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  • richardmitnick 10:15 am on September 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Want to know how cold it was in 1490? Ask a tree", , , , , Harvard scientists study tree rings to see climate change clues., The Harvard Gazette   

    From “The Harvard Gazette” : “Want to know how cold it was in 1490? Ask a tree” 

    From “The Harvard Gazette”

    At

    Harvard University

    9.20.22
    Juan Siliezar

    Harvard scientists study tree rings to see climate change clues.

    1
    Core samples may hold clues to a forest’s response to climate change. Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    Sometimes getting to where you want to go is a matter of finding the right guide.

    Four teams of researchers, led by Harvard Forest ecologists, searched for a patch of ancient trees deep in the woods of western Pennsylvania this summer as part of a project to study how climate changes affected trees over the centuries. One of the scientists had come across them 40 years earlier, but they appeared to have vanished. Just as the group was about to give up and move on they came across someone who gave them a valuable clue.

    “When he jumped out of his Jeep to greet us, we were about to plunge into another forest that was at least three-quarters of a mile away,” said Neil Pederson, a senior ecologist and co-manager of the Tree Ring Lab at the Harvard Forest. The Jeep driver, a husky man with fluffy silver hair, tipped them to a clump of scraggly-looking eastern hemlocks. Several hours later, “We’d finally found them,” Pederson said.

    That day’s search was part of the lab’s ambitious project to find and core the oldest trees in the Northeast. Studying the color and size of their rings offers scientists a glimpse into the past, allowing them to see how trees and forests responded to extreme climate events, like droughts or late-spring frosts in the past. They then use that data to map the long-term development of these forests and model the future impact on their health from climate-related weather events, which are growing harsher as the planet warms.

    “Large-scale forest disturbances may represent the kind of extreme climate events that we expect to see increase with climate change, so understanding more about their frequency in the past could help to inform how far things are moving from baseline,” said Laura Gayle Smith, a research assistant at the Harvard Forest, who works as a member of the Tree Ring Lab. “The common framework for temperate forests is that they are basically in equilibrium over large scales and somewhat agnostic to climate. Small disturbances happen at the individual-tree-to-stand level, but overall, the composition remains very stable over long periods of time — centuries to millennia.”

    2
    “We use tree cores to extract what I’ve been leaning toward calling the memory of the tree,” said Neil Pederson in the lab alongside core samples.

    About a decade ago, Pederson and David Orwig, a senior forest ecologist and the co-manager of the Tree Ring Lab, showed this isn’t always the case. They presented evidence that droughts and harsh spring frosts from 250 years ago affected different forests across hundreds of miles in the Southeast. The disturbances abruptly killed some trees but accelerated the growth of others.

    “This study will hopefully give us more insight about that relationship between climate events and forest disturbance so that we can better predict forest response under different climate scenarios,” Gayle Smith said.

    For that, the lab seeks guidance from tree rings. The rings, which look a bit like the concentric circles on a dart board, indicate the age of a tree and give hints of what it’s endured. The greater the number of annual rings, the older the tree. Light-colored ones represent years of extreme cold. Wafer-thin wood indicates dry conditions and stymied tree growth.

    “We use tree cores to extract what I’ve been leaning toward calling the memory of the tree,” said Pederson. “When a drought arrives, when a hurricane arrives, when fire arrives, or an ice storm or insects, trees can’t run and hide like we can or like other animals can. They take these events, these abuses of time, and they get recorded in their rings, and we can extract that information and learn about anything.”

    The first step to this science, called “dendrochronology”, is getting samples of the rings. For researchers, that often involves driving along dirt roads, walking beneath miles of foliage, and up and down hillsides.

    To core the trees, the researchers primarily use increment borers, tools that look like a cross between a drill and a screw. They must be manually twisted through the bark and into its core. As it twists out it extracts pencil-size slivers of the tree ring.

    “The borer gets much harder to turn as you drill into the tree, and sometimes will get stuck on the way out so you have to put your body weight into pulling backwards while turning,” Gayle Smith said. “I always tell people that between hiking into the sites and then coring trees it’s a full-body workout. It can really tear your hands up.”

    Coring leaves a wound in the tree but doesn’t fatally injure it. The entire process takes between two and three hours. Besides taking samples, scientists jot down visual markings on the trees and demarcate a plot that has a 20-meter radius.

    The researchers plan to core between 2,500 and 3,500 trees in 35 forests. The field work is part of a four-year project funded by the National Science Foundation, and kicked off this summer with visits to 15 forests. So far, the group has traveled to forests in Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, and New Jersey. The group will eventually amass 600 years of tree growth data.

    The researchers venture out in full hiking gear and backpacks filled with supplies. The coring equipment adds about 40 pounds.

    “One time I got back from a trip on a Wednesday, but I felt like my body didn’t arrive till the Sunday,” Pederson said.

    Lab members, who also includes two summer research assistants, refer to the project as a nature lover’s dream and an honor.

    When out in the field the scientists get used to sweeping views of landscapes, rock formations, and sunsets. They see wildlife, sometimes doing peculiar things. In June, for example, the team saw a black rat snake scale a thick sugar maple tree in Ricketts Glen, Pennsylvania.

    The forest is also a humbling place to work, especially for experts who know what it should look like.

    “Each forest we visited had lost or was in the process of losing an overstory tree species due to an introduced disease or insect,” Orwig said. “A few forests lost two species and one was in the process of losing a third. So even these forests, which have been the least directly disturbed by humans over the last few centuries, are being indirectly impacted in a big way.”

    Harvard’s Tree Ring Lab sits inside a repurposed garage on the edge of the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts. Collections of the extracted wood slivers fill stacks of boxes while larger tree stumps that show the full rings are piled in corners. The lab has a pleasant woody, earthy smell.

    The samples are painstakingly made smooth with a belt sander, then by hand sanding. “It’s a long process sometimes, particularly for species where the ring boundaries aren’t very apparent,” Gayle Smith said. “We have to get them sanded down to the point that we can see the cellular structure.”

    The samples then go under a high-powered microscope, which digitizes the data.

    The ancient eastern hemlocks that took them hours to find, for example, showed that the two oldest trees traced to 1490. They all lived through the 1500s and 1600s — two periods with severe, prolonged drought. The trees survived the so-called 16th century megadrought, which affected an area that extended from portions of Mexico to much of the continental U.S., including Boston. It likely slowed the growth of these trees, which were smaller than most. The trees also showed signs from the Year Without a Summer in 1816 when a massive volcanic eruption in Indonesia triggered unusually cold, wet conditions across Europe and North America.

    “I feel very lucky to be on this project as we get to visit, sample, and learn from centuries-old trees,” said Orwig. “These forests are truly magical places. … There is a sense of awe I get knowing that the forests we are investigating have been there for hundreds of years and are now revealing clues to past climate, disturbance, and environment.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best-known landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University.

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:53 am on August 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Look at life in lab", , , , Harvard Quantum Initiative’s Summer Research Program, HQI launched in 2018 with the aim of expanding research and development and education in a rapidly expanding field that is key to future innovations and major technological advancement., , , , , Research projects in quantum science including quantum information and systems and materials and engineering., Students lead research projects and sample day-to-day routine of working scientist in Quantum Initiative summer program., The Harvard Gazette, The program is about students getting the opportunity to work in a quantum lab just as a regular member of the lab.   

    From “The Harvard Gazette” : “Look at life in lab” 

    From “The Harvard Gazette”

    At

    Harvard University

    8.26.22
    Juan Siliezar

    1
    Andrew Winnicki, a rising senior studying physics and math, works with lasers in the Doyle Lab. Credit: Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    Students lead research projects and sample day-to-day routine of working scientist in Quantum Initiative summer program.

    Denisse Córdova Carrizales spent her summer, quite literally, bringing the heat.

    On a typical day Córdova Carrizales, who begins her senior year this fall, would arrive at the lab of condensed-matter physicist Julia Mundy at about 9 a.m. and don a white protective suit. The physics concentrator’s research involved working with chemical compounds heated in an oven to temperatures as high as 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Her job was to X-ray samples and perform electrical tests in a sealed container. If the material showed potential as a superconductor, she’d do further testing.

    Córdova Carrizales was part of the first group of fellows in the Harvard Quantum Initiative’s Summer Research Program. The program, which is in its inaugural year, supported 10 undergraduate researchers from June to mid-August as they worked full-time in labs belonging to members of HQI.

    The fellowship is designed for students with any level of prior research experience and provides advising and stipends to help them spend the summer in the Cambridge area. It also provides opportunities for the students to present their work and network with colleagues and peers. They work with supervising faculty and members of labs to design and pursue research projects in quantum science, including quantum information, systems, materials, and engineering.

    The program offers the fellows a glimpse at the real-world lives of research scientists — and it’s not always as exciting as some might think. Córdova Carrizales says her process is repetitive and often nothing comes from the experiments, but it forces her to continually rethink and tweak what she’s doing. Fascinated, challenged, and “borderline addicted” to the work, she described the summer experience as giving her some technical expertise and a confidence boost as a scientist.

    “This summer in general has made me realize that I really do enjoy research and do want to go on,” Córdova Carrizales said. “It helped me feel more confident about doing research. I’ve gotten to lead my own project. It has all made me feel very capable.”

    “The program is about students getting the opportunity to work in a quantum lab just as a regular member of the lab, as if they were a graduate student or a postdoc,” said John Doyle, Henry B. Silsbee Professor of Physics, who co-directs HQI. “Having undergraduate students do actual work in a lab is crucial to their education and their professional development. What we’ve been able to do is provide a very easy on-ramp for our students to have this experience.”

    HQI launched in 2018 with the aim of expanding research, development, and education in a rapidly expanding field that is key to future innovations and major technological advancement.

    Creation of the undergraduate research program was largely spearheaded by Mundy, an HQI member and assistant professor of physics and applied physics. A Harvard College alumna, she knows firsthand the power of such experiences for undergraduates, especially in areas that build on prior lab work. Those experiences, she said, were critical in shaping her career as a researcher in quantum materials.

    “The summer between junior and senior year was completely pivotal for me,” Mundy said. “It wasn’t the first research experience I had, but it was a really special one because it’s right when you’re thinking about going to grad school and what [line of research to focus on]. It’s really exciting to see a new generation of undergraduates have the same experiences.”

    Students in this year’s program are working on a range of projects, from optimizing quantum technology to decoding errors in quantum computers to building lasers that can more easily cut materials such as graphene. Córdova Carrizales, for example, designed a project looking for a new family of materials that could lead to superconductors that can operate at higher temperatures. It’s a Holy Grail in condensed-matter physics because of the door they would open to long-term, sustainable electric energy.

    Andrew Winnicki, a rising senior from Quincy House studying physics and math, is part of the Doyle lab. He is using a laser array to control a molecule that one day could be used as a qubit in quantum computers.

    “It’s unpredictable and exciting, because sometimes the experiment will throw something at us that we need to figure out how to deal with,” Winnicki said. “I’ve added many new techniques to my experimental tool kit, like different laser and optics setups, or skills such as designing electronics and machining hardware that will go inside of the vacuum chambers. It’s all been a big part of my growth as a scientist.”


    What is quantum physics? Credit: Harvard University.

    Mincheol Park — an international student from South Korea who has a joint concentration in chemistry, physics, and math — is working on the theoretical side of quantum science. The rising junior is trying to produce a protocol to implement error-correcting codes for quantum processors that exist today. He’s valued the mentorship working full-time in the lab of physicist Mikhail Lukin. Park said he’s learned a lot from graduate students in the lab about how to prioritize work and what to do when something isn’t working. It also helps to hear about their career paths.

    “It’s really good that I am able to learn this kind of lifestyle this early after my second year of college,” Park said.

    The HQI undergraduate fellowship hosts a series of lunches for the fellows to network with other fellows and learn about each other’s work, as well as unwind and bond over their shared summer experience. There is also a poster session where the students present their work to the larger HQI community.

    “It was an unexpected community this summer,” said Cassia Lee, a rising junior in Eliot House concentrating in chemistry and physics. “It’s easy to focus on your work and be in your own bubble, but it was really good to take a step back and see what everyone is doing.”

    Standing at the poster session amid the different projects and diverse group of students, Doyle reflected on another of the key points of the fellowship: students pushing themselves to their limits and beyond.

    “Generally, students are able to rise to whatever level of capabilities they have,” Doyle said. “In the lab, there is no upper limit. They can go as far as they want.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best-known landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University.

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:49 am on August 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A matter of vision", 2016 A newly developed “metalens", , , , Federico Capasso believed a flat lens could revolutionize advanced products and devices., , The Harvard Gazette   

    From “The Harvard Gazette” : “A matter of vision” 

    From “The Harvard Gazette”

    At

    Harvard University

    8.17.22
    Alvin Powell

    1
    A new type of lens developed in Federico Capasso’s lab has gotten its first big market boost. Credit: Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    Federico Capasso believed a flat lens could revolutionize advanced products and devices. But he needed help innovating one, and getting it to market.

    In June 2016, Alan Gordon’s phone was ringing off the hook. On the cover of the prominent journal Science [below] was a striking image of a newly developed “metalens,” an array of tiny rectangular nanostructures that looked like skyscrapers in a vanishingly small city and focused light to a single point.

    It was an invention that for years had been followed by doubt. Early results proved the concept, but the models were able to focus so little light it was thought a metalens might never be improved enough to be useful, one expert said. Later, better findings were questioned as inaccurate, and requests came in from incredulous reviewers for actual design details.

    “They say it’s impossible, or you’re cheating somewhere in the system,” said Reza Khorasaninejad, a former postdoctoral fellow who was first author on several metalens papers before leaving Harvard in 2017.

    But the promise for the esoteric innovation beckoned, too. Federico Capasso, the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics in whose lab the devices were developed, had long recognized that they had the potential to do everything conventional lenses could do and more, enabling new functionality in a smaller package for all kinds of advanced devices like those for handheld facial recognition that need to “see” and do so cheaply enough that they might disrupt an industry still making lenses as they long had been, out of curved elements of glass or plastic. But it would be a long road, one that illustrates the roadblocks scientists and entrepreneurs face between the light-bulb moment and actual products.

    “That’s what I liked about Federico. He doesn’t listen to these guys,” said Khorasaninejad, who worked in Capasso’s lab for three years. “He told us, ‘Let’s focus on this.’ He gave us the resources; he gave us the guidance.”

    2
    While traditional lenses use curved glass or plastic to bend light and focus an image, a metalens uses a series of tiny pillars on a millimeter-thin wafer. Metalenz.

    In early 2016, a team led by Capasso, with key contributions by Khorasaninejad, graduate student Rob Devlin, and postdoc Wei Ting Chen, showed that it indeed could be done and done well enough that commercial devices were possible. Capasso filed a report of invention with the Harvard Office of Technology Development and, soon after, the discovery made Science’s cover. Gordon, OTD’s director of business development for physical sciences, stepped in to manage the avalanche of interest.

    “I’ve been doing this for far longer than I like to admit but that paper, the invention, and the patent we filed generated far more commercial interest — from companies, entrepreneurs, investors — than any other hard-tech invention I can remember,” said Gordon. “It was exciting and a bit shocking. We met and talked with a lot of people about this work.”

    Those people understood then what Capasso had seen more than a decade earlier. Lenses are essential components in a host of devices, focusing and detecting light — both visible and invisible — for applications well beyond imaging, including facial recognition in smartphones and laptops, proximity and gesture detection to enhance responsive functions in automated devices, depth-sensing cameras, environmental awareness in drones and robots, and collision avoidance in self-driving cars.

    In many of those devices, space is tight. The stacked elements of plastic or glass in traditional lenses have resisted the true miniaturization that most other components have undergone. They remain among the bulkier components, and a bottleneck in device design.

    “I hold up my cellphone and pull out a credit card,” Gordon said, describing how he introduces the technology to potential investors. “There are only two reasons the phone is not as slim as the credit card. One is the camera and the other is the battery. The metalens will help enable the phone to be as slim as a credit card.”

    While traditional lenses use curved glass or plastic to bend light and focus an image, a metalens uses a series of tiny pillars on a millimeter-thin wafer. The pillars are smaller than the wavelength of light and transparent to the desired wavelength. The pillars’ shape, the distances between them, and their arrangement on the wafer are varied to bend light as desired.

    Not long after that Science cover, OTD licensed the technology to a startup, Boston-based Metalenz, founded by Capasso, Devlin, and Bart Riley, a tech entrepreneur with whom that office had previously worked. Now Metalenz’s chief executive, Devlin made a key materials advance in the Capasso lab that greatly improved the lenses’ efficiency. Earlier this year, Metalenz logged its first major sale, with manufacturer STMicroelectronics. STMicro will use metalenses in the company’s “time of flight” modules, which provide 3D sensing in an array of devices and which have previously sold 1.7 billion units. Those units appear in everything from drones to robots to smartphones. Metalenz said in June that it expects its optical components to be in millions of consumer devices this year.

    Khorasaninejad, who today is CEO and cofounder of San Francisco-based Leadoptik, called the deal “a very, very strong endorsement from industry,” while Capasso said that the metalens can be made in the same factories as computer chips is potentially “game-changing,” as it unifies two industries: semiconductor manufacturing and lens-making.

    “The same planar technology, known as deep ultraviolet lithography, to mass-produce integrated circuits — chips — can be used by the same foundry to make flat optics such as metalenses,” Capasso said. “It means that the entire camera module of a cellphone or laptop will eventually be manufactured in one sweep, including the metalens and the sensor.”

    ‘Can you get rid of the lens?’

    Capasso came to Harvard in 2003 after a career at Bell Labs, where, in 1994, he and colleagues invented and developed the quantum cascade laser, currently being commercialized in devices for chemical sensing and spectroscopy.

    Capasso traced the development of the metalens to a conversation he had more than a decade ago with Jim Anderson, the Philip S. Weld Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry. The two had been discussing putting a quantum cascade laser on a drone that Anderson wanted to use to detect certain chemicals in the atmosphere, but there wasn’t enough room. That was in part because of the bulky optical elements needed for focusing. Anderson got to the heart of the problem.

    “He said, ‘Can you get rid of the lens?’” Capasso recalled. “My first reaction was, ‘What the hell is he talking about?’ But then I said, ‘No, wait a moment.’”

    Capasso started to brainstorm the idea with a couple of students in his group. Starting in 2007 or 2008, they began to focus on the scientific question of whether it was possible to bend light in an entirely flat device.

    Early work used what they termed “plasmonic antennas” that eventually evolved into metasurfaces — millimeter-thick, two-dimensional surfaces studded with tiny nanostructures smaller than the wavelength of light. Those arrays, Capasso said, can alter the path of light flowing through it in a kind of “artificial refraction.”

    That work progressed incrementally, producing several scientific papers that led to a 2011 breakthrough, published in Science and now cited more than 5,400 times. Capasso and members of his lab demonstrated they could tune the nanostructures and bend light to a roughly focused “hotspot.”

    While the results were of scientific interest, the efficiency was so low that most of the light was lost, a result that skeptics said meant it would never become useful.

    Bringing fresh eyes, new skills

    In 2012, Devlin joined the lab. With no optics background, Devlin instead worked in an area Capasso thought would be key: materials science and nanofabrication. Devlin himself believed that the lab had mostly figured out the science, and that choosing the right materials and fabrication processes would be critical to improved results.

    “The metasurface was a great proof of concept, but the devices themselves were really inefficient,” Devlin said. “There were problems in how it was fabricated, in materials, and design.”

    Devlin set about considering materials and processes that not only worked in the lab, but that would also work, if a successful device needed to be scaled up. Ultimately, he settled on titanium dioxide, a compound widely used in paint pigment, sunscreen, food coloring, and as a reflective surface in dielectric mirrors. More importantly to Devlin, it had low light-absorption properties.

    By late 2015, there were eight to 10 people in the lab working on different aspects of metasurfaces. As each turned their focus to lens performance, they brought perspectives and insights gleaned from their diverse prior efforts.

    Devlin knew they had things right when the efficiency — the amount of the available light the device could focus — abruptly began to climb, rising from 10 percent to 85 percent in a few weeks. The rapid improvement and clarity of the resulting images stunned Devlin, Khorasaninejad, and Chen.

    Those results spurred the 2016 Science paper, which not only generated a buzz in the lens industry, but also became a runner-up for Science’s breakthrough of the year. Despite the accolades and new belief in the promise of a metalens, it still focused just single wavelengths of light. And, while there were certainly uses for single-wavelength light — facial recognition, for example, is done by bouncing a single wavelength outside the visible spectrum off a person’s face and analyzing the light that returns — the next challenge was to produce the first “achromatic” metalens, one that focuses light across the visible spectrum.

    “I locked myself in my office with Wei Ting Chen for the weekend, and I said, ‘Now we need to understand what we have done,’” Capasso said. “Our design ensured that all the colors, irrespective of where they take off, arrive at the same time in the same spot.”

    It took two years, but in 2018, they became the first to report success, with high resolution.

    In the meantime, though, Gordon was fielding calls from industry and advising Capasso and Devlin as to the next step of the metalenses’ commercial development. He counseled them that founding a startup around a new technology tends to be more successful than licensing it to a large corporation, where it can get lost. They listened and founded Metalenz to commercialize the invention and look for additional applications.

    Devlin, meanwhile, had a decision to make. He had entered his graduate studies thinking he would pursue an academic track when he left Capasso’s lab. But he had the opportunity to be among the founders of Metalenz and shepherd the device’s development himself.

    To Capasso, though, Devlin’s first priority was finishing the degree. He didn’t let up on the younger scientist, requiring he continue research and complete another scientific paper. Then Capasso ran interference with investors and companies wanting a piece of Devlin’s time.

    “Federico made sure I was not abandoning the completion of my Ph.D.,” Devlin said. “He said, ‘No one is to contact Rob until he completes his dissertation.’”

    Devlin defended his dissertation in 2017 and graduated in June 2018. When OTD and Metalenz announced the startup to the world in 2021, Devlin was its chief executive.

    “The Ph.D. student is not always a CEO type, but some are, and Rob has shown he has the personality for it,” Gordon said.

    The last several years have seen Devlin taking the company through several startup milestones, securing funds, developing relationships with manufacturers, and the recent announcement that the company’s metalenses will go into mass production.

    Though Metalenz has licensed more than 20 Capasso lab patents from Harvard, Capasso and his students and postdocs are busily working on new discoveries. A current focus is on ultracompact, polarization-sensitive cameras — based on flat optics — that can detect the direction in which light vibrates after it’s transmitted or reflected, revealing otherwise invisible details of a scene. His group is involved with two collaborations with NASA on these cameras, related to Earth sciences and solar physics. He and his students are also toying with the idea of a “universal camera” that can see all properties of light at the same time, including ones that can’t be seen by existing cameras. Capasso described that challenge as “very ambitious.”

    “We are here to learn, starting with me,” Capasso said. “I always tell students, ‘If you have something good, you have to give it away. Don’t keep it to yourself.’”

    Science paper:
    Science

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best-known landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University.

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:37 am on August 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Learning can be fun. Just ask these ‘Explorers’", , , , , The Harvard Gazette, Young local students in Harvard program investigate how skeletons work and cook Ukrainian flatbread and create their own play.   

    From “The Harvard Gazette” : “Learning can be fun. Just ask these ‘Explorers’” Photo Essay 

    From “The Harvard Gazette”

    At

    Harvard University

    8.9.22
    Amy Kamosa

    1

    Michelle Luo (from left), Maxwell Luo, and Mikael Eldfors search for examples of their skeletons while attending the “Ins and Outs of Skeletons” class at Harvard Museum of Natural History. The program was part of Harvard Summer Explorations.
    Photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    Young local students in Harvard program investigate how skeletons work and cook Ukrainian flatbread and create their own play.

    Nearly 40 Allston-Brighton students in grades 2-8 spent time this summer immersed in hands-on activities through the Harvard Ed Portal’s Summer Explorations program. Now in its seventh year, the program offers Allston-Brighton students free, weeklong courses designed to keep them engaged in learning during the school break. Among this year’s highlights: students got a chemistry lesson by rolling out, frying, and fermenting Ukrainian flatbread ingredients in “Science of Cooking.” Some learned about bones via “Ins and Outs of Skeletons,” held at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Others took to the stage in “Creative Drama: Ocean Explorations,” led by staff of the American Repertory Theater.

    2
    Samuel Jackson shares information about his skeleton specimen in the classroom. Credit: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    3
    Maxwell Luo (left) examines a frog skeleton during the class. Credit: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    4
    Students closely examine a snapping turtle shell. Credit: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    5
    Maxwell Luo (clockwise from left), Raymond Wang, Michelle Luo, and Alan Wang examine skeleton samples in the classroom.
    Credit: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    6
    Regina Qu rolls out two pieces of Ukrainian flatbread. The Summer Explorations “Science of Cooking” class for sixth grade students was held at Harvard Ed Portal. Credit: Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    7
    Benedict Franks (from left), Gabe Watson, Luis Maggioli, and Ali Ahmad squeeze lemons to produce juice that will be added to mozzarella. Credit: Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    8
    Taught by Alissa Cordeiro and Donya Pooliyeganeh, “Ocean Explorations!” is part of the American Repertory Theater’s creative drama class. Oak Northcross Aquino (from left), Ronin Rodriguez, Pooliyeganeh, and Anna Toumilovich take the stage. Credit: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    9
    Donya Pooliyeganeh (left) and Oak Northcross Aquino select costumes from the stage. Credit: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    10
    Ronin Rodriguez (from left), Maeve Connal, Oak Northcross Aquino, and Orla Strubel line up at snack time. Credit: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best-known landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University.

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:23 am on July 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Telescope to help tell the story of the universe", , , CfA astrophysicist explains why the James Webb Telescope is NASA’s most ambitious space probe to date., , , , The Harvard Gazette   

    From “The Harvard Gazette” : “Telescope to help tell the story of the universe” 

    From “The Harvard Gazette”

    At

    Harvard University

    December 16, 2021 [Brought forward today.]
    Juan Siliezar

    Harvard astrophysicist on the James Webb Telescope

    Astrophysicist explains why the James Webb Telescope is NASA’s most ambitious space probe to date.

    1
    Full-scale model at South by Southwest in Austin. Credit: Chris Gunn/NASA.

    NASA is set for another Apollo moment with the launch of its new James Webb Space Telescope as early as Dec. 24, barring complications. Billed as NASA’s most ambitious telescope to date, its purpose is to fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe.

    Light takes time to travel. The nearest star to Earth is four light-years away, so the image we see of it is actually four years old. The new $10 billion instrument is so powerful it will allow us to see farther, essentially to look back in time to see how the first stars and galaxies came into existence. It will also let us peer into the atmospheres of exoplanets — some of which are potentially habitable — as they pass before stars. The light filtering through the atmosphere will leave telltale signs of the atmospheric components.

    Mercedes López-Morales, a lecturer in the Department of Astronomy and an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, will be among the first researchers to use the Webb as part of a project to observe more than a dozen small planets during the telescope’s first cycle. The Gazette spoke to López-Morales about the new telescope, which was named after the former NASA administrator who led the agency through the Apollo missions, and why it has the scientific community so excited. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

    Q&A Mercedes López-Morales

    GAZETTE: Can you talk about the mission of the Webb telescope?

    LÓPEZ-MORALES: The James Webb Telescope is the most important flagship space mission ever built. It’s considered the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched more than 30 years ago and completely changed the way we understand how the universe works at ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelengths. Unlike visible light, ultraviolet and infrared light are hidden from the human eye, and we need special detectors to “see” them. They hold the secrets of primordial galaxies and the chemical composition of outer space, as well as nearby planets. The capabilities of the James Webb will take us beyond what we learned with Hubble by further opening our eyes to the infrared universe. We’ll be able to study how the universe looked at the beginning and determine when the first galaxies and stars formed. We will also be able to study how and where in our galaxy stars and planets are forming right now, and, for the first time, to study what the atmospheres of exoplanets are made of and how similar or different the atmospheres of exoplanets are from the atmospheres of planets in our own solar system.

    1
    3
    [2] Jake Lewis of the manufacturer Ball Aerospace is reflected in the telescope’s flight mirrors. Credit: David Higginbotham/Emmett Given/Ball Aerospace/NASA/MSFC/

    GAZETTE: What makes the Webb the most ambitious space probe NASA’s ever built?

    LÓPEZ-MORALES: A number of things. NASA has been building this telescope for 25 years. It’s hard to tell, but just as a ballpark, I would say thousands of scientists and engineers have worked on it. Maybe the biggest reason is that there are many technological advancements that are being used for the first time on a space telescope.

    GAZETTE: What are some of those?

    LÓPEZ-MORALES: One of the most spectacular is the primary mirror that is 6.5-meters in diameter [more than 21 feet], making it the largest telescope mirror ever launched into space. To make it possible to fit such a large mirror into the launch vehicle, engineers had to figure out a completely new way to build mirrors. They split them into a number of hexagonal pieces, each one with its own specific shape so that they could be folded for launch and then once in space they unfold and latch together like pieces of a puzzle into this massive and beautiful mirror painted with a very thin layer of gold with basically no gaps between the pieces.

    GAZETTE: The mirror is a very crucial piece of this telescope?

    LÓPEZ-MORALES: I always tell people that the mirror is like a bucket. The bigger the bucket, the more data you can collect. That translates into you seeing and collecting more light — both visible and the not-so-visible. Basically, you can push farther into the universe and further back in time.


    Social Media Short: Webb Mirror Beauty.

    GAZETTE: What else amazes you about the telescope?

    LÓPEZ-MORALES: I would say the sunshield. There are two key requirements for the telescope to be able to produce high-quality observations. It has to be kept cold, at a stable temperature of about minus 200 degrees Celsius [minus 328 degrees Fahrenheit], and it has to be prevented from getting blinded by sunlight. The sunshield takes care of those requirements by shielding the telescope from the sun’s light and heat.

    It’s a technological masterpiece. It’s made out of five very thin layers coated with aluminum, so they reflect the light from the sun. Each layer is like a sail. At launch, the sunshield is folded in, in a similar way as the telescope’s mirror is, and once in space the sunshield unfolds to a size of about a tennis court.

    GAZETTE: Can you talk about your work with the telescope so far, and what’s upcoming?

    LÓPEZ-MORALES: One of my main research interests is understanding the atmospheres of exoplanets, which are planets we have been discovering orbiting around nearby stars for more than two decades now. We have discovered a few thousand exoplanets now, and with that number we can, for the first time, start looking into answering a number of questions that weren’t possible to answer before. I am part of teams that will for the first time search the atmospheres of a number of exoplanets in the infrared to search for molecular species such as methane, ammonia, and carbon, magnesium, and silicate compounds. We cannot detect these with current telescopes, including Hubble. The presence or absence of such chemical species will tell if the planets have atmospheres at all, and if they do, what they are made of and how they compare to the make-up of similar planets in the solar system.

    GAZETTE: What’s your biggest hope for this telescope?

    LÓPEZ-MORALES: I hope that it helps us discover things that we had not thought about since that is how many of the major breakthroughs in science happen. You open a new window and discover that there is a lot of new information there that we had not considered. I also hope that the discoveries will inspire younger generations in the same way that the Hubble images inspired many of us who are now scientists and engineers.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s bestknown landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University (US)’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University (US)’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University.

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:09 am on June 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Barocaloric" materials, "Keeping cool without warming the planet", A new class of solid-state refrigerants that could enable energy-efficient and emission-free cooling., Any kind of refrigeration system runs in a cycle from a low entropy state to a high-entropy state when that energy can be released in a heat sink., , Enabling solid-state cooling with two-dimensional perovskites., , How to stay cool in days of high heat and humidity without turning to traditional air conditioning., The Harvard Gazette, The more a material can change its entropy the more effective it can be for running cooling cycles., The team identified two-dimensional perovskites as ideal substitutes because they undergo phase transitions that can be driven reversibly under minimal pressure all while remaining in a solid state.   

    From “The Harvard Gazette” : “Keeping cool without warming the planet” 

    From “The Harvard Gazette”

    At

    Harvard University

    June 24, 2022
    Yahya Chaudhry

    1
    Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jarad Mason (left) and co-author Jinyoung Seo have developed a new class of solid-state refrigerants that could enable energy-efficient and emission-free cooling. Credit: Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    A revolutionary new mechanism could unlock environmentally friendly air conditioning.

    A summer dilemma worthy of Solomon: how to stay cool in days of high heat and humidity without turning to traditional air conditioning, which consumes vast amounts of electricity and emits potent climate-changing greenhouse gases.

    The answer potentially involves a new class of solid-state refrigerants that could enable energy-efficient and emission-free cooling. And now researchers from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology have developed an environmentally friendly mechanism to enable solid-state cooling with two-dimensional perovskites [U Washington]. Their findings are described in a new study in Nature Communications.

    “Shifting away from the vapor compression systems that have been in use for a really long time is a crucial part of the overall push toward a more sustainable future,” said Jarad Mason, the paper’s senior author and assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology. “Our focus is looking deeply at the intrinsic properties of these materials to see what is possible in terms of solid-state cooling as a sustainable alternative.”

    Also known as barocaloric materials, the two-dimensional perovskites release and absorb heat in response to pressure changes as they expand and contract. The effect is based on a phenomenon you may be familiar with if you’ve ever stretched a balloon and felt it warm up against your lips. Similarly, these materials release heat when pressurized or stressed. Without releasing any harmful emissions, this mechanism can remove heat in the solid state using low driving pressures.

    The work was led by members of Mason’s lab, including Jinyoung Seo, Ryan D. McGillicuddy, Adam H. Slavney, Selena Zhang ’22, Rahil Ukani, and Shao-Liang Zheng, director of the X-ray Laboratory. Advanced tests were also performed in collaboration with scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois.

    This new mechanism for solid-state cooling has the potential to overcome the limitations of traditional vapor-compression cooling technology, which has remained largely unchanged since the early 20th century.

    Any kind of refrigeration system runs in a cycle from a low-entropy state when a material can absorb heat, thereby cooling a space, to a high-entropy state when that energy can be released in a heat sink, where it dissipates. Vapor-compression air conditioners circulate a volatile fluid refrigerant that evaporates and condenses under varying pressure through metal coils to cool an enclosed space and eject heat outside. Running vapor-compression cycles is energy-intensive, responsible currently for almost 20 percent of electricity use in buildings around the world. In addition, leaking refrigerants are more than 1,000 times more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide.

    2
    The new mechanism could replace traditional vapor-compression cooling technology, which has remained largely unchanged since the early 20th century.

    The team identified two-dimensional perovskites as ideal substitutes because they undergo phase transitions that can be driven reversibly under minimal pressure, all while remaining in a solid state; the more a material can change its entropy, the more effective it can be for running cooling cycles. With organic bi-layers capable of undergoing large changes in entropy when their hydrocarbon chains switch between ordered and disordered states, the team anticipated that two-dimensional perovskites could serve as a highly tunable solid-state cooling material that could operate at lower pressures than thought possible.

    The team synthesized the materials in their lab and tested them in a high-pressure calorimeter to measure changes in heat flow in the material under varying pressures and temperatures. These experiments reveal how much heat can be removed in a potential refrigeration cycle, and how much pressure is needed to drive the cycle reversibly.

    “As soon as we began testing the material, we realized that we could remove a very large amount of heat with a very small pressure change,” Mason said. “From that point on, we knew that there was going to be something interesting here.”

    The researchers also conducted high-pressure powder X-ray diffraction experiments at Argonne to understand phase changes at the molecular level. With the X-ray synchrotron, the teams were able to characterize how the structures of each material changes at varying temperatures and pressures.

    “These materials are worth studying beyond their promising performance,” Seo said, “They can also be useful for chemists to understand the fundamental properties that are critical to realizing this technology at scale.”

    The Mason Lab next plans to craft prototype barocaloric cooling devices while continuing to explore the potential use of different materials.

    “We will likely use next-generation materials for the prototype device,” Seo said. “We are trying to come up with new technologies to address the cooling challenge.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s bestknown landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University (US)’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University (US)’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University.

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:55 am on June 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Global helium shortage slams brakes at Harvard labs", Crisis threatens research and equipment and progress of grad students., In physics; engineering; chemistry; biology and medical research helium and liquid helium are employed whenever cold environments are needed for experiments., Some 16 Nobel Prizes have been generated by work done using liquid helium., The Harvard Gazette, Tight supplies of the noble gas in recent months actually threaten to halt research in its tracks.   

    From “The Harvard Gazette” : “Global helium shortage slams brakes at Harvard labs” 

    From “The Harvard Gazette”

    At

    Harvard University

    June 13, 2022
    Juan Siliezar

    Crisis threatens research and equipment and progress of grad students.

    1
    Engineer Markos Hankin recovers liquid helium boil-off from Harvard labs so it can be reused. Credit: Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    Late spring is typically prime time for weddings and graduations, but this year a global helium shortage worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced retailers like Dollar Tree and Party City to warn party planners that gas-filled balloons may be in short supply at times.

    While that threatens to slightly dampen seasonal festivities, for physicists like Harvard Professor Amir Yacoby tight supplies of the noble gas in recent months actually threaten to halt research in its tracks. “This is a tremendous blow,” said Yacoby, who estimates about 40 percent of his lab’s activity has been negatively impacted. “This crisis is not going to go away quickly.”

    It is one that is affecting researchers everywhere. In physics, engineering, chemistry, biology, and medical research, helium and liquid helium are employed whenever cold environments are needed for experiments, including cooling large magnets, MRI machines, or mass spectrometers, or slowing down atoms in condensed-matter physics research. Some 16 Nobel Prizes have been generated by work done using liquid helium, showing how much of a workhorse it has become in these fields because of distinct characteristics of both the gas and liquid.

    At Harvard, researchers may have to shut down pieces of expensive technical equipment that rely on helium and liquid helium, the super cold liquid version of the gas. In some cases, this could cause irrevocable damage to the instruments and force some of the scientists to bring lines of research to a halt. Some ripple effects could include graduation delays for students whose thesis work depends on those projects.

    “We are already in that worst-case scenario,” said FAS Dean of Science Christopher W. Stubbs. “The supply has been cut in half, so half of the experiments that rely on liquid helium have been shut down as a result. This impedes progress on both the scientific and educational aspects of our division.”

    Helium is the second-most-abundant element in the universe, but on Earth it’s relatively rare. It results from the decay of uranium, can’t be artificially created, and is produced as a byproduct of natural gas refinement. Only a limited number of countries produce it, with the U.S. and Russia among top suppliers. Because that’s the case, it only takes a handful of supply disruptions to trigger a crisis — the gas industry refers to the current one as Helium shortage 4.0, it being the fourth since 2006.

    This latest shortfall began last year and started gaining steam in late winter. It was triggered by a confluence of world events, including global supply-chain problems brought on by the pandemic and worsened by the war in Ukraine, as well as planned and unplanned shutdowns at major producers — such as a mid-January leak in the U.S.’s helium reserve in Texas after a four-month scheduled shutdown and an October fire and a January explosion that closed a major Russian facility.

    At Harvard, the shortage has already forced some researchers who rely heavily on the element to make painful decisions to slow down projects.

    Philip Kim, a professor of physics and applied physics, says he’s had to shut down about half of his lab’s research activities that rely on cryogenic instruments.

    “We use liquid helium to achieve low temperature for our experiment in several different cryostats and in applying high magnetic fields using superconducting magnets [to study the physical properties of low-dimensional quantum materials],” said Kim, whose lab goes through about 3,000 liters of liquid helium per month. “We have six cryostats [we are] actively using and had to shut off three.”

    Kim worries about the effect it will have on the research and futures of lab members.

    “Graduation of my graduate students might be delayed due to slow-down of their thesis work,” he said. “Postdoctoral research fellows’ research projects are also [slowed] down as they also need to wait to be able to perform their experiments.”

    Charles Vidoudez at the Harvard Center for Mass Spectrometry is starting to lose sleep over the shortage. Vidoudez, the center’s principal research scientist, uses it to keep four of the facility’s mass spectrometers at the extremely low pressures they need to be at to operate. The halt would affect dozens of labs that depend on the center to perform a range of analyses using the machines. Vidoudez has spent countless hours calling or emailing just about every supplier that he could find.

    “Most just either don’t answer or the ones that do answer say, ‘We don’t take new customers at the moment,’” Vidoudez said. “It’s been a real struggle.”

    Administrators are trying to help researchers become more efficient with their use of liquid helium and reduce dependency on it. Stubbs and Sarah Lyn Elwell, the FAS Division of Science’s assistant dean for research, are co-chairing a committee focusing on helium conservation and allocation to manage their way through the crisis. There is also the division’s Helium Recovery Facility at 38 Oxford St., which came online in 2012. The facility recovers liquid helium boil-off from 12 participating labs within the FAS. It then purifies and reliquefies the boiled-off helium and dispenses it to the labs again at reduced prices.

    The facility has felt the impacts of the shortage, too, said Markos Hankin, Harvard’s helium liquefier engineer. Since boil-off capture is not 100 percent, the facility must use an outside supply to make up for what is lost. Their supplier allocated them 60 percent of their usual supply. That became 45 percent by the end of March.

    For now, the facility has been able to supply normal levels to labs that use small amounts of liquid helium, but it has had to ration quantities for labs like Kim and Yacoby’s. The facility is coordinating with the conservation committee as well as the University’s Strategic Procurement Office to try to find helium and develop alternate solutions.

    The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Core Facility, which supports more than 30 research groups and over 200 active researchers in the Harvard community, is one of the labs that the recovery facility has been able to keep running at normal levels because it uses only about 1,500 liters per year.

    Anthony Lowe, the electronics technician at the instrumentation center, is responsible for the NMR lab’s liquid helium and helium gas supplies. He is particularly appreciative of the efforts because the liquid helium keeps the large magnets inside the spectrometers at about 450 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Without it, they would have to ramp down the NMR magnets. The machines, whose cost range from half a million to $2 million, aren’t meant to be turned off, however, and there’s a possibility that the NMR magnets would be permanently damaged. “It’s a risky proposition,” Lowe said.

    Lowe hopes the shortage gets better soon, but — like many — he worries about the future of helium in general.

    “It’s a finite resource,” Lowe said. “In our lifetime it might not run out, but for humanity it has a finite supply. We can’t make any more.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s bestknown landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University (US)’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University (US)’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University.

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:47 am on May 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "10 Teams Tackle Climate Change", , , , , The Harvard Gazette   

    From “The Harvard Gazette”: “10 Teams Tackle Climate Change” 

    From “The Harvard Gazette”

    At

    Harvard University

    Harvard awards US$1.3 Million to Fund Climate Change Solutions

    10 teams tackle climate change

    May 18, 2022
    Erin Tighe

    1
    Climate change is being blamed for worsening drought conditions that result in a longer fire season. In 2021, the Caldor Fire (pictured) burned 221,835 acres. Credit: Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    Harvard faculty and students are advancing solutions to climate change and its wide-ranging impacts through new scientific, technological, legal, behavioral, public health, policy, and artistic innovations. Ten research teams will share $1.3 million in the eighth round of the Climate Change Solutions Fund (CCSF) awards. Aiming for impact at both the local and global level, these projects will seek to reduce the risks of climate change, hasten the transition to renewable energy, diminish the impact of existing fossil fuels on the climate, understand and prepare for the effects of climate change, and propel innovations needed to accelerate progress toward a healthier, more sustainable future.

    “Full engagement in the critical work of confronting climate change requires that Harvard advance on as many fronts as we have at our disposal,” said Harvard President Larry Bacow. “The Climate Change Solutions Fund is one of the ways in which we support faculty and students in their important work, and the diversity of this year’s projects is a testament to the variety of tools we have at our disposal to address humanity’s greatest challenge.”

    The fund review committee, chaired by Vice Provost for Climate and Sustainability James Stock, selected research projects from across the University’s 12 Schools. Proposals that demonstrated imaginative and promising collaboration among faculty and students received special consideration, as did projects designed to use the campus as a testbed to study climate change solutions at an institutional scale, which connects with the priorities of the Presidential Committee on Sustainability. As of 2022, nearly 70 CCSF projects have received more than $8 million in funding.

    “We had a very strong set of proposals this year. The breadth across Schools and the substantive strength of the proposals illustrates how so many Harvard scholars are engaging in climate-related research,” said Stock. “I’m also grateful to the members of the proposal review committee for the time and thought that they put into selecting the winning proposals.”

    This year’s projects range from designing strategies for extreme heat adaptation and helping students explore the consequences of their consumption on Harvard’s campus, to studying the health impacts of wildfires on vulnerable populations and building data infrastructure to understand climate change migration around the world.

    The fund was established in 2014 by President Emerita Drew Faust and is supported by the Office of the President and donations from alumni and others. CCSF is managed by the Office of the Vice Provost for Climate and Sustainability at Harvard.

    This year’s winning projects:
    Dryscreen: Creating Human-Centered Comfort in Buildings

    Joanna Aizenberg, Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science and Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS); Jonathan Grinham, Assistant Professor of Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities

    This project seeks to reduce the energy consumption and the use of harmful refrigerants in air conditioning by using a technology that decouples air cooling from humidity reduction — two functions performed simultaneously by conventional air conditioners in buildings. Doing so can lead to significant energy savings by separately tuning dehumidification and cooling to reflect ambient conditions. The new technology — Dryscreen — is a water-selective membrane vacuum system that has been designed and fabricated with support from the U.S. Department of Energy. Funding through the CCSF will enable the on-campus field testing of the Dryscreen prototype, using the Center for Green Buildings and Cities’ HouseZero LiveLab.

    Realizing Low-Cost Direct Air CO2 Capture Using Oxygen Resistant Proton-Coupled Electrochemistry

    Michael Aziz, Gene and Tracy Sykes Professor of Materials and Energy Technologies, SEAS

    Aziz and his team are developing a new way to remove carbon dioxide from the air through the use of electrochemistry. So-called direct air carbon dioxide (DAC) capture represents a crucial solution if the world is to limit global warming to within to 2° Celsius. But conventional DAC technologies are both energy intensive and expensive. Using electrochemistry of water-soluble organic molecules allows for a scalable, low energy cost, and safe way to capture carbon. In the current electrochemical system developed in the PI’s lab, however, atmospheric oxygen (O2) renders the system inoperable. Funding will help the researchers develop a new electrochemical cell structure, with distinct compartments for electrochemistry and carbon capture, which would make the carbon capture process resistant to oxygen or any harmful component in the inlet gas.

    Using Satellite Observations of Atmospheric Methane to Support Effective Global Climate Policy

    Daniel Jacob, Vasco McCoy Family Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Engineering, SEAS, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences; Robert Stavins, A. J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

    Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Decreasing methane emissions represents a significant way to mitigate climate change and is an essential element of achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. However, the national accounting of methane can be inaccurate because of the variety of methane sources and the complexity associated with them. Using high-resolution satellite observations, this project will deploy a new, publicly accessible system for quantifying methane emissions from top-emitting countries. The project will engage stakeholders to validate and to improve national emissions inventories in support of the Paris Agreement and the Global Methane Pledge.

    Building Data Infrastructure to Understand Climate Change Migration

    Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School (HBS), Faculty Director of The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute; Satchit Balsari, Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Caroline Buckee, Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Jennifer Leaning, Senior Research Fellow, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights; Professor of the Practice, Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health; Rahul Mehrotra, John T. Dunlop Professor in Housing and Urbanization, GSD; Neha B. Joseph, Research Fellow, The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard

    The aim of this project is to develop a transformative, open-access climate and population health data-monitoring ecosystem in South Asia. More than 700 million people in South Asia have been affected by at least one climate-related disaster in the last decade. Yet, there is only a vague understanding of how climate change affects who moves, when, and why; how such distress migration in South Asia affects host communities; and the impact that large population fluxes have on access to food, shelter, jobs, and population health. Understanding these forces requires micro data on individual mobility, health, and related measures. Funding will allow the researchers to develop a prototype open-source data repository of traditional and novel data streams from public and private datasets, and invite interdisciplinary teams of stakeholders — including communities, scientists, and policymakers — to explore and apply the datasets to advance adaptation measures.

    Climate Change and Mental Health in Madagascar: A Health Systems Ecological Approach

    Karestan Koenen, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Christopher Golden, Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Planetary Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

    Research will focus on developing and piloting the use of mental health assessment instruments for identifying and measuring the impact of priority mental health and psychosocial problems associated with climate change. The project will center around the population of Malagasy, Madagascar, an island nation experiencing a famine attributed to climate change. The adverse effects of climate change on human physical and mental health remains largely understudied. Of the few empirical studies that exist, most are limited almost exclusively to high-income countries, and none has taken place in Madagascar. In developing reliable mental health assessment instruments, validated in the Malagasy context, the project promises to provide proof of concept that could be used in other settings facing climate-driven crises.

    Mather as a Living Lab

    L Mahadevan, de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, Physics, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology; Faculty Dean of Mather House; Vijay Reddi, Associate Professor, SEAS; Anas Chalah, Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning, Active Learning Labs, SEAS

    The goal of this project is to help residents of Mather, one of Harvard University’s undergraduate student houses, to quantify and deliberate on the consequences of their consumption in the broader context of climate and environmental change. Using miniature sensors, students will measure the use of energy and water, food consumption and waste, along with indoor and outdoor variations in the ambient conditions, such as temperature, carbon dioxide and humidity through the seasons and semesters. The anonymized data will be analyzed using statistical tools combined with mathematical models to ultimately stimulate debate about policy changes and inform choices and decisions associated with sustainable approaches to community living and learning.

    Barocaloric Materials for Sustainable Cooling Technologies

    Jarad A. Mason, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, FAS; Joost J. Vlassak, Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Materials Engineering, SEAS

    This project is aimed at advancing the basic science of solid-state barocaloric cooling, a technology that promises to reduce energy consumption and the use of harmful refrigerants in cooling buildings and removing heat from data centers. Cooling accounts for more than 20 percent of the world’s electricity consumption, and, therefore, better understanding barocaloric materials could ultimately yield a significant climate benefit. Funding will support a research collaboration between the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which will allow for the researchers to bridge the gap between materials discovery and prototype development, with a particular focus on discovering novel materials and mechanisms critical to realizing solid-state cooling at scale.

    Belief Formation and Adaptation to Climate Change

    Dev Patel, Graduate Student in Economics, FAS

    Climate change poses an existential threat for hundreds of millions of people across developing countries. In the absence of severe mitigation measures by the rest of the world, these households must take steps themselves to address the dramatic shifts already occurring in their local environments. The project asks how households learn about and adapt to climate change. This research dives into the underlying mental models guiding farmers’ decisions in agricultural production to understand how the relatively slow, incremental environmental changes characteristic of climate change can often fail to prompt appropriate reactions. The focus is then on the critical issue of rising soil salinity in rural Bangladesh, which drastically reduces rice yields under status quo production. Combining new satellite-based measures of flooding with experimental variation in information and technology access, the research team estimates how households react to the changes in salinity brought on by flooding events and how these beliefs shape climate change adaptation.

    Characterizing Wildfire Smoke Health Impacts and Identifying Vulnerable Populations: A 10-year Study of the Western U.S.

    Rachel Nethery, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

    With wildfire severity in the Western U.S. projected to continue increasing over the coming decades, wildfire smoke exposure presents an escalating threat to human health. Implementing resilience building programs in high-risk communities is one of the most effective tactics for minimizing climate change-related health burdens. The aim of this project is to study past wildfire smoke exposure in order to inform resilience-building efforts. Specifically, the project will examine the impacts of exposure on more than 100 health outcomes over a 10-year period to identify drivers of vulnerability and create county-level wildfire smoke risk profiles.

    Digital Interactivity and Bioclimatic Comfort: Design Strategies for Extreme Heat Adaptation

    Belinda Tato, Associate Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture, GSD

    Extreme heat is a critical climate challenge threatening human health, causing economic stress, and driving greenhouse gas emissions. Higher temperatures and longer and more intense heat waves will continue to impact cities. The organization and structure of the urban built environment is critical in responding to this threat as heat islands in cities intensify negative effects of extreme heat. This project will focus on developing an interactive bioclimatic comfort application and data collection platform for community participation and empowerment with an off-grid temporary installation exhibit. Beyond the typical data focused optimization that is common in a “smart cities” approach, this project focuses on utilizing sensors to allow individuals to experience a new level of interactivity and access to real time bioclimatic information. The project acts on two levels: 1) A temporary physical installation on campus that will serve as a living laboratory and testing ground for sensors and climate-sensitive urban design elements 2) Development of a bioclimatic data collection and sharing platform for community participation in climate-sensitive urban design projects.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s bestknown landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University (US)’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University (US)’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University.

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:19 am on May 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The dawn of a new era in Astronomy", , , , , , , The Harvard Gazette   

    From The Harvard Gazette : “The dawn of a new era in astronomy” 

    From The Harvard Gazette

    At

    Harvard University

    May 13, 2022
    Caitlin McDermott-Murphy

    1
    Hours after unveiling the first image of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, scientists from the Harvard-led team discussed its significance in an online panel. Credit: Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer.

    What the quest to image black holes could tell us about our universe.

    Not long ago, the idea of photographing a black hole was as quixotic as photographing a unicorn. Now, scientists have not one but two images of two different supermassive black holes — and they both look as magical as flaming doughnuts.

    “I remember when black holes were purely theoretical,” said Ellen Stofan, under secretary for science and research at the Smithsonian and former chief scientist at The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, during a post-reveal panel on Thursday. Moderated by Stofan, the conversation brought together four members of the Harvard-led team of scientists that in 2019 revealed to the world the first image of a black hole — a behemoth dubbed Messier 87* after its galaxy, Messier 87. Hours before the panel discussion, the team shared a second image — a close-up of Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A*), the black hole snacking on light and cosmic debris at the center of our very own Milky Way galaxy.

    “There can be no doubt now that we’ve seen black holes for the first time,” said Shep Doeleman, founding director of the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, an international team of more than 100 scientists led by the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. “It’s the dawn of a new era in astronomy.”

    In this new era, scientists could prove — or disprove — Albert Einstein’s long-held theories of gravity and relativity, find Earth 2.0, or discover a wormhole to another universe. (The latter won’t be so hard for Doeleman, who said, cheekily, that he comes from another universe.)

    Photographing a black hole is even harder than it sounds. To capture images of objects so far away, “You’d need a telescope the size of the Earth,” said Kari Haworth, an engineer and the chief technology officer for the EHT. “We didn’t do that because that’s impossible, and it would ruin a lot of people’s views,” she said.

    Instead, the researchers turned the Earth into a giant telescope by coordinating individual machines positioned in Hawaii, Chile, Mexico, Spain, France, and other locations. Each team had to snap a photo at the exact same time. Because black holes gobble up everything that gets too close — even light — they cannot be seen. But their massive gravity pulls in and compresses nearby light and debris, creating a spinning gaseous eddy that’s teeming with energy. “Turning falling matter into luminosity,” was how Doeleman put it.

    _________________________________________
    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.

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

    ESO/APEX
    Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX)

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

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

    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO)

    IRAM NOEMA interferometer
    Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique (IRAM) 30m

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

    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano
    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano


    Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO

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

    Plateau de Bure interferometer
    Plateau de Bure interferometer

    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.
    _________________________________________

    That luminosity can be seen and photographed. Some of the light that gets pulled into the black hole’s gravitational field makes a U-turn or a loop-de-loop before escaping and shooting off in the direction of Earth, carrying an image of where it came from. The EHT team’s final photograph is a composite of pictures taken by each telescope and stacked one on top of each other. To combine all that data — which is light, captured at a very precise moment in time — the team needed to achieve one more strange feat. Each telescope team froze their light, stored it on hard disks (it’s too massive to send across the internet), and flew it, by airplane, to one central location.


    Unveiling Our Galaxy’s Black Hole.

    Messier 87*, the first black hole to get the star treatment, is about 1,000 times larger than Sagittarius A* and far more stable, but the images came out nearly the same, a coup for the EHT — and Albert Einstein. Einstein theorized that black holes have only three characteristics — mass, spin, and charge — and no “hair” (as astrophysicists like to call additional properties). The only difference is a slight blur in the image of Sagittarius A*. Our galaxy’s black hole is fussier, as fidgety as a toddler, and it’s harder to capture a clean picture of something that’s constantly changing, said astrophysicist Paul Tiede. Plus, there’s some cosmic soup between us and Sagittarius A*, which obscures the images ever so slightly. “Even given this,” Tiede said, “I’m still struck with how similar these images are.”

    By the way black holes are described, you might expect them to be insatiable monsters, sucking in everything in space like a bathtub drain. Not exactly. While they are the most powerful objects in the universe — Doeleman said a black hole formed from folding the Earth in half could power Manhattan for a year — they’re not gobbling up entire galaxies, just warping space-time and displacing objects from their intended paths.

    That’s good news because the EHT team suspects there’s a supermassive black hole at the center of every galaxy. But even with these new images, Tiede said, “We know barely anything about them.” (Asked why the black holes are doughnut-shaped, he replied, “Because they’re delicious.”)

    “Black holes live at the frontier of our current knowledge of physics and astrophysics,” said Angelo Ricarte, who brought his pet black hole named Poe — a soft black orb with two googly eyes — to the panel discussion. These new images are already helping Ricarte and other scientists study the strange physics of the superheated gases orbiting the black holes, as well as how the behemoths spew jets of these gases a million light years in any direction. Those jets, Ricarte said, could help explain “our cosmic origin story,” have profound effects on how our galaxy evolves, or bridge theories of the very big with the very small to support a theory of everything. “There are a lot of things we still don’t understand fully in this extreme environment,” he said.

    To gain a better understanding, Doeleman wants to build an even bigger telescope by putting another imaging device on a satellite orbiting the Earth. He also hopes to capture something more exciting than a photo of a black hole: a movie of a black hole.

    “If we could time the orbits of matter, that would be a completely different test of Einstein’s theory,” he said.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s bestknown landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University (US)’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University (US)’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University.

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:38 am on May 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Harvard and QuEra Computing observe quantum speed-up in optimization problems", A breakthrough application of neutral-atom quantum processors to solve problems of practical use., , , , The authors not only deploy the first implementation of efficient quantum optimization on a real quantum computer but also showcase unprecedented quantum hardware power., The Harvard Gazette, These results represent the first step towards bringing useful quantum advantage to hard optimization problems relevant to multiple industries.   

    From The Harvard Gazette : “Harvard and QuEra Computing observe quantum speed-up in optimization problems” 

    From The Harvard Gazette

    At

    Harvard University

    May 5, 2022
    juan_siliezar@harvard.edu

    1
    Credit: Unsplash.

    A collaboration between Harvard University with scientists at QuEra Computing, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The University of Innsbruck [Universität Innsbruck] (AT) and other institutions has demonstrated a breakthrough application of neutral-atom quantum processors to solve problems of practical use.

    The study was co-led by Mikhail Lukin, the George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics at Harvard and co-director of the The Harvard Quantum Initiative, Markus Greiner, George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics, and Vladan Vuletic, Lester Wolfe Professor of Physics at MIT. The study, “Quantum Optimization of Maximum Independent Set using Rydberg Atom Arrays,” was published on May 5 in Science Magazine.

    Previously, neutral-atom quantum processors had been proposed to efficiently encode certain hard combinatorial optimization problems. In this landmark publication, the authors not only deploy the first implementation of efficient quantum optimization on a real quantum computer, but also showcase unprecedented quantum hardware power.

    The calculations were performed on Harvard’s quantum processor of 289 qubits operating in the analog mode, with effective circuit depths up to 32. Unlike in previous examples of quantum optimization, the large system size and circuit depth used in this work made it impossible to use classical simulations to pre-optimize the control parameters. A quantum-classical hybrid algorithm had to be deployed in a closed loop, with direct, automated feedback to the quantum processor.

    This combination of system size, circuit depth, and outstanding quantum control culminated in a quantum leap: problem instances were found with empirically better-than-expected performance on the quantum processor versus classical heuristics. Characterizing the difficulty of the optimization problem instances with a “hardness parameter,” the team identified cases that challenged classical computers, but that were more efficiently solved with the neutral-atom quantum processor. A super-linear quantum speed-up was found compared to a class of generic classical algorithms. QuEra’s open-source packages GenericTensorNetworks.jl and Bloqade.jl were instrumental in discovering hard instances and understanding quantum performance.

    “A deep understanding of the underlying physics of the quantum algorithm as well as the fundamental limitations of its classical counterpart allowed us to realize ways for the quantum machine to achieve a speedup,” says Madelyn Cain, Harvard graduate student and one of the lead authors.

    The importance of match-making between problem and quantum hardware is central to this work: “In the near future, to extract as much quantum power as possible, it is critical to identify problems that can be natively mapped to the specific quantum architecture, with little to no overhead,” said Shengtao Wang, senior scientist at QuEra Computing and one of the co-inventors of the quantum algorithms used in this work, “and we achieved exactly that in this demonstration.”

    The “maximum independent set” problem, solved by the team, is a paradigmatic hard task in computer science and has broad applications in logistics, network design, finance, and more. The identification of classically challenging problem instances with quantum-accelerated solutions paves the path for applying quantum computing to cater to real-world industrial and social needs.

    “These results represent the first step towards bringing useful quantum advantage to hard optimization problems relevant to multiple industries,” added Alex Keesling CEO of QuEra Computing and co-author on the published work. “We are very happy to see quantum computing start to reach the necessary level of maturity where the hardware can inform the development of algorithms beyond what can be predicted in advance with classical compute methods. Moreover, the presence of a quantum speedup for hard problem instances is extremely encouraging. These results help us develop better algorithms and more advanced hardware to tackle some of the hardest, most relevant computational problems.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s bestknown landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University (US)’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.

    Colonial

    Harvard University was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University (US)’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University.

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

     
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