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  • richardmitnick 3:16 pm on September 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Galaxy Simulations Could Help Reveal Origins of Milky Way", , , , , Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “Galaxy Simulations Could Help Reveal Origins of Milky Way” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    August 27, 2020 [Just now in social media]

    Todd Bates
    848-932-0550
    todd.bates@rutgers.edu

    Rutgers-led study could aid the search for dark matter in the universe.

    1
    Computer simulation of a galaxy resembling the Milky Way (center) and its small (dwarf) galaxy neighbors. The center panel shows the amount of dark matter (brighter is denser). The small panels show what a telescope might see. Image credit: Elaad Applebaum.

    Rutgers astronomers have produced the most advanced galaxy simulations of their kind, which could help reveal the origins of the Milky Way and dozens of small neighboring dwarf galaxies.

    Their research [The Astrophysical Journal] also could aid the decades-old search for dark matter, which fills an estimated 27 percent of the universe. And the computer simulations of “ultra-faint” dwarf galaxies could help shed light on how the first stars formed in the universe.

    “Our supercomputer-generated simulations provide the highest-ever resolution of a Milky Way-type galaxy,” said co-author Alyson M. Brooks, an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “The high resolution allows us to simulate smaller neighbor galaxies than ever before – the ‘ultra-faint’ dwarf galaxies. These tiny galaxies are mostly dark matter and therefore are some of the best probes we have for learning about dark matter, and this is the first time that they have ever been simulated around a Milky Way-like galaxy. The sheer variety of the simulated galaxies is unprecedented, including one that lost all of its dark matter – similar to what’s been observed in space.”


    “Mint” DC Justice League: Sandra.

    The Rutgers-led team generated two new simulations of Milky Way-type galaxies and their surroundings. They call them the “DC Justice League Simulations,” naming them after two women who have served on the U.S. Supreme Court: current Associate Justice Elena Kagan and retired Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

    These are cosmological simulations, meaning they begin soon after the Big Bang and model the evolution of galaxies over the entire age of the universe (almost 14 billion years). Bound via gravity, galaxies consist of stars, gas and dust. The Milky Way is an example a large barred spiral galaxy, according to NASA.

    Milky Way Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech /ESO R. Hurt. The bar is visible in this image.

    In recent years, scientists have discovered “ultra-faint” satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, thanks to digital sky surveys that can reach fainter depths than ever. While the Milky Way has about 100 billion stars and is thousands of light years across, ultra-faint galaxies have a million times fewer stars (under 100,000 and as low as few hundred) and are much smaller, spanning tens of light years. For the first time, the simulations allow scientists to begin modeling these ultra-faint satellite galaxies around a Milky Way-type galaxy, meaning they provide some of the first predictions for what future sky surveys will discover.


    “Mint” DC Justice League: The Formation of Sandra’s Stellar Halo.

    In one simulation, a galaxy lost all its dark matter, and while real galaxies like that have been seen before, this is the first time anyone has simulated such a galaxy. These kinds of results tell scientists what’s possible when it comes to forming galaxies, and they are learning new ways that neighbor galaxies can arise, allowing scientists to better understand what telescopes find.

    In about a year, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory will begin a survey targeting the whole sky and scientists expect to find hundreds of ultra-faint galaxies. In recent years, surveys targeting a small patch of the sky have discovered dozens of them.

    Vera C. Rubin Observatory Telescope currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes, altitude 2,715 m (8,907 ft).

    “Just counting these galaxies can tell scientists about the nature of dark matter. Studying their structure and the motions of their stars can tell us even more,” said lead author Elaad Applebaum, a Rutgers doctoral student. “These galaxies are also very old, with some of the most ancient stars, meaning they can tell us about how the first stars formed in the universe.”

    Scientists at Grinnell College, University of Oklahoma, University of Washington, University of Oslo and the Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics contributed to the study. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    rutgers-campus

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    As a ’67 graduate of University College, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:12 pm on July 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Unusual nanoparticles could benefit the quest to build a quantum computer", , , , Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University via phys.org: “Unusual nanoparticles could benefit the quest to build a quantum computer” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    via


    phys.org

    1
    The arrows point to titanium dioxide nanocrystals lighting up and blinking (left) and then fading (right). Credit: Tewodros Asefa and Eliska Mikmekova

    Imagine tiny crystals that “blink” like fireflies and can convert carbon dioxide, a key cause of climate change, into fuels.

    A Rutgers-led team has created ultra-small titanium dioxide crystals that exhibit unusual “blinking” behavior and may help to produce methane and other fuels, according to a study in the journal Angewandte Chemie. The crystals, also known as nanoparticles, stay charged for a long time and could benefit efforts to develop quantum computers.

    “Our findings are quite important and intriguing in a number of ways, and more research is needed to understand how these exotic crystals work and to fulfill their potential,” said senior author Tewodros (Teddy) Asefa, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. He’s also a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering in the School of Engineering.

    More than 10 million metric tons of titanium dioxide are produced annually, making it one of the most widely used materials, the study notes. It is used in sunscreens, paints, cosmetics and varnishes, for example. It’s also used in the paper and pulp, plastic, fiber, rubber, food, glass and ceramic industries.

    The team of scientists and engineers discovered a new way to make extremely small titanium dioxide crystals. While it’s still unclear why the engineered crystals blink and research is ongoing, the “blinking” is believed to arise from single electrons trapped on titanium dioxide nanoparticles. At room temperature, electrons—surprisingly—stay trapped on nanoparticles for tens of seconds before escaping and then become trapped again and again in a continuous cycle.

    The crystals, which blink when exposed to a beam of electrons, could be useful for environmental cleanups, sensors, electronic devices and solar cells, and the research team will further explore their capabilities.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    rutgers-campus

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:01 am on March 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists Have Discovered the Origins of the Building Blocks of Life", , , , ENIGMA project seeks to reveal the role of the simplest proteins that catalyzed the earliest stages of life., , Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “Scientists Have Discovered the Origins of the Building Blocks of Life” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    March 16, 2020

    Todd Bates
    848-932-0550
    todd.bates@rutgers.edu

    Rutgers researchers retraced the evolution of enzymes over billions of years.

    1
    This image shows a fold (shape) that may have been one of the earliest proteins in the evolution of metabolism. Image: Vikas Nanda/Rutgers University

    Rutgers researchers have discovered the origins of the protein structures responsible for metabolism: simple molecules that powered early life on Earth and serve as chemical signals that NASA could use to search for life on other planets.

    Their study, which predicts what the earliest proteins looked like 3.5 billion to 2.5 billion years ago, is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    The scientists retraced, like a many thousand piece puzzle, the evolution of enzymes (proteins) from the present to the deep past. The solution to the puzzle required two missing pieces, and life on Earth could not exist without them. By constructing a network connected by their roles in metabolism, this team discovered the missing pieces.

    “We know very little about how life started on our planet. This work allowed us to glimpse deep in time and propose the earliest metabolic proteins,” said co-author Vikas Nanda, a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a resident faculty member at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine. “Our predictions will be tested in the laboratory to better understand the origins of life on Earth and to inform how life may originate elsewhere. We are building models of proteins in the lab and testing whether they can trigger reactions critical for early metabolism.”

    A Rutgers-led team of scientists called ENIGMA (Evolution of Nanomachines in Geospheres and Microbial Ancestors) is conducting the research with a NASA grant and via membership in the NASA Astrobiology Program. The ENIGMA project seeks to reveal the role of the simplest proteins that catalyzed the earliest stages of life.

    “We think life was built from very small building blocks and emerged like a Lego set to make cells and more complex organisms like us,” said senior author Paul G. Falkowski, ENIGMA principal investigator and a distinguished professor at Rutgers University–New Brunswick who leads the Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Laboratory. “We think we have found the building blocks of life – the Lego set that led, ultimately, to the evolution of cells, animals and plants.”

    The Rutgers team focused on two protein “folds” that are likely the first structures in early metabolism. They are a ferredoxin fold that binds iron-sulfur compounds, and a “Rossmann” fold, which binds nucleotides (the building blocks of DNA and RNA). These are two pieces of the puzzle that must fit in the evolution of life.

    Proteins are chains of amino acids and a chain’s 3D path in space is called a fold. Ferredoxins are metals found in modern proteins and shuttle electrons around cells to promote metabolism. Electrons flow through solids, liquids and gases and power living systems, and the same electrical force must be present in any other planetary system with a chance to support life.

    There is evidence the two folds may have shared a common ancestor and, if true, the ancestor may have been the first metabolic enzyme of life.

    The lead author is Hagai Raanan, a former post-doctoral associate in the Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Laboratory. Rutgers co-authors include Saroj Poudel, a post-doctoral associate, and Douglas H. Pike, a doctoral student in the ENIGMA project.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    rutgers-campus

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:31 am on March 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Laura Haynes a paleoceanographer, , , Rutgers University, The month–long International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 378,   

    From Rutgers University: “Postdoc Laura Haynes Searching for Climate Change Clues Under the Ocean Floor” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    February 24, 2020 [Just now in social media.]
    Craig Winston

    1
    Laura Haynes cruises the world searching for core samples.

    It’s hard to pinpoint where you might find Laura Haynes, an EOAS post-doctoral fellow, for an interview. During a telephone chat she sounded far away. She explained why in a subsequent email.

    “I was actually in Fiji, eating breakfast before we headed out to board the ship,” she wrote. “We are now transiting nine days to our first coring site and will be drilling to about 670 meters below the sea floor in the hopes of recovering the K/Pg boundary.”

    Translation: The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary marks the mass extinction of the Earth’s dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. It’s represented by a thin band of rock [Actually, it is marked all around the world by a layer of Iridium, found by Luis and Walter Alvarez].

    Haynes, a paleoceanographer, is sailing on the month–long International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 378 with a collective of scientists from countries including Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and Brazil. They staff a floating lab, covering it 24/7 on rotating 12-hour shifts. (The ship travels the world, drilling at five to eight locations on a cruise; this time there is only one stop for a long core drill.) The crew hopes that drilling into this new, unbroken core will enable them to reconstruct climate change in one location millions of years ago, revealing the answers to questions about the Earth’s climate history.

    2
    International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 378 South Pacific Paleogene Climate.

    “It was records from ocean drilling that first showed that the ocean floor is spreading apart and causing the movement of tectonic plates, and that rapid climate change has happened in Earth’s past,” said Haynes. “While there are records of Earth history from many crucial time periods that exist on land, they are patchy and not always continuous. By contrast, sea floor muds can build up continuously and slowly over time and give us continuous records of Earth’s climate history.”

    3
    Laura Haynes in the lab.

    Back in the lab, the scientists examine core samples from the drilling and meet twice a day to discuss their findings. Haynes’ role on the ship is as a sedimentologist; she describes the core samples that come up from the sea floor and determines their composition: fossil, clay, sand, or volcanic ash. The expedition continues long after each member returns home with samples they take back for further study. Their scientific community will stay intact as they synthesize their findings over the next few years.

    Her itinerary during the last year is an enviable one. Haynes earlier sailed on the Chilean drilling ship on a cruise to the Chile margin led by the Rutgers postdoc researcher Samantha Bova and EOAS faculty member Yair Rosenthal, both of the Department of Marine and Coast Sciences. They sought to understand how Patagonian glaciers and the South Pacific Ocean responded to climate change. “It was a huge success and a wonderful first experience on a drillship,” she said. “I am coming to understand that I was spoiled by the incredible wildlife we saw on the ship; we were encircled by albatrosses and seals for most of our expedition.”

    Her primary field of study involves using fossilized shells of plankton, “foraminifera,” to reconstruct the history of climate change. The shells are preserved in deep sea muds, and their chemical composition can indicate past climate such as ocean temperature, acidity, and circulation. “These are all things we’d like to understand so that we can better predict how modern climate change will affect the Earth system in the future.”

    Haynes was inspired to pursue a career in the sciences when she had an awakening in high school after watching “An Inconvenient Truth,” former Vice President Al Gore’s 2006 documentary intended to educate the public about global warming. After that, she intuitively understood that she wanted to dedicate her career to studying the environment.

    Haynes said: “When I got to undergrad, I was incredibly lucky in that my freshman adviser suggested I take a geology class. After going on my first few field trips, I knew that this was the field I wanted to be in, but I also knew that I wanted to apply it to understanding modern environmental change. With the study of past climate histories, I found this perfect balance.”

    Her educational background prepared her well for her research career. Haynes earned her undergraduate degree in geology from Pomona College (Claremont, Calif.), and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Columbia University. For her doctoral dissertation, she analyzed living foraminifera, spending two months in coastal field stations at Catalina Island, Calif., and Isla Magueyes, Puerto Rico.

    Perhaps a telltale sign of Haynes’ future came from her first job at age 14— as a counselor at a science camp for elementary students.

    “I didn’t have any idea then that I would be a scientist, but it does make a lot of sense in retrospect. “

    During her latest cruise, Haynes answered several questions about her work and life. A condensed version of her comments appears below:

    What was your best day on the job?

    In the lab, I always love a day when I get new data off the machine, knowing that I am the only person in the world that has this tiny new piece of knowledge.

    What are your career goals?

    I am incredibly excited that I will start an assistant professor position at Vassar College this fall. In my new position, I am thrilled to usher undergraduates through the research process, to conduct research on our new sediment cores, and to teach interdisciplinary classes related to oceanography, biogeochemistry, mass extinctions, and science communication.

    What’s your secret skill?

    I am very good at manipulating dust-sized microfossils with the smallest possible paintbrush. Working in paleoceanography has certainly honed my fine motor skills.
    Which professional accomplishment has given you the most pride?

    I got to mentor an undergraduate student, Ingrid Izaguirre, through a summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates project in 2018 at Columbia. She did a fantastic job and presented her findings at the American Geophysical Union conference that winter, explaining complicated ocean chemistry to interested listeners for four hours straight. I was incredibly proud of her work and presentation, and still get to see her progress as she is now a graduate student in paleoceanography.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    rutgers-campus

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:36 pm on January 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Autism Diagnosis Test Needs Improvement, , Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), Rutgers Researchers Say", Rutgers University, Study finds inconsistencies in a broadly used autism test., The researchers digitized the test by attaching wearable technology like an Apple Watch to two clinicians and 52 children who came in four times and took two different versions of the test., The results showed that switching clinicians may change a child’s scores and consequently influences the diagnosis.   

    From Rutgers University: “Autism Diagnosis Test Needs Improvement, Rutgers Researchers Say” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    January 27, 2020
    Megan Schumann
    848-445-1907
    MEGAN.SCHUMANN@rutgers.edu

    Study finds inconsistencies in a broadly used autism test.

    1
    Rutgers researchers have found that a test widely used to diagnose whether children have autism is less reliable than previously assumed.

    Rutgers researchers have found that a test widely used to diagnose whether children have autism is less reliable than previously assumed.

    The study is published in the journal Neural Computation.

    The standardized test, known as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), assesses communication skills, social interaction and play for children who may have autism or other developmental disorders.

    The researchers digitized the test by attaching wearable technology, like an Apple Watch, to two clinicians and 52 children who came in four times and took two different versions of the test.

    When researchers looked at the scores of the entire cohort, they found they did not distribute normally – which could mean a chance of false positives inflating the prevalence of autism, among other implications.

    The results showed that switching clinicians may change a child’s scores and consequently influences the diagnosis. The researchers found similar results when they analyzed open-access data of 1,324 people ages 5 to 65, said Elizabeth Torres, associate professor of psychology in Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences, and director of The New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence.

    “The ADOS test informs and steers much of the science of autism, and it has done great work thus far,” said Torres, whose expertise has brought emerging computer science technology to autism. “However, social interactions are much too complex and fast to be captured by the naked eye, particularly when the grader is biased to look for specific signs and to expect specific behaviors.”

    The researchers suggest combining clinical observations with data from wearable biosensors, such as smartwatches, smartphones and other off-the-shelf technology.

    By doing so, they argue, researchers may make data collection less invasive, lower the rate of false positives by using empirically derived statistics rather than assumed models, shorten the time to diagnosis, and make diagnoses more reliable, and more objective for all clinicians.

    Torres said autism researchers should aim for tests that capture the accelerated rate of change of neurodevelopment to help develop treatments that slow down the aging of the nervous system.

    “Autism affects one out of 34 children in New Jersey,” she said. “Reliance on observational tests that do not tackle the neurological conditions of the child from an early age could be dangerous. Clinical tests score a child based on expected aspects of behaviors. These data are useful, but subtle, spontaneous aspects of natural behaviors, which are more variable and less predictable, remain hidden. These hidden aspects of behavior may hold important keys for personalized treatments, like protecting nerve cells against damage, or impairment, which could delay or altogether stop progression.”

    The study was co-authored by Richa Rai, a graduate student in psychology at Rutgers University, Sejal Mistry, a former Rutgers Biomathematics student now at the University of Utah Medical School, and Brenda Gupta from Montclair State University.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    rutgers-campus

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:32 pm on January 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "LED Lighting in Greenhouses Helps But Standards are Needed", , , , Rutgers University, White LED lamps are used to improve basil production in a greenhouse.   

    From Rutgers University: “LED Lighting in Greenhouses Helps But Standards are Needed” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    January 21, 2020
    Office of Communications

    1
    White LED lamps are used to improve basil production in a greenhouse. Photo: A.J. Both/Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

    While LED lighting can enhance plant growth in greenhouses, standards are needed to determine the optimal intensity and colors of light, according to Rutgers research that could help improve the energy efficiency of horticultural lighting products.

    Many lighting companies market their LED (light-emitting diode) products with claims of delivering an optimal “light recipe” that often consists of a combination of wavelengths and color ratios, such as a 4-to-1 red to blue ratio on the spectrum (colors of a rainbow). Plant scientists often use this information to evaluate the potential effects of lamps on plant growth and development. But standardized procedures on how to calculate these ratios are lacking, according to a study soon to be published in the journal Acta Horticulturae.

    “The more efficient supplemental lighting sources are, the less electric power growers need to finish their crops,” said senior author A.J. Both, a professor and extension specialist in controlled environment engineering in the Department of Environmental Sciences in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “We hope to help make indoor crop production more sustainable and affordable.”

    Increased energy efficiency can have a big impact on the bottom line, and information about new crop lighting strategies will help the burgeoning indoor farming industry, Both said.

    In greenhouses and controlled environments, electric lamps are used to supplement sunlight and extend lighting times to produce horticultural crops, such as vegetables, flowers and herbs, according to a previous study led by Both. Recent advances in energy-efficient LED technology provide the horticultural industry with multiple lighting options. But growers can’t easily compare technologies and LED options because of a lack of independent data on how lamps perform. That study led to a proposed standardized product label allowing for comparisons of lamps across manufacturers.

    Both and colleagues continue to focus on independently assessing performance metrics such as power consumption, efficiency, light intensity and the light distribution pattern and relaying that information to commercial growers. Recent advancements have provided opportunities to precisely control the light from LED lamps and study their impacts on plant growth and development, according to Both’s research. Both and his team work closely with plant scientists who study the impact of light on plants grown for food or ornamental crops.

    The new study recommends using a spectroradiometer, an instrument that measures light output across a specific range of wavelengths. Using such an instrument, various light ratios can be calculated. The researchers reported substantial differences in light ratios comparing sunlight with common lamps, including LED, high-pressure sodium, incandescent and fluorescent lamps used for plant lighting. The researchers hope that their work will contribute to the development of standard definitions for specific wavebands (ranges of wavelengths) that are important for plant growth and development.

    The lead author of the new study is Timothy Shelford, a part-time research specialist at Rutgers who also works at Cornell University. Claude Wallace, a Rutgers graduate and part-time employee, also contributed to the study.

    ditor’s Note: this article originally appeared in Rutgers Today.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    rutgers-campus

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:11 pm on January 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Influential electrons? Physicists uncover a quantum relationship", How electron energies vary from region to region in a particular quantum state, , , , , Quantum hybridization in the relationships between moving electrons, Rutgers University, Spectromicroscopy   

    From New York University, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Rutgers University, and MIT via phys.org: “Influential electrons? Physicists uncover a quantum relationship” 

    From

    via


    phys.org

    A team of physicists has mapped how electron energies vary from region to region in a particular quantum state with unprecedented clarity. This understanding reveals an underlying mechanism by which electrons influence one another, termed quantum “hybridization,” that had been invisible in previous experiments.

    1
    Credit: CC0 Public Domain

    The findings, the work of scientists at New York University, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Rutgers University, and MIT, are reported in the journal Nature Physics.

    “This sort of relationship is essential to understanding a quantum electron system—and the foundation of all movement—but had often been studied from a theoretical standpoint and not thought of as observable through experiments,” explains Andrew Wray, an assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Physics and one of the paper’s co-authors. “Remarkably, this work reveals a diversity of energetic environments inside the same material, allowing for comparisons that let us spot how electrons shift between states.”

    The scientists focused their work on bismuth selenide, or Bi2Se3, a material that has been under intense investigation for the last decade as the basis of advanced information and quantum computing technologies. Research in 2008 and 2009 identified bismuth selenide to host a rare “topological insulator” quantum state that changes the way electrons at its surface interact with and store information.

    Studies since then have confirmed a number of theoretically inspired ideas about topological insulator surface electrons. However, because these particles are on a material’s surface, they are exposed to environmental factors not present in the bulk of the material, causing them to manifest and move in different ways from region to region.

    The resulting knowledge gap, together with similar challenges for other material classes, has motivated scientists to develop techniques for measuring electrons with micron- or nanometer- scale spatial resolution, allowing researchers to examine electron interaction without external interference.

    The Nature Physics research is one of the first studies to use this new generation of experimental tools, termed “”—and the first spectromicroscopy investigation of Bi2Se3. This procedure can track how the motion of surface electrons differs from region to region within a material. Rather than focusing on average electron activity over a single large region on a sample surface, the scientists collected data from nearly 1,000 smaller regions.

    By broadening the terrain through this approach, they could observe signatures of quantum hybridization in the relationships between moving electrons, such as a repulsion between electronic states that come close to one another in energy. Measurements from this method illuminated the variation of electronic quasiparticles across the material surface.

    “Looking at how the electronic states vary in tandem with one another across the sample surface reveals conditional relationships between different kinds of electrons, and it’s really a new way of studying a material,” explains Erica Kotta, an NYU graduate student and first author on the paper. “The results provide new insight into the physics of topological insulators by providing the first direct measurement of quantum hybridization between electrons near the surface.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    About Science X in 100 words

    Science X™ is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies. Launched in 2004 (Physorg.com), Science X’s readership has grown steadily to include 5 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Science X publishes approximately 200 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Science X community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.
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  • richardmitnick 3:34 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Rutgers Leads $1.5 Million Project for Ocean Acidification Monitoring on the U.S. Northeast Shelf", , , , Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “Rutgers Leads $1.5 Million Project for Ocean Acidification Monitoring on the U.S. Northeast Shelf” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    January 6, 2020

    1
    Grace Saba, assistant professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

    Grace Saba, assistant professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences (DMCS), is the lead principal investigator and John Wilkin, professor in DMCS, is co-principal investigator of $1,499,895 million project observing ocean acidification on the U.S. Northeast Shelf, from the Mid-Atlantic to the Gulf of Maine.

    The project, “Optimizing Ocean Acidification Observations for Model Parameterization in the Coupled Slope Water System of the U.S. Northeast Large Marine Ecosystem,” is funded by the NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program (OAP), which has teamed up with the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) to fund a total of four projects aimed at improving the observing system design for characterizing ocean acidification.

    The U.S. Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem supports some of the nation’s most economically valuable coastal fisheries, and most of this revenue comes from shellfish that are sensitive to ocean acidification.

    Additional co-PIs on the Rutgers-led project include Charles Flagg and Janet Nye, Stony Brook University; Joe Salisbury and Doug Vandemark, University of New Hampshire; Neal Pettigrew, University of Maine; Gerhard Kuska, Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System; and John R. Morrison, Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems. The three-year project runs from September 2019 to August 2022.

    There are hundreds, if not thousands, of eyes on our changing ocean at any moment: Buoys, gliders, saildrones and ships measure carbonate chemistry and new ocean observing technologies are continually being created to monitor ocean acidification. As science and technology progress it is important to ensure that the most up-to-date knowledge is applied to the task at hand.

    This work will evaluate the capability of existing observations to characterize the magnitude and extent of acidification and explore alternative regional ocean acidification observing approaches. Ultimately this work will minimize errors in measurements, better integrate existing observations, and minimize costs of monitoring ocean acidification.

    The research team, led by Saba, plans to add seasonal deployments of underwater gliders equipped with sensors, including newly developed pH sensors, to understand how the ocean chemistry in this region varies on seasonal timescales relevant to organism ecologies and life histories. They also plan to improve existing regional sampling with additional carbonate chemistry measurements on other platforms in several key locations, and compiling and integrating this new information with existing OA assets.

    The researchers will then apply these data to an existing ocean ecosystem/biogeochemical (BGC) model to explore how carbonate chemistry is changing on the Northeast Shelf. The model will then be used to test hypotheses focused on what drives ocean acidification and identify locations for long term monitoring.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    rutgers-campus

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:24 pm on December 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "GODDESS detector sees the origins of elements", ATLAS-Argonne Tandem Linear Accelerator System, , Insight into astrophysical nuclear reactions that produce the elements heavier than hydrogen., , ORRUBA-Oak Ridge Rutgers University Barrel Array, , Products of nuclear transmutations are spotted with unprecedented detail., Rutgers University   

    From Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Rutgers University: “GODDESS detector sees the origins of elements” 

    i1

    From Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    with

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    Rutgers University

    December 17, 2019
    Dawn M Levy
    levyd@ornl.gov
    865.576.6448

    1
    ORNL GODDESS Detector

    2
    GODDESS is shown coupled to GRETINA with experimenters, from left, Heather Garland, Chad Ummel and Gwen Seymour, all of Rutgers University, and Rajesh Ghimire of University of Tennessee–Knoxville and ORNL; and from left (back row), Josh Hooker of UTK and Steven Pain of ORNL. Credit: Andrew Ratkiewicz/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

    Products of nuclear transmutations are spotted with unprecedented detail.

    Ancient Greeks imagined that everything in the natural world came from their goddess Physis; her name is the source of the word physics. Present-day nuclear physicists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have created a GODDESS of their own—a detector providing insight into astrophysical nuclear reactions that produce the elements heavier than hydrogen (this lightest of elements was created right after the Big Bang).

    Researchers developed a state-of-the-art charged particle detector at ORNL called the Oak Ridge Rutgers University Barrel Array, or ORRUBA, to study reactions with beams of astrophysically important radioactive nuclei.

    5
    Schematic of how ORRUBA would be coupled to the 100-unit Gammasphere Compton-suppressed Ge detector array. The barrel array would be augmented by up to 4 annular strip detectors to be placed at forward and backward angles in the laboratory. All electronics signals and preamplifier boxes would be downstream of ORRUBA and before the quadrupole magnet of the Fragment Mass Analyzer. Provided by Ratkiewicz and Shand.

    Recently, its silicon detectors were upgraded and tightly packed to prepare it to work in concert with large germanium-based gamma-ray detectors, such as Gammasphere, and the next-generation gamma-ray tracking detector system, GRETINA. The result is GODDESS—Gammasphere/GRETINA ORRUBA: Dual Detectors for Experimental Structure Studies. [Watch a time-lapse video below of one day of work to couple GODDESS with Gammasphere for the first time.]


    GODDESS day 4 video

    With millimeter position resolution, GODDESS records emissions from reactions taking place as energetic beams of radioactive nuclei gain or lose protons and neutrons and emit gamma rays or charged particles, such as protons, deuterons, tritons, helium-3 or alpha particles.

    “The charged particles in the silicon detectors tell us how the nucleus was formed, and the gamma rays tell us how it decayed,” explained Steven Pain of ORNL’s Physics Division. “We merge the two sets of data and use them as if they were one detector for a complete picture of the reaction.”

    Earlier this year, Pain led more than 50 scientists from 12 institutions in GODDESS experiments to understand the cosmic origins of the elements. He is principal investigator of two experiments and co-principal investigator of a third. Data analysis of the complex experiments is expected to take two years.

    “Almost all heavy stable nuclei in the universe are created through unstable nuclei reacting and then coming back to stability,” Pain said.

    A century of nuclear transmutation

    In 1911 Ernest Rutherford was astounded to observe that alpha particles—heavy and positively charged—sometimes bounced backward. He concluded they must have hit something extremely dense and positively charged—possible only if almost all an atom’s mass were concentrated in its center. He had discovered the atomic nucleus. He went on to study the nucleons—protons and neutrons—that make up the nucleus and that are surrounded by shells of orbiting electrons.

    One element can turn into another when nucleons are captured, exchanged or expelled. When this happens in stars, it’s called nucleosynthesis. Rutherford stumbled upon this process in the lab through an anomalous result in a series of particle-scattering experiments. The first artificial nuclear transmutation reacted nitrogen-14 with an alpha particle to create oxygen-17 and a proton. The feat was published in 1919, seeding advances in the newly invented cloud chamber, discoveries about short-lived nuclei (which make up 90% of nuclei), and experiments that continue to this day as a top priority for physics.

    “A century ago, the first nuclear reaction of stable isotopes was inferred by human observers counting flashes of light with a microscope,” noted Pain, who is Rutherford’s “great-great-grandson” in an academic sense: his PhD thesis advisor was Wilton Catford, whose advisor was Kenneth Allen, whose advisor was William Burcham, whose advisor was Rutherford. “Today, advanced detectors like GODDESS allow us to explore, with great sensitivity, reactions of the difficult-to-access unstable radioactive nuclei that drive the astrophysical explosions generating many of the stable elements around us.”

    Understanding thermonuclear runaway

    One experiment Pain led focused on phosphorus-30, which is important for understanding certain thermonuclear runaways. “We’re looking to understand nucleosynthesis in nova explosions—the most common stellar explosions,” he said. A nova occurs in a binary system in which a white dwarf gravitationally pulls hydrogen-rich material from a nearby “companion” star until thermonuclear runaway occurs and the white dwarf’s surface layer explodes. The ashes of these explosions change the chemical composition of the galaxy.

    University of Tennessee graduate student Rajesh Ghimire is analyzing the data from the phosphorus experiment, which transferred a neutron from deuterium in a target onto an intense beam of the short-lived radioactive isotope phosphorus-30. The particle and gamma-ray detectors spotted what emerged, correlating times, places and energies of proton and gamma ray production.

    The phosphorus-30 nucleus strongly affects the ratios of most of the heavier elements produced during a nova explosion. If the phosphorus-30 reactions are understood, the elemental ratios can be used to measure the peak temperature that the nova reached. “That’s an observable that somebody with a telescope could see,” Pain said.

    Illuminating heavy-element creation

    The second experiment Pain led transmuted a much heavier isotope, tellurium-134. “This nucleus is involved in the rapid neutron capture process, or r process, which is the way that half the elements heavier than iron are formed in the universe,” Pain related. It occurs in an environment with many free neutrons—perhaps supernovae or neutron star mergers. “We know it happens, because we see the elements around us, but we still don’t know exactly where and how it occurs.”

    Understanding r-process nucleosynthesis will be a major activity at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), a DOE Office of Science user facility scheduled to open at Michigan State University (MSU) in 2022. FRIB will enable discoveries about rare isotopes, nuclear astrophysics and fundamental interactions, and applications in medicine, homeland security and industry.

    “The r process is a very, very complicated network of reactions; many, many pieces go into it,” Pain emphasized. “You can’t do one experiment and have the answer.”

    The tellurium-134 experiment starts with radioactive californium made at ORNL and installed at the Argonne Tandem Linear Accelerator System (ATLAS), a DOE Office of Science user facility at Argonne National Laboratory.

    4
    Argonne Tandem Linear Accelerator System (ATLAS)

    The californium fissions spontaneously, with tellurium-134 among the products. A beam of tellurium-134 is accelerated into a deuterium target and absorbs a neutron, spitting out a proton in the process. “Tellurium-134 comes in, but tellurium-135 goes out,” Pain summed up.

    “We detect that proton in the silicon detectors of GODDESS. The tellurium-135 continues down the beam line. The energy and angle of the proton tell us about the tellurium-135 we’ve created—it could be in its ground state or in any one of a number of excited states. The excited states decay by emitting a gamma ray.” The germanium detectors reveal the energy of the gamma rays with unprecedented resolution to show how the nucleus decayed. Then the nucleus enters a gas detector, creating a track of ionized gas from which the removed electrons are collected. Measuring the energy deposited in different regions of the detector allows researchers to definitively identify the nucleus.

    Rutgers graduate student Chad Ummel is focusing on the experiment’s analysis. Said Pain, “We’re trying to understand the role of this tellurium-134 nucleus in the r process in different potential astrophysical sites. The reaction flow in this network of neutron capture reactions affects the abundances of the elements created. We need to understand this network to understand the origin of the heavy elements.”

    Future of the GODDESS

    The researchers will continue developing equipment and techniques for current use of GODDESS at Argonne and MSU and future use at FRIB, which will give unprecedented access to many unstable nuclei currently out of reach. Future experiments will employ two strategies.

    One uses fast beams of nuclei that have been fragmented into other nuclei. Pain likens the diverse nuclear products to a whole zoo hurtling down the beam line in chaos. The fast-moving nuclei pass through a series of magnets that select desired “zebras” and discard unwanted “giraffes,” “gnus” and “hippos.”

    The other approach stops the ions with a material, re-ionizes them, then reaccelerates them before they can radioactively decay. Explained Pain, “It allows you to corral all zebras, calm them down, then orderly bring them out in the direction, rate and speed that you want.”

    Taming the elements that make planets and people possible—that’s indeed the domain of a physics GODDESS.

    DOE’s Office of Science supports Pain’s research. DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration funded some past detector research.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

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  • richardmitnick 11:33 am on November 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Nathan Yee, Rutgers University   

    From Rutgers University: “Are We Alone in the Universe? Rutgers Professor Explores Possibility of Life on Mars and Beyond” 

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    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University

    November 25, 2019
    Cynthia Medina
    c.medina@rutgers.edu

    Rutgers’ first astrobiology course explores possibility of alien microbes on other planets and moons.

    1
    Nathan Yee, a professor of geomicrobiology and geochemistry and a co-investigator at Rutgers ENIGMA, co-created and teaches Rutgers’ first course on astrobiology. (In his hand is a fossilized trilobite, a hard-shelled, segmented arthropod that existed over 520 million years ago in Earth’s ancient seas.) Photo: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University.

    People have spent centuries wondering whether life exists beyond Earth, but only recently have scientists developed the tools to find out.

    One of them is Nathan Yee, a Rutgers University–New Brunswick professor of geomicrobiology and geochemistry and a co-investigator at Rutgers ENIGMA, a NASA-funded research team focused on discovering how proteins evolved to become the catalysts of life on Earth. Yee co-created and teaches Rutgers’ first course on astrobiology, an interdisciplinary field that seeks to understand whether life arose elsewhere and whether we can detect it.

    Yee discussed his theories on extraterrestrial life, how NASA inspired him to create the astrobiology course and how Earth’s evolution holds the key to finding evidence of life on Mars and beyond.

    Is it possible to prove whether aliens exist?

    When I was a kid, I asked my science teacher if we were alone in the universe. My teacher said there may be no way of knowing, but I think that is changing.

    In the past few decades, scientists have developed new tools to answer whether life exists on other planets or moons. We are transforming this field of study from sci-fi to a hard science where we can test hypotheses with these tools. Two of the biggest game-changers are the Curiosity rover, which is analyzing rocks on Mars to seek evidence of past or current life, and the new space telescopes discovering strange new exoplanets that orbit other stars.

    The next generation of telescopes will study the atmospheres of these planets. We know that most oxygen on Earth is made by photosynthetic bacteria. So, if we find oxygen in exoplanets, that might mean there had been plants and maybe even animals that breathe oxygen. None of this was possible when I was a kid.

    How did working with NASA help you launch Rutgers’ new astrobiology course?

    Since 2014, NASA has been inviting me to participate in workshops and panels involving special regions on Mars and the Mars 2020 mission. They wanted someone with expertise about microbes interacting with minerals and the biosignatures that ancient Earth microbes left behind in rocks after they died and went extinct, which happens to be my area of expertise at Rutgers’ Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

    If we find signs of life on Mars, then it will be microbial. Curiosity’s mission is to determine whether Mars ever was, or is still, habitable to microbial life. The rover will collect samples and bring them back to Earth, so we can analyze Martian rocks to answer these questions.

    To bring what I learned at these NASA panels back to Rutgers, I created a seminar on the topic of life on Mars. It was right when the film The Martian came out with Matt Damon, and it was really popular and revealed a great depth of student interest in these topics. Paul Falkowski, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and a principal investigator of ENIGMA, and I then proposed creating this course and an astrobiology minor that is still in the works.

    The course, which is currently in its first semester at the School of Arts and Sciences, covers the origins of life on Earth and what this has to do with life on other planets.

    In time, I hope the course and minor grow into undergraduate and graduate programs of astrobiology because I predict astrobiology will become one of the most important fields of science in the future.

    What can Earth’s natural history teach us about the possibilities for extraterrestrial life?

    Earth is 4.5 billion years old, yet one amazing discovery is that life evolved very quickly on Earth. In the beginning of Earth’s formation, the planet was really hot and liquid water wasn’t stable. Any water existed in the form of vapor. As it cooled, it rained and evaporated over and over, eventually leading to the formation of oceans. Once oceans were in place, life quickly emerged in the form of microorganisms.

    These microbes figured out how to perform DNA replication, metabolism, how to breathe and eat in a short amount of time, and they were the dominant life for billions of years. Complex life, like animals and humans, did not evolve until recently. It’s shocking how long it took for intelligent life to form.

    If I have to guess what extraterrestrial life would look like, it would probably be microbial life based on observations about the oldest and longest-surviving life-forms on Earth. Intelligent life is probably rare in our galaxy. I am skeptical about listening for communications and sending messages into space in search of other intelligent life because I think complex life capable of interpreting these signals is unlikely.

    Is Mars our best bet for finding life-forms, or should we focus on other parts of the solar system or beyond?

    Mars is a cold, dry planet, but it once was warm and wet, and what’s exciting is that we’ve recently discovered whiffs of methane, which on Earth is produced by microorganisms called methanogens. Scientists are curious as to whether such organisms exist on Mars, whether they migrated there via asteroids that came from Earth, whether methanogens have migrated to Mars and whether the planet’s subsurface could harbor microbial life today. This is one thing NASA hopes to find out during the 2020 mission.

    Also, everywhere there is liquid water on Earth, we’ve found microbial life. We are smart enough to know that if a world has oceans, then we should look there for alien microbes. Europa, which is one of Jupiter’s moons, has what appears to be global oceans under sheets of ice. Saturn’s moon Enceladus has geysers and hot springs spewing from its south pole. That points to the possibility of volcanoes and hydrothermal vents, which on Earth harbor ancient life-forms and may have contributed to the origin of life here.

    Now, do I think there’s going to be a whale on these moons? Likely not, but it is possible that alien microbes have evolved and continue to live there. That is the science we are in now.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    rutgers-campus

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
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