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  • richardmitnick 5:33 am on October 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , UC Santa Barbara   

    From UCSB: “Magnetic Hide and Seek” 

    UC Santa Barbara Name bloc

    KITP Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics UCSB

    October 22, 2015
    Julie Cohen

    Researchers at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics develop a new technique to detect magnetic fields inside stars

    1
    This artist’s representation of a red giant star with a strong internal magnetic field shows sound waves propagating in the stellar outer layers, while gravity waves propagate in the inner layers where a magnetic field is present.

    Magnetic fields have important consequences in all stages of stellar evolution, from a star’s formation to its demise. Now, for the first time, astrophysicists are able to determine the presence of strong magnetic fields deep inside pulsating giant stars.

    A consortium of international researchers, including several from UC Santa Barbara’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP), used asteroseismology — a discipline similar to seismology — to track waves traveling through stars in order to determine their inner properties. Their findings appear in the journal Science.

    2
    Jim Fuller, Matteo Cantiello and Lars Bildsten Photo Credit: Bill Wolf

    “We can now probe regions of the star that were previously hidden,” said co-lead author Matteo Cantiello, a specialist in stellar astrophysics at KITP. “The technique is analogous to a medical ultrasound, which uses sound waves to image otherwise invisible parts of the human body.”

    Cantiello’s curiosity and that of his co-authors was sparked when astrophysicist Dennis Stello of the University of Sydney presented puzzling data from the Kepler satellite, a space telescope that measures stellar brightness variations with very high precision.

    NASA Kepler Telescope
    NASA/Kepler

    Cantiello, KITP director Lars Bildsten and Jim Fuller, a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, agreed that this was a mystery worth solving. After much debate, many calculations and the additional involvement of Rafael García, a staff scientist at France’s Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique, a solution emerged. The data were explained by the presence of strong magnetic fields in the inner regions of these stars.

    The puzzling phenomenon was observed in a group of red giants imaged by Kepler. Red giants are stars much older and larger than the sun. Their outer regions are characterized by turbulent motion that excites sound waves, which interact with gravity waves that travel deep into the stellar core. Magnetic fields in the core can hinder the motions produced by the gravity waves.

    “Imagine the magnetic field as stiff rubber bands embedded in the stellar gas, which affect the propagation of gravity waves,” Fuller explained. “If the magnetic field is strong enough, the gravity waves become trapped in the star’s core. We call this the magnetic greenhouse effect.”

    The trapping occurs because the incoming wave is reflected by the magnetic field into waves with a lower degree of symmetry, which are prevented from escaping the core. As a result, stellar surface oscillations have smaller amplitude compared to a similar star without a strong magnetic field.

    “We used these observations to put a limit on — or even measure — the internal magnetic fields for these stars,” Cantiello said. “We found that red giants can possess internal magnetic fields nearly a million times stronger than a typical refrigerator magnet.

    “This is exciting as internal magnetic fields play an important role both for the evolution of stars and for the properties of their remnants,” Cantiello added. “For example, some of the most powerful explosions in the universe — long gamma-ray bursts — are associated with the death of some huge stars. These behemoths — 10 or more times more massive than our sun — most likely ended their lives with strong magnetic fields in their cores.”

    This work was written collaboratively on the web. A public, open Science version of the published paper can be found on Authorea, including a layman’s summary.

    See the full article here .

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    The University of California, Santa Barbara (commonly referred to as UC Santa Barbara or UCSB) is a public research university and one of the 10 general campuses of the University of California system. Founded in 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, UCSB joined the University of California system in 1944 and is the third-oldest general-education campus in the system. The university is a comprehensive doctoral university and is organized into five colleges offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 55 graduate degrees. In 2012, UCSB was ranked 41st among “National Universities” and 10th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report. UCSB houses twelve national research centers, including the renowned Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

    University of California Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 7:16 pm on August 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , UC Santa Barbara   

    From NSF: “NSF selects first Long-Term Ecological Research network communications office” 

    nsf
    National Science Foundation

    August 4, 2015
    Media Contacts
    Cheryl Dybas, NSF, (703) 292-7734, cdybas@nsf.gov
    Julie Cohen, UCSB, (805) 893-3071, julie.cohen@ucsb.edu

    Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis receives $3.5 million award for support of multi-site efforts

    1
    Scuba diver measures giant kelp biomass at the NSF Santa Barbara Coastal LTER site. Credit: NSF SBC LTER Site

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) as the site for the first national Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) network communications office.

    The largest and longest-lived network in the U.S. that focuses on ecological research, LTER scientists conduct studies that can continue for decades and span extensive geographic areas.

    The communications office will be operated by UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS).

    New challenges, new opportunities

    “The LTER program faces new challenges as it enters its fourth decade: the increasing multi-disciplinarity of ecological research, increased value of synthesizing heterogeneous data, and rapid changes in the needs for, and modes of, science communication, among others,” said James Olds, NSF assistant director for Biological Sciences.

    “The Biological Sciences Directorate welcomes a new office that brings an international reputation in ecological synthesis, strong partnerships with programs for science communication and outreach, and a dedication to consolidating education programs across the network.”

    Added Roger Wakimoto, NSF assistant director for Geosciences, “The NSF Directorate for Geosciences, which supports the LTER program through its Ocean Sciences and Polar Programs Divisions, is excited about the synergies that will arise from linking the LTER team with an experienced NCEAS team.

    “This aligns well with our commitment to long-term environmental and ecological observations, and we expect the new communications office to advance internal and external synthesis as well as education efforts.”

    Building on experience

    The new office will take advantage of NCEAS’ experience in supporting multi-site collaboration and synthetic research, graduate training and environmental science communication.

    “We want the communications office to be the linchpin that nourishes and strengthens the LTER network both nationally and internationally,” said NCEAS Director Frank Davis, principal investigator for the $3.5 million NSF grant.

    Established in 1980, the NSF LTER program currently supports 25 sites representing ecosystems from deserts to forests to coral reefs, urban areas to the open sea to the polar regions, in the continental U.S., Alaska, islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific, and Antarctica.

    UCSB’s Marine Science Institute has led the Santa Barbara Coastal LTER site since 2000, and the Moorea Coral Reef LTER site since 2004.

    “Over the past 20 years, NCEAS has had a transformative effect on the way ecological information is organized, synthesized and applied,” said Peter Groffman, chair of the LTER Science Council and Executive Board. “It is exciting to apply that experience and expertise to the LTER network.”

    Office supports network across sites

    The LTER network includes research on population and community ecology, ecosystem science, evolutionary biology, phylogenetic systematics, social and economic sciences, urban ecology, oceanography, mathematics, computer science and science education.

    A network across sites allows for continental-scale questions to be addressed, while enabling sharing of ideas and information to facilitate integrative scientific insights. Thousands of scientists and graduate students work through LTER sites to pursue research in diverse topics and disciplines.

    “These sites are doing important work that’s relevant for natural resource management, environmental restoration, climate change adaptation, public health and many other important areas,” said Davis.

    The value of long-term data extends beyond use at any individual site, so the LTER Network makes data collected by all LTER sites accessible to other investigators.

    “The new communications office will build awareness and participation in the network by developing an effective and engaging web presence,” Davis said. “We will offer such tools and services as virtual collaboration, training in data synthesis and open science, online research forums and multimedia research highlights.”

    The communications office will also support new programs and activities that encourage and promote diversity in education and training to enhance communication and outreach to the public and to local, regional and federal agencies as well as non-governmental and non-profit organizations.

    See the full article here.

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    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…we are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

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  • richardmitnick 12:00 pm on October 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Charles Munger, , , UC Santa Barbara   

    From NYT: “Charles Munger, Warren Buffett’s Longtime Business Partner, Makes $65 Million Gift” 

    New York Times

    The New York Times

    October 24, 2014
    Michael J. de la Merced

    Charles T. Munger has been known for many things over his decades-long career, including longtime business partner of Warren E. Buffett; successful investor and lawyer; and plain-spoken commentator with a wide following.

    cm

    Now Mr. Munger, 90, can add another title to that list: deep-pocketed benefactor to the field of theoretical physics.

    He was expected to announce on Friday that he has donated $65 million to the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The gift — the largest in the school’s history — will go toward building a 61-bed residence for visitors to the institute, which brings together physicists for weeks at a time to exchange ideas.

    “U.C.S.B. has by far the most important program for visiting physicists in the world,” Mr. Munger said in a telephone interview. “Leading physicists routinely are coming to the school to talk to one another, create new stuff, cross-fertilize ideas.”

    ucsb
    UC Santa Barbara Campus

    The donation is the latest gift by Mr. Munger, a billionaire who has not been shy in giving away the wealth he has accumulated as vice chairman of Mr. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway to charitable causes.

    Though perhaps not as prominent a donor as his business partner, who cocreated the Giving Pledge campaign for the world’s richest people to commit their wealth to philanthropy, Mr. Munger has frequently donated big sums to schools like Stanford and the Harvard-Westlake School. (He has not signed on to the Giving Pledge campaign.)

    The biggest beneficiary of his largess thus far has been the University of Michigan, his alma mater. Last year alone, he gave $110 million worth of Berkshire shares — one of the biggest gifts in the university’s history — to create a new residence intended to help graduate students from different areas of study mingle and share ideas.

    That same idea of intellectual cross-pollination underpins the Kavli Institute, which over 35 years has established itself as a haven for theoretical physicists from around the world to meet and discuss potential new developments in their field.

    Funded primarily by the National Science Foundation, the institute has produced advances in the understanding of white dwarf stars, string theory and quantum computing.

    A former director of the institute, David J. Gross, shared in the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics for work that shed new light on the fundamental force that binds together the atomic nucleus.

    “Away from day-to-day responsibilities, they are in a different mental state,” Lars Bildsten, the institute’s current director, said of the center’s visitors. “They’re more willing to wander intellectually.”

    To Mr. Munger, such interactions are crucial for the advancement of physics. He cited international conferences attended by the likes of [Albert]Einstein and Marie Curie.

    Mr. Munger himself did not study physics for very long, having taken a class at the California Institute of Technology while in the Army during World War II. But as an avid reader of scientific biography, he came to appreciate the importance of the field.

    And he praised the rise of the University of California, Santa Barbara, as a leading haven for physics, particularly given its status as a relatively young research institution.

    But while the Kavli Institute conducts various programs throughout the year for visiting scientists, it has long lacked a way for physicists to spend time outside of work hours during their stays. A permanent residence hall would allow them to mingle even more, in the hope of fostering additional eureka moments.

    “We want to make their hardest choice, ‘Which barbecue to go to?’ ” Mr. Bildsten joked.

    Though Mr. Munger has some ties to the University of California, Santa Barbara — a grandson is an alumnus — he was first introduced to the Kavli Institute through a friend who lives in Santa Barbara.

    During one of the pair’s numerous fishing trips, that friend, Glen Mitchel, asked the Berkshire vice chairman to help finance construction of a new residence. The university had already reserved a plot of land for the dormitory in case the institute raised the requisite funds.

    “It wasn’t a hard sell,” Mr. Munger said.

    “Physics is vitally important,” he added. “Everyone knows that.”

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 11:49 am on February 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , UC Santa Barbara   

    From U.C. Santa Barbara: “California Scientists Propose System to Vaporize Asteroids That Threaten Earth” 

    UC Santa Barbara Name bloc

    February 14, 2013
    No Writer credit

    “As an asteroid roughly half as large as a football field –– and with energy equal to a large hydrogen bomb –– readies for a fly-by of Earth on Friday, two California scientists are unveiling their proposal for a system that could eliminate a threat of this size in an hour. The same system could destroy asteroids 10 times larger than the one known as 2012 DA14 in about a year, with evaporation starting at a distance as far away as the Sun.

    UC Santa Barbara physicist and professor Philip M. Lubin, and Gary B. Hughes, a researcher and professor from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, conceived DE-STAR, or Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids an exploRation, as a realistic means of mitigating potential threats posed to the Earth by asteroids and comets.

    DE-STAR
    Concept drawing of the DE-STAR system engaging both an asteroid for evaporation or composition analysis, and simultaneously propelling an interplanetary spacecraft.
    Courtesy Philip M. Lubin

    ‘We have to come to grips with discussing these issues in a logical and rational way,’ said Lubin, who began work on DE-STAR a year ago. ‘We need to be proactive rather than reactive in dealing with threats. Duck and cover is not an option. We can actually do something about it and it’s credible to do something. So let’s begin along this path. Let’s start small and work our way up. There is no need to break the bank to start.'”

    See the full article here.

    The University of California, Santa Barbara (commonly referred to as UC Santa Barbara or UCSB) is a public research university and one of the 10 general campuses of the University of California system. Founded in 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, UCSB joined the University of California system in 1944 and is the third-oldest general-education campus in the system. The university is a comprehensive doctoral university and is organized into five colleges offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 55 graduate degrees. In 2012, UCSB was ranked 41st among “National Universities” and 10th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report. UCSB houses twelve national research centers, including the renowned Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

    University of California Seal

     
    • John Jaksich 11:55 am on February 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Nice post

      Like

    • richardmitnick 12:10 pm on February 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Wow!! You are fast, I have to tell you, I had two purposes here. First, the subject is important. But second, University of California, a “public institution”, does not allow use of their material. So I am confronting what I see as an evil.

      Like

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