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  • richardmitnick 1:53 pm on December 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Small Lakes Keep Growing Across The Planet And It's a Serious Problem", , , , , Greenhouse gases, ,   

    From The University of Copenhagen [Københavns Universitet](DK) Via “Science Alert (AU)” : “Small Lakes Keep Growing Across The Planet And It’s a Serious Problem” 

    From The University of Copenhagen [Københavns Universitet](DK)

    Via

    ScienceAlert

    “Science Alert (AU)”

    12.5.22
    David Nield

    1
    Small Lake From Above (Vitali Kasporski/Getty Images)

    A new study has revealed that small lakes on Earth have expanded considerably over the last four decades – a worrying development, considering the amount of greenhouse gases freshwater reservoirs emit.

    Between 1984 and 2019, global lake surfaces increased in size by more than 46,000 square kilometers (17,761 square miles), researchers say. That’s slightly more than the area covered by Denmark.

    Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and other gasses are constantly produced from lakes, because of the bacteria and fungi feeding at the bottom of the water, snacking on dead plants and animals that have drifted down to the lake floor.

    In total, this lake spread equates to an annual increase of carbon emissions in the region of 4.8 teragrams (or trillion grams) of CO2 – which to continue the country comparisons equals the increase in CO2 emitted by the whole of the UK in 2012.

    “There have been major and rapid changes with lakes in recent decades that affect greenhouse gas accounts, as well as ecosystems and access to water resources,” says terrestrial ecologist Jing Tang, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

    “Among other things, our newfound knowledge of the extent and dynamics of lakes allows us to better calculate their potential carbon emissions.”

    The researchers used a combination of satellite imagery and deep learning algorithms to make their assessments on lake coverage. A total of 3.4 million lakes were logged in total.

    3
    Lake coverage across the globe, over two time periods spanning 1984-2019. (Pi et al., Nature Communications, 2022).

    Smaller lakes (less than one square kilometer or 0.39 square miles) are so important to the calculation of greenhouse gases because they produce a high volume of emissions relative to their size, the team says.

    These less expansive bodies of water account for just 15 percent of the total lake coverage, yet are responsible for a 45 percent of the increase in carbon dioxide output and 59 percent of the increase in methane emissions across the 1984 to 2019 period.

    “Small lakes emit a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gasses because they typically accumulate more organic matter, which is converted into gasses,” says Tang. “And also, because they are often shallow. This makes it easier for gasses to reach the surface and up into the atmosphere.”

    “At the same time, small lakes are much more sensitive to changes in climate and weather, as well as to human disturbances. As a result, their sizes and water chemistry fluctuate greatly. Thus, while it is important to identify and map them, it is also more demanding. Fortunately, we’ve been able to do just that.”

    More than half of the increase in lake coverage over the study period is due to human activity, the researchers say – essentially, newly constructed reservoirs. The rest is mainly due to melting glaciers and thawing permafrost, caused by the warming of our planet.

    The researchers are hoping that their data will prove useful for future climate models, with a significant chunk of greenhouse gasses potentially coming from lake surfaces as more melting and warming continues.

    “Furthermore, the dataset can be used to make better estimates of water resources in freshwater lakes and to better assess the risk of flooding, as well as for better lake management – because lake area impacts biodiversity too,” says Tang.

    The research has been published in Nature Communications.
    See the science paper for instructive material with more images.

    Fig. 1: Spatial distribution of global lakes.
    2
    Lakes with maximum surface area >0.03 km^2 were mapped, showing a lake count (total number of lakes) and b lake area density (total lake area/grid area) per 1° × 1° grid cell. The longitudinal and latitudinal lake profiles summarizing (by 1°) the lake count and lake area are shown on c and d. Statistics for small (100 km^2) lakes are presented within each panel of a and b.

    Fig. 2: Lake area changes across different periods (1980–1990s, 2000s, and 2010s).
    3
    Data were aggregated into 1° × 1° grid cells. The gray areas indicate regions with insufficient satellite coverage in the early periods; these regions were excluded from the analysis. Within each panel, the changes within and outside the glacial or permafrost regions are also presented, and the contributions of natural lakes and reservoirs are illustrated.

    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”.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Copenhagen campus

    The University of Copenhagen [Københavns Universitet] (DK)] is a public research university in Copenhagen, Denmark. Founded in 1479, the University of Copenhagen is the second-oldest university in Scandinavia, and ranks as one of the top universities in the Nordic countries and Europe.

    Its establishment sanctioned by Pope Sixtus IV, the University of Copenhagen was founded by Christian I of Denmark as a Catholic teaching institution with a predominantly theological focus. After 1537, it became a Lutheran seminary under King Christian III. Up until the 18th century, the university was primarily concerned with educating clergymen. Through various reforms in the 18th and 19th century, the University of Copenhagen was transformed into a modern, secular university, with science and the humanities replacing theology as the main subjects studied and taught.

    The University of Copenhagen consists of six different faculties, with teaching taking place in its four distinct campuses, all situated in Copenhagen. The university operates 36 different departments and 122 separate research centres in Copenhagen, as well as a number of museums and botanical gardens in and outside the Danish capital. The University of Copenhagen also owns and operates multiple research stations around Denmark, with two additional ones located in Greenland. Additionally, The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and the public hospitals of the Capital and Zealand Region of Denmark constitute the conglomerate Copenhagen University Hospital.

    A number of prominent scientific theories and schools of thought are namesakes of the University of Copenhagen. The famous Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics was conceived at the Niels Bohr Institute [Niels Bohr Institutet](DK), which is part of the university. The Department of Political Science birthed the Copenhagen School of Security Studies which is also named after the university. Others include the Copenhagen School of Theology and the Copenhagen School of Linguistics.

    As of October 2020, 39 Nobel laureates and 1 Turing Award laureate have been affiliated with the University of Copenhagen as students, alumni or faculty. Alumni include one president of the United Nations General Assembly and at least 24 prime ministers of Denmark. The University of Copenhagen fosters entrepreneurship, and between 5 and 6 start-ups are founded by students, alumni or faculty members each week.

    History

    The university is a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), along with University of Cambridge (UK), Yale University, The Australian National University (AU), and University of California, Berkeley, amongst others. The 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks the University of Copenhagen as the best university in Scandinavia and 30th in the world, the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings as 120th in the world, and the 2016-2017 QS World University Rankings as 68th in the world. The university has had 9 alumni become Nobel laureates and has produced one Turing Award recipient.

    The University of Copenhagen was founded in 1479 and is the oldest university in Denmark. In 1474, Christian I of Denmark journeyed to Rome to visit Pope Sixtus IV, whom Christian I hoped to persuade into issuing a papal bull permitting the establishment of university in Denmark. Christian I failed to persuade the pope to issue the bull however and the king returned to Denmark the same year empty-handed. In 1475 Christian I’s wife Dorothea of Brandenburg Queen of Denmark made the same journey to Rome as her husband did a year before. Unlike Christian I Dorothea managed to persuade Pope Sixtus IV into issuing the papal bull. On the 19th of June, 1475 Pope Sixtus IV issued an official papal bull permitting the establishment of what was to become the University of Copenhagen.

    On the 4th of October, 1478 Christian I of Denmark issued a royal decree by which he officially established the University of Copenhagen. In this decree Christian I set down the rules and laws governing the university. The royal decree elected magistar Peder Albertsen as vice chancellor of the university and the task was his to employ various learned scholars at the new university and thereby establish its first four faculties: theology; law; medicine; and philosophy. The royal decree made the University of Copenhagen enjoy royal patronage from its very beginning. Furthermore, the university was explicitly established as an autonomous institution giving it a great degree of juridical freedom. As such the University of Copenhagen was to be administered without royal interference and it was not subject to the usual laws governing the Danish people.

    The University of Copenhagen was closed by the Church in 1531 to stop the spread of Protestantism and re-established in 1537 by King Christian III after the Lutheran Reformation and transformed into an evangelical-Lutheran seminary. Between 1675 and 1788 the university introduced the concept of degree examinations. An examination for theology was added in 1675 followed by law in 1736. By 1788 all faculties required an examination before they would issue a degree.

    In 1807 the British Bombardment of Copenhagen destroyed most of the university’s buildings. By 1836 however the new main building of the university was inaugurated amid extensive building that continued until the end of the century. The University Library (now a part of the Royal Library); the Zoological Museum; the Geological Museum; the Botanic Garden with greenhouses; and the Technical College were also established during this period.

    Between 1842 and 1850 the faculties at the university were restructured. Starting in 1842 the University Faculty of Medicine and the Academy of Surgeons merged to form the Faculty of Medical Science while in 1848 the Faculty of Law was reorganised and became the Faculty of Jurisprudence and Political Science. In 1850 the Faculty of Mathematics and Science was separated from the Faculty of Philosophy. In 1845 and 1862 Copenhagen co-hosted nordic student meetings with Lund University [Lunds universitet] (SE).

    The first female student was enrolled at the university in 1877. The university underwent explosive growth between 1960 and 1980. The number of students rose from around 6,000 in 1960 to about 26,000 in 1980 with a correspondingly large growth in the number of employees. Buildings built during this time period include the new Zoological Museum; the Hans Christian Ørsted and August Krogh Institutes; the campus centre on Amager Island; and the Panum Institute.

    The new university statute instituted in 1970 involved democratisation of the management of the university. It was modified in 1973 and subsequently applied to all higher education institutions in Denmark. The democratisation was later reversed with the 2003 university reforms. Further change in the structure of the university from 1990 to 1993 made a Bachelor’s degree programme mandatory in virtually all subjects.

    Also in 1993 the law departments broke off from the Faculty of Social Sciences to form a separate Faculty of Law. In 1994 the University of Copenhagen designated environmental studies; north–south relations; and biotechnology as areas of special priority according to its new long-term plan. Starting in 1996 and continuing to the present the university planned new buildings including for the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Humanities at Amager (Ørestaden) along with a Biotechnology Centre. By 1999 the student population had grown to exceed 35,000 resulting in the university appointing additional professors and other personnel.

    In 2003 the revised Danish university law removed faculty staff and students from the university decision process creating a top-down control structure that has been described as absolute monarchy since leaders are granted extensive powers while being appointed exclusively by higher levels in the organization.

    In 2005 the Center for Health and Society (Center for Sundhed og Samfund – CSS) opened in central Copenhagen housing the Faculty of Social Sciences and Institute of Public Health which until then had been located in various places throughout the city. In May 2006 the university announced further plans to leave many of its old buildings in the inner city of Copenhagen- an area that has been home to the university for more than 500 years. The purpose of this has been to gather the university’s many departments and faculties on three larger campuses in order to create a bigger more concentrated and modern student environment with better teaching facilities as well as to save money on rent and maintenance of the old buildings. The concentration of facilities on larger campuses also allows for more inter-disciplinary cooperation. For example the Departments of Political Science and Sociology are now located in the same facilities at CSS and can pool resources more easily.

    In January 2007 the University of Copenhagen merged with the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University and the Danish University of Pharmaceutical Science. The two universities were converted into faculties under the University of Copenhagen and were renamed as the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. In January 2012 the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the veterinary third of the Faculty of Life Sciences merged with the Faculty of Health Sciences forming the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and the other two thirds of the Faculty of Life Sciences were merged into the Faculty of Science.

    Cooperative agreements with other universities

    The university cooperates with universities around the world. In January 2006, the University of Copenhagen entered into a partnership of ten top universities, along with the Australian National University (AU), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich](CH), The National University of Singapore [Universiti Nasional Singapura] (SG), Peking University [北京大学](CN), University of California Berkeley , University of Cambridge (UK), University of Oxford (UK), University of Tokyo {東京大学](JP) and Yale University. The partnership is referred to as the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU).

    The Department of Scandinavian Studies and Linguistics at University of Copenhagen signed a cooperation agreement with the Danish Royal School of Library and Information Science in 2009.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:27 am on November 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How to choose carbon offsets that actually cut emissions", , , , , , Greenhouse gases, , The Sloan School of Management   

    From The Sloan School of Management At The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “How to choose carbon offsets that actually cut emissions” 

    From The Sloan School of Management

    At

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    11.2.22
    Betsy Vereckey

    MIT Sloan professor John Sterman unpacks the implications of companies’ net zero emissions goals and offers a framework for real impact.

    After decades of failed attempts at climate legislation, the U.S. just enacted the largest climate policy legislation in its history: a $370 billion bill designed to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and spur investment in renewable energy.

    “The Inflation Reduction Act is a solid step on our journey to zero emissions, but a lot of work remains to be done,” said John Sterman, a professor at MIT Sloan and faculty director of the MIT Climate Pathways Project.

    To avoid the worst harm from climate change, global greenhouse gas emissions must fall by nearly half by 2030 and then drop to net zero by midcentury, according to the United Nations Climate Action initiative. Hundreds of organizations and countries have jumped on the net zero bandwagon: Apple 2030. Amazon 2040. US 2050. China 2060. That’s good news, Sterman said in an interview, but because the goals are net zero and not just plain zero, they allow or even require carbon offsets.

    Offset logic goes like this: If it is cheaper for a company to buy an offset that cuts emissions somewhere else instead of in their own operations, then offsets are cost effective. However, many of the offsets being sold today are based on dubious assumptions and can make climate change worse, Sterman said. In a recent op-ed in MarketWatch, he described a simple framework that companies and consumers can use to ensure that any offset they buy actually cuts emissions.

    Sterman calls his framework AVID+. To truly offset their emissions, companies must ensure any offsets they buy are Additional, Verifiable, Immediate, and Durable — and, if all four of these requirements are met, then firms should favor offsets that also help meet other societal goals such as creating good jobs, improving health, and fostering social justice (the “plus” of AVID+). Here are details.

    Additional: Offsets must reduce emissions that would not otherwise be cut. Saving part of a forest, for example, isn’t additional if other trees are cut down instead, nor is using a Power Purchase Agreement to invest in a solar farm that’s already permitted and produces power cheaper than a nearby coal plant. Because it has such low costs and risk, the farm’s capacity would likely be sold to other parties, so the investment doesn’t reduce emissions below what they would be without your action.

    Verifiable: You must be able to verify that emissions actually fall. If you’re going to plant trees, you have to verify that they were actually planted and that they will survive for decades to come. If you fund efficient, low-emission cook stoves for the rural poor in the developing world, you have to verify that they are actually delivered, kept in working condition, and used.

    Immediate: Every company and investor knows the time value of money: A dollar today is worth more than a dollar in 2050 because of the interest you can earn. In the same way, there’s a time value of carbon: Your flight today dumps carbon dioxide into the atmosphere right now, worsening climate change from this day forth. Saplings planted today won’t grow large enough to offset today’s emissions for decades, nor will investments in speculative technologies like nuclear fusion or direct air capture, even if they eventually become viable.

    Durable: Carbon dioxide emissions stay in the atmosphere for a century or more, so you must offset an equivalent amount of emissions for at least that long. Trees planted today are more likely to succumb to wildfire, disease, pests, or extreme weather as the world warms, and do not provide durable carbon storage.

    + (Plus): Offsets should multisolve — they should advance other goals such as job creation, poverty reduction, health care, and social justice, in addition to their climate benefits.

    2
    Credit: John Sterman at MIT Sloan.

    The AVID+ criteria are simple, but satisfying them is not easy. All four must be met. Fail on any one, and a proposed offset won’t actually reduce emissions much, if at all, Sterman said. Buying offsets that fail the AVID+ test wastes resources you could use to actually cut your emissions, making climate change worse. And buying offsets that aren’t AVID+ exposes you to well-justified accusations of greenwashing, risking your reputation and potentially alienating customers, communities, and capital markets.

    Recognizing that there aren’t perfect offsets, what might qualify? Deep energy retrofits and rooftop solar for low-income housing can be AVID+:

    “Few low-income households can finance the work themselves, and since most renters pay their utility bills, their landlords lack the incentive,” Sterman said. “Such retrofits are therefore additional. The energy savings are verifiable from utility bills. Projects take about a year, so emissions reductions are nearly immediate. Good retrofits can significantly extend building life, so benefits are durable. Plus, retrofits create jobs, reduce energy bills, and improve health.”

    Startups BlocPower and Midday Tech are good examples, he said.

    Of course, planting trees, funding efficient cook stoves, and similar actions can generate other benefits, and some companies and individuals may choose to invest in them. But if an action fails any of the AVID criteria, you cannot legitimately claim that these investments offset your own emissions, according to Sterman.

    Some companies are stepping up to the challenge. Walmart, for example, is the first U.S. retailer to make a zero emissions commitment that does not rely on carbon offsets, though its pledge does not (yet) apply to their supply chain, he said.

    “The best way to reach net zero is still just to reach zero: Cutting emissions in the first place,” Sterman said.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The MIT Sloan School of Management is the business school of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT Sloan offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, as well as executive education. Its degree programs are among the most selective in the world. MIT Sloan emphasizes innovation in practice and research. Many influential ideas in management and finance originated at the school, including the Black–Scholes model, the Solow–Swan model, the random walk hypothesis, the binomial options pricing model, and the field of system dynamics. The faculty has included numerous Nobel laureates in economics and John Bates Clark Medal winners.

    The MIT Sloan School of Management began in 1914 as the engineering administration curriculum (“Course 15”) in the MIT Department of Economics and Statistics. The scope and depth of this educational focus grew steadily in response to advances in the theory and practice of management.

    A program offering a master’s degree in management was established in 1925. The world’s first university-based mid-career education program—the Sloan Fellows program—was created in 1931 under the sponsorship of Alfred P. Sloan, himself an 1895 MIT graduate, who was the chief executive officer of General Motors and has since been credited with creating the modern corporation. An Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant established the MIT School of Industrial Management in 1952 with the charge of educating the “ideal manager”. In 1964, the school was renamed in Sloan’s honor as the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management. In the following decades, the school grew to the point that in 2000, management became the second-largest undergraduate major at MIT. In 2005, an undergraduate minor in management was opened to 100 students each year. In 2014, the school celebrated 100 years of management education at MIT.

    Since its founding, the school has initiated many international efforts to improve regional economies and positively shape the future of global business. In the 1960s, the school played a leading role in founding the first Indian Institute of Management. Other initiatives include the MIT-China Management Education Project, the International Faculty Fellows Program, and partnerships with IESE Business School in Spain, Sungkyunkwan University [ 성균관대학교](KR), NOVA University Lisbon [Universidade NOVA de Lisboa](PT), The SKOLKOVO School of Management [Moskovskaya Shkola Upravleniya Skolkovo](RU), and The Tsinghua University [清华大学](CN). In 2014, the school launched the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), which brings leaders from developing regions to MIT for two years to improve their economies. In 2015, MIT worked in collaboration with the Central Bank of Malaysia to establish The Asia School of Business MBA Malaysia [亞洲商學院](MY).

    MIT Campus

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

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

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

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

    Foundation and vision

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

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

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

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

    Early developments

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

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

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

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

    Curricular reforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Recent history

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 9:58 am on November 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Methane research takes on new urgency at MIT", , Associate Professor Desiree Plata, , , , Greenhouse gases, Methane assists in the creation of high levels of ozone., Methane [CH4] does more damage than carbon dioxide [CO2] no matter how long you run the clock., Methane-related projects at the Plata Lab include a filter made of zeolite designed to convert methane into CO2 at dairy farms and coal mines., Recent studies show that humans are generating far more methane emissions than previously estimated., The goal of MIT Methane Network is to reduce methane emissions by 45 percent by 2030.,   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Methane research takes on new urgency at MIT” – Associate Professor Desiree Plata 

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    11.2.22
    Eric Brown | MIT Industrial Liaison Program

    Desiree Plata’s research focuses on developing technologies and strategies for environmental sustainability.

    1
    “The goal of MIT Methane Network is to reduce methane emissions by 45 percent by 2030, which would save up to 0.5 degree C of warming by 2100,” says Associate Professor Desiree Plata. “When you consider that governments are trying for a 1.5-degree reduction of all GHGs by 2100, this is a big deal.” Photo: David Sella.

    One of the most notable climate change provisions in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act is the first U.S. federal tax on a greenhouse gas (GHG). That the fee targets methane (CH4), rather than carbon dioxide (CO2), emissions is indicative of the urgency the scientific community has placed on reducing this short-lived but powerful gas. Methane persists in the air about 12 years — compared to more than 1,000 years for CO2 — yet it immediately causes about 120 times more warming upon release. The gas is responsible for at least a quarter of today’s gross warming.

    “Methane has a disproportionate effect on near-term warming,” says Desiree Plata, the director of MIT Methane Network. “CH4 does more damage than CO2 no matter how long you run the clock. By removing methane, we could potentially avoid critical climate tipping points.”

    Because GHGs have a runaway effect on climate, reductions made now will have a far greater impact than the same reductions made in the future. Cutting methane emissions will slow the thawing of permafrost, which could otherwise lead to massive methane releases, as well as reduce increasing emissions from wetlands.

    “The goal of MIT Methane Network is to reduce methane emissions by 45 percent by 2030, which would save up to 0.5 degree C of warming by 2100,” says Plata, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at MIT and director of the Plata Lab. “When you consider that governments are trying for a 1.5-degree reduction of all GHGs by 2100, this is a big deal.”

    Under normal concentrations, methane, like CO2, poses no health risks. Yet methane assists in the creation of high levels of ozone. In the lower atmosphere, ozone is a key component of air pollution, which leads to “higher rates of asthma and increased emergency room visits,” says Plata.

    Methane-related projects at the Plata Lab include a filter made of zeolite — the same clay-like material used in cat litter — designed to convert methane into CO2 at dairy farms and coal mines. At first glance, the technology would appear to be a bit of a hard sell, since it converts one GHG into another. Yet the zeolite filter’s low carbon and dollar costs, combined with the disproportionate warming impact of methane, make it a potential game-changer.

    The sense of urgency about methane has been amplified by recent studies that show humans are generating far more methane emissions than previously estimated, and that the rates are rising rapidly. Exactly how much methane is in the air is uncertain. Current methods for measuring atmospheric methane, such as ground, drone, and satellite sensors, “are not readily abundant and do not always agree with each other,” says Plata.

    The Plata Lab is collaborating with Tim Swager in the MIT Department of Chemistry to develop low-cost methane sensors. “We are developing chemiresisitive sensors that cost about a dollar that you could place near energy infrastructure to back-calculate where leaks are coming from,” says Plata.

    The researchers are working on improving the accuracy of the sensors using machine learning techniques and are planning to integrate internet-of-things technology to transmit alerts. Plata and Swager are not alone in focusing on data collection: the Inflation Reduction Act adds significant funding for methane sensor research.

    Other research at the Plata Lab includes the development of nanomaterials and heterogeneous catalysis techniques for environmental applications. The lab also explores mitigation solutions for industrial waste, particularly those related to the energy transition. Plata is the co-founder of an lithium-ion battery recycling startup called Nth Cycle.

    On a more fundamental level, the Plata Lab is exploring how to develop products with environmental and social sustainability in mind. “Our overarching mission is to change the way that we invent materials and processes so that environmental objectives are incorporated along with traditional performance and cost metrics,” says Plata. “It is important to do that rigorous assessment early in the design process.”


    Desiree Plata.

    MIT amps up methane research

    The MIT Methane Network brings together 26 researchers from MIT along with representatives of other institutions “that are dedicated to the idea that we can reduce methane levels in our lifetime,” says Plata. The organization supports research such as Plata’s zeolite and sensor projects, as well as designing pipeline-fixing robots, developing methane-based fuels for clean hydrogen, and researching the capture and conversion of methane into liquid chemical precursors for pharmaceuticals and plastics. Other members are researching policies to encourage more sustainable agriculture and land use, as well as methane-related social justice initiatives.

    “Methane is an especially difficult problem because it comes from all over the place,” says Plata. A recent Global Carbon Project study estimated that half of methane emissions are caused by humans. This is led by waste and agriculture (28 percent), including cow and sheep belching, rice paddies, and landfills.

    Fossil fuels represent 18 percent of the total budget. Of this, about 63 percent is derived from oil and gas production and pipelines, 33 percent from coal mining activities, and 5 percent from industry and transportation. Human-caused biomass burning, primarily from slash-and-burn agriculture, emits about 4 percent of the global total.

    The other half of the methane budget includes natural methane emissions from wetlands (20 percent) and other natural sources (30 percent). The latter includes permafrost melting and natural biomass burning, such as forest fires started by lightning.

    With increases in global warming and population, the line between anthropogenic and natural causes is getting fuzzier. “Human activities are accelerating natural emissions,” says Plata. “Climate change increases the release of methane from wetlands and permafrost and leads to larger forest and peat fires.”

    The calculations can get complicated. For example, wetlands provide benefits from CO2 capture, biological diversity, and sea level rise resiliency that more than compensate for methane releases. Meanwhile, draining swamps for development increases emissions.

    Over 100 nations have signed onto the U.N.’s Global Methane Pledge to reduce at least 30 percent of anthropogenic emissions within the next 10 years. The U.N. report estimates that this goal can be achieved using proven technologies and that about 60 percent of these reductions can be accomplished at low cost.

    Much of the savings would come from greater efficiencies in fossil fuel extraction, processing, and delivery. The methane fees in the Inflation Reduction Act are primarily focused on encouraging fossil fuel companies to accelerate ongoing efforts to cap old wells, flare off excess emissions, and tighten pipeline connections.

    Fossil fuel companies have already made far greater pledges to reduce methane than they have with CO2, which is central to their business. This is due, in part, to the potential savings, as well as in preparation for methane regulations expected from the Environmental Protection Agency in late 2022. The regulations build upon existing EPA oversight of drilling operations, and will likely be exempt from the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that limits the federal government’s ability to regulate GHGs.

    Zeolite filter targets methane in dairy and coal

    The “low-hanging fruit” of gas stream mitigation addresses most of the 20 percent of total methane emissions in which the gas is released in sufficiently high concentrations for flaring. Plata’s zeolite filter aims to address the thornier challenge of reducing the 80 percent of non-flammable dilute emissions.

    Plata found inspiration in decades-old catalysis research for turning methane into methanol. One strategy has been to use an abundant, low-cost aluminosilicate clay called zeolite.

    “The methanol creation process is challenging because you need to separate a liquid, and it has very low efficiency,” says Plata. “Yet zeolite can be very efficient at converting methane into CO2, and it is much easier because it does not require liquid separation. Converting methane to CO2 sounds like a bad thing, but there is a major anti-warming benefit. And because methane is much more dilute than CO2, the relative CO2 contribution is minuscule.”

    Using zeolite to create methanol requires highly concentrated methane, high temperatures and pressures, and industrial processing conditions. Yet Plata’s process, which dopes the zeolite with copper, operates in the presence of oxygen at much lower temperatures under typical pressures. “We let the methane proceed the way it wants from a thermodynamic perspective from methane to methanol down to CO2,” says Plata.

    Researchers around the world are working on other dilute methane removal technologies. Projects include spraying iron salt aerosols into sea air where they react with natural chlorine or bromine radicals, thereby capturing methane. Most of these geoengineering solutions, however, are difficult to measure and would require massive scale to make a difference.

    Plata is focusing her zeolite filters on environments where concentrations are high, but not so high as to be flammable. “We are trying to scale zeolite into filters that you could snap onto the side of a cross-ventilation fan in a dairy barn or in a ventilation air shaft in a coal mine,” says Plata. “For every packet of air we bring in, we take a lot of methane out, so we get more bang for our buck.”

    The major challenge is creating a filter that can handle high flow rates without getting clogged or falling apart. Dairy barn air handlers can push air at up to 5,000 cubic feet per minute and coal mine handlers can approach 500,000 CFM.

    Plata is exploring engineering options including fluidized bed reactors with floating catalyst particles. Another filter solution, based in part on catalytic converters, features “higher-order geometric structures where you have a porous material with a long path length where the gas can interact with the catalyst,” says Plata. “This avoids the challenge with fluidized beds of containing catalyst particles in the reactor. Instead, they are fixed within a structured material.”

    Competing technologies for removing methane from mine shafts “operate at temperatures of 1,000 to 1,200 degrees C, requiring a lot of energy and risking explosion,” says Plata. “Our technology avoids safety concerns by operating at 300 to 400 degrees C. It reduces energy use and provides more tractable deployment costs.”

    Potentially, energy and dollar costs could be further reduced in coal mines by capturing the heat generated by the conversion process. “In coal mines, you have enrichments above a half-percent methane, but below the 4 percent flammability threshold,” says Plata. “The excess heat from the process could be used to generate electricity using off-the-shelf converters.”

    Plata’s dairy barn research is funded by the Gerstner Family Foundation and the coal mining project by the U.S. Department of Energy. “The DOE would like us to spin out the technology for scale-up within three years,” says Plata. “We cannot guarantee we will hit that goal, but we are trying to develop this as quickly as possible. Our society needs to start reducing methane emissions now.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

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

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

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

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

    Foundation and vision

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

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

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

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

    Early developments

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

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

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

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

    Curricular reforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Recent history

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 8:43 am on November 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A neat way to store and purify hydrogen", , , , , Greenhouse gases, Hydrogen gas is going to be an increasingly important substance over the next decade as a means of storing and transporting renewable energy., It’s not emissions-free but it is a smart way to store it., Less costly purification methods to isolate the hydrogen prior to storage are necessary., , The most common method of making hydrogen at the moment produces a lot of greenhouse gas emissions.   

    From Osaka University [大阪大学](JP) Via “COSMOS (AU)” : “A neat way to store and purify hydrogen” 

    From Osaka University [大阪大学](JP)

    Via

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    “COSMOS (AU)”

    10.30.22
    Ellen Phiddian

    It’s not emissions-free, but it is a smart way to store it.

    1
    Hoshimoto’s concept art for the researchers’ new reaction. The lion – boranes and 2-methylquinoline – finds and holds the hydrogen molecules. Credit: Y. Hoshimoto.

    Hydrogen gas is going to be an increasingly important substance over the next decade, as a means of storing and transporting renewable energy.

    But hydrogen itself is hard to store and transport: as a flammable, invisible gas, it could make for dangerous cargo.

    And the most common method of making it at the moment produces a lot of greenhouse gas emissions.

    New research, published in Science Advances [below], might have landed on both an easier way to store it – and a cheaper and less carbon-intensive way to make it.

    The researchers, at Osaka University in Japan, have found some substances that react with hydrogen, and only hydrogen – so they can store and release the gas with ease.


    Cosmos Shorts: What is green hydrogen and the hydrogen rainbow?

    Currently, most commercial hydrogen is made from steam-reforming natural (methane) gas, producing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the process.

    The hydrogen made by this method is only about 70% pure: it also contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases, each of which have to be removed individually through laborious, energy-intensive ways.

    “Even a small amount of carbon monoxide can hinder hydrogen uptake,” says corresponding author Associate Professor Yoichi Hoshimoto, from Osaka University’s Department of Applied Chemistry.

    “Thus, costly purification methods to isolate the hydrogen prior to storage are necessary.”

    The Osaka research has found that boron-based compounds called triaryl boranes could catalyze a reaction between hydrogen and another substance called 2-methylquinoline, causing the hydrogen to stick to the 2-methylquinoline.

    2
    The shortcut this work takes: carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are still released to make crude hydrogen, but it can then be purified more easily. Credit: Y. Hoshimoto.

    When heated at 200°C for three hours, the 2-methylquinoline released the hydrogen again.

    The resulting method is a 99% efficient way to store hydrogen, and releases hydrogen with 99.9% purity.

    3
    The reaction: borane-catalysed hydrogenation of 2-methylquinoline. After heating, the hydrogen is released again. Credit: Y. Hoshimoto.

    This method still produces some carbon emissions in its first stage – unlike electrolysis, which can be a near zero-emissions way of making hydrogen.

    But this chemical trick could help boost the industry in its nascency, and provide a neat storage method.

    “The industrial value of molecular hydrogen has long been plagued by substantial quantities of carbon monoxide and other contaminants,” says Hoshimoto.

    “However, in the catalytic hydrogenation method we developed, even a five-fold excess of a contaminant wasn’t a problem, and hydrogen uptake and release were each achieved without using any solvents.”

    Boron is being recognized for its gas storage potential around the world – a few months ago, Australian researchers showed [Materials Today (below)] it could store and separate carbon-based gases too.

    Science papers:
    Science Advances
    See this above science paper for detailed material with images.
    Materials Today

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Osaka University [大阪大学](JP) is a public research university located in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. It was one of Imperial Universities in Japan, one of the Designated National University and selected as a Top Type university of Top Global University Project by the Japanese government. It is usually ranked among the top three public universities in Japan, along with The University of Tokyo[(東京大] (JP) and Kyoto University [京都大学](JP).

    It is ranked third overall among Japanese universities and 71st worldwide in the 2020 QS World University Rankings. Thomson Reuters, in its “World’s Most Innovative Universities” ranking ranked Osaka University as the 18th in the world and 1st in Japan.

    Osaka University was the sixth modern university in Japan at its founding in 1931. However, the history of the institution includes much older predecessors in Osaka such as the Kaitokudō founded in 1724 and the Tekijuku founded in 1838. Numerous prominent scholars and scientists have attended or worked at Osaka University, such as Nobel Laureate in Physics Hideki Yukawa, manga artist Osamu Tezuka, Lasker Award winner Hidesaburō Hanafusa, author Ryōtarō Shiba, and discoverer of regulatory T cells Shimon Sakaguchi.

    Osaka University’s English-medium degree programs attract international students from all over the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:10 am on October 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Coronas" create large amounts of atmospheric chemicals that could impact air quality around forests., "Electric Discharge From Plants May Be Changing Air Quality in Ways We Didn't Expect", , , , , , Greenhouse gases, , The hydroxyl radical initiates important chemical reactions in the atmosphere that clean the air of greenhouse gases like methane but also produce ozone and aerosol particle pollution., The hydroxyl radical is the atmosphere’s most important cleanser., , The team found that "coronas" generate extreme amounts of the hydroxyl radical — OH — and the hydroperoxyl radical — HO2., There are about two trillion trees in areas where thunderstorms are most likely to occur globally and there are 1800 thunderstorms going on at any given time., When thunderstorms rumble overhead weak electrical discharges — called "corona" — can occur on tree leaves.   

    From The Pennsylvania State University: “Electric discharges on leaves during thunderstorms may impact nearby air quality” 

    Penn State Bloc

    From The Pennsylvania State University

    10.18.22
    Matthew Carroll

    1
    Weak electrical discharges, called corona, can form on tree leaves during thunderstorms Credit: Penn State . All Rights Reserved.

    When thunderstorms rumble overhead, weak electrical discharges — called “corona” — can occur on tree leaves. A new study found coronas create large amounts of atmospheric chemicals that could impact air quality around forests, according to a team of Penn State scientists.

    “While little is known about how widespread these discharges are, we estimate that coronas generated on trees under thunderstorms could have substantial impacts on the surrounding air,” said Jena Jenkins, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science at Penn State.

    Conditions during thunderstorms that produce lightning also create electric fields between clouds and the ground. Tall, sharply pointed objects, like leaves high in trees, enhance the electric field even further, and can lead to electrical breakdowns — or coronas, the scientists said.

    “There are about two trillion trees in areas where thunderstorms are most likely to occur globally and there are 1,800 thunderstorms going on at any given time,” Jenkins said. “This is definitely a process that’s going on all the time and based on the calculations we’ve been able to do so far, we think this can affect air quality in and around forests and trees.”

    The team found that “coronas” generate extreme amounts of the hydroxyl radical — OH — and the hydroperoxyl radical — HO2. The hydroxyl radical initiates important chemical reactions in the atmosphere that clean the air of greenhouse gases like methane but also produce ozone and aerosol particle pollution, the scientists said.

    Corona-generated OH may increase around trees during thunderstorms by 100 to 1,000 times the typical amounts, the scientists reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres [below].

    And because OH reacts with hydrocarbons naturally emitted by leaves to produce ozone and particulate matter, these spikes in OH levels could impact air quality, the scientists said.

    “The hydroxyl radical contributes to the total atmospheric oxidation of many atmospheric pollutants, including the greenhouse gas methane, improving air quality, and slowing climate change. However, these reactions can also lead to the formation of ozone and small aerosol particles, negatively affecting air quality and climate,” said Willian Brune, distinguished professor of meteorology at Penn State. “So understanding all the potential sources of OH is important for predicting future air quality and climate.”

    The work builds on a previous study led by Brune that found lightning and subvisible discharges in storm clouds during thunderstorms represent a potentially significant source of global OH, accounting for as much as 2 to 16 % of global atmospheric OH chemistry.

    “Even though the charge generated by the corona was weaker than the sparks and lightning we looked at before, we still saw extreme amounts of this hydroxy radical being made,” Jenkins said.

    The scientists conducted laboratory tests on leaves from eight tree species under various conditions, including wetting the leaves to simulate rain.

    They found a strong correlation between OH and HO2 generated by corona discharges across the tree species and UV radiation produced by the discharges. This may be useful in conducting future research in the field, the scientists said, as equipment to measure UV radiation is more practical for field work.

    Further field studies may help scientists better understand how many coronas form during thunderstorms, how long they last and how factors like wind influence the process. This work may help improve our understanding of air quality impacts on forests, the scientists said.

    “The hydroxyl radical is the atmosphere’s most important cleanser, so having a better accounting of where this stuff is being made can give us a more complete understanding of what’s happening in the atmosphere,” Jenkins said. “And thunderstorms may be happening more frequently with the changing climate. So these are good reasons to keep exploring and understanding these processes.”

    Other Penn State researchers on this project were David O. Miller, assistant research professor, Patrick McFarland, graduate student and Gabrielle Olson, undergraduate student.

    The National Science Foundation supported this research.

    Science paper:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

    Research

    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 11:55 am on October 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Satellites detect methane plume in Nord Stream leak", A suite of complementary Earth observation satellites carrying optical and radar imaging instruments were called upon to characterize the gas leak bubbling in the Baltic., , , , , Following unusual seismic disturbances in the Baltic Sea several leaks were discovered last week in the underwater Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines near Denmark and Sweden., Greenhouse gases,   

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU): “Satellites detect methane plume in Nord Stream leak” 

    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)

    10.6.22

    1
    Nord Stream leak as captured by Pléiades Neo.

    Following unusual seismic disturbances in the Baltic Sea, several leaks were discovered last week in the underwater Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines near Denmark and Sweden. Neither pipeline was transporting gas at the time of the blasts, but they still contained pressurised methane – the main component of natural gas – which spewed out producing a wide stream of bubbles on the sea surface.

    With the unexplained gas release posing a serious question about the incident’s environmental impact, a suite of complementary Earth observation satellites carrying optical and radar imaging instruments were called upon to characterize the gas leak bubbling in the Baltic.

    Although methane partly dissolves in water, released later as carbon dioxide, it is not toxic, but it is the second most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas in our atmosphere causing climate change.

    As the pressurized gas leaked through the broken pipe and travelled rapidly towards the sea surface, the size of the gas bubbles increased as the pressure reduced. On reaching the surface, the large gas bubbles disrupted the sea surface above the location of the pipeline rupture. The signature of the gas bubbling at the sea surface can be seen from space in several ways.

    Owing to the persistent cloud cover over the area, image acquisitions from optical satellites proved extremely difficult. High-resolution images captured by Pléiades Neo and Planet, both part of ESA’s Third Party Mission Programme, showed the disturbance ranging from 500 to 700 m across the sea surface.

    Several days later, a significant reduction in the estimated diameter of the methane disturbance was witnessed as the pipelines’ gas emptied. Images captured by Copernicus Sentinel-2 and US Landsat 8 mission confirmed this.

    As disturbances such as these cause a ‘roughening’ of the sea surface, this increases the backscatter observed by Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instruments, which are extremely sensitive to changes in the sea surface at such a scale. These include instruments onboard the Copernicus Sentinel-1 and ICEYE constellation – the first New Space company to join the Copernicus Contributing Missions fleet.

    ESA’s Scientist for Ocean and Ice, Craig Donlon, said, “The power of active microwave radar instruments is that they can monitor the ocean surface signatures of bubbling methane through clouds over a wide swath and at a high spatial resolution overcoming one of the major limitations to optical instruments. This allows for a more complete picture of the disaster and its associated event-timing to be established.”

    One of the ruptures occurred southeast of the Danish Island of Bornholm. Images from Sentinel-1 on 24 September showed no disturbance to the water. However, an ICEYE satellite passing over the area on the evening of 28 September acquired an image showing a disturbance to the sea surface above the rupture.

    3
    ICEYE image from 28 September.

    What about the methane released?

    Although optical satellites can provide us with the radius of the methane bubbling over water, they provide little information on how much methane has been released into the atmosphere.

    Monitoring methane over water is extremely difficult as water absorbs most of the sunlight in the shortwave infrared wavelengths used for methane remote sensing. This limits the amount of light reaching the sensor, thus making it extremely difficult to measure methane concentrations over the sea at high latitudes.

    4
    Gas leak detected by GHGSat satellite.

    5
    GHGSat satellite.

    GHGSat, a leader in methane emissions monitoring from space and also part of ESA’s Third Party Mission Programme, tasked its satellites to measure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline leak with its constellation of high-resolution (around 25 m) satellites. By tasking its satellites to obtain measurements at larger viewing angles, GHGSat were able to target the area where the sun’s light reflected the strongest off the sea surface – known as the ‘glint spot’.

    On 30 September, the estimated emission rate derived from its first methane concentration measurement was 79 000 kg per hour – making it the largest methane leak ever detected by GHGSat from a single point-source. This rate is extremely high, especially considering its four days following the initial breach, and this is only one of four rupture points in the pipeline.

    GHGSat Director for Europe, Adina Gillespie, said, “Predictably, the media and the world have turned to space to understand the scale of the Nord Stream industrial disaster. While we await further investigation on the cause, GHGSat responded quickly, measuring 79 000 kg per hour of methane coming from the leaks. We will continue tasking GHGSat satellites for the Nord Stream sites until we no longer detect emissions.”

    Claus Zehner, Copernicus Sentinel-5P, Altius and Flex Missions Manager, mentions: “Besides GHGSat, the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite provided methane concentration measurements emitted by this pipeline leak which highlights the feasibility to use both public funded and commercial satellites in a synergistic way.”

    6
    Gas leak detected by Copernicus Sentinel-2.

    Environmental impact

    Although closed at the time, the two Nord Stream stems contained enough gas to release 300 000 tonnes of methane – more than twice the amount released by the Aliso Canyon leak in California over several months in 2015-16.

    As large as it may be, the Nord Stream release pales in comparison with the 80 million tonnes emitted each year by the oil and gas industry. The latest release is roughly equivalent to one and a half days of global methane emissions.

    Methane observations from the Sentinel-5P satellite can observe regions with enhanced methane concentrations from strong point sources all over the world.

    Satellite observations are a powerful tool for improving estimates of emission strength, seeing how they change over time and can also help detect previously unknown emission sources.

    Looking ahead, the upcoming atmospheric Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring mission (CO2M) will carry a near-infrared spectrometer to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide, but also methane, at a good spatial resolution. This mission will provide the EU with a unique and independent source of information to assess the effectiveness of policy measures, and to track their impact towards decarbonizing Europe and meeting national emission reduction targets.

    Yasjka Meijer, ESA’s Scientist for Copernicus Atmospheric Missions, commented, “The CO2M Mission will provide global coverage and has a special mode above water to increase observed radiances by looking toward the sunglint spot, however it will be equally limited by clouds.”

    See the full article here .


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


    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.

    Foundation

    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.

    Mission

    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.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

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

    Programs

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme
    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programs:

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

    Optional

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

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    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
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    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.

    Canada
    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).

    Enlargement

    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.

    History

    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 3:36 pm on June 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Physicists Set their Sights on Curbing US Methane Emissions", , , , Greenhouse gases, ,   

    From “Physics” : “Physicists Set their Sights on Curbing US Methane Emissions” 

    About Physics

    From “Physics”

    June 22, 2022
    Katherine Wright

    In a report published today, physicists make recommendations for ways to improve the monitoring of industrial methane emissions, something they say could have a significant impact on climate change.

    1
    A third of methane emissions comes from the oil and gas industry. Researchers have highlighted ways for better tracking this greenhouse gas. Leonid Ikan/stock.adobe.com.

    While human-created carbon dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere, anthropogenic methane is the most potent, causing at least 0.5 °C (1 °F) of the increase in Earth’s surface temperature since the late 19th century. Despite methane’s role in global warming, it has received less attention in efforts to curb climate change. Hoping to alter that, William Collins of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California, and his colleagues pinpoint large gaps in the monitoring, detection, and mitigation of methane emissions from oil and gas operations in the US [1]. In their new report, they say that the impact of filling those gaps could be seen within a few decades. Reducing methane is really the “low hanging fruit” for altering the course of climate change, Collins says. “It’s a way of achieving a win for the climate with relatively little pain.”

    Today, the US emits over 5000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (the unit used to measure greenhouse gas emission). Of that, methane emissions account for over 600 million metric tons. While that value is down about 17% since 1990, “humanity has still managed to equal Mother Nature in terms of methane emissions, which is not a particularly great accomplishment,” Collins says.

    Roughly one third of the world’s methane comes from the oil and gas sector. This methane is emitted by, among other things, natural gas burning during oil extraction and leaky infrastructure. A large fraction of this unwanted methane (about 90%) is released by a relatively small fraction of the sources (about 10%), Collins says—a statistic confirmed by others. “Internal company data show that just a few massive methane leaks can account for most or all of the methane that a company reports,” said US Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (Oregon), who spoke at a recent hearing in Washington D.C. on detecting and quantifying methane emissions.

    While this situation sounds alarming, scientists and policy makers think that it should be possible to make a significant dent on methane output with relatively little effort. “We don’t need to eliminate every scintilla of methane emissions,” Collins says. “Stemming the biggest leaks will deal with the majority of the problem.”

    Reducing these leaks could have a relatively immediate impact on Earth’s rising temperature trend. Methane molecules survive for only 12 years in the atmosphere, a tiny fraction of the time that carbon dioxide spends circulating (scientists estimate that it takes 300 to 1000 years for an emitted carbon dioxide molecule to be chemically “locked away” in the ocean or rocks). The comparatively short lifetime of methane means that the effects of curbing this gas could be seen in less than a generation. “Global temperatures in 2050 could be reduced by 0.5 °F if methane emissions are cut in half by 2030,” said David Lyon, a senior scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund who also spoke at the D.C. methane hearing.

    Methane is beginning to be targeted by government initiatives, such as President Biden’s 2021 Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan and the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference’s Global Methane Pledge, in which 113 countries (US included) signed on to reduce methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030. Spurred by these efforts, Collins and his colleagues lay out the actions they think are needed to make a real dent in how much of this gas is spewed into the atmosphere. The team highlights three key scientific issues to address: improving the detection of methane emission sources, ramping up the sensitivity of methane detectors, and bettering modeling of methane’s interaction with sunlight.

    2
    The methane molecule has a tetrahedral structure with four hydrogen atoms arranged around a central carbon atom. This geometry produces a complex set of interactions with light. vchalup/stock.adobe.com

    Relative to carbon dioxide, methane’s interaction with sunlight is less well understood because of its more complex geometry. Carbon dioxide has a symmetrical structure with the two oxygen atoms bonding on opposite sides of a central carbon atom. When light interacts with the molecule, it can spin like a barbell or stretch its bonds a little, but not much else happens. That simple response makes carbon dioxide’s absorption spectrum relatively easy to model. The same cannot be said for methane.

    Methane has a pyramidal structure, with its four hydrogen atoms bonding to the central carbon atom at angles of about 109°. That structure means that there is a “gigantic” number of ways that light interactions can rotate and vibrate the molecule, giving it an extremely rich absorption spectrum, Collins says. Scientists only have detailed information on about 40% of methane’s absorption spectrum at solar wavelengths, he adds.

    The absence of detailed information makes it difficult to accurately monitor Earth’s methane sources. A common monitoring method is to use satellites, which simultaneously collect absorption spectra of all the atmosphere’s atoms and molecules. To help isolate the methane signal in the satellite data, Collins and his colleagues call for improved measurements of methane’s absorption spectrum. These spectral observations will also aid in reducing uncertainties in climate models. “Because carbon dioxide has been so exhaustively characterized, existing uncertainties in its spectrum lead to uncertainties in the predicted greenhouse effect of less than 1%. That is not the case for methane, where the uncertainties are considerably higher,” Collins says.

    Closer to home, ground- or air-based observations at individual oil and gas facilities are also lacking, and when they are made, the data can be heavily guarded, “Some [oil and gas] operators treat data…like they are protecting gold bars stored at Fort Knox,” says Dirk Richter, an applied scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder who works in high-precision gas sensing. Richter designs and makes continuous methane monitors—he is the CEO of the manufacturing company Quanta3—and he thinks that the data these monitors collect should be made public. Collins and his colleagues agree. For that reason, they also call for the building of a national methane data repository that would be accessible to the global climate community. Environmentally conscious consumers might also be interested to see which companies are making efforts to lower methane emissions, Lyon says.

    Collins, his colleagues, and others, argue that filling the gaps in monitoring, detecting, and mitigating methane likely can’t be done with existing devices. “New and innovative technologies really are the key to detecting and [reducing] methane as quickly as possible,” said US Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (Texas) at the D.C. meeting. Others aren’t so convinced. “It is a bit counterproductive to continuously call for more research funds to develop potentially even more expensive monitoring technologies,” Richter says. “The technology is ready. Many different “flavors” are available today and ready to be mass deployed.”

    [1] PRX Energy 1, 017001 (2022).

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Physicists are drowning in a flood of research papers in their own fields and coping with an even larger deluge in other areas of physics. How can an active researcher stay informed about the most important developments in physics? Physics highlights a selection of papers from the Physical Review journals. In consultation with expert scientists, the editors choose these papers for their importance and/or intrinsic interest. To highlight these papers, Physics features three kinds of articles: Viewpoints are commentaries written by active researchers, who are asked to explain the results to physicists in other subfields. Focus stories are written by professional science writers in a journalistic style and are intended to be accessible to students and non-experts. Synopses are brief editor-written summaries. Physics News provides a much-needed guide to the best in physics, and we welcome your comments.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:45 am on February 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Congo tropical forest is simply different", , , , Climate Change; Global Warming; Carbon capture, , , Greenhouse gases, The scientists determined how much methane and nitrous oxide the tropical forest of the Congo Basin absorbs or releases., , This study shows for the first time that the gas fluxes of the tropical forests of the Congo Basin differ from those of other tropical regions of the world., To understand why the Congo Basin forest behaves differently with respect to these climate gases the researchers looked into the soil.   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “The Congo tropical forest is simply different” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    07.02.2022
    Peter Rüegg

    Until now, research assumed that the vast forest area of the Congo Basin, like other tropical forests, releases large amounts of nitrous oxide and binds methane. Researchers at ETH Zürich have now shown that it behaves differently: methane is released, while nitrous oxide emissions are smaller than thought.

    1
    A small tributary to the Congo River in the so-​called Cuvette Centrale, a large depression of the Congo Basin characterized by swamps and wetlands. Photograph: M. Barthel / ETH Zürich.

    2
    Credit: ETH Zürich.

    The Congo Basin is the second largest contiguous tropical forest area on earth. Even though it is so vast and plays such a major role in the global climate system, there is no empirical data on the forest’s gas exchange with the atmosphere. Especially with regard to the greenhouse gases nitrous oxide and methane, research is still in the dark.

    Other tropical forests are known to be a major source of nitrous oxide and a sink for methane. But because comparable data are lacking for the Congo, the study of how these greenhouse gases behave there has so far been limited to modelling . The data used for the models comes from the Amazon, Indonesia and the tropical part of Australia; thus scientists assumed until today that the Congo Basin behaved similarly to these other tropical forests.

    Now, an international research team led by ETH Professor Johan Six has partly filled this blank spot. In an elaborate and difficult measurement campaign lasting several years, the scientists determined how much methane and nitrous oxide the tropical forest of the Congo Basin absorbs or releases. Their study – one of the first available on the subject for that part of the world – has just been published in the journal Nature Communications.

    Between 2016 and 2020, the researchers measured gas fluxes at multiple sites in three different forest types in the Congo Basin. The forest types studied include montane forest, lowland tropical forest and periodically flooded swamp forest.

    Divergent gas fluxes

    This shows for the first time that the gas fluxes of the tropical forests of the Congo Basin differ from those of other tropical regions of the world. For example, nitrous oxide emissions from the forest are comparatively low. “This was unexpected,” says Matti Barthel, a research associate with Six and the study’s lead author. “Our measurements from both the first short measurement campaigns and subsequent long-​term studies didn’t confirm the model assumptions,” he says.

    The situation is different for methane. According to the models, the Congo Basin should be a methane sink. The ETH researchers were able to confirm this for the montane and lowland tropical forests. However, because the much smaller swamp forests of the Congo Basin periodically emit enormous amounts of this greenhouse gas, the Congolese tropical forest as a whole seem to be a source of methane. During the rainy season, swamp forests emit up to 1,500 times more methane than during the dry season, negating the sink capacity of the other two forest types.

    To understand why the Congo Basin forest behaves differently with respect to these climate gases the researchers “looked into the soil,” as Six says. In one study, they studied microorganisms and their functions, and for another, the isotopic composition of the nitrogen in the nitrous oxide. Both studies suggest that soil microbes convert most nitrous oxide to gaseous nitrogen (N2) in order to generate energy for their metabolism. This removes this potent greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. N2 itself is harmless – it makes up 80 percent of the atmosphere.

    Research under different conditions

    For this study, the ETH researchers conducted the first ever gas measurements in the Congo Basin. “Africa is underrepresented in such climate gas measurements, and the Congo Basin is particularly poorly researched,” Barthel says. To his knowledge, there is only one study for this area, dating from 1963, by Belgian researchers. Not only did research in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, collapse almost completely after Mobutu took power, but the huge equatorial country is still rather poorly accessible and its infrastructure is in a parlous state.

    Professor Six began the preliminary work for this study in 2008/09, taking part in two expeditions to the Congo River. Given the results from these two expeditions, he asked Barthel to study the flow of gas from this tropical forest – a missing piece in the global carbon cycle puzzle. Barthel conducted initial measurements in 2016 as part of a two-​month scouting expedition. This expedition took him to the Kivu region in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The data analyses showed him that surprisingly little nitrous oxide was escaping into the atmosphere from the montane forest.

    Permanent observations carried out for the first time

    In subsequent years, Barthel and local scientists set up two permanent monitoring stations, one in the region around Kisangani, the other in Kahuzi-​Biéga National Park, eastern Congo. There, gas exchange between the atmosphere and the ground was then measured during several 7- to 14-​day measurement campaigns throughout the year.

    From 2019 to 2020, the researchers operated an additional measurement station in the western part of the country, in the swamp forests of what is known as the Cuvette Centrale. “Methane emissions there were exorbitant at times,” Barthel says. These swamp forests occupy only about 7 percent of the total tropical forest area in the Congo Basin, but emit such a large amount of methane that it more than compensates for the negative emissions of the rest of the forest, the researcher says.

    “During the first scouting expedition, we quickly realised that we wouldn’t be able to use high-​tech measuring equipment,” Barthel says, adding that the general supply situation is too poor, with no way to obtain spare parts if anything broke. The power supply is also not stable, he says, “so we worked with devices that are as easy to use, reliable and robust as possible, and that can run on batteries.”

    Not a single probe was lost

    Researchers from local universities supervised the measuring stations. Local employees also took gas samples, filled them into vials and sent them to Zürich for laboratory analysis. Of the more than 6,500 samples, not a single one was broken or lost during transport. “That’s almost a miracle, because often the cardboard boxes in which the tubes were sent on their journey definitely looked the worse for wear” the ETH researcher says with a smile.

    Despite all the difficulties and imponderables, Six’s group will continue their exciting and urgently needed research in the Congo Basin. Six himself, together with Belgian colleagues and Jordon Hemingway from ETH’s Department of Earth Sciences, will study, through funding from the SNF Sinergia programme, the carbon cycle of the Kasaï River in the Congo Basin during expeditions in the summer of 2022 and winter of 2023. Barthel, who has now travelled to the Congo six times, will also be part of the team again. The researchers are particularly interested in the behaviour of carbon that is introduced into the river system and its floodplains due to soil erosion and flooding.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische Schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische Schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

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

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US) and University of Cambridge(UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US), California Institute of Technology(US), Princeton University(US), University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE ExcellenceRanking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London(UK) and the University of Cambridge(UK), respectively.

     
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