observing Network(US) stations as part of an international collaborative effort of measuring greenhouse gases globally. One station is on campus.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:48 pm on July 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Geochemistry, , McMurdo Station-the major U.S. logistics hub on the continent., Ocean science at the extremes, Oceanographers are gaining insights that may answer fundamental questions about life on Earth—and possibly even life beyond., , Phytoplankton: these minuscule organisms form the base of the Antarctic marine food web., SEAWATER COVER MORE THAN 71% OF EARTH'S SURFACE!, , The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network focuses on life that exists in and around nearby sea ice., The sea provides food for billions of humans; supplies life-giving oxygen to the atmosphere; and directly affects climate., The sea’s influence touches nearly every corner of the globe., Unraveling the mysteries of a realm this large means entering some of the most remote and dangerous places on the planet.,   

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US) : “Going the Distance” 

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US)

    June 7, 2021
    David Levin

    Ocean science at the extremes

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    Through the lens of remotely operated vehicle ROV Jason, anemones and shrimp cluster around a hydrothermal vent along a site called the Piccard Field, 5,000 meters (16,404 feet) deep on the Caribbean seafloor during a 2012 expedition. (Photo courtesy of Chris German, NASA/ROV Jason Team, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    Aboard the R/V Atlantis, the HOV Alvin perches neatly inside a small two-story hangar, where it’s draped with ventilation tubes and electrical cables. The streamlined white hull of the sub, which has lately been going through a major overhaul to extend its reach to greater depths, reflects the lights of the deck beyond. Its two robotic arms fold neatly at its sides, framing portholes carved into a gleaming new titanium crew sphere. It looks like science fiction come to life: a small but formidable spacecraft poised to travel to another world.

    IN REALITY, THAT’S NOT FAR FROM THE TRUTH. SEAWATER COVER MORE THAN 71% OF EARTH’S SURFACE, leaving much of the globe unknown and mysterious to humans. Exploring its secrets is a bit like studying the workings of a distant planet.

    “The ocean is so enormous, so vast, that it’s nearly impossible to have a thorough understanding of any one part of it unless you’re actually there,” says Adam Soule, a submarine vulcanologist and former chief scientist for deep submergence at WHOI. “There’s an aspect of exploration and discovery that is inherent in marine research.”

    In their constant search for understanding, oceanographers from WHOI and elsewhere must go to extremes. Some of those scientists board Alvin multiple times every year, diving to some of the deepest and most mysterious areas of the seafloor. Some peer through the eyes of complex robotic vehicles that can travel where humans can’t go. Others travel to the distant edges of the ocean’s reach, trekking across frozen polar landscapes to collect ice cores that reveal what the sea looked like thousands of years ago.

    No matter what aspect of the oceans these scientists study, their work can be a massive undertaking. From the deepest marine trench to the tallest landlocked mountain, the sea’s influence touches nearly every corner of the globe: It provides food for billions of humans, supplies life-giving oxygen to the atmosphere, and directly affects climate from the deserts of Arizona to the icy coasts and frozen interior of Antarctica. Unraveling the mysteries of a realm this large means entering some of the most remote and dangerous places on the planet. But by going to these great lengths, oceanographers are gaining insights that may answer fundamental questions about life on Earth—and possibly even life beyond.

    3
    Submersible Alvin is prepped in the high bay on R/V Atlantis before dive operations along a segment of a deep-sea mountain range known as the East Pacific Rise, off the coast of Costa Rica. Photo by Ken Kostel, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    The Poles

    The first thing that hits you when you sail into Antarctica’s Palmer Station is the smell. After five days at sea in some of the roughest waters on Earth, new arrivals are greeted by a whiff of guano—excrement from the massive penguin colonies that inhabit the peninsula. But the view makes up for it, says WHOI marine geochemist Dan Lowenstein.

    “You sail between these sheer walls of rock and snow in the Neumayer Channel, which is the navigational passage along the peninsula, and when you come around one last island, you see this incredibly remote station,” he says. “It’s just a handful of buildings perched on a tiny bit of rock at the bottom of a huge glacier, next to a harbor bordered by 300-foot cliffs of ice.”

    Lowenstein arrived at Palmer in December, 2020 and plans to remain there for at least six months. It’s a position that requires a certain level of comfort in extreme isolation. Although the population of McMurdo Station, the major U.S. logistics hub on the continent, peaks at 1,300 during the Antarctic summer, the peak at Palmer is only about 45 people. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s running with an even smaller crew: Lowenstein is one of just 24 scientists and staff currently on hand.

    The global public health crisis not only reduced the number of people allowed at Palmer this year. It also hampered travel to the station. Under normal circumstances, the trip takes about a week. This year, Lowenstein spent more than a month in transit, thanks to multiday quarantine stops in Massachusetts, San Francisco, and Chile.

    It may be tiny and hard to reach but Palmer enjoys an outsized importance in the world of oceanography and climate. It’s home to a Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network of more than 30 sites across the globe that have been recording continuous environmental data and samples over the past few decades. At Palmer, the LTER focuses on life that exists in and around nearby sea ice.

    4
    A waddle of Gentoo penguins hop around the rocks of the West Antarctic peninsula, where WHOI marine geochemist Dan Lowenstein is currently stationed to study the changing metabolism of the region’s microbial communities. Credit: Dan Lowenstein, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    “There’s no place like it,” says WHOI geochemist Ben Van Mooy. “Since going online in 1990, Palmer has provided detailed information about a vast suite of chemical, biological, and physical ocean parameters in the waters that surround it. It’s an incredibly valuable record that doesn’t exist anywhere else.”

    Van Mooy has been to Palmer twice to gather samples of the sea ice that surrounds the station. This year, he sent Lowenstein in his place. Every chunk he collected can reveal volumes of information. Since it lies at the interface of the atmosphere and the ocean, Van Mooy says, sea ice is deeply affected by changes in both environments.

    “As the atmospheric climate changes, ocean circulation and other marine elements change, and those things are all reflected via changes in the sea ice. It’s a really sensitive indicator of both atmospheric and oceanographic processes,” Van Mooy adds.

    Van Mooy is also interested in how these same processes affect tiny plantlike microbes called phytoplankton. These minuscule organisms form the base of the Antarctic marine food web: They’re eaten by animals like krill and shrimp which in turn provide food for whales; fish; penguins; and other large organisms. Like plants on land, they also produce huge amounts of oxygen for the planet. Yet precisely how they’re affected by changing climate is unclear.

    Whatever happens to phytoplankton has a ripple effect across the entire ecosystem of the Antarctic peninsula, Van Mooy says. That means the fate of sea ice at the extreme ends of the world is inextricably connected with the fate of animals like krill, penguins, seabirds, whales, and fish—but to understand this complex ecosystem, Van Mooy first has to venture out into the coastal ice pack to collect samples and data. It’s a dangerous undertaking.

    “The thing people forget about Antarctica is that it’s essentially abandoned,” he says. “You can be a quarter mile away from Palmer Station, but once it’s out of sight, there’s zero indication of humans: No people, no ships, no jets in the sky. Nothing. It’s just you and one or two other people working on a small boat in frigid and tumultuous Antarctic water. We take a lot of precautions, but the consequences of something going wrong are pretty severe—so it forces you to look inside yourself and see how much you truly love what you’re doing.”

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

    Mission Statement

    The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (US) is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.

    Vision & Mission

    The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.

    The Institution is organized into six departments, the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research, and a marine policy center. Its shore-based facilities are located in the village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts(US) and a mile and a half away on the Quissett Campus. The bulk of the Institution’s funding comes from grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation(US) and other government agencies, augmented by foundations and private donations.

    WHOI scientists, engineers, and students collaborate to develop theories, test ideas, build seagoing instruments, and collect data in diverse marine environments. Ships operated by WHOI carry research scientists throughout the world’s oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels (R/V Atlantis and R/V Neil Armstrong); the coastal craft Tioga; small research craft such as the dive-operation work boat Echo; the deep-diving human-occupied submersible Alvin; the tethered, remotely operated vehicle Jason/Medea; and autonomous underwater vehicles such as the REMUS and SeaBED.
    WHOI offers graduate and post-doctoral studies in marine science. There are several fellowship and training programs, and graduate degrees are awarded through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US). WHOI is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (US). WHOI also offers public outreach programs and informal education through its Exhibit Center and summer tours. The Institution has a volunteer program and a membership program, WHOI Associate.

    On October 1, 2020, Peter B. de Menocal became the institution’s eleventh president and director.

    History

    In 1927, a National Academy of Sciences(US) committee concluded that it was time to “consider the share of the United States of America in a worldwide program of oceanographic research.” The committee’s recommendation for establishing a permanent independent research laboratory on the East Coast to “prosecute oceanography in all its branches” led to the founding in 1930 of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution(US).

    A $2.5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation supported the summer work of a dozen scientists, construction of a laboratory building and commissioning of a research vessel, the 142-foot (43 m) ketch R/V Atlantis, whose profile still forms the Institution’s logo.

    WHOI grew substantially to support significant defense-related research during World War II, and later began a steady growth in staff, research fleet, and scientific stature. From 1950 to 1956, the director was Dr. Edward “Iceberg” Smith, an Arctic explorer, oceanographer and retired Coast Guard rear admiral.

    In 1977 the institution appointed the influential oceanographer John Steele as director, and he served until his retirement in 1989.

    On 1 September 1985, a joint French-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution identified the location of the wreck of the RMS Titanic which sank off the coast of Newfoundland 15 April 1912.

    On 3 April 2011, within a week of resuming of the search operation for Air France Flight 447, a team led by WHOI, operating full ocean depth autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) owned by the Waitt Institute discovered, by means of sidescan sonar, a large portion of debris field from flight AF447.

    In March 2017 the institution effected an open-access policy to make its research publicly accessible online.

    The Institution has maintained a long and controversial business collaboration with the treasure hunter company Odyssey Marine. Likewise, WHOI has participated in the location of the San José galleon in Colombia for the commercial exploitation of the shipwreck by the Government of President Santos and a private company.

    In 2019, iDefense reported that China’s hackers had launched cyberattacks on dozens of academic institutions in an attempt to gain information on technology being developed for the United States Navy. Some of the targets included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The attacks have been underway since at least April 2017.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:01 pm on July 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , A trove of fossils and rock layers formed on that ancient ocean floor have now been unearthed by an international team of scientists along the banks of the Peel River., , Geochemistry, , Hundreds of millions of years ago in the middle of what would eventually become Canada’s Yukon Territory an ocean swirled with life., In a geological blink roughly 405 million years ago – in a few million years – oxygen likely rocketed to levels close to those in modern oceans and the diversity of life on Earth exploded., It’s unheard of to have that much of Earth’s history in one place., Most rock formations from the Paleozoic Era have been broken up by tectonic forces or eroded over time., Oxygen was scarce in the deep water of this and other oceans at the dawn of the Paleozoic roughly 541 million years ago., , Researchers from Stanford and Dartmouth College carry rock samples back to camp along the Peel River., , When oxygen eventually did tick upward in marine environments it came about just as larger more complex plant life took off.   

    From Stanford University (US) : “Longest known continuous record of the Paleozoic discovered in Yukon wilderness” 

    Stanford University Name

    From Stanford University (US)

    July 8, 2021
    Josie Garthwaite

    1
    Ordovician black shales of the Mount Hare Formation, Road River Group (approximately 465 million years old) rise above conglomerates of the Aberdeen Member. The dangerous rapids of Aberdeen Canyon (Nan Zhak Nadhàdlaii), created by the Peel River cutting through the resistant conglomerates, appear at bottom left. Image credit: Erik Sperling.

    Hundreds of millions of years ago, in the middle of what would eventually become Canada’s Yukon Territory, an ocean swirled with armored trilobites, clam-like brachiopods and soft, squishy creatures akin to slugs and squid.

    A trove of fossils and rock layers formed on that ancient ocean floor have now been unearthed by an international team of scientists along the banks of the Peel River a few hundred miles south of the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea. The discovery reveals oxygen changes at the seafloor across nearly 120 million years of the early Paleozoic era, a time that fostered the most rapid development and diversification of complex, multi-cellular life in Earth’s history.

    “It’s unheard of to have that much of Earth’s history in one place,” said Stanford University geological scientist Erik Sperling, lead author of a July 7 study detailing the team’s findings in Science Advances. Most rock formations from the Paleozoic Era have been broken up by tectonic forces or eroded over time. “There’s nowhere else in the world that I know of where you can study that long a record of Earth history, where there’s basically no change in things like water depth or basin type.”

    Oxygen was scarce in the deep water of this and other oceans at the dawn of the Paleozoic roughly 541 million years ago. It stayed scarce until the Devonian, roughly 405 million years ago, when, in a geological blink – no more than a few million years – oxygen likely rocketed to levels close to those in modern oceans and the diversity of life on Earth exploded. Big, predatory fish appeared. Primitive ferns and conifers marched across continents previously ruled by bacteria and algae. Dragonflies took flight. And all of this after nearly four billion years of Earth’s landscapes being virtually barren.

    Scientists have long debated what might have caused the dramatic shift from a low oxygen world to a more oxygenated one that could support a diverse web of animal life. But until now, it has been difficult to pin down the timing of global oxygenation or the long-term, background state of the world’s oceans and atmosphere during the era that witnessed both the so-called Cambrian explosion of life and the first of Earth’s “Big Five” mass extinctions, about 445 million years ago at the end of the Ordovician.

    “In order to make comparisons throughout these huge swaths of our history and understand long-term trends, you need a continuous record,” said Sperling, an assistant professor of geological sciences at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth).

    Context for past life

    With permission from the Na Cho Nyak Dun and Tetlit Gwitch’in communities in Yukon, Sperling’s team, which included researchers from Dartmouth College (US) and the Yukon Geological Survey, spent three summers at the Peel River site. Arriving by helicopter, the research team hacked through brush with machetes beside Class VI rapids to collect hundreds of fist-sized samples of rock from more than a mile of interbedded layers of shale, chert and lime mudstone.

    2
    Researchers from Stanford and Dartmouth College carry rock samples back to camp along the Peel River. Rocks seen at their side and in the background are from around the time of the oxygen change, roughly 410 million to 405 million years ago. Image credit: Erik Sperling.

    Back at Sperling’s lab at Stanford, a small army of summer undergraduates and graduate students worked over five summers to help analyze the fossils and chemicals entombed in the rocks. “We spent a lot of time splitting open rocks and looking at graptolite fossils,” Sperling said. Because graptolites evolved a vast array of recognizable body shapes relatively quickly, the pencil-like markings left by the fossils of these colony-dwelling sea creatures give geologists a way to date the rocks in which they’re found.

    Once the researchers had finished identifying and dating graptolite fossils, they ground the rocks in a mill, then measured iron, carbon, phosphorous and other elements in the resulting powder to assess the ocean conditions at the time and place where the layers formed. They analyzed 837 new samples from the Peel River site, as well as 106 new samples from other parts of Canada and 178 samples from around the world for comparison.

    Stephanie Plaza-Torres, a co-author on the study who analyzed several dozen samples for the project in 2016 as an undergraduate in Stanford’s Summer Undergraduate Research in Geoscience and Engineering Program (SURGE), has gone on to pursue a PhD student in geological sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder (US). “The most intriguing part for me was learning about geochemistry and how it is so useful for figuring out the environmental backdrop of ancient times. It really gives you the whole context for past life,” Plaza-Torres said. “After SURGE, I was hooked on geochemistry.”

    Winners and losers

    The data show low oxygen levels, or anoxia, likely persisted in the world’s oceans for millions of years longer than previously thought – well into the Phanerozoic, when land plants and early animals began to diversify. “The early animals were still living in a low oxygen world,” Sperling said. Contrary to long-held assumptions, the scientists found Paleozoic oceans were also surprisingly free of hydrogen sulfide, a respiratory toxin often found in the anoxic regions of modern oceans.

    3
    A geologist looks down at exposed Ordovician (approximately 475 million years ago) chert and shale of the Mount Hare Formation, Road River Group, on the Peel River, Yukon. Image credit: Erik Sperling.

    When oxygen eventually did tick upward in marine environments it came about just as larger more complex plant life took off. “There’s a ton of debate about how plants impacted the Earth system,” Sperling said. “Our results are consistent with a hypothesis that as plants evolved and covered the Earth, they increased nutrients to the ocean, driving oxygenation.” In this hypothesis, the influx of nutrients to the sea would have given a boost to primary productivity, a measure of how quickly plants and algae take carbon dioxide and sunlight, turn them into new biomass – and release oxygen in the process.

    The change probably killed off graptolites. “Although more oxygen is really good for a lot of organisms, graptolites lost the low oxygen habitat that was their refuge,” Sperling said. “Any environmental change is going to have winners and losers. Graptolites might have been the losers.”

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford University campus. No image credit

    Stanford University (US)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Land

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

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

    Non-central campus

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

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

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

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

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

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

    Administration and organization

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

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

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

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

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

    Endowment and donations

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

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

    Research centers and institutes

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

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

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

    Computer and applied sciences

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

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

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

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

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

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

    Student body

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

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

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

    Athletics

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

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

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

    Traditions

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

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

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

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 8:38 pm on June 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Imagining the distant past — and finding keys to the future", , EAPS: MIT’s Department of Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, , , Geochemistry, , , MIT Terrascope, , Terrascope is one of four learning communities offered to first-year MIT students., Working with cores of sediment drilled from the Earth that hold clues to our planet’s climate long before there were records created by humans., You’re able to go basically from mud to a coherent picture of what the atmosphere was doing in the past-what the ocean was doing in the past.   

    From Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) : “Imagining the distant past — and finding keys to the future” 

    MIT News

    From Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

    June 16, 2021
    Michaela Jarvis

    1
    MIT earth science professor David McGee studies the atmosphere’s response to paleoclimate changes. “A really basic message that comes from the study of paleoclimate is the sensitivity of the Earth’s system,” he says. “A few degrees of warming or cooling is a really big deal.” Credit: Adam Glanzman.

    The most dramatic moments of David McGee’s research occur when he is working with cores of sediment drilled from the Earth that hold clues to our planet’s climate long before there were records created by humans.

    “Some of the biggest excitement I have,” says McGee, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), “is when we’re working with sediments that have been taken from 2,000 meters down in the Atlantic Ocean, for example. You’re performing various geochemical measurements on the sediments, you’re using radiocarbon dating to figure how old a core is, and you’re developing records of how the climate has changed over the past thousands of years. You’re able to go basically from mud to a coherent picture of what the atmosphere was doing in the past-what the ocean was doing in the past.”

    Imagining the natural world as it was in the distant past, when no people were around to directly observe or write about it, always fascinated McGee. As a child, before it even occurred to him that there was such a thing as an Earth scientist, he was “constantly wondering about what mountains and beaches would have looked like millions of years ago and what they might look like a million years from now.” Recently, while going through the artifacts of his childhood, he found a rock collection and a creative writing project focused on time travel back to the Precambrian Era. He recalls that once when he was set loose in the school library to find a science project topic, he chose a book on ice ages and tried to develop related hypotheses that he could test.

    Later, stumbling into a geology class in college, as he describes it, McGee was completely taken in by the idea that Earth science involved a sort of detective work to uncover history out in the natural world, using the tools of modern science, such as geochemistry, computation, and close observation.

    “I really fell for it,” he says.

    McGee’s focus on studying paleoclimate and the atmosphere’s response to past climate changes satisfies his lifelong curiosity — and it yields important insights into the climate change the planet is currently undergoing.

    “A really basic message that comes from the study of paleoclimate is the sensitivity of the Earth’s system,” says McGee. “A few degrees of warming or cooling is a really big deal.”

    From the start of his career, McGee has been dedicated to sharing his love of exploration with students. He earned a master’s degree in teaching and spent seven years as a teacher in middle school and high school classrooms before earning his PhD in Earth and environmental sciences from Columbia University. He joined the MIT faculty in 2012 and in 2018 received the Excellence in Mentoring Award from MIT’s Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming office. In 2019, he was granted tenure.

    In 2016, McGee became the director of MIT’s Terrascope first-year learning community, where he says he has been able to continue to pursue his interest in how students learn.

    1
    MIT Terrascope

    “Part of why Terrascope has been so important to me is it’s a place where there is a lot of great thinking about what makes a meaningful educational experience,” he says.

    Terrascope is one of four learning communities offered to first-year MIT students, allows them to address real-world sustainability issues in interdisciplinary, student-led teams. The projects the students undertake connect them to related experts and professionals, in part so the students can figure out what blend of areas of expertise — such as technology, policy, economics, and human behaviors — will serve them as they head toward their life’s work.

    “Students are often asking themselves, ‘How do I connect what I really like to do, what I’m good at, and what the world actually needs?’” McGee says. “In Terrascope, we try to provide a space for that exploration.”

    McGee’s work with Terrascope was, in part, the basis for his September 2020 appointment to the role of associate department head for diversity, equity, and inclusion within EAPS. On the occasion of McGee’s appointment, EAPS department head Rob van der Hilst said, “David has proven he is a dedicated and compassionate leader, able to build a robust community around collaboration, shared purpose, and deep respect for the strengths each member brings.”

    McGee says Earth science is often unwelcoming to women, members of racial or ethnic minoritized groups, and people who are LGBTQ+. Improved recruitment and retention policies are needed to diversify the field, he says.

    “Earth science is a very white science,” McGee says. “And yet we’re working on problems that affect everyone and disproportionately affect communities of color — things like climate change and natural disasters. It’s really important that the future of Earth science look different than the present in terms of the demographics.”

    One of the things McGee takes from his research experience as he approaches students is his observation that being an Earth scientist represents many different approaches and avenues of study — inherently, the field can extend itself to a wide diversity of talent.

    “The thing I try to make clear to students is there’s no way to be the expert in every aspect of even one Earth science study,” he says. “With the study of paleoclimate, for instance, there’s field geology, careful analytical chemistry, data analysis, computation, the physics of climate systems. You’re constantly on the edge of your learning and working with people who know more than you about a certain aspect of a study. Students are not coming to Earth science to become a carbon copy of any of us.”

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

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

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

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

    Foundation and vision

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

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

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

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

    Early developments

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

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

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

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

    Curricular reforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Recent history

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

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

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

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

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

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

    MIT/Caltech Advanced aLigo .

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 10:01 am on June 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Using a mineral ‘sponge’ to catch uranium", A “sponge-like” mineral that can “soak up” uranium., All forms of uranium are radioactive and it is toxic when ingested., , Calcium apatite, , , Geochemistry, , , The apatite-based approach for uranium remediation has been by far the most effective and long-lasting without any significant negative side effects., There are thousands of sites around the world that are contaminated with radioactive elements.   

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories (US) : “Using a mineral ‘sponge’ to catch uranium” 

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories (US)

    June 9, 2021

    Mollie Rappe
    mrappe@sandia.gov
    505-228-6123

    1
    A graphical illustration of the apatite remediation test to absorb uranium conducted by Sandia, Lawrence Berkeley and Pacific Northwest national laboratories researchers. (Graphic by Sandia National Laboratories.)

    A team of researchers from Sandia, DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US) and DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (US) tested a “sponge-like” mineral that can “soak up” uranium at a former uranium mill near Rifle, Colorado.

    The researchers found that the mineral, calcium apatite, soaks up and binds uranium from the groundwater, reducing it by more than ten-thousandfold.

    “The apatite technology has successfully reduced the concentration of uranium, vanadium and molybdenum in the groundwater at the Rifle site,” said Mark Rigali, the Sandia geochemist leading the project. “Moreover, the levels of uranium have remained below the Department of Energy’s target concentration for more than three years.”

    The contaminated mill site near Rifle is about 180 miles west of Denver. Since 2002, the DOE’s Office of Legacy Management has used the site to test a variety of different uranium-remediation technologies.

    All forms of uranium are radioactive and it is toxic when ingested. Molybdenum and vanadium, on the other hand, are beneficial at very, very low levels, but are toxic at high concentrations. While the Rifle test site is remote, there are thousands of sites around the world that are similarly contaminated with radioactive elements and heavy metals that threaten groundwater, surface water and food supplies.

    Calcium apatite is a mineral commonly used in fertilizer and is also a major component of bones and teeth. The researchers formed a “sponge” in the ground by injecting two inexpensive and nontoxic chemicals, calcium citrate and sodium phosphate, into a well especially designed for injecting solutions underground at the former uranium mill.

    Once in the ground, helpful soil bacteria ate the calcium citrate and excreted calcium in a form that allows it to rapidly react with the sodium phosphate to form calcium apatite, which coated sand and soil particles underground, forming the sponge. The apatite sponge captures contaminants, such as uranium, as it forms on the soil particles around the injection well, and afterward as the groundwater flows through the rough sponge. Once formed, the apatite is incredibly stable, and can hold onto captured contaminants for millennia.

    Soaking up half of the periodic table

    “The apatite-based approach for uranium remediation has been by far the most effective and long-lasting without any significant negative side effects,” said Ken Williams, the environmental remediation and water resources program lead at Lawrence Berkeley. “It’s basically been a win-win-win situation. The first win is the ease of operation with only one injection needed. The next win is uranium being removed to incredibly low levels. The third win is the lack of significant deleterious consequences.”

    Williams has been testing different uranium remediation techniques at the Rifle site for more than a decade, since he was a graduate student. As a student, he was involved in a project at the site where they fed soil bacteria vinegar to remediate uranium that had some unfortunate side effects.

    The apatite remediation technology was invented by former Sandia chemical engineer Robert Moore. It has been used at the DOE’s Hanford Site in southeastern Washington state to protect the Columbia River from strontium-90, another radioactive isotope.

    Geologists know that apatite can capture elements from more than half of the periodic table of elements, Rigali said, but the team conducted initial laboratory-based tests to confirm apatite would bind dissolved uranium. These tests were conducted by Jim Szecsody, a geochemist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

    In addition to reducing the amount of uranium in groundwater more than ten-thousandfold, Williams and Rigali found that the apatite reduced the amount of vanadium by more than a hundredfold. Vanadium is another contaminant left over from uranium milling, along with molybdenum, selenium and arsenic. Auspiciously, the apatite-based remediation technology captures these other toxic chemicals too, they said.

    The future of apatite remediation

    Computer modeling by Sandia geoscientist Pat Brady suggests that the uranium will remain contained within the apatite mineral for tens of thousands of years — possibly longer than the mill site flood plain will remain in its current location adjacent to the Colorado River, Rigali said.

    Williams will continue measuring the amount of contaminants in the groundwater downstream of the apatite sponge every month until the sponge is “full.” This will allow the research team to learn how much uranium and other contaminants the apatite can hold, and when the sponge would need to be “refreshed” with more apatite, he said.

    The apatite technology is being considered for use at several other contaminated locations, both federally managed and privately owned, said Rigali. Also increasing the potential applicability of apatite remediation is the fact that it can be “tuned” to capture different contaminants of concern including lead and arsenic.

    “The apatite family of minerals is very large,” he added. “And they all have varying abilities to capture and store contaminants. You can literally tune the structure of apatite to go after specific contaminants of concern.”

    Copper apatite, for example, is a great sponge for arsenic.

    “This has been one of the most rewarding projects that I’ve gotten to work on at Sandia,” Rigali said. “It’s great to have these types of opportunities because you feel like you’re doing something that is solving a problem and making a difference. I know this technology could be used at dozens of sites for uranium remediation.”

    The test in Rifle was funded by DOE’s Office of Legacy Management, while the development of original apatite remediation technology was supported by Sandia’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sandia Campus.

    DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories (US) managed and operated by the National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia (a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International), is one of three National Nuclear Security Administration(US) research and development laboratories in the United States. Their primary mission is to develop, engineer, and test the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons and high technology. Headquartered in Central New Mexico near the Sandia Mountains, on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, Sandia also has a campus in Livermore, California, next to DOE’sLawrence Livermore National Laboratory(US), and a test facility in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii.

    It is Sandia’s mission to maintain the reliability and surety of nuclear weapon systems, conduct research and development in arms control and nonproliferation technologies, and investigate methods for the disposal of the United States’ nuclear weapons program’s hazardous waste.

    Other missions include research and development in energy and environmental programs, as well as the surety of critical national infrastructures. In addition, Sandia is home to a wide variety of research including computational biology; mathematics (through its Computer Science Research Institute); materials science; alternative energy; psychology; MEMS; and cognitive science initiatives.

    Sandia formerly hosted ASCI Red, one of the world’s fastest supercomputers until its recent decommission, and now hosts ASCI Red Storm supercomputer, originally known as Thor’s Hammer.


    Sandia is also home to the Z Machine.

    The Z Machine is the largest X-ray generator in the world and is designed to test materials in conditions of extreme temperature and pressure. It is operated by Sandia National Laboratories to gather data to aid in computer modeling of nuclear guns. In December 2016, it was announced that National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, under the direction of Honeywell International, would take over the management of Sandia National Laboratories starting on May 1, 2017.


     
  • richardmitnick 10:25 am on May 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "UArizona Geologists to 'X-ray' the Andes", , , , Geochemistry, , , One of the most extensive network of earthquake sensors-seismometers-to ever be installed in the Andes region of South America., Orogeny-mountain building, , TANGO-Trans Andean Great Orogeny, The formation of mountain ranges.,   

    From University of Arizona (US) : “UArizona Geologists to ‘X-ray’ the Andes” 

    From University of Arizona (US)

    5.26.21

    Media contact
    Daniel Stolte
    Science Writer, University Communications
    stolte@arizona.edu
    520-626-4402

    Researcher contact
    Susan Beck
    Department of Geosciences
    slbeck@arizona.edu
    520-621-8628

    A network of seismic stations poised to record images from deep underground will help scientists understand the mechanisms driving the formation of mountain ranges in unprecedented detail.

    1
    Andean Mountain range in Argentina showing the snow-capped peak of Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Americas, rising 22,837 feet above sea level. Credit: Peter DeCelles.

    Led by geoscientists at the University of Arizona, an international research team will use data from earthquakes, geology and geochemistry to study, in greater detail than ever before, how mountain ranges are built.

    Supported by a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (US), the project will shed light on how the Andes in South America formed, and produce a 3D model of mountain-building based on the Andes as a natural laboratory.

    The project, which is part of the NSF Frontier Research in Earth Science program, is dubbed TANGO, which stands for Trans Andean Great Orogeny. At the heart of the project is one of the most extensive network of earthquake sensors-seismometers-to ever be installed in the Andes region of South America. Scientists will use seismic waves traveling through Earth’s interior from quakes around the globe to better understand the geologic processes underlying the formation of mountain ranges.

    TANGO will focus specifically on the Andes from northern to southern Chile and in Argentina.

    “TANGO is an excellent example of the type of international collaboration that characterizes the University of Arizona’s unique capacity to tackle the grand challenges of our time,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “Building on our strengths and ongoing research in the geosciences, our faculty laid the groundwork that allowed them to successfully assemble an international team to help us gain a better understanding of a natural process where there is still a lot to learn.”

    Susan Beck, a UArizona professor of geosciences, will serve as TANGO’s lead principal investigator, with co-principal investigators Barbara Carrapa, Peter DeCelles, Mihai Ducea and Eric Kiser of the UArizona Department of Geosciences.

    A major part of the TANGO project centers around seismic imaging, which works much like medical imaging such as CT scans, which use X-ray images to make tissues visible based on their densities. Just like bone and soft tissue show up as different features, geologic features beneath the Earth’s surface show up distinctly when geologists “X-ray” them by recording shockwaves from earthquakes as they travel through the Andes.

    “Instead of sending X-rays through your head, we use seismic waves,” Beck said. “We deploy our instruments across a large area, and we wait for earthquakes to happen. We might take a year’s worth of data, from which we then assemble a tomographic image of what’s down there.”

    While many of the processes involved in mountain-building — known as orogeny — are known to take place at the surface, other processes take place very deep inside the Earth, hidden from view. Seismic imaging allows researchers to probe the Earth’s interior down to about 700 miles, Beck said.

    “Combined with geologic and geochemistry data from the rocks, we can understand how the Andes formed over the last 90 million years,” she said.

    Along the western edge of South America, a chunk of ocean floor known as the Nazca plate pushes against its neighbor — the plate that contains the South American continent — at a rate of a little over 2 inches per year. This process, known as subduction, causes Earth’s crust to fold up, pushing up mountain peaks up to 20,000 feet in elevation.

    “Subduction affects almost every aspect of our lives,” Beck said. “Think of it as a recycling program for Earth’s crust; it affects where mountains will rise up, where minerals and ores are formed, where tension is released as earthquakes and where the largest volcanic eruptions occur.”

    Piecing Together ‘A Giant Puzzle’

    Geologists still only have a vague idea of the details of mountain-building processes, Beck said, and TANGO is poised to fill some of the gaps.

    “For example, we know that as one plate goes under the other, it causes earthquakes, it drags layers of rock down with it and causes volcanoes to erupt,” she said. “But what happens with that molten rock before it gets to the surface? How deep does the Nazca plate go before it gets assimilated into the mantle?”

    The Andes serve as a giant natural laboratory to study the complex process involved in building a mountain range, Beck said.

    “When you make mountains, rocks erode, and all that eroded rock has to go somewhere,” Beck said. “In a large mountain range like the Andes, that eroded material adds up.”

    As debris from the eroding mountains accumulates in basins on the east side of the Andes, it creates a layered archive of time that “is amazing to unravel,” Beck said, but also presents geologists with head-scratchers.

    2
    The east face of Aconcagua clearly shows the layers of the lavas and volcanic deposits that make up the mountain. The large glacier on the northeast face is known as the Polish Glacier. Credit: Peter DeCelles.

    “We have a decent understanding of the big picture, but we don’t really understand the dynamics of it in detail,” Beck said. “For example, we find deposits from those basins high up in the mountains, and we don’t really know how they ended up there, so it’s like a giant puzzle.”

    Beck said she is excited about the seismic imaging component of TANGO.

    “Each seismic wave has a travel time that we can measure,” she said. “The time it takes a seismic wave to get from the epicenter of an earthquake to our station depends on the materials it travels through at different speeds, and we can unravel that. For example, a seismic wave that goes through a magma body really slows down compared to a wave that doesn’t, and we will see that difference.”

    To record thousands of earthquakes occurring in South America and around the globe, the team will install seismic stations across an area measuring about 800 miles by 400 miles. Deploying the technology in the field will involve many students from UArizona and partner institutions.

    “Some stations are easy, as they are in readily accessible locations and we just need to dig a hole and insert the sensors,” Beck said, “but others are in very remote locations, at high elevations. Some seismic stations require building a vault, mounting solar panels and batteries so the seismic station can run for years.”

    TANGO differs from similar efforts in scope and scale, Beck said.

    “In a typical scenario, people would put these stations out for a month, pull them up and call it good, but we will be going into very remote areas, and we will have to deploy our instruments over many months to years. We look at this as our one-time chance to get the data that could help us answer these fundamental questions. It’s going to be a huge field effort.”

    Since orogenic mechanisms are not unique to the Andes, TANGO will help scientists better understand tectonic processes in other areas as well. Beck said the Andes are a modern analog for what the western margin of North America looked like between 70 and 90 million years ago.

    “Similar processes have happened through geologic time in many places throughout the world,” she said.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    As of 2019, the University of Arizona (US) enrolled 45,918 students in 19 separate colleges/schools, including the UArizona College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix and the James E. Rogers College of Law, and is affiliated with two academic medical centers (Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix). UArizona is one of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The university is part of the Association of American Universities and is the only member from Arizona, and also part of the Universities Research Association(US). The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Known as the Arizona Wildcats (often shortened to “Cats”), the UArizona’s intercollegiate athletic teams are members of the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA. UArizona athletes have won national titles in several sports, most notably men’s basketball, baseball, and softball. The official colors of the university and its athletic teams are cardinal red and navy blue.

    After the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the push for a university in Arizona grew. The Arizona Territory’s “Thieving Thirteenth” Legislature approved the UArizona in 1885 and selected the city of Tucson to receive the appropriation to build the university. Tucson hoped to receive the appropriation for the territory’s mental hospital, which carried a $100,000 allocation instead of the $25,000 allotted to the territory’s only university (Arizona State University(US) was also chartered in 1885, but it was created as Arizona’s normal school, and not a university). Flooding on the Salt River delayed Tucson’s legislators, and by they time they reached Prescott, back-room deals allocating the most desirable territorial institutions had been made. Tucson was largely disappointed with receiving what was viewed as an inferior prize.

    With no parties willing to provide land for the new institution, the citizens of Tucson prepared to return the money to the Territorial Legislature until two gamblers and a saloon keeper decided to donate the land to build the school. Construction of Old Main, the first building on campus, began on October 27, 1887, and classes met for the first time in 1891 with 32 students in Old Main, which is still in use today. Because there were no high schools in Arizona Territory, the university maintained separate preparatory classes for the first 23 years of operation.

    Research

    UArizona is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. UArizona is the fourth most awarded public university by National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) for research. UArizona was awarded over $325 million for its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) to lead NASA’s 2007–08 mission to Mars to explore the Martian Arctic, and $800 million for its OSIRIS-REx mission, the first in U.S. history to sample an asteroid.

    The LPL’s work in the Cassini spacecraft orbit around Saturn is larger than any other university globally. The UArizona laboratory designed and operated the atmospheric radiation investigations and imaging on the probe. UArizona operates the HiRISE camera, a part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. While using the HiRISE camera in 2011, UArizona alumnus Lujendra Ojha and his team discovered proof of liquid water on the surface of Mars—a discovery confirmed by NASA in 2015. UArizona receives more NASA grants annually than the next nine top NASA/JPL-Caltech(US)-funded universities combined. As of March 2016, the UArizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is actively involved in ten spacecraft missions: Cassini VIMS; Grail; the HiRISE camera orbiting Mars; the Juno mission orbiting Jupiter; Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO); Maven, which will explore Mars’ upper atmosphere and interactions with the sun; Solar Probe Plus, a historic mission into the Sun’s atmosphere for the first time; Rosetta’s VIRTIS; WISE; and OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. sample-return mission to a near-earth asteroid, which launched on September 8, 2016.

    UArizona students have been selected as Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright Scholars. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UArizona is among the top 25 producers of Fulbright awards in the U.S.

    UArizona is a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy(US), a consortium of institutions pursuing research in astronomy. The association operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatory(US) just outside Tucson. Led by Roger Angel, researchers in the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at UArizona are working in concert to build the world’s most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescope(CL), it will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope.

    Giant Magellan Telescope, 21 meters, to be at the NOIRLab(US) National Optical Astronomy Observatory(US) Carnegie Institution for Science’s(US) Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.


    The telescope is set to be completed in 2021. GMT will ultimately cost $1 billion. Researchers from at least nine institutions are working to secure the funding for the project. The telescope will include seven 18-ton mirrors capable of providing clear images of volcanoes and riverbeds on Mars and mountains on the moon at a rate 40 times faster than the world’s current large telescopes. The mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built at UArizona and transported to a permanent mountaintop site in the Chilean Andes where the telescope will be constructed.

    Reaching Mars in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter contained the HiRISE camera, with Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen as the lead on the project. This National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) mission to Mars carrying the UArizona-designed camera is capturing the highest-resolution images of the planet ever seen. The journey of the orbiter was 300 million miles. In August 2007, the UArizona, under the charge of Scientist Peter Smith, led the Phoenix Mars Mission, the first mission completely controlled by a university. Reaching the planet’s surface in May 2008, the mission’s purpose was to improve knowledge of the Martian Arctic. The Arizona Radio Observatory(US), a part of UArizona Department of Astronomy Steward Observatory(US), operates the Submillimeter Telescope on Mount Graham.

    The National Science Foundation(US) funded the iPlant Collaborative in 2008 with a $50 million grant. In 2013, iPlant Collaborative received a $50 million renewal grant. Rebranded in late 2015 as “CyVerse”, the collaborative cloud-based data management platform is moving beyond life sciences to provide cloud-computing access across all scientific disciplines.
    In June 2011, the university announced it would assume full ownership of the Biosphere 2 scientific research facility in Oracle, Arizona, north of Tucson, effective July 1. Biosphere 2 was constructed by private developers (funded mainly by Texas businessman and philanthropist Ed Bass) with its first closed system experiment commencing in 1991. The university had been the official management partner of the facility for research purposes since 2007.

    U Arizona mirror lab-Where else in the world can you find an astronomical observatory mirror lab under a football stadium?

    University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, located in the Sonoran desert. An entire ecosystem under a glass dome? Visit our campus, just once, and you’ll quickly understand why the UA is a university unlike any other.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:27 am on May 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Solar Wind From the Centre of the Earth", , Geochemistry, High-precision noble gas analyses indicate that solar wind particles from our primordial Sun were encased in the Earth’s core over 4.5 billion years ago., Isotopic ratios of helium and neon are typical for the solar wind., Noble gas mass spectrometer, The research group has long been measuring solar noble gas isotopes of helium and neon in igneous rock of oceanic islands like Hawaii and Réunion., The scientists found solar noble gases in an iron meteorite they studied., The team postulates that solar wind particles in the primordial Solar System were trapped by the precursor materials of the Washington County parent asteroid.,   

    From U Heidelberg [Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg] (DE): “Solar Wind From the Centre of the Earth” 

    U Heidelberg bloc

    From U Heidelberg [Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg] (DE)

    14 May 2021

    Model for the Earth’s core: Heidelberg researchers verify presence of solar noble gases in metal of an iron meteorite.

    1
    Meteorite example. Washington University of St. Louis.
    [Washington County iron meteorite-no image available.]

    High-precision noble gas analyses indicate that solar wind particles from our primordial Sun were encased in the Earth’s core over 4.5 billion years ago. Researchers from the Institute of Earth Sciences at Heidelberg University have concluded that the particles made their way into the overlying rock mantle over millions of years. The scientists found solar noble gases in an iron meteorite they studied. Because of their chemical composition, such meteorites are often used as natural models for the Earth’s metallic core.

    The rare class of iron meteorites make up only five percent of all known meteorite finds on Earth. Most are fragments from inside larger asteroids that formed metallic cores in the first one to two million years of our Solar System. The Washington County iron meteorite now being studied at the Klaus Tschira Laboratory for Cosmochemistry at the Institute of Earth Sciences was found nearly 100 years ago. Its name comes from the location in Colorado (USA) where it was discovered. It resembles a metal discus, is six cm thick, and weighs approx. 5.7 kilograms, according to Prof. Dr Mario Trieloff, head of the Geo- and Cosmochemistry research group.

    The researchers were finally able to definitively prove the presence of a solar component in the iron meteorite. Using a noble gas mass spectrometer, they determined that the samples from the Washington County meteorite contain noble gases whose isotopic ratios of helium and neon are typical for the solar wind. According to Dr Manfred Vogt, a member of the Trieloff team, ”the measurements had to be extraordinarily accurate and precise to differentiate the solar signatures from the dominant cosmogenic noble gases and atmospheric contamination”. The team postulates that solar wind particles in the primordial Solar System were trapped by the precursor materials of the Washington County parent asteroid. The noble gases captured along with the particles were dissolved into the liquid metal from which the asteroid’s core formed.

    The results of their measurements allowed the Heidelberg researchers to draw a conclusion by analogy that the core of the planet Earth might also contain such noble gas components. Yet another scientific observation supports this assumption. Prof. Trieloff’s research group has long been measuring solar noble gas isotopes of helium and neon in igneous rock of oceanic islands like Hawaii and Réunion. These magmatites derive from a special form of volcanism sourced by mantle plumes rising from thousands of kilometres deep in the Earth’s mantle. Their particularly high solar gas content makes them fundamentally different from the shallow mantle as represented by volcanic activity of submarine mid-ocean mountain ridges. “We always wondered why such different gas signatures could exist at all in a slowly albeit constantly convecting mantle,” states the Heidelberg researcher.

    Their findings appear to confirm the assumption that the solar noble gases in mantle plumes originate in the planet’s core – and hence signify solar wind particles from the centre of the Earth. “Just one to two percent of a metal with a similar composition as the Washington Country meteorite in the Earth’s core would be enough to explain the different gas signatures in the mantle,” states Dr Vogt. The Earth’s core may therefore play a previously underappreciated active role in the geochemical development of the Earth’s mantle.

    The research was funded by the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The results of the intricate, high-resolution noble gas measurements were published in the journal Communications Earth and Environment. A researcher from the MPG Institute for Chemistry (Otto Hahn Institute) [MPG Institut für Chemie – Otto Hahn Institut] (DE) in Mainz also assisted with the project.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Heidelberg Campus

    Founded in 1386, From U Heidelberg [Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg] (DE) , a state university of BadenWürttemberg, is Germany’s oldest university. In continuing its timehonoured tradition as a research university of international standing the Ruprecht-Karls-University’s mission is guided by the following principles:
    Firmly rooted in its history, the University is committed to expanding and disseminating our knowledge about all aspects of humanity and nature through research and education. The University upholds the principle of freedom of research and education, acknowledging its responsibility to humanity, society, and nature.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:21 am on May 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Gazing Into a Diamond's Flaws Has Revealed Hidden Clues About How Our Planet Formed", A diamond's structure appears to prevent helium from leaking out allowing the scientists to age these rocks using the rare isotope of helium-4., After a diamond captures something from that moment until millions of years later that material stays the same., , , Dirty-looking gems are where tiny vaults of information lie stuffed with messages from Earth's inner depths., Extreme heat and crushing pressures from all the rock above can force carbon atoms into the neatly ordered structure of a diamond., Geochemistry, , Some cavities in the diamond's structure have captured fluids that once infiltrated the continental lithospheric mantle., The team identified three distinct periods of diamond formation in the subterranean rock masses that eventually squished together to form the mantle of Africa.   

    From Columbia University (US) via Science Alert (AU) : “Gazing Into a Diamond’s Flaws Has Revealed Hidden Clues About How Our Planet Formed” 

    Columbia U bloc

    From Columbia University (US)

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert (AU)

    15 MAY 2021
    TESSA KOUMOUNDOUROS

    1
    A diamond encapsulating miniscule bits of fluid from Earth’s depths. Credit: Yaakov Weiss/Columbia University.

    More than mere beautiful, coveted stones, diamonds hold another sort of wealth: fragments of Earth’s deep history.

    From flaws within the mineral’s near-perfect lattice, scientists have just worked out how to extract long-hidden records of our planet’s past.

    “We like the ones that no one else really wants,” said geochemist Yaakov Weiss from Columbia University, referring to the diamonds full of impurities that don’t look as clear and shiny as those desired for jewelry.

    These fibrous, dirty-looking gems are where tiny vaults of information lie stuffed with messages from Earth’s inner depths. The carbon structure of a perfect diamond doesn’t contain enough radioisotopes to help researchers date it, but the microinclusions found in its flaws can.

    These flaws can form tiny pockets that may encapsulate the chemicals from which the diamonds birthed.

    “After a diamond captures something, from that moment until millions of years later in my lab, that material stays the same,” explained Weiss back in 2015. “We can look at diamonds as time capsules, as messengers from a place we have no other way of seeing.”

    Sometimes these capsules contain other solids like strange forms of ice, usually inaccessible minerals from the bowels of our world, or even another diamond. These solid messages can be hard to interpret, as the inclusions may have formed at different times from the diamond capsule within which they now rest.

    Other cavities in the diamond’s structure have captured fluids that once infiltrated the continental lithospheric mantle. This layer of Earth is the uppermost part of the mantle (which lies between Earth’s crust and outer core), 150 to 200 kilometers (90 to 120 miles) beneath the surface, and it’s where diamonds are”born”.

    1
    Credit: Tumeggy/Science Photo Library/Getty Images.

    Here, extreme heat and crushing pressures from all the rock above can force carbon atoms into the neatly ordered structure of a diamond. In fact, the fluids that have seeped from above provide the carbon from which the diamonds are formed.

    Now a new technique has allowed the researchers to finally date those fluids within diamonds found in southern Africa.

    “This is the first time we can get reliable ages for these fluids,” said Weiss.

    3
    A diamond used in the study. Credit: Yaakov Weiss.

    A diamond’s structure appears to prevent helium from leaking out allowing Weiss and colleagues to age these rocks using the rare isotope of helium-4 – the ratios between radioactive atoms in the fluid inclusions and a product of their decay.

    Using this new method, the team identified three distinct periods of diamond formation in the subterranean rock masses that eventually squished together to form the mantle of Africa. The diamond-forming fluids changed across the ages, going from rich in carbonate to silicone and, finally, to saline.

    The first phase of diamond formation occurred during the Proterozoic, 2.6 billion to 750 million years ago, when these rocks collided into great mountain ranges. The researchers suspect these collisions allowed the carbonate-rich fluids to sink deep within Earth, but how exactly is still unknown.

    The next phase also coincided with a mountain-forming period, 540 to 300 million years ago during the Paleozoic, producing diamonds with silicone-rich inclusions. By this stage, the beginnings of the African-mantle-to-be were forming.

    Then, 130 to 85 million years ago during the Cretaceous, the fluid became saline rich – suggesting these diamonds were formed from what once was the ocean floor. This was dragged beneath the now-formed continental mass of Africa by subduction, where one continental plate is forced below another where they meet.

    The stones were all then carried closer to Earth’s surface through deep-reaching volcanic activity, such as the kimberlites eruptions 85 million years ago, where miners recently found them.

    “Southern Africa is one of the best-studied places in the world, but we’ve very rarely been able to see beyond the indirect indications of what happened there in the past,” said Columbia University (US) geochemist Cornelia Class, explaining these minuscule drops of fluid are a rare way to link events from deep within Earth with those on the surface.

    It’s worth noting that today, millions of workers rely on diamond mining as a source of income, but the conditions they work within can be brutal and may include human trafficking and child labor. The mines have also polluted soils and waterways relied upon by entire communities.

    The company from which the diamonds in this study were obtained, De Beers, one of the two largest diamond producers in the world, often doesn’t disclose which mines individual diamonds come from.

    So while diamonds can clearly reveal much about our geological history, their extraction from Earth can also come at an incredibly high price.

    This research was published in Nature Communications.

    See the full article here .

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    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 9:21 am on May 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Earth may have been a water world 3 billion years ago", According to the researchers’ calculations the amount of water that could have gone down into the Earth’s mantle could potentially be as much as all the present-day oceans combined., , , , , Geochemistry, , , Mantle water storage capacity, The primordial ocean could have flooded more than 70; 80; and even 90 percent of the early continents.   

    From Harvard Gazette (US) : “Earth may have been a water world 3 billion years ago” 

    From Harvard Gazette (US)

    At

    Harvard University (US)

    1
    Calculations show that Earth’s oceans may have been 1 to 2 times bigger than previously thought and the planet may have been completely covered in water. Credit: Alec Brenner/Harvard University.

    Harvard scientists calculate early ocean may have been 1 to 2 times bigger.

    April 30, 2021
    Juan Siliezar

    In 1995, Universal Studios released what was, at the time, the most expensive movie ever made: Waterworld, a film set in the distant future where the planet Earth was almost completely covered in water and its remaining inhabitants could only dream of mythic dry land. Well, take away the future part, the exorbitant budget, the chain-smoking pirates, and the gill-sporting Kevin Costner and the movie may have been onto something.

    According to a new, Harvard-led study, geochemical calculations about the interior of the planet’s water storage capacity suggests Earth’s primordial ocean 3 to 4 billion years ago may have been one to two times larger than it is today, and possibly covered the planet’s entire surface.

    “It depends on the conditions and parameters we look at in the model, such as the height and distribution of the continents, but the primordial ocean could have flooded more than 70, 80, and even 90 percent of the early continents,” said Junjie Dong, a Ph.D. student in Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, who led the study. “In the extreme scenarios, if we have an ocean that is two times larger than the amount of water we have today, that might have completely flooded the land masses we had on the surface of the early Earth.”

    The research was published in AGU Advances earlier this month. It challenges long-held assumptions that Earth’s ocean volume hasn’t changed too much since the planet’s formation. At its root, the paper delves into understanding the origins of water and the history of how its bodies have evolved.

    “In the geology community, biology community, and even in the astronomy community, they are all interested in the origins of life, and water is one of the most important key elements that has to be considered,” Dong said.

    Researchers weren’t looking for signs of liquid water, but its chemical equivalent, oxygen and hydrogen atoms, which bond to the interior of the planet. They compiled all the data in the scientific literature they could find on minerals that hold these signs and used the figures to calculate how much water there could be in the Earth’s mantle, which makes up the bulk of the planet’s interior. That number is referred to as the planet’s mantle water storage capacity. It changes as the interior of the planet continues to cool.

    The group calculated what that number could be today and how much could have been stored a few billion years ago to see how the number had changed. The capacity back then was significantly less.

    Scientists then compared those numbers to geochemical estimates of how much water is in the mantle today. Analysis found that the actual water content today is likely higher than the maximum water capacity of the mantle a few billion years ago, meaning the water today wouldn’t have been able to fit in the mantle billions of years ago. This suggests the water was someplace else — on the world’s surface. According to the researchers’ calculations the amount of water that could have gone down into the Earth’s mantle could potentially be as much as all the present-day oceans combined.

    “There has been water falling into the Earth’s interior over time, which makes sense because with plate tectonics you have some of the plates on the Earth’s surface that subduct and go down into the interior and bring water down with them,” said Rebecca Fischer, the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the study’s other lead author. “There’s not really anywhere that water could come from besides the oceans on the surface, so that implies that the oceans had to have been larger in the past.”

    The study isn’t the first to suggest Earth could have been a water world, but the researchers believe it to be the first offering quantitative evidence based on the water storage capacity of the mantle.

    The researchers point out some caveats in the study, the main one being that data on the minerals used to determine the amount of water in the planet’s mantle is limited when it comes to its deeper parts, which go down thousands of kilometers.

    In their next project, Dong and Fischer are looking toward Mars. They plan to use a similar model to determine the amount of water that could have been stored in its interior.

    “Evidence seems to point out that the early Mars had a significant amount of water on its surface,” Dong said. “We want to investigate whether that surface water had some relations with the water that could possibly have been stored in its interior.”

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University (US) is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s bestknown landmark.

    Harvard University (US) has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University (US)’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University (US)’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University (US) has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University (US) was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University (US) has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University (US)’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University (US) became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University (US)’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University (US)’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University (US) professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University (US) classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University (US) has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University (US).

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University (US)’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
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