From Eos: “Training a New Generation of Data-Savvy Atmospheric Researchers”

From AGU
Eos news bloc

From Eos

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Washington team up to teach students about state-of-the-art research instrumentation.


1
The inaugural atmospheric research instrumentation class at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory toured the Atmospheric Measurements Laboratory’s “skystand” platform, which includes a group of radiometers measuring solar energy at different angles. Credit: Andrea Starr, PNNL

1.30.19

Laura D. Riihimaki
Robert A. Houze Jr.
Lynn A. McMurdie
Katie Dorsey

Scientific discovery in the atmospheric sciences depends on data from field campaigns, surface observations, satellites, and other observational data sets. Many of these data sets and the tools used to collect them are stewarded by national laboratories and government agencies because of the scale of the infrastructure needed to support them. Although some graduate students in the atmospheric sciences have an opportunity to participate in data collection activities, many students graduate without appreciating where the data that they rely on for their research come from.

In an effort to bridge that gap, 10 University of Washington (UW) graduate students traveled to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Wash., in September 2017 to participate in a 2-week intensive short course on instrumentation taught by PNNL scientists and engineers. The goal of the course was to enhance the future research careers of these students by exposing them to state-of-the-art atmospheric instrumentation and data collection techniques and thus help ensure that the next generation of scientists will understand the factors affecting strengths and limitations of observational data used in complex atmospheric studies.

Surveys of university programs in atmospheric sciences show that the number of departments offering courses in instrumentation declined between 1964 and 2000, with fewer than 20% of departments offering graduate-level courses in instrumentation [Cohn et al., 2006]. There is a growing gap between the complexity of modern measurement technology and the ability of universities to provide adequate training to understand measurements. Several approaches to bridge this gap have been successful, such as partnerships between universities and national laboratories (e.g., Storm Peak Laboratory [Hallett et al., 1993; Borys and Wetzel, 1997]), designing courses in which students participate in research flights [Hallet et al., 1990; Fabry et al., 1995], and student-led field campaigns [Rauber et al., 2007].

The approach we used was to offer an advanced graduate course for credit at the University of Washington and embed the course at a national laboratory instructed by instrument experts. The course was designed to develop data literacy in atmospheric researchers who will be using advanced data sets but are not necessarily planning careers in instrument development or operation. The rigor of a for-credit graduate course facilitated a depth of engagement beyond simple demonstrations or descriptions of instruments.

Defining a Curriculum

2
Jason Tomlinson, director of engineering for the PNNL’s ARM Aerial Facility, demonstrates aircraft sensors to the UW class. Credit: Robert A. Houze Jr.

The course was jointly designed by UW professors and PNNL researchers to produce a curriculum that reflected good pedagogical techniques, in-depth contact with the process of collecting observational data, and hands-on experience.

Twenty PNNL scientists and engineers worked together to teach the course, which included engagement with a range of instruments and measurement techniques used in atmospheric science, such as passive (radiometric) and active (radar and lidar) remote sensing, aircraft in situ measurements, and laboratory measurements in atmospheric chemistry and cloud formation (Table 1). To tie together these diverse topics and reinforce key factors relevant to any measurement effort, each instructor covered a common set of themes: calibration, accuracy and uncertainty, instrument sensitivity, the physics of how atmospheric parameters are sampled, performance in the field, and practical considerations related to siting or operations. The course also covered data logging and data management techniques, which are critical skills for making data sets useful for research.

As a result, the students gained an understanding and appreciation of the full data life cycle, from designing experiments to installing and calibrating instruments, collecting quality observational data, interpreting the data, and archiving data for future use. As described by radar engineer Joseph Hardin, “we tried to present the students with information that went beyond textbooks and addressed the realities of working with these instruments in a research capacity.”

Encouraging Student Engagement

The students took ownership of their learning, using the multiple scientists and engineers at the institution as resource experts. A professor with teaching experience handled assessment and student coordination, but the course content was taught by instrumentation experts. We used three strategies to create this type of engagement.

First, the course created an environment of immersive learning. Instructors gave at least 3–4 hours of consecutive instruction in the morning on each topic and then spent the second half of the day leading interactive activities such as experiments, demonstrations, data analysis, and tours. By capping the course enrollment at 10, interaction between students and instructors was extensive.

Second, student presenters were responsible for summarizing the content of the previous day each morning. This method of assessment allowed further engagement on topics that weren’t clear and required students to take ownership of the information.

Finally, after 2 weeks of instruction, each student designed an individual project with a PNNL mentor. The students were required to pick a project in an area different from their current research to help them engage with new material. We gave the students several weeks to complete analysis of observational data from areas they’d learned about in the class and prepare a short report summarizing their findings.

Students chose to work with data from a wide range of instruments, including broadband and spectral radiometers, multifrequency radars, Raman lidars, and experiments measuring aerosols. Project topics included the utility of water vapor retrievals from Raman lidar for studying the remote marine boundary layer, calculating aerosol yield of isoprene from chamber experiments, and radar retrievals of median volume drop size diameter using observations from the Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment.

Training Future Leaders

From the outset, students received the course with enthusiasm: It took only hours for 10 students to register for every available seat in the class. The students also had wide-ranging areas of study, from those who worked primarily with observational data to those who worked mainly with computer models.

“I was really interested in getting a chance to learn some of the nuts and bolts of these observations and instruments I was using all the time,” said Sam Pennypacker, a third-year graduate student who analyzes data out of the Azores from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) User Facility. “Learning it from the experts, the instrument mentors, you can’t beat that. You can only get so much from reading documentation.”

The students are eager to apply what they learned. Second-year graduate student Qiaoyun Peng will get that opportunity when she participates in a National Science Foundation–sponsored field campaign in 2018: The Western Wildfire Experiment for Cloud Chemistry, Aerosol Absorption and Nitrogen (WE-CAN) will use airborne instrumentation to study atmospheric chemical reactions within western U.S. wildfire plumes.

“I feel much more confident to conduct a field experiment after the course,” Peng said. “It’s also a great opportunity for me to feel what it is like to work in a national lab and get in touch with top scientists in my field to design a small project together.”

Jessica Haskins, a fourth-year graduate student who uses aircraft instrument data in her research, called the class an “unprecedented opportunity.”

“This course was by far the one I’ve learned the most from in graduate school,” Haskins said.

The students expressed that the class filled a missing element in their career preparation and that they would be more effective researchers armed with this newly gained appreciation for state-of-the-art measurement technology and challenges. The success of this effort has encouraged us to pursue this type of course with other graduate students in the coming years.

References

Borys, R. D., and M. A. Wetzel (1997), Storm Peak Laboratory: A research, teaching and service facility for the atmospheric sciences, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 78, 2,115–2,123, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477(1997)0782.0.CO;2.

Cohn, S. A., J. Hallett, and J. M. Lewis (2006), Teaching graduate atmospheric measurement, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 87, 1,673–1,678, doi:10.1175/BAMS-87-12-1673.

Fabry, F., B. J. Turner, and S. A. Cohn (1995), The University of Wyoming King Air educational initiative at McGill University, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 76, 1,806–1,811, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477-76.10.1806.

Hallett, J., J. G. Hudson, and A. Schanot (1990), Student training in facilities in atmospheric sciences: A teaching experiment, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 71, 1,637–1,644, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477-71.11.1637.

Hallet, J., M. Wetzel, and S. Rutledge (1993), Field training in radar meteorology, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 74, 17–22, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477(1993)0742.0.CO;2.

Rauber, R. M., et al. (2007), In the driver’s seat: Rico and education, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 88, 1,929–1,938, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-88-12-1929.

See the full article here .

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

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

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

#pnnl, #the-course-was-jointly-designed-by-uw-professors-and-pnnl-researchers-to-produce-a-curriculum-that-reflected-good-pedagogical-techniques-in-depth-contact-with-the-process-of-collecting-observational-d, #the-students-took-ownership-of-their-learning-using-the-multiple-scientists-and-engineers-at-the-institution-as-resource-experts, #training-a-new-generation-of-data-savvy-atmospheric-researchers, #u-washington

From Pacific Northwest National Lab: “PNNL’s capabilities in quantum information sciences get boost from DOE grant and new Microsoft partnership”

PNNL BLOC
From Pacific Northwest National Lab

September 28, 2018
Susan Bauer, PNNL,
susan.bauer@pnnl.gov
(509) 372-6083

1
No image caption or credit

On Monday, September 24, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $218 million in funding for dozens of research awards in the field of Quantum Information Science. Nearly $2 million was awarded to DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for a new quantum computing chemistry project.

“This award will be used to create novel computational chemistry tools to help solve fundamental problems in catalysis, actinide chemistry, and materials science,” said principal investigator Karol Kowalski. “By collaborating with the quantum computing experts at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the University of Michigan, we believe we can help reshape the landscape of computational chemistry.”

Kowalski’s proposal was chosen along with 84 others to further the nation’s research in QIS and lay the foundation for the next generation of computing and information processing as well as an array of other innovative technologies.

While Kowalski’s work will take place over the next three years, computational chemists everywhere will experience a more immediate upgrade to their capabilities in computational chemistry made possible by a new PNNL-Microsoft partnership.

“We are working with Microsoft to combine their quantum computing software stack with our expertise on high-performance computing approaches to quantum chemistry,” said Sriram Krishnamoorthy who leads PNNL’s side of this collaboration.

Microsoft will soon release an update to the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit which will include a new chemical simulation library developed in collaboration with PNNL. The library is used in conjunction with NWChem, an open source, high-performance computational chemistry tool funded by DOE. Together, the chemistry library and NWChem will help enable quantum solutions and allow researchers and developers a higher level of study and discovery.

“Researchers everywhere will be able to tackle chemistry challenges with an accuracy and at a scale we haven’t experienced before,” said Nathan Baker, director of PNNL’s Advanced Computing, Mathematics, and Data Division. Wendy Shaw, the lab’s division director for physical sciences, agrees with Baker. “Development and applications of quantum computing to catalysis problems has the ability to revolutionize our ability to predict robust catalysts that mimic features of naturally occurring, high-performing catalysts, like nitrogenase,” said Shaw about the application of QIS to her team’s work.

PNNL’s aggressive focus on quantum information science is driven by a research interest in the capability and by national priorities. In September, the White House published the National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science and hosted a summit on the topic. Through their efforts, researchers hope to unleash quantum’s unprecedented processing power and challenge traditional limits for scaling and performance.

In addition to the new DOE funding, PNNL is also pushing work in quantum conversion through internal investments. Researchers are determining which software architectures allow for efficient use of QIS platforms, designing QIS systems for specific technologies, imagining what scientific problems can best be solved using QIS systems, and identifying materials and properties to build quantum systems. The effort is cross-disciplinary; PNNL scientists from its computing, chemistry, physics, and applied mathematics domains are all collaborating on quantum research and pushing to apply their discoveries. “The idea for this internal investment is that PNNL scientists will take that knowledge to build capabilities impacting catalysis, computational chemistry, materials science, and many other areas,” said Krishnamoorthy.

Krishnamoorthy wants QIS to be among the priorities that researchers think about applying to all of PNNL’s mission areas. With continued investment from the DOE and partnerships with industry leaders like Microsoft, that just might happen.

See the full article here .

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

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is one of the United States Department of Energy National Laboratories, managed by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The main campus of the laboratory is in Richland, Washington.

PNNL scientists conduct basic and applied research and development to strengthen U.S. scientific foundations for fundamental research and innovation; prevent and counter acts of terrorism through applied research in information analysis, cyber security, and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction; increase the U.S. energy capacity and reduce dependence on imported oil; and reduce the effects of human activity on the environment. PNNL has been operated by Battelle Memorial Institute since 1965.

i1

#actinide-chemistry, #applied-research-technology, #basic-research, #catalysis, #chemistry, #computational-chemistry, #d-o-e, #material-sciences-2, #microsoft-quantum-development-kit, #nwchem-an-open-source-high-performance-computational-chemistry-tool-funded-by-doe, #pnnl, #quantum-information-science

From Pacific Northwest National Lab: “New approaches to chemical and electrical energy conversions”

PNNL BLOC
From Pacific Northwest National Lab

July 16, 2018
Susan Bauer
susan.bauer@pnnl.gov
(509) 372-6083

For the second time, the U.S. Department of Energy renewed funding for a center designed to explore fundamental scientific principles that underpin technologies such as solar energy and fuel cells. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, together with partners at Yale University, the University of Wisconsin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Washington, and Purdue University, earned the renewal through significant achievements in developing catalysts that can convert energy between electrical and chemical forms. Building on their success, and expanding their team, researchers are now poised to take on new challenges.

The Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis was established in 2009 as a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center. DOE recently announced awards of $100 million for 42 new or continuing EFRCs, including this one led by PNNL. The centers are charged with pursuing the scientific underpinnings of various aspects of energy production, storage and use.

Since 2009, CME researchers have been studying molecules called catalysts that convert electrical energy into chemical bonds and back again. Chemical bonds can store a huge amount of energy in a small amount of physical space. Of interest are catalysts that pack energy into bonds involving hydrogen, oxygen or nitrogen. Among the reactions studied are production of hydrogen, which can be used in fuel cells, and the reduction of oxygen, the reaction that balances the oxidation reaction of fuel cells.

In the past four years, the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis has reported:

the fastest electrocatalysts for production of hydrogen,
the fastest electrocatalysts for reduction of oxygen,
and the most energy-efficient molecular electrocatalyst for reduction of oxygen.

These fundamental scientific discoveries are important for our energy future. For example, a catalyst breaks chemical bonds to produce electricity in a fuel cell. An energy-efficient catalyst produces more power from fuel than an inefficient one — and fuel cells for vehicles need to release energy as fast as the explosions in a gasoline engine do.

These efforts have sharpened scientists’ understanding of the central challenges in the field and laid the foundation for the ambitious goals for future studies.

Directed by PNNL chemist Morris Bullock, the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis expects to receive $3.2 million per year for the next four years and involve researchers from several complementary disciplines.

“We are excited to be able to further our scientific mission by developing new approaches to circumventing traditional relationships found between rates and energy efficiency,” said Bullock. “These parameters are often correlated, such that improvements in one are obtained at the expense of the others. Typically, the faster catalysts are less energy efficient, and the more energy efficient catalysts are slower. To make breakthrough progress, we seek to remarkably improve catalyst performance through system-level design.”

PNNL leads another Energy Frontier Research Center, Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials (IDREAM) which is focused on solving the chemistry challenges found in tanks holding a wide array of radioactive chemical waste generated from weapons production.

See the full article here .

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

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is one of the United States Department of Energy National Laboratories, managed by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The main campus of the laboratory is in Richland, Washington.

PNNL scientists conduct basic and applied research and development to strengthen U.S. scientific foundations for fundamental research and innovation; prevent and counter acts of terrorism through applied research in information analysis, cyber security, and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction; increase the U.S. energy capacity and reduce dependence on imported oil; and reduce the effects of human activity on the environment. PNNL has been operated by Battelle Memorial Institute since 1965.

i1

#applied-research-technology, #chemistry, #energy, #new-approaches-to-chemical-and-electrical-energy-conversions, #physics, #pnnl

From PNNL: “New catalyst meets challenge of cleaning exhaust from modern engines”

PNNL BLOC
PNNL Lab

EMSL

EMSL

December 14, 2017
Susan Bauer
susan.bauer@pnnl.gov
(509) 372-6083

Innovation also uses less platinum, expensive component of catalytic converters.

1
Researchers discovered a new type of active site (dashed green circles) which meets the dual challenge of achieving high activity and thermal stability in single-atom catalysts to improve vehicle emissions. No image credit.

As cars become more fuel-efficient, less heat is wasted in the exhaust, which makes it harder to clean up the pollutants are being emitted. But researchers have recently created a catalyst capable of reducing pollutants at the lower temperatures expected in advanced engines. Their work, published this week in Science magazine, a leading peer-reviewed research journal, presents a new way to create a more powerful catalyst while using smaller amounts of platinum, the most expensive component of emission-control catalysts.

The recent findings grew out of a collaboration between research groups led by Yong Wang, who holds a joint appointment at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and is a Voiland Distinguished Professor at Washington State University’s Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering and Abhaya Datye, a distinguished professor at the University of New Mexico.

Catalysts have been an integral part of the exhaust systems of diesel- and gasoline-powered engines since the mid-1970s when federal regulations called for reductions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. Catalytic converters transform the pollutants to nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water.

The researchers addressed the daunting challenge of designing a catalyst that could endure engine exhaust temperatures of up to nearly 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit encountered under high engine loads. Yet the catalyst would still have to work when an engine is started cold and must clean up the exhaust before reaching 300 degrees Fahrenheit, significantly lower than current systems. The lower operating temperatures during cold start are due to increasing fuel efficiency in advanced combustion engines, which leaves less energy in the tailpipe exhaust, said Datye, a study co-author.

The recent findings build on research, published in Science last year, in which the Wang and Datye groups found a novel way to trap and stabilize individual platinum atoms on the surface of cerium oxide, a commonly used component in emissions control catalysts. The so-called single-atom catalyst uses platinum more efficiently while remaining stable at high temperatures. Platinum typically trades at prices close to or even greater than gold.

For their latest paper [Science], the researchers steam-treated the catalyst at nearly 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. This made the already stable catalyst become very active at the low cold-start temperatures.

“We were able to meet the challenges of both the high-temperature stability and the low-temperature activity,” Wang said. “This demonstration of hydrothermal stability, along with high reactivity, makes it possible to bring single-atom catalysis closer to industrial application.”

Multiple types of spectroscopy and electron microscopy capabilities available at EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science User Facility on the PNNL campus, allowed the scientists to understand the catalyst surface at the atomic level and provide mechanistic insight into how oxygen vacancies migrate to the surface of the cerium oxide, creating pathways for highly active carbon monoxide conversion.

The work was funded by DOE’s Office of Science and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office.

See the full article here .

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
STEM Icon

Stem Education Coalition

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is one of the United States Department of Energy National Laboratories, managed by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The main campus of the laboratory is in Richland, Washington.

PNNL scientists conduct basic and applied research and development to strengthen U.S. scientific foundations for fundamental research and innovation; prevent and counter acts of terrorism through applied research in information analysis, cyber security, and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction; increase the U.S. energy capacity and reduce dependence on imported oil; and reduce the effects of human activity on the environment. PNNL has been operated by Battelle Memorial Institute since 1965.

i1

#applied-research-technology, #as-cars-become-more-fuel-efficient-less-heat-is-wasted-in-the-exhaust-which-makes-it-harder-to-clean-up-the-pollutants-are-being-emitted, #catalyst-technology, #chemistry, #emsl, #pnnl, #researchers-have-recently-created-a-catalyst-capable-of-reducing-pollutants-at-the-lower-temperatures-expected-in-advanced-engines

From PNNL: “Findings mark a significant step forward for geoengineering studies”

PNNL BLOC
PNNL Lab

November 08, 2017 [Just now in social media]
Tom Rickey
tom.rickey@pnnl.gov
(509) 375-3732

1
Ben Kravitz

Using a sophisticated computer model, scientists have demonstrated that a new research approach to geoengineering could potentially be used to limit Earth’s warming while reducing some of the risks and concerns identified in past studies, including uneven cooling of the globe.

In theory, geoengineering — large-scale interventions designed to modify the climate — could take many forms. For this research, the team developed a specialized algorithm for an Earth system model that varies the amount and location of sulfur dioxide injections high into the atmosphere. These would, in theory, be needed, year to year, to effectively cap warming.

Ben Kravitz, a scientist at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is a lead author of the series of papers published in a special issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. Other authors include scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Cornell University.

The scientists say there are many questions that need to be answered. The possibility of a global geoengineering effort to combat warming also raises serious governance and ethical concerns.

“For decision makers to accurately weigh the pros and cons of geoengineering against those of human-caused climate change, they need more information,” said Kravitz. “Our goal is to better understand what geoengineering can do — and what it cannot.”

The work was funded in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor. For more information, see the NCAR news release and animation.

See the full article here .

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
STEM Icon

Stem Education Coalition

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is one of the United States Department of Energy National Laboratories, managed by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The main campus of the laboratory is in Richland, Washington.

PNNL scientists conduct basic and applied research and development to strengthen U.S. scientific foundations for fundamental research and innovation; prevent and counter acts of terrorism through applied research in information analysis, cyber security, and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction; increase the U.S. energy capacity and reduce dependence on imported oil; and reduce the effects of human activity on the environment. PNNL has been operated by Battelle Memorial Institute since 1965.

i1

#astronomy, #basic-research, #findings-mark-a-significant-step-forward-for-geoengineering-studies, #pnnl

From PNNL: “Scientists create unprecedented catalog of microbial life on planet Earth”

PNNL BLOC
PNNL Lab

November 01, 2017[ Now in social media]
Tom Rickey
tom.rickey@pnnl.gov
(509) 375-3732

1
Microbiome expert Janet Jansson. Credit: Andrea Starr / PNNL

2
Credit: UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation

Scientists have taken the most extensive snapshot ever of the vast microbial life on Earth.

By drawing on more than 27,000 samples of soil, tissue, and water from the Arctic to Antarctica, more than 300 scientists at scores of institutions worldwide have created the first reference database of bacteria inhabiting the planet. The findings were published Nov. 1 in the journal Nature.

The study is the latest result from the Earth Microbiome Project, which is led by a trio of scientists including Janet Jansson of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and colleagues at the University of California San Diego, the University of Chicago and DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.

Microbes are tiny, but the goal of Jansson and her colleagues from the outset in 2010 was anything but: To sample as many of the Earth’s microbial communities as possible to advance scientific understanding of microbes and their relationships with their environments, including plants, animals and humans. So far the project has spanned seven continents and 43 countries, with scientists analyzing more than 2 billion DNA sequences from bacteria and other microbes.

The team so far has identified around 300,000 unique sequences of the 16S rRNA gene, a genetic marker specific for bacteria and their relatives, archaea. The 16S rRNA sequences serve almost like barcodes — unique identifiers that allow researchers to track bacteria across samples from around the world.

For more information about the work by Jansson and the team, view the full news release.

See the full article here .

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
STEM Icon

Stem Education Coalition

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is one of the United States Department of Energy National Laboratories, managed by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The main campus of the laboratory is in Richland, Washington.

PNNL scientists conduct basic and applied research and development to strengthen U.S. scientific foundations for fundamental research and innovation; prevent and counter acts of terrorism through applied research in information analysis, cyber security, and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction; increase the U.S. energy capacity and reduce dependence on imported oil; and reduce the effects of human activity on the environment. PNNL has been operated by Battelle Memorial Institute since 1965.

i1

#applied-research-technology, #biology, #earth-microbiome-project, #pnnl, #ucsd

From Science Magazine: “Emails shed light on controversial DOE request to remove ‘climate change’ from abstracts”

ScienceMag
Science Magazine

Dec. 12, 2017
Christa Marshall

1
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. Borgendorf/Wikipedia.

A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) official’s controversial request this summer for scientists to remove “climate change” from research abstracts was ordered by senior national lab managers and was intended to satisfy President Trump’s budget request, according to emails obtained by E&E News and confirmed by a lab aide.

The communications, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, suggest officials at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington, a national lab funded by DOE, were trying to protect scientists. But the emails also leave unanswered questions about why decisions were made on a Trump plan that was not law.

The senior officials “don’t have the authority to say … ‘We don’t care whether Congress appropriated the funds,'” said Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In August, Northeastern University associate professor Jennifer Bowen started a social media frenzy by posting a letter on Facebook from a DOE employee asking for the removal of climate language from her research summary on salt marsh carbon sequestration. Later, additional scientists who received similar DOE requests identified the sender as Ashley Gilbert, a project coordinator at PNNL (Greenwire, Aug. 29).

According to emails sent between 23 August and 25 August, Gilbert acted at the request of Terry Law, a manager of user services at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a user facility at PNNL.

PNNL spokesman Greg Koller said Law was further directed by “EMSL management” but did not name which officials. It was a “team decision,” he said.

While the identities of affected scientists were previously known, Lane’s directive, the role of senior management and the lab’s full reasoning were not.

Law said removing climate language was necessary because President Trump’s budget proposal called for the elimination of user access for EMSL research related to “climate feedbacks and carbon.”

“Can you look at the 14 abstracts … and find those that talk about global warming or climate change? Then contact the PIs to get different wording? Just explain to them we still have to meet the president budget language restrictions,” Law said to Gilbert on 23 August.

The proposals were from 14 grant winners supported by EMSL and the Joint Genome Institute.

3

Gilbert then contacted Bowen, University of Arizona assistant professor Scott Saleska and Concordia University biologist David Walsh, who told E&E News he was asked to scrub language in his abstract on terrestrial organic matter transformations in the Arctic Ocean.

“Holy cow, really?” Walsh wrote to Gilbert when first asked to change wording.

“I understand that you are just doing your job, so I will refrain from comment. I redacted the offensive clause,” Bowen wrote to Gilbert.

In an email to Saleska on Aug. 25, Law said the accepted research proposals likely follow the president’s budget request but require revision to “eliminate confusion by others who may not understand the nuances” and “falsely assume we’re funding research that was specifically eliminated for EMSL.” Law did not define who the “others” were.

Once Bowen posted her letter publicly, inquiries from journalists started flowing in to Bowen and Law. Eventually, inquiries were kicked over to DOE headquarters.

In one exchange, Koller floated text to lab officials stating that “we routinely ask folks to modify their abstracts for length, clarity, etc. In this case, it could have been as simple as someone wanting to just highlight the parts of the research that are priorities for this administration.”

In an email interview, Koller said there was a misunderstanding about the intent of the revisions, emphasizing that they occurred after proposals were accepted, and were never a condition of funding.

“There have been no other incidents where PNNL has asked scientists to remove climate change from research proposals,” he said.

“Asking authors to clarify abstracts isn’t unusual in the science community,” he said when asked why DOE was basing decisions on a budget request. The revisions were made so scientists could “clarify the focus of their research plans,” he added.

Rosenberg at the Union of Concerned Scientists said he had never heard of federal officials making such requests based on a president’s budget proposal, which is just a suggestion to Congress.

“I think that’s crazy,” he said.

It didn’t help the situation that Congress so rarely meets budget deadlines, but the revisions still should not have happened, he said.

DOE spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said “the short answer is no” when asked whether DOE headquarters directed PNNL managers.

After Bowen’s post this summer, Hynes said “there is no departmental-wide policy banning the term ‘climate change’ from being used in DOE materials. That is completely false.” Koller said that includes PNNL.

It’s uncertain whether the PNNL incident was an isolated one. When told of the abstracts, one employee at a national lab said he is free to attend conferences on climate change.

Privately, other DOE workers outside PNNL say they’ve been asked to alter climate change language on documents, but internally.

“There are some program offices discouraging the use of the term, but none of these instances are from political guidance,” said one DOE staffer.

Jeff Navin, a former acting chief of staff at DOE in the Obama administration, said the Trump administration created “this mess” by putting the lab in a tough spot.

“They want to fund good science, but they also want to be seen as a team player with the department that funds them. But the question shouldn’t be why PNNL asked for these changes; the question should be who in the administration suggested this prohibition and why.”

See the full article here .

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

STEM Icon

Stem Education Coalition

#applied-research-technology, #basic-research, #emails-shed-light-on-controversial-doe-request-to-remove-climate-change-from-abstracts, #emsl, #joint-genome-institute, #pnnl, #science-magazine