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  • richardmitnick 9:17 am on May 30, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Breaking the ice over a 40-year problem of supercooled water", , , , , Geology, , Researchers at EPFL have found a way to study water in “no man's land” a subzero temperature range where water crystallizes rapidly., The scientists performed the experiments with a specialized time-resolved electron microscope they custom built in their lab.,   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH): “Breaking the ice over a 40-year problem of supercooled water” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH)

    Nik Papageorgiou

    Credit: iStock photos.

    Researchers at EPFL have found a way to study water in “no man’s land,” a subzero temperature range where water crystallizes rapidly. Historically, the inability to access “no man’s land” has prevented scientists from unriddling the anomalous nature of water, but the breakthrough method can now change that.

    Water is one of the most essential and widespread compounds on Earth. Covering over 70% of the planet’s surface, it has shaped its composition and geology, it regulates its climate and weather patterns, and is at the foundation of all life as we know it.

    But water is also weird. It exhibits a number of anomalous properties, of which scientists have identified over seventy – so far. Several theories try to explain these anomalies, but verifying them experimentally is difficult. One of the reasons is that this would require studying water between 160 K and 232 K (-113 °C to -41 °C), a notorious temperature range known as “no man’s land” where water crystallizes so fast that it has been impossible for scientists to study its properties.

    But why would anyone want to cool water to such low temperatures? Because when water is cooled way below its freezing point it becomes ‘supercooled’ with unique and fascinating properties; for example, under certain conditions it can remain in liquid form but can freeze instantly when disturbed or exposed to certain substances. Supercooled water is obtained by taking liquid water and cooling it below the freezing point while using tricks to prevent it from crystallizing or at least slowing this process down. However, even with these tricks, crystallization in ‘no man’s land’ is still too fast.

    “An experiment to systematically probe the structure of water across so-called ‘no man’s land’ has remained elusive for decades,” says Professor Ulrich Lorenz at EPFL’s School of Basic Sciences. Now, scientists led by Lorenz have found a way to do just that. The team developed a way to rapidly prepare deeply supercooled water at a well-defined temperature and probe it with electron diffraction before it can crystallize.

    “We have still not fully understood why water is an anomalous liquid, despite this topic being hotly debated for over forty years,” says Lorenz. “The answer appears to lie in ‘no man’s land’. But because of fast crystallization, any measurement over the full temperature range has not been possible. We do this for the first time. This brings us closer to solving this long-standing mystery.”

    The scientists performed the experiments with a specialized time-resolved electron microscope they custom built in their lab. They prepared the supercooled water at a well-defined temperature and probed it directly before crystallization occurred. To do this, they cooled a layer of graphene to 101 K and deposited a thin film of amorphous ice. They then locally melted the film with a microsecond laser pulse to obtain water in ‘no man’s land’, and captured a diffraction pattern with an intense, high-brightness electron pulse.

    The researchers found that as water is cooled from room temperature to cryogenic temperatures, its structure evolves smoothly. At temperatures just below 200 K (about -73oC), the structure of water begins to look like that of amorphous ice — a form of ice where water molecules are in a disordered state – unlike the tidy crystalline ice we are usually familiar with.

    “The fact that the structure evolves smoothly allows us to narrow down the range of possible explanations for the origin of water anomalies,” says Lorenz. “Our findings and the method we have developed bring us closer to unriddling the mysteries of water. It is difficult to escape the fascination of this ubiquitous and seemingly simple liquid that still has not given up all of its secrets.”

    Nature Communications

    Fig. 1: Illustration of the experimental approach.
    a) ) Illustration of the sample geometry. A gold mesh supports a holey gold film that is covered with few-layer graphene. A 176 nm thick layer of amorphous solid water is deposited (101 K sample temperature), which is then locally heated with a shaped microsecond laser pulse to prepare water in no man’s land. c A diffraction pattern of the supercooled liquid is captured with an intense, 6 µs electron pulse.

    Fig. 2: Simulation of temperature evolution of the sample.
    a) Simulation of the temperature evolution of the sample (black) under irradiation with a shaped microsecond laser pulse (green). The sample is first heated above the melting point and then rapidly cooled to the desired temperature in no man’s land by reducing the laser power. Once the temperature has stabilized, we capture a diffraction pattern with a 6 µs electron pulse (blue). b) Simulations show that this temperature (black circles) increases linearly with laser power. It only starts to level off above ~260 K, where evaporative cooling becomes important. The black line corresponds to a spline of the simulated data points, while the blue line is a linear fit. The inset shows diffraction patterns recorded over a range of temperatures. Scale bar, 2 Å^−1.

    See the science paper for further instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH) is a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and it has three main missions: education, research and technology transfer.

    The QS World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) 14th in the world across all fields in their 2020/2021 ranking, whereas Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) as the world’s 19th best school for Engineering and Technology in 2020.

    EPFL(CH) is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland; the sister institution in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH). Associated with several specialized research institutes, the two universities form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles Polytechniques Fédérales] (CH) which is directly dependent on the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. In connection with research and teaching activities, EPFL(CH) operates a nuclear reactor CROCUS; a Tokamak Fusion reactor; a Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer; and P3 bio-hazard facilities.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    The roots of modern-day EPFL(CH) can be traced back to the foundation of a private school under the name École Spéciale de Lausanne in 1853 at the initiative of Lois Rivier, a graduate of the École Centrale Paris (FR) and John Gay the then professor and rector of the Académie de Lausanne. At its inception it had only 11 students and the offices were located at Rue du Valentin in Lausanne. In 1869, it became the technical department of the public Académie de Lausanne. When the Académie was reorganized and acquired the status of a university in 1890, the technical faculty changed its name to École d’Ingénieurs de l’Université de Lausanne. In 1946, it was renamed the École polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne (EPUL). In 1969, the EPUL was separated from the rest of the University of Lausanne and became a federal institute under its current name. EPFL(CH), like ETH Zürich (CH), is thus directly controlled by the Swiss federal government. In contrast, all other universities in Switzerland are controlled by their respective cantonal governments. Following the nomination of Patrick Aebischer as president in 2000, EPFL(CH) has started to develop into the field of life sciences. It absorbed the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in 2008.

    In 1946, there were 360 students. In 1969, EPFL(CH) had 1,400 students and 55 professors. In the past two decades the university has grown rapidly and as of 2012 roughly 14,000 people study or work on campus, about 9,300 of these being Bachelor, Master or PhD students. The environment at modern day EPFL(CH) is highly international with the school attracting students and researchers from all over the world. More than 125 countries are represented on the campus and the university has two official languages, French and English.


    EPFL is organized into eight schools, themselves formed of institutes that group research units (laboratories or chairs) around common themes:

    School of Basic Sciences
    Institute of Mathematics
    Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering
    Institute of Physics
    European Centre of Atomic and Molecular Computations
    Bernoulli Center
    Biomedical Imaging Research Center
    Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy
    MPG-EPFL Centre for Molecular Nanosciences and Technology
    Swiss Plasma Center
    Laboratory of Astrophysics

    School of Engineering

    Institute of Electrical Engineering
    Institute of Mechanical Engineering
    Institute of Materials
    Institute of Microengineering
    Institute of Bioengineering

    School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Institute of Architecture
    Civil Engineering Institute
    Institute of Urban and Regional Sciences
    Environmental Engineering Institute

    School of Computer and Communication Sciences

    Algorithms & Theoretical Computer Science
    Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
    Computational Biology
    Computer Architecture & Integrated Systems
    Data Management & Information Retrieval
    Graphics & Vision
    Human-Computer Interaction
    Information & Communication Theory
    Programming Languages & Formal Methods
    Security & Cryptography
    Signal & Image Processing

    School of Life Sciences

    Bachelor-Master Teaching Section in Life Sciences and Technologies
    Brain Mind Institute
    Institute of Bioengineering
    Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research
    Global Health Institute
    Ten Technology Platforms & Core Facilities (PTECH)
    Center for Phenogenomics
    NCCR Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases

    College of Management of Technology

    Swiss Finance Institute at EPFL
    Section of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship
    Institute of Technology and Public Policy
    Institute of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship
    Section of Financial Engineering

    College of Humanities

    Human and social sciences teaching program

    EPFL Middle East

    Section of Energy Management and Sustainability

    In addition to the eight schools there are seven closely related institutions

    Swiss Cancer Centre
    Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM)
    Centre for Advanced Modelling Science (CADMOS)
    École Cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)
    Campus Biotech
    Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-engineering
    Swiss National Supercomputing Centre

  • richardmitnick 9:46 pm on May 29, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Agence France Pressé", , "Then and now - 70 years of Everest", , , , Geology, ,   

    From Agence France Pressé(FR) Via “phys.org” : “Then and now – 70 years of Everest” 


    From Agence France Pressé(FR)




    The South Col route used for the first ascent of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, on May 29, 1953.

    Seventy years ago, New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepali Tenzing Norgay Sherpa became the first humans to summit Everest on May 29, 1953.

    The British expedition made the two men household names around the world and changed mountaineering forever.

    Hundreds now climb the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) peak every year, fuelling concerns of overcrowding and pollution on the mountain.

    AFP looks at the evolution of the Everest phenomenon.

    What is the mountain called?

    Initially known only to British mapmakers as Peak XV, the mountain was identified as the world’s highest point in the 1850s and renamed in 1865 after Sir George Everest, a former Surveyor General of India.

    On the border of Nepal and China and climbable from both sides, it is called “Chomolungma” or “Qomolangma” in Sherpa and Tibetan—”goddess mother of the world”—and “Sagarmatha” in Nepali, meaning “peak of the sky”.

    How has climbing Everest changed?

    The 1953 expedition was the ninth attempt on the summit and it took 20 years for the first 600 people to climb it. Now that number can be expected in a single season, with climbers catered to by experienced guides and commercial expedition companies.

    The months-long journey to the base camp was cut to eight days with the construction of a small mountain airstrip in 1964 in the town of Lukla, the gateway to the Everest region.

    Gear is lighter, oxygen supplies are more readily available, and tracking devices make expeditions safer. Climbers today can summon a helicopter in case of emergency.

    Every season, experienced Nepali guides set the route all the way to the summit for paying clients to follow.

    But Billi Bierling of Himalayan Database, an archive of mountaineering expeditions, said some things remain similar: “They didn’t go to the mountains much different than we do now. The Sherpas carried everything. The expedition style itself hasn’t changed.”

    What is base camp like?

    The starting point for climbs proper, Everest Base Camp was once little more than a collection of tents at 5,364 meters (17,598 feet), where climbers lived off canned foods.

    Now fresh salads, baked goods and trendy coffee are available, with crackly conversations over bulky satellite phones replaced by wifi and Instagram posts.

    The daily number of climbers who reached the summit of Mount Everest since the first successful climb in 1953.
    Credit: AFP.

    How does the news of a summit travel?

    Hillary and Tenzing summited Everest on May 29 but it only appeared in newspapers on June 2, the day of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation: the news had to be brought down the mountain on foot to a telegraph station in the town of Namche Bazaar, to be relayed to the British Embassy in Kathmandu.

    In 2011, British climber Kenton Cool tweeted from the summit with a 3G signal after his ninth successful ascent. More usually, walkie-talkie radios are standard expedition equipment and summiteers contact their base camp teams, who swiftly post on social media.

    In 2020, China announced 5G connectivity at the Everest summit.

    What are the effects of climate change?

    Warming temperatures are slowly widening crevasses on the mountain and bringing running water to previously snowy slopes.

    A 2018 study of Everest’s Khumbu glacier indicated it was vulnerable to even minor atmospheric warming, with the temperature of shallow ice already close to melting point.

    Google Earth image.

    Khumbu Icefall – own photograph —Uwe Gille 12:05, 26 Apr 2005

    “The future of the Khumbu icefall is bleak,” its principal investigator, glaciologist Duncan Quincey, told AFP. “The striking difference is the meltwater on the surface of the glaciers.”

    Three Nepali guides were killed on the formation this year when a chunk of falling glacial ice swept them into a deep crevasse.

    It has become a popular cause for climbers to highlight, and expedition companies are starting to implement eco-friendly practices at their camps, such as solar power.

    What is the impact of social media?

    Click, post, repeat—the climbing season plays out on social media as excited mountaineers document their journey to Everest on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms.

    Hashtags keep their sponsors happy and the posts can catch the eyes of potential funders.

    That applies to both foreign climbers and their now tech-savvy Nepali guides.

    “Everyone posts nowadays, it is part of how we share and build our profile,” said Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, who has summited Everest multiple times and has 62,000 Instagram followers.

    Mountain of records?

    Veteran Nepali guides Kami Rita Sherpa and Pasang Dawa Sherpa both scaled Everest twice this season, with the latter twice matching the former’s record number of summits before Kami Rita reclaimed pole position with 28.

    There are multiple Everest record categories for first and fastest feats of endurance.

    But some precedents are more quixotic: in 2018, a team of British climbers, an Australian and a Nepali dressed in tuxedos and gowns for the world’s highest dinner party at 7,056 meters on the mountain’s Chinese side.

    Nonagenarian Kanchha Sherpa is the last surviving member of the 1953 expedition that saw Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa become the first humans to summit the world’s highest mountain.

    But his journey to prominence began in the opposite direction: at 19, he ran away from his home in Namche Bazaar—now the biggest tourist hub on the route to the Everest base camp—to Darjeeling in India, looking for Tenzing in hopes of finding work.

    The future co-summiteer had already established himself in the hilly Indian region, which was the starting point for expeditions at the time as Nepal had only recently opened to foreigners.

    At first, the teenager did chores at his mentor’s house.

    Months later he found himself back in his home region as a member of the British expedition, for just a few Nepali rupees (now a few US cents) a day.

    Although he had no mountaineering training, Kanchha Sherpa climbed beyond 8,000 metres on Everest.

    [My Favorite? Willi Unsoeld who was a part of the first American expedition to summit Everest, from the West Face May 1, 1963.

    Sixty years ago this spring, the first American mountaineers to scale the world’s tallest mountain accomplished that feat in a manner that still has the climbing world in awe today. The ascent of Mt. Everest by Willi Unsoeld and Tom Hornbein is considered one of the greatest climbing achievements in history. A graduate of Oregon State University, Unsoeld later served on the faculty of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Oregon State before taking a leave of absence to join the Peace Corps and embarking upon his historic trek. (contributed photo)

    Approaching the Mount Everest (8,848 meters, center). In front is Nuptse (7,861 meters). Cropped to show West Ridge. Bottom left is Ice Fall in Khumbu Glacier below Western Cwm. Above, far left is Lho La with snowfield of Rongbuk Glacier behind (middle left). Everest is top, towards the right with South Col top right. West Ridge extends from Everest to Lho La with West Shoulder prominent at half way. North Col behind West Shoulder with Changtse to the left. Southwest Face of Everest stretching below the summit. Nuptse in foreground (a large area lower right) obscuring Western Cwm.]

    See the full article here.

  • richardmitnick 1:19 pm on May 29, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "River erosion drives fish biodiversity in the Appalachians", , , , Geology, , Speciation, , ,   

    From Yale University And From The Department of Earth-Atmosphere-and Planetary Sciences At The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “River erosion drives fish biodiversity in the Appalachians” 

    From Yale University



    From The Department of Earth-Atmosphere-and Planetary Sciences


    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Mike Cummings

    A new study provides evidence that river water eroding layers of metamorphic rock is a driver of freshwater fish biodiversity in the Appalachian Mountains.

    Greenfin darter, Nothonotus chlorobranchius, a fish species found in the upper Tennessee River system in the southern Appalachians. Yale.

    An MIT study of the freshwater greenfin darter fish suggests river erosion can be a driver of biodiversity in tectonically inactive regions. Image: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT with fish photo by Isaac Szabo. MIT EAPS.

    The changing landscape of the Tennessee River Basin pushed a species of fish known as the greenfin darter into different tributaries of the river network. Over time, these separated populations developed into their own distinct lineages. Image: Isaac Szabo. MIT EAPS.

    Taylor Perron and Maya Stokes sample stream sediments. “If we can understand the geologic factors that contribute to biodiversity, we can do a better job of conserving it,” says Perron. Image: Sean Gallen MIT EAPS.

    The gradual erosion of layers of rock by rivers flowing through the Appalachian Mountains generates biodiversity of freshwater fish species, suggests a new Yale-led study that offers insight into the causes of species richness in the ancient mountain range.

    Researchers have previously associated high biodiversity in mountain ranges, including the Andes and Himalaya, with tectonic uplift — the shifting of plates in the Earth’s crust that forms mountains, plateaus, and other geologic structures — triggering environmental changes that create conditions ripe for species diversification. But this explanation does not account for the high biodiversity found in older mountain ranges, such as the species-rich Appalachians, where tectonic uplift ceased hundreds of millions of years ago.

    [R]ivers erode away different kinds of rock exposing new kinds of rock that may affect the spatial distribution of suitable habitat.

    Geographic isolation prevents greenfin darters from breeding across populations, setting the stage for them to evolve separately from each other.

    Maya F. Stokes – Florida State University [work done while at Yale.]

    For the new study, published May 26 in the journal Science [below], researchers analyzed populations of greenfin darters, Nothonotus chlorobranchius, a fish species only found in the upper Tennessee River system in the southern Appalachians, and the river basin’s underlying geology.

    They found that river water has gradually eroded a top layer of metamorphic rock in portions of the upper Tennessee River basin, exposing softer sedimentary rock that acts as a barrier, isolating populations of the greenfin darter in river channels still flowing over metamorphic rock. As with the finch populations observed by Charles Darwin on the Galapagos Islands, such geographic isolation prevents the greenfin darters from breeding across populations, said Maya F. Stokes, the paper’s lead author, who conducted the research while a postdoctoral researcher in Yale’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. This, she said, sets the stage for them to evolve separately from each other.

    “We know that speciation happens when populations are geographically isolated, but it isn’t clear how isolation happens without dramatic geomorphological changes across the landscape,” Stokes, now an assistant professor of geology at Florida State University, said. “Our study shows that greenfin darter populations are being isolated through the gradual internal dynamics of erosion, not major external forces like climate change, glaciation, or tectonic activity.”

    The upper Tennessee River basin is divided into the highland Blue Ridge geologic area composed of metamorphic rock and a lowland Valley and Ridge area composed of sedimentary rock. Metamorphic rocks form when existing rocks are subjected to environmental change, such as high heat, high pressure, or a combination of both and in this landscape are harder to erode than sedimentary rock. This makes the highland section steeper and more rugged than the lowland Valley and Ridge section. The greenfin darter populations mostly inhabit tributaries in the Blue Ridge section.

    The researchers collected greenfin darter specimens from populations throughout the Blue Ridge tributaries. Their dataset also included samples from the Yale Peabody Museum’s tissue collection. Through genomic analysis of DNA sequence data, the researchers determined the evolutionary lineages of the geographically separated greenfin darter populations.

    “The DNA sequencing found genetic variation among the separate populations on par with what we find between separate species,” said senior author Thomas J. Near, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “We don’t delimit them as separate species in this study, and they show little variation in physical characteristics, but the genetic analysis suggests we’re seeing speciation in action. I think ultimately these lineages will become separate species if they aren’t already.”

    “It’s possible, if not likely, that the process of erosion we identified is responsible for past speciation,” added Near, who is also the Bingham Oceanographic Curator of Ichthyology at the Yale Peabody Museum.

    The researchers also compared the evolutionary history of the fish populations to the geologic history of the upper Tennessee River basin. They used a geometric model of bedrock erosion that shows how the exposure of metamorphic rock (where the greenfin darter is found) has shrunk over geologic time, while that of sedimentary rock has expanded. They suggest that this process reduced the habitat connectivity between tributaries, leading to the isolation of lineages residing in tributaries flowing over the remaining metamorphic rock.

    “The basic concept here is that rivers erode away different kinds of rock exposing new kinds of rock that may affect the spatial distribution of suitable habitat,” said Stokes, who was a Gaylord Donnelley postdoctoral associate at the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.

    Why sedimentary rock forms a barrier to the greenfin darters’ movement is unknown, but the researchers point out that different types of rock influence freshwater habitats in multiple ways, including flow velocity, water chemistry, and the amount of sediment suspended in the water.

    The study was co-authored by Daemin Kim, Edgar Benavides, and Julia Wood of Yale’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Sean F. Gallen of Colorado State University; Benjamin P. Keck of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Samuel L. Goldberg and J. Taylor Perron of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Isaac J. Larsen of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; and Jon Michael Mollish and Jeffrey W. Simmons of the Tennessee Valley Authority.


    See the full Yale University article here .

    See the full MIT EAPS article here.
    [Most of herein used text is from the Yale article.]

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) is the place at MIT where the turbulent oceans and atmosphere, the inaccessible depths of the inner Earth, distant planets, and the origins of life all come together under one intellectual roof.

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

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

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

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

    Foundation and vision

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

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

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

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

    Early developments

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

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

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

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

    Curricular reforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Recent history

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

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

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

    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.


    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 12:39 pm on May 29, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Machine learning approach for disaster-related trauma and subsequent functional limitations", , , , Geology, ,   

    From “temblor” : “Machine learning approach for disaster-related trauma and subsequent functional limitations” 


    From “temblor”

    Thystere Matondo Bantidi, Ph.D., Temblor science writing extern (@Thysterebantidi)

    Every year, the global community experiences significant damage inflicted by various natural hazards like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and tropical cyclones. In addition to physical damage to both people and property, survivors may suffer from mental and cognitive health problems arising from the shock of losing loved ones or the sudden disruption in their homes or communities. Often, the poorest and most marginalized members of society experience the greatest adverse impacts.

    Decision-makers tasked with allocating resources for recovery following a natural disaster often prioritize immediate damage. That’s not wrong, but it does leave out those most likely to struggle in the long term. Therefore, investigating the different ways that these traumatic experiences affect survivors — and linking those effects to factors like age, marital status, education level and income — may provide insights into the relationships between disasters and health for vulnerable populations, says Koichiro Shiba, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Boston University and lead author of a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology [below].

    In this work, Shiba and his colleagues describe adverse health effects of disaster-related trauma in the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that occurred off the Pacific coast of Japan’s main island of Honshu. The work has implications for recovery after disasters anywhere.

    The earthquake

    The magnitude-9.0 Tōhoku earthquake, often referred to as the Great East Japan Earthquake, struck along the Japan Trench where the Pacific Plate subducts beneath the Okhotsk Plate. At such subduction zones, one tectonic plate slides under another, but the downgoing slab may sometimes become stuck, causing stress to build up. When some or all of that stress is suddenly released, an earthquake occurs.

    The Tōhoku earthquake also caused a massive tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and rendered parts of this region unlivable for nearly a decade due to radiation contamination. This triple disaster — earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown — resulted in at least 19,729 dead, including several thousand victims who were never recovered. More than 121,000 houses were destroyed, with damage to almost a million more. Even today, more than a decade later, many people are still living in temporary housing.

    This map shows the shaking intensity level and tsunami wave height of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake. Darker red represents higher intensity. More intense shaking can result in more damage, all things being equal. Credit: “Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters,” 2014, International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University.

    Losing home, losing health

    “Mental health” relates to psychological and emotional wellbeing, and includes conditions like anxiety and depression. “Cognitive health” relates to brain function, and includes memory, language, problem-solving and decision-making. “Functional health” relates to the ability to carry out daily tasks, like bathing, dressing oneself and eating. These three types of health are interconnected, meaning that problems in one area can affect the others.

    For instance, individuals with mental health conditions like schizophrenia may have difficulty making decisions due to impaired cognitive abilities, which can in turn impact their functional health by making it difficult for them to carry out tasks of daily living. Cognitive health problems like dementia can lead to behavioral changes that can impact both mental health and functional health, again making it difficult for individuals to carry out tasks of daily living. And, functional health issues such as chronic pain can impact mental health by causing depression or anxiety, which can, in turn, affect cognitive abilities such as concentration and memory.

    Numerous studies have identified the varied ways in which individuals respond to trauma. These studies have yielded two primary outcomes. First, some people who experience trauma do not develop mental health issues; they’re referred to as resilient. Second, studies show a correlation between how much trauma someone has experienced, called trauma exposure, and mental and cognitive health.

    Cognitive health studies tend to show a correlation between trauma exposure and functional health. The more trauma experienced by an individual, the more trouble that person is likely to have when trying to simply go about their day — functional health is impacted. The earthquake and tsunami resulted in trauma exposure to survivors, and though trauma can manifest as mental, cognitive or functional health problems, their interconnectedness means that disentangling their relationships is not straightforward. Shiba’s new study looked at the connection between trauma imparted by these disasters and functional health, as well as factors that exacerbated trauma exposure, including mental and cognitive health.

    To that end, Shiba and his collaborators used data from before and after the Tōhoku earthquake collected from Iwanuma, a city in the Miyagi Prefecture, located about 80 kilometers (128 miles) from the earthquake’s epicenter. The city was part of a nationwide cohort study of Japanese older adults, called the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES).

    In Iwanuma, the JAGES study began in 2010, just seven months before the disaster. During the subsequent five and a half years following the earthquake, JAGES surveyed those who survived the disaster to measure individuals’ functional limitations in 2013 and 2016 using three different indicators: certified level of physical disability (e.g., whether someone can turn over in bed independently) ; activities of daily living (e.g., whether someone is able to accomplish basic daily activities such as walking or bathing); and instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., using public transportation).

    A coastal city after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the area. Credit: NOAA/ Katherine Mueller (International Federation of Red Cross).

    Machine learning methods

    Machine learning approaches use algorithms that can help scientists detect otherwise hidden insights in the data. Then, the algorithms “learn” from these insights and make predictions. Shiba’s team used a machine learning approach trained on 55 predisaster characteristics from the baseline of the JAGES survey conducted in 2010, which included demographic characteristics, measures of socioeconomic status, health conditions, psychosocial factors, and behavioral factors.

    The team compared these predisaster demographic characteristics of the studied population of elderly people with home loss status after the disaster, and estimated the average effects of home loss on functional health. They explored whether some demographic characteristics of people who lost their home correlated with their ability to conduct daily activities. In short, the answer is: yes.

    Based on their analysis, the team estimated that individuals who lost their homes displayed an increase in functional limitations. Moreover, those who experienced these limitations tended to be from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Those who had symptoms of clinical depression before the disaster also tended to experience functional limitations afterward.

    The team also found that people who were more vulnerable were more likely to be older, unemployed single men who lived alone and had a relatively low level of education. Members of this vulnerable group also had baseline health problems, such as more symptoms of depression and poor self-rated health. Nevertheless, income wasn’t necessarily a good predictor of vulnerability; those who had a higher income but were less educated also appeared vulnerable to being affected by the disaster.

    These results offer new insights that were potentially overlooked in previous research, which linked higher income alone to disaster resilience. The new study uncovers a more complex relationship resulting from interactions between multiple characteristics like education and gender. However, the mechanisms of such complex heterogeneity remain unclear, warranting future research, Shiba says.

    “Temporary” housing for survivors of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Onagawa town (some are still in such housing more than decade after the disasters). Credit: Forgemind ArchiMedia, CC BY 2.0

    Assisting the elderly

    Elderly people are particularly prone to post-traumatic stress disorder and depression that may result from disruptions where they live. “This fact alone explains why we must be interested in their physical, psychological or mental wellbeing after a natural disaster,” says Emmanuel Kagning Tsinda, a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Biomedical Innovation at MIT who was not involved in this research.

    This new study not only highlights variables that might explain post-disaster resilience versus vulnerability among the elderly, but also provides a model that helps to predict which individuals are at greater risk of experiencing adverse consequences after a natural disaster, Tsinda says. Such information could help decision-makers allocate resources more equitably throughout the different stages of disaster — mitigation and preparedness before an event, response during a disaster, and post-disaster recovery, he says.

    Natural disasters like the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami can have long-lasting impacts on those who survive them. Nevertheless, policymakers can utilize the new findings to implement measures that prioritize the wellbeing and safety of both individuals and communities, Shiba says. Prioritizing resources to go toward those who will be most likely to struggle with long-term recovery can contribute to more targeted post-disaster public health interventions, and therefore preserve survivors’ functional health.

    Further Reading

    Shiba, K., Daoud, A., Hikichi, H., Yazawa, A., Aida, J., Kondo, K., & Kawachi, I. (2022). Uncovering heterogeneous associations between disaster-related trauma and subsequent functional limitations: A machine-learning approach. American Journal of Epidemiology, 192(2), 217-229.

    See the full article here .

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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    Earthquake Alert


    Earthquake Alert

    Earthquake Network is a research project which aims at developing and maintaining a crowdsourced smartphone-based earthquake warning system at a global level. Smartphones made available by the population are used to detect the earthquake waves using the on-board accelerometers. When an earthquake is detected, an earthquake warning is issued in order to alert the population not yet reached by the damaging waves of the earthquake.

    The project started on January 1, 2013 with the release of the homonymous Android application Earthquake Network. The author of the research project and developer of the smartphone application is Francesco Finazzi of the University of Bergamo, Italy.

    Get the app in the Google Play store.

    Smartphone network spatial distribution (green and red dots) on December 4, 2015

    Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the worlds largest strong-motion seismic network.

    Below, the QCN Quake Catcher Network map
    QCN Quake Catcher Network map

    ShakeAlert: An Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States

    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with a coalition of State and university partners is developing and testing an earthquake early warning (EEW) system called ShakeAlert for the west coast of the United States. Long term funding must be secured before the system can begin sending general public notifications, however, some limited pilot projects are active and more are being developed. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018.

    Watch a video describing how ShakeAlert works in English or Spanish.

    The primary project partners include:

    United States Geological Survey
    California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
    California Geological Survey
    California Institute of Technology
    University of California Berkeley
    University of Washington
    University of Oregon
    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    The Earthquake Threat

    Earthquakes pose a national challenge because more than 143 million Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk across 39 states. Most of our Nation’s earthquake risk is concentrated on the West Coast of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated the average annualized loss from earthquakes, nationwide, to be $5.3 billion, with 77 percent of that figure ($4.1 billion) coming from California, Washington, and Oregon, and 66 percent ($3.5 billion) from California alone. In the next 30 years, California has a 99.7 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake and the Pacific Northwest has a 10 percent chance of a magnitude 8 to 9 megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

    Part of the Solution

    Today, the technology exists to detect earthquakes, so quickly, that an alert can reach some areas before strong shaking arrives. The purpose of the ShakeAlert system is to identify and characterize an earthquake a few seconds after it begins, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. This can be done by detecting the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage. Using P-wave information, we first estimate the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated and a warning is provided to local populations. The method can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, bringing the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage.

    Studies of earthquake early warning methods in California have shown that the warning time would range from a few seconds to a few tens of seconds. ShakeAlert can give enough time to slow trains and taxiing planes, to prevent cars from entering bridges and tunnels, to move away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments and to take cover under a desk, or to automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems. Taking such actions before shaking starts can reduce damage and casualties during an earthquake. It can also prevent cascading failures in the aftermath of an event. For example, isolating utilities before shaking starts can reduce the number of fire initiations.

    System Goal

    The USGS will issue public warnings of potentially damaging earthquakes and provide warning parameter data to government agencies and private users on a region-by-region basis, as soon as the ShakeAlert system, its products, and its parametric data meet minimum quality and reliability standards in those geographic regions. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018. Product availability will expand geographically via ANSS regional seismic networks, such that ShakeAlert products and warnings become available for all regions with dense seismic instrumentation.

    Current Status

    The West Coast ShakeAlert system is being developed by expanding and upgrading the infrastructure of regional seismic networks that are part of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS); the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) is made up of the Southern California Seismic Network, SCSN) and the Northern California Seismic System, NCSS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). This enables the USGS and ANSS to leverage their substantial investment in sensor networks, data telemetry systems, data processing centers, and software for earthquake monitoring activities residing in these network centers. The ShakeAlert system has been sending live alerts to “beta” users in California since January of 2012 and in the Pacific Northwest since February of 2015.

    In February of 2016 the USGS, along with its partners, rolled-out the next-generation ShakeAlert early warning test system in California joined by Oregon and Washington in April 2017. This West Coast-wide “production prototype” has been designed for redundant, reliable operations. The system includes geographically distributed servers, and allows for automatic fail-over if connection is lost.

    This next-generation system will not yet support public warnings but does allow selected early adopters to develop and deploy pilot implementations that take protective actions triggered by the ShakeAlert notifications in areas with sufficient sensor coverage.


    The USGS will develop and operate the ShakeAlert system, and issue public notifications under collaborative authorities with FEMA, as part of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, as enacted by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7704 SEC. 2.

    For More Information

    Robert de Groot, ShakeAlert National Coordinator for Communication, Education, and Outreach

    Learn more about EEW Research

    ShakeAlert Fact Sheet

    ShakeAlert Implementation Plan



    About Early Warning Labs, LLC

    Early Warning Labs, LLC (EWL) is an Earthquake Early Warning technology developer and integrator located in Santa Monica, CA. EWL is partnered with industry leading GIS provider ESRI, Inc. and is collaborating with the US Government and university partners.

    EWL is investing millions of dollars over the next 36 months to complete the final integration and delivery of Earthquake Early Warning to individual consumers, government entities, and commercial users.

    EWL’s mission is to improve, expand, and lower the costs of the existing earthquake early warning systems.

    EWL is developing a robust cloud server environment to handle low-cost mass distribution of these warnings. In addition, Early Warning Labs is researching and developing automated response standards and systems that allow public and private users to take pre-defined automated actions to protect lives and assets.

    EWL has an existing beta R&D test system installed at one of the largest studios in Southern California. The goal of this system is to stress test EWL’s hardware, software, and alert signals while improving latency and reliability.

    Earthquake Early Warning Introduction

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with state agencies, university partners, and private industry, is developing an earthquake early warning system (EEW) for the West Coast of the United States called ShakeAlert. The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program aims to mitigate earthquake losses in the United States. Citizens, first responders, and engineers rely on the USGS for accurate and timely information about where earthquakes occur, the ground shaking intensity in different locations, and the likelihood is of future significant ground shaking.

    The ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System recently entered its first phase of operations. The USGS working in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is now allowing for the testing of public alerting via apps, Wireless Emergency Alerts, and by other means throughout California.

    ShakeAlert partners in Oregon and Washington are working with the USGS to test public alerting in those states sometime in 2020.

    ShakeAlert has demonstrated the feasibility of earthquake early warning, from event detection to producing USGS issued ShakeAlerts ® and will continue to undergo testing and will improve over time. In particular, robust and reliable alert delivery pathways for automated actions are currently being developed and implemented by private industry partners for use in California, Oregon, and Washington.

    Earthquake Early Warning Background

    The objective of an earthquake early warning system is to rapidly detect the initiation of an earthquake, estimate the level of ground shaking intensity to be expected, and issue a warning before significant ground shaking starts. A network of seismic sensors detects the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, and the location and the magnitude of the earthquake is rapidly determined. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated. The system can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, which brings the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage. Warnings will be distributed to local and state public emergency response officials, critical infrastructure, private businesses, and the public. EEW systems have been successfully implemented in Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, and other nations with varying degrees of sophistication and coverage.

    Earthquake early warning can provide enough time to:

    Instruct students and employees to take a protective action such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On
    Initiate mass notification procedures
    Open fire-house doors and notify local first responders
    Slow and stop trains and taxiing planes
    Install measures to prevent/limit additional cars from going on bridges, entering tunnels, and being on freeway overpasses before the shaking starts
    Move people away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments
    Shut down gas lines, water treatment plants, or nuclear reactors
    Automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems

    However, earthquake warning notifications must be transmitted without requiring human review and response action must be automated, as the total warning times are short depending on geographic distance and varying soil densities from the epicenter.

  • richardmitnick 10:22 am on May 29, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Iron-rich rocks unlock new insights into Earth’s planetary history", , , , , , Geology, , , , , Rice University’s Department of Earth Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Study suggests ancient microorganisms helped cause massive volcanic events., These rocks tell — quite literally — the story of a changing planetary environment.,   

    From Rice University: “Iron-rich rocks unlock new insights into Earth’s planetary history” 

    From Rice University

    Silvia Cernea Clark

    Study suggests ancient microorganisms helped cause massive volcanic events.

    Duncan Keller is a postdoctoral researcher in Rice’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences and the lead author of the study published in Nature Geoscience [below]. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

    Visually striking layers of burnt orange, yellow, silver, brown and blue-tinged black are characteristic of banded iron formations, sedimentary rocks that may have prompted some of the largest volcanic eruptions in Earth’s history, according to new research from Rice University.

    A nearly 3-billion-year-old banded iron formation from Canada shows that the atmosphere and ocean once had no oxygen. Credit:The American Museum of Natural History.

    The rocks contain iron oxides that sank to the bottom of oceans long ago, forming dense layers that eventually turned to stone. The study published this week in Nature Geoscience [below] suggests the iron-rich layers could connect ancient changes at Earth’s surface — like the emergence of photosynthetic life — to planetary processes like volcanism and plate tectonics.

    In addition to linking planetary processes that were generally thought to be unconnected, the study could reframe scientists’ understanding of Earth’s early history and provide insight into processes that could produce habitable exoplanets far from our solar system.

    “These rocks tell — quite literally — the story of a changing planetary environment,” said Duncan Keller, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in Rice’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences. “They embody a change in the atmospheric and ocean chemistry.”

    Banded iron formations are chemical sediments precipitated directly from ancient seawater rich in dissolved iron. Metabolic actions of microorganisms, including photosynthesis, are thought to have facilitated the precipitation of the minerals, which formed layer upon layer over time along with chert (microcrystalline silicon dioxide). The largest deposits formed as oxygen accumulated in Earth’s atmosphere about 2.5 billion years ago.

    Image credit: Wikipedia. Crowd-sourced timeline of life on Earth, referenced in over 140 Wikipedia articles.

    “These rocks formed in the ancient oceans, and we know that those oceans were later closed up laterally by plate tectonic processes,” Keller explained.

    Metamorphosed banded iron formation from the Hamersley Group of Western Australia. The rock is approximately 2.5 billion years old. Dark bands are iron oxides (hematite, magnetite), reddish bands are chert with iron oxide inclusions (jasper), and gold bands are amphibole and quartz. Specimen collected by Cin-Ty Lee. (Photo by Linda Welzenbach-Fries/Rice University)

    The mantle, though solid, flows like a fluid at about the rate that fingernails grow. Tectonic plates — continent-sized sections of the crust and uppermost mantle — are constantly on the move, largely as a result of thermal convection currents in the mantle. Earth’s tectonic processes control the life cycles of oceans.

    “Just like the Pacific Ocean is being closed today — it’s subducting under Japan and under South America — ancient ocean basins were destroyed tectonically,” he said. “These rocks either had to get pushed up onto continents and be preserved — and we do see some preserved, that’s where the ones we’re looking at today come from — or subducted into the mantle.”

    Because of their high iron content, banded iron formations are denser than the mantle, which made Keller wonder whether subducted chunks of the formations sank all the way down and settled in the lowest region of the mantle near the top of Earth’s core. There, under immense temperature and pressure, they would have undergone profound changes as their minerals took on different structures.

    “There’s some very interesting work on the properties of iron oxides at those conditions,” Keller said. “They can become highly thermally and electrically conductive. Some of them transfer heat as easily as metals do. So it’s possible that, once in the lower mantle, these rocks would turn into extremely conductive lumps like hot plates.”

    Keller and his co-workers posit that regions enriched in subducted iron formations might aid the formation of mantle plumes, rising conduits of hot rock above thermal anomalies in the lower mantle that can produce enormous volcanoes like the ones that formed the Hawaiian Islands. “Underneath Hawaii, seismological data show us a hot conduit of upwelling mantle,” Keller said. “Imagine a hot spot on your stove burner. As the water in your pot is boiling, you’ll see more bubbles over a column of rising water in that area. Mantle plumes are sort of a giant version of that.”

    “We looked at the depositional ages of banded iron formations and the ages of large basaltic eruption events called large igneous provinces, and we found that there’s a correlation,” Keller said. “Many of the igneous events — which were so massive that the 10 or 15 largest may have been enough to resurface the entire planet — were preceded by banded iron formation deposition at intervals of roughly 241 million years, give or take 15 million. It’s a strong correlation with a mechanism that makes sense.”

    The study showed that there was a plausible length of time for banded iron formations to first be drawn deep into the lower mantle and to then influence heat flow to drive a plume toward Earth’s surface thousands of kilometers above.

    Metamorphosed banded iron formation from the Hamersley Group of Western Australia. The rock is approximately 2.5 billion years old. Dark bands are iron oxides (hematite, magnetite), reddish bands are chert with iron oxide inclusions (jasper), and gold bands are amphibole and quartz. Specimen collected by Cin-Ty Lee. (Photo by Linda Welzenbach-Fries/Rice University)

    In his effort to trace the journey of banded iron formations, Keller crossed disciplinary boundaries and ran into unexpected insights.

    “If what’s happening in the early oceans, after microorganisms chemically change surface environments, ultimately creates an enormous outpouring of lava somewhere else on Earth 250 million years later, that means these processes are related and ‘talking’ to each other,” Keller said. “It also means it’s possible for related processes to have length scales that are far greater than people expected. To be able to infer this, we’ve had to draw on data from many different fields across mineralogy, geochemistry, geophysics and sedimentology.”

    Keller hopes the study will spur further research. “I hope this motivates people in the different fields that it touches,” he said. “I think it would be really cool if this got people talking to each other in renewed ways about how different parts of the Earth system are connected.

    Keller is part of the CLEVER Planets: Cycles of Life-Essential Volatile Elements in Rocky Planets program, an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional group of scientists led by Rajdeep Dasgupta, Rice’s W. Maurice Ewing Professor of Earth Systems Science in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences.

    “This is an extremely interdisciplinary collaboration that’s looking at how volatile elements that are important for biology — carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur — behave in planets, at how planets acquire these elements and the role they play in potentially making planets habitable,” Keller said.

    “We’re using Earth as the best example that we have, but we’re trying to figure out what the presence or absence of one or some of these elements might mean for planets more generally,” he added.

    Cin-Ty Lee, Rice’s Harry Carothers Wiess Professor of Geology, Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, and Dasgupta are co-authors on the study. Other co-authors are Santiago Tassara, an assistant professor at Bernardo O’Higgins University in Chile, and Leslie Robbins, an assistant professor at the University of Regina in Canada, who both did postdoctoral work at Yale University, and Yale Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Jay Ague, Keller’s doctoral adviser.

    NASA (80NSSC18K0828) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (RGPIN-2021-02523) supported the research.

    Nature Geoscience

    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”.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Rice University [formally William Marsh Rice University] is a private research university in Houston, Texas. It is situated on a 300-acre campus near the Houston Museum District and is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.
    Opened in 1912 after the murder of its namesake William Marsh Rice, Rice is a research university with an undergraduate focus. Its emphasis on education is demonstrated by a small student body and 6:1 student-faculty ratio. The university has a very high level of research activity. Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing, space science, and nanotechnology. Rice has been a member of the Association of American Universities since 1985 and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.
    The university is organized into eleven residential colleges and eight schools of academic study, including the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the School of Social Sciences, School of Architecture, Shepherd School of Music and the School of Humanities. Rice’s undergraduate program offers more than fifty majors and two dozen minors, and allows a high level of flexibility in pursuing multiple degree programs. Additional graduate programs are offered through the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. Rice students are bound by the strict Honor Code, which is enforced by a student-run Honor Council.
    Rice competes in 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports and is a part of Conference USA, often competing with its cross-town rival the University of Houston. Intramural and club sports are offered in a wide variety of activities such as jiu jitsu, water polo, and crew.
    The university’s alumni include more than two dozen Marshall Scholars and a dozen Rhodes Scholars. Given the university’s close links to National Aeronautics Space Agency, it has produced a significant number of astronauts and space scientists. In business, Rice graduates include CEOs and founders of Fortune 500 companies; in politics, alumni include congressmen, cabinet secretaries, judges, and mayors. Two alumni have won the Nobel Prize.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Late twentieth and early twenty-first century

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    Rice prides itself on the amount of green space available on campus; there are only about 50 buildings spread between the main entrance at its easternmost corner, and the parking lots and Rice Stadium at the West end. The Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum, consisting of more than 4000 trees and shrubs (giving birth to the legend that Rice has a tree for every student), is spread throughout the campus.
    The university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, intended for the campus to have a uniform architecture style to improve its aesthetic appeal. To that end, nearly every building on campus is noticeably Byzantine in style, with sand and pink-colored bricks, large archways and columns being a common theme among many campus buildings. Noteworthy exceptions include the glass-walled Brochstein Pavilion, Lovett College with its Brutalist-style concrete gratings, Moody Center for the Arts with its contemporary design, and the eclectic-Mediterranean Duncan Hall. In September 2011, Travel+Leisure listed Rice’s campus as one of the most beautiful in the United States.

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

    Innovation District

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

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


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

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

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

    Two schools have only graduate programs:

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

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

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

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

    Rice Management Company

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


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

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

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

    Student body

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

    Research centers and resources

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

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

    Residential colleges

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

    Student-run media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • richardmitnick 3:53 pm on May 26, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "At long last ocean drillers exhume a bounty of rocks from Earth’s mantle", , , , , Direct evidence for how ocean crust differs in composition from the upper mantle and better estimates of elemental abundances in the planet’s primary reservoir of rock, Drilling below the seabed in the mid–Atlantic Ocean scientists have collected a core of rock more than 1 kilometer long., , , , Geology, , Helping researchers understand how magma melts out of the mantle and rises through the crust to drive volcanism, IODP International Ocean Discovery Program, It appears the team is already sampling mantle rock that has never melted into magma., It has long been theorized that life could have originated in such settings which are rich in organic molecules., , , , Researchers should be able to learn how magma melts and flows and separates—clues to the workings of volcanoes worldwide., , , The abundance of radioactive elements could improve estimates of how much heat the mantle produces driving the deep convective motions that are the engine of plate tectonics., The cruise aimed to deepen a previously drilled 1.4-kilometer-deep hole pushing to a depth too hot for life where organic compounds that might have provided the raw material for the earliest life migh, The cylinders of gray-green rock present an unparalleled new record., The physical strength can inform studies of how earthquakes fracture and propagate in the upper mantle., This could be a whole step forward for understanding magmatism.,   

    From “Science Magazine” : “At long last ocean drillers exhume a bounty of rocks from Earth’s mantle” 

    From “Science Magazine”

    Paul Voosen

    Researchers have collected an unprecedented amount of mantle rocks from below the sea floor.Johan Lissenberg/Cardiff University & IODP.

    In 1961, geologists off the Pacific coast of Mexico embarked on a daring journey to a foreign land—the planet’s interior. From a ship, they aimed to drill through the thin veneer of Earth’s crust and grab a sample of the mantle, the 2900-kilometer-thick layer of dense rock that fuels volcanic eruptions and makes up most of the planet’s mass. The drill only got a couple hundred meters below the seabed before the project foundered under spiraling costs. But the quest—one of geology’s holy grails—remained.

    This month, researchers onboard the R/V JOIDES Resolution, the flagship of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), say they have finally succeeded.

    Drilling below the seabed in the mid–Atlantic Ocean, they have collected a core of rock more than 1 kilometer long, consisting largely of peridotite, a kind of upper mantle rock. Although it’s not clear how pristine and unaltered the samples are, it is certain the cylinders of gray-green rock present an unparalleled new record, says Susan Lang, a biogeochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a co-lead of the cruise. “These are the types of rock we’ve been hoping to recover for a long time.”

    Researchers on land are eagerly following the ship’s daily scientific logs as it continues to drill, says Jessica Warren, a mantle geochemist at the University of Delaware. “Getting down to this really fresh stuff has been a dream for decades and decades,” she says. “We’re finally going to see the Wizard of Oz.”

    The samples can help answer a host of questions, says Johan Lissenberg, an igneous petrologist from Cardiff University onboard the ship. They can provide direct evidence for how ocean crust differs in composition from the upper mantle and better estimates of elemental abundances in the planet’s primary reservoir of rock. The samples of mantle will also help researchers understand how magma melts out of the mantle and rises through the crust to drive volcanism, Lissenberg says. “This could be a whole step forward for understanding magmatism—and the global composition of the bulk Earth.”

    Recovering a long mantle core was not the primary goal of the cruise, which is probing the Atlantis Massif, an underwater mountain, for clues to the origin of life and which was to study the reactions between olivine and seawater that are believed to be actively occurring at depth in the massif today. The massif rocks contain lots of olivine, a mineral that reacts with water in a process called serpentinization. The reactions generate hydrogen, which serves as an energy source for microbial life at the “Lost City,” a nearby complex of ocean-bottom mineral chimneys deposited by gushers of superheated water.

    “Lost City” on Atlantic Massif. Deborah Kelley. https://www.smithsonianmag.com

    It has long been theorized that life could have originated in such settings which are rich in organic molecules. The cruise aimed to deepen a previously drilled 1.4-kilometer-deep hole, pushing to a depth too hot for life, where organic compounds that might have provided the raw material for the earliest life might lurk. But progress was slow.

    So the ship returned to another site near Lost City, where shallow cores drilled in 2015 had found what appeared to be mantle rocks highly altered by seawater. After punching through a horizontal fault near the seabed, “the drilling just went so magically well,” says Andrew McCaig, a geologist at the University of Leeds and the cruise’s other chief scientist. The only hiccup came when the recovered peridotite rocks contained veins of asbestos, prompting increased safety protocols.

    There’s still some room for debate about whether the rocks are a true sample of the mantle, says Donna Blackman, a geophysicist at the University of California-Santa Cruz. The seismic speedup at the Moho is thought to reflect the lack of water or calcium and aluminum minerals in mantle rocks. Because the samples still show some influence of seawater, Blackman says she might classify them as deep crust. “But the petrology is interesting and special regardless,” she says. And as the team continues drilling into deeper rocks, Lissenberg says, “They’re getting fresher.”

    Indeed, it appears the team is already sampling mantle rock that has never melted into magma, which then cools and crystallizes into different kinds of crustal rocks, says Vincent Salters, a geochemist at Florida State University. By capturing the rock at this point, he says, researchers should be able to learn how magma melts and flows and separates—clues to the workings of volcanoes worldwide.

    The rock cores contained veins of asbestos necessitating extra safety protocols. Lesley Anderson/U.S. Antarctic Program/IODP.

    The rocks could also answer other basic questions, such as how much the lavas collected at midocean ridges—which are often taken as a stand-in for the mantle—differ from the mantle itself, says James Day, a geochemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The abundance of radioactive elements in the rocks could improve estimates of how much heat the mantle produces as a whole, driving the deep convective motions that are the engine of plate tectonics.

    And their physical strength can inform studies of how earthquakes fracture and propagate in the upper mantle. The cores could also help clarify how well the mantle is mixed, reincorporating ingredients from the continental crust that is drawn back into Earth’s interior at deep ocean trenches. “There’s so much more to this than understanding a little piece of ocean floor,” Day says.

    Research on the rocks has already begun in labs onboard the JOIDES Resolution, and eventually the cores will be available at IODP repositories for all. But all the excitement over the rock samples also comes with some bittersweetness: The expedition may be one of the last for the ship. In March, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that, because of cost increases and a lack of a deal with its international collaborators, it will end its operating contract for the ship in September 2024.

    The ship is in great condition and could continue until 2028, says Anthony Koppers, an associate vice president at Oregon State University and a leader in the IODP community. There’s still a slim possibility that the U.S. Congress will fund an extension, he says. But NSF has no plan yet to develop a successor ship. And the other two big contributors to IODP, Europe and Japan, are moving on. This month, they announced the creation of IODP³, a new global drilling program that will make heavy use of Japan’s drill ship, the D/V Chikyū, which in the past has operated mostly in waters near Japan.

    D/V Chikyu

    This was Lang’s first cruise on the JOIDES Resolution, and she was astonished at how well outfitted its labs were and how knowledgeable its technical staff is. The success they’re having testifies to their decades of experience probing beneath the ocean floor, she says. “It’s so unfortunate that something like this is going to be lost.”

    See the full article here .

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 8:14 pm on May 25, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "This Is Epoch", , , As nature morphed before their very eyes the scientists set about documenting the onset of the “Anthropocene”- a new epoch proposed for the geological time scale., At 12 points around the globe—including one at Stanford—scientists are working to detect when the Anthropocene began., “Biostratigraphy”: the science of using fossils to tell time., “Global synchronicity” is the gold standard for marking time in the rock record—for marking time full stop., Decades later Hadly would realize she was witnessing the bookends to an entire geologic epoch—evidence of the start and signs of the finish of the Holocene and the beginning of the Anthropocene., , , Elizabeth Hadly became the first researcher to excavate the caves of Yellowstone National Park., , From steel to concrete to plastics the residues of our activities are found in the fossil record., Geologists mark exactly when a new time period in the geological record begins and ends with a "Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point"—a "Golden Spike" for short., Geology, Hadly documented disappearing ancient ponds and vanishing amphibians., In 1988 fires ravaged the park. It was a tipping point for fires in the West., In 2000 Nobel Prize–winning chemist Paul Crutzen proposed the term "Anthropocene” to emphasize the central role of mankind in geology and ecology., In 2009 Earth system scientist Will Steffen published a seminal paper in “Nature” warning that changes are destabilizing what to this point has been a “safe operating space” for humanity., In 2015 the working group recognized the Great Acceleration of the mid-20th century as marking the beginning of the "Anthropocene"., In 2016 Hadley took on the role of faculty director of Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve., Officially we’re in the "Holocene" epoch-a time span that began some 11700 years ago and is/was characterized by relatively predictable seasonality and a temperate climate., On the geological time scale the Holocene sits within the Quaternary the third period of the Cenozoic era ., Once the "Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point" is chosen a metal spike will be hammered into the site to serve as a reference point. Searsville Lake at Jasper Ridge is up for consideration., , , , Photosynthesizing organisms eventually developed into vegetation that helped create soil. Gradually the terrain became more complex and hosted more species., Reconstructing how surviving species adapted to the global warming that ended an ice age nearly 12000 years ago and with it the Pleistocene epoch., Retreating ice left behind rocks and water and not much else., Small mammal populations were abruptly shifting and fire frequency increased., Some reseachers argue that the "Industrial revolution" would seem to be an obvious beginning point but its impacts are unevenly distributed., Some researchers argue that the onset of agriculture marks the decisive turn in humanity’s power to shape-shift the Earth., , The Anthropocene departs from the relatively stable climate that has characterized the Earth system for approximately 12000 years. Its changes are moving targets and don’t resemble historical patter, The evolutionary destinies of millions of species are being decided by humans often without our knowing it., The Hadly Lab uses multiple data-based strategies to reveal the invisible past including interactions among species and ecosystems., , The working group identified radionuclides from atomic testing as key geological markers for the new epoch., Today Yellowstone is the iconic American landscape of willow and aspen and wolves and grizzly bears., We don’t know how many other species we need to support our “safe operating space.”, While contemplating the deep past Hadly also began to observe unprecedented changes in real time.   

    From The School of Earth & Energy & Environmental Sciences At Stanford University: “This Is Epoch” 


    From The School of Earth & Energy & Environmental Sciences


    Stanford University Name

    Stanford University

    Mary Ellen Hannibal

    At 12 points around the globe—including one at Stanford—scientists are working to detect when the “Anthropocene” began.

    All photos via Getty images, except Earth photo (NASA), from top, left to right: Bob Sacha; Anton Petrus (2); Avigator Photographer; Paul Souders; Banks Photos; Aerial Perspective Images; jacoblund; Felix Cesare; John Parrot/Stocktrek Images; thitivong; Nuture; pa_YOn; Anton Petrus; Suriyapong Thongsawang; Francesco Bergamaschi; Cristian Martin.

    In the late 1980s, Elizabeth Hadly became the first researcher to excavate the caves of Yellowstone National Park. By studying fossils and other markers of the past, the evolutionary biologist and ecologist helped reconstruct how surviving species adapted to the global warming that ended an ice age nearly 12,000 years ago, and with it, the Pleistocene epoch. Retreating ice left behind rocks and water and not much else. Photosynthesizing organisms eventually developed into vegetation that helped create soil. Gradually, the terrain became more complex and hosted more species. Today, it is the iconic American landscape of willow, aspen, wolves, and grizzly bears.

    While contemplating the deep past, Hadly also began to observe unprecedented changes in real time. Small mammal populations were abruptly shifting, and fire frequency increased. “Going out every day for years, I started to see changes in the landscape,” says the professor of biology and of Earth system science. Over the course of 17 years, Hadly documented disappearing ancient ponds and vanishing amphibians. In 1988, fires ravaged the park. “I was evacuated from the caves I was working in,” Hadly recalls. “This was a part of the park that didn’t normally burn. It was a tipping point for fires in the West.” Decades later, she would realize she was witnessing the bookends to an entire geologic epoch—evidence of the start, and signs of the finish, of the Holocene, a time period marked by the ever-increasing influence of modern Homo sapiens.

    Since 1998, when Hadly joined Stanford, she and her lab members have focused mostly on analyzing ancient DNA and other markers to assemble a picture of how mammal populations have evolved into today’s ecosystems. In 2016, she also took on the role of faculty director of Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, a 1,200-acre protected area in the Foothills where her husband, geologist and paleontologist Anthony Barnosky, served as executive director from 2016 to 2022, and where more than 70 scientists conduct fieldwork in any given year. Barnosky spent much of his career as an integrative biology professor at the University of California-Berkeley, researching past mass extinctions. The couple have collaborated on projects and traveled together for years. But at Jasper Ridge, their work would dovetail in a new way.

    Elizabeth Hadly. Credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service. © 2017 Stanford University

    As nature morphed before their very eyes, Hadly and Barnosky set about documenting the onset of the Anthropocene, a new epoch proposed for the geological time scale. A commission is expected to decide on it this year. “I’ve done work all around the world—witnessed ice caps melting on the Tibetan plateau, the impacts of poaching, and other increasing human footprints,” Hadly says. “How can we protect biodiversity now? What does it mean to support it under conditions we can’t predict?” The Anthropocene departs from the relatively stable climate that has characterized the Earth system for approximately 12,000 years. Its changes are moving targets and don’t resemble historical patterns. “The only way to understand nature now is in the context of the Anthropocene,” Hadly says. She hopes the new designation will help people better understand how fundamentally different Earth has become in recent decades. It will also give leaders and educators a common language for discussing what Hadly and Barnosky had been seeing on—and in—the ground. “We didn’t go looking for the Anthropocene,” Hadly says. “It found us.” Soon, they realized they could study it right in Stanford’s backyard.

    The Importance of Telling Time

    Officially we’re in the “Holocene” epoch-a time span that began some 11700 years ago and characterized by relatively predictable seasonality and a temperate climate. On the geological time scale the Holocene sits within the Quaternary the third period of the Cenozoic era (see graphic). If the 4.5-billion-year history of the Earth can be conceived of as a book, the time scale acts as an ordering system dividing the narrative into chapters and numbering the pages. Epochs, periods, and eras are subdivisions that help us understand how the present came to be. The transition from one major subdivision to another is frequently marked by profound ecological change, including mass extinctions.

    Infographic timeline: U.S.G.S. (source); all illustrations via Getty images: Tanarch (Earth); Alinabel (10); Alexey Makarov (human).

    In 2000, Earth system scientists began to question whether we have passed from the Holocene into a new epoch. The story goes that Nobel Prize–winning chemist Paul Crutzen lost his cool at a meeting of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. One after another, researchers presented evidence of recent, profound changes to planet Earth due to the impacts of just one among millions of species. “Stop saying Holocene,” Crutzen burst out. “We’re not in the Holocene anymore. We’re in the Anthropocene.” Crutzen subsequently joined with biologist Eugene Stoermer to argue that we have entered a new category of history in which the activities of Homo sapiens have accumulated irreversible changes to the way the Earth system functions. Crutzen proposed the term “Anthropocene’ to “emphasize the central role of mankind in geology and ecology.” In 2009, Earth system scientist Will Steffen published a seminal paper in Nature [below] warning that these changes are destabilizing what, to this point, has been a “safe operating space for humanity.”

    That safe operating space is maintained by interactions between the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the lithosphere, and the biosphere. (That is, between air, water, earth, and life.) This unified system interacts partly through geochemical cycles, including the well-known beast of climate change. Burning fossil fuels puts too much CO2 into the atmosphere, which changes patterns in the hydrosphere. In turn, those weather changes affect biological life, which we are changing in other ways. Humans and our domesticated animals now make up more than 90 percent of the mass of all vertebrates. We are losing not only microbes, plants, and animals but also the interactions they contribute to the Earth system. By 2008, the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London concluded that, yes, a new epoch had begun. But when?

    The next year, a subgroup of the International Commission on Stratigraphy—the Anthropocene Working Group—focused on what it would mean to establish the Anthropocene. In 2012, Barnosky became a member of the group based on his research in biostratigraphy, the science of using fossils to tell time. Earth’s strata—its layers of rock and soil—show evidence of human influence in many places and times. Some researchers argued that the onset of agriculture marks the decisive turn in humanity’s power to shape-shift the Earth, but that evidence is not uniform around the globe. Likewise, the “Industrial revolution” would seem to be an obvious beginning point, but its impacts are unevenly distributed. For formal designation, a geological epoch must be discernable like the title of the Oscar-winning film Everything Everywhere All at Once. “Global synchronicity” Barnosky explains, “is the gold standard for marking time in the rock record—for marking time, period.” He compares it to specifying time zones so that everyone knows when to log into Zoom.

    In 2015 the working group recognized the Great Acceleration of the mid-20th century as marking the beginning of the “Anthropocene”. “Humans have been gradually changing the planet since we first became a species,” Barnosky says, “but nothing approaches the changes we see mid-20th century.” Industrialization, population, pollution, nitrogen fertilizer use, and more ratcheted up significantly around 1950, and all these markers continue to rise. From steel to concrete to plastics, the residues of our activities are found in the fossil record. The accumulation of human detritus has grown so massive that it has its own name: the technosphere. The Earth system has a new driver, and it’s too late to revoke our license.

    The working group identified radionuclides from atomic testing as key geological markers for the new epoch. Above-ground atomic testing from the 1940s to the 1960s released distinctive isotopes into the atmosphere. The group decided that plutonium, which is not detectible in sediment that predates atomic testing, is the most useful synchronous marker of the Anthropocene. It is followed by “bomb carbon,” which introduced new levels of carbon 14 molecules into the atmosphere that have gradually accumulated at the bottom of freshwater lakes, sealed in layers by subsequent atmospheric depositions. They have also settled into polar ice, coral reefs, and stalactites. Extracting a cross-section of sediment—a core—from these repositories and identifying the plutonium and bomb carbon layers in them makes it possible to mark the Great Acceleration: a point in geological time where we can see a before-and-after in Earth history.

    Geologists mark exactly when a new time period in the geological record begins and ends with a “Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point”—a “Golden Spike” for short. Much as the railroad barons used the term to indicate the transition between railway lines, geologists use it to indicate where one period yields to another. In 2019, the working group initiated a competition among scientists around the world to establish a single site that exemplifies the transition from Holocene to Anthropocene. Once it is chosen, a metal spike will be hammered into the site to serve as a reference point. The area will then be made available for researchers studying global change. Hadly and Barnosky put Searsville Lake at Jasper Ridge up for consideration.

    Brave New Nature

    In her 25 years as a Stanford professor, Hadly has traveled all over the world, continuing to chronicle the changes she began to study in Yellowstone. In 2012, she and Barnosky co-authored a paper in Nature [below] that caught the attention of the then governor of California, Jerry Brown. “Why aren’t you guys shouting this from the rooftops?” he asked the couple. “Well, we are trying,” Hadly replied. Brown asked Hadly and Barnosky to summarize the paper in lay language. The result in Anthropocene Review [below] from Sage Journals describes the many pressures we are putting on nature and why we must curtail them to safeguard future survival. The paper carries the signatures of hundreds of scientists from around the world and has been distributed globally, often by Brown, who hauled boxfulls on his international travels.

    The Hadly Lab uses multiple data-based strategies to reveal the invisible past, including interactions among species and ecosystems. Her work shows that over many thousands of years, plants and animals have evolved in relationship with each other, and their interactions contribute to the functioning of the Earth system. She has also shown that as human impacts reduce other life forms, the evolutionary destinies of millions of species are being decided by humans, often without our knowing it. This can be viewed as a moral issue, but it is also a practical problem. We know humans need pollinators like bees and decomposers like beetles to carry out functions vital to our own well-being. We don’t know how many other species we need to support our “safe operating space.”

    Hadly continues to study the genetic capacity of mammals to adapt as their habitats are altered or destroyed. Her research has helped show that tigers may need genetic intervention for their species to survive. Tigers are top predators and have an outsize role in regulating the food web. Hadly found that some Asian pikas in Tibet are moving to higher ground as the climate warms but may not survive the lower level of oxygen at higher elevations. Asian pikas are ecosystem engineers. Their activity modifies soil and helps host myriad plant and animal species. Life begets life, and we are unwittingly extinguishing parts of the process. “I couldn’t continue to simply publish findings about what is happening,” Hadly says. “Scientific papers can only take us so far. I wanted to tackle the challenge of managing a place with high biodiversity potential into the future.”

    Just a short drive from campus, the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve sits in what is sometimes called the urban-wildland interface, where city meets suburb meets relative wilderness. Seismic activity from the San Andreas Fault has mashed together a high diversity of geology, soils, and landscape features. Searsville Dam, erected across San Francisquito Creek in 1892 to create a drinking water supply, transformed a riparian valley into a lake and has been steadily filling up with sediment for more than 125 years. To quantify change at Jasper Ridge, Hadly hired paleoecologist Allison Stegner, ’10, as a postdoc to pull long cylinders of mud from Searsville Lake. “I had worked with cores for years,” Hadly says. Like tree rings, lake sediment cores retain evidence of temperature and precipitation patterns. They contain pollen, which can be analyzed to identify biological responses, such as changes in tree and wildflower communities. “I have cored many lakes,” Hadly says, “but I’ve never seen any [cores] so long as the ones from Searsville Lake, and so discrete”—so clearly marked by historical events.

    SEARSVILLE SEDIMENT: A CT scan of the Hadly team’s core shows plutonium, as well as increased human influence around the time of the proposed Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP), aka the Golden Spike. (Chart: Modified from Stegner et al. 2023 [below])

    Hadly and Barnosky began to see Jasper Ridge as an exemplary illustration of the Anthropocene. “Tony and the [Anthropocene Working Group] were talking about using cores to identify historic markers like plutonium,” Hadly says. “I realized we had that information in our Searsville sediment.” She and Barnosky nominated the site for Golden Spike consideration. Eleven other sites are vying for the label, including lakes in Canada and China, a peat bog in Poland, layers buried under Vienna, ice in Antarctica, a cave in Italy, coral reefs off the coasts of Australia and Texas, bays in Japan and California, and the Baltic Sea. As of this writing, voting on the Golden Spike is underway. “It’s a tricky decision,” says Jan Zalasiewicz, chair of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy, “because there are too many excellent choices.” There will be one winner but no losers in this competition. All the sites will become reference points for researchers working to elucidate the new epoch.

    The View from Jasper Ridge

    In winter 2019, migrating cormorants and mallards touched down on Searsville Lake, taking no notice of a Rube Goldberg–like contraption floating alongside them. Buoyed by pontoons and sporting a motorized coring drill, the Vibracore was operated by researchers from Stanford and the United States Geological Survey. Stegner, now a research scientist in the Hadly Lab, guided a tall metal cylinder as it plunged into the sediment at the bottom of the lake. She leaned her tall frame against the coring mechanism and, pushing with all her weight, levitated briefly as the coring device went down.

    Searsville Lake.

    DELVING DEEP: At Searsville Lake [just above] in Jasper Ridge, researchers extract sediment cores to show more than 125 years of Earth history. (Photos from top: Nona Chiariello; Anthony Barnosky)

    Nearby, Hadly and others watched from a rowboat. Winching the Vibracore back up out of the depths, Stegner gingerly extracted the muddy bounty, capped the aluminum tubes, and passed them to Hadly. In all, her team extracted 14 cores from Searsville and nearby Upper Lakes. Back at the lab, Stegner and colleagues analyzed the plutonium and bomb carbon in the cores, as well as mercury and other heavy metals, and correlated them with specific time intervals captured in the sediment. Evidence of the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes—marked by disturbances in otherwise continuous sediment—helped them establish dates for each layer. The team also compared their findings with archival material, such as newspaper accounts, oral histories, and old photographs. Species disappeared when the area was logged and plowed for agriculture; once Jasper Ridge was protected, oak populations increased. The presence—and disappearance—of microfossils correlated with the recorded dates of herbicide and pesticide applications at Searsville Lake. “This is a different kind of science,” Hadly says. “The history and its geographical markers are intertwined. Teasing them out creates a picture in which the past becomes the present and the Holocene becomes the Anthropocene.”

    Rob Dunbar, a professor of Earth system science and of oceans, says Hadly is helping pioneer a necessary intellectual approach to our changing world. “There is a strong case to be made for defining reference sections for the Anthropocene wherein interdisciplinary, precise, and well-dated scientific knowledge tells us what happened and why, the extent to which humans contributed to change, and the outcome on biodiversity, hydrology, climate, and community resilience.”

    What’s in a Name?

    Not everyone is keen on the term “Anthropocene”. Some argue it redoubles our human-centric bias with respect to the rest of the living world, although some of the suggested alternatives, including Capitalocene, Plantationocene, and Homogocene, are not much better. Tadashi Fukami, a professor of Earth system science and of biology, counts himself among those resisting the word’s reference to humanity and “the very arrogance that has got ourselves into this environmental crisis in the first place.” Regardless of the terminology, Fukami says, Hadly’s research helps demonstrate “how intricately humans are embedded in complex interactions with other species.”

    “Anthropocene” itself has become a cultural meme. Zalasiewicz calls it “a new way of understanding the human role in environmental transformation.” In a 2019 textbook, he and his co-authors, including Barnosky, reference international law and medicine as arenas in which an official designation will be useful. International treaties assume planetary stability, based on “current conditions for an objective and unchanging reality that has surrounded us since time immemorial.” But the very geological boundaries of sovereign nations are changing as sea levels rise, ice melts, and coastlines move, raising issues about the extent of treaties and, for example, fishing rights. A formal designation is not going to change the “underlying geological realities” of our new epoch, they wrote, but may help us anticipate international aggravations arising from it. In 2015, a Commission on Planetary Health reported that the current systems supporting human well-being are inadequate to address Anthropocene issues, including pollution-related mortality. Establishing the epoch will provide a common reference point to help redefine some of humanity’s most basic guidelines around how we live.

    Last May, at the House of the World’s Cultures in Berlin, the 12 teams vying for the “Golden Spike” presented their evidence. Stegner spoke for Searsville Lake, explaining how the long tubes of mud bear witness to history. She explained the land’s original occupation by Muwekma Ohlone people and its subsequent colonization. She elucidated places in the core that reflect Mexican and American “chopping up” of the landscape for ranching. “These are global signals of the “Anthropocene”,” she said. The news wasn’t all bad. She showed where tree communities had recovered when cattle grazing was discontinued. “When you limit impacts,” she said, “things tend to recover.”

    In the end, 11 of the sites had the same punch line: plutonium. That evidence of human activity was so clearly discernible in every core presented that even the staid members of the Anthropocene Working Group were taken aback. “The major moment coming out of the last few days is progressively clear,” Zalasiewicz commented. To find another such pattern in the Earth, discernible everywhere on the globe, would require reaching back more than 11,700 years to the Pleistocene.

    The five-day meeting included workshops and discussions among the scientists and the general public. An exhibition called “Earth Indices” by European artists Giulia Bruno and Armin Linke took place in the main exhibit area, with enlarged images of the scientists at work around the globe: underwater among coral reefs, encased in snow and ice, spelunking into the recesses of the Earth, and coring Searsville Lake. Hadly, Barnosky, and Stegner contributed a 39.4-foot-long photographic banner of Core JRBP2018-VC01B [above]. The CT scan was laid out across the exhibit space dated at intervals. A colorized X-ray illustrated the differences in sediment density. But how could individual museum visitors interact with such a document? “All of us contribute in some way to the processes defining the “Anthropocene”,” says Zalasiewicz, “but we struggle to grasp the totality of the complex planetary changes now underway, and quite how we relate to them.” At Hadly’s suggestion, museum visitors marked important years in their own lives on the banner’s time line. People eagerly scratched in births, deaths, immigrations. The monumental moments in people’s lives appeared as minuscule slivers against the core. Yet its time line points to a destiny we share with the Earth.

    Nature 2009
    Figure 1: Beyond the boundary. The inner green shading represents the proposed safe operating space for nine planetary systems. The red wedges represent an estimate of the current position for each variable. The boundaries in three systems (rate of biodiversity loss, climate change and human interference with the nitrogen cycle), have already been exceeded.
    Nature 2012
    Anthropocene Review 2014
    The Anthropocene Review 2023
    Figure 1. Map of Searsville Lake and the San Francisquito Creek Watershed. Green outline (a) = extent of Searsville in 1892 CE; A = coring location for JRBP2018-VC01A; B = coring location for JRBP2018-VC01B. Blue shaded polygon (b) = San Francisquito watershed; green shaded polygon = Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve; blue lines = creeks. (Map prepared by Trevor Hébert, JRBP). Reproduced in color in online version.

    See the full article here.

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford University

    The Stanford University School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences

    The School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences

    The School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences (formerly the School of Earth Sciences) lists courses under the subject code EARTH on the Stanford Bulletin’s ExploreCourses web site. Courses offered by the School’s departments and inter-departmental programs are linked on their separate sections, and are available at the ExploreCourses web site.

    The School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences includes the departments of Geological Sciences, Geophysics, Energy Resources Engineering, and Earth System Science; and three interdisciplinary programs: the Earth Systems undergraduate B.S. and coterminal M.A. and M.S. programs, the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER) with Ph.D. and joint M.S, and the Sustainability and Science Practice Program with coterminal M.A. and M.S. programs.

    The aims of the school and its programs are:

    to prepare students for careers in the fields of agricultural science and policy, biogeochemistry, climate science, energy resource engineering, environmental science and policy, environmental communications, geology, geobiology, geochemistry, geomechanics, geophysics, geostatistics, sustainability science, hydrogeology, land science, oceanography, paleontology, petroleum engineering, and petroleum geology;

    to conduct disciplinary and interdisciplinary research on a range of questions related to Earth, its resources and its environment;

    to provide opportunities for Stanford undergraduate and graduate students to learn about the planet’s history, to understand the energy and resource bases that support humanity, to address the geological and geophysical, and human-caused hazards that affect human societies, and to understand the challenges and develop solutions related to environment and sustainability.

    To accomplish these objectives, the school offers a variety of programs adaptable to the needs of the individual student:

    four-year undergraduate programs leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

    five-year programs leading to the coterminal Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (M.S.)

    five-year programs leading to the coterminal Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts (M.A.)

    graduate programs offering the degrees of Master of Science, Engineer, and Doctor of Philosophy.

    Details of individual degree programs are found in the section for each department or program.
    Undergraduate Programs in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences

    Any undergraduate admitted to the University may declare a major in one of the school’s departments or the Earth Systems Program by contacting the appropriate department or program office.

    Requirements for the B.S. degree are listed in each department or program section. Departmental academic advisers work with students to define a career or academic goal and assure that the student’s curricular choices are appropriate to the pursuit of that goal. Advisers can help devise a sensible and enjoyable course of study that meets degree requirements and provides the student with opportunities to experience advanced courses, seminars, and research projects. To maximize such opportunities, students are encouraged to complete basic science and mathematics courses in high school or during their freshman year.
    Coterminal Master’s Degrees in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences

    The Stanford coterminal degree program enables an undergraduate to embark on an integrated program of study leading to the master’s degree before requirements for the bachelor’s degree have been completed. This may result in more expeditious progress towards the advanced degree than would otherwise be possible, making the program especially important to Earth scientists because the master’s degree provides an excellent basis for entry into the profession. The coterminal plan permits students to apply for admission to a master’s program after earning 120 units, completion of six non-summer quarters, and declaration of an undergraduate major, but no later than the quarter prior to the expected completion of the undergraduate degree.

    The student may meet the degree requirements in the more advantageous of the following two ways: by first completing the 180 units required for the B.S. degree and then completing the three quarters required for the M.S. or the M.A. degree; or by completing a total of 15 quarters during which the requirements for the two degrees are completed concurrently. In either case, the student has the option of receiving the B.S. degree upon meeting all the B.S. requirements or of receiving both degrees at the end of the coterminal program.

    Students earn degrees in the same department or program, in two different departments, or even in different schools; for example, a B.S. in Physics and an M.S. in Geological Sciences. Students are encouraged to discuss the coterminal program with their advisers during their junior year. Additional information is available in the individual department offices.

    University requirements for the coterminal master’s degree are described in the “Coterminal Master’s Program” section. University requirements for the master’s degree are described in the “Graduate Degrees” section of this bulletin.
    Graduate Programs in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences

    Admission to the Graduate Program

    A student who wishes to enroll for graduate work in the school must be qualified for graduate standing in the University and also must be accepted by one of the school’s four departments or the E-IPER Ph.D. program. One requirement for admission is submission of scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Exam. Admission to one department of the school does not guarantee admission to other departments.

    Faculty Adviser

    Upon entering a graduate program, the student should report to the head of the department or program who arranges with a member of the faculty to act as the student’s adviser. Alternatively, in several of the departments, advisers are established through student-faculty discussions prior to admission. The student, in consultation with the adviser(s), then arranges a course of study for the first quarter and ultimately develops a complete plan of study for the degree sought.

    Financial Aid
    Detailed information on scholarships, fellowships, and research grants is available from the school’s individual departments and programs.

    Stanford University campus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    Non-central campus

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

    On the founding grant:

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

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

    Off the founding grant:

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

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

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

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

    Administration and organization

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

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

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

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

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

    Endowment and donations

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

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

    Research centers and institutes

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

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

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

    Computer and applied sciences

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

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

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

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

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

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

    Student body

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

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

    Stanford University Seal

  • richardmitnick 8:45 pm on May 24, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , During the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes in the Eastern California Shear Zone along a strike-slip fault system the two sides of each fault moved in a horizontal direction with no vertical motion., , , Geology, High-performance computing has allowed us to understand the driving factors of these large events which can help inform seismic hazard assessment and preparedness., Known as the “Ridgecrest earthquakes”-the biggest earthquakes to hit California in more than 20 years these seismic events resulted in structural damage and power outages and injuries., On July 5 2019 the nearby city of Ridgecrest was struck by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake-a jolt felt by millions across the state of California and throughout neighboring states and even Baja California., On the morning of July 4 2019 a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the Searles Valley in California’s Mojave Desert with impacts felt across Southern California., Seismologists use supercomputer to reveal complex dynamics of multi-fault earthquake systems., ShakeAlert System; Earthquake Alert System; Early Warning Labs Mobile app, , The M6.4 event in Searles Valley was deemed to be the foreshock to the M7.1 event in Ridgecrest now considered to be the mainshock. Both earthquakes were followed by a multitude of aftershocks., ,   

    From The Scripps Institution of Oceanography At The University of California-San Diego : “‘Segment-Jumping’ Ridgecrest Earthquakes Explored in New Study” 

    From The Scripps Institution of Oceanography


    The University of California-San Diego

    Brittany Hook

    Seismologists use supercomputer to reveal complex dynamics of multi-fault earthquake systems.

    Surface rupture from the M7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake in 2019. Photo: Ben Brooks/USGS

    On the morning of July 4, 2019, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the Searles Valley in California’s Mojave Desert, with impacts felt across Southern California. About 34 hours later on July 5, the nearby city of Ridgecrest was struck by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake, a jolt felt by millions across the state of California and throughout neighboring communities in Arizona, Nevada, and even Baja California, Mexico.

    Known as the “Ridgecrest earthquakes” — the biggest earthquakes to hit California in more than 20 years — these seismic events resulted in extensive structural damage, power outages, and injuries. The M6.4 event in Searles Valley was later deemed to be the foreshock to the M7.1 event in Ridgecrest, which is now considered to be the mainshock. Both earthquakes were followed by a multitude of aftershocks.

    Researchers were baffled by the sequence of seismic activity. Why did it take 34 hours for the foreshock to trigger the mainshock? How did these earthquakes “jump” from one segment of a geologic fault system to another? Can earthquakes “talk” to one another in a dynamic sense?

    To address these questions, a team of seismologists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) led a new study focused on the relationship between the two big earthquakes, which occurred along a multi-fault system. The team used a powerful supercomputer that incorporated data-infused and physics-based models to identify the link between the earthquakes.

    Scripps Oceanography seismologist Alice Gabriel, who previously worked at LMU, led the study along with her former PhD student at LMU, Taufiq Taufiqurrahman, and several co-authors. Their findings were published online May 24 in the journal Nature [below], and will appear in the print edition June 8.

    “We used the largest computers that are available and perhaps the most advanced algorithms to try and understand this really puzzling sequence of earthquakes that happened in California in 2019,” said Gabriel, currently an associate professor at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Scripps Oceanography. “High-performance computing has allowed us to understand the driving factors of these large events, which can help inform seismic hazard assessment and preparedness.”

    Animation of magnitude 7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake, July 5, 2019.

    Understanding the dynamics of multi-fault ruptures is important, said Gabriel, because these types of earthquakes are typically more powerful than those that occur on a single fault. For example, the Turkey–Syria earthquake doublet that occurred on Feb. 6, 2023, resulted in significant loss of life and widespread damage. This event was characterized by two separate earthquakes that occurred only nine hours apart, with both breaking across multiple faults.

    During the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes, which originated in the Eastern California Shear Zone along a strike-slip fault system, the two sides of each fault moved mainly in a horizontal direction, with no vertical motion. The earthquake sequence cascaded across interlaced and previously unknown “antithetic” faults, minor or secondary faults that move at high (close to 90 degrees) angles to the major fault. Within the seismological community, there remains an ongoing debate on which fault segments actively slipped, and what conditions promote the occurrence of cascading earthquakes.

    Propagation of seismic waves and “unzipping” of faults during the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes. Visualization of 15 TB of simulation data on a supercomputer by Greg Abram and Francesca Samsel (Texas Advanced Computing Center) and Alice Gabriel (UC San Diego/LMU).

    The new study presents the first multi-fault model that unifies seismograms, tectonic data, field mapping, satellite data, and other space-based geodetic datasets with earthquake physics, whereas previous models on this type of earthquake have been purely data-driven.

    “Through the lens of data-infused modeling, enhanced by the capabilities of supercomputing, we unravel the intricacies of multi-fault conjugate earthquakes, shedding light on the physics governing cascading rupture dynamics,” said Taufiqurrahman.

    Using the supercomputer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Germany, the researchers revealed that the Searles Valley and Ridgecrest events were indeed connected.

    The earthquakes interacted across a statically strong yet dynamically weak fault system driven by complex fault geometries and low dynamic friction.

    The team’s 3-D rupture simulation illustrates how the faults considered strong prior to an earthquake can become very weak as soon as there is fast earthquake movement and explain the dynamics of how multiple faults can rupture together.

    “When fault systems are rupturing, we see unexpected interactions. For example, earthquake cascades, which can jump from segment to segment, or one earthquake causing the next one to take an unusual path. The earthquake may become much larger than what we would’ve expected,” said Gabriel. “This is something that is challenging to build into seismic hazard assessments.”

    Based on their simulations, the authors found that the foreshock could not immediately trigger the mainshock. Their additional calculations showed that slow, silent fault movements potentially add significant stress — enough to explain the delayed mainshock.

    According to the authors, their models have the potential to have a “transformative impact” on the field of seismology by improving the assessment of seismic hazards in active multi-fault systems that are often underestimated.

    “Our findings suggest that similar kinds of models could incorporate more physics into seismic hazard assessment and preparedness,” said Gabriel. “With the help of supercomputers and physics, we have unraveled arguably the most detailed data set of a complex earthquake rupture pattern.”

    The study was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, Horizon Europe, the National Science Foundation, the German Research Foundation, and the Southern California Earthquake Center.

    In addition to Gabriel and Taufiqurrahman, the study was co-authored by Duo Li, Thomas Ulrich, Bo Li, and Sara Carena of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany; Alessandro Verdecchia with McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany; and Frantisek Gallovic of Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.


    See the full article here .

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    A department of The University of California-San Diego, The Scripps Institution of Oceanography is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for ocean, earth and atmospheric science research, education, and public service in the world.

    Research at Scripps encompasses physical, chemical, biological, geological, and geophysical studies of the oceans, Earth, and planets. Scripps undergraduate and graduate programs provide transformative educational and research opportunities in ocean, earth, and atmospheric sciences, as well as degrees in climate science and policy and marine biodiversity and conservation.

    Scripps Institution of Oceanography was founded in 1903 as the Marine Biological Association of San Diego, an independent biological research laboratory. It was proposed and incorporated by a committee of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, led by local activist and amateur malacologist Fred Baker, together with two colleagues. He recruited University of California Zoology professor William Emerson Ritter to head up the proposed marine biology institution, and obtained financial support from local philanthropists E. W. Scripps and his sister Ellen Browning Scripps. They fully funded the institution for its first decade. It began institutional life in the boathouse of the Hotel del Coronado located on San Diego Bay. It re-located in 1905 to the La Jolla area on the head above La Jolla Cove, and finally in 1907 to its present location.

    In 1912 Scripps became incorporated into The University of California and was renamed the “Scripps Institution for Biological Research.” Since 1916, measurements have been taken daily at its pier. The name was changed to Scripps Institution of Oceanography in October 1925. During the 1960s, led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography director Roger Revelle, it formed the nucleus for the creation of The University of California-San Diego on a bluff overlooking Scripps Institution.

    The Old Scripps Building, designed by Irving Gill, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1982. Architect Barton Myers designed the current Scripps Building for the Institution of Oceanography in 1998.
    Research programs
    The institution’s research programs encompass biological, physical, chemical, geological, and geophysical studies of the oceans and land. Scripps also studies the interaction of the oceans with both the atmospheric climate and environmental concerns on terra firma. Related to this research, Scripps offers undergraduate and graduate degrees.

    Today, the Scripps staff of 1,300 includes approximately 235 faculty, 180 other scientists and some 350 graduate students, with an annual budget of more than $281 million. The institution operates a fleet of four oceanographic research vessels.

    R/V Robert Gordon Sproul

    R/V Roger Revelle

    R/V Sally Ride

    C/R/V Bob and Betty Beyster

    The Integrated Research Themes encompassing the work done by Scripps researchers are Biodiversity and Conservation, California Environment, Earth and Planetary Chemistry, Earth Through Space and Time, Energy and the Environment, Environment and Human Health, Global Change, Global Environmental Monitoring, Hazards, Ice and Climate, Instruments and Innovation, Interfaces, Marine Life, Modeling Theory and Computing, Sound and Light and the Sea, and Waves and Circulation.

    Organizational structure
    Scripps Oceanography is divided into three research sections, each with its own subdivisions:
    • Biology

    • Earth

    • Oceans & Atmosphere

    The University of California-San Diego is a public land-grant research university in San Diego, California. Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, The University of California-San Diego is the southernmost of the ten campuses of the University of California, and offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, enrolling 33,343 undergraduate and 9,533 graduate students. The University of California-San Diego occupies 2,178 acres (881 ha) near the coast of the Pacific Ocean, with the main campus resting on approximately 1,152 acres (466 ha). The University of California-San Diego is ranked among the best universities in the world by major college and university rankings.

    The University of California-San Diego consists of twelve undergraduate, graduate and professional schools as well as seven undergraduate residential colleges. It received over 140,000 applications for undergraduate admissions in Fall 2021, making it the second most applied-to university in the United States. The University of California-San Diego San Diego Health, the region’s only academic health system, provides patient care, conducts medical research and educates future health care professionals at The University of California-San Diego Medical Center, Hillcrest, Jacobs Medical Center, Moores Cancer Center, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, Shiley Eye Institute, Institute for Genomic Medicine, Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion and various express care and urgent care clinics throughout San Diego.

    The University of California-San Diego operates 19 organized research units as well as eight School of Medicine research units, six research centers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and two multi-campus initiatives. The University of California-San Diego is also closely affiliated with several regional research centers, such as The Salk Institute, the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, and The Scripps Research Institute. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to The National Science Foundation, The University of California-San Diego spent $1.354 billion on research and development in fiscal year 2019, ranking it 6th in the nation.

    The University of California-San Diego is considered one of the country’s “Public Ivies”. The University of California-San Diego faculty, researchers, and alumni have won 27 Nobel Prizes as well as three Fields Medals, eight National Medals of Science, eight MacArthur Fellowships, and three Pulitzer Prizes. Additionally, of the current faculty, 29 have been elected to The National Academy of Engineering, 70 to The National Academy of Sciences, 45 to the Institute of Medicine and 110 to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


    When the Regents of the University of California originally authorized The University of California-San Diego campus in 1956, it was planned to be a graduate and research institution, providing instruction in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Local citizens supported the idea, voting the same year to transfer to the university 59 acres (24 ha) of mesa land on the coast near the preexisting Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The Regents requested an additional gift of 550 acres (220 ha) of undeveloped mesa land northeast of Scripps, as well as 500 acres (200 ha) on the former site of Camp Matthews from the federal government, but Roger Revelle, then director of Scripps Institution and main advocate for establishing the new campus, jeopardized the site selection by exposing the La Jolla community’s exclusive real estate business practices, which were antagonistic to minority racial and religious groups. This outraged local conservatives, as well as Regent Edwin W. Pauley.

    University of California President Clark Kerr satisfied San Diego city donors by changing the proposed name from University of California, La Jolla, to University of California-San Diego. The city voted in agreement to its part in 1958, and the University of California approved construction of the new campus in 1960. Because of the clash with Pauley, Revelle was not made chancellor. Herbert York, first director of The DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was designated instead. York planned the main campus according to the “Oxbridge” model, relying on many of Revelle’s ideas.

    According to Kerr, “San Diego always asked for the best,” though this created much friction throughout the University of California system, including with Kerr himself, because The University of California-San Diego often seemed to be “asking for too much and too fast.” Kerr attributed The University of California-San Diego’s “special personality” to Scripps, which for over five decades had been the most isolated University of California unit in every sense: geographically, financially, and institutionally. It was a great shock to the Scripps community to learn that Scripps was now expected to become the nucleus of a new University of California campus and would now be the object of far more attention from both the university administration in Berkeley and the state government in Sacramento.

    The University of California-San Diego was the first general campus of the University of California to be designed “from the top down” in terms of research emphasis. Local leaders disagreed on whether the new school should be a technical research institute or a more broadly based school that included undergraduates as well. John Jay Hopkins of General Dynamics Corporation pledged one million dollars for the former while the City Council offered free land for the latter. The original authorization for The University of California-San Diego campus given by the University of California Regents in 1956 approved a “graduate program in science and technology” that included undergraduate programs, a compromise that won both the support of General Dynamics and the city voters’ approval.

    Nobel laureate Harold Urey, a physicist from the University of Chicago, and Hans Suess, who had published the first paper on the greenhouse effect with Revelle in the previous year, were early recruits to the faculty in 1958. Maria Goeppert-Mayer, later the second female Nobel laureate in physics, was appointed professor of physics in 1960. The graduate division of the school opened in 1960 with 20 faculty in residence, with instruction offered in the fields of physics, biology, chemistry, and earth science. Before the main campus completed construction, classes were held in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

    By 1963, new facilities on the mesa had been finished for the School of Science and Engineering, and new buildings were under construction for Social Sciences and Humanities. Ten additional faculty in those disciplines were hired, and the whole site was designated the First College, later renamed after Roger Revelle, of the new campus. York resigned as chancellor that year and was replaced by John Semple Galbraith. The undergraduate program accepted its first class of 181 freshman at Revelle College in 1964. Second College was founded in 1964, on the land deeded by the federal government, and named after environmentalist John Muir two years later. The University of California-San Diego School of Medicine also accepted its first students in 1966.

    Political theorist Herbert Marcuse joined the faculty in 1965. A champion of the New Left, he reportedly was the first protester to occupy the administration building in a demonstration organized by his student, political activist Angela Davis. The American Legion offered to buy out the remainder of Marcuse’s contract for $20,000; the Regents censured Chancellor William J. McGill for defending Marcuse on the basis of academic freedom, but further action was averted after local leaders expressed support for Marcuse. Further student unrest was felt at the university, as the United States increased its involvement in the Vietnam War during the mid-1960s, when a student raised a Viet Minh flag over the campus. Protests escalated as the war continued and were only exacerbated after the National Guard fired on student protesters at Kent State University in 1970. Over 200 students occupied Urey Hall, with one student setting himself on fire in protest of the war.

    Early research activity and faculty quality, notably in the sciences, was integral to shaping the focus and culture of the university. Even before The University of California-San Diego had its own campus, faculty recruits had already made significant research breakthroughs, such as the Keeling Curve, a graph that plots rapidly increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and was the first significant evidence for global climate change; the Kohn–Sham equations, used to investigate particular atoms and molecules in quantum chemistry; and the Miller–Urey experiment, which gave birth to the field of prebiotic chemistry.

    Engineering, particularly computer science, became an important part of the university’s academics as it matured. University researchers helped develop The University of California-San Diego Pascal, an early machine-independent programming language that later heavily influenced Java; the National Science Foundation Network, a precursor to the Internet; and the Network News Transfer Protocol during the late 1970s to 1980s. In economics, the methods for analyzing economic time series with time-varying volatility (ARCH), and with common trends (co-integration) were developed. The University of California-San Diego maintained its research intense character after its founding, racking up 25 Nobel Laureates affiliated within 50 years of history; a rate of five per decade.

    Under Richard C. Atkinson’s leadership as chancellor from 1980 to 1995, The University of California-San Diego strengthened its ties with the city of San Diego by encouraging technology transfer with developing companies, transforming San Diego into a world leader in technology-based industries. He oversaw a rapid expansion of the School of Engineering, later renamed after Qualcomm founder Irwin M. Jacobs, with the construction of the San Diego Supercomputer Center and establishment of the computer science, electrical engineering, and bioengineering departments. Private donations increased from $15 million to nearly $50 million annually, faculty expanded by nearly 50%, and enrollment doubled to about 18,000 students during his administration. By the end of his chancellorship, the quality of The University of California-San Diego graduate programs was ranked 10th in the nation by The National Research Council.

    The University of California-San Diego continued to undergo further expansion during the first decade of the new millennium with the establishment and construction of two new professional schools — the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Rady School of Management—and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, a research institute run jointly with University of California-Irvine. The University of California-San Diego also reached two financial milestones during this time, becoming the first university in the western region to raise over $1 billion in its eight-year fundraising campaign in 2007 and also obtaining an additional $1 billion through research contracts and grants in a single fiscal year for the first time in 2010. Despite this, due to the California budget crisis, the university loaned $40 million against its own assets in 2009 to offset a significant reduction in state educational appropriations. The salary of Pradeep Khosla, who became chancellor in 2012, has been the subject of controversy amidst continued budget cuts and tuition increases.

    On November 27, 2017, The University of California-San Diego announced it would leave its longtime athletic home of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, an NCAA Division II league, to begin a transition to Division I in 2020. At that time, it would join the Big West Conference, already home to four other UC campuses (Davis, Irvine, Riverside, Santa Barbara). The transition period would run through the 2023–24 school year. The university prepared to transition to NCAA Division I competition on July 1, 2020.


    Applied Physics and Mathematics

    The Nature Index lists The University of California-San Diego as 6th in the United States for research output by article count in 2019. In 2017, The University of California-San Diego spent $1.13 billion on research, the 7th highest expenditure among academic institutions in the U.S. The university operates several organized research units, including the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS), the Center for Drug Discovery Innovation, and the Institute for Neural Computation. The University of California-San Diego also maintains close ties to the nearby Scripps Research Institute and Salk Institute for Biological Studies. In 1977, The University of California-San Diego developed and released the University of California-San Diego Pascal programming language. The university was designated as one of the original national Alzheimer’s disease research centers in 1984 by the National Institute on Aging. In 2018, The University of California-San Diego received $10.5 million from The DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration to establish the Center for Matters under Extreme Pressure (CMEC).

    The University of California-San Diego founded The San Diego Supercomputer Center in 1985, which provides high performance computing for research in various scientific disciplines. In 2000, The University of California-San Diego partnered with The University of California-Irvine to create the Qualcomm Institute, which integrates research in photonics, nanotechnology, and wireless telecommunication to develop solutions to problems in energy, health, and the environment.

    The University of California-San Diego also operates the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, one of the largest centers of research in earth science in the world, which predates the university itself. Together, SDSC and SIO, along with funding partner universities California Institute of Technology, San Diego State University, and The University of California-Santa Barbara, manage the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network.

  • richardmitnick 1:05 pm on May 22, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Eliminating one popular hypothesis about why continental crust is lower in iron and more oxidized compared to oceanic crust., Geology, New clues about the rise of Earths continents, One Popular Explanation for Properties That Result in Dry Land Is Unlikely According to New Experiments., , The iron-poor composition of continental crust is a major reason why vast portions of the Earth’s surface stand above sea level as dry land making terrestrial life possible today.   

    From smithsonian.com : “Study Presents New Clues About the Rise of Earth’s Continents” 


    From smithsonian.com

    5.4.23 [Just today in social media.]

    Media Only
    Ryan Lavery
    (202) 633-0826

    Randall Kremer

    One Popular Explanation for Properties That Result in Dry Land Is Unlikely According to New Experiments.

    New clues about the rise of Earths continents

    Continents are part of what makes Earth uniquely habitable for life among the planets of the solar system, yet surprisingly little is understood about what gave rise to these huge pieces of the planet’s crust and their special properties. New research from Elizabeth Cottrell, research geologist and curator of rocks at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and lead study author Megan Holycross, formerly a Peter Buck Fellow and National Science Foundation Fellow at the museum and now an assistant professor at Cornell University, deepens the understanding of Earth’s crust by testing and ultimately eliminating one popular hypothesis about why continental crust is lower in iron and more oxidized compared to oceanic crust. The iron-poor composition of continental crust is a major reason why vast portions of the Earth’s surface stand above sea level as dry land, making terrestrial life possible today.

    The study, published today in Science [below], uses laboratory experiments to show that the iron-depleted, oxidized chemistry typical of Earth’s continental crust likely did not come from crystallization of the mineral garnet, as a popular explanation proposed in 2018 [Science Advances (below)].

    The building blocks of new continental crust issue forth from the depths of the Earth at what are known as continental arc volcanoes, which are found at subduction zones where an oceanic plate dives beneath a continental plate. In the garnet explanation for continental crust’s iron-depleted and oxidized state, the crystallization of garnet in the magmas beneath these continental arc volcanoes removes non-oxidized (reduced or ferrous, as it is known among scientists) iron from the terrestrial plates, simultaneously depleting the molten magma of iron and leaving it more oxidized.

    One of the key consequences of Earth’s continental crust’s low iron content relative to oceanic crust is that it makes the continents less dense and more buoyant, causing the continental plates to sit higher atop the planet’s mantle than oceanic plates. This discrepancy in density and buoyancy is a major reason that the continents feature dry land while oceanic crusts are underwater, as well as why continental plates always come out on top when they meet oceanic plates at subduction zones.

    The garnet explanation for the iron depletion and oxidation in continental arc magmas was compelling, but Cottrell said one aspect of it did not sit right with her.

    “You need high pressures to make garnet stable, and you find this low-iron magma at places where crust isn’t that thick and so the pressure isn’t super high,” she said.

    In 2018, Cottrell and her colleagues set about finding a way to test whether the crystallization of garnet deep beneath these arc volcanoes is indeed essential to the process of creating continental crust as is understood. To accomplish this, Cottrell and Holycross had to find ways to replicate the intense heat and pressure of the Earth’s crust in the lab, and then develop techniques sensitive enough to measure not just how much iron was present, but to differentiate whether that iron was oxidized.

    To recreate the massive pressure and heat found beneath continental arc volcanoes, the team used what are called piston-cylinder presses in the museum’s High-Pressure Laboratory and at Cornell.

    HPP Validation Center. Cornell.

    Piston-cylinder presses at Cornell.

    A hydraulic piston-cylinder press is about the size of a mini fridge and is mostly made of incredibly thick and strong steel and tungsten carbide. Force applied by a large hydraulic ram results in very high pressures on tiny rock samples, about a cubic millimeter in size. The assembly consists of electrical and thermal insulators surrounding the rock sample, as well as a cylindrical furnace. The combination of the piston-cylinder press and heating assembly allows for experiments that can attain the very high pressures and temperatures found under volcanoes.

    In 13 different experiments, Cottrell and Holycross grew samples of garnet from molten rock inside the piston-cylinder press under pressures and temperatures designed to simulate conditions inside magma chambers deep in Earth’s crust. The pressures used in the experiments ranged from 1.5 to 3 gigapascals—that is roughly 15,000 to 30,000 Earth atmospheres of pressure or 8,000 times more pressure than inside a can of soda. Temperatures ranged from 950 to 1,230 degrees Celsius, which is hot enough to melt rock.

    Next, the team collected garnets from Smithsonian’s National Rock Collection and from other researchers around the world. Crucially, this group of garnets had already been analyzed so their concentrations of oxidized and unoxidized iron were known.

    Finally, the study authors took the materials from their experiments and those gathered from collections to the Advanced Photon Source at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

    There the team used high-energy X-ray beams to conduct X-ray absorption spectroscopy, a technique that can tell scientists about the structure and composition of materials based on how they absorb X-rays. In this case, the researchers were looking into the concentrations of oxidized and unoxidized iron.

    The samples with known ratios of oxidized and unoxidized iron provided a way to check and calibrate the team’s X-ray absorption spectroscopy measurements and facilitated a comparison with the materials from their experiments.

    The results of these tests revealed that the garnets had not incorporated enough unoxidized iron from the rock samples to account for the levels of iron-depletion and oxidation present in the magmas that are the building blocks of Earth’s continental crust.

    “These results make the garnet crystallization model an extremely unlikely explanation for why magmas from continental arc volcanoes are oxidized and iron depleted,” Cottrell said. “It’s more likely that conditions in Earth’s mantle below continental crust are setting these oxidized conditions.”

    Like so many results in science, the findings lead to more questions: “What is doing the oxidizing or iron depleting?” Cottrell asked. “If it’s not garnet crystallization in the crust and it’s something about how the magmas arrive from the mantle, then what is happening in the mantle? How did their compositions get modified?”

    Cottrell said that these questions are hard to answer but that now the leading theory is that oxidized sulfur could be oxidizing the iron, something a current Peter Buck Fellow is investigating under her mentorship at the museum.

    This study is an example of the kind of research that museum scientists will tackle under the museum’s new Our Unique Planet initiative, a public–private partnership, which supports research into some of the most enduring and significant questions about what makes Earth special. Other research will investigate the source of Earth’s liquid oceans and how minerals may have served as templates for life.

    This research was supported by funding from the Smithsonian, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the Lyda Hill Foundation.

    Science Advances 2018 Now dis-proven.

    Fig. 1 Eu/Eu* in clinopyroxene and garnet in deep arc cumulates as a function of whole-rock Mg#.
    (A and B) Individual spot data measured by laser ablation ICP-MS. The error bars denoted in (A) and (B) are the long-term (~8 months) reproducibilities (2 SD) of measuring Eu/Eu* in basaltic glass standards BIR-1G and BCR-2G. (C) The mean Eu/Eu* in clinopyroxene and garnet for each rock sample. Error bars are 2 standard error of mean (2 SEM).

    See the full article here .

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Smithsonian magazine and smithsonian.com place a Smithsonian lens on the world, looking at the topics and subject matters researched, studied and exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution — science, history, art, popular culture and innovation — and chronicling them every day for our diverse readership.
    The Smithsonian Institution is a trust instrumentality of the United States composed as a group of museums and research centers. It was founded on August 10, 1846, “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge”. The institution is named after its founding donor, British scientist James Smithson. It was originally organized as the “United States National Museum”, but that name ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967.

    Termed “the nation’s attic” for its eclectic holdings of 154 million items, the Institution’s 19 museums, 21 libraries, nine research centers, and zoo include historical and architectural landmarks, mostly located in the District of Columbia. Additional facilities are located in Maryland, New York, and Virginia. More than 200 institutions and museums in 45 states, Puerto Rico, and Panama are Smithsonian Affiliates.

    The Institution’s 30 million annual visitors are admitted without charge. Its annual budget is around $1.2 billion, with two-thirds coming from annual federal appropriations. Other funding comes from the Institution’s endowment, private and corporate contributions, membership dues, and earned retail, concession, and licensing revenue. Institution publications include Smithsonian and Air & Space magazines.

    Research centers and programs

    The following is a list of Smithsonian research centers, with their affiliated museum in parentheses:

    Archives of American Art
    California State Railroad Museum
    Carrie Bow Marine Field Station (Natural History Museum)
    Center for Earth and Planetary Studies (Air and Space Museum)
    Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
    Marine Station at Fort Pierce (Natural History Museum)
    Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (National Zoo)
    Museum Conservation Institute
    Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
    Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the associated Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
    Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (National Zoo)
    Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
    Smithsonian Institution Archives
    Smithsonian Libraries
    Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press
    Smithsonian Latino Center
    Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative (SPRI)
    Smithsonian Science Education Center
    Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panamá)
    Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

    Also of note is the Smithsonian Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Silver Hill, Maryland (Suitland), which is the principal off-site conservation and collections facility for multiple Smithsonian museums, primarily the National Museum of Natural History. The MSC was dedicated in May 1983. The MSC covers 4.5 acres (1.8 ha) of land, with over 500,000 square feet (46,000 m^2) of space, making it one of the largest set of structures in the Smithsonian. It has over 12 miles (19 km) of cabinets, and more than 31 million objects.

  • richardmitnick 10:15 am on May 19, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "InVADER"-In-situ Vent Analysis Divebot for Exobiology Research, , , , , Creating rapid compositional maps in-situ using a state-of-the-art laser spectroscopy suite., , Geology, , Team to test technologies for use in future planetary exploration while providing data to survey deep-sea ecosystems and minerals on Earth., The "InVADER" Mission to Test its Robotic Laser Divebot on a Deep-Sea Expedition", The heart of the innovation is a cutting-edge laser spectroscopy suite that brings long-range and ultra-high sensitivity laser Raman and laser fluorescence spectroscopy to the seafloor for the first t, , These technologies could be used to explore ocean worlds in our solar system such as Europa and Enceladus to help us understand whether they could be habitable and host life.   

    From The SETI Institute: “InVADER Mission to Test its Robotic Laser Divebot on a Deep-Sea Expedition” 

    From The SETI Institute

    Rebecca McDonald
    Director of Communications
    SETI Institute

    Team to test technologies for use in future planetary exploration while providing data to survey deep-sea ecosystems and minerals on Earth.

    Credit: D. Kelley/ U Washington/Dept of the Interior/Bureau of Ocean Energy Management/NASA/NSF/WHOI/V21.

    A team of scientists and engineers from the SETI Institute, Impossible Sensing, NASA JPL, and other institutions will test their innovative robotic laser system on a deep-sea expedition aboard the E/V Nautilus. The mission, called “InVADER”-In-situ Vent Analysis Divebot for Exobiology Research, aims to advance technologies to explore, characterize and sample the seabed here on Earth. In particular, “InVADER’s” Laser Divebot will find marine minerals and catalog biodiversity in the seabed faster and more affordably than ever.

    “Our technology will revolutionize oceanography like digital photography disrupted film photography,” said Pablo Sobron, SETI Institute research scientist and project lead. “Scientists will no longer have to collect and ship samples to a lab and wait weeks for the results. “InVADER” will do it in just a few hours and with zero environmental impact. This approach will allow scientists to learn more about the ocean much faster, which is essential for protecting it.”

    If successful, such technologies could be used to explore ocean worlds in our solar system, such as Europa and Enceladus, to help us understand whether they could be habitable and host life.

    The E/V Nautilus expedition will, for the first time, deploy “InVADER’s” Laser Divebot in the Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll region from May 16 to June 14, 2023. These waters host some of the most pristine marine ecosystems on Earth. In addition to providing a site for testing technologies for planetary exploration, the team will contribute to a better understanding of the deep-water resources and biodiversity of never-before-seen seamounts and habitats, which will inform the management and science needs of the region.

    The assembled Laser Divebot. Image credit: APL/Impossible Sensing.

    The Laser Divebot will be mounted on ROV Hercules. The pair will map areas of the seafloor with remarkable speed and accuracy. The heart of the innovation is a cutting-edge laser spectroscopy suite that brings long-range and ultra-high sensitivity laser Raman and laser fluorescence spectroscopy to the seafloor for the first time.

    The team plans to perform multiple dives with the Laser Divebot during the expedition and create rapid compositional maps in-situ using its state-of-the-art laser spectroscopy suite. These maps will provide unprecedented insights into the seabed’s mineral resources and microbial metabolisms. The team will also bring back fluids and mineral samples for further lab analysis.

    The “InVADER” project is funded by a NASA Planetary Science and Technology from Analog Research (PSTAR) grant. Dr. Pablo Sobron, a SETI Institute physicist and Founder of Impossible Sensing, and Dr. Laurie Barge, a NASA JPL research scientist, lead the project. The project also involves collaborators from the University of Washingon’s Applied Physics Laboratory, the University of Hawai’i, the University of Southern California, the State University of New York—Stony Brook, the University of Southampton, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Oak Crest Institute of Science, Honeybee Robotics, Impossible Sensing, and the Geological Survey of Belgium.

    The NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Marine Minerals Program provided additional funding to develop and deploy the technology.

    The expedition will be live-streamed on https://nautiluslive.org/cruise/na149. For more information about the “InVADER” project, visit https://invader-mission.org/.

    See the full article here .

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SETI Institute
    About The SETI Institute
    What is life? How does it begin? Are we alone? These are some of the questions we ask in our quest to learn about and share the wonders of the universe. At the SETI Institute we have a passion for discovery and for passing knowledge along as scientific ambassadors.

    The SETI Institute is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit scientific research institute headquartered in Mountain View, California. We are a key research contractor to NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF), and we collaborate with industry partners throughout Silicon Valley and beyond.

    Founded in 1984, the SETI Institute employs more than 130 scientists, educators, and administrative staff. Work at the SETI Institute is anchored by three centers: the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe (research), the Center for Education and the Center for Outreach.

    The SETI Institute welcomes philanthropic support from individuals, private foundations, corporations and other groups to support our education and outreach initiatives, as well as unfunded scientific research and fieldwork.

    A Special Thank You to SETI Institute Partners and Collaborators
    Campoalto, Chile, NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Headquarters, National Science Foundation, Aerojet Rocketdyne,SRI International

    Frontier Development Lab Partners
    Breakthrough Prize Foundation, The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, KBRwyle. Kx Lockheed Martin, NASA Ames Research Center, Nvidia, SpaceResources Luxembourg, XPrize
    In-kind Service Providers
    • Gunderson Dettmer – General legal services, Hello Pilgrim – Website Design and Development Steptoe & Johnson – IP legal services, Danielle Futselaar

    SETI/Allen Telescope Array situated at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory, 290 miles (470 km) northeast of San Francisco, California, USA, Altitude 986 m (3,235 ft), the origins of the Institute’s search.

    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch.)

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

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

    NIROSETI team from left to right Rem Stone UCO Lick Observatory Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley; Jérôme Maire, U Toronto; Shelley Wright, UCSD; Patrick Dorval, U Toronto; Richard Treffers, Starman Systems. (Image by Laurie Hatch).

    Laser SETI

    There is also an installation at Robert Ferguson Observatory, Sonoma, CA aimed West for full coverage [no image available].

    SETI Institute – 189 Bernardo Ave., Suite 100
    Mountain View, CA 94043
    Phone 650.961.6633 – Fax 650-961-7099
    Privacy PolicyQuestions and Comments

    Also in the hunt, but not a part of the SETI Institute
    SETI@home, a BOINC [Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing] project originated in the Space Science Lab at UC Berkeley.

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience. BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

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