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  • richardmitnick 11:11 am on September 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Search for Another Earth", Astronomer Sara Seager, , The University of Toronto (CA)   

    From University of Toronto (CA) : “The Search for Another Earth” 

    From University of Toronto (CA)

    September 23, 2021
    Dan Falk

    1
    Astronomer Sara Seager believes there are other planets that support life. She’s dedicated much of her career to finding them.

    A few years ago, Sara Seager (BSc 1994 UC) decided that the colourful, fantasy-travel posters published by The Jet Propulsion Laboratory [NASA] at Caltech (US) would be perfect for the hallway just outside her office in The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s department of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences. The posters show fanciful depictions of not only the planets in our own solar system but also of far-away worlds discovered only in the last few decades. (The tag-line for Kepler 16b, a planet that orbits a double-star system: “Where your shadow always has company.”) Whether humans will ever visit these distant worlds is anybody’s guess; even travelling at the speed of light, getting to Kepler 16b would take 200 years. But to Seager, these worlds feel much closer. Astronomers have now catalogued more than 4,500 of these “exoplanets,” some of which may not be too different from our own world. The flurry of discovery has made Seager confident that life, of some sort, is likely to be found beyond our home planet.

    “We know that small, rocky exoplanets are common; we know they’re out there, and there are a lot of them,” she told me on a call from her home in Concord, Massachusetts. A photograph of the constellation Orion, the mighty hunter, hung on the Zoom background behind her.

    “We also suspect the ingredients for life – at least, life as we know it – are very common as well. And water – we think it’s very abundant. So the ingredients for life are there, and the planets are there, and really they just need to come together the right way.”

    Seager, 50, has been described by The New York Times as “the woman who might find us another Earth,” while NASA has called her “an astronomical Indiana Jones.”

    2
    Sara Seager. Credit. Credit: Noah Kalina.

    In late 2020, Seager was appointed to the Order of Canada. She is now at the top of her field, but her journey has not been an easy one, as she recounts in her widely praised memoir, The Smallest Lights in the Universe, published last year. There has been love, and also loss, and – at the risk of giving away the book’s ending – love once again.

    3
    Sara Seager. Photo by Tony Luong.

    Born and raised in Toronto, Seager fell in love with the stars after a camping trip to Bon Echo Provincial Park, in rural eastern Ontario. She knew about the stars from books, of course, and from visits to the McLaughlin Planetarium; and she had glimpsed them in a modest way even from light-polluted Toronto. But she had never seen them like this. “It was just so shocking to me,” she recalls. “It was so incredible and so touching – and I wondered why no one had told me about it.”

    A second life-changing moment happened as she was cutting across U of T’s St. George campus one day, on her daily trek from her mother’s home in the Annex to her high school, Jarvis Collegiate, on the other side of Yonge Street. She happened to see an advertisement for a campus-wide open house. That weekend, she headed to the astronomy department, at that time housed in the upper floors of the Burton Tower. She emerged from the elevator and saw a table staffed by a professor and some students; they were handing out pamphlets and talking about the stars. Suddenly, it clicked. Astronomy was an actual thing you could study; there were people who had made a career out of it, and she could do that too.

    Though her classes were challenging, she has fond memories of her time as an undergrad at U of T, where she majored in math and physics, but also learned about astronomy at every chance. She recalls that “the opportunities for undergrad research were really great.” For Seager, that included two summers spent studying variable stars – ones that grow brighter and dimmer over time in a regular cycle – at The David Dunlap Observatory, just north of the city. She also served as president of the Royal Canadian Institute’s Youth Science Academy.

    Before heading to Harvard University (US) for graduate school, Seager was determined to have the adventure of a lifetime, far from Toronto’s urban bustle. She joined the Wilderness Canoe Association and prepared for a two-month expedition in Canada’s Far North. It was through the club that she met Mike Wevrick, a young man with a beard and a “mop of ginger hair,” as she put it in her memoir. They married in 1998. By that time, they were already living in Massachusetts, where Seager was hard at work on her PhD – but they came back to Toronto for the wedding, holding a small ceremony in U of T’s Hart House.

    Seager’s supervisor at Harvard was Dimitar Sasselov, who had earned his PhD in astronomy from U of T in 1990. Her dream of becoming an astronomer was taking shape. Yet she often felt that she didn’t quite fit in. As an undergrad, even if she had trouble making friends, she had the familiarity of her home city to fall back on. “Graduate school,” she writes in her memoir, “made it harder for me to imagine my way out of my solitude.” She watched her fellow students “the way biologists might observe a family of apes. They formed bonds with each other, but I couldn’t figure out how or when.”

    But she had Mike, and a few years later she had two sons as well. Work was challenging, but at least she was contributing to a burgeoning field, one with plenty of room for discovery. When Seager started at U of T in 1990, the only planets that astronomers were certain of were the nine that circled our own sun (Pluto had not yet been “demoted”). Soon, however, the hunt for exoplanets began to heat up. The main challenge in observing a planet in a distant solar system is that its feeble light is overwhelmed by the light of its host star. So astronomers found workarounds. First, they learned how to infer the presence of these planets via the gravitational tug they exert on their star. Later, many hundreds of exoplanets were found using the Kepler Space Telescope, which was able to detect the regular dimming of distant stars as an unseen planet passed in front.

    Initially, no one knew how important this new field would be. “At the time, it was quite risky because there were only a few planets known, and many in the community weren’t sure if they were planets,” Seager recalls. “But by the end of the 1990s, exoplanets were here to stay.”

    Seager has investigated many different kinds of these distant worlds. Some of them, she’s found, have both Earth-like properties while also resembling a gas-giant planet, such as Jupiter. Composed mainly of hydrogen and helium, these hybrid planets are called “gas dwarfs.” She has also studied the atmospheres of these planets, developing techniques to analyze their chemical composition from the feeble light astronomers are able to collect from them. Her work on exoplanet atmospheres earned her the Helen B. Warner Prize from The American Astronomical Society (US) in 2007, and the Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences in 2012. She is also interested – not surprisingly – in whether anything might be alive on any of these worlds, and if so, what evidence of it astronomers might be able to detect, perhaps by looking for unusual chemistry in a planet’s atmosphere. This is known as the hunt for “biosignature gases.” Seager is developing computer models to simulate all manner of possible planetary atmospheres, to see what combinations of gases might hint at life down below.

    Further recognition followed. Seager was a tenured professor at MIT by her mid-30s; she was awarded a MacArthur “genius” fellowship a few years later. But her intense commitment to her work took a toll; as she relates in her memoir, she and Mike were drifting apart. And then things got worse. They learned that Mike was suffering from a rare type of intestine cancer. He died just a few days after Seager’s 40th birthday. His passing left her distraught and disoriented: “When you lose someone,” she writes in The Smallest Lights, “their dying doesn’t stop with their death. You lose them a thousand times in a thousand ways. You say a thousand goodbyes. You hold a thousand funerals.” With the help of a group of local women who had also lost their husbands – she calls the informal club the Widows of Concord – she found the strength to carry on.

    How can one get a better look at an exoplanet? One obvious idea – obvious on paper, at least – is to somehow block out the light from the host star. For more than a decade now, Seager has been part of a team pushing for a project called Starshade – an ambitious venture that would see a large, flower-shaped disk, perhaps 30 metres across, launched into space.

    It would work in tandem with a space-based observatory, such as the planned Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.

    The telescope would aim at a particular star, while Starshade, positioned strategically some 30,000 kilometres away but exactly in line with the star, would block out the star’s light, revealing the adjacent planet. (Why the unusual shape? Because, physicists have shown, a sunflower-like shape minimizes the amount of diffracted light, yielding the sharpest image.) Starshade would be costly, of course. Seager is hopeful that the project is reasonably high on NASA’s list of priorities – but U.S. astronomers are currently in the middle of a once-per-decade project review and it remains to be seen which proposals get the green light. Seager is hopeful. “I’m going to do my very best to make Starshade, or something like it, a reality.”

    While Seager’s focus has been the search for habitable worlds beyond our solar system, she also believes there are potential discoveries to be made closer to home. Last fall, she was part of the team that claimed to have detected the chemical phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. While that claim is still being scrutinized, it seems that something unusual is happening in the planet’s clouds. (On Earth, phosphine is typically associated with microorganisms, but the team acknowledged that the gas might be created by some unknown chemical process.) Whatever is going on, it was enough to spark the interest of Breakthrough Initiatives, a group established by tech billionaire Yuri Milner. The organization recently provided funding for Seager to lead a planned project to study Venus’s atmosphere in more detail. Whatever they find on Venus, Seager is certain the investigation will be an invaluable warm-up for the future study of exoplanet atmospheres and any signs of life they may harbour.

    Seager is a popular draw on the science lecture circuit, and in 2013 The Royal Astronomical Society (CA), a nation-wide collective of amateur astronomy clubs, asked Seager if she would speak at their annual general assembly, to be held that summer in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She eagerly accepted – and that’s where she met a tall, handsome man named Charles Darrow. Like Seager, Darrow was a long-time night sky enthusiast, though he was happy enough to pursue it as a hobby, gazing at the stars from his cottage on Georgian Bay. With Darrow in southern Ontario and Seager in Massachusetts, their relationship began via phone calls and Skype. “We were pioneers of virtual dating,” Darrow jokes. They married in 2015.

    While Seager’s research has focused on distant stars and planets, she has also discovered things about herself – including the very recent realization that she is autistic. The revelation came following a 2016 New York Times Magazine profile in which the reporter described Seager’s solitary nature, her disinterest in small talk, and her ability to latch onto every new project with laser-like intensity. A friend whose wife is an autism specialist emailed her after reading the article. Seager’s first thought, as she writes in her memoir, was that she was “too old not to know such a basic fact” about herself – but she consulted with a specialist, who soon confirmed it. “It was a huge relief,” she recounted over Zoom. “I’m still awkward and different, but I’m happy to have the diagnosis.” She says she’s often approached by young scientists, especially women, who tell her about their own concerns about fitting in, as a result of being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Seager does what she can to encourage and support them. She also believes her condition has helped her excel in science. “I’m so good at my job, probably because I have autism.”

    Our conversation turns once again to the stars. Through all the highs and lows, they have been there. They will always be there, instilling awe and providing a measure of solace. “It just somehow feels comforting,” she says. “It feels wonderful, to know that there’s something bigger than all of us.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Toronto (CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities (US) outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.

    Research

    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:02 pm on September 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Groundbreakers: U of T’s Data Sciences Institute to help researchers find answers to their biggest questions", The University of Toronto (CA)   

    From University of Toronto (CA) : “Groundbreakers: U of T’s Data Sciences Institute to help researchers find answers to their biggest questions” 

    From University of Toronto (CA)

    September 16, 2021
    Berton Woodward

    When University of Toronto astronomer Bryan Gaensler looks up at the night sky, he doesn’t just see stars – he sees data. Big data.

    So big, in fact, that his current research tracking the baffling “fast radio bursts” (FRBs) that bombard Earth from across the universe requires the capture of more data per second than all of Canada’s internet traffic.

    “This is probably the most exciting thing in astronomy right now, and it’s a complete mystery,” says Gaensler, director of U of T’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics and Canada Research Chair in Radio Astronomy. “Randomly, maybe once a minute, there’s this incredibly bright flash of radio waves – like a one-millisecond burst of static – from random directions all over the sky.

    “We now know that they’re from very large distances, up to billions of light-years, so they must be incredibly powerful to be able to be seen this far away.”

    U of T is a world leader in finding FRBs, using the multi-university CHIME radio telescope in British Columbia’s Okanagan region and a U of T supercomputer. Yet, despite the impressive technology, many daunting challenges remain.

    “It’s a massive computational and processing problem that is holding us back,” he says. “We are recording more than the entire internet of Canada, every day, every second. And because there’s no hard drive big enough or fast enough to actually save that data, we end up throwing most of it away. We would obviously like to better handle the data, so that needs better equipment and better algorithms and just better ways of thinking about the data.”

    With the creation of U of T’s Data Sciences Institute (DSI), Gaensler and his colleagues now have a new place to turn to for help. The institute, which is holding a launch event tomorrow, is designed to help the university’s wealth of academic experts in a variety of disciplines team up with statisticians, computer scientists, data engineers and other digital experts to create powerful research results that can solve a wide range of problems – from shedding light on interstellar mysteries to finding life-saving genetic therapies.

    “The way forward is to bring together new teams of astronomers, computer scientists, artificial intelligence experts and statisticians who can come up with fresh approaches optimized to answer specific scientific questions that we currently don’t know how to address,” Gaensler says.

    The Data Sciences Institute is just one of nearly two dozen Institutional Strategic Initiatives (ISI) launched by U of T to address complex, real-world challenges that cut across fields of expertise. Each initiative brings together a flexible, multidisciplinary team of researchers, students and partners from industry, government and the community to take on a “grand challenge.”

    “We’re bringing together individuals at the intersection of traditional disciplinary fields and computational and data sciences,” says Lisa Strug, director of the Data Sciences Institute and a professor in the departments of statistical sciences and computer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science, and a senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children research institute.

    She notes that U of T boasts world-leading experts in fields such as medicine, health, social sciences, astrophysics and the arts, and “some of the top departments in the world in the cognate areas of data science like statistics, mathematics, computer science and engineering.”

    Data science techniques can be brought to bear on a near-infinite variety of academic questions – from climate change to transportation, planning to art history. In literature, Strug says, many works from previous centuries are now being digitized, allowing data-based analysis right down to, say, sentence structure.

    “New fields of data science are emerging every day,” says Strug, who oversees data-intensive genomics research in complex diseases such as cystic fibrosis that has led to the promise of new drugs to treat the debilitating lung disease. “We have so much computational disciplinary strength we can leverage to define and advance these new fields.

    “We want to make sure that faculty have access to the cutting-edge tools and methodology that enable them to push the frontiers of their field forward. They may be answering questions they wouldn’t have been able to ask before, without that data and without those tools.”

    A key function of the DSI is the creation and funding of Collaborative Research Teams (CRTs) of professors and students from a variety of disciplines who can work together on important projects with stable support.

    Gaensler, who already has statisticians on his team, says he’s looking to the CRTs to greatly expand the scope of his work.

    “We have just done the low-hanging fruit,” he says. “There are many deeper problems that we haven’t even started on.”

    Similarly, Laura Rosella, an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, says the collaborative teams will be a major asset for the university.

    “We’re going to dedicate funding to these multi-disciplinary trainees and post-docs so we can start building a critical mass of people that can actually translate between these disciplines,” she says. “To solve problems, you need this connecting expertise.”

    Rosella played a key role in how Ontario dealt with COVID-19 in the early part of 2021. By analyzing anonymous cellphone data along with health information, she and her interdisciplinary team were able to see where people were moving and congregating, and then predict in advance likely clusters of the disease that would appear up to two weeks later. Her work helped support the province’s highly successful strategy of targeting so-called “hotspots.”

    “We’ve been able to work with diverse data sources in order to generate insights that are used for
    high-level pandemic preparedness and planning, in ways that weren’t possible before,” says Rosella, who sits on Ontario’s COVID-19 Modelling Consensus Table. “And we’ve also brought in new angles to the data around the social determinants of health that have shone a light on the policy measures that are needed to truly address disparities in COVID rates.”

    Rosella’s population risk tools also include one for diabetes, which health systems can use to estimate the future burden of the disease and guide future planning. This includes inputs about the built environment. For example, if people can walk to a new transit stop, Rosella says, the increased exercise may have an impact on diabetes or other diseases. Potentially, even satellite imaging data could be brought into the prediction mix, she says.

    In addition to advancing research in a given field, the Data Sciences Institute is also seeking to advance equity.

    That includes tackling societal inequalities uncovered by data research – including how socio-economic factors can determine who is more likely to get COVID-19 – and the way the research itself is being conducted.

    For example, Strug says most genomics studies have focused on participants of European origin, even though the genetic risk factors for various diseases can differ between different ethnicities.

    “We must make sure we develop and implement the models, tools and research designs – and bring diverse sources of data together – to ensure our understanding of disease risk is applicable to all,” Strug says.

    Many algorithms, or the data they use to make predictions, contain unconscious bias that may skew results – which is why Strug says transparency is vital both to support equity and to ensure studies can be reproduced properly.

    Gaensler says it’s critical to ensure diversity among researchers, too.

    “My department looks very different from the faces that I see on the subway,” he says. “It’s not a random sampling of Canadian society – it’s very male, white and old, and that’s a problem we need to work on.”

    Strug hopes the Data Sciences Institute will ultimately become a nucleus for researchers across the university – and beyond.

    “There’s never been one entrance to the university to guide people, so it’s so important for us to be that front door,” she says.

    “We will make every effort to stay abreast of the different fantastic things that are happening in data sciences and be able to direct people to the right place, as well as provide an inclusive, welcoming and inspiring academic home.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Toronto (CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities (US) outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.

    Research

    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:17 am on August 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "From detecting earthquakes to preventing disease- 27 U of T research projects receive CFI funding", Aerospace Studies and Engineering, , Baby Brain and Behaviour, , Cellular and Biomolecular Research, Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, Civil and Mineral engineering, Dynamic Emotional Behavior, , Macromolecular bioelectronics encoded for self-assembly, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Medical Biophysics and Cancer studies, Multi-organ repair and regeneration after lung injury, Nutritional sciences, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Radiation Oncology, Stem cell models, , Sustainable Water Management and Resource Recovery, Targeted brain tumour therapies, The University of Toronto (CA)   

    From University of Toronto (CA) : “From detecting earthquakes to preventing disease- 27 U of T research projects receive CFI funding” 

    From University of Toronto (CA)

    August 12, 2021
    Tyler Irving

    1
    In a U of T Engineering lab, rock samples are subjected to the stress, fluid pressure and temperature conditions they experience in nature. Photo courtesy of Sebastian Goodfellow.

    Sebastian Goodfellow, a researcher at the University of Toronto (CA), listens for hidden signals that the ground is about to move beneath our feet.

    That includes so-called “induced” earthquakes that stem from human activities such as hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) and enhanced geothermal systems.

    “Think of the cracking sounds a cube of ice makes when you drop it in a cup of warm water, or the sound a wooden stick makes when you bend it until it breaks,” says Goodfellow, an assistant professor in the department of civil and mineral engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

    “This occurs as a consequence of sudden localized changes in stress, and we study these microfracture sounds in the lab to understand how rock responds to changes in stress, fluid pressure and temperature.”

    While the frequency of these sonic clues is beyond the range of human hearing, they can be picked up with acoustic emission sensors. The challenge, however, is that scientists must listen continuously for hours in the absence of a method to predict when they will occur.

    “We’re talking about more than a terabyte of data per hour,” says Goodfellow. “We use a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning to extract patterns from these large waveform datasets.”

    Goodfellow’s study of induced seismicity project is one of 27 at U of T – and nine from U of T Engineering – to share more than $8.2 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (Read the full list of researchers and their projects).

    Named for the late U of T President Emeritus John R. Evans, the fund equips university researchers with the technology and infrastructure they need to remain at the forefront of innovation in Canada and globally. It also helps Canadian universities attract top researchers from around the world.

    “From sustainable electric transportation and engineering of novel materials to non-invasive neuro-imaging and applications of AI in public health, U of T researchers across our three campuses are advancing some of the most important discoveries of our time,” said Leah Cowen, U of T’s associate vice-president, research.

    “Addressing such complex challenges often requires cutting-edge technology, equipment and facilities. The support provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation will go a long way towards enabling our researchers’ important work.”

    Goodfellow’s team will use the funding to buy a triaxial geophysical imaging cell fitted with acoustic emissions sensors as well as hardware for high-frequency acquisition of acoustic emissions data. The equipment will enable them to carry out controlled experiments in the lab, test better algorithms and develop new techniques to turn the data into insights – all to better understand processes that lead to induced earthquakes.

    By learning more about how these tiny cracks and pops are related to larger seismic events such as earthquakes, the team hopes to help professionals in a wide range of sectors make better decisions. That includes industries that employ underground injection technologies – geothermal power, hydraulic fracturing and carbon sequestration, among others – along with the bodies charged with regulating them.

    “Up until now, our poor understanding of the causal links between fluid injection and large, induced earthquakes limited the economic development of these industries,” says Goodfellow.

    “Our research will help mitigate the human and environmental impacts, leading to new economic growth opportunities for Canada.”

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Here is the full list of 27 U of T researchers who received support for their projects:

    Cristina Amon, department of mechanical & industrial engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering: Enabling sustainable e-mobility through intelligent thermal management systems for EVs and charging infrastructure.

    Jacqueline Beaudry, department of nutritional sciences in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Lunenfeld-Tannenbaum Research Institute at Sinai Health: Role of pancreatic and gut hormones in energy metabolism.

    Swetaprovo Chaudhuri, U of T Institute for Aerospace Studies in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering: Kinetics-transport interaction towards deposition of carbon particulates in meso-channel supercritical fuel flows.

    Mark Currie, department of cell and systems biology in Faculty of Arts & Science: Structural Biology Laboratory.

    Marcus Dillon, department of biology at U of T Mississauga: The evolutionary genomics of infectious phytopathogen emergence.

    Landon Edgar, department of pharmacology and toxicology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine: Technologies to interrogate and control carbohydrate-mediated immunity.

    Gregory Fairn, department of biochemistry in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and St. Michael’s Hospital: Advanced live cell imaging and isothermal calorimetry for the study immune cell dysfunction and inflammation.

    Kevin Golovin, department of mechanical and industrial engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering: Durable Low Ice Adhesion Coatings Laboratory.

    Sebastian Goodfellow, department of civil and mineral engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering: A study of induced seismicity through novel triaxial experiments and data analysis methodologies.

    Giovanni Grasselli, department of civil and mineral engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering: Towards the sustainable development of energy resources – fundamentals and implications of hydraulic fracturing technology.

    Kristin Hope, department of medical biophysics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network: Characterizing and unlocking the therapeutic potential of stem cells and the leukemic microenvironment.

    Elizabeth Johnson, department of psychology at U of T Mississauga: Baby Brain and Behaviour Lab (BaBBL) – electrophysiological measures of infant speech and language development.

    Omar Khan, Institute of Biomedical Engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering and department of immunology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine: Combination ribonucleic acid treatment technology lab.

    Marianne Koritzinsky, department of radiation oncology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network: Targeted therapeutics to enhance radiotherapy efficacy and safety in the era of image-guided conformal treatment.

    Christopher Lawson, department of chemical engineering & applied chemistry in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering: The Microbiome Engineering Laboratory for Resource Recovery.

    Fa-Hsuan Lin, department of medical biophysics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Sunnybrook Research Institute: Integrated non-invasive human neuroimaging and neuromodulation platform.

    Vasanti Malik, department of nutritional sciences in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine: Child obesity and metabolic health in pregnancy – a novel approach to chronic disease prevention and planetary health.

    Rafael Montenegro-Burke, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research and department of molecular genetics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine: Mapping the dark metabolome using click chemistry tools.

    Robert Rozeske, department of psychology at U of T Scarborough: Neuronal mechanisms of dynamic emotional behavior.

    Karun Singh, department of laboratory medicine and pathobiology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network: Stem cell models to investigate brain function in development and disease.

    Corliss Kin I Sio, department of Earth sciences in the Faculty of Arts & Science: Constraining source compositions and timescales of mass transport using femtosecond LA-MC-ICPMS.

    Helen Tran, department of chemistry in the Faculty of Arts & Science: Macromolecular bioelectronics encoded for self-assembly, degradability and electron transport.

    Andrea Tricco, Dalla Lana School of Public Health: Expediting knowledge synthesis using artificial intelligence – CAL®-Synthesi.SR Dashboard.

    Jay Werber, department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering: The Advanced Membranes (AM) Laboratory for Sustainable Water Management and Resource Recovery.

    Haibo Zhang, department of physiology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and St. Michael’s Hospital: Real time high-resolution imaging and cell sorting for studying multi-organ repair and regeneration after lung injury.

    Gang Zheng, department of medical biophysics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network: Preclinical magnetic resonance imaging for targeted brain tumour therapies.

    Shurui Zhou, department of electrical and computer engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering: Improving collaboration efficiency for fork-based software development.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Toronto (CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities (US) outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.

    Research

    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:54 pm on June 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "‘It’s never too late’- U of T grad completes degree he began more than a decade ago", Almost 10 years; multiple jobs; two kids and a global pandemic later Kadeem Daley-Lewis feels just as energized getting his degree now as he would have in 2013., “I didn’t give up on my journey. I went back and finished what I started, ” says Daley-Lewis., He plans on marrying his passion for research and teaching to become a professor in the future., He returned to school in September 2019 to pursue a passion for anthropology., The University of Toronto (CA), With his sights now set on grad school Daley-Lewis is interested in pursuing paleoanthropology-the evolutionary history of mankind., With the help of academic adviser Kathy Fellowes Daley-Lewis built a time-management plan to help maintain a school-life balance.   

    From University of Toronto (CA) : “‘It’s never too late’- U of T grad completes degree he began more than a decade ago” 

    From University of Toronto (CA)

    June 16, 2021
    Tina Adamopoulos

    1
    Kadeem Daley-Lewis, who is graduating from U of T Scarborough with a major in evolutionary anthropology and a double-minor in biology and sociocultural anthropology, plans to become a professor. Photo by Don Campbell.

    Almost 10 years; multiple jobs; two kids and a global pandemic later Kadeem Daley-Lewis feels just as energized getting his degree now as he would have in 2013 when he originally planned on walking across the stage at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall.

    “I didn’t give up on my journey. I went back and finished what I started,” says Daley-Lewis, who is graduating from U of T Scarborough with a bachelor’s degree in evolutionary anthropology and a double-minor in biology and sociocultural anthropology.

    “It’s never too late. I feel as happy now as I would have been back then. Never give up, always go for your dreams and don’t be fearful because that might hinder your process.”

    Daley-Lewis started at U of T Scarborough in 2009 but soon took a break as he questioned whether school was the right fit and other factors, including work, pulled him away. But, as time passed, he says he found his work wasn’t making him happy – so he returned to school in September 2019 to pursue a passion for anthropology.

    “I’ve always been an academic person, even though I wasn’t doing well at the time. I always wanted to be in the sciences in some way and the jobs I had definitely made me feel like I had to do more with my life.”

    With the help of academic adviser Kathy Fellowes Daley-Lewis built a time-management plan to help maintain a school-life balance.

    One of his most memorable moments was the opportunity to meet and connect with guest lecturers in Mingyuan Zhang’s course on reading ethnography. He says it was one of the most engaging opportunities to learn and understand the discipline at a deeper level.

    “The people that we were reading about would often come and do guest lectures for us,” Daley-Lewis says. “That was really engaging because it made me feel more involved in what I was studying and it made it feel more real because you read about these people’s works and now you can ask them questions.”

    Daley-Lewis credits two professors from the department of anthropology who have inspired him to think differently about the discipline. The first is Assistant Professor Lena Mortensen, who teaches a course in ethnographic methods in anthropology at U of T Scarborough.

    “She helped me understand the usefulness of interviewing and participant observation, seeing the value from engaging with a group of people and telling a story you wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

    The second is Assistant Professor Julie Teichroeb, who taught Daley-Lewis in two anthropology courses. Teichroeb says that, amid the shift to virtual lectures, Daley-Lewis was always among the first students to begin online discussions and often motivated the class with his light-hearted humour.

    “Kadeem was one of the most interactive students with really thoughtful, inspiring and funny comments,” Teichroeb says. “I think people like that, where their level of engagement is so high, really bring the class into the topic.”

    With his sights now set on grad school Daley-Lewis is interested in pursuing paleoanthropology-the evolutionary history of mankind. He plans on marrying his passion for research and teaching to become a professor in the future.

    His advice for incoming students? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

    “Every time I asked [a] question, even with reservations, it always ended up being a good question and it helped other people, too,” he says. “It gave me confirmation that it’s OK to step out of your comfort zone.”

    Looking back on his academic journey, Daley-Lewis says one of the greatest lessons he learned was the power of self-confidence and putting aside insecurities to reach your full potential.

    “I’m a lot more confident than I let myself believe, and a lot more capable than I thought. With this renewed confidence, I feel like I can go out into the world and achieve anything.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Toronto (CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities (US) outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.

    Research

    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:31 am on June 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "U of T researchers develop antibody drug that could treat diabetic retinopathy", , , The University of Toronto (CA)   

    From University of Toronto (CA) : “U of T researchers develop antibody drug that could treat diabetic retinopathy” 

    From University of Toronto (CA)

    June 09, 2021
    Eileen Hoftyzer

    1
    A team led by U of T researcher Stéphane Angers has developed a synthetic antibody as a promising treatment for diabetic retinopathy, which causes blindness and affects about one third of diabetes patients (photo by Tetra Images via Getty Images)

    The life-saving diabetic medication insulin, developed at the University of Toronto 100 years ago, was the first biologic therapy – a protein to treat disease. Now, a new biologic therapy developed by U of T researchers has potential to reverse a common diabetes complication.

    A team led by Stéphane Angers, professor and associate dean of research at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, has developed a synthetic antibody as a promising treatment for diabetic retinopathy, which causes blindness and affects about 30 per cent of diabetes patients.

    The researchers tested the antibody in both cell cultures and mice. The results were published this week in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

    “This study has shown that these antibodies are very attractive therapeutics to restore blood-retina barrier defects,” said Rony Chidiac, a post-doctoral researcher in the Angers lab and lead author of the study.

    “It gives new hope for the treatment of eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.”

    Angers and his team are experts in the Wnt cell signalling pathway, which is crucial for the formation and maintenance of the blood-retina barrier, a physiological barrier that prevents molecules from entering the retina.

    When the signalling pathway is disrupted – which can occur because of genetic mutations in rare eye conditions such as Norrie disease, or when tissue oxygen is low, as in diabetic retinopathy – the blood vessels can become leaky, causing damage in the eye.

    2
    Professor Stéphane Angers (right) works alongside post-doctoral researcher Rony Chidiac in this 2018 photo (Photo by Steve Southon.)

    In previous research, Angers had collaborated with Sachdev Sidhu at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research to develop a catalogue of synthetic antibodies that could activate Wnt signalling.

    Their new publication describes how one of the antibodies, specifically activating the Frizzled4-LRP5 receptor complex, successfully stimulated Wnt signalling in the blood-retina barrier and effectively restored barrier function.

    The antibody attaches to two key cell surface receptors (Frizzled4 and LRP5) bringing them close together, and this induced proximity activates the Wnt pathway that maintains the blood vessels.

    The team first tested the antibody in cell cultures and found that it was a highly precise way to trigger the signalling pathway and restore barrier function. They then tested the antibody in different mouse models in collaboration with Harald Junge at the University of Minnesota and AntlerA Therapeutics, a start-up company founded by Angers and Sidhu. One model represented a genetic eye condition and one represented diabetic retinopathy.

    Remarkably, the antibody restored the barrier function and corrected retinal blood vessel formation in mice. In addition, it normalized the pathological formation of new blood vessels, one of the consequences of a leaky blood-retina barrier that causes further eye damage.

    With the antibody’s promising preclinical results, AntlerA Therapeutics will now lead the commercialization and translation to clinical studies.

    While the current study’s results are focused on eye conditions, the similarities between the blood-retina barrier and blood-brain barrier mean that its applications could be much broader than eye conditions.

    “The retinal vasculature was the first indication, and we have new funding to explore the role of this pathway in other contexts,” said Angers. “For example, we are testing whether this antibody could have implications in the blood-brain barrier and whether it could repair the barrier in the context of stroke.”

    “We’ve found a way to activate Wnt signalling very precisely in order to have a viable therapeutic opportunity and actually treat these diseases,” added Chidiac. “We anticipate that this could have enormous impact in diverse applications in regenerative medicine.”

    The research was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research [Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada] (CA) and the government of Ontario, among others.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Toronto (CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities (US) outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.

    Research

    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:40 am on June 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Studying guppies researchers find ADHD drugs can affect later generations", A steady dose of methylphenidate hydrochloride (MPH) affected the anxiety and stress-related behaviour of males but not females., , , , The scientists observed the same behaviors in several generations of their descendants not directly administered the drug., The University of Toronto (CA), Women in STEM-Alex De Serrano   

    From University of Toronto (CA) : Women in STEM-Alex De Serrano “Studying guppies researchers find ADHD drugs can affect later generations” 

    From University of Toronto (CA)

    June 03, 2021
    Sean Bettam

    1
    U of T PhD candidate Alex De Serrano is the lead author of a study that found the effects of drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta could be detected in multiple generations of guppies, including those with no direct exposure Credit: Helen Rodd.

    By studying guppies, scientists at the University of Toronto and Florida State University (US) found that behaviours affected by methylphenidate hydrochloride (MPH) – the active ingredient in stimulants such as Ritalin and Concerta used to treat ADHD – can be passed along to several generations of descendants.

    “We exposed male and female Trinidadian guppies to a low, steady dose of MPH and saw that it affected the anxiety and stress-related behaviour of males, but not females,” said Alex De Serrano, a PhD candidate in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology (EEB) in the Faculty of Arts & Science and lead author of a study published recently in Scientific Reports.

    “Because of this male-specific effect, we investigated the effects of MPH through the paternal line and observed the same behaviours in several generations of their descendants not directly administered the drug.”

    The findings add to growing knowledge about paternal effects on offspring, as well as the capacity for those effects to span multiple generations – of which even less is known.

    From one month of age and through adolescence and into adulthood, first-generation guppies were exposed to MPH via the water in which they lived. The researchers then compared their behaviour against a control population exposed to non-treated water and observed that the males exposed to Ritalin were less cautious when placed in a new environment, compared to those not treated with the drug.

    “The Ritalin-treated males showed less inhibition than expected when moved to a new environment,” said De Serrano. “Under natural conditions, guppies would be expected to freeze if they found themselves in such a situation, as this allows them to assess their new surroundings for predators and other threats.”

    De Serrano then produced three generations of offspring from these individuals to see if the behaviour of their descendants differed from descendants of those not exposed to the drug and observed behaviours similar to those of first-generation males exposed to the drug.

    “It suggests that Ritalin has the potential to cause changes that persist across several generations,” De Serrano said.

    2
    The study’s findings contribute to a growing understanding of paternal effects on offspring as well as the capacity for those effects to span multiple generations. Credit: Alex De Serrano.

    The researchers say the paternal effect of behavioural change may be transmitted to descendants via non-genetic modifications to the sperm of male ancestors exposed to Ritalin. Such molecular changes that don’t affect DNA are a potential mechanism for males to transmit information about their environment – including exposure to drugs or pollutants – to future offspring.

    “In many species, including guppies, males do not interact with offspring beyond contributing sperm, so it was traditionally thought that paternal effects would be limited to species where fathers provide some type of care to offspring or other resources to mothers,” said Helen Rodd, a professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology who is De Serrano’s supervisor.

    “As of now, most known examples in animals of paternal effects and transgenerational effects – effects that span several generations – come from rodents, so our findings add to the handful of studies that have found paternal, transgenerational effects in other species, though the actual mechanism remains unclear.”

    It has been suggested that Ritalin could cause transgenerational effects because MPH has been shown to affect the sperm cells of male rodents. Further, paternal effects have been observed in descendants of rats exposed to drugs with a similar mode of action. Despite these concerns, the transgenerational effects of paternal exposure to MPH in humans are unknown.

    “I was surprised to learn that no studies had investigated whether a drug so commonly prescribed to adolescent boys to treat ADHD affects the behaviour of their offspring,” said De Serrano. “Because reduced caution in new situations has been associated with increased drug-seeking behaviour in rodents and humans, our results suggest that long-term exposure to Ritalin could increase the propensity for drug abuse and other affective disorders in males and their descendants.”

    However, the researchers note that, as with all comparative studies, their results only hint at general processes that might be occurring in humans and are not directly translatable to human populations.

    “More research is required to determine the mechanism that caused this altered behaviour to persist across generations,” said De Serrano. “And in order to extend these results to humans, longitudinal studies following individuals taking Ritalin and their offspring are needed.”

    Support for the research was provided by the NSERC – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (CA).

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Toronto (CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities (US) outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.

    Research

    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

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

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

    From Live Science

    2.11.21
    Brandon Specktor

    A dead supercontinent may be to blame.

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

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

    2

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

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

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

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

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

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

    When mountains vanish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The eon of nothing

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

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

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

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

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

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
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