Tagged: Science Alert Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 12:27 pm on June 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers Report An Ultra-Rare Cosmic Object Was Just Detected in The Milky Way", An accreting X-ray millisecond pulsar MAXI J1816-195, , , , Science Alert,   

    From “Science Alert (AU)” : “Astronomers Report An Ultra-Rare Cosmic Object Was Just Detected in The Milky Way” 


    From “Science Alert (AU)”

    10 JUNE 2022

    Artist’s impression of a pulsar. (Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library/Getty Images)

    A new member of a category of star so rare we can count the known number of them on our fingers and toes has just been discovered in the Milky Way.

    It’s called MAXI J1816-195, located no greater than 30,000 light-years away. Preliminary observations and investigations suggest that it’s an accreting X-ray millisecond pulsar – of which only 18 others are known, according to a pulsar database compiled by astronomer Alessandro Patruno.

    When numbers are that low, any new object represents an extremely exciting find that can yield important statistical information about how those objects form, evolve, and behave.

    The discovery really is hot off the presses. X-ray light emanating from the object was first detected on 7 June by the Japanese Space Agency’s Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) instrument mounted on the outside of the ISS.

    Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image | JAXA Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate

    In a notice posted to The Astronomer’s Telegram (ATel), a team headed by astrophysicist Hitoshi Negoro of Nihon University in Japan posted that they’d identified a previously uncatalogued X-ray source, located in the galactic plane between the constellations of Sagittarius, Scutum, and Serpens. It was, they said, flaring relatively brightly, but they hadn’t been able to identify it based on the MAXI data.

    It wasn’t long before other astronomers piled on. Using the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, a space-based telescope, astrophysicist Jamie Kennea of Pennsylvania State University and colleagues homed in on the location to confirm the detection with an independent instrument, and localize it.

    Swift saw the object in X-rays, but not optical or ultraviolet light, at the location specified by the MAXI observations.

    “This location does not lie at the location of any known catalogued X-ray source, therefore we agree that this is a new transient source MAXI J1816-195,” they wrote in a notice posted to ATel.

    “In addition, archival observations by Swift/XRT of this region taken in 2017 June 22, do not reveal any point source at this location.”

    Curiouser and curiouser

    Next up was the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), an X-ray NASA instrument also mounted to the ISS, in an investigation led by astrophysicist Peter Bult of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    And this is where things started to get really interesting. NICER picked up X-ray pulsations at 528.6 Hz – suggesting that the thing is spinning at a rate of 528.6 times per second – in addition to an X-ray thermonuclear burst.

    “This detection,” they wrote, “shows that MAXI J1816-195 is a neutron star and a new accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar.”

    So what does that mean? Well, not all pulsars are built alike. At the very basic level, a pulsar is a type of neutron star, which is the collapsed core of a dead massive star that has gone supernova. These objects are very small and very dense – up to around 2.2 times the mass of the Sun, packed into a sphere just 20 kilometers (12 miles) or so across.

    To be classified as a pulsar, a neutron star has to… pulse. Beams of radiation are launched from its poles; because of the way the star is angled, these beams sweep past Earth like the beams from a lighthouse. Millisecond pulsars are pulsars that spin so fast, they pulse hundreds of times a second.

    Some pulsars are powered purely by rotation, but another type is powered by accretion. The neutron star is in a binary system with another star, their orbit so close that material is siphoned from the companion star and onto the neutron star. This material is channeled along the neutron star’s magnetic field lines to its poles, where it falls down onto the surface, producing hotspots that flare brightly in X-rays.

    In some cases, the accretion process can spin up the pulsar to millisecond rotational speeds. This is the accreting X-ray millisecond pulsar, and it appears that MAXI J1816-195 belongs to this rare category.

    The thermonuclear X-ray burst detected by NICER was likely the result of the unstable thermonuclear burning of material accumulated by the companion star.

    Since the discovery is so new, observations in multiple wavelengths are ongoing. Follow-up has already been conducted using Swift, and the 2m Liverpool Telescope on the Canary Island of La Palma in Spain was employed to look for an optical counterpart, although none was detected.

    Other astronomers are also encouraged to climb aboard the MAXI J1816-195 train.

    Meanwhile, a full pulsar timing analysis is being conducted, and will, Bult and his team said, be circulated as more data becomes available. You can follow along on ATel.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 9:07 am on June 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Vast Sonar Map Reveals The Seabed Around Antarctica as Never Seen Before", , , , Science Alert,   

    From The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research [Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar-und Meeresforschung](DE) via “Science Alert (AU)” : “Vast Sonar Map Reveals The Seabed Around Antarctica as Never Seen Before” 


    From The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research [Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar-und Meeresforschung](DE)


    The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres(DE)



    “Science Alert (AU)”

    9 JUNE 2022

    Detail from new map of Southern Ocean. (Dorschel et al., Scientific Data, 2022)

    Scientists have published a map showing the Southern Ocean floor in unprecedented detail.

    The new images, generated from sonar data that took years to collect, show canyons, ridges, and mountains deep under the water.

    The map was published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Data on Tuesday. It is part of the Nippon Foundation General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) Seabed 2030 project, which aims to map the entire ocean floor by 2030.

    About 21 percent of the world’s seabeds have been precisely mapped so far, the foundation said.

    A close up of the seabed structures. (Dorschel et al., Scientific Data, 2022)

    “The map is so important as it provides the most accurate knowledge on the shape of the seafloor,” Boris Dorschel lead author of the paper, told Insider in an email.

    Dorschel is a senior scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany and head of the regional center southern ocean of the seabed 2030 Project.

    “It is a visual extension of the terrestrial world we know below the waves. We now can see canyons, channels, and mounts in great detail in many places,” Dorschel said.

    The map was drawn by compiling measurements taken by ships navigating the waters around Antarctica, a practice called bathymetry.

    It provides crucial information that can improve climate change models by giving better information about how the world’s oceans move.

    The shape of the seabed changes the way the ocean water mixes, and hence its temperature, in turn influencing temperatures around the world.

    Better mapping could also help efforts to conserve marine life, per the BBC. Fish and other animals tend to congregate around underwater mountains, so knowing where those are can help people find the right areas to conserve.

    “Personally I cannot stop moving over the map and enjoying the sight,” said Dorschel, the project leader.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    See the full article here.

    The Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany. Building near the Old Port in the city. Credit: Garitzko 5 August 2007

    The Alfred Wegener Institute – Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research [Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar-und Meeresforschung](DE) is located in Bremerhaven, Germany, and a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. It conducts research in the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the high and mid latitude oceans. Additional research topics are: North Sea research, marine biological monitoring, and technical marine developments. The institute was founded in 1980 and is named after meteorologist, climatologist, and geologist Alfred Wegener.

    The institute has three major departments:

    Climate System Department, which studies oceans, ice and atmosphere as physical and chemical systems.
    Biosciences Department, which studies the biological processes in marine and coastal ecosystems.
    Geoscientific Department, which studies climate development, especially as revealed by sediments.

    The Helmholtz Association (DE)

    The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers (DE) is the largest scientific organisation in Germany. It is a union of 18 scientific-technical and biological-medical research centers. The official mission of the Association is “solving the grand challenges of science, society and industry”. Scientists at Helmholtz therefore focus research on complex systems which affect human life and the environment. The namesake of the association is the German physiologist and physicist Hermann von Helmholtz.

    The annual budget of the Helmholtz Association amounts to €4.56 billion, of which about 72% is raised from public funds. The remaining 28% of the budget is acquired by the 19 individual Helmholtz Centres in the form of contract funding. The public funds are provided by the federal government (90%) and the rest by the States of Germany (10%).

    The Helmholtz Association was ranked #6 in 2020 by the Nature Index, which measures the largest contributors to papers published in 82 leading journals.

    Members of the Helmholtz Association are:

    Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, AWI), Bremerhaven
    Helmholtz Center for Information Security, CISPA, Saarbrücken
    German Electron Synchrotron (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, DESY), Hamburg
    German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ), Heidelberg
    German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR), Cologne
    German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen; DZNE), Bonn
    Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) Jülich Research Center, Jülich
    Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, KIT), (formerly Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe), Karlsruhe
    Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, (Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, HZI), Braunschweig
    GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences (Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Potsdam
    Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon Geesthacht, formerly known as Gesellschaft für Kernenergieverwertung in Schiffbau und Schiffahrt mbH (GKSS)
    Helmholtz München German Research Centre for Environmental Health (HMGU), Neuherberg
    GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research (GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung), Darmstadt
    Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin for Materials and Energy (Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie, HZB), Berlin
    Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung, UFZ), Leipzig
    MPG Institute of Plasma Physics (Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, IPP), Garching
    Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft, MDC), Berlin-Buch
    Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) formerly known as Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (FZD) changed 2011 from the Leibniz Association to the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers, Dresden
    Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR) formerly known as Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR)

    Helmholtz Institutes are partnerships between a Helmholtz Center and a university (the institutes are not members of the Helmholtz Association themselves). Examples of Helmholtz Institutes include:

    Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI), Würzburg, established in 2017

  • richardmitnick 8:44 am on June 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Millions of Shipwrecks Lost to The Ocean Are Changing Life in The Deep Sea", , , , Deep sea microbes living on submerged shipwrecks are positioned at the bottom of the underwater food chain., , , , , , Science Alert, Submerged wooden islands are proving a vibrant breeding ground for deep sea microbes., The team behind this latest study suggests that other human-made structures-such as oil rigs-could be having a similar impact on deep sea microbiomes., There are estimated to be around three million shipwrecks sitting on sea beds around the world.   

    From “Science Alert(AU)” : “Millions of Shipwrecks Lost to The Ocean Are Changing Life in The Deep Sea” 


    From “Science Alert(AU)”

    9 JUNE 2022

    (Rick Ayrton/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

    There are estimated to be around three million shipwrecks sitting on sea beds around the world, many of them made from wood – and these submerged wooden islands are proving a vibrant breeding ground for deep sea microbes, a new study reveals.

    Scientists say these human-made structures are having an important impact on the delicate ecosystems down at the bottom of the oceans, to an extent that hasn’t really been appreciated before.

    Deep sea microbes living on submerged shipwrecks are positioned at the bottom of the underwater food chain, so changes to them could have a knock-on effect on other marine life – and, ultimately, everything living on the land as well.

    “Microbial communities are important to be aware of and understand because they provide early and clear evidence of how human activities change life in the ocean,” says molecular microbial ecologist Leila Hamdan from the University of Southern Mississippi.

    Hamdan and fellow researchers picked two 19th century shipwreck sites in the Gulf Mexico for their study. They placed pine and oak blocks around the sites, from right next to the shipwrecks to up to 200 meters (656 feet) away, and left the wood there for four months.

    The wooden blocks were then recovered and measured for bacteria, archaea, and fungi. Microbial diversity varied depending on proximity to the wreck sites, peaking around 125 meters (410 feet) away. The type of wood made a difference as well, with oak more favorable to microbial biodiversity than pine.

    Natural hard habitats – trees that have fallen into rivers and the oceans – are already well known for influencing the biodiversity of the water they tumble into. What this study shows is that shipwrecks abandoned by humans affect microbial life under the sea too.

    “These biofilms are ultimately what enable hard habitats to transform into islands of biodiversity,” says Hamdan.

    Overall, across the two sites, the presence of the shipwrecks increased microbial richness in the surrounding water, and altered the composition and dispersal patterns of the biofilms holding microbes, the researchers found.

    As expected, additional factors influencing microbial life were water depth and the closeness to other nutrient sources, such as the Mississippi River delta.

    While further research is needed to investigate the phenomenon at a broader range of sites, these initial findings are enough to show that shipwrecks are an important consideration in underwater biodiversity.

    The team behind this latest study suggests that other human-made structures-such as oil rigs-could be having a similar impact on deep sea microbiomes, and again further research is justified in attempting to find out specifics.

    “While we are aware human impacts on the seabed are increasing through the multiple economic uses, scientific discovery is not keeping pace with how this shapes the biology and chemistry of natural under sea landscapes,” says Hamdan.

    “We hope this work will begin a dialogue that leads to research on how built habitats are already changing the deep sea.”

    The research has been published in Frontiers in Marine Science.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 12:40 pm on May 29, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Dinosaurs' Last Ancient Breaths May Finally Answer a Long-Standing Mystery", Animals that are warm-blooded need a higher metabolism to fuel themselves., , , Calculating the metabolic rates of dinosaurs using their fossils., Comparing the amounts of breathing waste found in the bones across still-living species to work out a scale of waste to metabolic rate to calculate the metabolism of extinct animals., Early dinosaur researchers initially assumed these animals were cold-blooded like the modern reptiles they seemed to resemble – their closest reptilian relatives that exist today being crocodilians., Ectothermic (cold-blooded) versus endothermis (warm-blooded), From metabolic clues in eggshells to the warm-blooded trait of being able to withstand frigid polar conditions there are growing signs that dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded animals., Having a high metabolic rate has generally been suggested as one of the key advantages when it comes to surviving mass extinctions., It is important for us to understand how the past can inform biodiversity conservation in the present and inform our future actions in the face of climate change., It is proposed that the current Anthropocene epoch dating from significant human impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems is the sixth mass extinction period., Metabolism is how effectively we convert the oxygen that we breathe into chemical energy that fuels our body., Molecular Paleobiology, , Science Alert, Scientists have found a new way to tell whether dinosaurs were hot- or cold-blooded.,   

    From Yale University via Science Alert : “Dinosaurs’ Last Ancient Breaths May Finally Answer a Long-Standing Mystery” 

    From Yale University



    Science Alert

    29 MAY 2022

    Illustration of Plesiosaurus, Stegosaurus, Diplodocus, Allosaurus, and modern hummingbird. (J. Wiemann)

    Scientists have found a new way to tell whether dinosaurs were hot- or cold-blooded.

    This question has long eluded paleontologists, leading to many heated debates where they even accused each other of acting more like politicians than scientists.

    Early dinosaur researchers initially assumed these animals were slow, lumbering, and cold-blooded like the modern reptiles they seemed to resemble – their closest reptilian relatives that exist today being crocodilians.

    More recently, however, there have been hints that this is not the case.

    From metabolic clues in eggshells to the warm-blooded trait of being able to withstand frigid polar conditions, there are growing signs that dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded animals.

    Some of them are, after all, direct ancestors of the hot-running birds that have the highest metabolism known today.

    Others argued that maybe dinosaurs were neither ectotherms (cold-blooded) nor endotherms (warm-blooded) and that there could be a third option. Mesotherms, like today’s turtles, do burn internal energy to regulate their body temperature like endotherms, but not to the same level and consistency as mammals and birds do.

    A new method developed by Yale University molecular paleobiologist Jasmina Wiemann now allows researchers to calculate the metabolic rates of dinosaurs using their fossils.

    “Metabolism is how effectively we convert the oxygen that we breathe into chemical energy that fuels our body,” explains Wiemann. That conversion process makes side products that interact with our bodies’ proteins, sugars, and lipids to form chemically stable waste. Animals that are warm-blooded need a higher metabolism to fuel themselves.

    It’s hard to rely on previous attempts to get metabolic indicators from the knowledge of what temperatures trace minerals in the bones form at because we don’t yet understand how the fossilization process alters these minerals. But the stability of the breathing waste product allows it to be fossilized reliably.

    Using the femurs of 55 different animals, including dinosaurs, pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, modern birds, mammals, and lizards, the researchers hunted for signs of this telltale molecular waste.

    By comparing the amounts of breathing waste found in the bones across these different still-living species, Wiemann and colleagues were able to work out a scale of waste to metabolic rate. Then, they used this to calculate the metabolism of the extinct animals.

    “This is really exciting for us as paleontologists – the question of whether dinosaurs were warm- or cold-blooded is one of the oldest questions in paleontology, and now we think we have a consensus, that most dinosaurs were warm-blooded,” says Wiemann.

    Some, like the lizard-hipped saurischians – which include Triceratops and Stegosaurus – had metabolic rates similar to the cold-blooded reptiles we know today. But many of the other groups ran hot.

    Even pterosaurs were warm-blooded, suggesting that endothermy was present in their ornithodiran ancestors before pterosaurs split from their dinosaur relatives. It seems birds’ high endothermy is a very ancient trait.

    These results rule out the hypothesis that birds and mammals possibly survived the late cretaceous mass extinction event due to their warm-blooded nature. Many of their contemporary dinosaurs who were wiped out also shared this trait.

    “Having a high metabolic rate has generally been suggested as one of the key advantages when it comes to surviving mass extinctions and successfully radiating afterwards,” says Wiemann.

    “We are living in the sixth mass extinction, so it is important for us to understand how modern and extinct animals physiologically responded to previous climate change and environmental perturbations, so that the past can inform biodiversity conservation in the present and inform our future actions.”

    The research was published in Nature.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honor the school’s largest private benefactor for the first century of its existence, Elihu Yale. Yale University is consistently ranked as one of the top universities and is considered one of the most prestigious in the nation.

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

    Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school’s faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forests and nature preserves throughout New England. As of June 2020, the university’s endowment was valued at $31.1 billion, the second largest of any educational institution. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.

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


    Yale is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation , Yale spent $990 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 15th in the nation.

    Yale’s faculty include 61 members of the National Academy of Sciences , 7 members of the National Academy of Engineering and 49 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . The college is, after normalization for institution size, the tenth-largest baccalaureate source of doctoral degree recipients in the United States, and the largest such source within the Ivy League.

    Yale’s English and Comparative Literature departments were part of the New Criticism movement. Of the New Critics, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, and Cleanth Brooks were all Yale faculty. Later, the Yale Comparative literature department became a center of American deconstruction. Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, taught at the Department of Comparative Literature from the late seventies to mid-1980s. Several other Yale faculty members were also associated with deconstruction, forming the so-called “Yale School”. These included Paul de Man who taught in the Departments of Comparative Literature and French, J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartman (both taught in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature), and Harold Bloom (English), whose theoretical position was always somewhat specific, and who ultimately took a very different path from the rest of this group. Yale’s history department has also originated important intellectual trends. Historians C. Vann Woodward and David Brion Davis are credited with beginning in the 1960s and 1970s an important stream of southern historians; likewise, David Montgomery, a labor historian, advised many of the current generation of labor historians in the country. Yale’s Music School and Department fostered the growth of Music Theory in the latter half of the 20th century. The Journal of Music Theory was founded there in 1957; Allen Forte and David Lewin were influential teachers and scholars.

    In addition to eminent faculty members, Yale research relies heavily on the presence of roughly 1200 Postdocs from various national and international origin working in the multiple laboratories in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools of the university. The university progressively recognized this working force with the recent creation of the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs and the Yale Postdoctoral Association.

    Notable alumni

    Over its history, Yale has produced many distinguished alumni in a variety of fields, ranging from the public to private sector. According to 2020 data, around 71% of undergraduates join the workforce, while the next largest majority of 16.6% go on to attend graduate or professional schools. Yale graduates have been recipients of 252 Rhodes Scholarships, 123 Marshall Scholarships, 67 Truman Scholarships, 21 Churchill Scholarships, and 9 Mitchell Scholarships. The university is also the second largest producer of Fulbright Scholars, with a total of 1,199 in its history and has produced 89 MacArthur Fellows. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranked Yale fifth among research institutions producing the most 2020–2021 Fulbright Scholars. Additionally, 31 living billionaires are Yale alumni.

    At Yale, one of the most popular undergraduate majors among Juniors and Seniors is political science, with many students going on to serve careers in government and politics. Former presidents who attended Yale for undergrad include William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush while former presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton attended Yale Law School. Former vice-president and influential antebellum era politician John C. Calhoun also graduated from Yale. Former world leaders include Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Turkish prime minister Tansu Çiller, Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, German president Karl Carstens, Philippine president José Paciano Laurel, Latvian president Valdis Zatlers, Taiwanese premier Jiang Yi-huah, and Malawian president Peter Mutharika, among others. Prominent royals who graduated are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Olympia Bonaparte, Princess Napoléon.

    Yale alumni have had considerable presence in U.S. government in all three branches. On the U.S. Supreme Court, 19 justices have been Yale alumni, including current Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. Numerous Yale alumni have been U.S. Senators, including current Senators Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Chris Coons, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Sasse, and Sheldon Whitehouse. Current and former cabinet members include Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Cyrus Vance, and Dean Acheson; U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Robert Rubin, Nicholas F. Brady, Steven Mnuchin, and Janet Yellen; U.S. Attorneys General Nicholas Katzenbach, John Ashcroft, and Edward H. Levi; and many others. Peace Corps founder and American diplomat Sargent Shriver and public official and urban planner Robert Moses are Yale alumni.

    Yale has produced numerous award-winning authors and influential writers, like Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Sinclair Lewis and Pulitzer Prize winners Stephen Vincent Benét, Thornton Wilder, Doug Wright, and David McCullough. Academy Award winning actors, actresses, and directors include Jodie Foster, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Elia Kazan, George Roy Hill, Lupita Nyong’o, Oliver Stone, and Frances McDormand. Alumni from Yale have also made notable contributions to both music and the arts. Leading American composer from the 20th century Charles Ives, Broadway composer Cole Porter, Grammy award winner David Lang, and award-winning jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer all hail from Yale. Hugo Boss Prize winner Matthew Barney, famed American sculptor Richard Serra, President Barack Obama presidential portrait painter Kehinde Wiley, MacArthur Fellow and contemporary artist Sarah Sze, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and National Medal of Arts photorealist painter Chuck Close all graduated from Yale. Additional alumni include architect and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Maya Lin, Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, and Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen. Journalists and pundits include Dick Cavett, Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Fareed Zakaria.

    In business, Yale has had numerous alumni and former students go on to become founders of influential business, like William Boeing (Boeing, United Airlines), Briton Hadden and Henry Luce (Time Magazine), Stephen A. Schwarzman (Blackstone Group), Frederick W. Smith (FedEx), Juan Trippe (Pan Am), Harold Stanley (Morgan Stanley), Bing Gordon (Electronic Arts), and Ben Silbermann (Pinterest). Other business people from Yale include former chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings Edward Lampert, former Time Warner president Jeffrey Bewkes, former PepsiCo chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi, sports agent Donald Dell, and investor/philanthropist Sir John Templeton,

    Yale alumni distinguished in academia include literary critic and historian Henry Louis Gates, economists Irving Fischer, Mahbub ul Haq, and Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman; Nobel Prize in Physics laureates Ernest Lawrence and Murray Gell-Mann; Fields Medalist John G. Thompson; Human Genome Project leader and National Institutes of Health director Francis S. Collins; brain surgery pioneer Harvey Cushing; pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper; influential mathematician and chemist Josiah Willard Gibbs; National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee and biochemist Florence B. Seibert; Turing Award recipient Ron Rivest; inventors Samuel F.B. Morse and Eli Whitney; Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate John B. Goodenough; lexicographer Noah Webster; and theologians Jonathan Edwards and Reinhold Niebuhr.

    In the sporting arena, Yale alumni include baseball players Ron Darling and Craig Breslow and baseball executives Theo Epstein and George Weiss; football players Calvin Hill, Gary Fenick, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and “the Father of American Football” Walter Camp; ice hockey players Chris Higgins and Olympian Helen Resor; Olympic figure skaters Sarah Hughes and Nathan Chen; nine-time U.S. Squash men’s champion Julian Illingworth; Olympic swimmer Don Schollander; Olympic rowers Josh West and Rusty Wailes; Olympic sailor Stuart McNay; Olympic runner Frank Shorter; and others.

  • richardmitnick 11:40 am on May 29, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A New Quantum Technique Could Change How We Study The Universe", , , , , , , , , , , , Quantum information, , Science Alert, , Stimulated Raman Adiabatic Passage (STIRAP),   

    From Macquarie University (AU) and The National University of Singapore [新加坡国立大学](SG) via Science Alert : “A New Quantum Technique Could Change How We Study The Universe” “ 

    From Macquarie University (AU)


    The National University of Singapore [新加坡国立大学](SG)



    Science Alert

    29 MAY 2022

    (sakkmesterke/iStock/Getty Images)

    There’s a revolution underway in astronomy. In fact, you might say there are several. In the past ten years, exoplanet studies have advanced considerably, gravitational wave astronomy has emerged as a new field, and the first images of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) have been captured.

    A related field, interferometry, has also advanced incredibly thanks to highly-sensitive instruments and the ability to share and combine data from observatories worldwide. In particular, the science of very-long baseline interferometry (VLBI) is opening entirely new realms of possibility.

    According to a recent study by researchers from Australia and Singapore, a new quantum technique could enhance optical VLBI. It’s known as Stimulated Raman Adiabatic Passage (STIRAP), which allows quantum information to be transferred without losses.

    When imprinted into a quantum error correction code, this technique could allow for VLBI observations into previously inaccessible wavelengths. Once integrated with next-generation instruments, this technique could allow for more detailed studies of black holes, exoplanets, the Solar System, and the surfaces of distant stars.

    The research was led by Zixin Huang, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQuS) at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She was joined by Gavin Brennan, a professor of theoretical physics with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Centre of Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore (NUS), and Yingkai Ouyang, a senior research fellow with the Centre of Quantum Technologies at NUS.

    Animated sequence of the VLTI images of stars around the Milky Way’s central black hole. Credit: The European Southern Observatory [La Observatorio Europeo Austral] [Observatoire européen austral][Europaiche Sûdsternwarte] (EU)(CL).

    To put it plainly, the interferometry technique consists of combining light from various telescopes to create images of an object that would otherwise be too difficult to resolve.

    Very-long baseline interferometry refers to a specific technique used in radio astronomy where signals from an astronomical radio source (black holes, quasars, pulsars, star-forming nebulae, etc.) are combined to create detailed images of their structure and activity.

    In recent years, VLBI has yielded the most detailed images of the stars that orbit Sagitarrius A* (Sgr A*), the SMBH at the center of our galaxy. It also allowed astronomers with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration to capture the first image of a black hole (M87*)[above] and Sgr A*[above] itself!

    Event Horizon Telescope Array

    EHT map.
    The locations of the radio dishes that will be part of the Event Horizon Telescope array. Image credit: Event Horizon Telescope sites, via University of Arizona at https://www.as.arizona.edu/event-horizon-telescope.

    About the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)

    The EHT consortium consists of 13 stakeholder institutes; The Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics [中央研究院天文及天文物理研究所](TW) , The University of Arizona, The University of Chicago, The East Asian Observatory, Goethe University Frankfurt [Goethe-Universität](DE), Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique, Large Millimeter Telescope, The MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy[MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE), MIT Haystack Observatory, The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan[[国立天文台](JP), The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (CA), Radboud University [Radboud Universiteit](NL) and The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian.

    But as they indicated in their study, classical interferometry is still hindered by several physical limitations, including information loss, noise, and the fact that the light obtained is generally quantum in nature (where photons are entangled). By addressing these limitations, VLBI could be used for much finer astronomical surveys.

    Said Dr. Huang to Universe Today via email: “Current state-of-the-art large baseline imaging systems operate in the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum. To realize optical interferometry, you need all parts of the interferometer to be stable to within a fraction of a wavelength of light, so the light can interfere.

    This is very hard to do over large distances: sources of noise can come from the instrument itself, thermal expansion and contraction, vibration and etc.; and on top of that, there are losses associated with the optical elements.

    “The idea of this line of research is to allow us to move into the optical frequencies from microwaves; these techniques equally apply to infrared. We can already do large-baseline interferometry in the microwave. However, this task becomes very difficult in optical frequencies, because even the fastest electronics cannot directly measure the oscillations of the electric field at these frequencies.”

    The key to overcoming these limitations, says Dr. Huang and her colleagues, is to employ quantum communication techniques like Stimulated Raman Adiabatic Passage. STIRAP consists of using two coherent light pulses to transfer optical information between two applicable quantum states.

    When applied to VLBI, said Huang, it will allow for efficient and selective population transfers between quantum states without suffering from the usual issues of noise or loss.

    As they describe in their paper [above], the process they envision would involve coherently coupling the starlight into “dark” atomic states that do not radiate.

    The next step, said Huang, is to couple the light with quantum error correction (QEC), a technique used in quantum computing to protect quantum information from errors due to decoherence and other “quantum noise.”

    But as Huang indicates, this same technique could allow for more detailed and accurate interferometry:

    “To mimic a large optical interferometer, the light must be collected and processed coherently, and we propose to use quantum error correction to mitigate errors due to loss and noise in this process.

    “Quantum error correction is a rapidly developing area mainly focused on enabling scalable quantum computing in the presence of errors. In combination with pre-distributed entanglement, we can perform the operations that extract the information we need from starlight while suppressing noise.”

    To test their theory, the team considered a scenario where two facilities (Alice and Bob) separated by long distances collect astronomical light.

    Each share pre-distributed entanglement and contain “quantum memories” into which the light is captured, and each prepare its own set of quantum data (qubits) into some QEC code. The received quantum states are then imprinted onto a shared QEC code by a decoder, which protects the data from subsequent noisy operations.

    In the “encoder” stage, the signal is captured into the quantum memories via the STIRAP technique, which allows the incoming light to be coherently coupled into a non-radiative state of an atom.

    The ability to capture light from astronomical sources that account for quantum states (and eliminates quantum noise and information loss) would be a game-changer for interferometry. Moreover, these improvements would have significant implications for other fields of astronomy that are also being revolutionized today.

    “By moving into optical frequencies, such a quantum imaging network will improve imaging resolution by three to five orders of magnitude,” said Huang.

    “It would be powerful enough to image small planets around nearby stars, details of solar systems, kinematics of stellar surfaces, accretion disks, and potentially details around the event horizons of black holes – none of which currently planned projects can resolve.”

    In the near future, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will use its advanced suite of infrared imaging instruments to characterize exoplanet atmospheres like never before. The same is true of ground-based observatories like the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), and Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

    Between their large primary mirrors, adaptive optics, coronagraphs, and spectrometers, these observatories will enable direct imaging studies of exoplanets, yielding valuable information about their surfaces and atmospheres.

    By taking advantage of new quantum techniques and integrating them with VLBI, observatories will have another way to capture images of some of the most inaccessible and hard-to-see objects in our Universe.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National University of Singapore (NUS) is the national research university of Singapore. Founded in 1905 as the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States Government Medical School, NUS is the oldest higher education institution in Singapore. According to a number of surveys, it is consistently ranked within the top 20 universities in the world and is considered to be the best university in the Asia-Pacific by the QS ranking. NUS is a comprehensive research university, offering a wide range of disciplines, including the sciences, medicine and dentistry, design and environment, law, arts and social sciences, engineering, business, computing and music at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

    NUS’s main campus is located in the southwestern part of Singapore, adjacent to Kent Ridge, accommodating an area of 150 ha (0.58 sq mi); the Duke-NUS Medical School, a postgraduate medical school jointly established with Duke University, is located at the Outram campus; its Bukit Timah campus houses the Faculty of Law and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy; the Yale-NUS College, a liberal arts college established in collaboration with Yale University (US), is located at University Town (commonly known as UTown). NUS has one Nobel laureate, Konstantin Novoselov, as a professor among its faculty.


    Among the major research focuses at NUS are biomedical and life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, nanoscience and nanotechnology, materials science and engineering, infocommunication and infotechnology, humanities and social sciences, and defence-related research.

    One of several niche research areas of strategic importance to Singapore being undertaken at NUS is bioengineering. Initiatives in this area include bioimaging, tissue engineering and tissue modulation. Another new field which holds much promise is nanoscience and nanotechnology. Apart from higher-performance but lower-maintenance materials for manufacturing, defence, transportation, space and environmental applications, this field also heralds the development of accelerated biotechnical applications in medicine, health care and agriculture.

    Research institutes and centres

    Currently, NUS hosts 21 university-level research institutes and centres (RICs) in various fields such as research on Asia, risk management, logistics, engineering sciences, mathematical sciences, biomedical and life sciences, nanotechnology to marine studies. Besides that, NUS also hosts three Research Centres of Excellence, namely, the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, Centre for Quantum Technologies and Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore – a partner in Singapore’s fifth Research Centre of Excellence. Besides university-level RICs, NUS also has close affiliation with many national research centres and institutes. A special mention is required for The Logistics Institute – Asia Pacific, which is a collaborative effort between NUS and the Georgia Institute of Technology (US) for research and education programmes in logistics. NUS announced its most recent research institute, the Next Age Institute, a partnership with Washington University in St. Louis (US), in February 2015.

    Macquarie University campus

    Established in 1964, Macquarie University (AU)began as a bold experiment in higher education. Built to break from traditions: to be distinctive, progressive, and to be transformational. Today our pioneering history continues to be a source of inspiration as we celebrate our place among the best and brightest minds.

    Recognised internationally, Macquarie University is consistently ranked in the top two per cent of universities in the world* and within the top 10 in Australia*.

    Our research is leading the way in ground-breaking discoveries. Our academics are at the forefront of innovation and, as accomplished researchers, we are embracing the opportunity to tackle the big issues of our time.

    Led by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor S Bruce Dowton, Macquarie is home to five faculties. The fifth and newest – Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences – was formed in 2014. We are also home to some of Australia’s most exceptional facilities – hubs of innovation that unite our students, researchers, academics and partners to achieve extraordinary things.

    Discover our story.

  • richardmitnick 11:25 am on May 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Study Says Supermassive Black Holes May Come From Comparatively Humble Beginnings", , , , , , , Science Alert,   

    From University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill via Science Alert : “Study Says Supermassive Black Holes May Come From Comparatively Humble Beginnings” 

    From The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill



    Science Alert

    28 MAY 2022

    We all know that a humongous black hole exists at the center of our galaxy. It’s called Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short) and it has the mass of 4 million suns. We got to see a radio image of it a few weeks back, showing its accretion disk.

    So, we know it’s there. Astronomers can chart its actions as it gobbles up matter occasionally and they can see how it affects nearby stars.

    What astronomers are still trying to understand is how Sgr A* formed.

    The answer looks like it involves smaller black holes, especially ones from so-called dwarf galaxies. According to a paper published this past week in The Astrophysical Journal by astronomers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, there’s a whole treasury of them out there.

    These things are sitting inside many dwarfs and may provide a missing link to the growth of supermassive black holes in larger galaxies.

    Massive (and Supermassive) Black Holes and their Lairs

    So, let’s dig into this a bit more, starting with supermassive black holes.

    They lurk in the hearts of many, many galaxies. These monsters have millions or billions of solar masses. How did they get to be so big?

    The answer involves a topic that we see across astronomy and planetary science: hierarchical models. That’s a fancy way of saying that big things are created from smaller things.

    For example, planets get started as dust grains that stick together to make rocks that slam together to make asteroids that collide to create planetesimals that glom onto each other to make planets.

    Galaxy formation has its own hierarchical model, too. What creates one of those stellar cities? Galaxies like the Milky Way started out as a collection of gas in the early Universe.

    That gas formed stars, which evolved, died, and spread their materials out to help create new generations of stars (and their planets).

    In many senses, dwarf galaxies are more like the primordial galaxies than they are the evolved spirals and ellipticals.

    Okay, so we simplified things here to give a look at a complex topic that takes up entire textbooks. And, that’s even before we get to galaxy mergers.

    Growing a Big Galaxy from Little Ones

    Let’s look at the Milky Way’s past more closely. It has an extensive merger history, going back billions of years. It started as an infant (maybe it was a dwarf) some 14 billion years ago. Other little ones merged with it.

    Eventually, we got the home galaxy we all know and love today. (And let’s not forget that it will, in fact, merge with the Andromeda Galaxy in a few billion years.)

    Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31). Credit: Adam Evans.

    So, those little guys that merged to make the current Milky Way; chances are good some were dwarfs. They’re the little cousins of the big spirals and ellipticals. A typical one has maybe a thousand to a billion stars and sports an irregular shape.

    Their stars are what astronomers call “metal-poor” (meaning they’re mostly hydrogen and helium). And, these weird little galaxies swarm around some larger ones like fireflies. Sometimes they even get caught and swallowed up.

    The Milky Way has about 20 or so of them orbiting around it. One – the Sagittarius Dwarf – is getting interacting and getting cannibalized as you read this. It’s made the trip through our galaxy numerous times.

    It seems that dwarf galaxies like this one could have what’s called “growing black holes” as part of their structures. How do we know this? Astronomers found ways to survey the nearby Universe to look for candidate dwarf galaxies with such growing black holes.

    Finding Black Holes in All the Small Places

    The North Carolina team actually found a number of such dwarfs. It all began when they posed the question: where do supermassive black holes come from?

    The answer seems to be they grow by collisions with other black holes. That makes sense in a hierarchical model way.

    Small stellar-mass black holes could collide, particularly in crowded environments (like a dwarf galaxy or a thickly settled cluster). Eventually, they form more-massive ones.

    Such “growing black holes” are seen in big, bright galaxies, but what about the dwarfs? Could they have them? If they do, how abundant are they in such small galaxies? And, could they be key to understanding the growth of supermassive black holes?

    To get answers to all those questions, a team led by UNC-Chapel Hill faculty members Sheila Kannappan and Mugdha Polimera got to work.

    They analyzed galaxy data from several surveys to hunt for evidence of growing black holes. The team looked for bright emissions like those you’d see indicating star formation or around black hole accretion disks.

    Their data came from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, plus the REsolved Spectroscopy of a Local VolumE (RESOLVE) and Environmental COntext Catalog (ECO).

    Apache Point Observatory
    SDSS Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, near Sunspot NM, USA, Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft).

    Apache Point Observatory near Sunspot, New Mexico Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft).

    They found evidence of growing black holes in a significant percentage of dwarf galaxies. These galaxies sometimes get “tossed out” of surveys of brighter, bigger galaxies because their emissions aren’t (or weren’t) well-understood.

    It turns out, they are a treasure trove for black hole research.

    Bright Emissions Reveal Black Holes

    The clue was in the strong emissions the regions around those black holes give off.

    Kannappan compared this black hole discovery to a familiar source of light here in some places on Earth.

    “Just like fireflies, we see black holes only when they’re lit up – when they’re growing – and the lit-up ones give us a clue to how many we can’t see,” she said.

    Essentially, Kannapan and the team are talking about dwarf galaxies with active black holes at their hearts (in other words, active galactic nuclei).

    Of course, there are other reasons why a dwarf galaxy could have strong emissions. For example, the dwarfs could have massive spurts of star formation going on. That activity causes bright spectral emissions, too.

    “We all got nervous,” Polimera said. “The first question to my mind was: Have we missed a way in which extreme star formation alone could explain these galaxies?”

    Polimera spent years researching any alternative explanations for these dwarf galaxy AGNs. After excluding all the other possibilities, growing black holes fit the data the best.
    Implications for Growing Black Hole Monsters

    The discovery of growing black holes in dwarf galaxies brings us back to the Milky Way and its central black hole.

    Based on the implications of the North Carolina research, Sgr A* very likely grew as our galaxy did. Not only did its past mergers mingle stars, but each dwarf could also have brought along its own growing black hole.

    They had to go somewhere, right? So, why wouldn’t they gravitate (excuse the pun) to each other to add to the greatness of Sgr A*?

    “The black holes we’ve found are the basic building blocks of supermassive black holes like the one in our own Milky Way,” Kannappan said. “There’s so much we want to learn about them.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The flagship of the University of North Carolina system, it is considered a Public Ivy, or a public institution which offers an academic experience similar to that of an Ivy League university. After being chartered in 1789, the university first began enrolling students in 1795, making it one of the oldest public universities in the United States. Among the claimants, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only one to have held classes and graduated students as a public university in the eighteenth century.

    The first public institution of higher education in North Carolina, the school opened its doors to students on February 12, 1795. North Carolina became coeducational under the leadership of President Kemp Plummer Battle in 1877 and began the process of desegregation under Chancellor Robert Burton House when African-American graduate students were admitted in 1951. In 1952, North Carolina opened its own hospital, University of North Carolina Health Care, for research and treatment, and has since specialized in cancer care through University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center which is one of only 51 national NCI designated comprehensive centers.

    The university offers degrees in over 70 courses of study and is administratively divided into 13 separate professional schools and a primary unit, the College of Arts & Sciences. Five of the schools have been named: the University of North Carolina Kenan–Flagler Business School, the University of North Carolina Hussman School of Journalism and Media, the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and the University of North Carolina Adams School of Dentistry. All undergraduates receive a liberal arts education and have the option to pursue a major within the professional schools of the university or within the College of Arts and Sciences from the time they obtain junior status. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”, and is a member of The Association of American Universities.According to the National Science Foundation, UNC spent $1.14 billion on research and development in 2018, ranking 12th in the nation.

    The University of North Carolina’s faculty and alumni include 9 Nobel Prize laureates, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 51 Rhodes Scholars. Additional notable alumni include a U.S. President, a U.S. Vice President, 38 Governors of U.S. States, 98 members of the United States Congress, and nine Cabinet members as well as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, Olympians and professional athletes.

    The campus covers 729 acres (3 km^2) of Chapel Hill’s downtown area, encompassing the Morehead Planetarium and the many stores and shops located on Franklin Street. Students can participate in over 550 officially recognized student organizations. The student-run newspaper The Daily Tar Heel has won national awards for collegiate media, while the student radio station WXYC provided the world’s first internet radio broadcast. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is one of the charter members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which was founded on June 14, 1953. Competing athletically as the Tar Heels, UNC has achieved great success in sports, most notably in men’s basketball, women’s soccer, and women’s field hockey.

    Chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly on December 11, 1789, the university’s cornerstone was laid on October 12, 1793, near the ruins of a chapel, chosen because of its central location within the state. The first public university chartered under the US Constitution, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of three universities that claims to be the oldest public university in the United States and the only such institution to confer degrees in the eighteenth century as a public institution.

    During the Civil War, North Carolina Governor David Lowry Swain persuaded Confederate President Jefferson Davis to exempt some students from the draft, so the university was one of the few in the Confederacy that managed to stay open. However, Chapel Hill suffered the loss of more of its population during the war than any village in the South, and when student numbers did not recover, the university was forced to close during Reconstruction from December 1, 1870, until September 6, 1875. Following the reopening, enrollment was slow to increase and university administrators offered free tuition for the sons of teachers and ministers, as well as loans for those who could not afford attendance.

    Following the Civil War, the university began to modernize its programs and onboard faculty with prestigious degrees. The creation of a new gymnasium, funding for a new Chemistry laboratory, and organization of the Graduate Department were accomplishments touted by University of North Carolina president Francis Venable at the 1905 “University Day” celebration.

    Despite initial skepticism from university President Frank Porter Graham, on March 27, 1931, legislation was passed to group the University of North Carolina with the State College of Agriculture and Engineering and Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina to form the Consolidated University of North Carolina. In 1963, the consolidated university was made fully coeducational, although most women still attended Woman’s College for their first two years, transferring to Chapel Hill as juniors, since freshmen were required to live on campus and there was only one women’s residence hall. As a result, Woman’s College was renamed the “University of North Carolina at Greensboro”, and the University of North Carolina became the “University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.” In 1955, The University of North Carolina officially desegregated its undergraduate divisions.

    During World War II, the University of North Carolina was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.

    During the 1960s, the campus was the location of significant political protest. Prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, protests about local racial segregation which began quietly in Franklin Street restaurants led to mass demonstrations and disturbance. The climate of civil unrest prompted the 1963 Speaker Ban Law prohibiting speeches by communists on state campuses in North Carolina. The law was immediately criticized by university Chancellor William Brantley Aycock and university President William Friday, but was not reviewed by the North Carolina General Assembly until 1965. Small amendments to allow “infrequent” visits failed to placate the student body, especially when the university’s board of trustees overruled new Chancellor Paul Frederick Sharp’s decision to allow speaking invitations to Marxist speaker Herbert Aptheker and civil liberties activist Frank Wilkinson; however, the two speakers came to Chapel Hill anyway. Wilkinson spoke off campus, while more than 1,500 students viewed Aptheker’s speech across a low campus wall at the edge of campus, christened “Dan Moore’s Wall” by The Daily Tar Heel for Governor Dan K. Moore. A group of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill students, led by Student Body President Paul Dickson, filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court, and on February 20, 1968, the Speaker Ban Law was struck down. In 1969, campus food workers of Lenoir Hall went on strike protesting perceived racial injustices that impacted their employment, garnering the support of student groups and members of the University and Chapel Hill community.

    From the late 1990s and onward, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill expanded rapidly with a 15% increase in total student population to more than 28,000 by 2007. This is accompanied by the construction of new facilities, funded in part by the “Carolina First” fundraising campaign and an endowment that increased fourfold to more than $2 billion within ten years. Professor Oliver Smithies was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2007 for his work in genetics. Additionally, Professor Aziz Sancar was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015 for his work in understanding the molecular repair mechanisms of DNA.

    In 2011, the first of several investigations found fraud and academic dishonesty at the university related to its athletic program. Following a lesser scandal that began in 2010 involving academic fraud and improper benefits with the university’s football program, two hundred questionable classes offered by the university’s African and Afro-American Studies department (commonly known as AFAM) came to light. As a result, the university was placed on probation by its accrediting agency in 2015. It was removed from probation in 2016.

    That same year, the public universities in North Carolina had to share a budget cut of $414 million, of which the Chapel Hill campus lost more than $100 million in 2011. This followed state budget cuts that trimmed university spending by $231 million since 2007; Provost Bruce Carney said more than 130 faculty members have left the University of North Carolina since 2009, with poor staff retention. The Board of Trustees for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill recommended a 15.6 percent increase in tuition, a historically large increase. The budget cuts in 2011 greatly affected the university and set this increased tuition plan in motion and the University of North Carolina students protested. On February 10, 2012, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors approved tuition and fee increases of 8.8 percent for in-state undergraduates across all 16 campuses.

    In June 2018, the Department of Education found that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had violated Title IX in handling reports of sexual assault, five years after four students and an administrator filed complaints. The university was also featured in The Hunting Ground, a 2015 documentary about sexual assault on college campuses. Annie E. Clark and Andrea Pino, two students featured in the film, helped to establish the survivor advocacy organization End Rape on Campus.

    In August 2018, the university came to national attention after the toppling of Silent Sam, a Confederate monument which had been erected on campus in 1913 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The statue had been dogged by controversy at various points since the 1960s, with critics claiming that the monument invokes memories of racism and slavery. Many critics cited the explicitly racist views espoused in the dedication speech that local industrialist and the University of North Carolina Trustee Julian Carr gave at the statue’s unveiling on June 2, 1913, and the approval with which they had been met by the crowd at the dedication. Shortly before the beginning of the 2018–2019 school year, the Silent Sam was toppled by protestors and damaged, and has been absent from campus ever since. In July 2020, the University’s Carr Hall, which was named after Julian Carr, was renamed the “Student Affairs Building.” Carr had supported white supremacy and also the Ku Klux Klan.

    After reopening its campus in August 2020, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill reported 135 new COVID-19 cases and four infection clusters within a week of having started in-person classes for the Fall 2020 semester. On 10 August, faculty and staff from several of the University of North Carolina’s constituent institutions filed a complaint against its board of governors, asking the system to default to online-only instruction for the fall. On 17 August, the University of North Carolina’s management announced that the university would be moving all undergraduate classes online from 19 August, becoming the first university to send students home after having reopened.

    Notable leaders of the university include the 26th Governor of North Carolina, David Lowry Swain (president 1835–1868); and Edwin Anderson Alderman (1896–1900), who was also president of Tulane University and the University of Virginia. On December 13, 2019 the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors unanimously voted to name Kevin Guskiewicz the university’s 12th chancellor.

    the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill offers 71 bachelor’s, 107 master’s and 74 doctoral degree programs. The university enrolls more than 28,000 students from all 100 North Carolina counties, the other 49 states, and 47 other countries. It is the third largest university in North Carolina, just behind North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in enrollment. State law requires that the percentage of students from North Carolina in each freshman class meet or exceed 82%. The student body consists of 17,981 undergraduate students and 10,935 graduate and professional students (as of Fall 2009). Racial and ethnic minorities comprise 30.8% of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s undergraduate population as of 2010 and applications from international students have more than doubled in the last five years (from 702 in 2004 to 1,629 in 2009). Eighty-nine percent of enrolling first year students in 2009 reported a GPA of 4.0 or higher on a weighted 4.0 scale. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill students are strong competitors for national and international scholarships. The most popular majors at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill are biology, business administration, psychology, media and journalism, and political science. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill also offers 300 study abroad programs in 70 countries.

    At the undergraduate level, all students must fulfill a number of general education requirements as part of the Making Connections curriculum, which was introduced in 2006. English, social science, history, foreign language, mathematics, and natural science courses are required of all students, ensuring that they receive a broad liberal arts education. The university also offers a wide range of first year seminars for incoming freshmen. After their second year, students move on to the College of Arts and Sciences, or choose an undergraduate professional school program within the schools of medicine, nursing, business, education, pharmacy, information and library science, public health, or media and journalism. Undergraduates are held to an eight-semester limit of study.

    For 2021, U.S. News & World Report ranks For 2021, U.S. News & World Report ranks UNC-Chapel Hill 5th among the public universities and tied for 28th nationally among both public and private universities in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranked The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 3rd best public university behind The University of Michigan and The University of California-Los Angeles.

    The university was named a Public Ivy by Richard Moll in his 1985 book The Public Ivies: A Guide to America’s Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities, and in later guides by Howard and Matthew Greene. Many of The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s professional schools have achieved high rankings in publications such as Forbes magazine, as well as annual U.S. News & World Report surveys. In 2020, US News & World Report ranked the School of Medicine #1 in primary care and #23 in research. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked UNC-Chapel Hill business school’s MBA program as the 16th best in the nation. In the 2019 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health as the second best school of public health in the United States (behind Johns Hopkins and tied with Harvard). The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy was ranked #1 among pharmacy schools in the United States in 2020 by U.S. News & World Report. In 2005, Business Week ranked The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill business school’s Executive MBA program as the 5th best in the United States. The University of North Carolina also offers an online MBA program, MBA@UNC, that is ranked #1 in the country in 2019 for Best Online MBA Programs (tied with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University). Other highly ranked schools include journalism and mass communication, law, library and information science, medicine, dentistry, and city and regional planning. Nationally, The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is in the top ten public universities for research. Internationally, the 2016 QS World University Rankings ranked North Carolina 78th in the world (in 2010 Times Higher Education World University Rankings and QS World University Rankings parted ways to produce separate rankings). The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 5th among the public universities and tied for 28th nationally among both public and private universities in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranked UNC-Chapel Hill 3rd best public university behind The University of Michigan and The University of California-Los Angeles.

  • richardmitnick 9:16 am on May 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers Have Found a Super-Earth Near The Habitable Zone of Its Star", A faint red dwarf called Ross 508, , , , , , Science Alert,   

    From The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan [国立天文台] (JP) via Science Alert : “Astronomers Have Found a Super-Earth Near The Habitable Zone of Its Star” 

    From The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan [国立天文台] (JP)



    Science Alert

    27 MAY 2022

    Artist’s impression of a super-Earth orbiting a red dwarf. (Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM/IAC)

    The very tiny motion of a small star has revealed the presence of a super-Earth exoplanet, orbiting at a distance that is close to habitable.

    Around a faint red dwarf called Ross 508, located just 36.5 light-years away (yet too dim to be seen with the naked eye), astronomers have confirmed the existence of a world just 4 times the mass of Earth. Given what we know about planetary mass limits, that means the world is likely to be terrestrial, or rocky, rather than gaseous.

    The exoplanet, named Ross 508 b, is unlikely to be habitable for life as we know it; however, the discovery, a first for a new survey using the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s (NAOJ) Subaru Telescope in Hawaii [below], demonstrates the efficacy of the techniques used to locate small planets around dim stars.

    The hunt for habitable exoplanets is stymied somewhat by the very nature of what we believe those exoplanets to be like. The only template we have is Earth: a relatively small planet, orbiting at a distance from its star where temperatures are conducive to liquid water on the surface. This is what’s known as the ‘habitable zone’.

    Those aren’t the only factors at play, obviously – Mars falls inside the Sun’s habitable zone, for instance – but they’re the easiest ones to screen for.

    However, the techniques we use for searching for exoplanets work best on big worlds, like gas giants, orbiting at very close distances, too hot for liquid water. That doesn’t mean we can’t find other kinds of worlds, but it is more difficult.

    The main technique for finding exoplanets is the transit method. This is what NASA’s exoplanet-hunting telescope TESS uses, and Kepler before it.

    An instrument stares at stars, searching for regular dips in their light, caused by an object regularly orbiting between us and the star.

    The depth of this transit can be used to calculate the mass of the object; the bigger the light curve – caused by larger planets – the easier it is to spot.

    At time of writing, 3,858 exoplanets found using this method have been confirmed.

    The second most fruitful technique is the radial velocity method, also known as the wobble or Doppler method.

    When two bodies are locked in orbit, one doesn’t orbit the other; rather, they orbit a mutual center of gravity. This means that the gravitational influence of any orbiting planets causes a star to wobble on the spot slightly – yep, even the Sun.

    Thus, the starlight star reaching Earth is very faintly Doppler shifted. When it moves towards us, the light is slightly compressed into bluer wavelengths, and when it’s moving away, it is stretched into redder wavelengths. This technique is better at detecting smaller exoplanets with wider orbits.

    In 2019, an international team of astronomers led by NAOJ embarked on a survey using the Subaru Telescope to search dim red dwarf stars for exoplanets by identifying Doppler shifts in infrared and near-infrared wavelengths. This allows for a search of fainter, and therefore older and more established, red dwarf stars.

    Ross 508 b, described in a paper led by astronomer Hiroki Harakawa of the Subaru Telescope, is the campaign’s first exoplanet, and it’s a promising one. The world is around 4 times the mass of the Sun, orbiting the star every 10.75 days.

    This is much closer than Earth’s orbit, you may have noticed; but Ross 508 is much smaller and fainter than the Sun. At that distance, the stellar radiation that hits Ross 508 b is just 1.4 times the solar radiation that hits Earth. This places the exoplanet very close to the outside inner edge of its star’s habitable zone.

    The discovery bodes very well for the future. For one, Ross 508 b transits its star. This means that TESS, which was turned to the star’s sector of the sky in April and May of this year, may have obtained sufficient transit data for astronomers to discern if the exoplanet has an atmosphere. Such observations can help scientists characterize atmospheres of worlds that may be more habitable.

    In addition, Ross 508, at 18 percent of the mass of the Sun, is one of the smallest, faintest stars with an orbiting world discovered using radial velocity.

    This suggests that future radial velocity surveys in infrared wavelengths have the potential to uncover a vast trove of exoplanets orbiting dim stars, and reveal the diversity of their planetary systems.

    The team’s research has been accepted into the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, and is available on arXiv.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan [国立天文台] (JP) is an astronomical research organisation comprising several facilities in Japan, as well as an observatory in Hawaii. It was established in 1988 as an amalgamation of three existing research organizations – the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory of the University of Tokyo, International Latitude Observatory of Mizusawa, and a part of Research Institute of Atmospherics of Nagoya University.

    In the 2004 reform of national research organizations, NAOJ became a division of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences.

    Solar Flare Telescope

  • richardmitnick 8:57 am on May 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Climate Change Has Been Killing Rainforest Trees For Longer Than We Realized", , Atmospheric water stress driven by global warming is to blame for the increase in tropical tree mortality., , , Earth's natural systems have responded to shifts in temperature and atmosphere for longer than we might have realized., , Forests are significant carbon sinks., , More studies are urgently required to better understand the strain that the natural world is under., Other research suggests that a similar increased rate of tree death is happening in the Amazon rainforests., Science Alert, The signs of the increased death rates go back to the 1980s., The study authors compared the stress that rainforests have experienced to what's been happening to the Great Barrier Reef., , Tree lifespans have halved in the last 35 years. The consequences for the planet could be devastating., Tropical forests may soon become carbon sources.   

    From The University of Oxford (UK) via Science Alert : “Climate Change Has Been Killing Rainforest Trees For Longer Than We Realized” 

    U Oxford bloc

    From The University of Oxford (UK)



    Science Alert

    21 MAY 2022

    Northeast Australia’s relict tropical rainforests. (Alexander Schenkin)

    Scientists have documented a worrying trend in the rainforests of Australia: Tree lifespans have halved in the last 35 years, and it appears to be due to the effects of climate change on the ecosystems.

    With these forests acting as significant carbon sinks, the consequences for the planet could be devastating, creating a feedback loop that’s both caused by global warming and which then contributes to it.

    The signs of the increased death rate go back to the 1980s, suggesting that Earth’s natural systems have responded to shifts in temperature and atmosphere for longer than we might have realized.

    “It was a shock to detect such a marked increase in tree mortality, let alone a trend consistent across the diversity of species and sites we studied,” says ecologist and lead author David Bauman from the University of Oxford in the UK.

    “A sustained doubling of mortality risk would imply the carbon stored in trees returns twice as fast to the atmosphere.”

    Researchers collected more than 70,000 data points from existing records to put together the study, with 24 different forest plots included. The earliest information goes back to 1971, enabling the team to track tree deaths over an extended period.

    Atmospheric water stress driven by global warming is to blame for the increase in tropical tree mortality, the researchers think: The warmer air dries out trees more quickly.

    The study authors compared the stress that rainforests have experienced to what’s been happening to the Great Barrier Reef, another delicately balanced ecosystem that is struggling with higher temperatures.

    “The likely driving factor we identify, the increasing drying power of the atmosphere caused by global warming, suggests similar increases in tree death rates may be occurring across the world’s tropical forests,” says ecologist Yadvinder Malhi from the University of Oxford.

    “If that is the case, tropical forests may soon become carbon sources, and the challenge of limiting global warming well below 2°C becomes both more urgent and more difficult.”

    Other research [Nature]suggests that a similar increased rate of tree death is happening in the Amazon rainforests, too, reducing the amount of carbon that the region is able to pull out of the atmosphere and store. The worry is that these forests will start contributing carbon to the atmosphere rather than taking it out.

    The new study is particularly valuable because it uses a large pool of data gathered over many years – enabling scientists to cut through the noise of such busy and active ecosystems to spot these long-term trends.

    As difficult as it is to put together research projects that last decades, more studies across a similar sort of timescale are urgently required to better understand the strain that the natural world is under.

    “Long-term datasets like this one are very rare and very important for studying forest changes in response to climate change,” says ecologist Susan Laurance from James Cook University in Australia.

    “This is because rainforest trees can have such long lives and also that tree death is not always immediate.”

    The research has been published in Nature.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Oxford campus

    University of Oxford
    Universitas Oxoniensis

    The University of Oxford [a.k.a. The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford] is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris [Université de Paris](FR). After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge (UK). The two English ancient universities share many common features and are jointly referred to as Oxbridge.

    The university is made up of thirty-nine semi-autonomous constituent colleges, six permanent private halls, and a range of academic departments which are organised into four divisions. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. All students are members of a college. It does not have a main campus, and its buildings and facilities are scattered throughout the city centre. Undergraduate teaching at Oxford consists of lectures, small-group tutorials at the colleges and halls, seminars, laboratory work and occasionally further tutorials provided by the central university faculties and departments. Postgraduate teaching is provided predominantly centrally.

    Oxford operates the world’s oldest university museum, as well as the largest university press in the world and the largest academic library system nationwide. In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2019, the university had a total income of £2.45 billion, of which £624.8 million was from research grants and contracts.

    Oxford has educated a wide range of notable alumni, including 28 prime ministers of the United Kingdom and many heads of state and government around the world. As of October 2020, 72 Nobel Prize laureates, 3 Fields Medalists, and 6 Turing Award winners have studied, worked, or held visiting fellowships at the University of Oxford, while its alumni have won 160 Olympic medals. Oxford is the home of numerous scholarships, including the Rhodes Scholarship, one of the oldest international graduate scholarship programmes.

    The University of Oxford’s foundation date is unknown. It is known that teaching at Oxford existed in some form as early as 1096, but it is unclear when a university came into being.

    It grew quickly from 1167 when English students returned from The University of Paris-Sorbonne [Université de Paris-Sorbonne](FR). The historian Gerald of Wales lectured to such scholars in 1188, and the first known foreign scholar, Emo of Friesland, arrived in 1190. The head of the university had the title of chancellor from at least 1201, and the masters were recognised as a universitas or corporation in 1231. The university was granted a royal charter in 1248 during the reign of King Henry III.

    The students associated together on the basis of geographical origins, into two ‘nations’, representing the North (northerners or Boreales, who included the English people from north of the River Trent and the Scots) and the South (southerners or Australes, who included English people from south of the Trent, the Irish and the Welsh). In later centuries, geographical origins continued to influence many students’ affiliations when membership of a college or hall became customary in Oxford. In addition, members of many religious orders, including Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites and Augustinians, settled in Oxford in the mid-13th century, gained influence and maintained houses or halls for students. At about the same time, private benefactors established colleges as self-contained scholarly communities. Among the earliest such founders were William of Durham, who in 1249 endowed University College, and John Balliol, father of a future King of Scots; Balliol College bears his name. Another founder, Walter de Merton, a Lord Chancellor of England and afterwards Bishop of Rochester, devised a series of regulations for college life. Merton College thereby became the model for such establishments at Oxford, as well as at the University of Cambridge. Thereafter, an increasing number of students lived in colleges rather than in halls and religious houses.

    In 1333–1334, an attempt by some dissatisfied Oxford scholars to found a new university at Stamford, Lincolnshire, was blocked by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge petitioning King Edward III. Thereafter, until the 1820s, no new universities were allowed to be founded in England, even in London; thus, Oxford and Cambridge had a duopoly, which was unusual in large western European countries.

    The new learning of the Renaissance greatly influenced Oxford from the late 15th century onwards. Among university scholars of the period were William Grocyn, who contributed to the revival of Greek language studies, and John Colet, the noted biblical scholar.

    With the English Reformation and the breaking of communion with the Roman Catholic Church, recusant scholars from Oxford fled to continental Europe, settling especially at he University of Douai. The method of teaching at Oxford was transformed from the medieval scholastic method to Renaissance education, although institutions associated with the university suffered losses of land and revenues. As a centre of learning and scholarship, Oxford’s reputation declined in the Age of Enlightenment; enrollments fell and teaching was neglected.

    In 1636, William Laud, the chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury, codified the university’s statutes. These, to a large extent, remained its governing regulations until the mid-19th century. Laud was also responsible for the granting of a charter securing privileges for The University Press, and he made significant contributions to the Bodleian Library, the main library of the university. From the beginnings of the Church of England as the established church until 1866, membership of the church was a requirement to receive the BA degree from the university and “dissenters” were only permitted to receive the MA in 1871.

    The university was a centre of the Royalist party during the English Civil War (1642–1649), while the town favoured the opposing Parliamentarian cause. From the mid-18th century onwards, however, the university took little part in political conflicts.

    Wadham College, founded in 1610, was the undergraduate college of Sir Christopher Wren. Wren was part of a brilliant group of experimental scientists at Oxford in the 1650s, the Oxford Philosophical Club, which included Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. This group held regular meetings at Wadham under the guidance of the college’s Warden, John Wilkins, and the group formed the nucleus that went on to found the Royal Society.

    Before reforms in the early 19th century, the curriculum at Oxford was notoriously narrow and impractical. Sir Spencer Walpole, a historian of contemporary Britain and a senior government official, had not attended any university. He said, “Few medical men, few solicitors, few persons intended for commerce or trade, ever dreamed of passing through a university career.” He quoted the Oxford University Commissioners in 1852 stating: “The education imparted at Oxford was not such as to conduce to the advancement in life of many persons, except those intended for the ministry.” Nevertheless, Walpole argued:

    “Among the many deficiencies attending a university education there was, however, one good thing about it, and that was the education which the undergraduates gave themselves. It was impossible to collect some thousand or twelve hundred of the best young men in England, to give them the opportunity of making acquaintance with one another, and full liberty to live their lives in their own way, without evolving in the best among them, some admirable qualities of loyalty, independence, and self-control. If the average undergraduate carried from University little or no learning, which was of any service to him, he carried from it a knowledge of men and respect for his fellows and himself, a reverence for the past, a code of honour for the present, which could not but be serviceable. He had enjoyed opportunities… of intercourse with men, some of whom were certain to rise to the highest places in the Senate, in the Church, or at the Bar. He might have mixed with them in his sports, in his studies, and perhaps in his debating society; and any associations which he had this formed had been useful to him at the time, and might be a source of satisfaction to him in after life.”

    Out of the students who matriculated in 1840, 65% were sons of professionals (34% were Anglican ministers). After graduation, 87% became professionals (59% as Anglican clergy). Out of the students who matriculated in 1870, 59% were sons of professionals (25% were Anglican ministers). After graduation, 87% became professionals (42% as Anglican clergy).

    M. C. Curthoys and H. S. Jones argue that the rise of organised sport was one of the most remarkable and distinctive features of the history of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was carried over from the athleticism prevalent at the public schools such as Eton, Winchester, Shrewsbury, and Harrow.

    All students, regardless of their chosen area of study, were required to spend (at least) their first year preparing for a first-year examination that was heavily focused on classical languages. Science students found this particularly burdensome and supported a separate science degree with Greek language study removed from their required courses. This concept of a Bachelor of Science had been adopted at other European universities (The University of London (UK) had implemented it in 1860) but an 1880 proposal at Oxford to replace the classical requirement with a modern language (like German or French) was unsuccessful. After considerable internal wrangling over the structure of the arts curriculum, in 1886 the “natural science preliminary” was recognized as a qualifying part of the first year examination.[43]

    At the start of 1914, the university housed about 3,000 undergraduates and about 100 postgraduate students. During the First World War, many undergraduates and fellows joined the armed forces. By 1918 virtually all fellows were in uniform, and the student population in residence was reduced to 12 per cent of the pre-war total. The University Roll of Service records that, in total, 14,792 members of the university served in the war, with 2,716 (18.36%) killed. Not all the members of the university who served in the Great War were on the Allied side; there is a remarkable memorial to members of New College who served in the German armed forces, bearing the inscription, ‘In memory of the men of this college who coming from a foreign land entered into the inheritance of this place and returning fought and died for their country in the war 1914–1918’. During the war years the university buildings became hospitals, cadet schools and military training camps.


    Two parliamentary commissions in 1852 issued recommendations for Oxford and Cambridge. Archibald Campbell Tait, former headmaster of Rugby School, was a key member of the Oxford Commission; he wanted Oxford to follow the German and Scottish model in which the professorship was paramount. The commission’s report envisioned a centralised university run predominantly by professors and faculties, with a much stronger emphasis on research. The professional staff should be strengthened and better paid. For students, restrictions on entry should be dropped, and more opportunities given to poorer families. It called for an enlargement of the curriculum, with honours to be awarded in many new fields. Undergraduate scholarships should be open to all Britons. Graduate fellowships should be opened up to all members of the university. It recommended that fellows be released from an obligation for ordination. Students were to be allowed to save money by boarding in the city, instead of in a college.

    The system of separate honour schools for different subjects began in 1802, with Mathematics and Literae Humaniores. Schools of “Natural Sciences” and “Law, and Modern History” were added in 1853. By 1872, the last of these had split into “Jurisprudence” and “Modern History”. Theology became the sixth honour school. In addition to these B.A. Honours degrees, the postgraduate Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) was, and still is, offered.

    The mid-19th century saw the impact of the Oxford Movement (1833–1845), led among others by the future Cardinal John Henry Newman. The influence of the reformed model of German universities reached Oxford via key scholars such as Edward Bouverie Pusey, Benjamin Jowett and Max Müller.

    Administrative reforms during the 19th century included the replacement of oral examinations with written entrance tests, greater tolerance for religious dissent, and the establishment of four women’s colleges. Privy Council decisions in the 20th century (e.g. the abolition of compulsory daily worship, dissociation of the Regius Professorship of Hebrew from clerical status, diversion of colleges’ theological bequests to other purposes) loosened the link with traditional belief and practice. Furthermore, although the university’s emphasis had historically been on classical knowledge, its curriculum expanded during the 19th century to include scientific and medical studies. Knowledge of Ancient Greek was required for admission until 1920, and Latin until 1960.

    The University of Oxford began to award doctorates for research in the first third of the 20th century. The first Oxford D.Phil. in mathematics was awarded in 1921.

    The mid-20th century saw many distinguished continental scholars, displaced by Nazism and communism, relocating to Oxford.

    The list of distinguished scholars at the University of Oxford is long and includes many who have made major contributions to politics, the sciences, medicine, and literature. As of October 2020, 72 Nobel laureates and more than 50 world leaders have been affiliated with the University of Oxford.

    To be a member of the university, all students, and most academic staff, must also be a member of a college or hall. There are thirty-nine colleges of the University of Oxford (including Reuben College, planned to admit students in 2021) and six permanent private halls (PPHs), each controlling its membership and with its own internal structure and activities. Not all colleges offer all courses, but they generally cover a broad range of subjects.

    The colleges are:

    All-Souls College
    Balliol College
    Brasenose College
    Christ Church College
    Corpus-Christi College
    Exeter College
    Green-Templeton College
    Harris-Manchester College
    Hertford College
    Jesus College
    Keble College
    Kellogg College
    Linacre College
    Lincoln College
    Magdalen College
    Mansfield College
    Merton College
    New College
    Nuffield College
    Oriel College
    Pembroke College
    Queens College
    Reuben College
    St-Anne’s College
    St-Antony’s College
    St-Catherines College
    St-Cross College
    St-Edmund-Hall College
    St-Hilda’s College
    St-Hughs College
    St-John’s College
    St-Peters College
    Somerville College
    Trinity College
    University College
    Wadham College
    Wolfson College
    Worcester College

    The permanent private halls were founded by different Christian denominations. One difference between a college and a PPH is that whereas colleges are governed by the fellows of the college, the governance of a PPH resides, at least in part, with the corresponding Christian denomination. The six current PPHs are:

    Campion Hall
    Regent’s Park College
    St Benet’s Hall
    St-Stephen’s Hall
    Wycliffe Hall

    The PPHs and colleges join as the Conference of Colleges, which represents the common concerns of the several colleges of the university, to discuss matters of shared interest and to act collectively when necessary, such as in dealings with the central university. The Conference of Colleges was established as a recommendation of the Franks Commission in 1965.

    Teaching members of the colleges (i.e. fellows and tutors) are collectively and familiarly known as dons, although the term is rarely used by the university itself. In addition to residential and dining facilities, the colleges provide social, cultural, and recreational activities for their members. Colleges have responsibility for admitting undergraduates and organising their tuition; for graduates, this responsibility falls upon the departments. There is no common title for the heads of colleges: the titles used include Warden, Provost, Principal, President, Rector, Master and Dean.

    Oxford is regularly ranked within the top 5 universities in the world and is currently ranked first in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, as well as the Forbes’s World University Rankings. It held the number one position in The Times Good University Guide for eleven consecutive years, and the medical school has also maintained first place in the “Clinical, Pre-Clinical & Health” table of The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the past seven consecutive years. In 2021, it ranked sixth among the universities around the world by SCImago Institutions Rankings. The Times Higher Education has also recognised Oxford as one of the world’s “six super brands” on its World Reputation Rankings, along with The University of California-Berkeley (US), The University of Cambridge (UK), Harvard University (US), The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and Stanford University (US). The university is fifth worldwide on the US News ranking. Its Saïd Business School came 13th in the world in The Financial Times Global MBA Ranking.

    Oxford was ranked ninth in the world in 2015 by The Nature Index, which measures the largest contributors to papers published in 82 leading journals. It is ranked fifth best university worldwide and first in Britain for forming CEOs according to The Professional Ranking World Universities, and first in the UK for the quality of its graduates as chosen by the recruiters of the UK’s major companies.

    In the 2018 Complete University Guide, all 38 subjects offered by Oxford rank within the top 10 nationally meaning Oxford was one of only two multi-faculty universities (along with Cambridge) in the UK to have 100% of their subjects in the top 10. Computer Science, Medicine, Philosophy, Politics and Psychology were ranked first in the UK by the guide.

    According to The QS World University Rankings by Subject, the University of Oxford also ranks as number one in the world for four Humanities disciplines: English Language and Literature, Modern Languages, Geography, and History. It also ranks second globally for Anthropology, Archaeology, Law, Medicine, Politics & International Studies, and Psychology.

  • richardmitnick 8:11 am on May 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "There Could Be a Surprising Benefit to Non-Deadly Parasites in The World's Ecosystems", , “Trophic cascade”: an ecological domino effect triggered by changes to one part of the food chain that end up having much broader ramifications., , By reducing ruminant herbivory common infections may contribute to a greener world., Carbon sources and carbon sinks, Climate Change; Global warming, , Experimental fieldwork will be needed to establish the accuracy of the modeling and reveal the true scale of the trophic cascade impacts., Infections that put ungulates off their food have a wider benefit for the ecosystem., Most living things have non-lethal infections of all sorts of parasites; but how these ecological black holes impact wider ecology is not well understood., Parasites are estimated to compose up to half of all living species., Parasites can have a stabilizing effect on the plant-herbivore cycle., Science Alert,   

    From Washington University in St. Louis via Science Alert : “There Could Be a Surprising Benefit to Non-Deadly Parasites in The World’s Ecosystems” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St. Louis



    Science Alert

    22 MAY 2022

    Parasitic worms and their eggs in a poop sample. (jarun011/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

    When something’s messing with your insides and you feel like you’re going to hurl, the last thing you probably want to do is eat.

    Deer, caribou, and other ungulates (hoofed animals) experience a similar problem when infected by non-deadly parasites. It utterly sucks for them, but it turns out infections that put them off their food have a wider benefit for the ecosystem.

    “Parasites are well known for their negative impacts on the physiology and behavior of individual hosts and host populations, but these effects are rarely considered within the context of the broader ecosystems they inhabit,” says Washington University biologist Amanda Koltz.

    Koltz and colleagues analyzed data from the well-studied plant, caribou and helminth (parasitic worm) system, using computer modeling and a global meta-analysis. They found that the non-lethal effects of some parasites, such as reduced feeding in hosts, had a more significant impact than lethal effects because they occur more commonly.

    As these parasites and their impacts are so widespread, it all can add up to big consequences globally.

    Obviously, when lethal parasites wipe out populations it can have knock-on impacts on the surrounding environment, similar to predators taking their prey out of the picture. Removing either can completely alter an ecosystem’s dynamics.

    For example, in the 19th century the rinderpest virus killed up to 90 percent of all domestic and wild cattle in sub-Saharan Africa, but a population increase after a successful vaccination campaign saw a decline in fire frequency – thanks to less undergrowth which the cattle ate – which in turn allowed more trees to grow.

    This is an example of a trophic cascade – an ecological domino effect triggered by changes to one part of the food chain that end up having much broader ramifications. In this case, the change in the trophic cascade shifted the sub-Saharan region from being an overall carbon source to a carbon sink, thanks to its increase in tree density.

    Most living things have non-lethal infections of all sorts of parasites, but how these ecological black holes impact wider ecology is not well understood.

    We know that on an individual level parasites can have a huge impact on our bodies, from influencing the way we think to being unexpectedly helpful. What’s more, parasites are estimated to compose up to half of all living species.

    Yet there’s so much we still don’t know about these often unpleasant creatures, which could potentially be quite problematic when, as with most other areas of life, we’re driving many parasitic species to extinction.

    In the almost 60 studies the researchers analyzed, the helminth infections consistently put the caribou off their food, reducing their feeding rates (awesome for the plants they eat). In turn, this impacted the mammals’ body condition and body mass, but on average did not impact their breeding or survival.

    What’s more, the team’s modeling suggests that when the helminth impacted a caribou’s survival or feeding rate, it had a stabilizing effect on the plant-herbivore cycle, but if the parasitic worm impacted the herbivore’s ability to breed, it was more likely to destabilize the system.

    “Given that helminth parasites are ubiquitous within free-living populations of ruminants, our findings suggest that global herbivory rates by ruminants are lower than they otherwise would be due to pervasive helminth infections,” explains Koltz. “By reducing ruminant herbivory these common infections may contribute to a greener world.”

    “In short, diseases of herbivores matter to plants,” concluded Washington University disease ecologist Rachel Penczykowski.

    Of course, this is just a single example in one system, and experimental fieldwork will be needed to establish the accuracy of the modeling and reveal the true scale of the trophic cascade impacts.

    But as our world topples towards an ever more unstable climate, understanding these interactions can better inform predictive modeling and mitigation strategies.

    “Our work highlights how the little things that can be unseen, like herbivore parasites, can shape large-scale processes like plant biomass across landscapes,” says Classen.

    “As our climate warms and ecosystems become more stressed, these unseen interactions will become even more important.”

    Their research was published in PNAS.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university in Greater St. Louis with its main campus (Danforth) mostly in unincorporated St. Louis County, Missouri, and Clayton, Missouri. It also has a West Campus in Clayton, North Campus in the West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, and Medical Campus in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri.

    Founded in 1853 and named after George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries. Washington University is composed of seven graduate and undergraduate schools that encompass a broad range of academic fields. To prevent confusion over its location, the Board of Trustees added the phrase “in St. Louis” in 1976. Washington University is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    As of 2020, 25 Nobel laureates in economics, physiology and medicine, chemistry, and physics have been affiliated with Washington University, ten having done the major part of their pioneering research at the university. In 2019, Clarivate Analytics ranked Washington University 7th in the world for most cited researchers. The university also received the 4th highest amount of National Institutes of Health medical research grants among medical schools in 2019.

    Washington University was conceived by 17 St. Louis business, political, and religious leaders concerned by the lack of institutions of higher learning in the Midwest. Missouri State Senator Wayman Crow and Unitarian minister William Greenleaf Eliot, grandfather of the poet T.S. Eliot, led the effort.

    The university’s first chancellor was Joseph Gibson Hoyt. Crow secured the university charter from the Missouri General Assembly in 1853, and Eliot was named President of the Board of Trustees. Early on, Eliot solicited support from members of the local business community, including John O’Fallon, but Eliot failed to secure a permanent endowment. Washington University is unusual among major American universities in not having had a prior financial endowment. The institution had no backing of a religious organization, single wealthy patron, or earmarked government support.

    During the three years following its inception, the university bore three different names. The board first approved “Eliot Seminary,” but William Eliot was uncomfortable with naming a university after himself and objected to the establishment of a seminary, which would implicitly be charged with teaching a religious faith. He favored a nonsectarian university. In 1854, the Board of Trustees changed the name to “Washington Institute” in honor of George Washington, and because the charter was coincidentally passed on Washington’s birthday, February 22. Naming the university after the nation’s first president, only seven years before the American Civil War and during a time of bitter national division, was no coincidence. During this time of conflict, Americans universally admired George Washington as the father of the United States and a symbol of national unity. The Board of Trustees believed that the university should be a force of unity in a strongly divided Missouri. In 1856, the university amended its name to “Washington University.” The university amended its name once more in 1976, when the Board of Trustees voted to add the suffix “in St. Louis” to distinguish the university from the over two dozen other universities bearing Washington’s name.

    Although chartered as a university, for many years Washington University functioned primarily as a night school located on 17th Street and Washington Avenue in the heart of downtown St. Louis. Owing to limited financial resources, Washington University initially used public buildings. Classes began on October 22, 1854, at the Benton School building. At first the university paid for the evening classes, but as their popularity grew, their funding was transferred to the St. Louis Public Schools. Eventually the board secured funds for the construction of Academic Hall and a half dozen other buildings. Later the university divided into three departments: the Manual Training School, Smith Academy, and the Mary Institute.

    In 1867, the university opened the first private nonsectarian law school west of the Mississippi River. By 1882, Washington University had expanded to numerous departments, which were housed in various buildings across St. Louis. Medical classes were first held at Washington University in 1891 after the St. Louis Medical College decided to affiliate with the university, establishing the School of Medicine. During the 1890s, Robert Sommers Brookings, the president of the Board of Trustees, undertook the tasks of reorganizing the university’s finances, putting them onto a sound foundation, and buying land for a new campus.

    In 1896, Holmes Smith, professor of Drawing and History of Art, designed what would become the basis for the modern-day university seal. The seal is made up of elements from the Washington family coat of arms, and the symbol of Louis IX, whom the city is named after.

    Washington University spent its first half century in downtown St. Louis bounded by Washington Ave., Lucas Place, and Locust Street. By the 1890s, owing to the dramatic expansion of the Medical School and a new benefactor in Robert Brookings, the university began to move west. The university board of directors began a process to find suitable ground and hired the landscape architecture firm Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot of Boston. A committee of Robert S. Brookings, Henry Ware Eliot, and William Huse found a site of 103 acres (41.7 ha) just beyond Forest Park, located west of the city limits in St. Louis County. The elevation of the land was thought to resemble the Acropolis and inspired the nickname of “Hilltop” campus, renamed the Danforth campus in 2006 to honor former chancellor William H. Danforth.

    In 1899, the university opened a national design contest for the new campus. The renowned Philadelphia firm Cope & Stewardson (same architects who designed a large part of The University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University) won unanimously with its plan for a row of Collegiate Gothic quadrangles inspired by The University of Oxford (UK) and The University of Cambridge (UK). The cornerstone of the first building, Busch Hall, was laid on October 20, 1900. The construction of Brookings Hall, Ridgley, and Cupples began shortly thereafter. The school delayed occupying these buildings until 1905 to accommodate the 1904 World’s Fair and Olympics. The delay allowed the university to construct ten buildings instead of the seven originally planned. This original cluster of buildings set a precedent for the development of the Danforth Campus; Cope & Stewardson’s original plan and its choice of building materials have, with few exceptions, guided the construction and expansion of the Danforth Campus to the present day.

    By 1915, construction of a new medical complex was completed on Kingshighway in what is now St. Louis’s Central West End. Three years later, Washington University admitted its first women medical students.

    In 1922, a young physics professor, Arthur Holly Compton, conducted a series of experiments in the basement of Eads Hall that demonstrated the “particle” concept of electromagnetic radiation. Compton’s discovery, known as the “Compton Effect,” earned him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1927.

    During World War II, as part of the Manhattan Project, a cyclotron at Washington University was used to produce small quantities of the newly discovered element plutonium via neutron bombardment of uranium nitrate hexahydrate. The plutonium produced there in 1942 was shipped to the Metallurgical Laboratory Compton had established at The University of Chicago where Glenn Seaborg’s team used it for extraction, purification, and characterization studies of the exotic substance.

    After working for many years at the University of Chicago, Arthur Holly Compton returned to St. Louis in 1946 to serve as Washington University’s ninth chancellor. Compton reestablished the Washington University football team, making the declaration that athletics were to be henceforth played on a “strictly amateur” basis with no athletic scholarships. Under Compton’s leadership, enrollment at the university grew dramatically, fueled primarily by World War II veterans’ use of their GI Bill benefits.

    In 1947, Gerty Cori, a professor at the School of Medicine, became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

    Cray Cori II supercomputer at National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center(US) at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, named after Gerty Cori, the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in science.

    Professors Carl and Gerty Cori became Washington University’s fifth and sixth Nobel laureates for their discovery of how glycogen is broken down and resynthesized in the body.

    The process of desegregation at Washington University began in 1947 with the School of Medicine and the School of Social Work. During the mid and late 1940s, the university was the target of critical editorials in the local African American press, letter-writing campaigns by churches and the local Urban League, and legal briefs by the NAACP intended to strip its tax-exempt status. In spring 1949, a Washington University student group, the Student Committee for the Admission of Negroes (SCAN), began campaigning for full racial integration. In May 1952, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution desegregating the school’s undergraduate divisions.

    During the latter half of the 20th century, Washington University transitioned from a strong regional university to a national research institution. In 1957, planning began for the construction of the “South 40,” a complex of modern residential halls which primarily house Freshmen and some Sophomore students. With the additional on-campus housing, Washington University, which had been predominantly a “streetcar college” of commuter students, began to attract a more national pool of applicants. By 1964, over two-thirds of incoming students came from outside the St. Louis area.

    In 1971, the Board of Trustees appointed Chancellor William Henry Danforth, who guided the university through the social and financial crises of the 1970s and strengthened the university’s often strained relationship with the St. Louis community. During his 24-year chancellorship, Danforth significantly improved the School of Medicine, established 70 new faculty chairs, secured a $1.72 billion endowment, and tripled the amount of student scholarships.

    In 1995, Mark S. Wrighton, former Provost at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was elected the university’s 14th chancellor. During Chancellor Wrighton’s tenure undergraduate applications to Washington University more than doubled. Since 1995, the university has added more than 190 endowed professorships, revamped its Arts & Sciences curriculum, and completed more than 30 new buildings.

    The growth of Washington University’s reputation coincided with a series of record-breaking fund-raising efforts during the last three decades. From 1983 to 1987, the Alliance for Washington University campaign raised $630.5 million, which was then the most successful fund-raising effort in national history. From 1998 to 2004, the Campaign for Washington University raised $1.55 billion, which was applied to additional scholarships, professorships, and research initiatives.

    In 2002, Washington University co-founded the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis’s Midtown neighborhood. Cortex is the largest innovation hub in the midwest, home to offices of Square, Microsoft, Aon, Boeing, and Centene. The innovation hub has generated more than 3,800 tech jobs in 14 years.

    In 2005, Washington University founded the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, an international network of premier research universities, with an initial endowment gift of $10 million from John F. McDonnell. The academy, which selects scholars from 35 partner universities around the world, was created with the intent to develop a cohort of future leaders, strengthen ties with top foreign universities, and promote global awareness and social responsibility.

    In 2019, Washington University unveiled a $360 million campus transformation project known as the East End Transformation. The transformation project, built on the original 1895 campus plan by Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot, encompassed 18 acres of the Danforth Campus, adding five new buildings, expanding the university’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, relocating hundreds of surface parking spaces underground, and creating an expansive new park.

    In June 2019, Andrew D. Martin, former dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at The University of Michigan, was elected the university’s 15th chancellor. On the day of his inauguration, Chancellor Martin announced the WashU Pledge, a financial aid program allowing full-time Missouri and southern Illinois students who are Pell Grant-eligible or from families with annual incomes of $75,000 or less to attend the university cost-free.

    Washington University’s undergraduate program is ranked 14th in the nation in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report National Universities ranking, and 11th by The Wall Street Journal in their 2018 rankings. The university is ranked 22nd in the world for 2019 by The Academic Ranking of World Universities. Undergraduate admission to Washington University is characterized by The Carnegie Foundation and U.S. News & World Report as “most selective”. The Princeton Review, in its 2020 edition, gave the university an admissions selectivity rating of 99 out of 99. The acceptance rate for the class of 2024 (those entering in the fall of 2020) was 12.8%, with students selected from more than 27,900 applications. Of students admitted, 92 percent were in the top 10 percent of their class.

    The Princeton Review ranked Washington University 1st for Best College Dorms and 3rd for Best College Food, Best-Run Colleges, and Best Financial Aid in its 2020 edition. Niche listed the university as the best college for architecture and the second-best college campus and college dorms in the United States in 2020. The Washington University School of Medicine was ranked 6th for research by U.S. News & World Report in 2020 and has been listed among the top ten medical schools since the rankings were first published in 1987. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranked the university’s genetics and physical therapy as tied for first place. QS World University Rankings ranked Washington University 6th in the world for anatomy and physiology in 2020. In January 2020, Olin Business School was named The Poets & Quants MBA Program of 2019. Washington University has also been recognized as the 12th best university employer in the country by Forbes.

    Washington University was named one of the “25 New Ivies” by Newsweek in 2006 and has also been called a “Hidden Ivy”.

    A 2014 study ranked Washington University #1 in the country for income inequality, when measured as the ratio of number of students from the top 1% of the income scale to number of students from the bottom 60% of the income scale. About 22% of Washington University’s students came from the top 1%, while only about 6% came from the bottom 60%. In 2015, university administration announced plans to increase the number of Pell-eligible recipients on campus from 6% to 13% by 2020, and in 2019 15% of the university’s student body was eligible for Pell Grants. In October 2019, then newly inaugurated Chancellor Andrew D. Martin announced the WashU Pledge, a financial aid program that provides a free undergraduate education to all full-time Missouri and Southern Illinois students who are Pell Grant-eligible or from families with annual incomes of $75,000 or less. The university’s refusal to divest from the fossil fuel industry has drawn controversy in recent years.


    Virtually all faculty members at Washington University engage in academic research, offering opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students across the university’s seven schools. Known for its interdisciplinary and departmental collaboration, many of Washington University’s research centers and institutes are collaborative efforts between many areas on campus. More than 60% of undergraduates are involved in faculty research across all areas; it is an institutional priority for undergraduates to be allowed to participate in advanced research. According to the Center for Measuring University Performance, it is considered to be one of the top 10 private research universities in the nation. A dedicated Office of Undergraduate Research is located on the Danforth Campus and serves as a resource to post research opportunities, advise students in finding appropriate positions matching their interests, publish undergraduate research journals, and award research grants to make it financially possible to perform research.

    According to the National Science Foundation, Washington University spent $816 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 27th in the nation. The university has over 150 National Institutes of Health funded inventions, with many of them licensed to private companies. Governmental agencies and non-profit foundations such as the NIH, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, and National Aeronautics Space Agency provide the majority of research grant funding, with Washington University being one of the top recipients in NIH grants from year-to-year. Nearly 80% of NIH grants to institutions in the state of Missouri went to Washington University alone in 2007. Washington University and its Medical School play a large part in the Human Genome Project, where it contributes approximately 25% of the finished sequence. The Genome Sequencing Center has decoded the genome of many animals, plants, and cellular organisms, including the platypus, chimpanzee, cat, and corn.

    NASA hosts its Planetary Data System Geosciences Node on the campus of Washington University. Professors, students, and researchers have been heavily involved with many unmanned missions to Mars. Professor Raymond Arvidson has been deputy principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover mission and co-investigator of the Phoenix lander robotic arm.

    Washington University professor Joseph Lowenstein, with the assistance of several undergraduate students, has been involved in editing, annotating, making a digital archive of the first publication of poet Edmund Spenser’s collective works in 100 years. A large grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities has been given to support this ambitious project centralized at Washington University with support from other colleges in the United States.

    In 2019, Folding@Home, a distributed computing project for performing molecular dynamics simulations of protein dynamics, was moved to Washington University School of Medicine from Stanford University. The project, currently led by Dr. Greg Bowman, uses the idle CPU time of personal computers owned by volunteers to conduct protein folding research. Folding@home’s research is primarily focused on biomedical problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer, Coronavirus disease 2019, and Ebola virus disease. In April 2020, Folding@home became the world’s first exaFLOP computing system with a peak performance of 1.5 exaflops, making it more than seven times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer, Summit, and more powerful than the top 100 supercomputers in the world, combined.

    ORNL OLCF IBM AC922 SUMMIT supercomputer, was No.1 on the TOP500..

  • richardmitnick 9:09 am on May 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Extraterrestrial Stone Found in Egypt May Be First Evidence on Earth of Rare Supernova", , Science Alert   

    From Science Alert : “Extraterrestrial Stone Found in Egypt May Be First Evidence on Earth of Rare Supernova” 


    From Science Alert

    Fragments of Hypatia used for analysis. (University of Johannesburg)

    ‘Standard candle’ (or type Ia) supernova explosions are some of the most energetic events in the Universe, happening when a dense white dwarf star subsumes another star. Now, scientists think they’re found the first evidence on Earth of such a supernova.

    The claim comes after a careful study of the extraterrestrial Hypatia stone that was found in Egypt in 1996. Tell-tale signs, including the chemical makeup and patterning of the rock, suggest that the shards contain bits of the dust and gas cloud surrounding an Ia supernova.

    Over billions of years, that mix of dust and gas would have turned into a solid, the researchers say, eventually forming the parent body that Hypatia came from sometime close to when our Solar System first came into being.

    A 3-gram sample of the Hypatia stone. (Romano Serra)

    “In a sense, we could say, we have caught a supernova Ia explosion in the act, because the gas atoms from the explosion were caught in the surrounding dust cloud, which eventually formed Hypatia’s parent body,” says geochemist Jan Kramers from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.

    Using detailed, non-destructive chemical analysis techniques, the team looked at 17 different targets on a tiny sample of Hypatia. From there it was a question of piecing together clues about where the stone had been and how it had formed.

    Those clues included an unusually low level of silicon, chromium, and manganese, suggesting that the rock hadn’t been formed in the inner Solar System. The researchers also noticed high levels of iron, sulfur, phosphorus, copper, and vanadium, again making the object distinct from anything in our particular neighborhood in space.

    Looking at element concentration patterns of Hypatia, there were marked differences to what we would expect to have formed in rocks from inside the Solar System and in our arm of the Milky Way. Further analysis rules out the idea that the rock had formed from a red giant star.

    The researchers were also able to show that Hypatia didn’t match what would be expected if it came from a type II supernova – it has too much iron relative to silicon and calcium – and that leaves the intriguing possibility that this is a leftover from a type Ia supernova, and the first to be found on this planet.

    “If this hypothesis is correct, the Hypatia stone would be the first tangible evidence on Earth of a supernova type Ia explosion,” says Kramers.

    “Perhaps equally important, it shows that an individual anomalous parcel of dust from outer space could actually be incorporated in the solar nebula that our Solar System was formed from, without being fully mixed in.”

    From what we know of type Ia supernovas, they should produce very unusual element concentration patterns in rocks such as Hypatia. Through a comprehensive search of star data and modeling, the team wasn’t able to find a better match for the rock.

    Of the 15 elements analyzed in the stone, several matched what would be expected if the object had come from a dense white dwarf star explosion.

    However, it’s not a closed case yet. A further six elements don’t match type 1a supernova models: aluminum, phosphorus, chlorine, potassium, copper, and zinc. However, the researchers think something further back in the supernova’s past could explain this.

    “Since a white dwarf star is formed from a dying red giant, Hypatia could have inherited these element proportions for the six elements from a red giant star,” says Kramers. “This phenomenon has been observed in white dwarf stars in other research.”

    We’ll need more research to settle the science, but at this point, it certainly looks like this mysterious rock has traveled a very long way.

    The research has been published in Icarus.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
%d bloggers like this: