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  • richardmitnick 10:37 am on February 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The University of Maine leads study of Ugandan glaciers that unravels 20000-year-old geological mystery", , , Geology, ,   

    From The University of Maine: “The University of Maine leads study of Ugandan glaciers that unravels 20000-year-old geological mystery” 

    From The University of Maine

    Sam Schipani

    A glacier on Mount Speke in the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda. Photo by Alice Doughty.

    Ancient geological discrepancies can not only puzzle scientists, but can also lead to revelations about our present climate once they are solved. An international team led by a University of Maine researcher has uncovered a 20,000-year-old geological mystery in Uganda that will inform how scientists understand the relationship between glaciers, sea level temperatures and precipitation during this time and in this location.

    A team of scientists led by Alice Doughty, an instructor at UMaine’s School of Earth and Climate Sciences, conducted a study to determine why, during the last ice age 20,000 years ago, the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda experienced cold temperatures despite mild sea surface temperatures in the area. Glaciers in general are sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation. During the last ice age, glaciers in the East African tropics were dry and cold — between 5 degrees C and 9 degrees C — while sea surface temperatures changed relatively little, only between 1 degrees C and 3 degrees C.

    Scientists had different theories about this discrepancy. One potential explanation was that the rate of cooling with elevation — also known as the lapse rate — was steeper during the drier conditions of the ice age, leading the glaciers high up in the mountains to be colder than they would have been otherwise.

    “The lapse rate is one of Earth’s few negative feedbacks in the climate system, and it helps to regulate Earth’s temperature like a thermostat. It is hugely important to understand how lapse rates changed in the past and how they are changing today,” says Doughty.

    The scientists used a 2D ice-flow model with a range of temperature, precipitation and lapse rate estimates to show how the glaciers would grow toward their moraines, the deposit points that mark their known extent at the last ice age.

    The results indicated that glaciers can reach these moraines even with the modest sea surface temperature change if there is, indeed, a steeper lapse rate. Moreover, that rate is supported by the available biogeochemical analysis in this area. The model also showed that a large change in temperature and no lapse rate change could achieve the same results, but that is not supported by sea surface temperature estimates.

    The findings not only help piece together the geological puzzle of this region’s ice age, but in general, they contribute to the understanding of how the lapse rate can change with time and location, which is vital for informing climate change models on a global scale.

    “Tropical glaciers are rare and spectacular. Their deposits can tell us about how climate changed in the middle atmosphere — that is, at around 15,000 feet elevation — over thousands of years. The tropics are basically the heat engine of the world, and what happens to climate in the tropics has global impacts,” says Doughty.

    The study was published Jan. 10, 2023, in the journal Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.

    See the full article here.

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Maine is a public land-grant research university in Orono, Maine. It was established in 1865 as the land-grant college of Maine and is the flagship university of the University of Maine System. The University of Maine is one of only a few land, sea and space grant institutions in the nation. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity”.

    With an enrollment of approximately 11,500 students, The University of Maine is the state’s largest college or university. The University of Maine’s athletic teams, nicknamed the Black Bears, are Maine’s only Division I athletics program. Maine’s men’s ice hockey team has won two national championships.

    The University of Maine was founded in 1862 as a function of the Morrill Act, signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Established in 1865 as the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, the college opened on September 21, 1868 and changed its name to the University of Maine in 1897.

    By 1871, curricula had been organized in Agriculture, Engineering, and electives. The Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station was founded as a division of the university in 1887. Gradually the university developed the Colleges of Life Sciences and Agriculture (later to include the School of Forest Resources and the School of Human Development), Engineering and Science, and Arts and Sciences. In 1912 the Maine Cooperative Extension, which offers field educational programs for both adults and youths, was initiated. The School of Education was established in 1930 and received college status in 1958. The School of Business Administration was formed in 1958 and was granted college status in 1965. Women have been admitted into all curricula since 1872. The first master’s degree was conferred in 1881; the first doctor’s degree in 1960. Since 1923 there has been a separate graduate school.

    Near the end of the 19th century, the university expanded its curriculum to place greater emphasis on liberal arts. As a result of this shift, faculty hired during the early 20th century included Caroline Colvin, chair of the history department and the nation’s first woman to head a major university department.

    In 1906, The Senior Skull Honor Society was founded to “publicly recognize, formally reward, and continually promote outstanding leadership and scholarship, and exemplary citizenship within the University of Maine community.”

    On April 16, 1925, 80 women met in Balentine Hall — faculty, alumnae, and undergraduate representatives — to plan a pledging of members to an inaugural honorary organization. This organization was called “The All Maine Women” because only those women closely connected with the University of Maine were elected as members. On April 22, 1925, the new members were inducted into the honor society.

    When the University of Maine System was incorporated, in 1968, the school was renamed by the legislature over the objections of the faculty to the University of Maine at Orono. This was changed back to the University of Maine in 1986.

  • richardmitnick 1:57 pm on February 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Critical zone": the term scientists use to refer to the area of Earth's land surface responsible for sustaining life., "Microbes are 'active engineers' in Earth's rock-to-life cycle", A strong relationship between the rate at which the rock was weathering to form soil and the activities of the microbiome in the subsurface, An open-air living laboratory that spans parts of Arizona and New Mexico breaks down rock and minerals over timea nd feeds into Earth's intricate life-support system., , , , Chemical and mineral weathering drives the evolution of everything from the soil microbiome to the carbon cycle., , Geology, , Minerals and microorganisms and organics interact with each other constantly to provide all terrestrial life with nutrients energy and suitable living environments.", National Science Foundation Critical Zone Observatory program,   

    From The University of Arizona: “Microbes are ‘active engineers’ in Earth’s rock-to-life cycle” 

    From The University of Arizona

    Jake Kerr and Rosemary Brandt | College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

    An open-air, living laboratory that spans parts of Arizona and New Mexico is helping researchers better understand how mineral weathering – the breaking down or dissolving of rocks and minerals over time – feeds into Earth’s intricate life-support system.

    An eddy covariance tower helps researchers measure forest-atmosphere exchanges of gas and water in the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona. Courtesy of The University of Arizona Department of Environmental Science.

    The name “critical zone” may give off 1980s action thriller vibes, but it’s the term scientists use to refer to the area of Earth’s land surface responsible for sustaining life. A relatively small portion of the planetary structure, it spans from the bedrock below groundwater all the way up to the lower atmosphere.

    “Think of it as Earth’s skin,” said Jon Chorover, head of the Department of Environmental Science in the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It’s sometimes termed the zone where rock meets life.”

    Most people – even geologists – don’t typically think about rock as the foundation of life or the way life may alter rock, but that cuts to the heart of critical zone science, Chorover said.

    A relatively new framework for approaching Earth sciences, the critical zone aligns researchers across disciplines to better understand how the delicate web of physical, chemical and biological processes come together to form Earth’s life-support system.

    As a biogeochemist, the whole-system approach is a way of thinking that comes naturally to Chorover, who has spent much of his career working to unravel the ways in which chemical and mineral weathering drives the evolution of everything from the soil microbiome to the carbon cycle.

    Together with Qian Fang, a postdoctoral researcher from Peking University in Beijing, Chorover recently published the results [Nature Communications (below)] of nearly 10 years of data collected at the Santa Catalina-Jemez River Basin Critical Zone Observatory – which spans a gradient of elevation and climates on rock basins in northern New Mexico and Southern Arizona.
    Fig. 1: A conceptual model showing the relationship of weathering congruency to the priming effect.
    Mineral breakdown at high and low weathering congruencies results in different proportions of dissolved vs. solid-phase products (Table 1). High weathering congruency yields more dissolved cations and fewer solids relative to low congruency. Low congruency generates more short-range-order minerals that can bond with and protect organic matter (including dissolved organic matter-DOM) through formation of mineral-organic associations, which are inaccessible to microorganisms and, thus, influence the priming effect. The more limited production of solid phases at high congruency limits bonding and precipitation of dissolved organic matter, thus facilitating the priming of soil organic matter.

    Their findings, according to Chorover, provide a “smoking gun” link between the activities of carbon-consuming microbes and the transformation of rock to life-sustaining soil in the critical zone.

    An open-air, living laboratory

    In the past, measuring something like mineral weathering often wasn’t that exciting — imagine researchers breaking off chunks of rock and watching it dissolve in beakers back at the lab. But viewing that process in a natural ecological system is a different story.

    At the Santa Catalina-Jemez River Basin Critical Zone Observatory, towers that measure the exchange of water between the forest and atmosphere, soil probes that read the transfer of energy and gases, and a host of other in-environment instrumentation offer scientists a firsthand view of the complex systems within the critical zone.

    The site is part of a larger National Science Foundation Critical Zone Observatory program, which unlike traditional brick-and-mortar observatories provides a network of regional ecological environments rigged with scientific instrumentation across the United States.

    Temperature, moisture and gas sensors at the site collect measurements every 15 minutes, and after compiling and correlating the data, “What we found was a strong relationship between the rate at which the rock was weathering to form soil and the activities of the microbiome in the subsurface,” said Chorover, a principal investigator at the Catalina-Jemez observatory.

    Breaking down the rock-to-life cycle

    “Minerals, microorganisms and organics are among the most important components in Earth’s surface,” Fang said. “They interact with each other constantly to provide all terrestrial life with nutrients, energy and suitable living environments.”

    These minerals in the critical zone are continuously attacked by microorganisms, organic acids and water, Fang explained. As the minerals break down, microbes in the soil consume the new organic matter and transform it into material that feeds plants and other microorganisms, while releasing carbon dioxide.

    Previous studies suggest that microbial decomposition of soil organic matter can be fueled when more “fresh” organics – such as plant matter – are introduced to the soil system. This process is called the “priming effect” by soil scientists. However, the relationship between mineral weathering and microbial priming remains unclear.

    “Our study shows, for the first time, how these essential soil processes are coupled, and these two processes continuously influence soil formation, CO2 emission and global climate,” Fang said. “The linkages may even be associated with long-term elemental cycling and rapid turnover of soil carbon and nutrients on Earth.”

    While it is easy to perceive the success of plants and microorganisms as lucky environmental circumstance, Chorover said this study proves even the smallest parts of the critical zone have a substantial role to play.

    “It shows that life is not simply a passive passenger on the trajectory of critical zone evolution, but actually an active engineer in determining the direction and path of how the Earth’s skin evolves,” Chorover said.

    Nature Communications

    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

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

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

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

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


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

    National Aeronautics Space Agency OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft.

    The LPL’s work in the Cassini spacecraft orbit around Saturn is larger than any other university globally.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea][Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    The University of Arizona laboratory designed and operated the atmospheric radiation investigations and imaging on the probe. The University of Arizona operates the HiRISE camera, a part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    U Arizona NASA Mars Reconnaisance HiRISE Camera.

    NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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

    NASA – GRAIL Flying in Formation (Artist’s Concept). Credit: NASA.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Juno at Jupiter.

    NASA/Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.


    NASA Parker Solar Probe Plus named to honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Wise /NEOWISE Telescope.

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

    The University of Arizona is a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy , a consortium of institutions pursuing research in astronomy. The association operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatory just outside Tucson.

    National Science Foundation NOIRLab National Optical Astronomy Observatory Kitt Peak National Observatory on Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers (55 mi) west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft), annotated.

    Led by Roger Angel, researchers in the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona are working in concert to build the world’s most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescope (CL), it will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope.

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

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

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

    University of Arizona Radio Observatory at NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory, AZ USA, U Arizona Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory at altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft).

    The National Science Foundation funded the iPlant Collaborative in 2008 with a $50 million grant. In 2013, iPlant Collaborative received a $50 million renewal grant. Rebranded in late 2015 as “CyVerse”, the collaborative cloud-based data management platform is moving beyond life sciences to provide cloud-computing access across all scientific disciplines.

    In June 2011, the university announced it would assume full ownership of the Biosphere 2 scientific research facility in Oracle, Arizona, north of Tucson, effective July 1. Biosphere 2 was constructed by private developers (funded mainly by Texas businessman and philanthropist Ed Bass) with its first closed system experiment commencing in 1991. The university had been the official management partner of the facility for research purposes since 2007.

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

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

    University of Arizona Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2.

  • richardmitnick 1:34 pm on January 28, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Assessing weathering conditions around the globe to understand rate-limiting factors for major rock types", , , , Geology,   

    From The Pennsylvania State University Via “phys.org” : “Assessing weathering conditions around the globe to understand rate-limiting factors for major rock types” 

    Penn State Bloc

    From The Pennsylvania State University




    Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain.

    A quartet of researchers at Pennsylvania State University has assessed differing weathering conditions around the globe in an attempt to better understand the rate-limiting factors for major rock types.

    In their paper published in the journal Science [below], S. L. Brantley, Andrew Shaughnessy, Marina Lebedeva and Victor Balashov describe comparing experimental results with tests conducted in the real world to learn more about how much carbon dioxide is pulled from the air by rock weathering. Robert Hilton, with the University of Oxford, has published a Perspective piece in the same journal issue outlining the work done by the team on this new effort.

    Prior research has shown that as rock is exposed to natural weathering elements such as heat, cold, wind, rain and ice, it releases minerals that eventually sequester atmospheric carbon, but the amount has been difficult to measure. In this new study, the researchers carried out testing at a large number of sites to estimate global carbon dioxide sequestration.

    When carbon dioxide gas comes into contact with wet rock, carbonic acid is formed. Over time, it leads to the creation of soluble minerals and bicarbonate, a type of carbon. Such products slowly make their way through rivers, streams and groundwater to the ocean, where the minerals and their carbon are locked away. This process has been going on for millions of years, the researchers note, and it explains why the planet has not grown much hotter from all the carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere by volcanoes.

    To gain a better estimate of how much carbon is naturally sequestered by rock weathering, the researchers subjected many types of rocks to artificially induced weather conditions in the lab. They then collected soil samples from 45 sites around the world and analyzed them, comparing their makeup with the materials weathered in the lab.

    They more clearly identified the factors that inform the amount of carbon that is released or sequestered. They found, for example, that less carbon is released from minerals in cooler places, where mineral supplies are low and where there is little rainfall. More work is required before they can make global estimates, but the researchers note that initial calculations suggest that rock weathering sequestration of carbon dioxide is not nearly enough to offset the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the air by human activities.



    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

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

    Penn State Campus

    The The Pennsylvania State University is a public state-related land-grant research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania, Penn State became the state’s only land-grant university in 1863. Today, Penn State is a major research university which conducts teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. In addition to its land-grant designation, it also participates in the sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant research consortia; it is one of only four such universities (along with Cornell University, Oregon State University, and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa). Its University Park campus, which is the largest and serves as the administrative hub, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township. It has two law schools: Penn State Law, on the school’s University Park campus, and Dickinson Law, in Carlisle. The College of Medicine is in Hershey. Penn State is one university that is geographically distributed throughout Pennsylvania. There are 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special mission campuses located across the state. The University Park campus has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.
    The Pennsylvania State University is a member of The Association of American Universities an organization of American research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education.

    Annual enrollment at the University Park campus totals more than 46,800 graduate and undergraduate students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States. It has the world’s largest dues-paying alumni association. The university offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses.

    Annually, the university hosts the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy. This event is held at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. The university’s athletics teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Penn State Nittany Lions, competing in the Big Ten Conference for most sports. Penn State students, alumni, faculty and coaches have received a total of 54 Olympic medals.

    Early years

    The school was sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society and founded as a degree-granting institution on February 22, 1855, by Pennsylvania’s state legislature as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania. The use of “college” or “university” was avoided because of local prejudice against such institutions as being impractical in their courses of study. Centre County, Pennsylvania, became the home of the new school when James Irvin of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, donated 200 acres (0.8 km2) of land – the first of 10,101 acres (41 km^2) the school would eventually acquire. In 1862, the school’s name was changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, and with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts, Pennsylvania selected the school in 1863 to be the state’s sole land-grant college. The school’s name changed to the Pennsylvania State College in 1874; enrollment fell to 64 undergraduates the following year as the school tried to balance purely agricultural studies with a more classic education.

    George W. Atherton became president of the school in 1882, and broadened the curriculum. Shortly after he introduced engineering studies, Penn State became one of the ten largest engineering schools in the nation. Atherton also expanded the liberal arts and agriculture programs, for which the school began receiving regular appropriations from the state in 1887. A major road in State College has been named in Atherton’s honor. Additionally, Penn State’s Atherton Hall, a well-furnished and centrally located residence hall, is named not after George Atherton himself, but after his wife, Frances Washburn Atherton. His grave is in front of Schwab Auditorium near Old Main, marked by an engraved marble block in front of his statue.

    Early 20th century

    In the years that followed, Penn State grew significantly, becoming the state’s largest grantor of baccalaureate degrees and reaching an enrollment of 5,000 in 1936. Around that time, a system of commonwealth campuses was started by President Ralph Dorn Hetzel to provide an alternative for Depression-era students who were economically unable to leave home to attend college.

    In 1953, President Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, sought and won permission to elevate the school to university status as The Pennsylvania State University. Under his successor Eric A. Walker (1956–1970), the university acquired hundreds of acres of surrounding land, and enrollment nearly tripled. In addition, in 1967, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, a college of medicine and hospital, was established in Hershey with a $50 million gift from the Hershey Trust Company.

    Modern era

    In the 1970s, the university became a state-related institution. As such, it now belongs to the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. In 1975, the lyrics in Penn State’s alma mater song were revised to be gender-neutral in honor of International Women’s Year; the revised lyrics were taken from the posthumously-published autobiography of the writer of the original lyrics, Fred Lewis Pattee, and Professor Patricia Farrell acted as a spokesperson for those who wanted the change.

    In 1989, the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport joined ranks with the university, and in 2000, so did the Dickinson School of Law. The university is now the largest in Pennsylvania. To offset the lack of funding due to the limited growth in state appropriations to Penn State, the university has concentrated its efforts on philanthropy.


    Penn State is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. Over 10,000 students are enrolled in the university’s graduate school (including the law and medical schools), and over 70,000 degrees have been awarded since the school was founded in 1922.

    Penn State’s research and development expenditure has been on the rise in recent years. For fiscal year 2013, according to institutional rankings of total research expenditures for science and engineering released by the National Science Foundation , Penn State stood second in the nation, behind only Johns Hopkins University and tied with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , in the number of fields in which it is ranked in the top ten. Overall, Penn State ranked 17th nationally in total research expenditures across the board. In 12 individual fields, however, the university achieved rankings in the top ten nationally. The fields and sub-fields in which Penn State ranked in the top ten are materials (1st), psychology (2nd), mechanical engineering (3rd), sociology (3rd), electrical engineering (4th), total engineering (5th), aerospace engineering (8th), computer science (8th), agricultural sciences (8th), civil engineering (9th), atmospheric sciences (9th), and earth sciences (9th). Moreover, in eleven of these fields, the university has repeated top-ten status every year since at least 2008. For fiscal year 2011, the National Science Foundation reported that Penn State had spent $794.846 million on R&D and ranked 15th among U.S. universities and colleges in R&D spending.

    For the 2008–2009 fiscal year, Penn State was ranked ninth among U.S. universities by the National Science Foundation, with $753 million in research and development spending for science and engineering. During the 2015–2016 fiscal year, Penn State received $836 million in research expenditures.

    The Applied Research Lab (ARL), located near the University Park campus, has been a research partner with the Department of Defense since 1945 and conducts research primarily in support of the United States Navy. It is the largest component of Penn State’s research efforts statewide, with over 1,000 researchers and other staff members.

    The Materials Research Institute was created to coordinate the highly diverse and growing materials activities across Penn State’s University Park campus. With more than 200 faculty in 15 departments, 4 colleges, and 2 Department of Defense research laboratories, MRI was designed to break down the academic walls that traditionally divide disciplines and enable faculty to collaborate across departmental and even college boundaries. MRI has become a model for this interdisciplinary approach to research, both within and outside the university. Dr. Richard E. Tressler was an international leader in the development of high-temperature materials. He pioneered high-temperature fiber testing and use, advanced instrumentation and test methodologies for thermostructural materials, and design and performance verification of ceramics and composites in high-temperature aerospace, industrial, and energy applications. He was founding director of the Center for Advanced Materials (CAM), which supported many faculty and students from the College of Earth and Mineral Science, the Eberly College of Science, the College of Engineering, the Materials Research Laboratory and the Applied Research Laboratories at Penn State on high-temperature materials. His vision for Interdisciplinary research played a key role in creating the Materials Research Institute, and the establishment of Penn State as an acknowledged leader among major universities in materials education and research.

    The university was one of the founding members of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a partnership that includes 17 research-led universities in the United States, Asia, and Europe. The network provides funding, facilitates collaboration between universities, and coordinates exchanges of faculty members and graduate students among institutions. Former Penn State president Graham Spanier is a former vice-chair of the WUN.

    The Pennsylvania State University Libraries were ranked 14th among research libraries in North America in the 2003–2004 survey released by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The university’s library system began with a 1,500-book library in Old Main. In 2009, its holdings had grown to 5.2 million volumes, in addition to 500,000 maps, five million microforms, and 180,000 films and videos.

    The university’s College of Information Sciences and Technology is the home of CiteSeerX, an open-access repository and search engine for scholarly publications. The university is also the host to the Radiation Science & Engineering Center, which houses the oldest operating university research reactor. Additionally, University Park houses the Graduate Program in Acoustics, the only freestanding acoustics program in the United States. The university also houses the Center for Medieval Studies, a program that was founded to research and study the European Middle Ages, and the Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), one of the first centers established to research postsecondary education.

  • richardmitnick 8:39 am on January 21, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Runaway West Antarctic ice retreat can be slowed by climate-driven changes in ocean temperature", , , , Geology,   

    From The University of Cambridge (UK): “Runaway West Antarctic ice retreat can be slowed by climate-driven changes in ocean temperature” 

    U Cambridge bloc

    From The University of Cambridge (UK)

    Sarah Collins

    Getz Ice Shelf of the Amundsen Sector, West Antarctica, and sea ice offshore. Credit: NASA/USGS, processed by Dr Frazer Christie, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.


    New research finds that ice-sheet-wide collapse in West Antarctica isn’t inevitable: the pace of ice loss varies according to regional differences in atmosphere and ocean circulation.

    Fig. 1: Glaciological change across West Antarctica’s Pacific-facing margin, 2003-2015.
    The thick curve bounding the coastline shows net change in grounding-line migration rate (m yr−1) over the observational period (c. 2010-2015 minus c. 2003-2008), binned into 30 km segments along the grounding line. Also shown is catchment-averaged change in grounding-line migration rate for each glacial basin along the coastline (numbered circles). Data are superimposed over near-contemporaneous change in ice-flow acceleration (m yr^−2) (Methods). [AS] denotes Amundsen Sector, [BS] Bellingshausen Sector, [RS] Ross Sector, [S] Stange Ice Shelf, [EB] Eltanin Bay, [V] Venable Ice Shelf, [A] Abbot Ice Shelf, [C] Cosgrove Ice Shelf, [PIG] Pine Island Glacier, [THW] Thwaites Glacier; [Cr] Crosson Ice Shelf, [D] Dotson Ice Shelf and [G] Getz Ice Shelf. Note that the glacial basins shown are from MEaSUREs but for ease of reference we have numbered them 1-33 from east to west. Inset shows the location of the study domain, partitioned into the Bellingshausen (red), Amundsen (pink) and Ross Sea sectors (blue). Inset background is REMA DEM.

    An international team of researchers has combined satellite imagery and climate and ocean records to obtain the most detailed understanding yet of how the West Antarctic Ice Sheet – which contains enough ice to raise global sea level by 3.3 metres – is responding to climate change.

    The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Washington, found that the pace and extent of ice destabilization along West Antarctica’s coast varies according to differences in regional climate.

    Their results, reported in the journal Nature Communications [below], show that while the West Antarctic Ice Sheet continues to retreat, the pace of retreat slowed across a vulnerable region of the coastline between 2003 and 2015. This slowdown was driven by changes in surrounding ocean temperature, which were in turn caused by variations in offshore wind conditions.


    The marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet, home to the vast and unstable Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, sits atop a landmass lying up to 2,500 metres below the surface of the ocean. Since the early 1990s, scientists have observed an abrupt acceleration in ice melting, retreat and speed in this area, which is attributed in part to human-induced climate change over the past century.

    Other scientists have previously indicated that this type of response across a low-lying landmass could be the onset of an irreversible, ice-sheet-wide collapse called a marine ice sheet instability, which would continue independently of any further climatic influence.

    “The idea that once a marine-based ice sheet passes a certain tipping point it will cause a runaway response has been widely reported,” said Dr Frazer Christie from Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute, the paper’s lead author. “Despite this, questions remain about the extent to which ongoing changes in climate still regulate ice losses along the entire West Antarctic coastline.”

    Using observations collected by an array of satellites, Christie and colleagues found pronounced regional variations in how the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has evolved since 2003 due to climate change, with the pace of retreat in the Amundsen Sea Sector having slowed significantly in comparison to the neighbouring and much accelerated Bellingshausen Sea Sector.

    By analyzing climate and ocean records, the researchers linked these regional differences to changes in the strength and direction of offshore surface winds.

    In this part of Antarctica, the prevailing winds come from the west. When these westerly winds get stronger, they stir up warmer, saltier water from deep in the ocean, which reaches the Antarctic coastline and increases the rate of ice melt.

    “But between 2003 and 2015 offshore of the Amundsen Sea Sector, the intensity of the prevailing westerly winds reduced,” said Christie. “This meant that the deeper, warmer water couldn’t intrude, and we saw a notable change in corresponding glacier behaviour along the region: a clear reduction in the rate of melt and ice-mass loss.”

    So what caused these weaker winds and, by implication, reduced ice melt? The researchers found the primary cause was an unusual deepening of the Amundsen Sea Low pressure system, which led to less warm water intrusion. This system is the key atmospheric circulation pattern in the region, and its pressure centre location – near which changes in offshore wind strength are greatest – typically sits offshore of its namesake coast for most of the year.

    Farther afield from this pressure centre, the researchers found that the accelerated response of the glaciers flowing from the Bellingshausen Sea Sector can be explained by relatively more unaltered winds, enabling more persistent ocean-driven melt by comparison.

    Ultimately, the study illustrates the complexity of the competing ice, ocean and atmosphere interactions driving short-term changes across West Antarctica, and raises important questions about how quickly the icy continent will evolve in a warming world.

    “Ocean and atmospheric forcing mechanisms still really, really matter in West Antarctica,” said co-author Professor Eric Steig from the University of Washington in Seattle. “That means that ice-sheet collapse is not inevitable. It depends on how climate changes over the next few decades, which we could influence in a positive way by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

    The researchers stress that further work is needed to examine how important such mechanisms will be in the future amid a background of increasing marine ice sheet instability. Co-author Professor Robert Bingham from the University of Edinburgh is now working directly on Thwaites Glacier to understand how it is being affected by climate change.

    “This study reinforces the urgent requirement to clarify how rapidly the most vulnerable regions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet such as Thwaites Glacier will retreat, with global consequences for sea level rise,” said Bingham. “New data that we are currently acquiring from a traverse across Thwaites Glacier this January will directly address this goal.”

    “There is an intimate link between the climate and how the ice is behaving,” said Christie. “We have the ability to mitigate West Antarctic ice losses – if we curb carbon emissions.”

    The study was supported by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society (SAGES), the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the US National Science Foundation, the joint UK NERC/US NSF International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration project and the European Space Agency (ESA). Frazer Christie is a Postdoctoral Associate at Jesus College, Cambridge.

    Nature Communications
    See the science paper for 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

    U Cambridge Campus

    The University of Cambridge (UK) [legally The Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Cambridge] is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university. It grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford (UK) after a dispute with townsfolk. The two ancient universities share many common features and are often jointly referred to as “Oxbridge”.

    Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions which include 31 semi-autonomous constituent colleges and over 150 academic departments, faculties and other institutions organized into six schools. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. All students are members of a college. Cambridge does not have a main campus and its colleges and central facilities are scattered throughout the city. Undergraduate teaching at Cambridge is organized around weekly small-group supervisions in the colleges – a feature unique to the Oxbridge system. These are complemented by classes, lectures, seminars, laboratory work and occasionally further supervisions provided by the central university faculties and departments. Postgraduate teaching is provided predominantly centrally.

    Cambridge University Press a department of the university is the oldest university press in the world and currently the second largest university press in the world. Cambridge Assessment also a department of the university is one of the world’s leading examining bodies and provides assessment to over eight million learners globally every year. The university also operates eight cultural and scientific museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, as well as a botanic garden. Cambridge’s libraries – of which there are 116 – hold a total of around 16 million books, around nine million of which are in Cambridge University Library, a legal deposit library. The university is home to – but independent of – the Cambridge Union – the world’s oldest debating society. The university is closely linked to the development of the high-tech business cluster known as “Silicon Fe”. It is the central member of Cambridge University Health Partners, an academic health science centre based around the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

    By both endowment size and consolidated assets Cambridge is the wealthiest university in the United Kingdom. In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2019, the central university – excluding colleges – had a total income of £2.192 billion of which £592.4 million was from research grants and contracts. At the end of the same financial year the central university and colleges together possessed a combined endowment of over £7.1 billion and overall consolidated net assets (excluding “immaterial” historical assets) of over £12.5 billion. It is a member of numerous associations and forms part of the ‘golden triangle’ of English universities.

    Cambridge has educated many notable alumni including eminent mathematicians; scientists; politicians; lawyers; philosophers; writers; actors; monarchs and other heads of state. As of October 2020, 121 Nobel laureates; 11 Fields Medalists; 7 Turing Award winners; and 14 British prime ministers have been affiliated with Cambridge as students; alumni; faculty or research staff. University alumni have won 194 Olympic medals.


    By the late 12th century, the Cambridge area already had a scholarly and ecclesiastical reputation due to monks from the nearby bishopric church of Ely. However, it was an incident at Oxford which is most likely to have led to the establishment of the university: three Oxford scholars were hanged by the town authorities for the death of a woman without consulting the ecclesiastical authorities who would normally take precedence (and pardon the scholars) in such a case; but were at that time in conflict with King John. Fearing more violence from the townsfolk scholars from the University of Oxford started to move away to cities such as Paris; Reading; and Cambridge. Subsequently enough scholars remained in Cambridge to form the nucleus of a new university when it had become safe enough for academia to resume at Oxford. In order to claim precedence, it is common for Cambridge to trace its founding to the 1231 charter from Henry III granting it the right to discipline its own members (ius non-trahi extra) and an exemption from some taxes; Oxford was not granted similar rights until 1248.

    A bull in 1233 from Pope Gregory IX gave graduates from Cambridge the right to teach “everywhere in Christendom”. After Cambridge was described as a studium generale in a letter from Pope Nicholas IV in 1290 and confirmed as such in a bull by Pope John XXII in 1318 it became common for researchers from other European medieval universities to visit Cambridge to study or to give lecture courses.

    Foundation of the colleges

    The colleges at the University of Cambridge were originally an incidental feature of the system. No college is as old as the university itself. The colleges were endowed fellowships of scholars. There were also institutions without endowments called hostels. The hostels were gradually absorbed by the colleges over the centuries; but they have left some traces, such as the name of Garret Hostel Lane.

    Hugh Balsham, Bishop of Ely, founded Peterhouse – Cambridge’s first college in 1284. Many colleges were founded during the 14th and 15th centuries but colleges continued to be established until modern times. There was a gap of 204 years between the founding of Sidney Sussex in 1596 and that of Downing in 1800. The most recently established college is Robinson built in the late 1970s. However, Homerton College only achieved full university college status in March 2010 making it the newest full college (it was previously an “Approved Society” affiliated with the university).

    In medieval times many colleges were founded so that their members would pray for the souls of the founders and were often associated with chapels or abbeys. The colleges’ focus changed in 1536 with the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Henry VIII ordered the university to disband its Faculty of Canon Law and to stop teaching “scholastic philosophy”. In response, colleges changed their curricula away from canon law and towards the classics; the Bible; and mathematics.

    Nearly a century later the university was at the centre of a Protestant schism. Many nobles, intellectuals and even commoners saw the ways of the Church of England as too similar to the Catholic Church and felt that it was used by the Crown to usurp the rightful powers of the counties. East Anglia was the centre of what became the Puritan movement. In Cambridge the movement was particularly strong at Emmanuel; St Catharine’s Hall; Sidney Sussex; and Christ’s College. They produced many “non-conformist” graduates who, greatly influenced by social position or preaching left for New England and especially the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Great Migration decade of the 1630s. Oliver Cromwell, Parliamentary commander during the English Civil War and head of the English Commonwealth (1649–1660), attended Sidney Sussex.

    Modern period

    After the Cambridge University Act formalized the organizational structure of the university the study of many new subjects was introduced e.g. theology, history and modern languages. Resources necessary for new courses in the arts architecture and archaeology were donated by Viscount Fitzwilliam of Trinity College who also founded the Fitzwilliam Museum. In 1847 Prince Albert was elected Chancellor of the University of Cambridge after a close contest with the Earl of Powis. Albert used his position as Chancellor to campaign successfully for reformed and more modern university curricula, expanding the subjects taught beyond the traditional mathematics and classics to include modern history and the natural sciences. Between 1896 and 1902 Downing College sold part of its land to build the Downing Site with new scientific laboratories for anatomy, genetics, and Earth sciences. During the same period the New Museums Site was erected including the Cavendish Laboratory which has since moved to the West Cambridge Site and other departments for chemistry and medicine.

    The University of Cambridge began to award PhD degrees in the first third of the 20th century. The first Cambridge PhD in mathematics was awarded in 1924.

    In the First World War 13,878 members of the university served and 2,470 were killed. Teaching and the fees it earned came almost to a stop and severe financial difficulties followed. As a consequence, the university first received systematic state support in 1919 and a Royal Commission appointed in 1920 recommended that the university (but not the colleges) should receive an annual grant. Following the Second World War the university saw a rapid expansion of student numbers and available places; this was partly due to the success and popularity gained by many Cambridge scientists.

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

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

    From The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences


    Yale University

    By Jim Shelton

    Media Contact
    Michael Greenwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    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

    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 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 2:31 pm on January 18, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What’s Earth cooking? Stanford’s Ayla Pamukçu wants to know", , , Geology, , ,   

    From The School of Earth & Energy & Environmental Sciences At Stanford University: “What’s Earth cooking? Stanford’s Ayla Pamukçu wants to know” 


    From The School of Earth & Energy & Environmental Sciences


    Stanford University Name

    Stanford University

    Danielle Torrent Tucker

    As a young adult, Ayla Pamukçu found herself at a crossroads between college and culinary school. Thanks in part to an influential box of rocks, she chose a research path that eventually led to a career studying the inner workings of the Earth.

    Ayla Pamukçu (Image credit: Andrew Brodhead)

    Ayla Pamukçu, an assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences, first became interested in geology because of a simple contribution to her curiosity: A family friend gifted her a box of rocks and minerals. As a 7-year-old, she found the sparkling, colorful, complex collection fascinating.

    As she grew older, Pamukçu kept turning back to that collection, eventually learning enough about its contents to create a display at her local public library. She recalled adding to the assortment over time as a side project while she pursued other interests.

    “Minerals have this really beautiful symmetry and I ultimately realized that I liked the symmetry,” Pamukçu said. “I also liked that they’re basically the result of chemistry – they formed without influence from human hands, and their colors and symmetry came from complex chemical processes.”

    In her office at Stanford, Pamukçu is surrounded by samples from around the world. Bearing basalt in her ears and a quartz crystal around her neck, she lights up when discussing their origins and doesn’t hesitate to name her (many) favorites. Having found a connection to Earth sciences at a young age, she has made it her mission to help the next generation find their box of rocks – literal or metaphorical.

    “Many years later, the person that gave me the box of rocks told me he’d given such boxes to lots of kids before, but I was the one that did something with it,” she recalled. “So many kids find rocks and minerals exciting. I really want to understand why that fascination goes away, so I am passionate about interacting with K through 12 students and fostering their curiosity about geology and the natural world around them.”

    Understanding Earth

    As part of the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department in the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, Pamukçu sits amongst researchers working to fathom the history of the Earth and other planets. Their efforts lay the foundation for insights into present-day sustainability issues like sea-level rise, climate change, natural resources, biodiversity, natural hazards, and more.

    While many faculty in the department explore parts of our history that have had profound evolutionary consequences over geological time, Pamukçu mainly focuses on volcanic activity that has arguably had some of the most immediate impacts on Earth’s past: supereruptions. These gigantic, explosive volcanic eruptions release so much magma that the Earth below collapses, and a crater-like caldera is left in its wake.

    Supereruptions have occurred many times in Earth’s history, according to the rock record, but not in recorded human history. Experts in the field are working to understand what might be going on underneath the Earth’s surface today and what it can tell us about future supereruptions.

    “Usually when we think of eruptions, we think of volcanoes like those on the Big Island of Hawai’i or Mount St. Helens. Typical eruptions from these volcanoes can have big impacts, but they are actually relatively small eruptions,” Pamukçu said. “The main difference is the amount of magma that gets erupted – a supereruption involves three to four orders of magnitude more magma than the more common eruptions we are used to hearing about in the news.”

    Defined by violent outbursts of hundreds to thousands of cubic miles of magma over a period of days to a year, a supereruption could bury vast areas in thick ash and saturate the atmosphere with gases that drastically affect the global climate. While supereruptions have occurred worldwide, scientists say the likelihood of one occurring imminently is extremely low.

    But any kind of eruption is exciting to a volcanologist.

    “There’s nothing as impactful as seeing magma come out of a volcano – you see the inside of the Earth coming out. It’s truly awe-inspiring,” Pamukçu said. “And every time there’s a volcanic eruption, I’m jealous that I’m not there. I promised my mother at some point that I would focus on systems that are extinct, or at least dormant, for her sanity. And those systems are exciting – there’s still so much to learn. But, secretly, I’d love to work on the active ones, too.”

    Venturing afield

    Pamukçu’s work has taken her to places nearby, such as Long Valley in Bishop, California, and far from home, including to Taupō in New Zealand and even Antarctica. One new aspect of her research involves figuring out the similarities and differences between the more typical eruptions and supereruptions.

    “Understanding the small eruptions is in some ways what we care about more because those are the ones we encounter most frequently,” Pamukçu said. “I am interested in understanding if and how supereruptions are related to smaller eruptions and how our understanding of each type of eruption informs us about the other.”

    One of her recent publications [Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology (below)] explored two different-sized ancient eruptions in the Taupō Volcanic Center in New Zealand. The team’s findings showed that the magmas that produced both eruptions sat in the crust for roughly the same amount of time before erupting.

    “It suggests that a shorter magma residence time doesn’t mean it will be a smaller eruption. It seems that there’s something else that controls whether or not it’s going to be a gigantic eruption or a smaller one,” she said.

    Crystals like the ones Pamukçu collected as a kid make projects like this one possible. By measuring the sizes and compositions of crystals in volcanic rocks, as well as the compositions and shapes of their inclusions – little blebs of magma and other minerals trapped inside them, scientists can estimate conditions such as the magma’s temperature, the depth at which the magma was stored underground, and the time over which it was stored before being erupted.

    “We can take a crystal and cut it in half and image it, and then we can analyze different parts of the crystal and estimate temperatures and pressures and also look at changes in the magma through time,” she said. “When we do that with many different crystals, we can see trends and patterns and complexities.”

    Founding a technique

    Another tool used in Pamukçu’s lab is one that she helped to conceive as an undergraduate – and that also fueled her passion to continue research in geology.

    “I didn’t actually think I would go into geology, but my in my first quarter, my academic advisor recommended that I try the geology intro sequence,” said Pamukçu, who earned a BS from the University of Chicago. “I did terrible in those classes, but I really liked the department. It was similar to the department here, in that it was a small student-to-faculty ratio, so you could easily get involved in research and interact with faculty and graduate students.”

    Pamukçu’s undergraduate research involved regular visits to the Advanced Photon Source at the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, a 30-minute drive from the University of Chicago.

    Her work at the synchrotron there – a machine that creates high-intensity x-rays from an accelerated beam of electrons traveling around a large ring – helped pioneer the application of a technique known as x-ray tomography or Micro-CT to investigate rocks and crystals in 3D. Now, it’s a critical tool in her wheelhouse.

    “We’re basically doing CAT scans like they would do at a hospital, but on a rock or crystal instead of a person. The technique enables us to look inside a material and get three-dimensional data without having to destroy the sample,” she said. “It allows us to see things inside of rocks and crystals and get really precise constraints on textures – shapes, sizes, and positions – of things we see in ways that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do using more traditional techniques.”

    Paying it forward

    With these increasingly sophisticated toolsets, more of Earth’s history can be revealed. And, Pamukçu hopes, more students will find their way to the Earth sciences.

    For her, that journey involved exploring several of her passions. When it was time to graduate high school, Pamukçu was nearly as interested in cooking and archaeology as she was in rocks and minerals. After deciding to keep her kitchen experiments casual, she took a similar approach to learning about rocks: Before committing to life in academia, she followed her curiosity.

    In high school, she had an opportunity to work in a fluorite mine for a summer. As an undergrad, she got involved in research on magmas in her department and did research on the crystallization of rubies in Myanmar during a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the American Museum of Natural History. Finally, when a Fulbright grant brought her to Turkey, Pamukçu explored the intersection of archaeology and geology for a year.

    “They were all awesome experiences that did and continue to influence and shape me,” she said, “but I ultimately decided that I wanted to pursue graduate school in geology because there was just still so much more about magmas and minerals that I wanted to learn.”

    Pamukçu wants other people to see what geology has to offer and for kids enamored with rocks and minerals to keep at it. So, she is involved with several programs aimed at exposing a diversity of students to geology, including Skype a Scientist, Letters to a Pre-Scientist, the Bay Area Science Festival, and the Sustainability Undergraduate Research in Geoscience and Engineering Program (SURGE).

    “I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by an enormous diversity of people who exposed me to so much,” Pamukçu said, “In turn, I want to expose as many people as I can to the excitement that rocks can bring.”

    She also sees opportunities for students already studying disciplines like computer science, chemistry, materials science, and biology to find intersections with geology. “One of the things I love about geology is that it’s an applied science. We can take fundamentals from fields like physics and chemistry and biology and apply them to understand Earth’s past and get ideas about what might happen to the Earth in the future,” she said.

    “We go out to the field, we do experiments in the laboratory, we use instruments to analyze materials from the macro to micro scale, we do things with computers like image processing and numerical models. There’s a place for every type of interest in this realm of research and we can collaborate with such a wide variety of people – I want students to see that.”

    Science paper:
    Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 2020

    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:

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  • richardmitnick 12:46 pm on January 16, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , "Surprise magma chamber growing under Mediterranean volcano", , , Geology, ,   

    From The American Geophysical Union Via “phys.org” : “Surprise magma chamber growing under Mediterranean volcano” 

    AGU bloc

    From The American Geophysical Union



    Kirsten Steinke

    Submarine volcanic activity along a section of the Kolumbo crater on the seafloor, observed with SANTORY monitoring equipment. Credit: SANTORY.

    Using a novel imaging technique for volcanoes that produces high-resolution pictures of seismic wave properties, a new study reveals a large, previously undetected body of mobile magma underneath Kolumbo, an active submarine volcano near Santorini, Greece. The presence of the magma chamber increases the chances of a future eruption, prompting the researchers to recommend real-time hazard monitoring stations near other active submarine volcanoes to improve estimations of when an eruption might be likely to occur.

    Nearly four hundred years ago, in 1650 C.E., Kolumbo breached the sea surface and erupted, killing 70 people in Santorini. This eruption, not to be confused with the catastrophic Thera (Santorini) volcanic eruption that occurred around 1600 B.C.E., was triggered by growing magma reservoirs beneath the surface of Kolumbo. Now researchers say the molten rock in the chamber is reaching a similar volume.

    The study, published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems [below], was the first to use full-waveform inversion seismic imaging to look for changes in magmatic activity beneath the surface of submarine volcanoes along the Hellenic Arc, where Kolumbo is located.

    Full-waveform inversion technology is applied to seismic profiles—recordings of ground motions along kilometers-long lines—and assesses differences in wave velocities that may indicate subsurface anomalies. The study showed that full-waveform inversion technology can be used in volcanic regions to find potential locations, sizes and melt rates of mobile magma bodies. Seismic profiles were constructed after the researchers fired air-gun shots from aboard a research vessel cruising over the volcanic region, triggering seismic waves that were recorded by ocean bottom seismometers located along the arc.

    “Full-waveform inversion is similar to a medical ultrasound,” said M. Paulatto, a volcanologist at Imperial College London and second author of the study. “It uses sound waves to construct an image of the underground structure of a volcano.”

    According to the study, a significantly decreased velocity of seismic waves that travel beneath the seafloor indicates the presence of a mobile magma chamber underneath Kolumbo. The characteristics of the wave anomalies were used to develop a better idea of the potential hazards the magma chamber may present.

    According to Kajetan Chrapkiewicz, geophysicist at Imperial College London and lead author of the study, existing data for submarine volcanoes in the region were sparse and blurry, but the dense array of seismic profiles and full-waveform inversion has allowed them to obtain much sharper images than before. These were used to identify a large magma chamber that has been growing at an average rate of roughly 4 million cubic meters per year since Kolumbo’s last eruption in 1650 C.E.

    The total volume of melt that has accumulated in the magma reservoir beneath Kolumbo is 1.4 cubic kilometers, the study found. According to Chrapkiewicz, if the current rate of magma chamber growth continues, sometime in the next 150 years Kolumbo could reach the 2 cubic kilometers of melt volume that was estimated to be ejected during the 1650 C.E. eruption. Although volcanic melt volumes can be estimated, there is no way to tell for sure when Kolumbo will erupt next.

    Data-misfit across iterations. (a) Objective function defined as L2-norm misfit of normalized waveforms, averaged over ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs), shown as a black line between 1 gray bounds; stations 177 and 178 with the largest misfit, along with a more typical station 105, are highlighted in color; inset: phase residual of four OBSs (annotated stars) at 3 Hz for starting (top) and final (bottom) model. (b) Observed versus synthetic waveforms at OBS 105, line 27 for starting (top) and final (bottom) model; reduction velocity on the vertical axis is 5 km/s. Credit: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (2022).

    Preparing for submarine explosive events

    The characteristics of the magmatic system at Kolumbo indicates a highly explosive eruption, similar but of a lesser magnitude than the recent Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption in the future, according to the study’s authors. Although danger doesn’t appear to be imminent, an explosion at the Kolumbo volcano could be more disastrous than the Tongan eruption due to its proximity to the population center of Santorini, Greece, located only 7 kilometers (4 miles) from the volcano.

    Kolumbo is found in a relatively shallow part of the Mediterranean Sea at around 500 meters (1600 feet) deep, which according to current estimations, is likely to enhance its explosivity. A tsunami and an eruptive column tens of kilometers high with large amounts of ashfall are predicted to occur when Kolumbo erupts.

    Jens Karstens, a geophysicist at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel who was not involved in the study, underscored the importance of the recent findings. “With studies like this, we can learn more about how volcanic structures work, what to expect and where to expect it, and can use that to design monitoring systems for underwater volcanoes.”

    The study adds to the growing knowledge base of Kolumbo—the most active submarine volcano in the Mediterranean—and the hazards it poses. According to the researchers, full-waveform inversion technology can be used to identify similar magma reservoirs hiding beneath other active submarine volcanoes, but it can be a spatially restrictive and time-consuming process that would be best used in combination with other techniques, such as volcanic sediment drilling and seismographic monitoring, to help form a better idea of what’s really going on under submarine volcanoes.

    Over the last several years, an international team of scientists has been working on establishing SANTORini’s seafloor volcanic observatorY, or SANTORY, a seafloor observatory outfitted with scientific instruments that will be able to measure progressions in Kolumbo’s volcanic activity. SANTORY is still under development, but according to Chrapkiewicz, it is a good example of what a submarine volcanic monitoring station can potentially look like.

    As Paulatto points out, there are more land-based monitoring stations for continental volcanoes than there are for submarine volcanoes. Monitoring volcanic activity underneath the ocean surface is more complicated and expensive than it is on land. However, that doesn’t make it less important, Paulatto said. The researchers hope that this study, in combination with the data collected by SANTORY and the International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 398 sediment drilling cruise, will help convince policymakers of the critical importance for real-time monitoring stations on submarine volcanoes.

    “We need better data on what’s actually beneath these volcanoes,” Chrapkiewicz said. “Continuous monitoring systems would allow us to have a better estimation of when an eruption might occur. With these systems, we would likely know about an eruption a few days before it happens, and people would be able to evacuate and stay safe.”

    Science paper:
    Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

    See the full post here .

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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The purpose of the The American Geophysical Union is to promote discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity.

    To achieve this mission, AGU identified the following core values and behaviors.

    Core Principles

    As an organization, AGU holds a set of guiding core values:

    The scientific method
    The generation and dissemination of scientific knowledge
    Open exchange of ideas and information
    Diversity of backgrounds, scientific ideas and approaches
    Benefit of science for a sustainable future
    International and interdisciplinary cooperation
    Equality and inclusiveness
    An active role in educating and nurturing the next generation of scientists
    An engaged membership
    Unselfish cooperation in research
    Excellence and integrity in everything we do

    When we are at our best as an organization, we embody these values in our behavior as follows:

    We advance Earth and space science by catalyzing and supporting the efforts of individual scientists within and outside the membership.
    As a learned society, we serve the public good by fostering quality in the Earth and space science and by publishing the results of research.
    We welcome all in academic, government, industry and other venues who share our interests in understanding the Earth, planets and their space environment, or who seek to apply this knowledge to solving problems facing society.
    Our scientific mission transcends national boundaries.
    Individual scientists worldwide are equals in all AGU activities.
    Cooperative activities with partner societies of all sizes worldwide enhance the resources of all, increase the visibility of Earth and space science, and serve individual scientists, students, and the public.
    We are our members.
    Dedicated volunteers represent an essential ingredient of every program.
    AGU staff work flexibly and responsively in partnership with volunteers to achieve our goals and objectives.

  • richardmitnick 9:54 am on January 16, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Looking back at the eruption that shook the world", , , Geology, Hunga Tonga eruption, ,   

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU): “Looking back at the eruption that shook the world” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)


    One year ago, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted, causing widespread destruction to the Pacific Island Nation of Tonga, spewing volcanic material up to 58 km into the atmosphere. It brought a nearly 15 m tsunami that crashed ashore, destroying villages, and creating a sonic boom that rippled around the world – twice. Satellites orbiting Earth scrambled to capture images and data of the aftermath of the disaster. Almost a year later, you can now listen to a sonification of the largest eruption of the 21st Century, created using wind data from ESA’s Aeolus mission. © Jamie Perera/Midjourney.

    One year ago, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted, causing widespread destruction to the Pacific Island Nation of Tonga, spewing volcanic material up to 58 km into the atmosphere. It brought a nearly 15 m tsunami that crashed ashore, destroying villages, and creating a sonic boom that rippled around the world – twice.

    Fig. 1: Evolution of Hunga volcanic cloud top height (CTH) on the day of eruption (15 January 2022).
    [a] CTH time evolution from stereoscopic retrieval using Himawary-8 and GOES-17 geostationary imagers. [b] Hovmoller diagram of the maximum CTH (note the inverted time axis). Superimposed lines are color-coded by altitude and represent linear trajectories released from the volcano location at different heights indicated in the panel. The circles color-coded by altitude indicate the detections of water vapour and aerosol plumes respectively by MLS and CALIOP (see panel e). The black-encountered circles indicate the detection of hydrated layers by COSMIC-2 (see panel d). Note the color correspondence between the trajectories and downwind detections of the plume confirming the CTH retrieval. [c] Temperature and zonal wind profiles averaged over 5° × 5° box centered at the volcano location from European Center of Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). [d] water vapour profiles inside the volcanic plume (locations shown in panel b) retrieved from COSMIC-2 radio occultations (using ECMWF temperature) and the corresponding saturation mixing ratio profiles (black dashed lines) from ECMWF analysis. The dashed black curves provide an approximate range of uncertainty from the median of the retrievals ±3 standard deviations on the day before the eruption (January 14). [e] Latitude-altitude cross section of water vapour from MLS (color map) and depolarization ratio from CALIOP (contours, first contour is 0.05, interval is 0.05, last contour is 0.25). The time and longitude of MLS and CALIOP plume measurements are given in panel b.

    Satellites orbiting Earth scrambled to capture images and data of the aftermath of the disaster. Almost a year later, you can now listen to a sonification of the largest eruption of the 21st Century, created using wind data from ESA’s Aeolus mission.

    The volcano had erupted sporadically since 2009, but activity ramped up in late December 2021 as a series of eruptions sent bursts of volcanic gases spewing from the vent. The intense series of explosions began on 15 January 2022 and generated atmospheric shock waves, sonic booms and tsunami waves that travelled across the world. It also created a massive plume of water vapour that shot into Earth’s stratosphere – enough to fill more than 58 000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

    Several Earth-observing satellites collected data before, during and after the eruption. Scientists working on the Aeolus Data Science Innovation Cluster used data from ESA’s Aeolus mission to track the volcanic explosion, thanks to near-real time data from the Aeolus Virtual Research Environment.

    In an interview with Wild Alchemy, ESA’s Tommaso Parrinello commented, “One of the most impressive aspects of the Aeolus mission is how quickly the data is with scientists – almost all of it in less than three hours. The data is displayed on a beautiful and user-friendly interface virtual research environment, called ViRES, from which we can easily detect trends.

    With the Hunga Tonga eruption, the plume essentially blocked the satellite signal in the area of the eruption as they were injected into the otherwise ‘clean’ upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.”

    Tonga volcanic ash plume leaves its mark in Aeolus data. Credit: ESA.

    A huge blip, or drop, in the Aeolus signal over the region of the eruption suggested the plume of volcanic ash must have reached an altitude above the range of Aeolus. The range of the Aeolus measurements was raised from 21 km to 30 km later on in January 2022, after which the satellite’s cloud observations clearly reflected the location of the ash plume in the stratosphere.

    Tommaso explains, “Adjusting the satellite’s range slightly, added to its global coverage, meant our colleagues at European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts were able to track the transport of this plume as it travelled west in almost-real time. Thanks to the sensitivity of Aeolus to the volcanic particles, it was possible to see the effects even some months later.”

    In a recent paper published in Communications Earth & Environment [below], a team of scientists showed the unprecedented increase in the global stratospheric water mass by 13% (relative to climatological levels) and a five-fold increase of stratospheric aerosol load – the highest in the last three decades.

    Using a combination of satellite data, including data from ESA’s Aeolus satellite, and ground-based observations, the team found that due to the extreme altitude, the volcanic plume circumnavigated the Earth in just one week and dispersed nearly pole-to-pole in three months.

    The unique nature and magnitude of the global stratospheric perturbation by the Hunga eruption ranks it among the most remarkable natural events in the modern observation era.

    Even one year on, interest in the extraordinary explosive eruption remains. A sound artist has recently recreated the sonification of the underwater volcanic eruption using Rayleigh wind intensity signals provided by the ViRES platform.

    Using wind data obtained on one of its overpasses over the ash cloud of the Hunga Tonga explosion, Jamie Perera used an audio sample of one of the shock waves, time-stretched it into a ghostly tone, and assigned it to harmonic values transcribed from 90 Aeolus readings taken over a duration of approximately 15 minutes.

    The listener hears one reading every two seconds, in a harmonic range that spans six piano octaves, the highest of which can be heard at around 01:18 minutes when the readings show the eruption’s dust plume at its highest peak (over 20.5 km). The artistic intention behind the sonification was to evoke the otherworldly landscape of Hunga Tonga and other volcanoes.

    Jamie commented, “It was important for me to work with the sound of the Hunga Tonga shockwaves, applied to the Aeolus data. I’m curious about how listening to the data can help us explore events like this from both factual and emotional perspectives.”

    Science paper:
    Communications Earth & Environment
    See the science paper for 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

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the
    European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with The National Aeronautics and Space Agency to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.


    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization) , and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organization) . The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    ESA Infrared Space Observatory.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar Orbiter annotated.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    ESA/Huygens Probe from Cassini landed on Titan.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JP), Indian Space Research Organization (IN), the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos (RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programs include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.


    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”


    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate


    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme

    Every member country must contribute to these programs:

    Technology Development Element Program
    Science Core Technology Program
    General Study Program
    European Component Initiative


    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programs, listed according to:

    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Space Situational Awareness


    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt (DE)
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris) (FR)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres (FR)
    The University of Central Lancashire (UK)

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organization of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programs (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, The Canadian Space Agency [Agence spatiale canadienne, ASC] (CA) takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programs and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programs. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).


    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programs, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO” exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.


    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organization for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organizations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programs and to organizing their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organizations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programs. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialized in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programs with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Integral spacecraft

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization] (EU)/National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSOHO satellite. Launched in 1995.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency[La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Hubble Space Telescope

    ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization]Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Scheduled for launch in December 2021.

    Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.

    NASA ARTEMIS spacecraft depiction.

    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency[中国国家航天局] (CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside, The Russian Federal Space Agency Государственная корпорация по космической деятельности «Роскосмос»](RU) one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Bepicolumbo in flight illustration. Artist’s impression of BepiColombo – ESA’s first mission to Mercury. ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

  • richardmitnick 1:01 pm on January 12, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New Results Reveal Surprising Behavior of Minerals Deep in the Earth", A detailed new model from Caltech researchers illustrates the surprising behavior of minerals deep in the planet's interior over millions of years., , Caltech researchers illustrate the surprising behavior of minerals deep in the planet's interior over millions of years., Carrying heat throughout the planet's interior is a process called convection., , Geology, It's a deep engine that affects plate tectonics and may control volcanic activity., Many questions remain unanswered about the mechanisms that allow convection to happen., Periclase hardly deforms while the major phase of bridgmanite controls deformation in Earth's deep mantle., Scientists found that grains of periclase are actually stronger than bridgmanite., , The lower mantle is mostly made up of a magnesium silicate called bridgmanite yet also includes a small but significant amount of a magnesium oxide called periclase., The processes are actually happening in a manner completely opposite to what had been previously theorized.   

    From The California Institute of Technology: “New Results Reveal Surprising Behavior of Minerals Deep in the Earth” 

    Caltech Logo

    From The California Institute of Technology

    Robert Perkins
    (626) 395‑1862

    Boudinage in brecciated dolostone rocks of the Panamint Range (Wildrose Area, Death Valley National Park). New research shows that periclase is stronger than bridgmanite in earth’s lower mantle, analogous to boudins developing in rigid (“stronger”) rocks among less competent (“weaker”) rocks. Credit: Jennifer M. Jackson, Caltech.

    As you are reading this, more than 400 miles below you is a massive world of extreme temperatures and pressures that has been churning and evolving for longer than humans have been on the planet. Now, a detailed new model from Caltech researchers illustrates the surprising behavior of minerals deep in the planet’s interior over millions of years and shows that the processes are actually happening in a manner completely opposite to what had been previously theorized.

    The research was conducted by an international team of scientists, including Jennifer M. Jackson, William E. Leonhard Professor of Mineral Physics. A paper describing the study appears in the journal Nature [below] on January 11.

    “Despite the enormous size of the planet, the deeper parts are often overlooked because they’re literally out of reach—we can’t sample them,” Jackson says. “Additionally, these processes are so slow they seem imperceptible to us. But the flow in the lower mantle communicates with everything it touches; it’s a deep engine that affects plate tectonics and may control volcanic activity.”

    The lower mantle of the planet is solid rock, but over hundreds of millions of years it slowly oozes, like a thick caramel, carrying heat throughout the planet’s interior in a process called convection.

    Many questions remain unanswered about the mechanisms that allow this convection to happen. The extreme temperatures and pressures at the lower mantle—up to 135 gigapascals and thousands of degrees Fahrenheit—make it difficult to simulate in the laboratory. For reference, the pressure at the lower mantle is almost a thousand times the pressure at the deepest point of the ocean. Thus, while many lab experiments on mineral physics have provided hypotheses about the behavior of lower mantle rocks, the processes occurring at geologic timescales to drive the sluggish flow of lower-mantle convection have been uncertain.

    The lower mantle is mostly made up of a magnesium silicate called bridgmanite yet also includes a small but significant amount of a magnesium oxide called periclase mixed in among the bridgmanite in addition to small amounts of other minerals. Laboratory experiments had previously shown that periclase is weaker than bridgmanite and deforms more easily, but these experiments did not take into account how minerals behave on a timescale of millions of years. When incorporating these timescales into a complex computational model, Jackson and colleagues found that grains of periclase are actually stronger than the bridgmanite surrounding them.

    “We can use the analogy of boudinage in the rock record, where boudins, which is French for sausage, develop in a rigid, ‘stronger,’ rock layer among less competent, ‘weaker,’ rock,” Jackson says.

    “As another analogy, think about chunky peanut butter,” Jackson explains. “We had thought for decades that periclase was the ‘oil’ in peanut butter, and acted as the lubricant between the harder grains of bridgmanite. Based on this new study, it turns out that periclase grains act as the ‘nuts’ in chunky peanut butter. Periclase grains just go with the flow but don’t affect the viscous behavior, except in circumstances when the grains are strongly concentrated. We show that under pressure, mobility is much slower in periclase compared to bridgmanite. There is an inversion of behavior: periclase hardly deforms while the major phase of bridgmanite controls deformation in Earth’s deep mantle.”

    Understanding these extreme processes happening far below our feet is important for creating accurate four-dimensional simulations of our planet, and it helps us comprehend more about other planets as well. Thousands of exoplanets (planets outside of our solar system) have now been confirmed, and discovering more about mineral physics under extreme conditions gives new insights into the evolution of planets radically different from our own.

    The study’s first author is Patrick Cordier of the Université de Lille and Institut Universitaire de France. Additional co-authors are Karine Gouriet, Timmo Weidner, and Philippe Carrez of the Université de Lille; James Van Orman of Case Western Reserve University; and Olivier Castelnau of the Arts et Metiers Institute of Technology in Paris. Funding was provided by the European Research Council and the National Science Foundation.

    Science paper:
    See the science paper for 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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    The California Institute of Technology operates several Total Carbon Column Observing Network stations as part of an international collaborative effort of measuring greenhouse gases globally. One station is on campus.

  • richardmitnick 5:05 pm on January 8, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "University at Buffalo-led research in Death Valley suggests volcanic risk areas may be larger than previously thought", , , Findings from a study led by UB geologist Greg Valentine could lead to policy changes that help save lives and infrastructure., Geology, ,   

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY: “University at Buffalo-led research in Death Valley suggests volcanic risk areas may be larger than previously thought” 

    SUNY Buffalo

    From The University at Buffalo-SUNY

    Barbara Branning
    Media Relations
    Tel: 716-645-6969

    Findings from a study led by UB geologist Greg Valentine could lead to policy changes that help save lives and infrastructure.

    Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley National Park. Credit: The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

    A study led by University at Buffalo geologist Greg A. Valentine on the potential reach of volcanic eruptions could have significant impact on how hazard assessments are conducted in areas prone to eruptions.

    The research was first published online in the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters [below] in October.

    Valentine, PhD, UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geology in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences, led a team of colleagues from the U.S. Geological Survey and University of Otago in New Zealand.

    Many explosive eruptions are caused by interaction of hot molten rock and groundwater. These can produce ground-hugging currents of gas and particles known as pyroclastic surges. Historically, geologists have assessed the risk posed by potential pyroclastic surges as extending between .1 to 4 miles from the eruption site. In other words, people, vegetation and infrastructure located within the range – called a runout – are at significant risk.

    These projections are based upon preserved geologic deposits from previous eruptions in the volcanic field.

    However, Valentine’s research in the Ubehebe Crater in California’s Death Valley measured the surge deposits as extending nearly six miles.

    Valentine noted that this was not an unusual eruption, but its deposits have been exceptionally preserved due to the dry and vegetation-poor environment. In addition, surges from magma-water explosions are likely to be cooler than other volcanic flows, which facilitates longer surge distances.

    “Previous studies of surge runout distance had used the best data that were available at the time, which were based on deposits of volcanoes where similar eruptions occurred,” Valentine said. “Most of these used a few kilometers, but here just because of the good preservation in Death Valley, we see evidence for a wider area of impact.”

    Valentine suggests that future hazard assessments in volcanic fields allow for runout up to about 9 miles, and that civic leaders should consider that number when planning evacuations when a volcano is expected to erupt.

    Even at low flow speeds and relatively low temperatures, volcanic surges pose a risk of asphyxiation and burns for humans and animals and can damage infrastructure such as air intakes and internal combustion engines. Therefore, using more realistic estimates of the potential reach of a surge is crucial to hazard assessments and emergency planning in areas that might be subjected to such volcanic activity.

    “If you live in a large city, having a hazard that extends 10 kilometers from a crater is verry different from one that extends only 2 kilometers from the crater,” Valentine said. “The volcano could affect a much larger populated area and much more infrastructure.”

    For the study, Valentine conducted numerical simulations at UB’s Center for Computational Research.

    The work was funded by U.S. National Science Foundation Grant EAR-2035260 to Valentine, the U.S. Geological Survey, and by support from DEVORA (Determining Volcanic Risk for Auckland). Field research was conducted with permission of Death Valley National Park. 

    Science paper:
    Geophysical Research Letters
    See the science paper for instructive material with images, tables and mathematics.

    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

    SUNY Buffalo Campus

    The University at Buffalo-SUNY is a public research university with campuses in Buffalo and Amherst, New York. The university was founded in 1846 as a private medical college and merged with the State University of New York system in 1962. It is one of four university centers in the system, in addition to The University at Albany-SUNY, The University at Binghampton-SUNY , and The University at Stony Brook-SUNY . As of fall 2020, the university enrolls 32,347 students in 13 colleges, making it the largest public university in the state of New York.

    Since its founding by a group which included future United States President Millard Fillmore, the university has evolved from a small medical school to a large research university. Today, in addition to the College of Arts and Sciences, the university houses the largest state-operated medical school, dental school, education school, business school, engineering school, and pharmacy school, and is also home to SUNY’s only law school. The University at Binghampton has the largest enrollment, largest endowment, and most research funding among the universities in the SUNY system. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in over 100 areas of study, as well as 205 master’s degrees, 84 doctoral degrees, and 10 professional degrees. The University at Buffalo and The University of Virginia are the only colleges founded by United States Presidents.

    The University at Buffalo is classified as an R1 University, meaning that it engages in a very high level of research activity. In 1989, UB was elected to The Association of American Universities, a selective group of major research universities in North America. University at Buffalo’s alumni and faculty have included five Nobel laureates, five Pulitzer Prize winners, one head of government, two astronauts, three billionaires, one Academy Award winner, one Emmy Award winner, and Fulbright Scholars.

    The University at Buffalo intercollegiate athletic teams are the Bulls. They compete in Division I of the NCAA, and are members of the Mid-American Conference.

    The University at Buffalo is organized into 13 academic schools and colleges.

    The School of Architecture and Planning is the only combined architecture and urban planning school in the State University of New York system, offers the only accredited professional master’s degree in architecture, and is one of two SUNY schools that offer an accredited professional master’s degree in urban planning. In addition, the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning also awards the original undergraduate four year pre-professional degrees in architecture and environmental design in the SUNY system. Other degree programs offered by the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning include a research-oriented Master of Science in architecture with specializations in historic preservation/urban design, inclusive design, and computing and media technologies; a PhD in urban and regional planning; and, an advanced graduate certificate in historic preservation.

    The College of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1915 and is the largest and most comprehensive academic unit at University at Buffalo with 29 degree-granting departments, 16 academic programs, and 23 centers and institutes across the humanities, arts, and sciences.

    The School of Dental Medicine was founded in 1892 and offers accredited programs in DDS, oral surgery, and other oral sciences.

    The Graduate School of Education was founded in 1931 and is one of the largest graduate schools at University at Buffalo. The school has four academic departments: counseling and educational psychology, educational leadership and policy, learning and instruction, and library and information science.

    The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was founded in 1946 and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in six departments. It is the largest public school of engineering in the state of New York. University at Buffalo is the only public school in New York State to offer a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

    The School of Law was founded in 1887 and is the only law school in the SUNY system.

    The School of Management was founded in 1923 and offers AACSB-accredited undergraduate, MBA, and doctoral degrees.

    The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is the founding faculty of the University at Buffalo and began in 1846. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the biomedical and biotechnical sciences as well as an MD program and residencies.

    The School of Nursing was founded in 1936 and offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in nursing practice and patient care.

    The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences was founded in 1886, making it the second-oldest faculty at University at Buffalo and one of only two pharmacy schools in the SUNY system.

    The School of Public Health and Health Professions was founded in 2003 from the merger of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and the University at Buffalo School of Health Related Professions. The school offers a bachelor’s degree in exercise science as well as professional, master’s and PhD degrees.

    The School of Social Work offers graduate MSW and doctoral degrees in social work.

    The Roswell Park Graduate Division is an affiliated academic unit within the Graduate School of UB, in partnership with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, an independent NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Roswell Park Graduate Division offers five PhD programs and two MS programs in basic and translational biomedical research related to cancer. Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center was founded in 1898 by Dr. Roswell Park and was the world’s first cancer research institute.

    The University at Buffalo houses two New York State Centers of Excellence (out of the total 11): Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS) and Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI). Emphasis has been placed on developing a community of research scientists centered around an economic initiative to promote Buffalo and create the Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics and Life Sciences as well as other advanced biomedical and engineering disciplines.

    Total research expenditures for the fiscal year of 2017 were $401 million, ranking 59th nationally.

    SUNY’s administrative offices are in Albany, the state’s capital, with satellite offices in Manhattan and Washington, D.C.

    With 25,000 acres of land, SUNY’s largest campus is The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, which neighbors the State University of New York Upstate Medical University – the largest employer in the SUNY system with over 10,959 employees. While the SUNY system doesn’t officially recognize a flagship university, the University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University are sometimes treated as unofficial flagships.

    The State University of New York was established in 1948 by Governor Thomas E. Dewey, through legislative implementation of recommendations made by the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University (1946–1948). The commission was chaired by Owen D. Young, who was at the time Chairman of General Electric. The system was greatly expanded during the administration of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who took a personal interest in design and construction of new SUNY facilities across the state.

    Apart from units of the unrelated City University of New York (CUNY), SUNY comprises all state-supported institutions of higher education.

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