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  • richardmitnick 12:03 pm on November 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Researchers puncture explanation for largest increase of biodiversity in Earth's history", , , , , Marine biodiversity quadrupled in a few million years., Paleobiology, The cosmic dust explanation does not hold., The greatest increase in marine biodiversity on Earth was not due to the explosion of an asteroid as previously believed., , Theory-The answer as to why marine biodiversity increased suddenly is due to a change in the Earth's climate cycle., Theory-the asteroid explosion led to a stagnation in biodiversity on Earth., Theory-The cosmic dust from the asteroid’s explosion probably acted as a temporary brake on species evolution.   

    From The University of Copenhagen [Københavns Universitet] (DK): “Researchers puncture explanation for largest increase of biodiversity in Earth’s history” 

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

    10 November 2021

    Nicolas Thibault
    Associate Professor
    Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management
    University of Copenhagen
    +45 29876064
    nt@ign.ku.dk

    Christian Mac Ørum Ramussen
    Associate professor
    GLOBE Institute
    University of Copenhagen
    +4535322357, c.macorum@sund.ku.dk

    Jan Audun Rasmussen
    Head of Museum and researcher
    Museum Mors
    +45 4214 9792
    jan.rasmussen@museummors.dk

    Ida Eriksen
    Journalist
    Faculty of Science
    University of Copenhagen
    +45 93 51 60 02
    ier@science.ku.dk

    Natural History

    The greatest increase in marine biodiversity on Earth was not due to the explosion of an asteroid as previously believed. In fact, the explosion caused the development of new animal species to stagnate for a period of time. Instead, the answer as to why marine biodiversity increased suddenly is due to a change in the Earth’s climate cycle, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen and Museum Mors.

    1
    Millions of years ago, the sea was inhabited by small invertebrate animals. But suddenly there was an increase in biodiversity, which made it possible for marine animals to evolve into dolphins, whales and fish, which inhabit the oceans today. Photo: Getty Images.

    In a geological period 469 million years ago known as the Ordovicium Period, Earth’s seas were inhabited by animals like trilobites (reminiscent of pillbugs), conodonts (eel-like vertebrates) and brachiopods (animals with two-part shells reminiscent of seashells).

    But suddenly, something happened that became crucial for life to develop towards the life we know from today’s oceans. Marine biodiversity quadrupled in a few million years. In fact, it was the largest increase in biodiversity in the history of our planet.

    The reason for this sudden spike in species diversity has always been a subject of hot debate in research circles.

    One of the most spectacular explanations has been that the explosion of an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter caused a gigantic, sustained meteor bombardment of Earth, one that formed a mass of cosmic dust that shadowed the Sun and resulted in a period of colder temperatures.

    While there is broad consensus that colder temperatures are crucial for the increase in biodiversity, the cosmic dust explanation does not hold. This, according to a new study [Nature Communications] by researchers at the University of Copenhagen and Museum Mors (DK).

    “Our results demonstrate that the period of colder weather and increased biodiversity occurred long before the asteroid explosion and subsequent meteor bombardment – 600,000 years earlier, to be precise. This proves that these two phenomena cannot be linked,” explains Nicolas Thibault, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management.

    In fact, the researchers’ analysis of fossils in ancient sedimentary layers of seabed at Steinsodden in southern Norway reveals that, on the contrary, the asteroid explosion led to a stagnation in biodiversity on Earth.

    “Instead of triggering an increase in biodiversity, the cosmic dust from the asteroid’s explosion probably acted as a temporary brake on species evolution. The dust blocked sunlight, which impaired most photosynthetic processes – and the living conditions of animals in general, as a result,” explains Jan Audun Rasmussen, curator and researcher at Museum Mors and the study’s lead author.

    2
    Here you see trilobites which are extinct today. Millions of years ago, they lived in the oceans. Illustration: Getty Images.

    Colder weather led to a change in Earth’s climate cycles.

    The researchers believe that the explanation for this vast increase in biodiversity lies in changes to Earth’s climate cycles, which refer to the fact that ice cap formation can alter the expression of Earth’s orbital movements in marine sediments, namely, that of planet’s tilt, spin and rotational path around the Sun.

    “Our study shows that a shift towards a colder climate began exactly 469.2 million years ago. 200,000 years later, temperatures were even lower and caused ice to form at the then south pole,” explains the study’s co-author, Christian Mac Ørum Rasmussen, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen’s GLOBE Institute.

    This change in climate, which the new study finds recorded in limestone layers from southern Norway, coincides with a change in relation to the planet’s axis of rotation and orbit around the sun. According to the researchers, this is the change that triggered a permanent shift towards colder climates and the consequent blooming of marine biodiversity.

    “Our study has brought us a step closer to understanding what led to this large increase in biodiversity. At the same time, we have also discovered an important piece of the puzzle with regards to how climate affects biodiversity and life on Earth in general. This knowledge will allow us to better prevent the loss of animal and plant diversity in the future,” concludes Nicolas Thibault.

    3
    Photo of fossils of brachiopods, which are still around today, but in much fewer numbers than during the Ordovician period. Getty Images.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Copenhagen campus

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

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

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

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

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

    History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Cooperative agreements with other universities

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 11:02 am on October 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Climate-Driven Mass Extinction No One Had Seen", , , Earth’s climate shifted from swampy to icy., Forests started changing to grasslands and carbon dioxide became scarce. Nearly two-thirds of the species known in Europe and Asia at that time went extinct., Paleobiology, The evidence is in these animals’ teeth., The transition between the geological periods called the Eocene and Oligocene.   

    From Duke University (US) : “The Climate-Driven Mass Extinction No One Had Seen” 


    From Duke University (US)

    October 7, 2021
    Marie Claire Chelini

    1
    Fossils of the key groups used to unveil the Eocene-Oligocene extinction in Africa with primates on the left, the carnivorous hyaenodont, upper right, rodent, lower right. These fossils are from the Fayum Depression in Egypt. (Matt Borths)

    Sixty-three percent. That’s the proportion of mammal species that vanished from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula around 30 million years ago, after Earth’s climate shifted from swampy to icy. But we are only finding out about it now.

    Compiling decades of work, a new study published this week in the journal Communications Biology reports on a previously undocumented extinction event that followed the transition between the geological periods called the Eocene and Oligocene.

    That time period was marked by dramatic climate change. In a reverse image of what is happening today, the Earth grew cooler, ice sheets expanded, sea levels dropped, forests started changing to grasslands and carbon dioxide became scarce. Nearly two-thirds of the species known in Europe and Asia at that time went extinct.

    African mammals were thought to have possibly escaped unscathed. Africa’s mild climate and proximity to the Equator could have been a buffer from the worst of that period’s cooling trend.

    Now, thanks in great part to a large collection of fossils housed at the Duke Lemur Center Division of Fossil Primates (DLCDFP), researchers have shown that, despite their relatively balmy environment, African mammals were just as affected as those from Europe and Asia. The collection was the life’s work of the late Elwyn Simons of Duke, who scoured Egyptian deserts for fossils for decades.

    The team, comprising researchers from the United States, England, and Egypt, looked at fossils of five mammal groups: a group of extinct carnivores called hyaenodonts, two rodent groups, the anomalures (scaly-tail squirrels) and the hystricognaths (a group that includes porcupines and naked mole rats), and two primate groups, the strepsirrhines (lemurs and lorises), and our very own ancestors, the anthropoids (apes and monkeys).

    By gathering data on hundreds of fossils from multiple sites in Africa, the team was able to build evolutionary trees for these groups, pinpointing when new lineages branched out and time-stamping each species’ first and last known appearances.

    Their results show that all five mammal groups suffered huge losses around the Eocene-Oligocene boundary.

    “It was a real reset button,” said Dorien de Vries, a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Salford (UK) and lead author of the paper.

    After a few million years, these groups start popping up again in the fossil record, but with a new look. The fossil species that re-appear later in the Oligocene, after the big extinction event, are not the same as those that were found before.

    “It’s very clear that there was a huge extinction event, and then a recovery period,” said Steven Heritage, Researcher and Digital Preparator at Duke University’s DLCDFP and coauthor of the paper.

    The evidence is in these animals’ teeth. Molar teeth can tell a lot about what a mammal eats, which in turns tells a lot about their environment.

    The rodents and primates that reappeared after a few million years had different teeth. These were new species, who ate different things, and had different habitats.

    “We see a huge loss in tooth diversity, and then a recovery period with new dental shapes and new adaptations,” said de Vries.

    “Extinction is interesting in that way,” said Matt Borths, curator of Duke University’s DLCDFP and coauthor of the paper. “It kills things, but it also opens up new ecological opportunities for the lineages that survive into this new world.”

    This decline in diversity followed by a recovery confirms that the Eocene-Oligocene boundary acted as an evolutionary bottleneck: most lineages went extinct, but a few survived. Over the next several millions of years, these surviving lines diversified.

    “In our anthropoid ancestors, diversity bottoms out to almost nothing around 30 million years ago, leaving them with a single tooth type,” said Erik R. Seiffert, Professor and Chair of the Department of Integrative Anatomical Sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, a former graduate student of Simons, and senior coauthor of the paper. “That ancestral tooth shape determined what was possible in terms of later dietary diversification.”

    “There’s an interesting story about the role of that bottleneck in our own early evolutionary history,” said Seiffert. “We came pretty close to never existing, if our monkey-like ancestors had gone extinct 30 million years ago. Luckily they didn’t.”

    A rapidly changing climate wasn’t the only challenge facing these few surviving types of mammals. As temperatures dropped, East Africa was pummeled by a series of major geological events, such as volcanic super eruptions and flood basalts – enormous eruptions that covered vast expanses with molten rock. It was also at that time that the Arabian Peninsula separated from East Africa, opening the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

    “We lost a lot of diversity at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary,” said Borths. “But the species that survived apparently had enough of a toolkit to persist through this fluctuating climate.”

    “Climate changes through geological time have shaped the evolutionary tree of life,” said Hesham Sallam, founder of The Mansoura University [جامعة المنصورة](EG) Vertebrate Paleontology Center in Egypt and coauthor of the paper. “Collecting evidence from the past is the easiest way to learn about how climate change will affect ecological systems.”

    Funding for this study came from The Leakey Foundation, the U.S. National Science Foundation (BSC-1824745 to DD. and DBI-1612062 to MRB), and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC NE/T000341/1). Field work in the Fayum Depression, Egypt, and digital curation of Fayum fossils were supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (BCS-0416164, BCS-0819186, and BCS-1231288) as well as Gordon and Ann Getty and The Leakey Foundation. Micro-CT scanning was partially supported by NSF grant DBI-1458192, DBI-2023087, and IMLS grant MA-245704-OMS-20.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Younger than most other prestigious U.S. research universities, Duke University (US) consistently ranks among the very best. Duke’s graduate and professional schools — in business, divinity, engineering, the environment, law, medicine, nursing and public policy — are among the leaders in their fields. Duke’s home campus is situated on nearly 9,000 acres in Durham, N.C, a city of more than 200,000 people. Duke also is active internationally through the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, Duke Kunshan University in China and numerous research and education programs across the globe. More than 75 percent of Duke students pursue service-learning opportunities in Durham and around the world through DukeEngage and other programs that advance the university’s mission of “knowledge in service to society.”

    Duke University is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco and electric power industrialist James Buchanan Duke established The Duke Endowment and the institution changed its name to honor his deceased father, Washington Duke.

    The campus spans over 8,600 acres (3,500 hectares) on three contiguous sub-campuses in Durham, and a marine lab in Beaufort. The West Campus—designed largely by architect Julian Abele, an African American architect who graduated first in his class at the University of Pennsylvania (US) School of Design—incorporates Gothic architecture with the 210-foot (64-meter) Duke Chapel at the campus’ center and highest point of elevation, is adjacent to the Medical Center. East Campus, 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) away, home to all first-years, contains Georgian-style architecture. The university administers two concurrent schools in Asia, Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore (established in 2005) and Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China (established in 2013).

    Duke is ranked among the top universities in the United States. The undergraduate admissions are among the most selective in the country, with an overall acceptance rate of 5.7% for the class of 2025. Duke spends more than $1 billion per year on research, making it one of the ten largest research universities in the United States. More than a dozen faculty regularly appear on annual lists of the world’s most-cited researchers. As of 2019, 15 Nobel laureates and 3 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with the university. Duke alumni also include 50 Rhodes Scholars, 25 Churchill Scholars, 13 Schwarzman Scholars, and 8 Mitchell Scholars. The university has produced the third highest number of Churchill Scholars of any university (behind Princeton University (US) and Harvard University (US)) and the fifth-highest number of Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, and Udall Scholars of any American university between 1986 and 2015. Duke is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Richard Nixon) and 14 living billionaires.

    Duke is the second-largest private employer in North Carolina, with more than 39,000 employees. The university has been ranked as an excellent employer by several publications.

    Research

    Duke’s research expenditures in the 2018 fiscal year were $1.168 billion, the tenth largest in the U.S. In fiscal year 2019 Duke received $571 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health. Duke is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    Throughout the school’s history, Duke researchers have made breakthroughs, including the biomedical engineering department’s development of the world’s first real-time, three-dimensional ultrasound diagnostic system and the first engineered blood vessels and stents. In 2015, Paul Modrich shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2012, Robert Lefkowitz along with Brian Kobilka, who is also a former affiliate, shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work on cell surface receptors. Duke has pioneered studies involving nonlinear dynamics, chaos, and complex systems in physics.

    In May 2006 Duke researchers mapped the final human chromosome, which made world news as it marked the completion of the Human Genome Project. Reports of Duke researchers’ involvement in new AIDS vaccine research surfaced in June 2006. The biology department combines two historically strong programs in botany and zoology, while one of the divinity school’s leading theologians is Stanley Hauerwas, whom Time named “America’s Best Theologian” in 2001. The graduate program in literature boasts several internationally renowned figures, including Fredric Jameson, Michael Hardt, and Rey Chow, while philosophers Robert Brandon and Lakatos Award-winner Alexander Rosenberg contribute to Duke’s ranking as the nation’s best program in philosophy of biology, according to the Philosophical Gourmet Report.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:35 am on October 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Extinction and origination patterns change after mass extinctions Stanford study finds", , , Paleobiology, ,   

    From Stanford University (US) : “Extinction and origination patterns change after mass extinctions Stanford study finds” 

    Stanford University Name

    From Stanford University (US)

    October 6, 2021

    Josie Garthwaite
    School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
    (650) 497-0947
    josieg@stanford.edu

    Pedro Monarrez
    Geological Sciences
    pmonarrez@stanford.edu

    Jonathan Payne
    Geological Sciences
    jlpayne@stanford.edu

    A sweeping analysis of marine fossils from most of the past half-billion years shows the usual rules of body size evolution change during mass extinctions and their recoveries. The discovery is an early step toward predicting how evolution will play out on the other side of the current extinction crisis.

    Scientists at Stanford University have discovered a surprising pattern in how life reemerges from cataclysm. Research published Oct. 6 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows the usual rules of body size evolution change not only during mass extinction, but also during subsequent recovery.

    1
    A trilobite fossil from the Ordovician period, which lasted from about 485 to 443 million years ago. A new analysis of marine fossils from most of the past half-billion years shows the usual rules of body size evolution change during mass extinctions and their recoveries. (Image credit: Smithsonian)

    Since the 1980s, evolutionary biologists have debated whether mass extinctions and the recoveries that follow them intensify the selection criteria of normal times – or fundamentally shift the set of traits that mark groups of species for destruction. The new study finds evidence for the latter in a sweeping analysis of marine fossils from most of the past half-billion years.

    Whether and how evolutionary dynamics shift in the wake of global annihilation has “profound implications not only for understanding the origins of the modern biosphere but also for predicting the consequences of the current biodiversity crisis,” the authors write.

    “Ultimately, we want to be able to look at the fossil record and use it to predict what will go extinct, and more importantly, what comes back,” said lead author Pedro Monarrez, a postdoctoral scholar in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth). “When we look closely at 485 million years of extinctions and recoveries in the world’s oceans, there does appear to be a pattern in what comes back based on body size in some groups.”

    Build back smaller?

    The study builds on recent Stanford research [Cambridge Core] that looked at body size and extinction risk among marine animals in groupings known as genera, one taxonomic level above species. That study found smaller-bodied genera on average are equally or more likely to than their larger relatives to go extinct.

    The new study found this pattern holds true across 10 classes of marine animals for the long stretches of time between mass extinctions. But mass extinctions shake up the rules in unpredictable ways, with extinction risks becoming even greater for smaller genera in some classes, and larger genera losing out in others.

    The results show smaller genera in a class known as crinoids – sometimes called sea lilies or fairy money – were substantially more likely to be wiped out during mass extinction events. In contrast, no detectable size differences between victims and survivors turned up during “background” intervals. Among trilobites, a diverse group distantly related to modern horseshoe crabs, the chances of extinction decreased very slightly with body size during background intervals – but increased about eightfold with each doubling of body length during mass extinction.

    3
    Fossilized crinoids, or sea lilies. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

    4
    A modern-day species of crinoid known as a feather star. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

    When they looked beyond the marine genera that died out to consider those that were the first of their kind, the authors found an even more dramatic shift in body size patterns before and after extinctions. During background times, newly evolved genera tend to be slightly larger than those that came before. During recovery from mass extinction, the pattern flips, and it becomes more common for originators in most classes to be tiny compared to holdover species who survived the cataclysm.

    Gastropod genera including sea snails are among a few exceptions to the build-back-smaller pattern. Gastropod genera that originated during recovery intervals tended to be larger than the survivors of the preceding catastrophe. Nearly across the board, the authors write, “selectivity on body size is more pronounced, regardless of direction, during mass extinction events and their recovery intervals than during background times.”

    Think of this as the biosphere’s version of choosing starters and benchwarmers based on height and weight more than skill after losing a big match. There may well be a logic to this game plan in the arc of evolution. “Our next challenge is to identify the reasons why so many originators after mass extinction are small,” said senior author Jonathan Payne, the Dorrell William Kirby Professor at Stanford Earth.

    Scientists don’t yet know whether those reasons might relate to global environmental conditions, such as low oxygen levels or rising temperatures, or to factors related to interactions between organisms and their local surroundings, like food scarcity or a dearth of predators. According to Payne, “Identifying the causes of these patterns may help us not only to understand how our current world came to be but also to project the long-term evolutionary response to the current extinction crisis.”

    Fossil data

    This is the latest in a series of papers from Payne’s research group that harness statistical analyses and computer simulations to uncover evolutionary dynamics in body size data from marine fossil records. In 2015, the team recruited high school interns and undergraduates to help calculate the body size and volume of thousands of marine genera from photographs and illustrations. The resulting dataset included most fossil invertebrate animal genera known to science and was at least 10 times larger than any previous compilation of fossil animal body sizes.

    The group has since expanded the dataset and plumbed it for patterns. Among other results, they’ve found that larger body size has become one of the biggest determinants of extinction risk for ocean animals for the first time in the history of life on Earth.

    For the new study, Monarrez, Payne and co-author Noel Heim of Tufts University (US) used body size data from marine fossil records to estimate the probability of extinction and origination as a function of body size across most of the past 485 million years. By pairing their body size data with occurrence records from the public Paleobiology Database, they were able to analyze 284,308 fossil occurrences for ocean animals belonging to 10,203 genera. “This dataset allowed us to document, in different groups of animals, how evolutionary patterns change when a mass extinction comes along,” said Payne.

    Future recovery

    Other paleontologists have observed that smaller-bodied animals become more common in the fossil record following mass extinctions – often calling it the “Lilliput Effect,” after the kingdom of tiny people in Jonathan Swift’s 18th-century novel Gulliver’s Travels.

    Findings in the new study suggest animal physiology offers a plausible explanation for this pattern. The authors found the classic shrinking pattern in most classes of marine animals with low activity levels and slower metabolism. Species in these groups that first evolved right after a mass extinction tended to have smaller bodies than those that originated during background intervals. In contrast, when new species evolved in groups of more active marine animals with faster metabolism, they tended to have larger bodies in the wake of extinction and smaller bodies during normal times.

    The results highlight mass extinction as a drama in two acts. “The extinction part changes the world by removing not just a lot of organisms or a lot of species, but by removing them in various selective patterns. Then, recovery isn’t just equal for everyone who survives. A new set of biases go into the recovery pattern,” Payne said. “It’s only by combining those two that you can really understand the world that we get five or 10 million years after an extinction event.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford University campus
    Stanford University (US)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Land

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

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

    Non-central campus

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

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

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

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

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

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

    Administration and organization

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

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

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

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

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

    Endowment and donations

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

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

    Research centers and institutes

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

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

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

    Computer and applied sciences

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

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

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

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

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

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

    Student body

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

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

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

    Athletics

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

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

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

    Traditions

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

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

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

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 10:18 am on June 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Revenge of the seabed burrowers", , , , Paleobiology, Prehistoric dirt churners — a wide assortment of worms; trilobites; and other animals that lived in Earth’s oceans hundreds of millions of years ago., The ancient burrowers of the seafloor have been getting a bum rap for years., trilobites, Women in STEM-Lidya Tarhan,   

    From Yale University (US) : Women in STEM-Lidya Tarhan “Revenge of the seabed burrowers” 

    From Yale University (US)

    May 27, 2021
    Media Contact
    Fred Mamoun:
    fred.mamoun@yale.edu
    203-436-2643

    By Jim Shelton

    1
    An assemblage of burrows produced by some of the earliest seafloor-excavating animals; lower Cambrian Chapel Island Formation, Canada. Photos by Lidya Tarhan.

    The ancient burrowers of the seafloor have been getting a bum rap for years.

    These prehistoric dirt churners — a wide assortment of worms; trilobites; and other animals that lived in Earth’s oceans hundreds of millions of years ago — are thought to have played a key role in creating the conditions needed for marine life to flourish. Their activities altered the chemical makeup of the sea itself and the amount of oxygen in the oceans, in a process called bioturbation.

    But did that bioturbation help or hinder the expansion of complex animal life? A new Yale study, published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, found that seabed burrowers were very helpful indeed.

    “Bioturbating animals are one of our foremost examples of ‘ecosystem engineers,’” said lead author Lidya Tarhan, an assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “They play a major role in shaping the chemical composition of the oceans, and even, on geologic time scales, the atmosphere.”

    Bioturbating animals that live and burrow in the sediments of the seabed first became widespread and active during the early Cambrian Period, about 541 million years ago. They were part of the so-called “Cambrian Explosion,” when most animal groups with sophisticated body plans and behaviors began to appear in rapid succession, according to the fossil record.

    But there is much debate among Earth scientists about what impact these burrowers had on their surroundings.

    For example, there is the relationship between bioturbation and the availability of phosphorous — a critical nutrient that is necessary for all life. The availability of phosphorous determines the size of the global biosphere and the complexity of life it can support. Phosphorous reaches the seafloor primarily in the form of plankton, whose carcasses sink to the bottom of the ocean after death, and from ocean waters that circulate upward along the margins of continents.

    2
    Sedimentary rocks record ancient seafloor sediments bioturbated by early burrowing animals; Cambro-Ordovician Beach Formation, Canada.

    A large body of recent research has suggested that early burrowers took phosphorous and buried it, effectively choking off the supply of this life-creating nutrient. The theory also suggests that bioturbation changed the way carbon is buried under the ocean floor, leading to a widespread reduction of oxygen in the water.

    A separate body of research about bioturbation — grounded in evolutionary theory and observations from the fossil record — offers a much different premise. This theory holds that seabed burrowing would have led to more biological sophistication, not less, in terms of animal size and behaviors.

    “We’ve long had these two major camps of thinking, fundamentally at odds with each other, regarding the role of the earliest animals in shaping ocean chemistry, habitability, and ecology,” Tarhan said.

    The Yale team’s new work aims to resolve the matter.

    For the study, Tarhan and her colleagues created new models of phosphorous cycling and bioturbation that more accurately depict both processes. For example, she said, earlier models did not account for the large amount of phosphorous-rich minerals that form in sediment on the ocean floor. Likewise, previous modeling assumed that bioturbation was an all-or-nothing activity that operated almost like an on-off switch, rather than a behavior that ramped up gradually.

    “Our work has, for the first time, reconciled the two major frameworks regarding the role of early animals in driving changes in the evolutionary and biogeochemical landscapes of Earth’s early oceans,” Tarhan said. “Early burrowing animals did indeed foster the emergence of increasingly productive and complex ecosystems and helped further the Cambrian explosion, rather than stifling or delaying its impact.”

    Co-authors of the study are Noah Planavsky, an associate professor of Earth and planetary sciences in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Mingyu Zhao, a former postdoctoral researcher at Yale who is now at the University of Leeds (UK).

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Yale University (US) comprises three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program); the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and the professional schools. In addition, Yale encompasses a wide array of centers and programs, libraries, museums, and administrative support offices. Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale.

    Yale University (US) is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honor the school’s largest benefactor, Elihu Yale.

    Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the Collegiate School was established in 1701 by clergy to educate Congregational ministers. It moved to New Haven in 1716 and shortly after was renamed Yale College in recognition of a gift from East India Company governor Elihu Yale. Originally restricted to theology and sacred languages, the curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences by the time of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, the college expanded into graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first PhD in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887. Yale’s faculty and student populations grew after 1890 with rapid expansion of the physical campus and scientific research.

    Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college; the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school’s faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forests and nature preserves throughout New England. As of September 2019, the university’s assets include an endowment valued at $30.3 billion, the second largest endowment of any educational institution in North America. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.

    As of October 2020, 65 Nobel laureates, five Fields Medalists and three Turing award winners have been affiliated with Yale University. In addition, Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents; 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices; 31 living billionaires; and many heads of state. Hundreds of members of Congress and many U.S. diplomats; 78 MacArthur Fellows; 252 Rhodes Scholars; 123 Marshall Scholars; and nine Mitchell Scholars have been affiliated with the university.

    Yale traces its beginnings to “An Act for Liberty to Erect a Collegiate School”, a would-be charter passed during a meeting in New Haven by the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut on October 9, 1701. The Act was an effort to create an institution to train ministers and lay leadership for Connecticut. Soon after, a group of ten Congregational ministers, Samuel Andrew; Thomas Buckingham; Israel Chauncy; Samuel Mather (nephew of Increase Mather); Rev. James Noyes II (son of James Noyes); James Pierpont; Abraham Pierson; Noadiah Russell; Joseph Webb; and Timothy Woodbridge, all alumni of Harvard University(US), met in the study of Reverend Samuel Russell located in Branford, Connecticut to donate their books to form the school’s library. The group, led by James Pierpont, is now known as “The Founders”.

    Originally known as the “Collegiate School”, the institution opened in the home of its first rector, Abraham Pierson, who is today considered the first president of Yale. Pierson lived in Killingworth (now Clinton). The school moved to Saybrook and then Wethersfield. In 1716, it moved to New Haven, Connecticut.

    Meanwhile, there was a rift forming at Harvard between its sixth president, Increase Mather, and the rest of the Harvard clergy, whom Mather viewed as increasingly liberal, ecclesiastically lax, and overly broad in Church polity. The feud caused the Mathers to champion the success of the Collegiate School in the hope that it would maintain the Puritan religious orthodoxy in a way that Harvard had not.

    Naming and development

    1
    Coat of arms of the family of Elihu Yale, after whom the university was named in 1718

    In 1718, at the behest of either Rector Samuel Andrew or the colony’s Governor Gurdon Saltonstall, Cotton Mather contacted the successful Boston born businessman Elihu Yale to ask him for financial help in constructing a new building for the college. Through the persuasion of Jeremiah Dummer, Elihu “Eli” Yale, who had made a fortune in Madras while working for the East India Company overseeing its slave trading activities, donated nine bales of goods, which were sold for more than £560, a substantial sum of money at the time. Cotton Mather suggested that the school change its name to “Yale College.” The name Yale is the Anglicized spelling of the Iâl, which the family estate at Plas yn Iâl, near the village of Llandegla, was called.

    Meanwhile, a Harvard graduate working in England convinced some 180 prominent intellectuals to donate books to Yale. The 1714 shipment of 500 books represented the best of modern English literature; science; philosophy; and theology at the time. It had a profound effect on intellectuals at Yale. Undergraduate Jonathan Edwards discovered John Locke’s works and developed his original theology known as the “new divinity.” In 1722 the Rector and six of his friends, who had a study group to discuss the new ideas, announced that they had given up Calvinism, become Arminians, and joined the Church of England. They were ordained in England and returned to the colonies as missionaries for the Anglican faith. Thomas Clapp became president in 1745 and while he attempted to return the college to Calvinist orthodoxy, he did not close the library. Other students found Deist books in the library.

    Curriculum

    Yale College undergraduates follow a liberal arts curriculum with departmental majors and is organized into a social system of residential colleges.

    Yale was swept up by the great intellectual movements of the period—the Great Awakening and the Enlightenment—due to the religious and scientific interests of presidents Thomas Clap and Ezra Stiles. They were both instrumental in developing the scientific curriculum at Yale while dealing with wars, student tumults, graffiti, “irrelevance” of curricula, desperate need for endowment and disagreements with the Connecticut legislature.

    Serious American students of theology and divinity particularly in New England regarded Hebrew as a classical language along with Greek and Latin and essential for the study of the Hebrew Bible in the original words. The Reverend Ezra Stiles, president of the college from 1778 to 1795, brought with him his interest in the Hebrew language as a vehicle for studying ancient Biblical texts in their original language (as was common in other schools) requiring all freshmen to study Hebrew (in contrast to Harvard, where only upperclassmen were required to study the language) and is responsible for the Hebrew phrase אורים ותמים (Urim and Thummim) on the Yale seal. A 1746 graduate of Yale, Stiles came to the college with experience in education, having played an integral role in the founding of Brown University(US), in addition to having been a minister. Stiles’ greatest challenge occurred in July 1779 when British forces occupied New Haven and threatened to raze the college. However, Yale graduate Edmund Fanning, Secretary to the British General in command of the occupation, intervened and the college was saved. In 1803, Fanning was granted an honorary degree LL.D. for his efforts.

    Students

    As the only college in Connecticut from 1701 to 1823, Yale educated the sons of the elite. Punishable offenses for students included cardplaying; tavern-going; destruction of college property; and acts of disobedience to college authorities. During this period, Harvard was distinctive for the stability and maturity of its tutor corps, while Yale had youth and zeal on its side.

    The emphasis on classics gave rise to a number of private student societies, open only by invitation, which arose primarily as forums for discussions of modern scholarship literature and politics. The first such organizations were debating societies: Crotonia in 1738, Linonia in 1753 and Brothers in Unity in 1768. While the societies no longer exist, commemorations to them can be found with names given to campus structures, like Brothers in Unity Courtyard in Branford College.

    19th century

    The Yale Report of 1828 was a dogmatic defense of the Latin and Greek curriculum against critics who wanted more courses in modern languages, mathematics, and science. Unlike higher education in Europe, there was no national curriculum for colleges and universities in the United States. In the competition for students and financial support, college leaders strove to keep current with demands for innovation. At the same time, they realized that a significant portion of their students and prospective students demanded a classical background. The Yale report meant the classics would not be abandoned. During this period, all institutions experimented with changes in the curriculum, often resulting in a dual-track curriculum. In the decentralized environment of higher education in the United States, balancing change with tradition was a common challenge because it was difficult for an institution to be completely modern or completely classical. A group of professors at Yale and New Haven Congregationalist ministers articulated a conservative response to the changes brought about by the Victorian culture. They concentrated on developing a person possessed of religious values strong enough to sufficiently resist temptations from within yet flexible enough to adjust to the ‘isms’ (professionalism; materialism; individualism; and consumerism) tempting him from without. William Graham Sumner, professor from 1872 to 1909, taught in the emerging disciplines of economics and sociology to overflowing classrooms of students. Sumner bested President Noah Porter, who disliked the social sciences and wanted Yale to lock into its traditions of classical education. Porter objected to Sumner’s use of a textbook by Herbert Spencer that espoused agnostic materialism because it might harm students.

    Until 1887, the legal name of the university was “The President and Fellows of Yale College, in New Haven.” In 1887, under an act passed by the Connecticut General Assembly, Yale was renamed to the present “Yale University.”

    Sports and debate

    The Revolutionary War soldier Nathan Hale (Yale 1773) was the prototype of the Yale ideal in the early 19th century: a manly yet aristocratic scholar, equally well-versed in knowledge and sports, and a patriot who “regretted” that he “had but one life to lose” for his country. Western painter Frederic Remington (Yale 1900) was an artist whose heroes gloried in combat and tests of strength in the Wild West. The fictional, turn-of-the-20th-century Yale man Frank Merriwell embodied the heroic ideal without racial prejudice, and his fictional successor Frank Stover in the novel Stover at Yale (1911) questioned the business mentality that had become prevalent at the school. Increasingly the students turned to athletic stars as their heroes, especially since winning the big game became the goal of the student body, and the alumni, as well as the team itself.

    Along with Harvard and Princeton University(US), Yale students rejected British concepts about ‘amateurism’ in sports and constructed athletic programs that were uniquely American, such as football. The Harvard–Yale football rivalry began in 1875. Between 1892, when Harvard and Yale met in one of the first intercollegiate debates and 1909 (the year of the first Triangular Debate of Harvard, Yale and Princeton) the rhetoric, symbolism, and metaphors used in athletics were used to frame these early debates. Debates were covered on front pages of college newspapers and emphasized in yearbooks, and team members even received the equivalent of athletic letters for their jackets. There even were rallies sending off the debating teams to matches, but the debates never attained the broad appeal that athletics enjoyed. One reason may be that debates do not have a clear winner, as is the case in sports, and that scoring is subjective. In addition, with late 19th-century concerns about the impact of modern life on the human body, athletics offered hope that neither the individual nor the society was coming apart.

    In 1909–10, football faced a crisis resulting from the failure of the previous reforms of 1905–06 to solve the problem of serious injuries. There was a mood of alarm and mistrust, and, while the crisis was developing, the presidents of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton developed a project to reform the sport and forestall possible radical changes forced by government upon the sport. President Arthur Hadley of Yale, A. Lawrence Lowell of Harvard, and Woodrow Wilson of Princeton worked to develop moderate changes to reduce injuries. Their attempts, however, were reduced by rebellion against the rules committee and formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The big three had tried to operate independently of the majority, but changes did reduce injuries.

    Expansion

    Yale expanded gradually, establishing the Yale School of Medicine (1810); Yale Divinity School (1822); Yale Law School (1843); Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1847); the Sheffield Scientific School (1847); and the Yale School of Fine Arts (1869). In 1887, as the college continued to grow under the presidency of Timothy Dwight V, Yale College was renamed Yale University, with the name Yale College subsequently applied to the undergraduate college. The university would later add the Yale School of Music (1894); the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (founded by Gifford Pinchot in 1900); the Yale School of Public Health (1915); the Yale School of Nursing (1923); the Yale School of Drama (1955); the Yale Physician Associate Program (1973); the Yale School of Management (1976); and the Jackson School of Global Affairs which will open in 2022. It would also reorganize its relationship with the Sheffield Scientific School.

    Expansion caused controversy about Yale’s new roles. Noah Porter, moral philosopher, was president from 1871 to 1886. During an age of tremendous expansion in higher education, Porter resisted the rise of the new research university, claiming that an eager embrace of its ideals would corrupt undergraduate education. Many of Porter’s contemporaries criticized his administration, and historians since have disparaged his leadership. Levesque argues Porter was not a simple-minded reactionary, uncritically committed to tradition, but a principled and selective conservative. He did not endorse everything old or reject everything new; rather, he sought to apply long-established ethical and pedagogical principles to a rapidly changing culture. He may have misunderstood some of the challenges of his time, but he correctly anticipated the enduring tensions that have accompanied the emergence and growth of the modern university.

    20th century

    Behavioral sciences

    Between 1925 and 1940, philanthropic foundations, especially ones connected with the Rockefellers, contributed about $7 million to support the Yale Institute of Human Relations and the affiliated Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology. The money went toward behavioral science research, which was supported by foundation officers who aimed to “improve mankind” under an informal, loosely defined human engineering effort. The behavioral scientists at Yale, led by President James R. Angell and psychobiologist Robert M. Yerkes, tapped into foundation largesse by crafting research programs aimed to investigate, then suggest, ways to control sexual and social behavior. For example, Yerkes analyzed chimpanzee sexual behavior in hopes of illuminating the evolutionary underpinnings of human development and providing information that could ameliorate dysfunction. Ultimately, the behavioral-science results disappointed foundation officers, who shifted their human-engineering funds toward biological sciences.

    Biology

    Slack (2003) compares three groups that conducted biological research at Yale during overlapping periods between 1910 and 1970. Yale proved important as a site for this research. The leaders of these groups were Ross Granville Harrison; Grace E. Pickford; and G. Evelyn Hutchinson and their members included both graduate students and more experienced scientists. All produced innovative research, including the opening of new subfields in embryology; endocrinology; and ecology, respectively, over a long period of time. Harrison’s group is shown to have been a classic research school. Pickford’s and Hutchinson’s were not. Pickford’s group was successful in spite of her lack of departmental or institutional position or power. Hutchinson and his graduate and postgraduate students were extremely productive, but in diverse areas of ecology rather than one focused area of research or the use of one set of research tools. Hutchinson’s example shows that new models for research groups are needed, especially for those that include extensive field research.

    Medicine

    Milton Winternitz led the Yale School of Medicine as its dean from 1920 to 1935. Dedicated to the new scientific medicine established in Germany, he was equally fervent about “social medicine” and the study of humans in their culture and environment. He established the “Yale System” of teaching, with few lectures and fewer exams, and strengthened the full-time faculty system. He also created the graduate-level Yale School of Nursing and the Psychiatry Department and built numerous new buildings. Progress toward his plans for an Institute of Human Relations, envisioned as a refuge where social scientists would collaborate with biological scientists in a holistic study of humankind, unfortunately, lasted for only a few years before the opposition of resentful anti-Semitic colleagues drove him to resign.

    Before World War II, most elite university faculties counted among their numbers few, if any, Jews, blacks, women, or other minorities. Yale was no exception. By 1980, this condition had been altered dramatically, as numerous members of those groups held faculty positions. Almost all members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences—and some members of other faculties—teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually.

    History and American studies

    The American studies program reflected the worldwide anti-Communist ideological struggle. Norman Holmes Pearson, who worked for the Office of Strategic Studies in London during World War II, returned to Yale and headed the new American studies program. Popular among undergraduates, the program sought to instill a sense of nationalism and national purpose. Also during the 1940s and 1950s, Wyoming millionaire William Robertson Coe made large contributions to the American studies programs at Yale University and at the University of Wyoming. Coe was concerned to celebrate the ‘values’ of the Western United States in order to meet the “threat of communism”.

    Women

    In 1793, Lucinda Foote passed the entrance exams for Yale College, but was rejected by the President on the basis of her gender. Women studied at Yale University as early as 1892, in graduate-level programs at the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

    In 1966, Yale began discussions with its sister school Vassar College(US) about merging to foster coeducation at the undergraduate level. Vassar, then all-female and part of the Seven Sisters—elite higher education schools that historically served as sister institutions to the Ivy League when most Ivy League institutions still only admitted men—tentatively accepted, but then declined the invitation. Both schools introduced coeducation independently in 1969. Amy Solomon was the first woman to register as a Yale undergraduate; she was also the first woman at Yale to join an undergraduate society, St. Anthony Hall. The undergraduate class of 1973 was the first class to have women starting from freshman year; at the time, all undergraduate women were housed in Vanderbilt Hall at the south end of Old Campus.

    A decade into co-education, student assault and harassment by faculty became the impetus for the trailblazing lawsuit Alexander v. Yale. In the late 1970s, a group of students and one faculty member sued Yale for its failure to curtail campus sexual harassment by especially male faculty. The case was party built from a 1977 report authored by plaintiff Ann Olivarius, now a feminist attorney known for fighting sexual harassment, A report to the Yale Corporation from the Yale Undergraduate Women’s Caucus. This case was the first to use Title IX to argue and establish that the sexual harassment of female students can be considered illegal sex discrimination. The plaintiffs in the case were Olivarius, Ronni Alexander (now a professor at Kobe University[神戸大学; Kōbe daigaku](JP)); Margery Reifler (works in the Los Angeles film industry), Pamela Price (civil rights attorney in California), and Lisa E. Stone (works at Anti-Defamation League). They were joined by Yale classics professor John “Jack” J. Winkler, who died in 1990. The lawsuit, brought partly by Catharine MacKinnon, alleged rape, fondling, and offers of higher grades for sex by several Yale faculty, including Keith Brion professor of flute and Director of Bands; Political Science professor Raymond Duvall (now at the University of Minnesota(US)); English professor Michael Cooke and coach of the field hockey team, Richard Kentwell. While unsuccessful in the courts, the legal reasoning behind the case changed the landscape of sex discrimination law and resulted in the establishment of Yale’s Grievance Board and the Yale Women’s Center. In March 2011 a Title IX complaint was filed against Yale by students and recent graduates, including editors of Yale’s feminist magazine Broad Recognition, alleging that the university had a hostile sexual climate. In response, the university formed a Title IX steering committee to address complaints of sexual misconduct. Afterwards, universities and colleges throughout the US also established sexual harassment grievance procedures.

    Class

    Yale, like other Ivy League schools, instituted policies in the early 20th century designed to maintain the proportion of white Protestants from notable families in the student body, and was one of the last of the Ivies to eliminate such preferences, beginning with the class of 1970.

    Town–gown relations

    Yale has a complicated relationship with its home city; for example, thousands of students volunteer every year in a myriad of community organizations, but city officials, who decry Yale’s exemption from local property taxes, have long pressed the university to do more to help. Under President Levin, Yale has financially supported many of New Haven’s efforts to reinvigorate the city. Evidence suggests that the town and gown relationships are mutually beneficial. Still, the economic power of the university increased dramatically with its financial success amid a decline in the local economy.

    21st century

    In 2006, Yale and Peking University [北京大学](CN) established a Joint Undergraduate Program in Beijing, an exchange program allowing Yale students to spend a semester living and studying with PKU honor students. In July 2012, the Yale University-PKU Program ended due to weak participation.

    In 2007 outgoing Yale President Rick Levin characterized Yale’s institutional priorities: “First, among the nation’s finest research universities, Yale is distinctively committed to excellence in undergraduate education. Second, in our graduate and professional schools, as well as in Yale College, we are committed to the education of leaders.”

    In 2009, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair picked Yale as one location – the others are Britain’s Durham University(UK) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (MY) – for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s United States Faith and Globalization Initiative. As of 2009, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo is the director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization and teaches an undergraduate seminar, Debating Globalization. As of 2009, former presidential candidate and DNC chair Howard Dean teaches a residential college seminar, Understanding Politics and Politicians. Also in 2009, an alliance was formed among Yale, University College London(UK), and both schools’ affiliated hospital complexes to conduct research focused on the direct improvement of patient care—a growing field known as translational medicine. President Richard Levin noted that Yale has hundreds of other partnerships across the world, but “no existing collaboration matches the scale of the new partnership with UCL”.

    In August 2013, a new partnership with the National University of Singapore(SG) led to the opening of Yale-NUS College in Singapore, a joint effort to create a new liberal arts college in Asia featuring a curriculum including both Western and Asian traditions.

    In 2020, in the wake of protests around the world focused on racial relations and criminal justice reform, the #CancelYale movement demanded that Elihu Yale’s name be removed from Yale University. Yale was president of the East India Company, a trading company that traded slaves as well as goods, and his singularly large donation led to Yale relying on money from the slave-trade for its first scholarships and endowments.

    In August 2020, the US Justice Department claimed that Yale discriminated against Asian and white candidates on the basis of their race. The university, however, denied the report. In early February 2021, under the new Biden administration, the Justice Department withdrew the lawsuit. The group, Students for Fair Admissions, known for a similar lawsuit against Harvard alleging the same issue, plans to refile the lawsuit.

    Yale alumni in Politics

    The Boston Globe wrote that “if there’s one school that can lay claim to educating the nation’s top national leaders over the past three decades, it’s Yale”. Yale alumni were represented on the Democratic or Republican ticket in every U.S. presidential election between 1972 and 2004. Yale-educated Presidents since the end of the Vietnam War include Gerald Ford; George H.W. Bush; Bill Clinton; and George W. Bush. Major-party nominees during this period include Hillary Clinton (2016); John Kerry (2004); Joseph Lieberman (Vice President, 2000); and Sargent Shriver (Vice President, 1972). Other Yale alumni who have made serious bids for the Presidency during this period include Amy Klobuchar (2020); Tom Steyer (2020); Ben Carson (2016); Howard Dean (2004); Gary Hart (1984 and 1988); Paul Tsongas (1992); Pat Robertson (1988); and Jerry Brown (1976, 1980, 1992).

    Several explanations have been offered for Yale’s representation in national elections since the end of the Vietnam War. Various sources note the spirit of campus activism that has existed at Yale since the 1960s, and the intellectual influence of Reverend William Sloane Coffin on many of the future candidates. Yale President Richard Levin attributes the run to Yale’s focus on creating “a laboratory for future leaders,” an institutional priority that began during the tenure of Yale Presidents Alfred Whitney Griswold and Kingman Brewster. Richard H. Brodhead, former dean of Yale College and now president of Duke University(US), stated: “We do give very significant attention to orientation to the community in our admissions, and there is a very strong tradition of volunteerism at Yale.” Yale historian Gaddis Smith notes “an ethos of organized activity” at Yale during the 20th century that led John Kerry to lead the Yale Political Union’s Liberal Party; George Pataki the Conservative Party; and Joseph Lieberman to manage the Yale Daily News. Camille Paglia points to a history of networking and elitism: “It has to do with a web of friendships and affiliations built up in school.” CNN suggests that George W. Bush benefited from preferential admissions policies for the “son and grandson of alumni”, and for a “member of a politically influential family”. New York Times correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller and The Atlantic Monthly correspondent James Fallows credit the culture of community and cooperation that exists between students, faculty, and administration, which downplays self-interest and reinforces commitment to others.

    During the 1988 presidential election, George H. W. Bush (Yale ’48) derided Michael Dukakis for having “foreign-policy views born in Harvard Yard’s boutique”. When challenged on the distinction between Dukakis’ Harvard connection and his own Yale background, he said that, unlike Harvard, Yale’s reputation was “so diffuse, there isn’t a symbol, I don’t think, in the Yale situation, any symbolism in it” and said Yale did not share Harvard’s reputation for “liberalism and elitism”. In 2004 Howard Dean stated, “In some ways, I consider myself separate from the other three (Yale) candidates of 2004. Yale changed so much between the class of ’68 and the class of ’71. My class was the first class to have women in it; it was the first class to have a significant effort to recruit African Americans. It was an extraordinary time, and in that span of time is the change of an entire generation”.

    Leadership

    The President and Fellows of Yale College, also known as the Yale Corporation, or board of trustees, is the governing body of the university and consists of thirteen standing committees with separate responsibilities outlined in the by-laws. The corporation has 19 members: three ex officio members, ten successor trustees, and six elected alumni fellows.

    Yale’s former president Richard C. Levin was, at the time, one of the highest paid university presidents in the United States. Yale’s succeeding president Peter Salovey ranks 40th.

    The Yale Provost’s Office and similar executive positions have launched several women into prominent university executive positions. In 1977, Provost Hanna Holborn Gray was appointed interim President of Yale and later went on to become President of the University of Chicago(US), being the first woman to hold either position at each respective school. In 1994, Provost Judith Rodin became the first permanent female president of an Ivy League institution at the University of Pennsylvania(US). In 2002, Provost Alison Richard became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge(UK). In 2003, the Dean of the Divinity School, Rebecca Chopp, was appointed president of Colgate University(US) and later went on to serve as the President of the Swarthmore College(US) in 2009, and then the first female chancellor of the University of Denver(US) in 2014. In 2004, Provost Dr. Susan Hockfield became the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US). In 2004, Dean of the Nursing school, Catherine Gilliss, was appointed the Dean of Duke University’s School of Nursing and Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs. In 2007, Deputy Provost H. Kim Bottomly was named President of Wellesley College(US).

    Similar examples for men who’ve served in Yale leadership positions can also be found. In 2004, Dean of Yale College Richard H. Brodhead was appointed as the President of Duke University(US). In 2008, Provost Andrew Hamilton was confirmed to be the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford(UK).

    The university has three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program); the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and the professional schools.

    Campus

    Yale’s central campus in downtown New Haven covers 260 acres (1.1 km2) and comprises its main, historic campus and a medical campus adjacent to the Yale–New Haven Hospital. In western New Haven, the university holds 500 acres (2.0 km2) of athletic facilities, including the Yale Golf Course. In 2008, Yale purchased the 17-building, 136-acre (0.55 km2) former Bayer HealthCare complex in West Haven, Connecticut, the buildings of which are now used as laboratory and research space. Yale also owns seven forests in Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire—the largest of which is the 7,840-acre (31.7 km2) Yale-Myers Forest in Connecticut’s Quiet Corner—and nature preserves including Horse Island.

    Yale is noted for its largely Collegiate Gothic campus as well as several iconic modern buildings commonly discussed in architectural history survey courses: Louis Kahn’s Yale Art Gallery and Center for British Art; Eero Saarinen’s Ingalls Rink and Ezra Stiles and Morse Colleges; and Paul Rudolph’s Art & Architecture Building. Yale also owns and has restored many noteworthy 19th-century mansions along Hillhouse Avenue, which was considered the most beautiful street in America by Charles Dickens when he visited the United States in the 1840s. In 2011, Travel+Leisure listed the Yale campus as one of the most beautiful in the United States.

    Many of Yale’s buildings were constructed in the Collegiate Gothic architecture style from 1917 to 1931, financed largely by Edward S. Harkness, including the Yale Drama School. Stone sculpture built into the walls of the buildings portray contemporary college personalities, such as a writer; an athlete; a tea-drinking socialite; and a student who has fallen asleep while reading. Similarly, the decorative friezes on the buildings depict contemporary scenes, like a policemen chasing a robber and arresting a prostitute (on the wall of the Law School) or a student relaxing with a mug of beer and a cigarette. The architect, James Gamble Rogers, faux-aged these buildings by splashing the walls with acid, deliberately breaking their leaded glass windows and repairing them in the style of the Middle Ages and creating niches for decorative statuary but leaving them empty to simulate loss or theft over the ages. In fact, the buildings merely simulate Middle Ages architecture, for though they appear to be constructed of solid stone blocks in the authentic manner, most actually have steel framing as was commonly used in 1930. One exception is Harkness Tower, 216 feet (66 m) tall, which was originally a free-standing stone structure. It was reinforced in 1964 to allow the installation of the Yale Memorial Carillon.

    Other examples of the Gothic style are on the Old Campus by architects like Henry Austin; Charles C. Haight; and Russell Sturgis. Several are associated with members of the Vanderbilt family, including Vanderbilt Hall; Phelps Hall; St. Anthony Hall (a commission for member Frederick William Vanderbilt); the Mason, Sloane and Osborn laboratories; dormitories for the Sheffield Scientific School (the engineering and sciences school at Yale until 1956) and elements of Silliman College, the largest residential college.

    The oldest building on campus, Connecticut Hall (built in 1750), is in the Georgian style. Georgian-style buildings erected from 1929 to 1933 include Timothy Dwight College, Pierson College, and Davenport College, except the latter’s east, York Street façade, which was constructed in the Gothic style to coordinate with adjacent structures.

    Interior of Beinecke Library

    The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is one of the largest buildings in the world reserved exclusively for the preservation of rare books and manuscripts. The library includes a six-story above-ground tower of book stacks, filled with 180,000 volumes, that is surrounded by large translucent Vermont marble panels and a steel and granite truss. The panels act as windows and subdue direct sunlight while also diffusing the light in warm hues throughout the interior. Near the library is a sunken courtyard, with sculptures by Isamu Noguchi that are said to represent time (the pyramid), the sun (the circle), and chance (the cube). The library is located near the center of the university in Hewitt Quadrangle, which is now more commonly referred to as “Beinecke Plaza.”

    Alumnus Eero Saarinen, Finnish-American architect of such notable structures as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; Washington Dulles International Airport main terminal; Bell Labs Holmdel Complex; and the CBS Building in Manhattan, designed Ingalls Rink, dedicated in 1959, as well as the residential colleges Ezra Stiles and Morse. These latter were modeled after the medieval Italian hill town of San Gimignano – a prototype chosen for the town’s pedestrian-friendly milieu and fortress-like stone towers. These tower forms at Yale act in counterpoint to the college’s many Gothic spires and Georgian cupolas.

    Yale’s Office of Sustainability develops and implements sustainability practices at Yale. Yale is committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 10% below 1990 levels by the year 2020. As part of this commitment, the university allocates renewable energy credits to offset some of the energy used by residential colleges. Eleven campus buildings are candidates for LEED design and certification. Yale Sustainable Food Project initiated the introduction of local organic vegetables fruits and beef to all residential college dining halls. Yale was listed as a Campus Sustainability Leader on the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s College Sustainability Report Card 2008, and received a “B+” grade overall.

    Notable nonresidential campus buildings

    Notable nonresidential campus buildings and landmarks include Battell Chapel; Beinecke Rare Book Library; Harkness Tower; Ingalls Rink; Kline Biology Tower; Osborne Memorial Laboratories; Payne Whitney Gymnasium; Peabody Museum of Natural History; Sterling Hall of Medicine; Sterling Law Buildings; Sterling Memorial Library; Woolsey Hall; Yale Center for British Art; Yale University Art Gallery; Yale Art & Architecture Building and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London.

    Yale’s secret society buildings (some of which are called “tombs”) were built both to be private yet unmistakable. A diversity of architectural styles is represented: Berzelius; Donn Barber in an austere cube with classical detailing (erected in 1908 or 1910); Book and Snake; Louis R. Metcalfe in a Greek Ionic style (erected in 1901); Elihu, architect unknown but built in a Colonial style (constructed on an early 17th-century foundation although the building is from the 18th century); Mace and Chain, in a late colonial early Victorian style (built in 1823). (Interior moulding is said to have belonged to Benedict Arnold); Manuscript Society, King Lui-Wu with Dan Kniley responsible for landscaping and Josef Albers for the brickwork intaglio mural. Buildings constructed in a mid-century modern style: Scroll and Key; Richard Morris Hunt in a Moorish- or Islamic-inspired Beaux-Arts style (erected 1869–70); Skull and Bones; possibly Alexander Jackson Davis or Henry Austin in an Egypto-Doric style utilizing Brownstone (in 1856 the first wing was completed, in 1903 the second wing, 1911 the Neo-Gothic towers in rear garden were completed); St. Elmo, (former tomb) Kenneth M. Murchison, 1912, designs inspired by Elizabethan manor. Current location, brick colonial; and Wolf’s Head, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, erected 1923–1924, Collegiate Gothic.

    Relationship with New Haven

    Yale is the largest taxpayer and employer in the City of New Haven, and has often buoyed the city’s economy and communities. Yale, however has consistently opposed paying a tax on its academic property. Yale’s Art Galleries, along with many other university resources, are free and openly accessible. Yale also funds the New Haven Promise program, paying full tuition for eligible students from New Haven public schools.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:36 pm on March 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Mystery of photosynthetic algae evolution finally solved", , , , , , From University of New South Wales (AU), Paleobiology,   

    From University of New South Wales (AU) : “Mystery of photosynthetic algae evolution finally solved” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales (AU)

    30 Mar 2021
    Lachlan Gilbert

    Scientists have identified the protein that was the missing evolutionary link between two ancient algae species – red algae and cryptophytes.

    1
    A computer model of the novel protein structure in the cryptophyte’s antenna that traps sunlight energy. Credit: UNSW.

    An evolutionary mystery that had eluded molecular biologists for decades may never have been solved if it weren’t for the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Being stuck at home was a blessing in disguise, as there were no experiments that could be done. We just had our computers and lots of time,” says Professor Paul Curmi, a structural biologist and molecular biophysicist with UNSW Sydney.

    Prof. Curmi is referring to research published this month in Nature Communications that details the painstaking unravelling and reconstruction of a key protein in a single-celled, photosynthetic organism called a cryptophyte, a type of algae that evolved over a billion years ago.

    Up until now, how cryptophytes acquired the proteins used to capture and funnel sunlight to be used by the cell had molecular biologists scratching their heads. They already knew that the protein was part of a sort of antenna that the organism used to convert sunlight into energy. They also knew that the cryptophyte had inherited some antenna components from its photosynthetic ancestors – red algae, and before that cyanobacteria, one of the earliest lifeforms on earth that are responsible for stromatolites [Trends in Microbiology].

    An image of Cyanobacteria, Tolypothrix.

    2
    Stromatolites at Shark Bay, Western Australia. Credit: Brendan Burns/ UNSW Sydney.

    But how the protein structures fit together in the cryptophyte’s own, novel antenna structure remained a mystery – until Prof. Curmi, PhD student Harry Rathbone and colleagues from University of Queensland (AU) and University of British Columbia (CA) pored over the electron microscope images of the antenna protein from a progenitor red algal organism made public by Chinese researchers in March 2020 [Nature].

    Unravelling the mystery meant the team could finally tell the story of how this protein had enabled these ancient single-celled organisms to thrive in the most inhospitable conditions – metres under water with very little direct sunlight to convert into energy.

    3
    A cryogenic electron microscopy map of a cryptophyte-like protein found in red algae. The red indicates the elusive protein that was re-used by cryptophytes in their own antenna. Credit: UNSW.

    Prof. Curmi says the major implications of the work are for evolutionary biology.

    “We provide a direct link between two very different antenna systems and open the door for discovering exactly how one system evolved into a different system – where both appear to be very efficient in capturing light,” he says.

    “Photosynthetic algae have many different antenna systems which have the property of being able to capture every available light photon and transferring it to a photosystem protein that converts the light energy to chemical energy.”

    By working to understand the algal systems, the scientists hope to uncover the fundamental physical principles that underlie the exquisite photon efficiency of these photosynthetic systems. Prof. Curmi says these may one day have application in optical devices including solar energy systems.

    Eating for two

    To better appreciate the significance of the protein discovery, it helps to understand the very strange world of single-celled organisms which take the adage “you are what you eat” to a new level.

    As study lead author, PhD student Harry Rathbone explains, when a single-celled organism swallows another, it can enter a relationship of endosymbiosis, where one organism lives inside the other and the two become inseparable.

    “Often with algae, they’ll go and find some lunch – another alga – and they’ll decide not to digest it. They’ll keep it to do its bidding, essentially,” Mr Rathbone says. “And those new organisms can be swallowed by other organisms in the same way, sort of like a matryoshka doll.”

    In fact, this is likely what happened when about one and a half billion years ago, a cyanobacterium was swallowed by another single-celled organism. The cyanobacteria already had a sophisticated antenna of proteins that trapped every photon of light. But instead of digesting the cyanobacterium, the host organism effectively stripped it for parts – retaining the antenna protein structure that the new organism – the red algae – used for energy.

    And when another organism swallowed a red alga to become the first cryptophyte, it was a similar story. Except this time the antenna was brought to the other side of the membrane of the host organism and completely remoulded into new protein shapes that were equally as efficient at trapping sunlight photons.

    Evolution

    As Prof. Curmi explains, these were the first tiny steps towards the evolution of modern plants and other photosynthetic organisms such as seaweeds.

    “In going from cyanobacteria that are photosynthetic, to everything else on the planet that is photosynthetic, some ancient ancestor gobbled up a cyanobacteria which then became the cell’s chloroplast that converts sunlight into chemical energy.

    “And the deal between the organisms is sort of like, I’ll keep you safe as long as you do photosynthesis and give me energy.”

    One of the collaborators on this project, Dr Beverley Green, Professor Emerita with the University of British Columbia’s Department of Botany says Prof. Curmi was able to make the discovery by approaching the problem from a different angle.

    “Paul’s novel approach was to search for ancestral proteins on the basis of shape rather than similarity in amino acid sequence,” she says.

    “By searching the 3D structures of two red algal multi-protein complexes for segments of protein that folded in the same way as the cryptophyte protein, he was able to find the missing puzzle piece.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UNSW Campus

    Welcome to University of New South Wales (AU), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

    Established in 1949, UNSW is a research university, ranked 44th in the world in the 2021 QS World University Rankings and 67th in the world in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. UNSW is one of the founding members of the Group of Eight, a coalition of Australian research-intensive universities, and of Universitas 21, a global network of research universities. It has international exchange and research partnerships with over 200 universities around the world.

    The university comprises seven faculties, through which it offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The main campus is in the Sydney suburb of Kensington, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from the Sydney CBD. The creative arts faculty, UNSW Art & Design, is located in Paddington, and subcampuses are located in the Sydney CBD as well as several other suburbs, including Randwick and Coogee. Research stations are located throughout the state of New South Wales.

    The university’s second largest campus, known as UNSW Canberra(AU) at ADFA, is situated in Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). ADFA is the military academy of the Australian Defence Force, and UNSW Camberra is the only national academic institution with a defence focus.

    Foundation

    The origins of the university can be traced to the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts established in 1833 and the Sydney Technical College established in 1878. These institutions were established to meet the growing demand for capabilities in new technologies as the New South Wales economy shifted from its pastoral base to industries fueled by the industrial age.

    The idea of founding the university originated from the crisis demands of World War II, during which the nation’s attention was drawn to the critical role that science and technology played in transforming an agricultural society into a modern and industrial one. The post-war Labor government of New South Wales recognised the increasing need to have a university specialized in training high-quality engineers and technology-related professionals in numbers beyond that of the capacity and characteristics of the existing University of Sydney. This led to the proposal to establish the Institute of Technology, submitted by the then-New South Wales Minister for Education Bob Heffron, accepted on 9 July 1946.

    The university, originally named the “New South Wales University of Technology”, gained its statutory status through the enactment of the New South Wales University of Technology Act 1949 (NSW) by the Parliament of New South Wales in Sydney in 1949.

    Early years

    In March 1948, classes commenced with a first intake of 46 students pursuing programs including civil engineering, mechanical engineering, mining engineering, and electrical engineering. At that time, the thesis programs were innovative. Each course embodied a specified and substantial period of practical training in the relevant industry. It was also unprecedented for tertiary institutions at that time to include compulsory instruction in humanities.

    Initially, the university operated from the inner Sydney Technical College city campus in Ultimo as a separate institution from the college. However, in 1951, the Parliament of New South Wales passed the New South Wales University of Technology (Construction) Act 1951 (NSW) to provide funding and allow buildings to be erected at the Kensington site where the university is now located.

    The lower campus area of the Kensington campus was vested in the university in two lots, in December 1952 and June 1954. The upper campus area was vested in the university in November 1959.

    Expansion

    In 1958, the university’s name was changed to the “University of New South Wales” reflecting a transformation from a technology-based institution to a generalist university. In 1960, the faculties of arts and medicine were established, with the faculty of law coming into being in 1971.

    The university’s first director was Arthur Denning (1949–1952), who made important contributions to founding the university. In 1953, he was replaced by Philip Baxter, who continued as vice-chancellor when this position’s title was changed in 1955. Baxter’s dynamic, if authoritarian, management was central to the university’s first 20 years. His visionary, but at times controversial, energies saw the university grow from a handful to 15,000 students by 1968. The new vice-chancellor, Rupert Myers (1969–1981), brought consolidation and an urbane management style to a period of expanding student numbers, demand for change in university style, and challenges of student unrest.

    In 1962 the academic book publishing company University of New South Wales Press was launched. Now an ACNC not-for-profit entity, it has three divisions: NewSouth Publishing (the publishing arm of the company), NewSouth Books (the sales, marketing and distribution part of the company), and the UNSW Bookshop, situated at the Kensington campus.

    The stabilizing techniques of the 1980s managed by the vice-chancellor, Michael Birt (1981–1992), provided a firm base for the energetic corporatism and campus enhancements pursued by the subsequent vice-chancellor, John Niland (1992–2002). The 1990s had the addition of fine arts to the university. The university established colleges in Newcastle (1951) and Wollongong (1961), which eventually became the University of Newcastle and the University of Wollongong in 1965 and 1975, respectively.

    The former St George Institute of Education (part of the short-lived Sydney College of Advanced Education) amalgamated with the university from 1 January 1990, resulting in the formation of a School of Teacher Education at the former SGIE campus at Oatley. A School of Sports and Leisure Studies and a School of Arts and Music Education were also subsequently based at St George. The campus was closed in 1999.

    Recent history

    In 2010 the Lowy Cancer Research Centre, Australia’s first facility to bring together researchers in childhood and adult cancer, costing $127 million, opened.

    In 2003, the university was invited by Singapore’s Economic Development Board to consider opening a campus there. Following a 2004 decision to proceed, the first phase of a planned $200 m campus opened in 2007. Students and staff were sent home and the campus closed after one semester following substantial financial losses.

    In 2008, it collaborated with two other universities in forming The Centre for Social Impact. In 2019, the university moved to a trimester timetable as part of UNSW’s 2025 Strategy. Under the trimester timetable, the study load changed from offering four subjects per 13-week semester, to three subjects per 10-week term. The change to trimesters has been widely criticised by staff and students as a money-making move, with little consideration as to the well-being of students.

    In 2012 UNSW Press celebrated its 50th anniversary and launched the UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing. The annual Best Australian Science Writing anthology contains the winning and shortlisted entries among a collection of the year’s best writing from Australian authors, journalists and scientists and is published annually in the NewSouth imprint under a different editorship. The UNSW Press Bragg Student Prize celebrates excellence in science writing by Australian high school students and is supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and UNSW Science.

    In the 2019 Student Experience Survey, the University of New South Wales recorded the lowest student satisfaction rating out of all Australian universities, with an overall satisfaction rating of 62.9, which was lower than the overall national average of 78.4. UNSW’s low student satisfaction numbers for 2019 was attributed to the university’s switch to a trimester system.

    On 15 July 2020, the university announced 493 job cuts and a 25 percent reduction in management due to the effects of COVID-19 and a $370 million budget shortfall.

    Research centres

    The university has a number of purpose-built research facilities, including:

    UNSW Lowy Cancer Research Centre is Australia’s first facility bringing together researchers in childhood and adult cancers, as well as one of the country’s largest cancer-research facilities, housing up to 400 researchers.
    The Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre is a centre for the faculties of science, medicine, and engineering. It is used to study the structure and composition of biological, chemical, and physical materials.
    UNSW Canberra Cyber is a cyber-security research and teaching centre.
    The Sino-Australian Research Centre for Coastal Management (SARCCM) has a multidisciplinary focus, and works collaboratively with the Ocean University of China [中國海洋大學; pinyin: Zhōngguó; Hǎiyáng Dàxué](CN) in coastal management research.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:15 pm on March 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists stunned to discover fossil plants beneath mile-deep Greenland ice indicating an ice-free landscape in a warmer climate", , Paleobiology, University of Manitoba(CA)   

    From University of Manitoba(CA): “Scientists stunned to discover fossil plants beneath mile-deep Greenland ice indicating an ice-free landscape in a warmer climate” 


    From University of Manitoba(CA)

    March 15, 2021
    Sam Swanson
    Communications and Outreach Coordinator
    Centre for Earth Observation Science
    University of Manitoba
    +1 (204) 590-8591
    samuel.swanson@umanitoba.ca

    Long-lost ice core provides direct evidence that a giant ice sheet covered Greenland probably within the last million years, but was gone in the past in a warmer climate, study shows.

    1
    Canada Excellence Research Chair, Dr. Dorthe Dahl-Jensen (right), led the team that discovered the Cold War-era ice core.

    A new study led by the University of Manitoba has found that most or all of Greenland was ice-free for a period of time earlier than believed, indicating that it is more sensitive to climate change than previously understood.

    In 1966, US Army scientists drilled down through nearly 1,390 meters of ice in northwest Greenland, and pulled up a more than three meter tube of dirt from the bottom. The frozen sediment was moved to a freezer in Copenhagen in 1994 and forgotten. In 2017, the sample was again moved to a new freezer and the frozen sediments were accidentally rediscovered.

    In 2019, two samples of sediments were studied by a team of scientists from Denmark and the US, and the team couldn’t believe what they saw: twigs and leaves instead of just sand and rock. That suggested that the ice was gone in the recent geologic past—and that a vegetated landscape, perhaps a boreal forest, stood where a mile-deep ice sheet stands today.

    Over the last year, an international team of scientists – led by Dorthe Dahl-Jensen at the University of Manitoba and University of Copenhagen [Københavns Universitet](DK), Andrew Christ and Paul Bierman at University of Vermont(US), and Jean-Louis Tison at Free University of Brussels[Université libre de Bruxelles](BE) – studied the one-of-a-kind fossil plants and sediment from the bottom of Greenland. Their results show that most, or all, of Greenland has been ice-covered the last million years and ice-free for a period before this time.

    “Ice sheets freeze and preserve material in a very pristine way,” says Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Canada Excellent Research Chair at University of Manitoba.

    “But it is a miracle to directly discover delicate plant structures perfectly preserved. They’re fossils, but they look like they died yesterday. It’s a time capsule of what used to live on Greenland that we wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.”

    The discovery helps confirm a new and troubling understanding that the Greenland ice has melted off entirely during recent warm periods in Earth’s history—periods like the one we are now contributing to with human-caused climate change.

    Understanding the Greenland Ice Sheet in the past is critical for predicting how it will respond to climate warming in the future and how quickly it will melt. Since some seven meters of sea-level rise is tied up in Greenland’s ice, every coastal city in the world is at risk. The new study provides the strongest evidence yet that Greenland is more fragile to climate change than previously understood—and at grave risk of irreversibly melting off.

    “This is a very urgent problem,” says Dahl-Jensen. “Sea level change will impact a significant part of the global population within the next 50 years.”

    The new research was published March 15 in the PNAS.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    2

    The University of Manitoba (CA) is a public university in the province of Manitoba, Canada. Located in Winnipeg and founded in 1877, it was Western Canada’s first university. The university maintains a reputation as a top research-intensive post-secondary educational institution and conducts more research annually than any other university in the region. It is the largest university both by total student enrollment and campus area in the province of Manitoba, and the 17th largest in all of Canada. The university’s raised admissions standards, wide array of professional disciplines, and global outreach have resulted in one of the most diverse student bodies in Western Canada. The campus includes both Faculties of Law and Medicine, and boasts hundreds of degree programs.

    As of 2010, there have been 96 Rhodes Scholars from the University of Manitoba, more than from any other university in Western Canada.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:59 pm on March 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Oceans were stressed preceding abrupt prehistoric global warming", , Because each fossilized shell is about the size of a single grain of sand UCSC researchers physically collected the tiny specimens by first identifying them under a microscope., Foraminifera: an ocean-dwelling unicellular organism with an external shell made of calcium carbonate., Microscopic fossilized shells are helping geologists reconstruct Earth’s climate during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), , , Other archives indicate that the atmosphere-ocean system experienced a massive carbon dioxide release immediately before the PETM., , Paleobiology, The researchers concluded that massive volcanic activity injected large amounts of carbon dioxide into the Earth system causing global warming and ocean acidification., The researchers examined the calcium isotope composition of foraminiferal fossils collected from two sites — one in the southeast Atlantic Ocean and one in the Pacific Ocean., This is the first study to examine the calcium isotope composition of foraminifera to reconstruct conditions before and across the PETM., This is the third recent Northwestern study to find that ocean acidification — due to volcanic carbon dioxide emissions — preceded major prehistoric environmental catastrophes., This is the third study led by Jacobson to find that ocean acidification precedes major environmental catastrophes that correlate with large igneous province eruptions., To manipulate these tiny materials you have to pick them up-one by one-with a wet paintbrush tip under a microscope.,   

    From Northwestern University(US): “Oceans were stressed preceding abrupt prehistoric global warming” 

    Northwestern U bloc

    From Northwestern University(US)

    March 08, 2021
    Amanda Morris

    1
    Gabriella Kitch works with samples from an ocean sediment core.

    Microscopic fossilized shells are helping geologists reconstruct Earth’s climate during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a period of abrupt global warming and ocean acidification that occurred 56 million years ago. Clues from these ancient shells can help scientists better predict future warming and ocean acidification driven by human-caused carbon dioxide emissions.

    Led by Northwestern University, the researchers analyzed shells from foraminifera, an ocean-dwelling unicellular organism with an external shell made of calcium carbonate. After analyzing the calcium isotope composition of the fossils, the researchers concluded that massive volcanic activity injected large amounts of carbon dioxide into the Earth system causing global warming and ocean acidification.

    They also found that global warming and ocean acidification did not just passively affect foraminifera. The organisms also actively responded by reducing calcification rates when building their shells. As calcification slowed, the foraminifera consumed less alkalinity from seawater, which helped buffer increasing ocean acidity.

    “The formation and dissolution of calcium carbonate help regulate the acidity and alkalinity of seawater,” said Northwestern’s Andrew Jacobson, a senior author of the study. “Our calcium isotope data indicate that reduced foraminiferal calcification worked to dampen ocean acidification before and across the PETM.”

    “This is a pretty new concept in the field,” added Gabriella Kitch, the study’s first author. “Previously, people thought that only the dissolution of carbonates at the sea floor could increase alkalinity of the ocean and buffer the effects of ocean acidification. But we are adding to existing studies that show decreased carbonate production has the same buffering effect.”

    The research was published online March 4 in the journal Geology Calcium isotope composition of Morozovella over the late Paleocene–early Eocene. This is the first study to examine the calcium isotope composition of foraminifera to reconstruct conditions before and across the PETM and the third recent Northwestern study to find that ocean acidification — due to volcanic carbon dioxide emissions — preceded major prehistoric environmental catastrophes, such as mass extinctions, oceanic anoxic events and periods of intense global warming.

    Jacobson is a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Kitch is a Ph.D. candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in Jacobson’s laboratory. Northwestern Earth science professors Bradley Sageman and Matthew Hurtgen, as well as collaborators from the University of California-Santa Cruz(US)(UCSC) and the University of Kansas(US), coauthored the paper with Jacobson and Kitch.

    Sorting microscopic shells

    To study oceanic conditions during the PETM, the researchers examined the calcium isotope composition of foraminiferal fossils collected from two sites — one in the southeast Atlantic Ocean and one in the Pacific Ocean — by the Ocean Drilling Program.

    2
    Scanning electron microscopy images of foraminifera from different angles. Credit: Northwestern University.

    3
    Scanning electron microscopy images of foraminifera from different angles Credit: Northwestern University.

    Because each fossilized shell is about the size of a single grain of sand UCSC researchers physically collected the tiny specimens by first identifying them under a microscope. After sorting the shells from bulk sediments, the Northwestern team dissolved the samples and analyzed their calcium isotope composition using a thermal ionization mass spectrometer.

    “The work is very challenging,” Jacobson said. “To manipulate these tiny materials you have to pick them up-one by one-with a wet paintbrush tip under a microscope.”

    Stress prior to PETM

    As the shells formed more than 56 million years ago, they responded to oceanic conditions. By examining these shells, the Northwestern team found that calcium isotope ratios increased prior to the onset of the PETM.

    “We are looking at one group of organisms that built their shells in one part of the ocean, recording the seawater chemistry surrounding them,” Kitch said. “We think the calcium isotope data reveal potential stress prior to the well-known boundary.”
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    56 million years
    Age of the sediment samples
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Other archives indicate that the atmosphere-ocean system experienced a massive carbon dioxide release immediately before the PETM. When atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, it forms a weak acid that can inhibit calcium carbonate formation. Although it is still undetermined, Earth scientists believe the carbon release most likely came from volcanic activity or cascading effects, such as a release of methane hydrates from the seafloor as a result of ocean warming.

    “My suspicion is that it’s both of these factors or some sort of combination,” Sageman said. “Most big events in Earth’s history represent a confluence of many actors coming together at the same time.”

    Consistent pattern emerges

    This is the third study led by Jacobson to find that ocean acidification precedes major environmental catastrophes that correlate with large igneous province eruptions. Last month, Jacobson’s team published results finding that volcanic activity triggered a biocalcification crisis prior to an ocean anoxic event [Geology Stable Ca and Sr isotopes support volcanically triggered biocalcification crisis during Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a ] that occurred 120 million years ago. Just over a year ago, Jacobson’s team published another study finding ocean acidification preceded the asteroid impact leading to the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event 66 million years ago [Geology], which included the demise of dinosaurs.

    In all three studies, Jacobson’s team used sophisticated tools in his laboratory to analyze the calcium isotope composition of calcium carbonate fossils and sediment. Jacobson said a clear pattern is emerging. Influxes of carbon dioxide led to global warming and ocean acidification and, ultimately, to massive environmental changes.

    In all three studies, Jacobson’s team used sophisticated tools in his laboratory to analyze the calcium isotope composition of calcium carbonate fossils and sediment. Jacobson said a clear pattern is emerging. Influxes of carbon dioxide led to global warming and ocean acidification and, ultimately, to massive environmental changes.

    “In all of our studies, we consistently see an increase in calcium isotope ratios before the onset of major events or extinction horizons,” Jacobson said. “This seems to point to similar drivers and common responses.”

    “Perhaps the calcium isotope system has a sensitivity to the earliest phases of these events,” Sageman added.

    Predictor for future ocean stress

    Many researchers study the PETM because it provides the best analog for current-day, human-caused global warming. The carbon influx during the PETM is similar to the amount of carbon released during the past two centuries. The timescales, however, differ significantly. Temperatures during the PETM increased by 5 to 8 degrees Celsius over 170,000 years. With human-caused climate change, the same level of warming is projected to occur in less than 200 years, if carbon dioxide emissions remain unabated.

    Frighteningly, terrestrial and ocean stress, including a major decrease in foraminiferal calcification, accompanied the PETM.

    “The PETM is a model for what happens during major large carbon cycle perturbations,” Jacobson said. “A lot of predictions for Earth’s future climate rely on understanding what happened during the PETM.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    Northwestern University(US) is a private research university in Evanston, Illinois. Founded in 1851 to serve the former Northwest Territory, the university is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference.

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is known for its focus on interdisciplinary education, extensive research output, and student traditions. The university provides instruction in over 200 formal academic concentrations, including various dual degree programs. The university is composed of eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, which include the Kellogg School of Management, the Pritzker School of Law, the Feinberg School of Medicine, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Bienen School of Music, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Medill School of Journalism, the School of Communication, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Education and Social Policy, and The Graduate School. As of fall 2019, the university had 21,946 enrolled students, including 8,327 undergraduates and 13,619 graduate students.

    Valued at $12.2 billion, Northwestern’s endowment is among the largest university endowments in the United States. Its numerous research programs bring in nearly $900 million in sponsored research each year.

    Northwestern’s main 240-acre (97 ha) campus lies along the shores of Lake Michigan in Evanston, 12 miles north of Downtown Chicago. The university’s law, medical, and professional schools, along with its nationally ranked Northwestern Memorial Hospital, are located on a 25-acre (10 ha) campus in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. The university also maintains a campus in Doha, Qatar and locations in San Francisco, California, Washington, D.C. and Miami, Florida.

    As of October 2020, Northwestern’s faculty and alumni have included 1 Fields Medalist, 22 Nobel Prize laureates, 40 Pulitzer Prize winners, 6 MacArthur Fellows, 17 Rhodes Scholars, 27 Marshall Scholars, 23 National Medal of Science winners, 11 National Humanities Medal recipients, 84 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 10 living billionaires, 16 Olympic medalists, and 2 U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Northwestern alumni have founded notable companies and organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, The Blackstone Group, Kirkland & Ellis, U.S. Steel, Guggenheim Partners, Accenture, Aon Corporation, AQR Capital, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Melvin Capital.

    The foundation of Northwestern University can be traced to a meeting on May 31, 1850, of nine prominent Chicago businessmen, Methodist leaders, and attorneys who had formed the idea of establishing a university to serve what had been known from 1787 to 1803 as the Northwest Territory. On January 28, 1851, the Illinois General Assembly granted a charter to the Trustees of the North-Western University, making it the first chartered university in Illinois. The school’s nine founders, all of whom were Methodists (three of them ministers), knelt in prayer and worship before launching their first organizational meeting. Although they affiliated the university with the Methodist Episcopal Church, they favored a non-sectarian admissions policy, believing that Northwestern should serve all people in the newly developing territory by bettering the economy in Evanston.

    John Evans, for whom Evanston is named, bought 379 acres (153 ha) of land along Lake Michigan in 1853, and Philo Judson developed plans for what would become the city of Evanston, Illinois. The first building, Old College, opened on November 5, 1855. To raise funds for its construction, Northwestern sold $100 “perpetual scholarships” entitling the purchaser and his heirs to free tuition. Another building, University Hall, was built in 1869 of the same Joliet limestone as the Chicago Water Tower, also built in 1869, one of the few buildings in the heart of Chicago to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In 1873 the Evanston College for Ladies merged with Northwestern, and Frances Willard, who later gained fame as a suffragette and as one of the founders of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), became the school’s first dean of women (Willard Residential College, built in 1938, honors her name). Northwestern admitted its first female students in 1869, and the first woman was graduated in 1874.

    Northwestern fielded its first intercollegiate football team in 1882, later becoming a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. In the 1870s and 1880s, Northwestern affiliated itself with already existing schools of law, medicine, and dentistry in Chicago. Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is the oldest law school in Chicago. As the university’s enrollments grew, these professional schools were integrated with the undergraduate college in Evanston; the result was a modern research university combining professional, graduate, and undergraduate programs, which gave equal weight to teaching and research. By the turn of the century, Northwestern had grown in stature to become the third largest university in the United States after Harvard University(US) and the University of Michigan(US).

    Under Walter Dill Scott’s presidency from 1920 to 1939, Northwestern began construction of an integrated campus in Chicago designed by James Gamble Rogers, noted for his design of the Yale University(US) campus, to house the professional schools. The university also established the Kellogg School of Management and built several prominent buildings on the Evanston campus, including Dyche Stadium, now named Ryan Field, and Deering Library among others. In the 1920s, Northwestern became one of the first six universities in the United States to establish a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC). In 1939, Northwestern hosted the first-ever NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship game in the original Patten Gymnasium, which was later demolished and relocated farther north, along with the Dearborn Observatory, to make room for the Technological Institute.

    After the golden years of the 1920s, the Great Depression in the United States (1929–1941) had a severe impact on the university’s finances. Its annual income dropped 25 percent from $4.8 million in 1930-31 to $3.6 million in 1933-34. Investment income shrank, fewer people could pay full tuition, and annual giving from alumni and philanthropists fell from $870,000 in 1932 to a low of $331,000 in 1935. The university responded with two salary cuts of 10 percent each for all employees. It imposed hiring and building freezes and slashed appropriations for maintenance, books, and research. Having had a balanced budget in 1930-31, the university now faced deficits of roughly $100,000 for the next four years. Enrollments fell in most schools, with law and music suffering the biggest declines. However, the movement toward state certification of school teachers prompted Northwestern to start a new graduate program in education, thereby bringing in new students and much needed income. In June 1933, Robert Maynard Hutchins, president of the University of Chicago(US), proposed a merger of the two universities, estimating annual savings of $1.7 million. The two presidents were enthusiastic, and the faculty liked the idea; many Northwestern alumni, however, opposed it, fearing the loss of their Alma Mater and its many traditions that distinguished Northwestern from Chicago. The medical school, for example, was oriented toward training practitioners, and alumni feared it would lose its mission if it were merged into the more research-oriented University of Chicago Medical School. The merger plan was ultimately dropped. In 1935, the Deering family rescued the university budget with an unrestricted gift of $6 million, bringing the budget up to $5.4 million in 1938-39. This allowed many of the previous spending cuts to be restored, including half of the salary reductions.

    Like other American research universities, Northwestern was transformed by World War II (1939–1945). Regular enrollment fell dramatically, but the school opened high-intensity, short-term programs that trained over 50,000 military personnel, including future president John F. Kennedy. Northwestern’s existing NROTC program proved to be a boon to the university as it trained over 36,000 sailors over the course of the war, leading Northwestern to be called the “Annapolis of the Midwest.” Franklyn B. Snyder led the university from 1939 to 1949, and after the war, surging enrollments under the G.I. Bill drove dramatic expansion of both campuses. In 1948, prominent anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits founded the Program of African Studies at Northwestern, the first center of its kind at an American academic institution. J. Roscoe Miller’s tenure as president from 1949 to 1970 saw an expansion of the Evanston campus, with the construction of the Lakefill on Lake Michigan, growth of the faculty and new academic programs, and polarizing Vietnam-era student protests. In 1978, the first and second Unabomber attacks occurred at Northwestern University. Relations between Evanston and Northwestern became strained throughout much of the post-war era because of episodes of disruptive student activism, disputes over municipal zoning, building codes, and law enforcement, as well as restrictions on the sale of alcohol near campus until 1972. Northwestern’s exemption from state and municipal property-tax obligations under its original charter has historically been a source of town-and-gown tension.

    Although government support for universities declined in the 1970s and 1980s, President Arnold R. Weber was able to stabilize university finances, leading to a revitalization of its campuses. As admissions to colleges and universities grew increasingly competitive in the 1990s and 2000s, President Henry S. Bienen’s tenure saw a notable increase in the number and quality of undergraduate applicants, continued expansion of the facilities and faculty, and renewed athletic competitiveness. In 1999, Northwestern student journalists uncovered information exonerating Illinois death-row inmate Anthony Porter two days before his scheduled execution. The Innocence Project has since exonerated 10 more men. On January 11, 2003, in a speech at Northwestern School of Law’s Lincoln Hall, then Governor of Illinois George Ryan announced that he would commute the sentences of more than 150 death-row inmates.

    In the 2010s, a 5-year capital campaign resulted in a new music center, a replacement building for the business school, and a $270 million athletic complex. In 2014, President Barack Obama delivered a seminal economics speech at the Evanston campus.

    Organization and administration

    Governance

    Northwestern is privately owned and governed by an appointed Board of Trustees, which is composed of 70 members and, as of 2011, has been chaired by William A. Osborn ’69. The board delegates its power to an elected president who serves as the chief executive officer of the university. Northwestern has had sixteen presidents in its history (excluding interim presidents). The current president, economist Morton O. Schapiro, succeeded Henry Bienen whose 14-year tenure ended on August 31, 2009. The president maintains a staff of vice presidents, directors, and other assistants for administrative, financial, faculty, and student matters. Kathleen Haggerty assumed the role of interim provost for the university in April 2020.

    Students are formally involved in the university’s administration through the Associated Student Government, elected representatives of the undergraduate students, and the Graduate Student Association, which represents the university’s graduate students.

    The admission requirements, degree requirements, courses of study, and disciplinary and degree recommendations for each of Northwestern’s 12 schools are determined by the voting members of that school’s faculty (assistant professor and above).

    Undergraduate and graduate schools

    Evanston Campus:

    Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (1851)
    School of Communication (1878)
    Bienen School of Music (1895)
    McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science (1909)
    Medill School of Journalism (1921)
    School of Education and Social Policy (1926)
    School of Professional Studies (1933)

    Graduate and professional

    Evanston Campus

    Kellogg School of Management (1908)
    The Graduate School

    Chicago Campus

    Feinberg School of Medicine (1859)
    Kellogg School of Management (1908)
    Pritzker School of Law (1859)
    School of Professional Studies (1933)

    Northwestern University had a dental school from 1891 to May 31, 2001, when it closed.

    Endowment

    In 1996, Princess Diana made a trip to Evanston to raise money for the university hospital’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at the invitation of then President Bienen. Her visit raised a total of $1.5 million for cancer research.

    In 2003, Northwestern finished a five-year capital campaign that raised $1.55 billion, exceeding its fundraising goal by $550 million.

    In 2014, Northwestern launched the “We Will” campaign with a fundraising goal of $3.75 billion. As of December 31, 2019, the university has received $4.78 billion from 164,026 donors.

    Sustainability

    In January 2009, the Green Power Partnership (sponsored by the EPA) listed Northwestern as one of the top 10 universities in the country in purchasing energy from renewable sources. The university matches 74 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of its annual energy use with Green-e Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). This green power commitment represents 30 percent of the university’s total annual electricity use and places Northwestern in the EPA’s Green Power Leadership Club. The Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN), supporting research, teaching and outreach in these themes, was launched in 2008.

    Northwestern requires that all new buildings be LEED-certified. Silverman Hall on the Evanston campus was awarded Gold LEED Certification in 2010; Wieboldt Hall on the Chicago campus was awarded Gold LEED Certification in 2007, and the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center on the Evanston campus was awarded Silver LEED Certification in 2006. New construction and renovation projects will be designed to provide at least a 20% improvement over energy code requirements where feasible. At the beginning of the 2008–09 academic year, the university also released the Evanston Campus Framework Plan, which outlines plans for future development of the university’s Evanston campus. The plan not only emphasizes sustainable building construction, but also focuses on reducing the energy costs of transportation by optimizing pedestrian and bicycle access. Northwestern has had a comprehensive recycling program in place since 1990. The university recycles over 1,500 tons of waste, or 30% of all waste produced on campus, each year. All landscape waste at the university is composted.

    Academics

    Education and rankings

    Northwestern is a large, residential research university, and is frequently ranked among the top universities in the United States. The university is a leading institution in the fields of materials engineering, chemistry, business, economics, education, journalism, and communications. It is also prominent in law and medicine. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the respective national professional organizations for chemistry, psychology, business, education, journalism, music, engineering, law, and medicine, the university offers 124 undergraduate programs and 145 graduate and professional programs. Northwestern conferred 2,190 bachelor’s degrees, 3,272 master’s degrees, 565 doctoral degrees, and 444 professional degrees in 2012–2013. Since 1951, Northwestern has awarded 520 honorary degrees. Northwestern also has chapters of academic honor societies such as Phi Beta Kappa (Alpha of Illinois), Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Sigma Phi (Beta Chapter), Lambda Pi Eta, and Alpha Sigma Lambda (Alpha Chapter).

    The four-year, full-time undergraduate program comprises the majority of enrollments at the university. Although there is no university-wide core curriculum, a foundation in the liberal arts and sciences is required for all majors; individual degree requirements are set by the faculty of each school. The university heavily emphasizes interdisciplinary learning, with 72% of undergrads combining two or more areas of study. Northwestern’s full-time undergraduate and graduate programs operate on an approximately 10-week academic quarter system with the academic year beginning in late September and ending in early June. Undergraduates typically take four courses each quarter and twelve courses in an academic year and are required to complete at least twelve quarters on campus to graduate. Northwestern offers honors, accelerated, and joint degree programs in medicine, science, mathematics, engineering, and journalism. The comprehensive doctoral graduate program has high coexistence with undergraduate programs.

    Despite being a mid-sized university, Northwestern maintains a relatively low student to faculty ratio of 6:1.

    Research

    Northwestern was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1917 and is classified as an R1 university, denoting “very high” research activity. Northwestern’s schools of management, engineering, and communication are among the most academically productive in the nation. The university received $887.3 million in research funding in 2019 and houses over 90 school-based and 40 university-wide research institutes and centers. Northwestern also supports nearly 1,500 research laboratories across two campuses, predominately in the medical and biological sciences.

    Northwestern is home to the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics, Northwestern Institute for Complex Systems, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, Materials Research Center, Center for Quantum Devices, Institute for Policy Research, International Institute for Nanotechnology, Center for Catalysis and Surface Science, Buffet Center for International and Comparative Studies, the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, and the Argonne/Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center among other centers for interdisciplinary research.

    Student body

    Northwestern enrolled 8,186 full-time undergraduate, 9,904 full-time graduate, and 3,856 part-time students in the 2019–2020 academic year. The freshman retention rate for that year was 98%. 86% of students graduated after four years and 92% graduated after five years. These numbers can largely be attributed to the university’s various specialized degree programs, such as those that allow students to earn master’s degrees with a one or two year extension of their undergraduate program.

    The undergraduate population is drawn from all 50 states and over 75 foreign countries. 20% of students in the Class of 2024 were Pell Grant recipients and 12.56% were first-generation college students. Northwestern also enrolls the 9th-most National Merit Scholars of any university in the nation.

    In Fall 2014, 40.6% of undergraduate students were enrolled in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, 21.3% in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, 14.3% in the School of Communication, 11.7% in the Medill School of Journalism, 5.7% in the Bienen School of Music, and 6.4% in the School of Education and Social Policy. The five most commonly awarded undergraduate degrees are economics, journalism, communication studies, psychology, and political science. The Kellogg School of Management’s MBA, the School of Law’s JD, and the Feinberg School of Medicine’s MD are the three largest professional degree programs by enrollment. With 2,446 students enrolled in science, engineering, and health fields, the largest graduate programs by enrollment include chemistry, integrated biology, material sciences, electrical and computer engineering, neuroscience, and economics.

    Athletics

    Northwestern is a charter member of the Big Ten Conference. It is the conference’s only private university and possesses the smallest undergraduate enrollment (the next-smallest member, the University of Iowa, is roughly three times as large, with almost 22,000 undergraduates).

    Northwestern fields 19 intercollegiate athletic teams (8 men’s and 11 women’s) in addition to numerous club sports. 12 of Northwestern’s varsity programs have had NCAA or bowl postseason appearances. Northwestern is one of five private AAU members to compete in NCAA Power Five conferences (the other four being Duke, Stanford, USC, and Vanderbilt) and maintains a 98% NCAA Graduation Success Rate, the highest among Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

    In 2018, the school opened the Walter Athletics Center, a $270 million state of the art lakefront facility for its athletics teams.

    Nickname and mascot

    Before 1924, Northwestern teams were known as “The Purple” and unofficially as “The Fighting Methodists.” The name Wildcats was bestowed upon the university in 1924 by Wallace Abbey, a writer for the Chicago Daily Tribune, who wrote that even in a loss to the University of Chicago, “Football players had not come down from Evanston; wildcats would be a name better suited to “[Coach Glenn] Thistletwaite’s boys.” The name was so popular that university board members made “Wildcats” the official nickname just months later. In 1972, the student body voted to change the official nickname to “Purple Haze,” but the new name never stuck.

    The mascot of Northwestern Athletics is “Willie the Wildcat”. Prior to Willie, the team mascot had been a live, caged bear cub from the Lincoln Park Zoo named Furpaw, who was brought to the playing field on game days to greet the fans. After a losing season however, the team decided that Furpaw was to blame for its misfortune and decided to select a new mascot. “Willie the Wildcat” made his debut in 1933, first as a logo and then in three dimensions in 1947, when members of the Alpha Delta fraternity dressed as wildcats during a Homecoming Parade.

    Traditions

    Northwestern’s official motto, “Quaecumque sunt vera,” was adopted by the university in 1890. The Latin phrase translates to “Whatsoever things are true” and comes from the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians (Philippians 4:8), in which St. Paul admonishes the Christians in the Greek city of Philippi. In addition to this motto, the university crest features a Greek phrase taken from the Gospel of John inscribed on the pages of an open book, ήρης χάριτος και αληθείας or “the word full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
    Alma Mater is the Northwestern Hymn. The original Latin version of the hymn was written in 1907 by Peter Christian Lutkin, the first dean of the School of Music from 1883 to 1931. In 1953, then Director-of-Bands John Paynter recruited an undergraduate music student, Thomas Tyra (’54), to write an English version of the song, which today is performed by the Marching Band during halftime at Wildcat football games and by the orchestra during ceremonies and other special occasions.
    Purple became Northwestern’s official color in 1892, replacing black and gold after a university committee concluded that too many other universities had used these colors. Today, Northwestern’s official color is purple, although white is something of an official color as well, being mentioned in both the university’s earliest song, Alma Mater (1907) (“Hail to purple, hail to white”) and in many university guidelines.
    The Rock, a 6-foot high quartzite boulder donated by the Class of 1902, originally served as a water fountain. It was painted over by students in the 1940s as a prank and has since become a popular vehicle of self-expression on campus.
    Armadillo Day, commonly known as Dillo Day, is the largest student-run music festival in the country. The festival is hosted every Spring on Northwestern’s Lakefront.
    Primal Scream is held every quarter at 9 p.m. on the Sunday before finals week. Students lean out of windows or gather in courtyards and scream to help relieve stress.
    In the past, students would throw marshmallows during football games, but this tradition has since been discontinued.

    Philanthropy

    One of Northwestern’s most notable student charity events is Dance Marathon, the most established and largest student-run philanthropy in the nation. The annual 30-hour event is among the most widely-attended events on campus. It has raised over $1 million for charity ever year since 2011 and has donated a total of $13 million to children’s charities since its conception.

    The Northwestern Community Development Corps (NCDC) is a student-run organization that connects hundreds of student volunteers to community development projects in Evanston and Chicago throughout the year. The group also holds a number of annual community events, including Project Pumpkin, a Halloween celebration that provides over 800 local children with carnival events and a safe venue to trick-or-treat each year.

    Many Northwestern students participate in the Freshman Urban Program, an initiative for students interested in community service to work on addressing social issues facing the city of Chicago, and the university’s Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI) programs, including group service-learning expeditions in Asia, Africa, or Latin America in conjunction with the Foundation for Sustainable Development.

    Several internationally recognized non-profit organizations were established at Northwestern, including the World Health Imaging, Informatics and Telemedicine Alliance, a spin-off from an engineering student’s honors thesis.

    Media
    Print

    Established in 1881, The Daily Northwestern is the university’s main student newspaper and is published on weekdays during the academic year. It is directed entirely by undergraduate students and owned by the Students Publishing Company. Although it serves the Northwestern community, the Daily has no business ties to the university and is supported wholly by advertisers.
    North by Northwestern is an online undergraduate magazine established in September 2006 by students at the Medill School of Journalism. Published on weekdays, it consists of updates on news stories and special events throughout the year. It also publishes a quarterly print magazine.
    Syllabus is the university’s undergraduate yearbook. It is distributed in late May and features a culmination of the year’s events at Northwestern. First published in 1885, the yearbook is published by Students Publishing Company and edited by Northwestern students.
    Northwestern Flipside is an undergraduate satirical magazine. Founded in 2009, it publishes a weekly issue both in print and online.
    Helicon is the university’s undergraduate literary magazine. Established in 1979, it is published twice a year: a web issue is released in the winter and a print issue with a web complement is released in the spring.
    The Protest is Northwestern’s quarterly social justice magazine.
    The Northwestern division of Student Multicultural Affairs supports a number of publications for particular cultural groups including Ahora, a magazine about Hispanic and Latino/a culture and campus life; Al Bayan, published by the Northwestern Muslim-cultural Student Association; BlackBoard Magazine, a magazine centered around African-American student life; and NUAsian, a magazine and blog on Asian and Asian-American culture and issues.
    The Northwestern University Law Review is a scholarly legal publication and student organization at Northwestern University School of Law. Its primary purpose is to publish a journal of broad legal scholarship. The Law Review publishes six issues each year. Student editors make the editorial and organizational decisions and select articles submitted by professors, judges, and practitioners, as well as student pieces. The Law Review also publishes scholarly pieces weekly on the Colloquy.
    The Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property is a law review published by an independent student organization at Northwestern University School of Law.
    The Northwestern Interdisciplinary Law Review is a scholarly legal publication published annually by an editorial board of Northwestern undergraduates. Its mission is to publish interdisciplinary legal research, drawing from fields such as history, literature, economics, philosophy, and art. Founded in 2008, the journal features articles by professors, law students, practitioners, and undergraduates. It is funded by the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies and the Office of the Provost.

    Web-based

    Established in January 2011, Sherman Ave is a humor website that often publishes content on Northwestern student life. Most of its staff writers are current Northwestern undergraduates writing under various pseudonyms. The website is popular among students for its interviews of prominent campus figures, Freshman Guide, and live-tweeting coverage of football games. In Fall 2012, the website promoted a satiric campaign to end the Vanderbilt University football team’s custom of clubbing baby seals.
    Politics & Policy is dedicated to the analysis of current events and public policy. Established in 2010 by students at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, and Medill School of Journalism, the publication reaches students on more than 250 college campuses around the world. Run entirely by undergraduates, it is published several times a week and features material ranging from short summaries of events to extended research pieces. The publication is financed in part by the Buffett Center.
    Northwestern Business Review is a campus source for business news. Founded in 2005, it has an online presence as well as a quarterly print schedule.
    TriQuarterly Online (formerly TriQuarterly) is a literary magazine published twice a year featuring poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, literary essays, reviews, blog posts, and art.
    The Queer Reader is Northwestern’s first radical feminist and LGBTQ+ publication.

    Radio, film, and television

    WNUR (89.3 FM) is a 7,200-watt radio station that broadcasts to the city of Chicago and its northern suburbs. WNUR’s programming consists of music (jazz, classical, and rock), literature, politics, current events, varsity sports (football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, and women’s lacrosse), and breaking news on weekdays.
    Studio 22 is a student-run production company that produces roughly ten films each year. The organization financed the first film Zach Braff directed, and many of its films have featured students who would later go into professional acting, including Zach Gilford of Friday Night Lights.
    Applause for a Cause is currently the only student-run production company in the nation to create feature-length films for charity. It was founded in 2010 and has raised over $5,000 to date for various local and national organizations across the United States.
    Northwestern News Network is a student television news and sports network, serving the Northwestern and Evanston communities. Its studios and newsroom are located on the fourth floor of the McCormick Tribune Center on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. NNN is funded by the Medill School of Journalism.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:48 pm on February 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Earth's mountains disappeared for a billion years and then life stopped evolving", , , , , , Paleobiology, , , Peking University [北京大学] (CN), , Studying ancient Earth's crustal thickness can be the best way to gauge how actively mountains formed in the past., The study authors analyzed the changing composition of zircon minerals that crystallized in the crust billions of years ago., The University of Science and Technology [中国科学技术大学] (CN),   

    From Peking University [北京大学] (CN), The University of Toronto (CA), Rutgers University (US) and The University of Science and Technology [中国科学技术大学] (CN) via Live Science: “Earth’s mountains disappeared for a billion years and then life stopped evolving” 

    From Live Science

    2.11.21
    Brandon Specktor

    A dead supercontinent may be to blame.

    1
    The supercontinent of Nuna-Rodinia broke up at the end of the Proterozoic era, ending a billion years of no new mountain formation, a new study says. © Fama Clamosa/ CC 4.0.

    A tetrad of researchers from Peking University [北京大学] (CN), the University of Toronto (CA), Rutgers University (US) and the University of Science and Technology [中国科学技术大学] (CN) has found evidence that suggests the Earth was mostly flat during its middle ages.

    2

    In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their study of europium embedded in zircon crystals and what it revealed about Earth’s ancient past.

    Earth, like so many of its human inhabitants, may have experienced a mid-life crisis that culminated in baldness. But it wasn’t a receding hairline our planet had to worry about; it was a receding skyline.

    For nearly a billion years during our planet’s “middle age” (1.8 billion to 0.8 billion years ago), Earth’s mountains literally stopped growing, while erosion wore down existing peaks to stumps, according to a study published Feb. 11 in the journal Science.

    This extreme mountain-forming hiatus — which resulted from a persistent thinning of Earth’s continental crust — coincided with a particularly bleak eon that geologist’s call the “boring billion,” the researchers wrote. Just as Earth’s mountains failed to grow, the simple life-forms in Earth’s oceans also failed to evolve (or at least, they evolved incredibly slowly) for a billion years.

    According to lead study author Ming Tang, the mountain of trouble on Earth’s continents may have been partially responsible for the slow going in Earth’s seas.

    “Continents were mountainless in the middle age,” Tang, an assistant professor at Peking University [北京大学] (CN) in Beijing, told Live Science in an email. “Flatter continents may have reduced nutrient supply [to the ocean] and hindered the emergence of complex life.”

    When mountains vanish

    At the convergent boundaries where Earth’s continental plates clash, mountains soar upward in a process called orogenesis.

    The tectonic plates of the world were mapped in 1996, USGS.

    The continental crust at these boundaries is thicker on average and buoyed by magma, lifting surface rocks up to dizzying heights. Meanwhile, erosion and gravity push back against the peaks; when the tectonic and magmatic processes below the surface stop, erosion wins out, whittling mountains away.

    Because even the mightiest mountains disappear over time, studying ancient Earth’s crustal thickness can be the best way to gauge how actively mountains formed in the past. To do that, the study authors analyzed the changing composition of zircon minerals that crystallized in the crust billions of years ago.

    Today, tiny grains of zircon are easily found in sedimentary rocks all over the planet’s surface. The precise elemental composition of each grain can reveal the conditions in the crust where those minerals first crystallized, eons ago.

    “Thicker crust forms higher mountains,” Tang said. Crustal thickness controls the pressure at which magma changes composition, which then gets recorded by anomalies in zircons crystallizing from that magma, he added.

    In a previous study published in January in the journal Geology, Tang and colleagues found that the amount of europium embedded in zircon crystals could reveal crust thickness at the time those crystals formed. More europium signifies higher pressure placed on the crystal, which signifies thicker crust above it, the researchers found.

    Now, in their new study in Science, the researchers analyzed zircon crystals from every content, and then used those europium anomalies to construct a history of continental thickness going back billions of years. They found that “the average thickness of active continental crust varied on billion-year timescales,” the researchers wrote, with the thickest crust forming in the Archaean eon (4 billion to 2.5 billion years ago) and the Phanerozoic (540 million years ago to the present).

    Right between those active mountain-forming eras, crustal thickness plummeted through the Proterozoic eon (2.5 billion to 0.5 billion years ago), reaching a low during Earth’s “middle age.”

    The eon of nothing

    It may not be a coincidence that Earth’s flattest eon on land was also its most “boring” eon at sea, Tang said.

    “It is widely recognized by our community that life evolution was extremely slow between 1.8-0.8 billion years ago,” Tang told Live Science. “Although eukaryotes emerged 1.7 billion years ago, they only rose to dominance some 0.8 billion years ago.”

    By contrast, Tang said, the Cambrian explosion, which occurred just 300 million years later, introduced almost all major animal groups that we see today. For whatever reason, life evolved achingly slowly during the “boring billion,” then jump-started just as the crust began thickening.

    What’s the correlation? If no new mountains formed during this period, then no new nutrients were introduced to Earth’s surface from the mantle below, the researchers wrote — and a dearth of nutrients on land also meant a dearth of nutrients making their way into the ocean through the water cycle. As mountain forming stalled for a billion years, a “famine” of phosphorus and other essential elements could have starved Earth’s simple sea critters, limited their productivity and stalled their evolution, the team suggests.

    Life, and mountains, eventually flourished again when the supercontinent Nuna-Rodinia broke apart at the end of the Proterozoic eon. But before then, this gargantuan continent may have been so massive that it effectively altered the structure of the mantle below, stalling plate tectonics during the “boring billion” and resulting in an eon of crustal thinning, the researchers wrote. But further research is needed to fully solve the mystery of Earth’s vanishing mountains.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 10:38 am on February 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Geologists produce new timeline of Earth’s Paleozoic climate changes", , Carbonate muds, Clumped isotope geochemistry, , , , Paleobiology, , Paleozoic era, The temperature of a planet is linked with the diversity of life that it can support., Warmer climates favored microbial life whereas cooler temperatures allowed more diverse animals to flourish.   

    From MIT: “Geologists produce new timeline of Earth’s Paleozoic climate changes” 

    MIT News

    From MIT News

    February 1, 2021 [Just today in social media]
    Jennifer Chu

    1
    A small trilobite fossil from the Ordovician strata in Svalbard, Norway.
    Credit: Adam Jost

    The temperature of a planet is linked with the diversity of life that it can support. MIT geologists have now reconstructed a timeline of the Earth’s temperature during the early Paleozoic era, between 510 and 440 million years ago — a pivotal period when animals became abundant in a previously microbe-dominated world.

    In a study appearing today in the PNAS, the researchers chart dips and peaks in the global temperature during the early Paleozoic. They report that these temperature variations coincide with the planet’s changing diversity of life: Warmer climates favored microbial life, whereas cooler temperatures allowed more diverse animals to flourish.

    The new record, more detailed than previous timelines of this period, is based on the team’s analysis of carbonate muds — a common type of limestone that forms from carbonate-rich sediments deposited on the seafloor and compacted over hundreds of millions of years.

    “Now that we have shown you can use these carbonate muds as climate records, that opens the door to looking back at this whole other part of Earth’s history where there are no fossils, when people don’t really know much about what the climate was,” says lead author Sam Goldberg, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS).

    Goldberg’s co-authors are Kristin Bergmann, the D. Reid Weedon, Jr. Career Development Professor in EAPS, along with Theodore Present of Caltech and Seth Finnegan of the University of California at Berkeley.

    Beyond fossils

    To estimate Earth’s temperature many millions of years ago, scientists analyze fossils, in particular, remains of ancient shelled organisms that precipitated from seawater and either grew on or sank to the seafloor. When precipitation occurs, the temperature of the surrounding water can change the composition of the shells, altering the relative abundances of two isotopes of oxygen: oxygen-16, and oxygen-18.

    “As an example, if carbonate precipitates at 4 degrees Celsius, more oxygen-18 ends up in the mineral, from the same starting composition of water, [compared to] carbonate precipitating at 30 degrees Celsius,” Bergmann explains. “So, the ratio of oxygen-18 to -16 increases as temperature cools.”

    In this way, scientists have used ancient carbonate shells to backtrack the temperature of the surrounding seawater — an indicator of the Earth’s overall climate — at the time the shells first precipitated. But this approach has taken scientists only so far, up until the earliest fossils.

    “There is about 4 billion years of Earth history where there were no shells, and so shells only give us the last chapter,” Goldberg says.

    A clumped isotope signal

    The same precipitating reaction in shells also occurs in carbonate mud. But geologists assumed the isotope balance in carbonate muds would be more vulnerable to chemical changes.

    “People have often overlooked mud. They thought that if you try to use it as a temperature indicator, you might be looking at not the original ocean temperature in which it formed, but the temperature of a process that occurred later on, when the mud was buried a mile below the surface,” Goldberg says.

    To see whether carbonate muds might preserve signatures of their original surrounding temperature, the team used “clumped isotope geochemistry,” a technique used in Bergmann’s lab, which analyzes sediments for clumping, or pairing, of two heavy isotopes: oxygen-18 and carbon-13. The likelihood of these isotopes pairing up in carbonate muds depends on temperature but is unaffected by the ocean chemistry in which the muds form.

    Combining this analysis with traditional oxygen isotope measurements provides additional constraints on the conditions experienced by a sample between its original formation and the present. The team reasoned that this analysis could be a good indication of whether carbonate muds remained unchanged in composition since their formation. By extension, this could mean the oxygen-18 to -16 ratio in some muds accurately represents the original temperature at which the rocks formed, enabling their use as a climate record.

    Ups and downs

    The researchers tested their idea on samples of carbonate muds that they extracted from two sites, one in Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, and the other in western Newfoundland. Both sites are known for their exposed rocks that date back to the early Paleozoic era.

    In 2016 and 2017, teams traveled first to Svalbard, then Newfoundland, to collect samples of carbonate muds from layers of deposited sediment spanning a period of 70 million years, from the mid-Cambrian, when animals began to flourish on Earth, through the Ordovician periods of the Paleozoic era.

    When they analyzed the samples for clumped isotopes, they found that many of the rocks had experienced little chemical change since their formation. They used this result to compile the rocks’ oxygen isotope ratios from 10 different early Paleozoic sites to calculate the temperatures at which the rocks formed. The temperatures calculated from most of these sites were similar to previously published lower-resolution fossil temperature records. In the end, they mapped a timeline of temperature during the early Paleozoic and compared this with the fossil record from that period, to show that temperature had a big effect on the diversity of life on the planet.

    “We found that when it was warmer at the end of the Cambrian and early Ordovician, there was also a peak in microbial abundance,” Goldberg says. “From there it cooled off going into the middle to late Ordovician, when we see abundant animal fossils, before a substantial ice age ends the Ordovician. Previously people could only observe general trends using fossils. Because we used a material that’s very abundant, we could create a higher-resolution record and could see more clearly defined ups and downs.”

    “This is the best recent isotopic study addressing the critical question of whether early animals experienced hot early temperatures,” says Ethan Grossman, a professor of geology at Texas A&M University, who was not a contributor to the study. “We should use all the tools at our disposal to explore this important time interval.”

    The team is now looking to analyze older muds, dating back before the appearance of animals, to gauge the Earth’s temperature changes prior to 540 million years ago.

    “To go back beyond 540 million years ago, we have to grapple with carbonate muds, because they are really one of the few records we have to constrain climate in the distant past,” Bergmann says.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

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

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