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  • richardmitnick 1:50 pm on September 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Underwater Behavior of Oil and Gas Jets and Plumes", , In deep seawater where there are conditions of high pressure and low temperature the release of hydrocarbon compounds can form natural gas hydrates., Natural seeps on the continental margins release hydrocarbons in the form of liquid oil and natural gas., NJIT -New Jersey Institute of Technology, The multiscale interaction between underwater oil and gas plumes and the environment impacts plume composition and trajectory.   

    From New Jersey Institute of Technology via Eos: “The Underwater Behavior of Oil and Gas Jets and Plumes” 

    NJIT Bloc

    From New Jersey Institute of Technology


    Eos news bloc


    Exploring how the multiscale interaction between underwater oil and gas plumes and the environment impacts plume composition and trajectory.

    Hydrocarbon plumes released to the environment manifest spontaneous changes through the formation of oil droplets and gas bubbles and the release of soluble compounds in the water column. This tank experiment is observing a flow of diesel oil blended with fluorescein dye escaping from a one-inch (2.5 centimeter) pipe at the flow of 500 liters per minute. Major advances have been made for understanding the oil/gas chemistry and physics at depth and the behavior of multiphase plumes (oil, gas, and water). Credit: study conducted by New Jersey Institute of Technology and collaborators at the Department of Interior Ohmsett facility in New Jersey.


    Michel C. Boufadel
    Scott A. Socolofsky

    Natural seeps on the continental margins release hydrocarbons in the form of liquid oil and natural gas. Hydrocarbons may also be leaked from sunken vessels and damaged pipelines. The most dramatic example of an anthropogenic hydrocarbon release in recent history is the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in the Northern Gulf of Mexico in 2010. A recent article in Reviews of Geophysics explores how hydrocarbon liquids and gases behave after being released underwater. Here, two of the authors give an overview of how oil droplets and gas bubbles move around in aquatic environments.

    How do the characteristics of hydrocarbon liquids and gases change after contact with water?

    The majority of chemical compounds in oil and gas do not dissolve in water so, once in contact with seawater they do not mix but rather break up into droplets and bubbles.

    Sequence of photos showing crude oil during release from a 1.0-centimeter pipe to evaluate the oil droplet size distribution. Credit: Study conducted by New Jersey Institute of Technology and collaborators at the Department of Interior Ohmsett facility in New Jersey.

    The sizes of droplets and bubbles depends on the balance between the destructive force of mixing energy in various compartments of the environment, particularly the release point (vent, pipe, etc..) and the resistive force mainly due to the interfacial tension between the oil and water or gas and water (the interfacial tension force is the physical factor behind the statement “oil and water do no mix”).

    The flow of gas impacts the plume and the size of the oil droplets (a) In oil-only releases, ligaments form at the interface of oil and water and they get entrained into plume and subsequently disintegrate due to turbulence within the plume. An intact core of oil exists within a few diameters of the orifice, (b) For oil and gas release, oil droplets form also in the center of the jet, especially if the flow is “churn” (where oil and gas tumble within the conduit). Credit: Boufadel et al. [2020], Figure 6.

    In deep seawater, where there are conditions of high pressure and low temperature, the release of hydrocarbon compounds can form natural gas hydrates. These are solid deposits with an ice-like crystalline structure that changes the solubility and bioavailability of the hydrated compounds.

    How do they behave as they rise through the water column?

    A large volume of hydrocarbon forms an underwater plume. As the plume rises, it entrains water in it, and eventually each individual oil droplet and gas bubble continues rising at its “terminal” velocity, which results from a balance between its buoyancy and its drag.

    During ascent, small droplets (less than 300 microns) drift with the currents, while larger ones tend to rise vertically to the surface. Droplets and bubbles lose mass as they rise due to dissolution in water.

    How far and fast can they travel in the aquatic environment?

    Gas bubbles typically rise at velocities between 10 and 30 centimeters per second, with greater speeds associated with large bubbles. Large (millimeter-scale) oil droplets rise at similar speeds of up to 20 centimeters per second; smaller oil droplets can rise very slowly while micro-scale oil droplets have hardly move upwards at all.

    The lateral transport of oil droplets and gas bubbles depend on two main factors: currents and the rise time from depth. Gas bubbles surface in minutes to hours, limiting the lateral drift to a scale of kilometers. Large oil droplets have similar rise times and lateral movements. In contrast, small oil droplets can remain sequestered in the ocean water column for long periods and be transported tens to hundreds of kilometers from the release point.

    In the case of an oil-well blowout, the collective buoyancy of the oil and gas can form a plume, which may rise at up to 1 meter per second, carrying a whole collection of gas bubbles and oil droplets collectively upward from the source. In the case of the Deepwater Horizon, the plume of oil and gas was trapped by the ocean density stratification. This created a lateral intrusion of dissolved gas, light hydrocarbons, and very small oil droplets. Larger oil droplets rose out of the intrusion layer and surfaced largely within kilometers of the blowout footprint on the water surface.

    What have been some recent advances in our understanding?

    There has been tremendous improvement in models to describe oil droplet and gas bubble formation especially at depth, as well as observations in the laboratory at the submillimeter scale to validate them. There have also been advances in “fate models” to understand the real-fluid chemistry and thermodynamics of oil and gas in the ocean water column.

    Meanwhile, new computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models for jet and plume dynamics of oil and gas in seawater have seen transformative advances.

    What are some of the unresolved questions where additional research, data or modeling is needed?

    Despite numerous laboratory and field observations of oil and gas behavior in seawater, we still lack observations of complete oil droplet size distribution or complete gas bubble size distribution from large orifices (10 centimeters or larger) under highly turbulent conditions. This is further complicated by the behavior of gas under high pressure (gas density is 1 kilogram per cubic meter at the water surface but could reach 150 kilograms per cubic meter at depth).

    As of yet, computational fluid dynamic models are unable to capture the droplet or bubble fragmentation process, which is the result of forces in various fluids interacting at the micron scale (with different equations for different fluids). In addition, the effectiveness of added dispersants is not fully quantified in the presence of three phases: water, oil, and gas.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

    NJIT campus

    Welcome to the New Jersey Institute of Technology. We’re proud of our 130 years of history, but that’s only the beginning of our story – we’ve doubled the size of our campus in the last decade, pouring millions into major new research facilities to give our students the edge they need in today’s demanding high-tech marketplace.

    NJIT offers 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in six specialized schools instructed by expert faculty, 98 percent of whom hold the highest degree in their field.

    Our academic programs are fully accredited by the appropriate accrediting boards, commissions and associations such as Middle States, ABET, and NAAB.

  • richardmitnick 12:55 pm on July 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , NJIT -New Jersey Institute of Technology   

    From Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and NJIT: “CfA Scientists and Team Take a Look Inside the Central Engine of a Solar Flare for the First Time” 

    Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

    From Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and NJIT

    July 27, 2020

    Amy Oliver
    Public Affairs
    Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
    Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory

    Observation of a large solar flare on Sept. 10, 2017 in extreme ultraviolet (grayscale background, by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory) and microwaves (red to blue indicate increasing frequencies, observed by the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array). Light orange curves are selected magnetic field lines from the matching theoretical solar eruptive flare model. The flare is driven by the eruption of a twisted magnetic flux rope (illustrated by a bundle of color curves threading the dark cavity). Microwave sources are observed throughout the region below the cavity where a large-scale reconnection current sheet — the flare’s “central engine” — is located, providing crucial measurements for its physical
    properties.Credit: NJIT-CSTR, B. Chen, S. Yu; NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory


    Scientists from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian and the New Jersey Institute of Technology today announced the first successful measurement and characterization of the “central engine” of large solar flare. The findings, published today in Nature Astronomy, reveal the source of the intense energy powering solar flares.

    According to the study—which closely examined a large solar flare accompanied by a powerful eruption captured on September 10, 2017, by the NJI’s Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA), at microwaves—the intense energy powering the flare is the result of an enormous electric current “sheet” stretching more than 40,000 kilometers—greater than the length of three Earths placed side-by-side—through the core flaring region, where opposing magnetic field lines approach, break, and reconnect.

    15 radio telescopes of NJIT Owens Valley Solar Array, near Big Pine, California, USA, Altitude 1,200 m (3,900 ft)

    “During large eruptions on the Sun, particles such as electrons can get accelerated to high energies,” said Kathy Reeves, astrophysicist, CfA, and co-author on the study. “How exactly this happens is not clearly understood, but it is thought to be related to the Sun’s magnetic field.” Bin Chen, professor of physics at NJIT and lead author on the study added, “It has long been suggested that the sudden release of magnetic energy through the reconnection current sheet is responsible for these major eruptions, yet there has been no measurement of its magnetic properties. With this study, we’ve finally measured the details of the magnetic field of a current sheet for the first time, giving us a new understanding of the central engine of the Sun’s solar flares.”

    Measurements taken during the study also indicate a magnetic, bottle-like structure located at the top of the flare’s loop-shaped base, or flare arcade, at a height of nearly 20,000 kilometers above the surface of the Sun. The study suggests that this is the primary site where a solar flare’s highly energetic electrons are trapped and accelerated to nearly the speed of light.

    “We found that there were a lot of accelerated particles just above the bright, flaring loops,” said Reeves. “The microwaves, coupled with modeling, tells us there is a minimum in the magnetic field at the location where we see the most accelerated particles, and a strong magnetic field in the linear, sheet-like structure further above the loops.”

    The sheet-like structure and the loops seem to be working in concert, with significant magnetic energy being pumped into the current sheet at an estimated rate of 10-100 billion trillion joules per second, and 99% of the flare’s relativistic electrons were observed congregating at the magnetic bottle. “While the current sheet seems to be the place where the energy is released to get the ball rolling, most of the electron acceleration appears to be occurring in this other location, the magnetic bottle,” said Dale Gary, director, EOVSA and co-author on the study. “Others have proposed such a structure in solar flares before, but we can truly see it now in the numbers.” Chen added, “What our data showed was a special location at the bottom of the current sheet—the magnetic bottle—appears to be crucial in producing or confining the relativistic electrons.”

    The study results were achieved through a combination of microwave observations from EOVSA and extreme ultra-violet imaging observations from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The observations were combined with analytical and numerical modeling—based on a 1990s theoretical model of solar flare physics—to help scientists understand the structure of the magnetic field during a large solar eruption.

    “Our model was used for computing the physics of the magnetic forces during this eruption, which manifests as a highly twisted ‘rope’ of magnetic field lines, or magnetic flux rope,” said Reeves. “It is remarkable that this complicated process can be captured by a straightforward analytical model, and that the predicted and measured magnetic fields match so well.”

    Performed by Chengcai Shen, astrophysicist, CfA, the simulations allowed the team to resolve the thin reconnection current sheet and capture it in detail. “Our simulation results match both the theoretical prediction on magnetic field configuration during a solar eruption and reproduce a set of observable features from this particular flare, including magnetic strength and plasma inflow/outflows around the reconnecting current sheet,” said Shen. “It is a powerful tool to compare theoretical expectations and observations in detail.”

    For the team, the study provides answers to long-unanswered questions about the Sun and its solar flares. “The place where all the energy is stored and released in solar flares has been invisible until now,” said Gary. “To play on a term from cosmology, it is the Sun’s ‘dark energy problem,’ and previously we’ve had to infer indirectly that the flare’s magnetic reconnection sheet existed.” For solar physics, the measurements represent a better understanding of the Sun, as well as providing a path to revealing the truth behind the current sheet, and the magnetic bottle and its role in particle acceleration. According to Chen, “There are certainly huge prospects out there for us to study that address these fundamental questions.”

    The current study builds on the team’s quantitative measurements of the evolving magnetic field strength directly follow a solar flare’s ignition, published in Science earlier this year.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Center for Astrophysics combines the resources and research facilities of the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under a single director to pursue studies of those basic physical processes that determine the nature and evolution of the universe. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution, founded in 1890. The Harvard College Observatory (HCO), founded in 1839, is a research institution of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, and provides facilities and substantial other support for teaching activities of the Department of Astronomy.

  • richardmitnick 7:32 am on January 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NJIT Scientists Measure the Evolving Energy of a Solar Flare's Explosive First Minutes", , , , , NJIT -New Jersey Institute of Technology,   

    From New Jersey Institute of Technology: “NJIT Scientists Measure the Evolving Energy of a Solar Flare’s Explosive First Minutes” 

    NJIT Bloc

    From New Jersey Institute of Technology

    January 16, 2020
    Tracey Regan

    Toward the end of 2017, a massive new region of magnetic field erupted on the Sun’s surface next to an existing sunspot. The powerful collision of magnetic energy produced a series of potent solar flares, causing turbulent space weather conditions at Earth. These were the first flares to be captured, in their moment-by-moment progression, by NJIT’s then recently opened Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA) radio telescope.

    15 radio telescopes of NJIT Owens Valley Solar Array, near Big Pine, California, USA, Altitude 1,200 m (3,900 ft)

    In research published today in the journal Science, the solar scientists who recorded those images have pinpointed for the first time ever exactly when and where the explosion released the energy that heated spewing plasma to energies equivalent to 1 billion degrees in temperature.

    With data collected in the microwave spectrum, they have been able to provide quantitative measurements of the evolving magnetic field strength directly following the flare’s ignition and have tracked its conversion into other energy forms – kinetic, thermal and superthermal – that power the flare’s explosive 5-minute trip through the corona.

    To date, these changes in the corona’s magnetic field during a flare or other large-scale eruption have been quantified only indirectly, from extrapolations, for example, of the magnetic field measured at the photosphere—the surface layer of the Sun seen in white light. These extrapolations do not permit precise measurements of the dynamic local changes of the magnetic field in the locations and at time scales short enough to characterize the flare’s energy release.

    “We have been able to pinpoint the most critical location of the magnetic energy release in the corona,” said Gregory Fleishman, a distinguished research professor of physics in NJIT’s Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research and author of the paper. “These are the first images that capture the microphysics of a flare—the detailed chain of processes that occur on small spatial and time scales that enable the energy conversion.”

    By measuring the decline in magnetic energy, and the simultaneous strength of the electric field in the region, they are able to show that the two concord with the law of energy conservation are thus able to quantify the particle acceleration that powers the solar flare, including the associated eruption and plasma heating.

    These fundamental processes are the same as those occurring in the most powerful astrophysical sources, including gamma ray bursts, as well as in laboratory experiments of interest to both basic research and the generation of practical fusion energy.

    Artist’s illustration of a bright gamma-ray burst occurring in a star-forming region. Energy from the explosion is beamed into two narrow, oppositely directed jets. NASA

    Joint European Torus, at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in the United Kingdom

    With 13 antennas working together, EOVSA takes pictures at hundreds of frequencies in the 1-18 GHz range, including optical, ultraviolet, X-rays and radio wavelengths, within a second. This enhanced ability to peer into the mechanics of flares opens new pathways to investigate the most powerful eruptions in our solar system, which are ignited by the reconnection of magnetic field lines on the Sun’s surface and powered by stored energy in its corona.

    “Microwave emission is the only mechanism that is sensitive to the coronal magnetic field environment, so the unique, high-cadence EOVSA microwave spectral observations are the key to enabling this discovery of rapid changes in the magnetic field,” noted Dale Gary, a distinguished professor of physics at NJIT, EOVSA’s director and a co-author of the paper. “The measurement is possible because the high-energy electrons traveling in the coronal magnetic field dominantly emit their magnetic-sensitive radiation in the microwave range.”

    Before EOVSA’s observations, there was no way to see the vast region of space over which high-energy particles are accelerated and then become available for further acceleration by the powerful shock waves driven by the flare eruption, which, if directed at Earth, can destroy spacecraft and endanger astronauts.

    “The connection of the flare-accelerated particles to those accelerated by shocks is an important piece in our understanding of which events are benign and which pose a serious threat,” Gary said.

    Just over two years after the expanded array began operating, it is automatically generating microwave images of the Sun and making them available to the scientific community on a day-to-day basis. As solar activity increases over the course of the 11-year solar cycle, they will be used to provide the first daily coronal magnetograms, maps of magnetic field strength 1,500 miles above the Sun’s surface.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NJIT campus

    Welcome to the New Jersey Institute of Technology. We’re proud of our 130 years of history, but that’s only the beginning of our story – we’ve doubled the size of our campus in the last decade, pouring millions into major new research facilities to give our students the edge they need in today’s demanding high-tech marketplace.

    NJIT offers 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in six specialized schools instructed by expert faculty, 98 percent of whom hold the highest degree in their field.

    Our academic programs are fully accredited by the appropriate accrediting boards, commissions and associations such as Middle States, ABET, and NAAB.

  • richardmitnick 11:27 am on November 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Images from solar observatory peel away layers of a stellar mystery", Big Bear Solar Observatory, Jets of magnetized plasma known as spicules which spurt like geysers from the sun's upper atmosphere into the corona., NJIT -New Jersey Institute of Technology, ,   

    From National Science Foundation: “Images from solar observatory peel away layers of a stellar mystery” 

    From National Science Foundation

    November 20, 2019

    Solar spicules, left to right: corona, chromosphere, photosphere and associated magnetic fields.

    Scientists discover how energy is transferred to sun’s upper atmosphere.

    NSF-funded scientists at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have shed new light on one of the central mysteries of solar physics: how energy from the sun is transferred to the star’s upper atmosphere, heating it to 1 million degrees Fahrenheit and higher in some regions, temperatures that are vastly hotter than the sun’s surface.

    With new images from the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Big Bear Solar Observatory in Big Bear, California, researchers have revealed what appears to be a likely mechanism – jets of magnetized plasma known as spicules, which spurt like geysers from the sun’s upper atmosphere into the corona.

    NJIT Big Bear Solar Observatory

    NJIT Big Bear Solar Observatory, located on the north side of Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains of southwestern San Bernardino County, California, approximately 120 kilometers east of downtown Los Angeles, Altitude 2,060 m (6,760 ft)

    In a paper published in the journal Science, the team describes the key features of jet-like spicules that are, in solar terms, small-scale plasma structures between 200 and 500 kilometers wide, which erupt continuously across the sun’s expanse. The researchers also, for the first time, show where and how the jets are generated and the paths they travel, at speeds of around 100 kilometers per second in some cases, into the corona.

    “Unprecedented high-resolution observations from Big Bear Solar Observatory’s Goode Solar Telescope clearly show that when magnetic fields with opposite polarities reconnect in the sun’s lower atmosphere, these jets of plasma are powerfully ejected,” said solar physicist Wenda Cao, the observatory’s director and a co-author of the paper.

    “Big Bear Solar Observatory currently has the world’s most powerful solar telescope in operation,” says Carrie Black, a program director in NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences. “These findings highlight the high-quality work that has been carried out at the facility for decades, and the important contributions that are expected to continue in the future.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition
    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…we are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

    We fulfill our mission chiefly by issuing limited-term grants — currently about 12,000 new awards per year, with an average duration of three years — to fund specific research proposals that have been judged the most promising by a rigorous and objective merit-review system. Most of these awards go to individuals or small groups of investigators. Others provide funding for research centers, instruments and facilities that allow scientists, engineers and students to work at the outermost frontiers of knowledge.

    NSF’s goals — discovery, learning, research infrastructure and stewardship — provide an integrated strategy to advance the frontiers of knowledge, cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce and expand the scientific literacy of all citizens, build the nation’s research capability through investments in advanced instrumentation and facilities, and support excellence in science and engineering research and education through a capable and responsive organization. We like to say that NSF is “where discoveries begin.”

    Many of the discoveries and technological advances have been truly revolutionary. In the past few decades, NSF-funded researchers have won some 236 Nobel Prizes as well as other honors too numerous to list. These pioneers have included the scientists or teams that discovered many of the fundamental particles of matter, analyzed the cosmic microwaves left over from the earliest epoch of the universe, developed carbon-14 dating of ancient artifacts, decoded the genetics of viruses, and created an entirely new state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate.

    NSF also funds equipment that is needed by scientists and engineers but is often too expensive for any one group or researcher to afford. Examples of such major research equipment include giant optical and radio telescopes, Antarctic research sites, high-end computer facilities and ultra-high-speed connections, ships for ocean research, sensitive detectors of very subtle physical phenomena and gravitational wave observatories.

    Another essential element in NSF’s mission is support for science and engineering education, from pre-K through graduate school and beyond. The research we fund is thoroughly integrated with education to help ensure that there will always be plenty of skilled people available to work in new and emerging scientific, engineering and technological fields, and plenty of capable teachers to educate the next generation.

    No single factor is more important to the intellectual and economic progress of society, and to the enhanced well-being of its citizens, than the continuous acquisition of new knowledge. NSF is proud to be a major part of that process.

    Specifically, the Foundation’s organic legislation authorizes us to engage in the following activities:

    Initiate and support, through grants and contracts, scientific and engineering research and programs to strengthen scientific and engineering research potential, and education programs at all levels, and appraise the impact of research upon industrial development and the general welfare.
    Award graduate fellowships in the sciences and in engineering.
    Foster the interchange of scientific information among scientists and engineers in the United States and foreign countries.
    Foster and support the development and use of computers and other scientific methods and technologies, primarily for research and education in the sciences.
    Evaluate the status and needs of the various sciences and engineering and take into consideration the results of this evaluation in correlating our research and educational programs with other federal and non-federal programs.
    Provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation and analysis of data on scientific and technical resources in the United States, and provide a source of information for policy formulation by other federal agencies.
    Determine the total amount of federal money received by universities and appropriate organizations for the conduct of scientific and engineering research, including both basic and applied, and construction of facilities where such research is conducted, but excluding development, and report annually thereon to the President and the Congress.
    Initiate and support specific scientific and engineering activities in connection with matters relating to international cooperation, national security and the effects of scientific and technological applications upon society.
    Initiate and support scientific and engineering research, including applied research, at academic and other nonprofit institutions and, at the direction of the President, support applied research at other organizations.
    Recommend and encourage the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of basic research and education in the sciences and engineering. Strengthen research and education innovation in the sciences and engineering, including independent research by individuals, throughout the United States.
    Support activities designed to increase the participation of women and minorities and others underrepresented in science and technology.

    At present, NSF has a total workforce of about 2,100 at its Alexandria, VA, headquarters, including approximately 1,400 career employees, 200 scientists from research institutions on temporary duty, 450 contract workers and the staff of the NSB office and the Office of the Inspector General.

    NSF is divided into the following seven directorates that support science and engineering research and education: Biological Sciences, Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, and Education and Human Resources. Each is headed by an assistant director and each is further subdivided into divisions like materials research, ocean sciences and behavioral and cognitive sciences.

    Within NSF’s Office of the Director, the Office of Integrative Activities also supports research and researchers. Other sections of NSF are devoted to financial management, award processing and monitoring, legal affairs, outreach and other functions. The Office of the Inspector General examines the foundation’s work and reports to the NSB and Congress.

    Each year, NSF supports an average of about 200,000 scientists, engineers, educators and students at universities, laboratories and field sites all over the United States and throughout the world, from Alaska to Alabama to Africa to Antarctica. You could say that NSF support goes “to the ends of the earth” to learn more about the planet and its inhabitants, and to produce fundamental discoveries that further the progress of research and lead to products and services that boost the economy and improve general health and well-being.

    As described in our strategic plan, NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences. NSF is tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in a wide range of scientific areas, from astronomy to geology to zoology. So, in addition to funding research in the traditional academic areas, the agency also supports “high risk, high pay off” ideas, novel collaborations and numerous projects that may seem like science fiction today, but which the public will take for granted tomorrow. And in every case, we ensure that research is fully integrated with education so that today’s revolutionary work will also be training tomorrow’s top scientists and engineers.

    Unlike many other federal agencies, NSF does not hire researchers or directly operate our own laboratories or similar facilities. Instead, we support scientists, engineers and educators directly through their own home institutions (typically universities and colleges). Similarly, we fund facilities and equipment such as telescopes, through cooperative agreements with research consortia that have competed successfully for limited-term management contracts.

    NSF’s job is to determine where the frontiers are, identify the leading U.S. pioneers in these fields and provide money and equipment to help them continue. The results can be transformative. For example, years before most people had heard of “nanotechnology,” NSF was supporting scientists and engineers who were learning how to detect, record and manipulate activity at the scale of individual atoms — the nanoscale. Today, scientists are adept at moving atoms around to create devices and materials with properties that are often more useful than those found in nature.

    Dozens of companies are gearing up to produce nanoscale products. NSF is funding the research projects, state-of-the-art facilities and educational opportunities that will teach new skills to the science and engineering students who will make up the nanotechnology workforce of tomorrow.

    At the same time, we are looking for the next frontier.

    NSF’s task of identifying and funding work at the frontiers of science and engineering is not a “top-down” process. NSF operates from the “bottom up,” keeping close track of research around the United States and the world, maintaining constant contact with the research community to identify ever-moving horizons of inquiry, monitoring which areas are most likely to result in spectacular progress and choosing the most promising people to conduct the research.

    NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. We do this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the U.S. The Foundation considers proposals submitted by organizations on behalf of individuals or groups for support in most fields of research. Interdisciplinary proposals also are eligible for consideration. Awardees are chosen from those who send us proposals asking for a specific amount of support for a specific project.

    Proposals may be submitted in response to the various funding opportunities that are announced on the NSF website. These funding opportunities fall into three categories — program descriptions, program announcements and program solicitations — and are the mechanisms NSF uses to generate funding requests. At any time, scientists and engineers are also welcome to send in unsolicited proposals for research and education projects, in any existing or emerging field. The Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) provides guidance on proposal preparation and submission and award management. At present, NSF receives more than 42,000 proposals per year.

    To ensure that proposals are evaluated in a fair, competitive, transparent and in-depth manner, we use a rigorous system of merit review. Nearly every proposal is evaluated by a minimum of three independent reviewers consisting of scientists, engineers and educators who do not work at NSF or for the institution that employs the proposing researchers. NSF selects the reviewers from among the national pool of experts in each field and their evaluations are confidential. On average, approximately 40,000 experts, knowledgeable about the current state of their field, give their time to serve as reviewers each year.

    The reviewer’s job is to decide which projects are of the very highest caliber. NSF’s merit review process, considered by some to be the “gold standard” of scientific review, ensures that many voices are heard and that only the best projects make it to the funding stage. An enormous amount of research, deliberation, thought and discussion goes into award decisions.

    The NSF program officer reviews the proposal and analyzes the input received from the external reviewers. After scientific, technical and programmatic review and consideration of appropriate factors, the program officer makes an “award” or “decline” recommendation to the division director. Final programmatic approval for a proposal is generally completed at NSF’s division level. A principal investigator (PI) whose proposal for NSF support has been declined will receive information and an explanation of the reason(s) for declination, along with copies of the reviews considered in making the decision. If that explanation does not satisfy the PI, he/she may request additional information from the cognizant NSF program officer or division director.

    If the program officer makes an award recommendation and the division director concurs, the recommendation is submitted to NSF’s Division of Grants and Agreements (DGA) for award processing. A DGA officer reviews the recommendation from the program division/office for business, financial and policy implications, and the processing and issuance of a grant or cooperative agreement. DGA generally makes awards to academic institutions within 30 days after the program division/office makes its recommendation.

  • richardmitnick 1:05 pm on October 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NJIT -New Jersey Institute of Technology, ,   

    From NRAO: “VLA Uses Solar Eclipse to Improve Coronal Magnetic Field Measurements” 

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    Dale E. Gary, Tim Bastian, Tony Beasley, Bin Chen, (New Jersey Institute of Technology),
    Suzanne Gurton, Jay Pasachoff (Williams College)
    Stephen White (Air Force Research Lab)


    The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), teaming with the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA) in California, captured the partial phases of the total solar eclipse that was visible across the continental U.S. on 21 August 2017.

    Ten antennas of NJIT’s 13-antenna Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA)

    The two complementary arrays provide multi-frequency images of solar active regions that can be used to measure the otherwise unknown magnetic field strength in the corona above sunspots, to compare with magnetic field measurements at the solar surface (figure, upper panel). VLA measurements taken after the eclipse at 48 frequencies from 2-8 GHz are shown in the lower panel in the figure. The frequency of the radio emission, due to electrons spiraling in the hot, magnetized coronal plasma, is proportional to magnetic field strength so that lower-frequency emission (blue contours) come from larger, weaker-field areas while higher-frequency emission (red contours) come from the stronger-field areas in the core regions of the sunspots.

    During the eclipse, the edge of the Moon (two positions, one minute apart, shown as “Lunar Limb” in the figure) covered and then later uncovered the active regions, as shown in the EOVSA eclipse movie. Using a differential technique where the radio data at one time is subtracted from another, only the narrow gap between the two lunar limb positions needs to be imaged. By using closely spaced times (e.g. 1 second), both the spatial and temporal resolutions for imaging are greatly improved. The 2017 eclipse is the first opportunity to use this technique since the completion of the VLA upgrade, with its much improved bandwidth and frequency resolution. The combined VLA and EOVSA coverage of the two active regions that were on the Sun on that day will provide new insights into the structure of the solar atmosphere above sunspots, the sites of solar flares that can directly affect the Earth.

    See the full article here .

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    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).



    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

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