Tagged: NSF Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 5:32 pm on March 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "College of Science experiences boom in sponsored research", Analysis of galaxies over the full COSMOS 2 square degree field using archival spectroscopic data., , , , Construction of a pulsar interstellar medium array detector., Modeling light echoes from hot dust in the broad line region in active galactic nuclei., NSF, RIT sees success in well-established areas like imaging science; color science; and astrophysical sciences and also in emerging areas: mathematical modeling; optics; STEM education; and biotech., Rochester Institute of Technology(US), Solar cell research, , The Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science brought in the largest portion of last year’s funding—$7.3 million up from $4.6 million in 2018-2019., The College of Science as a whole received more than $15.6 million in grants for research- up more than $5 million from the year before.   

    From Rochester Institute of Technology(US): “College of Science experiences boom in sponsored research” 

    From Rochester Institute of Technology(US)

    January 15, 2021 [Where has this great news been hidden up until now?]
    Luke Auburn
    luke.auburn@rit.edu

    1
    Moumita Das, an associate professor in RIT’s School of Physics and Astronomy, received an NSF grant to better understand the fundamental rules that allow bacteria to compartmentalize the functions within their cells. Credit: A. Sue Weisler.

    Moumita Das, an associate professor in RIT’s School of Physics and Astronomy, received an NSF grant to better understand the fundamental rules that allow bacteria to compartmentalize the functions within their cells.[Not exactly Physics or Astronomy, but don’t give the money back.]

    Associate Professor Moumita Das is using data-driven mathematical modeling informed by state-of-the-art experiments to better understand the fundamental rules that allow bacteria to compartmentalize the functions within their cells.

    Cells use compartmentalization to create spatial organization, allowing them to carry out biochemical processes and control biomolecular structures. While compartmentalization within cells is often facilitated by membranes, bacteria do not typically contain membrane-enclosed organelles and instead rely on alternate mechanisms such as phase separation. The cytoplasm within bacteria cells consists of mixtures of complex, structured fluids.

    “The main goal is to gain an understanding of how the phenomena of phase separation helps bacteria with compartmentalization, organization, and bacterial function, but also connecting genotype to phenotype,” said Das. “We want to see how chromosomes in bacteria organize, and what are the consequences in terms of bacterial functions and properties. Doing a map of that is important.”

    Das received a $559,000 NSF grant to work on the project, collaborating with biology researchers from the University of Rochester(US).

    She said that many of the outstanding questions in biology require input from quantitative disciplines like physics and that the next generation of researchers needs to be comfort­able working in multiple fields.

    Das was one of several School of Physics and Astronomy faculty who secured large grants as principal investigators during a banner summer. Five of her colleagues from the school received grants of $200,000 or more during that time.

    Professor Scott Franklin received a three-year, $587,000 NSF Building Capacity in STEM Education Research grant; Professor Seth Hubbard received nearly $200,000 to develop low cost, high-efficiency solar cells; Assistant Professor Jeyhan Kartaltepe received $444,000 from NSF to perform an in-depth analysis of galaxies over the full COSMOS 2 square degree field using archival spectroscopic data; Assistant Professor Michael Lam secured a $347,000 award to construct a pulsar interstellar medium array detector; and Andrew Robinson, director of the astrophysical sciences and technology Ph.D. program, received $371,000 from NSF to model light echoes from hot dust in the broad line region in active galactic nuclei.

    The College of Science as a whole is coming off a record year in sponsored research. In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the college received more than $15.6 million in grants for research- up more than $5 million from the year before.

    The Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science brought in the largest portion of last year’s funding—$7.3 million up from $4.6 million in 2018-2019.

    “The growth we’ve experienced in research funding is a testament to the quality of work of our faculty, students, and staff,” said Sophia Maggelakis, dean of the College of Science. “We are seeing success not only in our well-established strong areas like imaging science, color science, and astrophysical sciences, but also in emerging areas including mathematical modeling, optics, STEM education, and biotechnology.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Rochester Institute of Technology(RIT)(US) is a private doctoral university within the town of Henrietta in the Rochester, New York metropolitan area.

    RIT is composed of nine academic colleges, including National Technical Institute for the Deaf(RIT)(US). The Institute is one of only a small number of engineering institutes in the State of New York, including New York Institute of Technology, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute(US). It is most widely known for its fine arts, computing, engineering, and imaging science programs; several fine arts programs routinely rank in the national “Top 10” according to US News & World Report.

    The Institute as it is known today began as a result of an 1891 merger between Rochester Athenæum, a literary society founded in 1829 by Colonel Nathaniel Rochester and associates, and Mechanics Institute, a Rochester institute of practical technical training for local residents founded in 1885 by a consortium of local businessmen including Captain Henry Lomb, co-founder of Bausch & Lomb. The name of the merged institution at the time was called Rochester Athenæum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). In 1944, the school changed its name to Rochester Institute of Technology and it became a full-fledged research university.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:59 pm on January 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New Space Telescope Will Reveal Unseen Dynamic Lives of Galaxies", , , , , , NSF, , The Aspera mission, The first-ever direct observations of a portion of the circumgalactic medium-low-density gas that permeate and surround individual galaxies some cases bridging large distances across the universe.,   

    From University of Arizona: “New Space Telescope Will Reveal Unseen Dynamic Lives of Galaxies” 

    From University of Arizona

    1.7.21

    Daniel Stolte
    Science Writer, University Communications
    stolte@arizona.edu
    520-626-4402

    Carlos Vargas
    Postdoctoral Researcher
    University of Arizona
    Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory
    cjvargas90@gmail.com

    NASA has selected Carlos Vargas, a postdoctoral researcher in UArizona’s Steward Observatory, to lead a $20 million mission to build a space telescope that will map vast regions of star-forming gas that have eluded observation for decades.

    1
    Located 12 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major, Messier 82, or the “Cigar Galaxy,” is known for its intense rate of star formation. Vast regions of gas provide the fuel from which new stars are born. The Aspera mission will send a small telescope into space to map the distribution of some of this gas and help answer fundamental questions about how galaxies evolve. Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: J. Gallagher (University of Wisconsin); M. Mountain (STScI); and P. Puxley (NSF)

    NASA has selected the University of Arizona to lead one of its four inaugural Astrophysics Pioneers missions. With a $20 million cost cap, the Aspera mission will study galaxy evolution with a space telescope barely larger than a mini fridge. The telescope will allow researchers to observe galaxy processes that have remained hidden from view until now.

    Led by principal investigator Carlos Vargas, a postdoctoral researcher in UArizona’s Steward Observatory, the Aspera mission seeks to solve a longstanding mystery about the way galaxies form, evolve and interact with each other. Intended for launch in late 2024, the space telescope is being specifically designed to see in ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye.

    NASA chose Aspera and three other missions for further concept development in the agency’s new Pioneers Program for small-scale astrophysics missions.

    The Aspera mission’s goal is to provide the first-ever direct observations of a certain portion of the circumgalactic medium – vast “oceans” of low-density gas that permeate and surround individual galaxies and in some cases even connect them, bridging large distances across the universe.

    The familiar pictures of galaxies as luminous archipelagos floating in space, filled with millions or billions of stars, tell only a small part of their story, Vargas said.

    “As telescopes have become more sensitive and have allowed us to discover more exotic types of gases, we now realize there is tons of stuff in between galaxies that connects them,” he said. “Galaxies are undergoing this beautiful dance in which inflowing and outflowing gases balance each other.”

    2
    Led by UArizona’s Carlos Vargas and funded with $20 million from NASA, the Aspera mission will launch a space telescope about the size of a mini fridge to observe galaxy processes that have remained hidden from view until now.

    Processes such as supernova explosions blow gas out of the galaxy, and sometimes it rains back down onto the galactic disc, Vargas said.

    Previous observations of the circumgalactic medium, or CGM, revealed that it contains several different populations of gas in a wide range of densities and temperatures astronomers refer to as phases. But one of these gas phases has eluded previous attempts at studying it, and Vargas said it’s important because it is believed to host most of a galaxy’s mass.

    “There is this intermediate form we refer to as warm-hot, and that is particularly interesting because it provides the fuel for star formation,” he said. “No one has been able to successfully map its distribution and really determine what it looks like.”

    The Aspera mission is designed to home in on that missing chunk of the CGM that astronomers know must be there but haven’t been able to observe.

    “Aspera is an exciting mission because it will lead us to discover the nature of mysterious warm-hot gas around galaxies,” said Haeun Chung, a postdoctoral research associate at Steward Observatory.

    As the mission’s project scientist, Chung leads the instrument team charged with building the new space telescope.

    “Though small, Aspera is designed to detect and map faint warm-hot gas, thanks to recent technological advancements and the increased opportunity that small-sized space missions provide,” Chung said.

    Because the portion of the CGM that researchers refer to as warm-hot is thought to host the lion’s share of the mass that makes up a galaxy, it is a crucial piece of the puzzle for understanding how galaxies form and evolve, Vargas said.

    “If you care about how life evolved, you care about how galaxies evolve, because you can’t have a planet without a star, and you can’t have a star without galaxy,” he said. “These all are very interconnected.”

    The Aspera telescope will be the only instrument in space capable of observing in the ultraviolet spectrum, with the exception of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has surpassed its expected mission lifespan by many years.

    Vargas said his team chose the mission’s name, Latin for “hardship,” to highlight the extraordinary difficulties that have needed to be overcome to observe and study the CGM.

    “People have been going for this ‘missing’ gas phase for decades,” he said. “We aptly named our telescope to honor their efforts.”

    UArizona President Robert C. Robbins said the mission marks a new milestone in the university’s long history of space exploration.

    “Being selected for the first iteration of NASA’s Astrophysics Pioneers program is a testament to our excellent track record in space exploration – from providing the scientific approaches needed to tackle some of the most challenging questions in the universe, to developing innovative technology and providing successful management throughout the project,” he said.

    Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell, UArizona senior vice president for research and innovation, applauded Vargas’s leadership of the mission.

    “Dr. Vargas’s leadership on the Aspera mission reflects the excellent caliber of researchers attracted to the University of Arizona. We are particularly pleased because Dr. Vargas represents the exemplary nature of scientific inquiry at a Research 1 Hispanic-Serving Institution like the University of Arizona,” she said. “To receive this prestigious award so early in his career demonstrates Dr. Vargas’s incredible capability, and I am thrilled to see our researchers expanding our understanding of a subject as fundamental as galaxy formation and evolution.”

    Cantwell added that the newly launched University of Arizona Space Institute provided the research team with support, and it will be building support for other large and impactful space initiatives as the institute grows.

    “I’m tremendously proud to be part of a university that encourages and supports early career scientists like Carlos Vargas and Haeun Chung – both post-doctoral researchers – and the faculty members and engineers in their team, to successfully compete for ambitious missions like Aspera,” said Steward Observatory Director Buell Jannuzi.

    Aspera brings together an interdisciplinary and diverse team including researchers from Columbia University, the University of Iowa, and Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany. The UArizona team includes deputy principal investigator Erika Hamden, assistant professor of astronomy and assistant astronomer at Steward Observatory; mission manager Tom McMahon, head of Steward Observatory’s engineering group; Peter Behroozi, assistant professor of astronomy; Ewan Douglas, assistant professor of astronomy; Dennis Zaritsky, professor of astronomy and deputy director of Steward Observatory; Aafaque Raza Khan, a graduate student at Steward Observatory; Dae Wook Kim, assistant professor in the College of Optical Sciences; and Simran Agarwal, graduate student in the College of Optical Sciences.

    Corporate mission partners are Tucson-based companies Blue Canyon Technologies, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, and Ascending Node Technologies.

    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 University of Arizona (UA) is a place without limits-where teaching, research, service and innovation merge to improve lives in Arizona and beyond. We aren’t afraid to ask big questions, and find even better answers.

    In 1885, establishing Arizona’s first university in the middle of the Sonoran Desert was a bold move. But our founders were fearless, and we have never lost that spirit. To this day, we’re revolutionizing the fields of space sciences, optics, biosciences, medicine, arts and humanities, business, technology transfer and many others. Since it was founded, the UA has grown to cover more than 380 acres in central Tucson, a rich breeding ground for discovery.

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 9:08 am on September 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New technology is a 'science multiplier' for astronomy", , , , , Federal funding of new technology is crucial for astronomy according to results of a study released Sept. 21 in the Journal of Astronomical Telescopes Instruments and Systems., , Many of the key advances in astronomy over the past three decades benefited directly or indirectly from this early seed funding., NSF,   

    From Indiana University via phys.org: “New technology is a ‘science multiplier’ for astronomy” 

    Indiana U bloc

    From Indiana University

    via


    phys.org

    September 21, 2020

    1
    The first image of a black hole by the the Event Horizon Telescope in 2019 was enabled in part b support for the NSF’s Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation program. Credit: NASA.

    Federal funding of new technology is crucial for astronomy, according to results of a study released Sept. 21 in the Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments and Systems.

    The study tracked the long-term impact of early seed funding obtained from the National Science Foundation.

    Many of the key advances in astronomy over the past three decades benefited directly or indirectly from this early seed funding.

    Over the past 30 years, the NSF Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation program has supported astronomers to develop new ways to study the universe. Such devices may include cameras or other instruments as well as innovations in telescope design. The study traced the origins of some workhorse technologies in use today back to their humble origins years or even decades ago in early grants from NSF. The study also explored the impact of technologies that are just now advancing the state-of-the-art.

    The impact of technology and instrumentation research unfolds over the long term. “New technology is a science multiplier” said study author Peter Kurczynski, who served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation and is now the Chief Scientist of Cosmic Origins at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “It enables new ways of observing the universe that were never before possible.” As a result, astronomers are able to make better observations, and gain deeper insights, into the mysteries of the cosmos.

    The study also looked at the impact of grant supported research in the peer-reviewed literature. Papers resulting from technology and instrumentation grants are cited with the same frequency as those resulting from pure science grants, according to the study. Instrumentation scientists “write papers to the same degree, and with the same impact as their peers who do not build instruments,” said Staša Milojevi, associate professor of informatics and the director of the Center for Complex Network and Systems Research in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering at Indiana University, who is a coauthor of the study.

    Also noteworthy is that NSF grant supported research was cited more frequently overall than the general astronomy literature. NSF is considered to have set the gold standard in merit review process for selecting promising research for funding.

    An anonymous reviewer described the article as a “go-to record for anyone needing to know the basic history of many breakthroughs in astronomical technology.” Better observations have always improved our understanding of the universe. From the birth of modern astronomy in the middle ages to the present day, astronomers have relied upon new technologies to reveal the subtle details of the night sky with increasing sophistication.

    This study comes at a critical time of reflection on the nation’s commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. U.S. preeminence in STEM is increasingly challenged by China and Europe. This study reveals that investments in technology have a tremendous impact for science. Astronomers today are still reaping the benefits of research that was begun decades ago. The future of astronomy depends upon technologies being developed 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

    Indiana U Campus

    Indiana University students get it all—the storybook experience of what college should be like, and the endless opportunities that come with it. Top-ranked academics. Awe-inspiring faculty. Dynamic campus life. International culture. Phenomenal music and arts events. The excitement of IU Hoosier sports. And a jaw-droppingly beautiful campus.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:21 pm on September 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NSF, , ,   

    From The Giant Magellan Telescope: “Major NSF grant accelerates development for one of the world’s most powerful telescopes” 

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

    From The Giant Magellan Telescope

    September 16, 2020

    Ryan Kallabis
    Director of Communications
    rkallabis@gmto.org
    (626) 204-0554

    The Giant Magellan Telescope fast-tracks development of revolutionary optical technologies necessary to transform humanity’s view and understanding of the universe at first light.

    The GMTO Corporation has received a $17.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to accelerate the prototyping and testing of some of the most powerful optical and infrared technologies ever engineered.

    These crucial advancements for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile will allow astronomers to see farther into space with more detail than any other optical telescope before. The NSF grant positions the GMT to be one of the first in a new generation of large telescopes, approximately three times the size of any ground-based optical telescope built to date.

    The GMT and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) are a part of the US Extremely Large Telescope Program (US-ELTP), a joint initiative with NSF’s NOIRLab to provide superior observing access to the entire sky as never before.


    NOIRLab composite

    Upon completion of each telescope, US scientists and international partners will be able to take advantage of the program’s two pioneering telescopes to carry out transformational research that answers some of humanity’s most pressing questions, such as are we alone in the universe and where did we come from.

    “We are honored to receive our first NSF grant,” said Dr. Robert Shelton, President of the GMTO Corporation. “It is a giant step toward realizing the GMT’s scientific goals and the profound impact the GMT will have on the future of human knowledge.”


    Major NSF grant accelerates development of the Giant Magellan Telescope.

    One of the great challenges of engineering revolutionary technologies is constructing them to operate at optimal performance. The Giant Magellan Telescope is designed to have a resolving power ten times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope — one of the most productive scientific achievements in the history of astronomy. This advancement in image quality is a prerequisite for the GMT to fully realize its scientific potential and expand our knowledge of the universe.

    “Image quality on any telescope starts with the primary mirror,” said Dr. James Fanson, Project Manager of the GMTO Corporation. “The Giant Magellan Telescope’s primary mirror comprises seven 8.4m mirror segments. To achieve diffraction-limited imaging, we have to be able to phase these primary mirror segments so that they behave as a monolithic mirror. Once phased, we must then correct for Earth’s turbulent atmospheric distortion.”

    2
    This image quality comparison is of a small patch of sky as observed from the ground through the atmosphere with the naked eye (left), as the Hubble Space Telescope would observe it (center), and a simulation of the Giant Magellan Telescope using adaptive optics to achieve diffraction limited seeing from the ground (right). When online, the GMT will achieve ten times better resolution than the Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation.

    Phasing involves precisely aligning a telescope’s segmented mirrors and other optical components so that they work in unison to produce crisp images of deep space. Achieving this with seven of the world’s largest mirrors ever built is no easy task. The immense size of the GMT’s primary mirror requires a powerful adaptive optics system to correct for the blurring effects of the Earth’s atmospheric turbulence at kilohertz speeds. In other words, astronomers need to take the subtle “twinkle” out of the stars in order to capture high-resolution data from celestial objects thousands of light-years from our planet.

    The NSF grant enables the GMT to build two phasing testbeds that will allow engineers to demonstrate, in a controlled laboratory setting, that its core designs will work to align and phase the telescope’s seven mirror segments with the required precision to achieve diffraction-limited imaging at first light in 2029. This includes a full-scale prototype of the primary mirror support and control system that delivers active optical control. The testbeds will be developed at the University of Arizona Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics (CAAO) and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), while actuator testing and integration of the primary mirror support will be developed at Texas A&M University.

    3
    A gray steel structure that simulates one of the massive 16.5 ton Giant Magellan Telescope primary mirror segments is installed onto a test cell. The GMT test cell and mirror simulator will be used to test the support structure and actuators that hold the massive telescope in place, including the software that controls the precise movements of the mirrors. Image Credit: Steve West, Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona.

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

    4
    Exploded view of a GMT adaptive secondary mirror segment showing the key components which include the adaptive face sheet, rigid reference body, electromagnetic actuators, cold plate, and the 6- degrees-of-freedom segment positioner.

    Astronomers will use the GMT’s high-fidelity adaptive mirrors and other revolutionary adaptive optics technologies to detect faint biosignatures from distant exoplanets — one of the GMT’s primary scientific goals.

    This work is part of a larger $23 million joint-award to the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and the GMTO Corporation over the next three years. The GMT project is the work of a distinguished international consortium of leading universities and science institutions.

    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 Giant Magellan Telescope will be one of the next class of super giant earth-based telescopes that promises to revolutionize our view and understanding of the universe. It will be operational in about 10 years and will be located in Chile.

    Organizations

    The project is US-led in partnership with Australia, Brazil, and Korea, with Chile as the host country.[4] The following organizations are members of the consortium developing the telescope.[27]

    Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science
    University of Chicago
    Harvard University
    Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
    Texas A&M University
    University of Arizona
    University of Texas at Austin
    Australian National University
    Astronomy Australia Limited
    Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (한국천문연구원)
    University of São Paulo
    Arizona State University

    The GMT has a unique design that offers several advantages. It is a segmented mirror telescope that employs seven of today’s largest stiff monolith mirrors as segments. Six off-axis 8.4 meter or 27-foot segments surround a central on-axis segment, forming a single optical surface with an aperture of 24.5 meters, or 80 feet in diameter. The GMT will have a resolving power 10 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope. The GMT project is the work of a distinguished international consortium of leading universities and science institutions.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:08 pm on September 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Radio Astronomy in the High Desert", , , “Adding a telescope dish at Owens Valley fills a critical hole in the EHT’s virtual Earth-sized telescope” says Katherine L. (Katie) Bouman of Caltech., , , Caltech Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array located in high-desert terrain east of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains Altitude 1222 m (4009 ft)., Caltech Owens Valley Radio Observatory OVRO Altitude 1222 m (4009 ft), Caltech’s Deep Synoptic Array 10 dish array at OVRO Altitude 1222 m (4009 ft)., CARMA in the Inyo Mountains east of the OVRO at a site called Cedar Flat 11123 ft (3390 m) ceased operation in 2015 relocated to OVRO Altitude 1222 m (4009 ft)., , NSF, , The Deep Synoptic Array is in the midst of a major upgrade expanding from 10 to 110 radio dishes., The Deep Synoptic Array will get an even more dramatic upgrade with plans to expand to 2000 radio dishes., The night skies flash with intense radio pulses called fast radio bursts (FRBs) whose causes have remained unclear., There is excitment for the project to search for signatures of magnetospheres around planets orbiting other stars.   

    From Caltech: “Radio Astronomy in the High Desert” 

    Caltech Logo

    From Caltech

    Summer 2020, Features
    Whitney Clavin

    1
    The Long Wavelength Array of telescopes at Owens Valley, Altitude 1,222 m (4,009 ft).

    Since 1958, astronomers have unveiled some of the deepest mysteries of the universe with the help of Caltech’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO), located in high-desert terrain east of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. The observatory, which remains at the forefront of radio astronomy, has seen many different projects come and go, including CARMA (Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy), a hugely successful set of radio telescopes that ceased operations in 2015.

    Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA), in the Inyo Mountains to the east of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory, at a site called Cedar Flat, 11,123 ft (3,390 m), ceased operations in 2015, relocated to Owens Valley Radio Observatory, Altitude 1,222 m (4,009 ft).

    Now, several of those dishes are being repurposed at OVRO, and two other projects, the Deep Synoptic Array and the Long Wavelength Array (LWA), are in the midst of massive expansion efforts.

    Caltech’s Deep Synoptic Array 10 dish array at Owens Valley Radio Observatory, near Big Pine, California USA, Altitude 1,222 m (4,009 ft).

    “OVRO is experiencing a renaissance. We are moving radio astronomy in an entirely new direction,” says Gregg Hallinan, Caltech professor of astronomy and director of OVRO. “By building large numbers of small telescopes, we can scan the skies faster than ever before. These arrays will be generating more than 40 terabytes of science data per day, making them among the most data-intensive telescopes in the world.” The OVRO-LWA project was enabled by a donation from Deborah Castleman (MS ’86) and Harold Rosen (MS ’48, PhD ’51).

    In Search of Magnetospheres

    2
    Marin Anderson (MS ’14, PhD ’19) and Michael Eastwood assemble antennas for the LWA.

    The Long Wavelength Array (LWA) consists of hundreds of pyramid-shaped radio antennas that dot a vast stretch of OVRO. Since 2015, the LWA has used 250 antennas to probe the flickering of radio signals in the night skies, studying everything from the dawn of the universe, to outbursts on our sun, to glowing exoplanets. Now, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding an expansion of the project, bringing the total fleet of antennas to 352.

    Hallinan is particularly excited for the project to search for signatures of magnetospheres around planets orbiting other stars. Magnetospheres are the regions around planets dominated by magnetic fields; Earth’s magnetic field protects its atmosphere from erosion by solar wind. The presence of magnetospheres on exoplanets may be a critical ingredient for planetary habitability but have eluded detection to date. “With the LWA, we will scan the entire sky every 10 seconds to monitor thousands of exoplanets simultaneously, waiting for a planet’s magnetosphere to light up in radio waves,” says Hallinan.

    Staring at the Whole Sky

    OVRO hosts several small, focused experiments that target high-risk, high-reward science. A notable example is STARE2 (Survey for Transient Astronomical Radio Emission 2), led by Shri Kulkarni, the George Ellery Hale Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science at Caltech. The project consists of three radio receivers located at OVRO; at NASA’s Deep Space Network facility in Goldstone, California; and at Delta, Utah.
    The receivers scan broad swaths of the sky every night in search of the brightest fast radio bursts (FRBs). While the receivers are not as sensitive as radio dishes, what they lose in sensitivity, they gain in field of view. In April of this year, STARE2 detected what may be the first-ever FRBs seen in the Milky Way galaxy. The results are preliminary but may provide long-sought proof that FRBs are caused by erupting magnetars, a type of exotic star with powerful magnetic fields.

    Many, Many Dishes

    The night skies flash with intense radio pulses, called fast radio bursts (FRBs), whose causes have remained unclear. One key to unlocking the mystery of these bursts is to identify the galaxies from which they originate. In 2019, the Deep Synoptic Array-10 (DSA-10) at OVRO identified one such host galaxy of an FRB, a rare feat made even more difficult by the fact that this particular FRB did not repeat, as others have been known to do. Now, thanks to new funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the DSA is in the midst of a major upgrade, expanding from 10 to 110 radio dishes. The DSA-110 is expected to begin observations in October of this year. “When we begin, we will be identifying about two FRB host galaxies per week,” says Vikram Ravi, assistant professor of astronomy. “That’s a massive sample of galaxies and will help us reveal FRBs’ true nature.” In the future, the DSA will get an even more dramatic upgrade with plans to expand to 2,000 radio dishes. A project funded by Schmidt Futures, called the Radio Camera Initiative, will allow the DSA-2000 to produce images in real time, a first for radio telescopes. According to Ravi, this will make the DSA-2000 “the most powerful radio telescope ever built.”

    3
    Wendy Chen, Nitika Yadlapalli, and Corey Posner assemble a DSA dish.

    A New Purpose

    CARMA [above] , which operated from 2005 to 2015, was one of the most powerful millimeter-wave telescope arrays in the world. (Millimeter waves are considered a type of radio wave.) Located in the Inyo Mountains near Owens Valley, the array consisted of antennas brought together from telescopes across the U.S. to create a combined array of much greater sensitivity. These antennas included the Leighton dishes, named for the late Caltech professor Robert Leighton (BS ’41, MS ’44, PhD ’47), who designed them in the 1970s to kickstart millimeter astronomy at OVRO. After the closure of CARMA, the Leighton dishes were moved back to OVRO. COMAP, which stands for CO Mapping Array Pathfinder, is one of the projects that is repurposing a Leighton dish. Begun in the summer of 2018, this project, led by OVRO associate director Kieran Cleary and professor emeritus Tony Readhead, traces the evolution of galaxies by mapping carbon monoxide (CO), a marker of faint faraway galaxies that are otherwise hard to see. A few of the Leighton dishes are also being combined to form a robotic instrument, known as SPRITE, to determine the nature of some of the most energetic explosions in the universe.

    Another project for which a Leighton dish is being redeployed is the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which, in 2019, famously harnessed the power of several radio observatories across the globe to create the first-ever picture of a black hole. Now, with the help of new funding from the NSF, the EHT project is tapping into even more radio telescopes to better image and study black holes. “Adding a telescope dish at Owens Valley fills a critical hole in the EHT’s virtual Earth-sized telescope,” says Katherine L. (Katie) Bouman, an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences and electrical engineering who leads the Caltech portion of the international EHT team.

    Now iconic image of Katie Bouman-Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory after the image of Messier 87 was achieved. Headed from Harvard to Caltech as an Assistant Professor. On the committee for the next iteration of the EHT .

    Katie Bouman of Harvard Smithsonian Observatory for Astrophysics, headed to Caltech, with EHT hard drives from Messier 87

    Messier 87*, The first image of a black hole. This is the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy Messier 87. Image via JPL/ Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration.

    “This brings us much closer to one day capturing a movie that allows us to track the gas falling into a black hole over the course of a single night.”

    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 California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”

    Caltech campus

     
  • 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., , NSF,   

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

    From National Science Foundation

    November 20, 2019

    1
    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 .


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

    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 9:39 am on October 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , NSF,   

    From National Science Foundation- “NSF statement: New development in quantum computing” 

    From National Science Foundation

    1
    In this rendering, a trefoil knot, an iconic topological object, is shown coming out of a tunnel with an image of superconducting qubit chips reflected on its surface. Credit: P. Roushan\Martinis lab\UC Santa Barbara

    October 23, 2019
    Public Affairs, NSF
    (703) 292-7090
    media@nsf.gov

    In Quantum supremacy using a programmable superconducting processor, in the Oct. 24 issue of the journal Nature, a team of researchers led by Google present evidence that their quantum computer has accomplished a task that existing computers built from silicon chips cannot. When verified, the result will add credence to the broader promise of quantum computing. In addition to funding a broad portfolio of quantum research, including for other quantum computing systems and approaches, NSF has provided research support to four of the Nature paper’s co-authors: John Martinis of the University of California, Santa Barbara; Fernando Brandao of Caltech; Edward Farhi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Dave Bacon of the University of Washington.

    Today, Google announced that a quantum computer has accomplished a task not yet possible on a classical device. When verified, this may prove to be a milestone moment, one that builds on more than three decades of continuous NSF investment in the fundamental physics, computer science, materials science, and engineering that underlies many of today’s quantum computing developments — and the researchers behind them — including four of the co-authors who helped create Google’s system. As quantum research continues bridging theory to practice across a range of experimental platforms, it is equally important that NSF, other agencies, and industry invest in the workforce developing quantum technologies and the countless applications that will benefit all of society. Together, we will ensure continuing U.S. leadership in quantum computing.

    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 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 5:00 pm on October 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NSF   

    From Gemini Observatory: “NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory Launched” 

    NOAO

    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    October 1, 2019
    Contacts

    NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory
    Lars Lindberg Christensen
    Head of Communications, Education & Engagement
    lchristensen@aura-astronomy.org
    Phone/cell: +1 520 318 8590

    Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy
    Shari Lifson
    Corporate Communications Coordinator
    slifson@aura-astronomy.org
    Phone: +1 202 769 5232

    On 1 October 2019, the nighttime astronomy facilities supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) transitioned to operating as one organization, NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory.

    The new organization operates five scientific programs: Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, the Community Science and Data Center, Kitt Peak National Observatory (all formerly known as the National Optical Astronomy Observatory); Gemini Observatory and the upcoming upcoming LSST The Vera Rubin Survey Telescope , and is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy.

    Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory on Cerro Tololo in the Coquimbo Region of northern Chile Altitude 2,207 m (7,241 ft)

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


    Gemini/South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)

    LSST the Vera C. Rubin Survey Telescope

    LSST Camera, built at SLAC



    LSST telescope, currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.


    LSST Data Journey, Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    See the full article here .


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


    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 3:37 pm on October 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Data Silos- the current state of infomation, , NSF, Space and time matter-knowing where and when things happen is critical to understanding why and how they happened or will happen., The job of the researchers is to develop artificial intelligence methods of organizing huge sets of information into formats that can be read and understood across disciplines ., The project: “Spatially Explicit Models Methods and Services for Open Knowledge Networks”,   

    From UC Santa Barbara: “Breaking Data out of the Silos” 

    UC Santa Barbara Name bloc

    October 1, 2019
    Sonia Fernandez
    (805) 893-4765
    sonia.fernandez@ucsb.edu

    Researchers receive NSF grant to develop spatially explicit open knowledge networks.

    1

    Our world is teeming with data, all of it just waiting to be placed into the appropriate context. Connecting these enormous bodies of information could, according to UC Santa Barbara geographic information scientist Krzyzstof Janowicz, yield a richer, deeper understanding of the world around us.

    2
    Krzyzstof Janowicz

    “In the previous decades, data has typically been stored in what we call ‘data silos,’ ” Janowicz said. “Data gathered by one entity,” he continued, “is often ‘locked away’ and used for specific purposes, for specific ways of thinking. But what if there was a way to store, connect and provide diverse sets of data that could be useful to the many users who need it and could find creative new ways to use or combine it?”

    There is such a way, Janowicz has asserted, and with $1 million in initial funding from the National Science Foundation, he and about 20 colleagues from universities, companies and government agencies across the United States are poised to break data out of their silos. Titled “Spatially Explicit Models, Methods and Services for Open Knowledge Networks,” the project aims to create the connections between vast data sets that can lead to better understanding and more creative solutions to complex emerging problems.

    “Even for departments within a single entity, exchanging data has been difficult because one way to talk about things in one data silo is not the same as in another one,” Janowicz said.

    Enter the knowledge graph: a combination of technologies, specifications and data cultures for densely interconnecting web-scale data across domains in a human and machine readable and reason-able way. For this project, the main ordering principles to be applied to the interconnected data will be space and time.

    Space and time matter not only for the obvious reason that everything happens somewhere and at some time, but because knowing where and when things happen is critical to understanding why and how they happened or will happen. How, for instance, can climate affect politics in areas that rely heavily on agriculture? Is there a link between today’s soil health and historic slave trade? Questions like these often take considerable amounts of time and effort to answer, often with work that duplicates previous studies.

    “Instead, you can connect your local knowledge repository to global repositories to get a holistic view of your domain or your problem,” Janowicz explained, thanks to the increases in computational power and data storage.

    It’s a huge endeavor. Data can come in many forms, ranging from numerical measurements to images to verbal descriptions. The job of the researchers — who hail from UCSB’s Center for Spatial Studies, Earth Research Institute and National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, as well as Arizona State University, Michigan State University, Kansas State University, U.S. Geological Survey and industry partners such as ESRI, Oliver Wyman, and Princeton Climate Analytics — is to develop artificial intelligence methods of organizing these huge sets of information into formats and relationships that can be read and understood across disciplines, using space and time as ordering principles.

    “We would like to develop a knowledge graph together with the partners from other universities, major industry players and government organizations that contains spatial data, and we also want to make methods available for many other knowledge graphs that either use spatial data or want to enrich their data-using spatial data,” Janowicz said. He explained that much of this can be done with machine learning models that digest the enormous amounts and various types of data being generated, which can then be organized in graphs that show both the breadth and depth of knowledge of a given topic.

    He further explained that the product would be dense, widely accessible knowledge graphs that can not only reach back into history for context, but also widen our present options and risks and allow us to make informed predictions about things to come. For instance, given the data we already have about local climate, soil health and erosion, what are the chances of having another disastrous debris flow of the type that happened in Montecito, Calif., in 2018, and how should that affect local land-use planning and real estate?

    “Currently, there is no way you can query for erosion risks by linking them to extreme event databases,” Janowicz said. “But this should be the most easy thing to do on the planet. These are exactly the kinds of problems that we are tackling.”

    The initial grant is for a total of $1 million over nine months, and is part of NSF’s new Convergence Accelerator, which enables research teams to build tools that harness the data revolution and allow people from various sectors — government, academia, industry, nonprofits — to access and use data in an Open Knowledge Network.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Santa Barbara Seal
    The University of California, Santa Barbara (commonly referred to as UC Santa Barbara or UCSB) is a public research university and one of the 10 general campuses of the University of California system. Founded in 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, UCSB joined the University of California system in 1944 and is the third-oldest general-education campus in the system. The university is a comprehensive doctoral university and is organized into five colleges offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 55 graduate degrees. In 2012, UCSB was ranked 41st among “National Universities” and 10th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report. UCSB houses twelve national research centers, including the renowned Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:06 pm on September 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NSF, , The next-generation Event Horizon Telescope (ngEHT)   

    From Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: “Announcement of the Next Generation Event Horizon Telescope Design Program” 

    Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics


    From Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

    September 20, 2019
    Tyler Jump
    Public Affairs
    Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
    +1 617-495-7462
    tyler.jump@cfa.harvard.edu

    1

    The National Science Foundation has just announced the award of a $12.7M grant to architect and design a next-generation Event Horizon Telescope (ngEHT) to carry out a program of transformative black hole science.

    Led by Principal Investigator Shep Doeleman at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA), the new ngEHT award will fund design and prototyping efforts by researchers at several US institutes. These include Dr. Gopal Narayanan at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Dr. Vincent Fish at the MIT Haystack Observatory, and Drs. Katherine L. (Katie) Bouman and Gregg Hallinan at Caltech. At the CfA, Drs. Michael Johnson, Jonathan Weintroub and Lindy Blackburn are co-Principal Investigators of the ngEHT program.

    On April 10th, 2019, the International Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration released the first image of a supermassive black hole. A bright ring of emission at the heart of the Virgo A galaxy revealed a black hole, known as Messier 87, that has the mass of 6.5 billion Suns.

    Messier 87 supermassive black hole from the EHT

    Einstein’s theory of gravity passed this new test in spectacular fashion in this extreme cosmic laboratory. For this work, the EHT Collaboration will receive the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics this November.

    Black holes, objects with gravity so strong that light cannot escape, are now accessible to direct imaging. More precise tests of gravity can now be contemplated, and the processes by which supermassive black holes energize the brightness and dynamics of most galaxy cores can be studied in detail. The next-generation EHT (ngEHT) will sharpen the focus on black holes, and let researchers move from still-imagery to real-time videos of space-time at the event horizon.

    “As with all great discoveries, the first black hole image was just the beginning,” says Doeleman, Founding Director of the EHT. “Imagine being able to see a black hole evolve before your eyes. The ngEHT will give us front-row seats to one of the Universe’s most spectacular shows.”

    Sparked by this major investment, the ngEHT is expected to attract additional international support and participation by the broad EHT community. The ngEHT award is aimed at solving the formidable technical and algorithmic challenges required to significantly expand the capability of the EHT.

    The first Messier 87 black hole images were made using the technique of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), in which an array of radio dishes around the world is combined to form an Earth-sized virtual telescope.

    Event Horizon Telescope Array

    Arizona Radio Observatory
    Arizona Radio Observatory/Submillimeter-wave Astronomy (ARO/SMT)

    ESO/APEX
    Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment

    CARMA Array no longer in service
    Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA)

    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)
    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)

    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO)

    IRAM 30m Radio telescope, on Pico Veleta in the Spanish Sierra Nevada,, Altitude 2,850 m (9,350 ft)


    Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique (IRAM) 30m

    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano
    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano

    CfA Submillimeter Array Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,080 m (13,390 ft)

    Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array, Chile

    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL
    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL

    Future Array/Telescopes

    IRAM NOEMA in the French Alps on the wide and isolated Plateau de Bure at an elevation of 2550 meters, the telescope currently consists of ten antennas, each 15 meters in diameter.interferometer, Located in the French Alpes on the wide and isolated Plateau de Bure at an elevation of 2550 meters

    NSF CfA Greenland telescope


    Greenland Telescope

    ARO 12m Radio Telescope, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona, USA, Altitude 1,914 m (6,280 ft)


    ARO 12m Radio Telescope

    By exploring new dish designs and locations, the ngEHT effort will plan the architecture for a new array with roughly double the number of sites worldwide.

    “The EHT observations demand unusually dry atmospheric conditions typically found at high altitudes. Identifying sites that meet this demand and deploying new dishes will vastly improve the EHT array’s black hole imaging ability,” says Dr. Jonathan Weintroub.

    In addition to new dishes, the ngEHT will incorporate an existing telescope at Caltech’s Owen’s Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) and will upgrade the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano (LMT) in Mexico. “With its large aperture and central geographic location, the LMT is crucial to the next generation EHT effort. Planned enhancements to the LMT’s performance using MSRI funds will improve the EHT sensitivity over long observing campaigns,” notes Dr. Gopal Narayanan.

    Caltech Owens Valley Radio Observatory, located near Big Pine, California (US) in Owens Valley, Altitude1,222 m (4,009 ft)

    New technologies will, in turn, allow the ngEHT to expand the swath of radio frequencies it uses to photograph the event horizon. High speed recording systems that capture radio waves from the black hole will transfer data to central locations where they can be merged in a process that is analogous to the mirror in an optical telescope reflecting light to a single focus.

    “Currently, the EHT records about 10 PetaBytes of data each session,” according to Dr. Vincent Fish. “With planned higher data rates and the inclusion of new observatories, EHT data volumes could exceed 100 PetaBytes. Part of this project will be to investigate how to leverage advances in commercial technology to cost-effectively record and transport such a large volume of data.”

    The process of combining and analyzing data from around the globe demands high-performance computers and software that align signals from each EHT site to a fraction of a trillionth of a second. “The ngEHT pushes the boundaries in VLBI data complexity, along with the demands of models that seamlessly link the antennas together into a single Earth-size telescope,” says Dr. Lindy Blackburn.

    By filling in the Earth-sized lens with many new geographic locations, the ngEHT program will be able to harness new powerful algorithms to turn the incredible data volumes into images and even movies.

    “Our own Milky Way is host to a supermassive black hole that evolves dramatically over the course of a night. We are developing new methods, which incorporate emerging ideas from machine learning and computational imaging, in order to make the very first movies of gas spiraling towards an event horizon,” says Dr. Katie Bouman

    The goal of the EHT is to address some of the greatest mysteries and deepest questions about black holes.

    “Despite decades of study, some of the most basic questions about black holes remain untested,” says Dr. Michael Johnson. “With the ngEHT, we will be able to study how black holes act as powerful cosmic engines, energizing a swirling bath of infalling plasma and efficiently pouring unimaginable amounts of energy into narrow jets that pierce entire galaxies.”

    Doeleman is optimistic about the prospects of new discoveries with the ngEHT. “A decade ago we predicted we would be able to see a black hole. Now we estimate that over a billion people have seen the first image, and the Breakthrough Prize shows the impact it is having across the sciences. Through the ngEHT we are setting our sights high again, aiming to bring humanity even closer to the event horizon.”

    Learn more here: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1935980

    From The National Science Foundation:

    The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) recently made the first direct image of a black hole, an image seen by billions of people around the world. Both the scientific community and the general the public were galvanized by this result. The program funded here is a design project to plan a greatly enhanced EHT (EHT-II), one with 7-8 additional telescopes placed around the world in locations designed to maximize imaging speed, dynamic range, and fidelity. The much faster snapshot mode of this combination will allow rapid tracking of changes near the black hole event horizon, allowing for the first time ever the creation of movies directly showing the dynamics of extreme gravity environments. The greater imaging power will also address long-standing fundamental questions such as how matter is blasted away from a black hole in the form of relativistic jets. Broader impacts include a National Air and Space Museum exhibit, and training of students in instrumentation development.

    Instead of relying on existing large facilities to form the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) array, as the existing EHT has done, this design program will consider engineering and placement of small-diameter dishes that optimally fill out an Earth sized virtual telescope, tailored precisely for science objectives. By roughly doubling the number of dishes in the array through cost-effective use of small dishes, the EHT-II will be capable of making the first real-time movies of supermassive black holes. The Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will serve as a testbed for advanced dual frequency receivers that will be developed as part of this design initiative.

    This project is supported by the Foundation-wide Mid-scale Research Infrastructure program. The project will be managed by the Division of Astronomical Sciences within the Directorate for Mathematics and Physical Sciences.

    This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

    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 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.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: