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  • richardmitnick 9:40 am on January 19, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A geochemical journey from the center of the Earth", , At magma hotspots the ratios of tungsten and helium isotopes are inconsistent with their ratios within Earth’s rocky middle layer known as the mantle., , Earth’s mantle convection processes were so vigorous during Earth’s early years that it is highly unlikely helium could be trapped in reservoirs originating in the mantle., Geochemistry, , Hotspots-plumes of magma that come from deep inside the Earth and erupt at the surface-have helped form large volcanic islands such as Hawaii and Iceland., One of the clues for hotspot formation involves isotopes of tungsten and helium found in crystallized magmas at these hotspots., , The ratios of tungsten and helium isotopes found are consistent with isotopes found much deeper — at the planet’s tungsten-rich metallic core., The research also may help scientists understand the evolution of areas in Earth’s interior that have been hidden from view for billions of years., The research has far-reaching implications for understanding early Earth conditions such as the extent of magma oceans., The scientific community has explained these isotope ratios had never been exposed to the surface where helium and other gases escape into the atmosphere. Yale scientists disagree., The scientists developed a computer model showing how the tungsten and helium isotopes could make the journey from the center of the Earth., The scientists posit that isotopic diffusion-the movement of atoms within a material based on temperature and the size of the particles-can create something of a hotspot highway., , Where hotspots come from and what makes magma hotspots so unique is not fully understood.,   

    From The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences At Yale University: “A geochemical journey from the center of the Earth” 

    From The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences

    At

    Yale University

    1.16.23
    By Jim Shelton

    Media Contact
    Michael Greenwood
    michael.greenwood@yale.edu
    203-737-5151

    Hawaii and Iceland are tourist hotspots — and it turns out they’re popular with geochemical travelers as well.

    A new Yale study suggests that throughout Earth’s history, natural processes propelled measurable geochemical signals from deep inside Earth’s metallic core, up through its thick, middle layer, and all the way to the surface, emerging at what are known as magma “hotspots.”

    The new theory could answer longstanding questions about the nature of these hotspots, which help create some of the most beautiful places on Earth.

    Hotspots, which are plumes of magma that come from deep inside the Earth and erupt at the surface, have helped form large, volcanic islands such as Hawaii and Iceland.

    “Magma hotspots are home to some of the most unique geochemistry found on the Earth’s surface,” said Amy Ferrick, lead author of a new study in the journal PNAS [below]. She is a graduate student in Yale’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and a member of the lab of Jun Korenaga, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

    “Where hotspots come from, and what makes magma hotspots so unique is not fully understood, but studying their geochemistry can give us clues,” Ferrick said.

    The new theory could answer longstanding questions about the nature of these hotspots, which help create some of the most beautiful places on Earth.

    “Where hotspots come from, and what makes magma hotspots so unique is not fully understood, but studying their geochemistry can give us clues,” Ferrick said.

    One of those clues involves isotopes of tungsten and helium found in crystallized magmas at these hotspots. Isotopes are two or more types of an atom with the same atomic number but different numbers of neutrons.

    At magma hotspots the ratios of tungsten and helium isotopes are inconsistent with their ratios within Earth’s rocky middle layer known as the mantle. Rather, the ratios are consistent with isotopes found much deeper — at the planet’s tungsten-rich, metallic core.

    Traditionally, the scientific community has explained these isotope ratios, especially the helium isotope ratio, by suggesting that some rocks from Earth’s middle layer simply had never been exposed to the surface, where helium and other gases escape into the atmosphere.

    But there is a problem with that notion, Ferrick and Korenaga noted: Earth’s mantle convection processes are so vigorous — and were particularly so during Earth’s early years, when it was hotter and partially molten — that it is highly unlikely helium could be trapped in reservoirs originating in the mantle.

    For the new study, Ferrick and Korenaga developed a computer model showing how the tungsten and helium isotopes could make the journey from the center of the Earth. They posit that isotopic diffusion, the movement of atoms within a material based on temperature and the size of the particles being moved, can create something of a hotspot highway.

    “I initially thought that diffusion might be too slow to be effective, so I was surprised when Amy showed that this process was more than sufficient to explain the anomalous tungsten and helium compositions of ocean island basalts,” Korenaga said.

    The research has far-reaching implications for understanding early Earth conditions such as the extent of magma oceans. It also may help scientists understand the evolution of areas in Earth’s interior that have been hidden from view for billions of years.

    The research was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation.

    PNAS

    See the full article here .

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

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honor the school’s largest private benefactor for the first century of its existence, Elihu Yale. Yale University is consistently ranked as one of the top universities and is considered one of the most prestigious in the nation.

    Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the Collegiate School was established in 1701 by clergy to educate Congregational ministers before moving to New Haven in 1716. Originally restricted to theology and sacred languages, the curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences by the time of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, the college expanded into graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first PhD in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887. Yale’s faculty and student populations grew after 1890 with rapid expansion of the physical campus and scientific research.

    Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school’s faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forests and nature preserves throughout New England. As of June 2020, the university’s endowment was valued at $31.1 billion, the second largest of any educational institution. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.

    As of October 2020, 65 Nobel laureates, five Fields Medalists, four Abel Prize laureates, and three Turing award winners have been affiliated with Yale University. In addition, Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 31 living billionaires, and many heads of state. Hundreds of members of Congress and many U.S. diplomats, 78 MacArthur Fellows, 252 Rhodes Scholars, 123 Marshall Scholars, and nine Mitchell Scholars have been affiliated with the university.

    Research

    Yale is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation , Yale spent $990 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 15th in the nation.

    Yale’s faculty include 61 members of the National Academy of Sciences , 7 members of the National Academy of Engineering and 49 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . The college is, after normalization for institution size, the tenth-largest baccalaureate source of doctoral degree recipients in the United States, and the largest such source within the Ivy League.

    Yale’s English and Comparative Literature departments were part of the New Criticism movement. Of the New Critics, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, and Cleanth Brooks were all Yale faculty. Later, the Yale Comparative literature department became a center of American deconstruction. Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, taught at the Department of Comparative Literature from the late seventies to mid-1980s. Several other Yale faculty members were also associated with deconstruction, forming the so-called “Yale School”. These included Paul de Man who taught in the Departments of Comparative Literature and French, J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartman (both taught in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature), and Harold Bloom (English), whose theoretical position was always somewhat specific, and who ultimately took a very different path from the rest of this group. Yale’s history department has also originated important intellectual trends. Historians C. Vann Woodward and David Brion Davis are credited with beginning in the 1960s and 1970s an important stream of southern historians; likewise, David Montgomery, a labor historian, advised many of the current generation of labor historians in the country. Yale’s Music School and Department fostered the growth of Music Theory in the latter half of the 20th century. The Journal of Music Theory was founded there in 1957; Allen Forte and David Lewin were influential teachers and scholars.

    In addition to eminent faculty members, Yale research relies heavily on the presence of roughly 1200 Postdocs from various national and international origin working in the multiple laboratories in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools of the university. The university progressively recognized this working force with the recent creation of the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs and the Yale Postdoctoral Association.

    Notable alumni

    Over its history, Yale has produced many distinguished alumni in a variety of fields, ranging from the public to private sector. According to 2020 data, around 71% of undergraduates join the workforce, while the next largest majority of 16.6% go on to attend graduate or professional schools. Yale graduates have been recipients of 252 Rhodes Scholarships, 123 Marshall Scholarships, 67 Truman Scholarships, 21 Churchill Scholarships, and 9 Mitchell Scholarships. The university is also the second largest producer of Fulbright Scholars, with a total of 1,199 in its history and has produced 89 MacArthur Fellows. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranked Yale fifth among research institutions producing the most 2020–2021 Fulbright Scholars. Additionally, 31 living billionaires are Yale alumni.

    At Yale, one of the most popular undergraduate majors among Juniors and Seniors is political science, with many students going on to serve careers in government and politics. Former presidents who attended Yale for undergrad include William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush while former presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton attended Yale Law School. Former vice-president and influential antebellum era politician John C. Calhoun also graduated from Yale. Former world leaders include Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Turkish prime minister Tansu Çiller, Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, German president Karl Carstens, Philippine president José Paciano Laurel, Latvian president Valdis Zatlers, Taiwanese premier Jiang Yi-huah, and Malawian president Peter Mutharika, among others. Prominent royals who graduated are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Olympia Bonaparte, Princess Napoléon.

    Yale alumni have had considerable presence in U.S. government in all three branches. On the U.S. Supreme Court, 19 justices have been Yale alumni, including current Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. Numerous Yale alumni have been U.S. Senators, including current Senators Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Chris Coons, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Sasse, and Sheldon Whitehouse. Current and former cabinet members include Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Cyrus Vance, and Dean Acheson; U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Robert Rubin, Nicholas F. Brady, Steven Mnuchin, and Janet Yellen; U.S. Attorneys General Nicholas Katzenbach, John Ashcroft, and Edward H. Levi; and many others. Peace Corps founder and American diplomat Sargent Shriver and public official and urban planner Robert Moses are Yale alumni.

    Yale has produced numerous award-winning authors and influential writers, like Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Sinclair Lewis and Pulitzer Prize winners Stephen Vincent Benét, Thornton Wilder, Doug Wright, and David McCullough. Academy Award winning actors, actresses, and directors include Jodie Foster, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Elia Kazan, George Roy Hill, Lupita Nyong’o, Oliver Stone, and Frances McDormand. Alumni from Yale have also made notable contributions to both music and the arts. Leading American composer from the 20th century Charles Ives, Broadway composer Cole Porter, Grammy award winner David Lang, and award-winning jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer all hail from Yale. Hugo Boss Prize winner Matthew Barney, famed American sculptor Richard Serra, President Barack Obama presidential portrait painter Kehinde Wiley, MacArthur Fellow and contemporary artist Sarah Sze, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and National Medal of Arts photorealist painter Chuck Close all graduated from Yale. Additional alumni include architect and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Maya Lin, Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, and Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen. Journalists and pundits include Dick Cavett, Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Fareed Zakaria.

    In business, Yale has had numerous alumni and former students go on to become founders of influential business, like William Boeing (Boeing, United Airlines), Briton Hadden and Henry Luce (Time Magazine), Stephen A. Schwarzman (Blackstone Group), Frederick W. Smith (FedEx), Juan Trippe (Pan Am), Harold Stanley (Morgan Stanley), Bing Gordon (Electronic Arts), and Ben Silbermann (Pinterest). Other business people from Yale include former chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings Edward Lampert, former Time Warner president Jeffrey Bewkes, former PepsiCo chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi, sports agent Donald Dell, and investor/philanthropist Sir John Templeton,

    Yale alumni distinguished in academia include literary critic and historian Henry Louis Gates, economists Irving Fischer, Mahbub ul Haq, and Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman; Nobel Prize in Physics laureates Ernest Lawrence and Murray Gell-Mann; Fields Medalist John G. Thompson; Human Genome Project leader and National Institutes of Health director Francis S. Collins; brain surgery pioneer Harvey Cushing; pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper; influential mathematician and chemist Josiah Willard Gibbs; National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee and biochemist Florence B. Seibert; Turing Award recipient Ron Rivest; inventors Samuel F.B. Morse and Eli Whitney; Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate John B. Goodenough; lexicographer Noah Webster; and theologians Jonathan Edwards and Reinhold Niebuhr.

    In the sporting arena, Yale alumni include baseball players Ron Darling and Craig Breslow and baseball executives Theo Epstein and George Weiss; football players Calvin Hill, Gary Fenick, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and “the Father of American Football” Walter Camp; ice hockey players Chris Higgins and Olympian Helen Resor; Olympic figure skaters Sarah Hughes and Nathan Chen; nine-time U.S. Squash men’s champion Julian Illingworth; Olympic swimmer Don Schollander; Olympic rowers Josh West and Rusty Wailes; Olympic sailor Stuart McNay; Olympic runner Frank Shorter; and others.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:22 am on October 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , As permafrost thaws bacteria and viruses that have been hidden underground for tens of thousands of years are being uncovered., As the planet’s ice disappears it’s exposing new surfaces and opportunities and threats, China; Japan; South Korea; Britain and EU members are becoming more focused on the region as well., , , , Eight countries claim territory in the Arctic: Canada; Denmark (because Greenland was its former colony); Finland; Iceland; Norway; Russia; Sweden; and the United States., Geochemistry, Greenland has deposits of coal and copper and gold and nickel and cobalt and rare-earth metals and zinc., Mining the ocean floor could cause serious harm to marine ecosystems including to the plankton that are the basis of the food chain., Permafrost-some of which has been frozen for tens or hundreds of thousands of years-stores the carbon-based remains of plants and animals that froze before they could decompose., , The International Seabed Authority has already approved 30 contracts for seabed exploration., , The resulting potential sea level rise would spell disaster for the 680 million people who live in low-lying coastal areas around the world-a number expected to top one billion by 2050., The U.S. Congressional Research Service estimated that the Arctic contains one trillion dollars’ worth of precious metals and minerals., The United States Geological Survey has estimated that about 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered gas and 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil may be found north of the Arctic Circle., , When the ice in permafrost melts the ground becomes unstable and can slump causing rock and landslides and floods and coastal erosion.   

    From The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory At Columbia University: “What Lies Beneath Melting Glaciers and Thawing Permafrost?” 

    1

    From The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

    At

    Columbia U bloc

    Columbia University

    9.13.22
    Renee Cho

    As the planet’s ice disappears, it’s exposing new surfaces, opportunities, and threats — including valuable mineral deposits, archaeological relics, novel viruses, and more.

    1
    Greenland ice cap. Photo: Doc Searls.

    Across the planet, ice is rapidly disappearing. From mountain tops, the poles, the seas, and the tundra. As the ice melts, it’s exposing new surfaces, new opportunities, and new threats — including valuable mineral deposits, archaeological relics, novel viruses, and more.

    Melting glaciers and sea ice

    The Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the planet, and this means that glaciers, which sit on land, and sea ice, which floats on the ocean surface, are melting rapidly. Two-thirds of Arctic Sea ice has disappeared since 1958 when it was first measured. Between 2000 and 2019, the world’s glaciers lost 267 billon tons of ice each year. Himalayan glaciers are on a trajectory to lose one-third of their ice by 2100, and Alpine glaciers are projected to lose half of theirs.

    “I can tell you from our research that the bedrock underneath the ice will become exposed at a much higher speed than we think,” said Joerg Schaefer, a climate geochemist at the Columbia Climate School’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who is researching the Greenland ice sheet. “All of the predictions are way too conservative in terms of change—the change will be much faster. That’s true globally. But Greenland might be one of the areas where these predictions of ice change are way, way, way too conservative because of a variety of climate factors.”

    2
    Some places, like Thailand, are already experiencing coastal flooding. Photo: UN DRR.

    Because of the global warming human activity has already caused, Greenland’s melting will cause sea levels to rise 10.6 inches, according to a new study [Nature Climate Change (below)]. This amount of melting is already locked in, said the study authors. They added that 10.6 inches is a low estimate; if emissions continue and Greenland’s record-breaking melting of 2012 becomes the norm, we could be facing 30 inches or more of sea level rise. The loss of ice from the West and East Antarctic ice sheets and from other glaciers would add to this.

    The resulting potential sea level rise would spell disaster for the 680 million people who live in low-lying coastal areas around the world, a number expected to top one billion by 2050.

    What lies under melting ice?

    Fossil fuels and precious metals

    Until recently, most exploitation of the Arctic’s oil and gas resources were on land. But summer ice cover in the Arctic could disappear as early as 2035, making the region more accessible to ships and providing new opportunities for fossil fuel extraction and mining.

    The United States Geological Survey has estimated that about 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered gas and 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil may be found north of the Arctic Circle, mostly offshore in the ocean. In addition to these fossil fuels, the U.S. Congressional Research Service estimated that the Arctic contains one trillion dollars’ worth of precious metals and minerals.

    Greenland has deposits of coal, copper, gold, nickel, cobalt, rare-earth metals, and zinc. As the melting ice uncovers land that has been inaccessible for thousands of years, prospectors are moving in.

    Schaefer’s research involves sampling underneath Greenland’s ice and using isotope tools to figure out when the area was last ice-free in order to identify the most vulnerable segments of the Greenland ice sheet. He is often questioned by mineral consortiums. “They just want to know what is underneath the ice sheet. ‘Send us your rocks, we need to know what minerals are in there. And when is it gone? Or what does it take to melt it?’ They just want to get into these mineral deposits,” he said.

    Valuable metals are also found in the deep seabed in the Arctic and elsewhere. Potato-like nodules on the Arctic Ocean floor contain copper, nickel, and rare earths such as scandium, used in the aerospace industry. Norway is exploring deep sea mining of the ocean floor to exploit deposits of copper, zinc, cobalt, gold, and silver. The International Seabed Authority has already approved 30 contracts for seabed exploration.

    Mining the ocean floor could cause serious harm to marine ecosystems including to the plankton that are the basis of the food chain. And while deep sea mining companies claim their environmental impacts are less than those of land mining, much of the deep sea and its ecosystems remain largely unexplored. Several companies and environmental groups are calling for a global moratorium on deep seabed mining until its environmental impacts are better understood.

    However, avoiding the worst impacts of climate change means transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, which requires large quantities of minerals. As much as three billion tons of metals — including lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt, copper, silicon, silver, zinc, iron ore, and aluminum — may be needed for technologies such as batteries for electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, and other clean energy technologies. The World Bank estimates that the production of minerals could increase by nearly 500 percent by 2050 to meet the growing demand for renewable energy technologies.

    One ecologically sound alternative to mining the exposed land or deep seabed would be to extract valuable metals from recycled electronic waste, but the reality is that only about 20 percent of e-waste is recycled—the rest is discarded. In any case, more precious metals than are currently in circulation will be needed to supply materials for the transition to clean energy. As a member of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition said, “You can’t recycle what you don’t have.”

    More shipping

    Melting sea ice has opened up waterways in the Arctic, enabling shipping to increase by 25 percent between 2013 and 2019.

    As more oil tankers and bulk carriers traverse the region, the result has also been an 85 percent increase in black carbon mainly from their use of heavy fuel oil. When black carbon — a form of air pollution that results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels — lands on snow or ice, it darkens it and hastens melting. Black carbon also causes respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses in humans. The U.N.’s International Maritime Organization has banned the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic, but the ban won’t go into effect until 2029.

    With the melting summer ice, cruise tourism is also increasing. In 2016, the first large cruise ship traversed the Arctic and stopped at Nome, AK. This summer, 27 cruise ships were scheduled to dock there. More cruise ships mean more carbon emissions that blacken the ice and disrupt marine ecosystems.

    Thawing permafrost

    3
    Permafrost thawing near the Yukon. Photo: Boris Radosavljevic.

    Global warming is also causing the thawing of permafrost—ground that remains frozen for two or more consecutive years. It is found at high latitudes and high altitudes, mainly in Siberia, the Tibetan Plateau, Alaska, Northern Canada, Greenland, parts of Scandinavia and Russia. Permafrost, some of which has been frozen for tens or hundreds of thousands of years, stores the carbon-based remains of plants and animals that froze before they could decompose. Scientists estimate that the world’s permafrost holds 1,500 billion tons of carbon, almost double the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere. As permafrost thaws, the microbes within consume the frozen organic matter and release carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. This accelerates warming, precipitating even more permafrost thaw in an irreversible cycle. Scientists project that two-thirds of the Arctic’s near-surface permafrost could be gone by 2100.

    When the ice in permafrost melts, the ground becomes unstable and can slump, causing rock and landslides, floods, and coastal erosion. The buckling earth can damage buildings, roads, power lines, and other infrastructure. It is affecting many Indigenous communities that have lived and depended on the stability of frozen permafrost for hundreds of years.

    What lies under thawing permafrost?

    Microbes

    As permafrost thaws bacteria and viruses that have been hidden underground for tens of thousands of years are being uncovered. One gram of permafrost was found to harbor thousands of dormant microbe species [Nature Climate Change (below)]. Some of these species could be new viruses or ancient ones for which humans lack immunity and cures, or diseases that society has eliminated, such as smallpox or Bubonic plague. In 2016, a hundred people in Siberia were hospitalized and a boy died after contracting anthrax from an infected reindeer carcass that had frozen 75 years earlier and become exposed when the permafrost thawed. Anthrax spores entered the soil and water, and eventually the food supply.

    Much older specimens have also been uncovered. Scientists have revived a 30,000-year-old virus that infects amoebas and discovered microbes more than 400,000 years old. Some of these microorganisms may already be resistant to our antibiotics [Nature (below)].

    Pollutants

    Because the Arctic has been covered by ice and permafrost for much of human history and was largely inaccessible, it was an ideal place to dump chemicals, biohazards, and even radioactive materials. The risks these materials pose in the light of thawing permafrost are poorly understood.

    Radioactive waste from nuclear reactors and submarines, nuclear testing, and dumped nuclear waste can be exposed by melting ice and thawing permafrost. Chemicals and pollutants, such as DDT and PCBs, that were transported through the atmosphere and frozen in the permafrost, may also resurface. Heavy metal mine waste resulting from decades of extensive mining in the Arctic is found in permafrost as well.

    The increased water flow resulting from thawing permafrost will enable pollutants and microorganisms to spread more easily, with potential risks to ecosystems, local communities, and the food chain. The increase in cruise ships, tourism, mining, and commerce in the Arctic could also expose more people to pathogens and pollutants.

    Is there anything positive about melting glaciers and thawing permafrost?

    There are many disasters that could result from melting glaciers and thawing permafrost, but there may also be a few potential benefits.

    4
    Melting ice sheet in Greenland. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

    One study [PNAS (below)] found that the new shipping routes opened by melting ice in the Arctic could reduce the travel time between Asia and Europe substantially. The Arctic routes are 30 to 50 percent shorter than the Suez Canal and Panama Canal routes and can cut travel time by 14 to 20 days. Ships will thus be able to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 24 percent, while saving money on fuel and ship wear and tear.

    New mining opportunities in previously inaccessible areas and in the deep sea will make it possible to obtain the quantities of rare and precious metals needed to transition to a clean energy economy. The chairman of the Metals Company said, “The reality is that the clean-energy transition is not possible without taking billions of tons of metal from the planet.”

    The microbes and viruses that have lived in the permafrost for millennia had to develop many adaptations to withstand the harsh environment and may help to develop new antibiotics. To survive, bacteria competed with each other by producing antibiotics, some of which may be entirely new. While some microbes have been found to be antibiotic resistant, others might be able to help develop new antibiotics for medical use. In Arctic soil uncovered by thawing permafrost, scientists discovered new bacteriophages—bacteria eaters—each one of which consumes a different bacterium.

    Researchers found one bacterium that could survive in cold and biodegrade oil in contaminated Arctic soil; the bacterium was able to take up 60 percent of the oil around it. This could potentially help clean up oil spills in the Arctic. Two other bacteria species recovered from thawing permafrost were found to degrade dioxins and furans, volatile liquids, which could aid in remediating contaminated sites. One researcher is studying whether organisms in permafrost can produce enzymes that break down plastics.

    The melting ice and thawing permafrost have also revealed geography and ancient artifacts that are deepening archaeologists’ understanding of history and culture. In the mountains of Norway, melting ice revealed a remote ancient mountain pass and artifacts from the Roman Iron Age and the time of the Vikings. The pass was an important path for moving livestock between grazing sites and a passageway for travel and trade. Researchers also found numerous tools, artifacts, and weapons that had belonged to the Vikings. In the Jotunheimen Mountain Range of Norway, archaeologists discovered an iron arrowhead dating back to the Norwegian Iron Age.

    This year, when Antarctic sea ice cover hit a record low, researchers in the Weddell Sea, a remote part of the Antarctic, were searching for the wreckage of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, Endurance. It had been trapped by the sea ice and sunk in 1915.

    They were able to find the ship almost 9,900 feet underwater, due in part to reduced ice cover.

    In the thawing permafrost of the Yukon, scientists found a perfectly preserved wolf pup that lived 57,000 years ago during the Ice Age, camel bones from 75,000 to 125,000 years ago, and teeth from a hyena-like creature that lived 850,000 to 1.4 million years ago. Because the specimens are well-preserved and contain genetic material, they can help scientists understand how species responded to climate change and human impacts long ago.

    As the planet warms, some countries and regions will lose out, while others will benefit. For example, Siberia will likely become a huge wheat producer, and Canada a major wine producer.

    Greenland’s economy currently relies on fishing, tourism, and hunting but it will need to exploit its natural resources to support an aging population. The sand and sediment released by Greenland’s melting glaciers could be worth more than $1.11 billion because the world faces a severe shortage of the sand needed to make concrete, computers, and glass. While dredging sand and transporting it could cause environmental damage, a clear majority of Greenlanders polled want their government to explore the extraction and exportation of sand.

    As Greenland’s glaciers retreat, they also leave behind silt crushed into nano-size particles by the weight of the ice. This nutrient-rich mud, called glacial rock flour, gives plants more access to nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and silicon, while absorbing CO2 from the air. Adding 27.5 tons of glacial rock flour per hectare increased barley yields in Denmark by 30 percent. Applying 1.1 tons of it to fields absorbs between 250 and 300 kilograms of CO2. The more than one billion tons of glacial rock flour deposited yearly on Greenland could enable farmers to sell carbon credits because of the CO2 absorbed, and boost the country’s economy.
    The changes raise complex questions

    Ultimately, these relatively small potential benefits cannot outweigh the enormous impacts climate change will have on local communities and the planet. “Do I believe that these kinds of changes [mining and shipping opportunities] are translating into something positive for the broader society on the planet? Absolutely not,” said Schaefer. “[They] will further enrich an already incredibly rich tiny minority of capitalists.”

    4
    Map of the Arctic. Photo: Rosie Rosenberger

    Eight countries claim territory in the Arctic: Canada, Denmark (because Greenland was its former colony), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States, some with overlapping geological claims. As the region warms, and new opportunities for exploitation arise, “near-Arctic” countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Britain, and EU members are becoming more focused on the region as well. Intelligence analyst Rebekah Koffler has warned, “The Arctic is going to be the future battlefield for economic dominance and possession of natural resources.”

    It is a geological reality that as ice melts and permafrost thaws, many surfaces will get exposed. Schaefer believes the best thing to do is to tighten laws so that outsiders or wealthy private companies cannot simply exploit resources without any responsibility to the planet or the people who own the land.

    The question of who will benefit from climate change impacts, and from the melting and thawing regions in particular, is complicated. Schaefer believes these issues are moving away from climate science and into law and ethics, and that perhaps the best framework for resolving them is to prioritize climate justice. He said, “The voices and votes of the people who live there and own the land need to be at the center of everything.”

    Science papers:
    Nature Climate Change
    Nature Climate Change
    Nature
    PNAS
    See the science papers for instructive imagery.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

    3
    The Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory R/V Marcus Langseth.

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

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

    University Mission Statement

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

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 1:44 pm on October 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What Can Zircons Tell Us About the Evolution of Plants?", , , , Events deep within Earth might chronicle the radiation of plants with roots and leaves and stems - a development that occurred about 430 million years ago., Geochemistry, , , The versatile mineral could contain evidence of the evolution of land plants and their effect on the sedimentary system.   

    From “Eos” : “What Can Zircons Tell Us About the Evolution of Plants?” 

    Eos news bloc

    From “Eos”

    AT

    AGU

    10.5.22
    Alka Tripathy-Lang

    The versatile mineral could contain evidence of the evolution of land plants and their effect on the sedimentary system.

    1
    Zircons may record the evolution of vegetation like that lining the Swiss river Kander. Credit: Adrian Michael/Wikimedia, CC-BY-3.0.

    Geologists love zircon for its ability to tell time. They’ve also used these robust, tiny time capsules in a variety of studies ranging from estimating when water first appeared on Earth to exploring the origin of plate tectonics.

    Scientists led by Chris Spencer, an assistant professor of tectonics and geochemistry at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., Canada, combed through data from hundreds of thousands of zircons culled from numerous studies. In a recent paper in Nature Geoscience [below], they compiled only single crystals with three kinds of analyses—the age of the zircon and two additional measurements that serve as proxies for what the melt that birthed each crystal was like.

    With this data set, the authors posit that zircons—perhaps known best for recording magmatic and metamorphic events deep within Earth might chronicle the radiation of plants with roots and leaves and stems – a development that occurred about 430 million years ago.

    2
    Zircons. Credit: Alka Tripathy-Lang.

    Elements and Isotopes

    Zircon contains zirconium, silicon, and oxygen. Other elements, like uranium and hafnium, can also sneak into its structure; uranium isotopes are radioactive and decay to lead, providing geochronologists with a way to date nearly every zircon crystal.

    Oxygen—part of zircon’s backbone—has only stable, naturally occurring isotopes. Low-temperature surface processes preferentially sort these isotopes, divvying heavy from light. For example, water with light oxygen tends to evaporate first. Water with heavy oxygen will precipitate more readily as rain. And when water interacts with rock, weathering processes partially separate heavy oxygen from its lighter counterparts, explained Brenhin Keller, an assistant professor and geochronologist at Dartmouth who was not involved with this study.

    In particular, as rocks erode, they disintegrate into sands and eventually muds made from clays. Clays tend to incorporate more heavy oxygen, explained Annie Bauer, an assistant professor and geochronologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison who was also not involved in this study. Subducting mud and mixing it into the mantle would result in melt—and likely zircon—featuring heavier oxygen than a melt that incorporates no crustal material or crust that experienced less weathering.

    Therefore, oxygen isotopes can be used as a proxy for whether a zircon crystal’s precursor melt contained rocks that spent time at the surface, explained Spencer.

    Zircons also contain plenty of hafnium, some of which is produced by the radioactive decay of lutetium. “To a first order, the lutetium-hafnium system will tell you about the source of a magma and therefore also the source of a zircon…crystallizing from that magma,” said Keller.

    If the magma contains melt fresh from the mantle, its hafnium signature will look very different from a melt signature containing old crust that’s been recycled via subduction. In Hawaii, for instance, freshly erupted basalts weather into sediments easily identified as being “from magmas that were extracted from the mantle very, very recently,” said Spencer. The hafnium isotope signatures of these sediments will indicate their youth. Sediments in the Amazon River delta, in contrast, come from several-billion-year-old cratons. “The rocks from which those sediments are derived have a very different [hafnium isotope signature] that goes back billions of years,” he explained.

    Chemical Correlation

    “At first blush…it just looks like shotgun blasts of data,” said Spencer, referring to the relationship between oxygen and hafnium signatures. There is a general lack of correlation for pre-Paleozoic zircons older than about 540 million years, but hafnium signatures do correlate with oxygen isotopes in younger zircons.

    Taken together, these data point to zircons coming from a mantle source containing old crust (from hafnium) that was exposed to liquid water (from oxygen), said Keller.

    This relationship is surprising, said Bauer, because “there’s no reason to expect hafnium and oxygen to correlate [in zircons].” Sediments incorporated into a mantle melt might contain heavier oxygen, indicating more weathering, but they need not have a distinct hafnium signature because “it’s just random sedimentary material.”

    Pinning down just when the two signatures began to correlate took some statistical sleuthing. Nevertheless, Spencer found a shift between 450 million and 430 million years ago that suggests some rapid, irreversible change in zircon chemistry, he said.

    Around 430 million years ago, few mountains were being built, said Spencer, which led him to surmise that something else must have caused the peculiar correlation.

    Prior to about 450 million years ago, river deposits tended to have very low proportions of mud, whereas after that, muddy river deposits increased. The cause of this shift to muddy rivers, said Spencer, “is the advent of land plants.” Roots, he explained, help hold mud and other sediment on river banks, which in turn helps rivers meander. Therefore, roots control what sediment eventually arrives in subduction zones to be carried down to the mantle, melted, and returned to the surface, perhaps with zircons transcribing the tale.

    Just how land plants changed the sediment cycle, however, is still being debated, Keller pointed out. For instance, plants stabilize banks, but they can also increase the extent of weathering. “It’s a reasonable hypothesis that [plants] should maybe do something to the global cycling of sediments,” he said, “and if so, then maybe you can see it in the geochemical record.”

    Ultimately, there are only about 5,000 zircons in Spencer’s database, which he described as “paltry” compared to other zircon data repositories that reach into the hundreds of thousands of analyses. The small sample size is a result of few studies obtaining both oxygen and hafnium information from a single zircon, in addition to age.

    “The main challenges are always representativeness,” said Keller, “and preservation bias.”

    “I anxiously await the time when we have 10,000 [analyses],” said Spencer. “At this moment, this is what we have.”

    Science paper:
    Nature Geoscience

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

     
  • richardmitnick 9:08 am on July 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Thin crust or thick? Yale researchers try to solve a continental question", , , , Geochemistry, , , The thicker continental crust is often as much as 25 miles thick., The thickness of continental crust plays an important role in everything from the gradual movement of continents to the evolution of animal species on land and in shallow waters along coastlines., The thinner oceanic crust is normally a little more than four miles thick.,   

    From The Yale University Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences : “Thin crust or thick? Yale researchers try to solve a continental question” 

    From The Yale University Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences

    At

    Yale University

    June 30, 2022 [Just today in social media.]

    Written by Jim Shelton

    Media Contact:

    Fred Mamoun:
    fred.mamoun@yale.edu
    203-436-2643

    1
    Photo by Erik Christensen. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

    The crusty conundrum carries fundamental implications. The thickness of continental crust — the part of Earth’s crust that forms land masses and continents — plays an important role in everything from the gradual movement of continents to the evolution of animal species on land and in shallow waters along coastlines.

    The Earth is covered by two kinds of crust — continental and oceanic. The thinner oceanic crust is normally a little more than four miles thick, while the thicker continental crust is often as much as 25 miles thick. Continental crust is also much less dense than its oceanic counterpart.

    In 1962, famed Princeton geologist Harry Hess theorized that the thickness of continental crust had to do with sea level and ocean depth. Deeper oceans enabled the formation of thicker continental crust, Hess posited. But as the crust thickens and rises above sea level, Hess said, erosion gradually starts to break it down.

    The Hess theory [The Geological Society] [below] proved quite durable, remaining unchallenged for decades. But in the past five years, new theories about oceans and land formation in the ancient world began to raise questions. For example, the geochemical signatures of ancient sediments around the world suggest to many researchers that during Earth’s Archean eon, which lasted from 4,000 million years ago until 2,500 million years ago, Earth was a “water world.” The planet was covered by deep oceans, with no continents rising above the water’s surface.

    “The notion of a water world for the early Earth has become quite popular these days, and at the same time, there is also growing evidence for the massive amount of early continental crust,” said Jun Korenaga, a professor of earth & planetary sciences in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

    “However, a water world and a large volume of continents don’t really make sense together, if continental thickness is controlled as Hess speculated. Continents can always be thickened to reach the sea level, and a water world is not possible.”

    The new study in the journal Geology [below], authored by Korenaga and a former Yale undergraduate student, Vuong Mai, offers an explanation. According to their analysis, the strength of continental crust, rather than sea level, was the prevailing regulator of crust thickness for the ancient Earth.

    Mai, the study’s first author, created a model to analyze the strength of continental crust and test its stability against gravitational forces. She found that during the Archean eon, Earth’s continental crust was hotter and weaker — and was not strong enough to reach the thickness it attained millions of years later.

    “When we first began this project, we analyzed results from rock mechanics studies to characterize the strength of Earth’s continental crust,” said Mai. “While we have enough data to understand the strength of the continental crust today, extrapolating what we know of early-Earth conditions to characterize the Archean continental crust strength is a difficult problem.

    “The plausibility of a water world hinges on the crustal strength. A weak crust won’t be able to support itself and accumulate above sea level, which provides a mechanism for a water world, whereas a strong crust will inevitably form continents and thus a water world would not be possible.”

    Mai and Korenaga said that in addition to solving a geological paradox, the findings are significant because they will help scientists understand the landscape of the early Earth, which played a critical role in the origin of life.

    “Empirical data for the Earth this long ago are scarce,” Mai said.

    Support for the research study came from the National Science Foundation and the Karen L. Von Damm ‘77 Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Earth and Planetary Sciences at Yale University. The Von Damm Fellowship has supported a number of significant research projects by Yale undergraduate students.

    The Hess theory [The Geological Society] proved quite durable, remaining unchallenged for decades.

    The new study is published in the journal Geology.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honor the school’s largest private benefactor for the first century of its existence, Elihu Yale. Yale University is consistently ranked as one of the top universities and is considered one of the most prestigious in the nation.

    Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the Collegiate School was established in 1701 by clergy to educate Congregational ministers before moving to New Haven in 1716. Originally restricted to theology and sacred languages, the curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences by the time of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, the college expanded into graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first PhD in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887. Yale’s faculty and student populations grew after 1890 with rapid expansion of the physical campus and scientific research.

    Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school’s faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forests and nature preserves throughout New England. As of June 2020, the university’s endowment was valued at $31.1 billion, the second largest of any educational institution. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.

    As of October 2020, 65 Nobel laureates, five Fields Medalists, four Abel Prize laureates, and three Turing award winners have been affiliated with Yale University. In addition, Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 31 living billionaires, and many heads of state. Hundreds of members of Congress and many U.S. diplomats, 78 MacArthur Fellows, 252 Rhodes Scholars, 123 Marshall Scholars, and nine Mitchell Scholars have been affiliated with the university.

    Research

    Yale is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation , Yale spent $990 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 15th in the nation.

    Yale’s faculty include 61 members of the National Academy of Sciences , 7 members of the National Academy of Engineering and 49 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . The college is, after normalization for institution size, the tenth-largest baccalaureate source of doctoral degree recipients in the United States, and the largest such source within the Ivy League.

    Yale’s English and Comparative Literature departments were part of the New Criticism movement. Of the New Critics, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, and Cleanth Brooks were all Yale faculty. Later, the Yale Comparative literature department became a center of American deconstruction. Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, taught at the Department of Comparative Literature from the late seventies to mid-1980s. Several other Yale faculty members were also associated with deconstruction, forming the so-called “Yale School”. These included Paul de Man who taught in the Departments of Comparative Literature and French, J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartman (both taught in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature), and Harold Bloom (English), whose theoretical position was always somewhat specific, and who ultimately took a very different path from the rest of this group. Yale’s history department has also originated important intellectual trends. Historians C. Vann Woodward and David Brion Davis are credited with beginning in the 1960s and 1970s an important stream of southern historians; likewise, David Montgomery, a labor historian, advised many of the current generation of labor historians in the country. Yale’s Music School and Department fostered the growth of Music Theory in the latter half of the 20th century. The Journal of Music Theory was founded there in 1957; Allen Forte and David Lewin were influential teachers and scholars.

    In addition to eminent faculty members, Yale research relies heavily on the presence of roughly 1200 Postdocs from various national and international origin working in the multiple laboratories in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools of the university. The university progressively recognized this working force with the recent creation of the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs and the Yale Postdoctoral Association.

    Notable alumni

    Over its history, Yale has produced many distinguished alumni in a variety of fields, ranging from the public to private sector. According to 2020 data, around 71% of undergraduates join the workforce, while the next largest majority of 16.6% go on to attend graduate or professional schools. Yale graduates have been recipients of 252 Rhodes Scholarships, 123 Marshall Scholarships, 67 Truman Scholarships, 21 Churchill Scholarships, and 9 Mitchell Scholarships. The university is also the second largest producer of Fulbright Scholars, with a total of 1,199 in its history and has produced 89 MacArthur Fellows. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranked Yale fifth among research institutions producing the most 2020–2021 Fulbright Scholars. Additionally, 31 living billionaires are Yale alumni.

    At Yale, one of the most popular undergraduate majors among Juniors and Seniors is political science, with many students going on to serve careers in government and politics. Former presidents who attended Yale for undergrad include William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush while former presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton attended Yale Law School. Former vice-president and influential antebellum era politician John C. Calhoun also graduated from Yale. Former world leaders include Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Turkish prime minister Tansu Çiller, Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, German president Karl Carstens, Philippine president José Paciano Laurel, Latvian president Valdis Zatlers, Taiwanese premier Jiang Yi-huah, and Malawian president Peter Mutharika, among others. Prominent royals who graduated are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Olympia Bonaparte, Princess Napoléon.

    Yale alumni have had considerable presence in U.S. government in all three branches. On the U.S. Supreme Court, 19 justices have been Yale alumni, including current Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. Numerous Yale alumni have been U.S. Senators, including current Senators Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Chris Coons, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Sasse, and Sheldon Whitehouse. Current and former cabinet members include Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Cyrus Vance, and Dean Acheson; U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Robert Rubin, Nicholas F. Brady, Steven Mnuchin, and Janet Yellen; U.S. Attorneys General Nicholas Katzenbach, John Ashcroft, and Edward H. Levi; and many others. Peace Corps founder and American diplomat Sargent Shriver and public official and urban planner Robert Moses are Yale alumni.

    Yale has produced numerous award-winning authors and influential writers, like Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Sinclair Lewis and Pulitzer Prize winners Stephen Vincent Benét, Thornton Wilder, Doug Wright, and David McCullough. Academy Award winning actors, actresses, and directors include Jodie Foster, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Elia Kazan, George Roy Hill, Lupita Nyong’o, Oliver Stone, and Frances McDormand. Alumni from Yale have also made notable contributions to both music and the arts. Leading American composer from the 20th century Charles Ives, Broadway composer Cole Porter, Grammy award winner David Lang, and award-winning jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer all hail from Yale. Hugo Boss Prize winner Matthew Barney, famed American sculptor Richard Serra, President Barack Obama presidential portrait painter Kehinde Wiley, MacArthur Fellow and contemporary artist Sarah Sze, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and National Medal of Arts photorealist painter Chuck Close all graduated from Yale. Additional alumni include architect and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Maya Lin, Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, and Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen. Journalists and pundits include Dick Cavett, Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Fareed Zakaria.

    In business, Yale has had numerous alumni and former students go on to become founders of influential business, like William Boeing (Boeing, United Airlines), Briton Hadden and Henry Luce (Time Magazine), Stephen A. Schwarzman (Blackstone Group), Frederick W. Smith (FedEx), Juan Trippe (Pan Am), Harold Stanley (Morgan Stanley), Bing Gordon (Electronic Arts), and Ben Silbermann (Pinterest). Other business people from Yale include former chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings Edward Lampert, former Time Warner president Jeffrey Bewkes, former PepsiCo chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi, sports agent Donald Dell, and investor/philanthropist Sir John Templeton,

    Yale alumni distinguished in academia include literary critic and historian Henry Louis Gates, economists Irving Fischer, Mahbub ul Haq, and Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman; Nobel Prize in Physics laureates Ernest Lawrence and Murray Gell-Mann; Fields Medalist John G. Thompson; Human Genome Project leader and National Institutes of Health director Francis S. Collins; brain surgery pioneer Harvey Cushing; pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper; influential mathematician and chemist Josiah Willard Gibbs; National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee and biochemist Florence B. Seibert; Turing Award recipient Ron Rivest; inventors Samuel F.B. Morse and Eli Whitney; Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate John B. Goodenough; lexicographer Noah Webster; and theologians Jonathan Edwards and Reinhold Niebuhr.

    In the sporting arena, Yale alumni include baseball players Ron Darling and Craig Breslow and baseball executives Theo Epstein and George Weiss; football players Calvin Hill, Gary Fenick, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and “the Father of American Football” Walter Camp; ice hockey players Chris Higgins and Olympian Helen Resor; Olympic figure skaters Sarah Hughes and Nathan Chen; nine-time U.S. Squash men’s champion Julian Illingworth; Olympic swimmer Don Schollander; Olympic rowers Josh West and Rusty Wailes; Olympic sailor Stuart McNay; Olympic runner Frank Shorter; and others.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:27 pm on June 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Exploring New Materials Through Collaboration", Advanced microscopy, , , De Yoreo approaches science through a collaborative perspective., De Yoreo has worked with like-minded materials science researchers across Washington State., Developing new and increasingly complicated materials requires combining existing materials., Geochemistry, Interfaces-the place where two different materials meet, Jim De Yoreo, Many of these collaborations occur through university partnerships-particularly at the University of Washington., , , Natural mineral and biological systems,   

    From The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: “Exploring New Materials Through Collaboration” 

    From The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

    June 13, 2022
    Beth Mundy

    Jim De Yoreo’s career full of insights about materials will continue at the Energy Sciences Center.

    Scientists who study materials can be divided into three categories. “You have people who make things, people who make things do things, and people who try to understand why things do what they do,” said Jim De Yoreo, a Battelle fellow at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). He places himself into the third category.

    Through advanced microscopy techniques, De Yoreo has spent his career trying to understand and predict the behavior of materials. In 2022, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, citing his “advances in materials synthesis from nucleation to large-scale crystal growth.” De Yoreo’s work spans materials science, geochemistry, and biophysics, often focusing on natural mineral and biological systems.

    De Yoreo is particularly interested in interfaces, the place where two different materials meet. “Developing new and increasingly complicated materials requires combining existing materials,” said De Yoreo. “To effectively combine materials, we have to understand what happens at the interface.”

    De Yoreo’s research team has watched tiny crystals grow and attach together in real time, solving outstanding questions about crystal formation. The team also determined the patterns that proteins form on a mineral surface, laying the groundwork for new strategies for synthesizing semiconductor and metallic nanoparticle circuits for photovoltaic or energy storage applications.

    Some of De Yoreo’s most significant contributions occurred through his penchant for forging deep connections and collaborations. Since joining PNNL in 2012, he has worked with like-minded materials science researchers across Washington State.

    De Yoreo approaches science through a collaborative perspective [see the blog masthead about science and collaboration]. “I know that my own view is limited,” said De Yoreo. “So if I work with people who have different skills, we can start to really understand materials.”

    Many of these collaborations occur through university partnerships-particularly at the University of Washington. De Yoreo has embraced leadership roles at the Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry, and Technology and the Center for the Science of Synthesis Across Scales, which bring together researchers from PNNL and UW.

    “I think Jim has set the stage for another decade of really fruitful materials science collaborations between UW and PNNL,” said Jim Pfaendtner, PNNL joint appointee, professor, and chair of the UW Department of Chemical Engineering. “His efforts have built bridges that didn’t exist before and led to new efforts, like CSSAS.”

    Pfaendtner isn’t the only one who noticed. The Department of Energy named De Yoreo a Distinguished Scientist Fellow in 2020, specifically citing his “leadership in National Laboratory-University partnerships.”

    Mentoring for collaboration

    1
    A transmission electron microscopy image of an assembly of nanomaterials. (Image by Madison Monahan | University of Washington)

    Through joint faculty appointments in the UW Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering departments, De Yoreo co-mentors students like Madison Monahan. Monahan, a recent PhD graduate, helped start a collaboration among De Yoreo, PNNL materials scientist and UW joint appointee Chun-Long Chen, and UW Chemistry Professor Brandi Cossairt. Monahan’s work focuses on controlling the assembly of complex nanoscale materials.

    The different material components are like toy bricks. When assembled in a precise order, a stack of different pieces can become a car or a house. While standard toy bricks require direct human assembly, it isn’t strictly necessary at the nanoscale. It’s as if putting a set of bricks into a box and shaking it the right way produces a completed model house without extra effort.

    This is similar to what happens with assemblies at the nanoscale. However, creating a specific assembly isn’t as simple as adding all the components to a random box. Different conditions, including the overall temperature or type of materials, can change the final structure of the assembly. The goal of Monahan’s project, which is funded by CSSAS, is to understand design principles and key interactions between different building blocks. This will allow researchers to create predictable, functional materials, where final structure controls overall behavior, from a wide range of starting materials.

    The collaboration centers on combining carbon-based (organic) and non-carbon-based (inorganic) materials.

    “We want to try to fit these two different worlds together and find a place where they have complementary chemistry,” said Monahan.

    The Chen group designed peptide-like molecules, called peptoids, to serve as the organic component. Monahan created inorganic nanocrystals and used microscopy to study the forming of organic-inorganic assemblies and their final structures.

    The team explored whether starting assembly with either the organic or the inorganic components produced different results.

    The team found that order of operations matters. When the organic base gets assembled first, it controls the overall structure. When starting with the nanocrystals, the results become less clear. It turns out the size and composition of the nanocrystal also matter. With smaller nanocrystals, the organic structure and nanocrystal both affect the final material. When the nanocrystal is larger, it primarily determines the final structure.

    This work, recently published in ACS Nano, required expertise in developing biologically inspired molecules, synthesizing inorganic materials, and using advanced imaging techniques. It involved bringing together different perspectives to create and understand these complex material assemblies.

    “Jim has opened my eyes to these different ways to study nanomaterials,” said Cossairt. “There are things we’d just never consider being viable for our inorganic systems. He really is the dream collaborator.”

    Developing the next generation of scientific leaders

    Students who work with De Yoreo have ready access to advanced microscopes and other instruments at the new Energy Sciences Center (ESC). It’s more than the instruments, though. The ESC was designed as a collaborative environment for accelerated scientific discovery and features a combination of research laboratories, flexible-use open spaces, conference rooms, and offices.

    “Everyone in Jim’s group has such different backgrounds,” said Monahan. “It means that you constantly get great ideas and have access to so much knowledge. I get to hear from experienced physicists and materials scientists at PNNL as well as the chemists I work with at UW.”

    Monahan is just one of De Yoreo’s UW student mentees. While some stay based at UW for their full graduate career, others spend from months to years on the PNNL campus.

    “I always wanted to mentor graduate students jointly,” said De Yoreo. “Working with another mentor makes sure my students have a full lab experience no matter where they are. I also think if they can learn both synthesis and measurement, it makes their work more successful.”

    Jim’s collaborators echo that sentiment. “There’s no way a student advised just by me would have been able to develop such deep microscopy skills,” said Cossairt. “The joint approach gives a student the best of both worlds.”

    An adventurous approach to life and science

    Collaborators note that they never know what the background of De Yoreo’s video calls will be as he often features photos of previous travels that range from savannah wildlife to snowy slopes. These backgrounds often come with an anecdote about the corresponding trip.

    Once, he took instruments to explore a cave in Mexico where a unique set of crystals naturally formed. A sense of adventure permeates his personal and professional life. “You never know where he’s calling you from,” said Monahan.

    “Jim has an adventurous approach to life, and you can see it in his science,” said Monahan, describing her mentor. “He has these wildly ambitious ideas, but he’s practical enough to know they might not happen now. But he’s going to break it down to where in 10 years, he’ll be able to do it.”

    Others echo this sentiment. “Jim has a boundless intellectual energy and the ability to deeply think about numerous problems simultaneously,” said Pfaendtner. “It’s incredible.”

    Pfaendtner collaborates with De Yoreo on multiple projects. “My group does computational modeling and he does experimental characterization,” said Pfaendtner. “Our work fits nicely together.”

    Previously, a collaborative effort [Journal of the American Chemical Society] that included De Yoreo and Pfaendtner’s research groups explored how solid-binding peptides attach to a mineral surface. These biological molecules can potentially direct the formation of complex mineral-biological hybrid systems. The team used a combined approach of protein engineering, microscopy, computations, and surface bonding experiments to understand what controls peptide binding. They found that binding ability is substantially determined by a small section of the peptide structure. Using this core structure, researchers can create and identify new peptides to assemble materials.

    “Every time I meet with Jim, he has new ideas about whatever we’re working on,” said Pfaendtner. “I leave most of my conversations with him feeling energized.”

    See the full article here.

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 1:17 pm on May 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "In wake of hurricane microbial ecosystem remarkably resilient", , , , , , , Geochemistry, , Microbial mats, ,   

    From Johns Hopkins University via phys.org : “In wake of hurricane microbial ecosystem remarkably resilient” 

    From Johns Hopkins University

    via

    phys.org

    May 27, 2022

    1
    Photos taken before and after the hurricane demonstrate the resilience of the microbial mats. Credit: Johns Hopkins University.

    After sustaining seemingly catastrophic hurricane damage, a primordial groundcover vital to sustaining a multitude of coastal lifeforms bounced back to life in a matter of months.

    The finding, co-led by a Johns Hopkins University geochemist and published today in Science Advances, offers rare optimism for the fate of one of Earth’s most critical ecosystems as climate change alters the global pattern of intense storms.

    “The good news is that in these types of environments, there are these mechanisms that can play an important role in stabilizing the ecosystem because they recover so quickly,” said Maya Gomes, a Johns Hopkins assistant professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences. “What we saw is that they just started growing again and that means that as we continue to have more hurricanes because of climate change these ecosystems will be relatively resilient.”

    The team, co-led by California Institute of Technology and University of Colorado, Boulder, researchers, had been studying Little Ambergris Cay, an uninhabited island in Turks and Caicos, in particular the island’s microbial mats. Microbial mats are a squishy, spongey ecosystems that for eons have sustained a diverse array of life from the microscopic organisms that that make a home in the upper oxygenated layers to the mangroves it helps root and stabilize, which in turn provide habitats for even more species. Mats can be found all over the world in wildly different environments, but the variety this team studied are commonly found in tropical, saltwater-oriented places, exactly the coastal locations most vulnerable to severe storms.

    In September 2017, the eyewall of Category 5 Hurricane Irma directly hit the island the team had been working on.

    2
    For eons microbial mats have hosted a diverse array of life from the microscopic organisms vital to the survival of the ecosystem. Credit: Johns Hopkins University.

    “Once we learned everyone was OK, we were uniquely well-poised to investigate how the mat communities responded to such a catastrophic disturbance,” Gomes said.

    The tropical cyclone’s impact was immediately devastating, choking the mats with a blanket of sandy sediment that decimated new growth. However, as the team checked on the site first in March 2018, then again in July 2018 and June 2019, they were excited to see the mats regrowing, with new mats visibly sprouting from the sand layer in as little as 10 months.

    New mat growth proceeded rapidly and suggested that storm perturbation may facilitate these ecosystems adapting to changing sea levels.

    “For islands and tropical locations with this type of geochemistry, Florida Keys would be one in the United States, this is sort of good news in that we think that the mangrove ecosystem as well as the microbial maps are pretty well stabilized and resilient,” said lead author Usha F. Lingappa, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California-Berkeley.

    The team also included: Co-senior author Woodward W. Fischer, Nathaniel T. Stein, Kyle S. Metcalfe, Theodore M. Present, Victoria J. Orphan and John P. Grotzinger, all of California Institute of Technology’s Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences; Andrew H. Knoll of Harvard University; and co-senior author Elizabeth J. Trower of the University of Colorado-Boulder.

    See the full article here .

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    Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

    The Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. His $7 million bequest (approximately $147.5 million in today’s currency)—of which half financed the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States up to that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution’s first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany’s historic Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, [Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg] (DE), Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States. Over the course of several decades, the university has led all U.S. universities in annual research and development expenditures. In fiscal year 2016, Johns Hopkins spent nearly $2.5 billion on research. The university has graduate campuses in Italy, China, and Washington, D.C., in addition to its main campus in Baltimore.

    Johns Hopkins is organized into 10 divisions on campuses in Maryland and Washington, D.C., with international centers in Italy and China. The two undergraduate divisions, the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering, are located on the Homewood campus in Baltimore’s Charles Village neighborhood. The medical school, nursing school, and Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center are located on the Medical Institutions campus in East Baltimore. The university also consists of the Peabody Institute, Applied Physics Laboratory, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, School of Education, Carey Business School, and various other facilities.

    Johns Hopkins was a founding member of the American Association of Universities. As of October 2019, 39 Nobel laureates and 1 Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Johns Hopkins. Founded in 1883, the Blue Jays men’s lacrosse team has captured 44 national titles and plays in the Big Ten Conference as an affiliate member as of 2014.

    Research

    The opportunity to participate in important research is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Hopkins’ undergraduate education. About 80 percent of undergraduates perform independent research, often alongside top researchers. In FY 2013, Johns Hopkins received $2.2 billion in federal research grants—more than any other U.S. university for the 35th consecutive year. Johns Hopkins has had seventy-seven members of the Institute of Medicine, forty-three Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, seventeen members of the National Academy of Engineering, and sixty-two members of the National Academy of Sciences. As of October 2019, 39 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the university as alumni, faculty members or researchers, with the most recent winners being Gregg Semenza and William G. Kaelin.

    Between 1999 and 2009, Johns Hopkins was among the most cited institutions in the world. It attracted nearly 1,222,166 citations and produced 54,022 papers under its name, ranking No. 3 globally [after Harvard University and the Max Planck Society (DE)] in the number of total citations published in Thomson Reuters-indexed journals over 22 fields in America.

    In FY 2000, Johns Hopkins received $95.4 million in research grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, making it the leading recipient of NASA research and development funding. In FY 2002, Hopkins became the first university to cross the $1 billion threshold on either list, recording $1.14 billion in total research and $1.023 billion in federally sponsored research. In FY 2008, Johns Hopkins University performed $1.68 billion in science, medical and engineering research, making it the leading U.S. academic institution in total R&D spending for the 30th year in a row, according to a National Science Foundation ranking. These totals include grants and expenditures of JHU’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

    The Johns Hopkins University also offers the “Center for Talented Youth” program—a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying and developing the talents of the most promising K-12 grade students worldwide. As part of the Johns Hopkins University, the “Center for Talented Youth” or CTY helps fulfill the university’s mission of preparing students to make significant future contributions to the world. The Johns Hopkins Digital Media Center (DMC) is a multimedia lab space as well as an equipment, technology and knowledge resource for students interested in exploring creative uses of emerging media and use of technology.

    In 2013, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships program was established by a $250 million gift from Michael Bloomberg. This program enables the university to recruit fifty researchers from around the world to joint appointments throughout the nine divisions and research centers. For The American Academy of Arts and Sciences each professor must be a leader in interdisciplinary research and be active in undergraduate education. Directed by Vice Provost for Research Denis Wirtz, there are currently thirty-two Bloomberg Distinguished Professors at the university, including three Nobel Laureates, eight fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, ten members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and thirteen members of the National Academies.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:09 am on May 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Extraterrestrial Stone Found in Egypt May Be First Evidence on Earth of Rare Supernova", Geochemistry,   

    From Science Alert : “Extraterrestrial Stone Found in Egypt May Be First Evidence on Earth of Rare Supernova” 

    ScienceAlert

    From Science Alert

    1
    Fragments of Hypatia used for analysis. (University of Johannesburg)

    ‘Standard candle’ (or type Ia) supernova explosions are some of the most energetic events in the Universe, happening when a dense white dwarf star subsumes another star. Now, scientists think they’re found the first evidence on Earth of such a supernova.

    The claim comes after a careful study of the extraterrestrial Hypatia stone that was found in Egypt in 1996. Tell-tale signs, including the chemical makeup and patterning of the rock, suggest that the shards contain bits of the dust and gas cloud surrounding an Ia supernova.

    Over billions of years, that mix of dust and gas would have turned into a solid, the researchers say, eventually forming the parent body that Hypatia came from sometime close to when our Solar System first came into being.

    2
    A 3-gram sample of the Hypatia stone. (Romano Serra)

    “In a sense, we could say, we have caught a supernova Ia explosion in the act, because the gas atoms from the explosion were caught in the surrounding dust cloud, which eventually formed Hypatia’s parent body,” says geochemist Jan Kramers from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.

    Using detailed, non-destructive chemical analysis techniques, the team looked at 17 different targets on a tiny sample of Hypatia. From there it was a question of piecing together clues about where the stone had been and how it had formed.

    Those clues included an unusually low level of silicon, chromium, and manganese, suggesting that the rock hadn’t been formed in the inner Solar System. The researchers also noticed high levels of iron, sulfur, phosphorus, copper, and vanadium, again making the object distinct from anything in our particular neighborhood in space.

    Looking at element concentration patterns of Hypatia, there were marked differences to what we would expect to have formed in rocks from inside the Solar System and in our arm of the Milky Way. Further analysis rules out the idea that the rock had formed from a red giant star.

    The researchers were also able to show that Hypatia didn’t match what would be expected if it came from a type II supernova – it has too much iron relative to silicon and calcium – and that leaves the intriguing possibility that this is a leftover from a type Ia supernova, and the first to be found on this planet.

    “If this hypothesis is correct, the Hypatia stone would be the first tangible evidence on Earth of a supernova type Ia explosion,” says Kramers.

    “Perhaps equally important, it shows that an individual anomalous parcel of dust from outer space could actually be incorporated in the solar nebula that our Solar System was formed from, without being fully mixed in.”

    From what we know of type Ia supernovas, they should produce very unusual element concentration patterns in rocks such as Hypatia. Through a comprehensive search of star data and modeling, the team wasn’t able to find a better match for the rock.

    Of the 15 elements analyzed in the stone, several matched what would be expected if the object had come from a dense white dwarf star explosion.

    However, it’s not a closed case yet. A further six elements don’t match type 1a supernova models: aluminum, phosphorus, chlorine, potassium, copper, and zinc. However, the researchers think something further back in the supernova’s past could explain this.

    “Since a white dwarf star is formed from a dying red giant, Hypatia could have inherited these element proportions for the six elements from a red giant star,” says Kramers. “This phenomenon has been observed in white dwarf stars in other research.”

    We’ll need more research to settle the science, but at this point, it certainly looks like this mysterious rock has traveled a very long way.

    The research has been published in Icarus.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 8:55 am on April 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "These Tiny Crystals Are 'Time Capsules' of Earth's Early Plate Tectonic Activity", A chronological series of 33 microscopic zircon crystals dating from 4.15 to 3.3 billion years ago was found in an ancient block of Earth's crust found in the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa, , , Geochemistry, , Mineral crystals can act as a sort of time capsule that contains information about the conditions in which they formed., , ,   

    From Harvard University via Science Alert(AU): “These Tiny Crystals Are ‘Time Capsules’ of Earth’s Early Plate Tectonic Activity” 

    From Harvard University

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert(AU)

    23 APRIL 2022
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    A large zircon crystal embedded in calcite. Credit: Rob Lavinsky/iRocks.com/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA-3.0.

    Tiny crystals of zircon dated to 3.8 billion years ago contain the earliest geochemical evidence yet for plate tectonic activity here on Earth.

    Isotopes and trace elements preserved in the crystals show evidence that they formed under subduction conditions – when the edge of one tectonic plate slips beneath the edge of the adjacent plate, creating specific conditions. This provides new constraints on when plate tectonics emerged on Earth.

    Because plate tectonics played a key role in creating the conditions for life on Earth, altering the compositions of the oceans and atmosphere, understanding when and how they emerged is also important for understanding how we got here, and what makes a planet habitable.

    Understanding the geology of early Earth is something of a challenge. The crust of our world has been pretty dynamic over its 4.6-billion-year history, and the only direct record of the Hadean eon – between 4.6 and 4 billion years ago – can be found in crystals of the mineral zircon.

    These crystals seem to survive the ravages of time but rarely: just 12 locations on Earth have yielded the ancient grains, three or fewer in most locations.

    Recently, however, a team of geologists unearthed an amazing treasure. A chronological series of 33 microscopic zircon crystals, dating from 4.15 to 3.3 billion years ago, was found in an ancient block of Earth’s crust found in the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa.

    The series provided a rare opportunity to probe the changing conditions of early Earth, from the Hadean through the Eoarchaeon era, which ran from 4 to 3.6 billion years ago.

    Mineral crystals can act as a sort of time capsule that contains information about the conditions in which they formed, and zircon crystals in particular can be extremely valuable for this scientific purpose. Isotopes of the metal hafnium and trace elements found in zircon can be used to make inferences about the rocks from which they crystallized.

    A team of scientists led by geologist Nadja Drabon of Harvard University studied the Greenstone Belt zircons to reconstruct a timeline of the conditions under which they formed. They found that from about 3.8 billion years ago onwards, the crystals had hafnium and trace element signatures similar to modern rocks formed in subduction zones – at the edges of tectonic plates.

    This suggests that plate tectonics were active at the time those crystals formed, the researchers said.

    “When I say plate tectonics, I’m specifically referring to an arc setting, when one plate goes under another and you have all that volcanism – think of the Andes, for example, and the Ring of Fire,” Drabon said.

    “At 3.8 billion years [ago] there is a dramatic shift where the crust is destabilized, we have new rocks forming and we see geochemical signatures becoming more and more similar to what we see in modern plate tectonics.”

    Fascinatingly, zircon crystals older than that 3.8 billion-year cut-off were not formed in a subduction zone setting, but likely crystallized in a Hadean “protocrust” that formed from remelted mantle material, before the mantle was depleted of basaltic melt elements by tectonic processes.

    The team then compared their findings to zircon crystals dating to around the same time from around the world to make sure they weren’t just observing a localized phenomenon. These other zircons showed similar transitions.

    It’s difficult to know exactly if the tiny grains all point to the evolution of our world towards plate tectonics, but the results definitely suggest that a global change was occurring.

    “We see evidence for a significant change on the Earth around 3.8 to 3.6 billion years ago and evolution toward plate tectonics is one clear possibility,” Drabon said.

    “The record we have for the earliest Earth is really limited, but just seeing a similar transition in so many different places makes it really feasible that it might have been a global change in crustal processes. Some kind of reorganization was happening on Earth.”

    The research has been published in AGU Advances.

    See the full article here .

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    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University 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 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’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’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 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 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 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’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’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’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 professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University.

    21st century

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

     
  • richardmitnick 11:59 am on April 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Marine geochemist seeks to unravel how carbon is stored in the ocean", , , , , Earth’s carbon cycle, Geochemistry, It could be 1000 years before carbon from the deep ocean comes back to the surface again so the ocean provides a longer carbon sink than land does., ,   

    From The University of Miami-Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science: “Marine geochemist seeks to unravel how carbon is stored in the ocean” 

    1

    From The University of Miami-Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

    at

    The University of Miami

    04-13-2022
    Janette Neuwahl Tannen

    1
    Hilary Close, an ocean scientist, examines a concentrated sample of amino acids purified by filtering out 500 liters of seawater from the deep ocean. She will later analyze them in an isotope ratio spectrometer to understand how carbon is transferred through ocean organisms. Photo: Evan Garcia/University of Miami.

    Hilary Close, an ocean sciences assistant professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, is using a unique strategy to understand how carbon is transferred through living things into the deep ocean.

    When Hilary Close was in college, she was fascinated to learn that the Ohio farm she grew up on was once covered by a warm ocean, millions of years ago.

    The discovery attracted her to the field of geology, which reveals important answers about the past that can also help scientists predict the future. Later, while studying rock samples that had fossils of marine life, Close developed a curiosity about the ocean.

    Today, as an assistant professor of ocean sciences at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Close studies the way that carbon from living organisms sinks into the deep ocean. Ultimately, this research helps scientists better understand how ocean ecosystems store carbon dioxide to support a cleaner atmosphere for those of us at the surface.

    “The deep ocean is incredibly important in storing carbon because the water locks in things for hundreds of years and helps balance the carbon in the atmosphere,” said Close, a marine organic geochemist. “But when we think about the overall carbon cycle, living things are the wild card, so we want to know which processes control how much and what kinds of biological carbon get into the deep ocean.”

    It is information that will help humanity understand the Earth’s carbon cycle, a delicate balance that scientists believe must be maintained to moderate climate change.

    For her research and scholarship in the field, Close was recently named one of just eight Earth scientists to receive a prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship, awarded to 118 early-career scientists nationwide.

    2
    Close deploys a large volume in situ pump into the deep ocean waters of the Sargasso Sea off of Bermuda, along with her research collaborator, Craig Carlson, a professor of marine biology, ecology and evolution at The University of California-Santa Barbara. Photo courtesy of Steve Giovannoni.

    Rana Fine, a Rosenstiel School professor emerita who was on the search committee to hire Close, said the young researcher distinguished herself by developing a method that uses isotopes (found by measuring the atoms of chemical elements) to unlock information about our oceans. Using “compound-specific isotope analysis,” a rare technique employed by just a handful of geochemists, Close is analyzing the remains of tiny plants and animals that are able to sink into the deep ocean.

    “This is important because it will help us learn whether certain forms of carbon are quickly buried and removed from the ocean, or whether they take thousands of years moving from one living organism to another,” said Fine.

    Beyond that, Fine added, Close is a skilled teacher who is also able to juggle research, the development of new laboratory methods, and mentorship of students toward their own research careers. Her current .olleagues, ocean sciences chair Brian Haus, and ocean sciences professor Denis Hansell, agree.

    Hansell and Close are both part of a small global network of scientists working to understand how the oceans absorb 25 percent of the carbon dioxide that humans release into the atmosphere. But while Hansell focuses on biological carbon that is produced in the upper ocean and is distributed with the currents, Close concentrates on particles of biological carbon that sink into the deep ocean from living things.

    “It could be 1000 years before carbon from the deep ocean comes back to the surface again so the ocean provides a longer carbon sink than land does, but we still don’t know how long that is,” said Hansell. “We’re both looking at how carbon is biologically modified, and society needs to understand how this system works so that we can project threats, or opportunities, to conserve our oceans.”

    Raised in rural northern Ohio, Close thrived as a geology major at Oberlin College but became increasingly interested in the ocean, as well as in chemistry.

    For graduate school, she went on to Harvard University to study under professor Ann Pearson, one of the foremost chemical oceanographers in the nation. Pearson taught Close about compound-specific isotope analysis, which allows scientists to identify patterns that can help them understand what’s happening in a natural environment—ocean or otherwise, Close said. It also means she knows her way around an isotope ratio spectrometer, a massive machine that allows Close and her students to isolate these patterns.

    “It’s a pretty uncommon technique, but we get so much data from this type of analysis,” she said. “For example, last year an undergraduate student did their honors thesis on deep sea mussels, and we did isotope analysis on the growth bands of its shell, which allowed us to make inferences about how the diet of that mussel was changing over its lifetime.”

    After graduate school, Close did her postdoctoral training at The University of Hawaii. This allowed her to spend more than 100 days aboard research vessels in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. While there, she became even more proficient at using sampling pumps that can reach more than 1,000 meters under the ocean’s surface and filter out thousands of liters of water to collect a tiny circular sample of “biomass” from the deep ocean.

    “If we can learn what organisms are important in different locations and depths of the ocean, it helps build the picture about the balance of carbon being produced and consumed from the surface ocean into the deep ocean,” she said. “Then, we can see how the community in the ocean is influencing how much carbon is sequestered in the deep ocean.”

    Close said she will likely use some of the Sloan fellowship funding to enhance her sampling and analysis equipment. She would also like to do some more field research in the Atlantic Ocean, using the University’s research vessel, the F.G. Walton Smith, to work in the Florida Straits and other deep areas that can add more variety to her research, which has been focused on Bermuda and Hawaii. Close said a huge part of why she loves ocean research is the diversity of her findings.

    “While geology is all about the past, it has similar concepts, and the field looks at patterns, like oceanographers do,” she said. “Because of my training, I can measure things happening in real-time and experiment with different ways of collecting samples in the ocean, so it’s been a great evolution for me, and I’m so glad to be a part of this field. The present-day ocean is constantly changing, and there’s always something new and different to explore.”

    See the full article here.

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    2

    The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science is an academic and research institution for the study of oceanography and the atmospheric sciences within the University of Miami. It is located on a 16-acre (65,000 m^²) campus on Virginia Key in Miami, Florida. It is the only subtropical applied and basic marine and atmospheric research institute in the continental United States.

    Up until 2008, RSMAS was solely a graduate school within the University of Miami, while it jointly administrated an undergraduate program with UM’s College of Arts and Sciences. In 2008, the Rosenstiel School has taken over administrative responsibilities for the undergraduate program, granting Bachelor of Science in Marine and Atmospheric Science (BSMAS) and Bachelor of Arts in Marine Affairs (BAMA) baccalaureate degree. Master’s, including a Master of Professional Science degree, and doctorates are also awarded to RSMAS students by the UM Graduate School.

    The Rosenstiel School’s research includes the study of marine life, particularly Aplysia and coral; climate change; air-sea interactions; coastal ecology; and admiralty law. The school operates a marine research laboratory ship, and has a research site at an inland sinkhole. Research also includes the use of data from weather satellites and the school operates its own satellite downlink facility. The school is home to the world’s largest hurricane simulation tank.

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

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

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

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

    Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 8:51 am on April 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Complex Life May Have Started on Earth Much Earlier Than We Thought", All life on Earth likely emerged from one spark in Earth's early history. Some time later it diversified., , , , , , , Geochemistry, , , Mineralology, , University College London(UK)   

    From University College London(UK) via Science Alert(AU): “Complex Life May Have Started on Earth Much Earlier Than We Thought” 

    UCL bloc

    From University College London(UK)

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert(AU)

    14 APRIL 2022
    CONOR FEEHLY

    1
    Detailed view of an iron formation with wavy bands. Credit: D. Papineau.

    All life on Earth likely emerged from one spark in Earth’s early history. Some time later, it diversified, branching off into lineages that helped it survive.

    Exactly when these moments occurred has been a point of contention in the scientific community, but new research suggests both steps may have taken place earlier than we previously thought.

    The study, led by University College London (UK) researchers builds on evidence of diverse microbial life inside a fist-sized piece of rock from Quebec in Canada, dated to around 3.75 billion to 4.28 billion years.

    In 2017, the researchers who discovered it speculated that structures in the rock – tiny filaments, knobs, and tubes – had been left by ancient bacteria.

    But not everyone was convinced that these structures – which would push the date for the first signs of life on Earth back by at least 300 million years – were biological in origin.

    2
    The filaments seen here are the stem-like structures indicating oldest known fossils. Credit: D. Papineau.

    However, after further extensive analysis of the rock, the team discovered an even larger and more complex structure than those which were previously identified. Within the rock was a stem-like structure with parallel branches on one side that are nearly a centimeter long, as well as hundreds of distorted spheres, or ellipsoids, alongside the tubes and filaments.

    “This means life could have begun as little as 300 million years after Earth formed. In geological terms, this is quick – about one spin of the Sun around the galaxy,” says lead author of the study, geochemist Dominic Papineau from UCL.


    Diverse life forms may have evolved earlier than previously thought.

    The key question for Papineau and his colleagues was whether it was possible for these structures to have formed through chemical reactions not related to living things.

    According to the paper, some of the smaller structures could have conceivably been the product of abiotic reactions, however, the newly identified ‘tree-like’ stem is most likely biological in origin, as no structure like it, created through chemical reactions alone, has been found before.

    In addition to the structures, researchers identified mineralized chemicals in the rock that could have been byproducts of different types of metabolic processes.

    The chemicals are consistent with energy-extraction processes in the bacteria that would have involved iron and sulfur; depending on the interpretation of chemical signatures, there could even be hints of a version of photosynthesis.

    This finding points to the possibility that the early Earth – only 300 million years after its formation – was inhabited by an array of microbial life.

    The rock was analyzed through a combination of optical observations through Raman microscopes (which use light scattering to determine chemical structures), and digitally recreating sections of the rock with a supercomputer that processed thousands of images from two high-resolution imaging techniques.

    The piece of rock in question was collected by Papineau in 2008 from Quebec’s Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt (NSB), which was once a part of the seafloor. The NSB contains some of the oldest sedimentary rocks known on Earth. The fossil-laden rock was also analyzed for levels of rare Earth elements, with researchers finding it did indeed have the same levels as other ancient rock specimens, confirming it was as old as the surrounding volcanic rocks.

    3
    Bright red iron and silica-rich rock which contains tubular and filamentous microfossils. Credit: D. Papineau.

    Prior to this discovery, the earliest fossil evidence of life was found in Western Australia, which dates back 3.46 billion years. However, similar contention exists around whether these fossils were biological in origin.

    Perhaps the most exciting implications from this discovery are what it means for the potential distribution of life in the Universe. If life was able to develop and evolve in the harsh conditions of the very early Earth, then it may be more common throughout the cosmos than we think.

    “This discovery implies that only a few hundred million years are needed for life to evolve to an organized level on a primordial habitable planet,” state the authors of the paper.

    “We therefore conclude that such microbial ecosystems could exist on other planetary surfaces where liquid water interacted with volcanic rocks, and that these oldest microfossils and dubiofossils reported here from the NSB suggest that extraterrestrial life may be more widespread than previously thought.”

    The study was published in the journal Science Advances.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCL campus

    Established in 1826, as London University by founders inspired by the radical ideas of Jeremy Bentham, University College London (UK) was the first university institution to be established in London, and the first in England to be entirely secular and to admit students regardless of their religion. University College London also makes contested claims to being the third-oldest university in England and the first to admit women. In 1836, University College London became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London, which was granted a royal charter in the same year. It has grown through mergers, including with the Institute of Ophthalmology (in 1995); the Institute of Neurology (in 1997); the Royal Free Hospital Medical School (in 1998); the Eastman Dental Institute (in 1999); the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (in 1999); the School of Pharmacy (in 2012) and the Institute of Education (in 2014).

    University College London has its main campus in the Bloomsbury area of central London, with a number of institutes and teaching hospitals elsewhere in central London and satellite campuses in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, east London and in Doha, Qatar. University College London is organised into 11 constituent faculties, within which there are over 100 departments, institutes and research centres. University College London operates several museums and collections in a wide range of fields, including the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy, and administers the annual Orwell Prize in political writing. In 2019/20, UCL had around 43,840 students and 16,400 staff (including around 7,100 academic staff and 840 professors) and had a total income of £1.54 billion, of which £468 million was from research grants and contracts.

    University College London is a member of numerous academic organisations, including the Russell Group(UK) and the League of European Research Universities, and is part of UCL Partners, the world’s largest academic health science centre, and is considered part of the “golden triangle” of elite, research-intensive universities in England.

    University College London has many notable alumni, including the respective “Fathers of the Nation” of India; Kenya and Mauritius; the founders of Ghana; modern Japan; Nigeria; the inventor of the telephone; and one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA. UCL academics discovered five of the naturally occurring noble gases; discovered hormones; invented the vacuum tube; and made several foundational advances in modern statistics. As of 2020, 34 Nobel Prize winners and 3 Fields medalists have been affiliated with UCL as alumni, faculty or researchers.

    History

    University College London was founded on 11 February 1826 under the name London University, as an alternative to the Anglican universities of the University of Oxford(UK) and University of Cambridge(UK). London University’s first Warden was Leonard Horner, who was the first scientist to head a British university.

    Despite the commonly held belief that the philosopher Jeremy Bentham was the founder of University College London, his direct involvement was limited to the purchase of share No. 633, at a cost of £100 paid in nine installments between December 1826 and January 1830. In 1828 he did nominate a friend to sit on the council, and in 1827 attempted to have his disciple John Bowring appointed as the first professor of English or History, but on both occasions his candidates were unsuccessful. This suggests that while his ideas may have been influential, he himself was less so. However, Bentham is today commonly regarded as the “spiritual father” of University College London, as his radical ideas on education and society were the inspiration to the institution’s founders, particularly the Scotsmen James Mill (1773–1836) and Henry Brougham (1778–1868).

    In 1827, the Chair of Political Economy at London University was created, with John Ramsay McCulloch as the first incumbent, establishing one of the first departments of economics in England. In 1828 the university became the first in England to offer English as a subject and the teaching of Classics and medicine began. In 1830, London University founded the London University School, which would later become University College School. In 1833, the university appointed Alexander Maconochie, Secretary to the Royal Geographical Society, as the first professor of geography in the British Isles. In 1834, University College Hospital (originally North London Hospital) opened as a teaching hospital for the university’s medical school.

    1836 to 1900 – University College, London

    In 1836, London University was incorporated by royal charter under the name University College, London. On the same day, the University of London was created by royal charter as a degree-awarding examining board for students from affiliated schools and colleges, with University College and King’s College, London being named in the charter as the first two affiliates.

    The Slade School of Fine Art was founded as part of University College in 1871, following a bequest from Felix Slade.

    In 1878, the University College London gained a supplemental charter making it the first British university to be allowed to award degrees to women. The same year University College London admitted women to the faculties of Arts and Law and of Science, although women remained barred from the faculties of Engineering and of Medicine (with the exception of courses on public health and hygiene). While University College London claims to have been the first university in England to admit women on equal terms to men, from 1878, the University of Bristol(UK) also makes this claim, having admitted women from its foundation (as a college) in 1876. Armstrong College, a predecessor institution of Newcastle University (UK), also allowed women to enter from its foundation in 1871, although none actually enrolled until 1881. Women were finally admitted to medical studies during the First World War in 1917, although limitations were placed on their numbers after the war ended.

    In 1898, Sir William Ramsay discovered the elements krypton; neon; and xenon whilst professor of chemistry at University College London.

    1900 to 1976 – University of London, University College

    In 1900, the University College London was reconstituted as a federal university with new statutes drawn up under the University of London Act 1898. UCL, along with a number of other colleges in London, became a school of the University of London. While most of the constituent institutions retained their autonomy, University College London was merged into the University in 1907 under the University College London (Transfer) Act 1905 and lost its legal independence. Its formal name became University College London, University College, although for most informal and external purposes the name “University College, London” (or the initialism UCL) was still used.

    1900 also saw the decision to appoint a salaried head of the college. The first incumbent was Carey Foster, who served as Principal (as the post was originally titled) from 1900 to 1904. He was succeeded by Gregory Foster (no relation), and in 1906 the title was changed to Provost to avoid confusion with the Principal of the University of London. Gregory Foster remained in post until 1929. In 1906, the Cruciform Building was opened as the new home for University College Hospital.

    As it acknowledged and apologized for in 2021, University College London played “a fundamental role in the development, propagation and legitimisation of eugenics” during the first half of the 20th century. Among the prominent eugenicists who taught at University College London were Francis Galton, who coined the term “eugenics”, and Karl Pearson, and eugenics conferences were held at UCL until 2017.

    University College London sustained considerable bomb damage during the Second World War, including the complete destruction of the Great Hall and the Carey Foster Physics Laboratory. Fires gutted the library and destroyed much of the main building, including the dome. The departments were dispersed across the country to Aberystwyth; Bangor; Gwynedd; University of Cambridge; University of Oxford; Rothamsted near Harpenden; Hertfordshire; and Sheffield, with the administration at Stanstead Bury near Ware, Hertfordshire. The first UCL student magazine, Pi, was published for the first time on 21 February 1946. The Institute of Jewish Studies relocated to UCL in 1959.

    The Mullard Space Science Laboratory(UK) was established in 1967. In 1973, UCL became the first international node to the precursor of the internet, the ARPANET.

    ARPANET schematic

    Although University College London was among the first universities to admit women on the same terms as men, in 1878, the college’s senior common room, the Housman Room, remained men-only until 1969. After two unsuccessful attempts, a motion was passed that ended segregation by sex at University College London. This was achieved by Brian Woledge (Fielden Professor of French at University College London from 1939 to 1971) and David Colquhoun, at that time a young lecturer in pharmacology.

    1976 to 2005 – University College London (UK)

    In 1976, a new charter restored University College London’s legal independence, although still without the power to award its own degrees. Under this charter the college became formally known as University College London. This name abandoned the comma used in its earlier name of “University College, London”.

    In 1986, University College London merged with the Institute of Archaeology. In 1988, University College London merged with the Institute of Laryngology & Otology; the Institute of Orthopaedics; the Institute of Urology & Nephrology; and Middlesex Hospital Medical School.

    In 1993, a reorganisation of the University of London meant that University College London and other colleges gained direct access to government funding and the right to confer University of London degrees themselves. This led to University College London being regarded as a de facto university in its own right.

    In 1994, the University College London Hospitals NHS Trust was established. University College London merged with the College of Speech Sciences and the Institute of Ophthalmology in 1995; the Institute of Child Health and the School of Podiatry in 1996; and the Institute of Neurology in 1997. In 1998, UCL merged with the Royal Free Hospital Medical School to create the Royal Free and University College Medical School (renamed the University College London Medical School in October 2008). In 1999, UCL merged with the School of Slavonic and East European Studies and the Eastman Dental Institute.

    The University College London Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, the first university department in the world devoted specifically to reducing crime, was founded in 2001.

    Proposals for a merger between University College London and Imperial College London(UK) were announced in 2002. The proposal provoked strong opposition from University College London teaching staff and students and the AUT union, which criticised “the indecent haste and lack of consultation”, leading to its abandonment by University College London provost Sir Derek Roberts. The blogs that helped to stop the merger are preserved, though some of the links are now broken: see David Colquhoun’s blog and the Save University College London blog, which was run by David Conway, a postgraduate student in the department of Hebrew and Jewish studies.

    The London Centre for Nanotechnology was established in 2003 as a joint venture between University College London and Imperial College London (UK). They were later joined by King’s College London(UK) in 2018.

    Since 2003, when University College London professor David Latchman became master of the neighbouring Birkbeck, he has forged closer relations between these two University of London colleges, and personally maintains departments at both. Joint research centres include the UCL/Birkbeck Institute for Earth and Planetary Sciences; the University College London /Birkbeck/IoE Centre for Educational Neuroscience; the University College London /Birkbeck Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology; and the Birkbeck- University College London Centre for Neuroimaging.

    2005 to 2010

    In 2005, University College London was finally granted its own taught and research degree awarding powers and all University College London students registered from 2007/08 qualified with University College London degrees. Also in 2005, University College London adopted a new corporate branding under which the name University College London was replaced by the initialism UCL in all external communications. In the same year, a major new £422 million building was opened for University College Hospital on Euston Road, the University College London Ear Institute was established and a new building for the University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies was opened.

    In 2007, the University College London Cancer Institute was opened in the newly constructed Paul O’Gorman Building. In August 2008, University College London formed UCL Partners, an academic health science centre, with Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust; Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust; and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. In 2008, University College London established the University College London School of Energy & Resources in Adelaide, Australia, the first campus of a British university in the country. The School was based in the historic Torrens Building in Victoria Square and its creation followed negotiations between University College London Vice Provost Michael Worton and South Australian Premier Mike Rann.

    In 2009, the Yale UCL Collaborative was established between University College London; UCL Partners; Yale University; Yale School of Medicine; and Yale – New Haven Hospital. It is the largest collaboration in the history of either university, and its scope has subsequently been extended to the humanities and social sciences.

    2010 to 2015

    In June 2011, the mining company BHP Billiton agreed to donate AU$10 million to University College London to fund the establishment of two energy institutes – the Energy Policy Institute; based in Adelaide, and the Institute for Sustainable Resources, based in London.

    In November 2011, University College London announced plans for a £500 million investment in its main Bloomsbury campus over 10 years, as well as the establishment of a new 23-acre campus next to the Olympic Park in Stratford in the East End of London. It revised its plans of expansion in East London and in December 2014 announced to build a campus (UCL East) covering 11 acres and provide up to 125,000m^2 of space on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. UCL East will be part of plans to transform the Olympic Park into a cultural and innovation hub, where University College London will open its first school of design, a centre of experimental engineering and a museum of the future, along with a living space for students.

    The School of Pharmacy, University of London merged with University College London on 1 January 2012, becoming the University College London School of Pharmacy within the Faculty of Life Sciences. In May 2012, University College London , Imperial College London (UK) and the semiconductor company Intel announced the establishment of the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities, a London-based institute for research into the future of cities.

    In August 2012, University College London received criticism for advertising an unpaid research position; it subsequently withdrew the advert.

    University College London and the Institute of Education formed a strategic alliance in October 2012, including co-operation in teaching, research and the development of the London schools system. In February 2014, the two institutions announced their intention to merge, and the merger was completed in December 2014.

    In September 2013, a new Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) was established within the Faculty of Engineering, one of several initiatives within the university to increase and reflect upon the links between research and public sector decision-making.

    In October 2013, it was announced that the Translation Studies Unit of Imperial College London would move to University College London, becoming part of the University College London School of European Languages, Culture and Society. In December 2013, it was announced that University College London and the academic publishing company Elsevier would collaborate to establish the UCL Big Data Institute. In January 2015, it was announced that University College London had been selected by the UK government as one of the five founding members of the Alan Turing Institute(UK) (together with the universities of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh(SCL), Oxford and University of Warwick(UK)), an institute to be established at the British Library to promote the development and use of advanced mathematics, computer science, algorithms and big data.

    2015 to 2020

    In August 2015, the Department of Management Science and Innovation was renamed as the School of Management and plans were announced to greatly expand University College London’s activities in the area of business-related teaching and research. The school moved from the Bloomsbury campus to One Canada Square in Canary Wharf in 2016.

    University College London established the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) in 2015 to promote interdisciplinary research in humanities and social sciences. The prestigious annual Orwell Prize for political writing moved to the IAS in 2016.

    In June 2016 it was reported in Times Higher Education that as a result of administrative errors hundreds of students who studied at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute between 2005–06 and 2013–14 had been given the wrong marks, leading to an unknown number of students being attributed with the wrong qualifications and, in some cases, being failed when they should have passed their degrees. A report by University College London’s Academic Committee Review Panel noted that, according to the institute’s own review findings, senior members of University College London staff had been aware of issues affecting students’ results but had not taken action to address them. The Review Panel concluded that there had been an apparent lack of ownership of these matters amongst the institute’s senior staff.

    In December 2016 it was announced that University College London would be the hub institution for a new £250 million national dementia research institute, to be funded with £150 million from the Medical Research Council and £50 million each from Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.

    In May 2017 it was reported that staff morale was at “an all time low”, with 68% of members of the academic board who responded to a survey disagreeing with the statement ” University College London is well managed” and 86% with “the teaching facilities are adequate for the number of students”. Michael Arthur, the Provost and President, linked the results to the “major change programme” at University College London. He admitted that facilities were under pressure following growth over the past decade, but said that the issues were being addressed through the development of UCL East and rental of other additional space.

    In October 2017 University College London’s council voted to apply for university status while remaining part of the University of London. University College London’s application to become a university was subject to Parliament passing a bill to amend the statutes of the University of London, which received royal assent on 20 December 2018.

    The University College London Adelaide satellite campus closed in December 2017, with academic staff and student transferring to the University of South Australia(AU). As of 2019 UniSA and University College London are offering a joint masters qualification in Science in Data Science (international).

    In 2018, University College London opened UCL at Here East, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offering courses jointly between the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment and the Faculty of Engineering Sciences. The campus offers a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate master’s degrees, with the first undergraduate students, on a new Engineering and Architectural Design MEng, starting in September 2018. It was announced in August 2018 that a £215 million contract for construction of the largest building in the UCL East development, Marshgate 1, had been awarded to Mace, with building to begin in 2019 and be completed by 2022.

    In 2017 University College London disciplined an IT administrator who was also the University and College Union (UCU) branch secretary for refusing to take down an unmoderated staff mailing list. An employment tribunal subsequently ruled that he was engaged in union activities and thus this disciplinary action was unlawful. As of June 2019 University College London is appealing this ruling and the UCU congress has declared this to be a “dispute of national significance”.

    2020 to present

    In 2021 University College London formed a strategic partnership with Facebook AI Research (FAIR), including the creation of a new PhD programme.

    Research

    University College London has made cross-disciplinary research a priority and orientates its research around four “Grand Challenges”, Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing.

    In 2014/15, University College London had a total research income of £427.5 million, the third-highest of any British university (after the University of Oxford and Imperial College London). Key sources of research income in that year were BIS research councils (£148.3 million); UK-based charities (£106.5 million); UK central government; local/health authorities and hospitals (£61.5 million); EU government bodies (£45.5 million); and UK industry, commerce and public corporations (£16.2 million). In 2015/16, University College London was awarded a total of £85.8 million in grants by UK research councils, the second-largest amount of any British university (after the University of Oxford), having achieved a 28% success rate. For the period to June 2015, University College London was the fifth-largest recipient of Horizon 2020 EU research funding and the largest recipient of any university, with €49.93 million of grants received. University College London also had the fifth-largest number of projects funded of any organization, with 94.

    According to a ranking of universities produced by SCImago Research Group University College London is ranked 12th in the world (and 1st in Europe) in terms of total research output. According to data released in July 2008 by ISI Web of Knowledge, University College London is the 13th most-cited university in the world (and most-cited in Europe). The analysis covered citations from 1 January 1998 to 30 April 2008, during which 46,166 UCL research papers attracted 803,566 citations. The report covered citations in 21 subject areas and the results revealed some of University College London’s key strengths, including: Clinical Medicine (1st outside North America); Immunology (2nd in Europe); Neuroscience & Behaviour (1st outside North America and 2nd in the world); Pharmacology & Toxicology (1st outside North America and 4th in the world); Psychiatry & Psychology (2nd outside North America); and Social Sciences, General (1st outside North America).

    University College London submitted a total of 2,566 staff across 36 units of assessment to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment, in each case the highest number of any UK university (compared with 1,793 UCL staff submitted to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008)). In the REF results 43% of University College London’s submitted research was classified as 4* (world-leading); 39% as 3* (internationally excellent); 15% as 2* (recognised internationally) and 2% as 1* (recognised nationally), giving an overall GPA of 3.22 (RAE 2008: 4* – 27%, 3* – 39%, 2* – 27% and 1* – 6%). In rankings produced by Times Higher Education based upon the REF results, University College London was ranked 1st overall for “research power” and joint 8th for GPA (compared to 4th and 7th respectively in equivalent rankings for the RAE 2008).

     
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