Tagged: UCSD – University of Californa San Diego Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 10:24 am on July 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "$18M Boost to Materials Science Research at UC San Diego", , , Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), , UCSD - University of Californa San Diego   

    From UC San Diego: “$18M Boost to Materials Science Research at UC San Diego” 

    From UC San Diego

    Students and faculty will shape the nano- and bio-materials that will make life better, healthier and safer.

    1
    The UC San Diego MRSEC center provides sustained research and educational opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students, with a particular focus on transfer students. Photos by Erik Jepsen/University Communications.

    The National Science Foundation has awarded University of California San Diego researchers a six-year $18 million grant to fund a new Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).

    These research centers are transformative for the schools that earn them, putting their materials science research efforts into the global spotlight. In addition to research and facilities funding, MRSEC centers provide sustained research opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students, and resources to focus on diversifying the pool of students studying materials science.

    The UC San Diego labs funded by this new MRSEC will focus on two important, emerging approaches to build new materials aimed at improving human lives.

    The first research theme is all about developing new ways to control the properties of materials during their synthesis by controlling how they transition, from the smallest atomic building blocks to materials that are large enough to see with the human eye.

    2
    Improved materials for batteries and other technologies that help societies increase renewable energy use will emerge from UC San Diego MRSEC center projects.

    The second research theme is focused on creating hybrid materials that incorporate living substances—microbes and plant cells—in order to create materials with new properties.

    The new materials developed at UC San Diego will be used to improve the speed and accuracy of medical diagnostic tests, enable more effective therapeutics for disease treatment, quickly and efficiently decontaminate chemical or biological hazards, improve batteries, and reduce the cost of key industrial processes.

    “This MRSEC grant is a wonderful affirmation of what we’ve known all along—that UC San Diego is a world-class research and education powerhouse in materials science. This grant is going to enable researchers and students from different disciplines to work together and chart the course for important new avenues for innovation in materials science,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

    At the heart of the new MRSEC are student programs designed to diversify materials science and a strong partnership with the educational arm of San Diego’s Fleet Science Center.

    The team weaves 19 UC San Diego faculty members and their labs from the Division of Physical Sciences, the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Division of Biological Sciences into a large community of computational and materials science researchers.

    A true UC San Diego collaboration.

    “Our MRSEC capitalizes on three specific strengths at UC San Diego—our leadership in materials science, our leadership in the life sciences and our position as a national resource in high performance computing,” said Michael Sailor, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego and the leader of the center. “We are weaving the life sciences and high performance computing into materials science. That really makes our center unique.”

    The MRSEC is the first big win for the UC San Diego Institute for Materials Discovery and Design (IMDD), which focuses on bridging the gap between physical scientists and engineers on the campus to enable cross-disciplinary research.

    “Many of tomorrow’s life-changing discoveries will happen at the intersection of engineering, physical sciences and biological sciences. This is why we pursue such interdisciplinarity here at UC San Diego, and this MRSEC is a tangible result of that effort. It is a tribute to the vision of Mike Sailor, Shirley Meng, Andrea Tao and Jon Pokorski to make the connections necessary to build this world-class team across such varied disciplines,” said Albert P. Pisano, dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

    This world-class research will directly serve UC San Diego graduate and undergraduate students, including transfer students. According to Sailor, one of the unique challenges for transfer students is that they often do not have the time or the training to participate in the rich research enterprise at UC San Diego.

    “Our MRSEC summer schools have a specific focus on bringing transfer students into the materials science research community—the intensive workshops are intended to bring them up to speed so that they can seamlessly enter a research lab. Exposure of undergraduates to cutting-edge research is one of the most important activities of the MRSEC, because fluency in research concepts, tools, and techniques is a key element of a well-trained STEM workforce,” said Steven Boggs, dean of the Division of Physical Sciences at UC San Diego.

    Research thrust: predictive assembly

    The “predictive assembly” research team is working to bring the computational and predictive tools that the pharmaceutical industry has used successfully to design “small molecule” drugs with particular properties and behaviors into the realm of materials science. The team is led by UC San Diego nanoengineering professors Andrea Tao and Tod Pascal.

    Learn more about the predictive assembly project.

    3
    The living materials research team is using the tools of biotechnology to build new classes of materials that help make people healthier and safer.

    Diversifying the materials science education pipeline.

    As part of its core educational mission, the UC San Diego MRSEC team is developing a suite of education programs aimed at growing and diversifying the pipeline for materials scientists in the United States. Summer school workshops, for example, are designed to provide trainees with immersive experience in laboratory procedures, advanced instrumentation and computational methods, explained Stacey Brydges, a professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at UC San Diego who oversees the educational elements of the MRSEC.

    “We view the summer schools as a transformative mechanism to enhance the training of participants from a broad range of educational levels—from high school to post-graduate,” said Brydges. “We will offer high school and undergraduate students, with particular opportunities for our transfer students, their first introduction to research. The programs will also give incoming graduate students a quick start on their thesis projects.”

    Programs will also provide established industrial and international scientists with an update on the “hot topics” by engaging UC San Diego MRSEC researchers.

    MRSEC facilities

    One of the most important drivers of success in materials research today is the availability of cutting-edge instrumentation. The UC San Diego MRSEC will bring two new, exciting elements to the campus’ research-facilities ecosystem: the Engineered Living Materials Foundry and the MesoMaterials Design Facility.

    7
    The predictive assembly research team is weaving computational and predictive tools into the realm of materials science in order to create materials with new, useful properties.

    “High-end computation and synthetic biology are both under-represented in the materials science field, and these are areas where we see our MRSEC facilities poised to make a big impact,” said UC San Diego nanoengineering professor Shirley Meng.

    She leads the facilities thrust of the MRSEC and is also director of the IMDD. “A major task for our MRSEC is not just to build out the facilities ecosystem but also to train scientists and engineers on how to deploy these tools to enable their research.”

    Public outreach

    To reach out to the public in new ways, the UC San Diego MRSEC team partnered with San Diego’s Fleet Science Center.

    “The goals of many of our community programs and initiatives dovetail nicely with the MRSEC goals,” said Kris Mooney, director of education at the Fleet Science Center.

    The MRSEC leverages the Fleet Science Center’s community engagement model, which relies on local community-articulated needs to guide the design and delivery of educational programming.

    “When we were setting up the MRSEC, we paid close attention to the diversity of our program at all levels,” said Sailor. “We are particularly focused on diversifying the pipeline for materials science. This is a field that touches the lives of everyone. It’s critical that the people developing the future of materials science reflect society at large.”

    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 California, San Diego (also referred to as UC San Diego or UCSD), is a public research university located in the La Jolla area of San Diego, California, in the United States.[12] The university occupies 2,141 acres (866 ha) near the coast of the Pacific Ocean with the main campus resting on approximately 1,152 acres (466 ha).[13] Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego is the seventh oldest of the 10 University of California campuses and offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, enrolling about 22,700 undergraduate and 6,300 graduate students. UC San Diego is one of America’s Public Ivy universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States. UC San Diego was ranked 8th among public universities and 37th among all universities in the United States, and rated the 18th Top World University by U.S. News & World Report ‘s 2015 rankings.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:44 pm on March 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New Telescopes Aim to Detect Extraterrestrial Intelligence", , , , , PANOSETI, The never ending search for E.T., UCSD - University of Californa San Diego   

    From UC San Diego: “New Telescopes Aim to Detect Extraterrestrial Intelligence” 

    From UC San Diego

    Mar 05, 2020
    By Cynthia Dillon

    4
    The Milky Way galaxy observed from both the Northern and Southern hemisphere on Earth. Photo credit: Nick Risinger (Photopic Sky Survey)

    A team of astronomers led by UC San Diego physicist Shelley Wright is deploying a pair of telescopes that will constantly search the nighttime sky for signals from intelligent life in our galaxy.

    Project researchers from UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, University of California Observatories and Harvard University recently installed the two prototype telescopes at Lick Observatory near San Jose. They are the first of hundreds of telescopes planned to be installed as part of a project called Panoramic SETI or PANOSETI, for Pulsed All-sky Near-infrared Optical SETI. Wright, an associate professor of physics at UC San Diego, serves as lead investigator.

    When finally assembled, PANOSETI will be the first dedicated observatory capable of constantly searching for flashes of optical or infrared light. Such pulsed signals occurring on nanosecond-to-second time scales, may be from either artificial origin (e.g., extraterrestrial communication) or astrophysical phenomena (e.g., counterparts to fast-radio bursts).

    Wright explained that the deployment of the two PANOSETI telescopes offers astronomers a new window into how the universe behaves at nanosecond timescales.

    5
    Each PANOSETI observatory will house a geodesic dome of 80 innovative telescopes. Credit: Shelley Wright, UCSD

    1
    UC San Diego astronomer Shelley Wright leads the PANOSETI project. Credit: Photo by © Laurie Hatch

    PANOSETI explores the universe at billionth-of-a-second time scales—a time scale that has not been examined well to date, agreed Dan Werthimer, chief technologist at UC Berkeley’s SETI Research Center and co-investigator.

    “When astronomers examine an unexplored parameter space, they usually find something surprising that no one predicted,” he said. “PANOSETI could discover new astronomical phenomena or signals from E.T.”

    But how likely is it that scientists will detect extraterrestrial signals with PANOSETI?

    “The short and correct answer is we have no idea on the likelihood of detection,” said Wright. “With PANOSETI we will be observing an unexplored phase space for SETI and astronomical observations. Our goal is to make the first dedicated SETI observatory that is capable of observing the entire visible sky all of the time.”

    Wright said that the entire project team is excited to embark on the ambitious program that has others talking. For example, according to a recent article in The Guardian, Jill Tarter, an emeritus researcher at the SETI Institute, discussed PANOSETI at the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Seattle. Tarter noted that with its anticipated vast view of the sky, the instrument is positioned to uniquely spot signals like flashes from faraway lasers.

    “The goal is to basically look for very brief but powerful signals from an advanced civilization. Because they are so brief, and likely to be rare, we plan to check large areas of the sky for a long period of time,” said Werthimer, who has been involved with SETI for the past 45 years.

    The initial pair of PANOSETI telescopes marks a critical milestone for testing the system and making unique observations enabling new discoveries of astrophysical transient and variable phenomena. With support from Lick Observatory staff, UC San Diego and UC Berkeley researchers can operate these dedicated telescopes and the Astrograph Dome they sit in from their campus locations. Lick Observatory is owned and operated by the University of California Observatories (UCO) for the benefit of astronomers across the UC system.

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    4
    Two PANOSETI telescopes installed in the recently renovated Astrograph Dome at Lick Observatory. PANOSETI will utilize a configuration of many SETI telescopes to allow simultaneous monitoring of the entire observable sky. Photo by © Laurie Hatch.

    PANOSETI began development in 2018, aiming to create a dedicated optical SETI observatory to image the entire observable sky—approximately 10,000 square degrees—instantaneously. The final project plans to generate hundreds of telescopes to achieve this enormous sky coverage. What distinguishes the program is that a single PANOSETI telescope images 10 degrees by 10 degrees. For reference, the Earth’s moon measures one-half degree in size. Currently, the team is characterizing the night sky and continuing to develop its large observatory mission.

    PANOSETI’s final design will feature a dedicated observatory at each of two locations. Each observatory will contain 80 of these unique telescopes. Site selection is underway, and the research team hopes to begin observatory construction in the next year.

    The full research team includes: Shelley Wright (PI), Maren Cosens, Aaron Brown, Jérôme Maire and James Wiley from UC San Diego; Dan Werthimer, Ryan Lee, Wei Liu, Andrew Siemon and Samuel Chaim-Weismann from UC Berkeley; Paul Horowitz and Avinash Uttamchandani from Harvard; Frank Drake, SETI Institute; Andrew Howard, Caltech; Remington Stone, Lick Observatory; Franklin Antonio, Qualcomm; Michael Aronson, Electronic Packaging Man; Richard Treffers, Starman Systems and Rick Raffanti, Techné Instruments.

    The PANOSETI research and instrumentation program was made possible by the support and interest of Franklin Antonio; The Bloomfield Family Foundation (SETI research at UC San Diego in the CASS Optical and Infrared Laboratory); NSF ([grant 1407804] UC Berkeley SETI efforts involved with PANOSETI), the Breakthrough Prize Foundation (UC Berkeley), and the Marilyn and Watson Alberts SETI Chair fund (UC Berkeley) and The Planetary Society (Harvard SETI). The Lick Astrograph was refurbished with gifts from Robert W. Sieker and the Rust-Oleum Corporation.

    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 California, San Diego (also referred to as UC San Diego or UCSD), is a public research university located in the La Jolla area of San Diego, California, in the United States.[12] The university occupies 2,141 acres (866 ha) near the coast of the Pacific Ocean with the main campus resting on approximately 1,152 acres (466 ha).[13] Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego is the seventh oldest of the 10 University of California campuses and offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, enrolling about 22,700 undergraduate and 6,300 graduate students. UC San Diego is one of America’s Public Ivy universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States. UC San Diego was ranked 8th among public universities and 37th among all universities in the United States, and rated the 18th Top World University by U.S. News & World Report ‘s 2015 rankings.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:05 pm on February 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Microplastics: A Macro Problem", Microfibers are a subset of microplastics., , UCSD - University of Californa San Diego, Using double-sided tape to capture microplastics in the atmosphere.   

    From Scripps Institution of Oceanography: “Microplastics: A Macro Problem” 

    From Scripps Institution of Oceanography

    at

    UC San Diego

    Scripps Oceanography at forefront of microplastics research.

    Feb 14, 2020
    Chase Martin

    1
    Associate researcher Dimitri Deheyn. Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications.

    Flying somewhere over the planet, there’s a plane equipped with research-grade double-sided tape on the outside of its hull. Whenever the pilot lands the plane, he removes the tape, seals it in a package, and replaces it with a new one before he takes off again. He then mails the package to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, care of Dimitri Deheyn, Associate Researcher.

    Looking at the tape under a microscope, Deheyn sees what he’s looking for: microfibers, stuck to the adhesives.

    Microfibers are a subset of microplastics, tiny pieces of petroleum-based materials that break down from larger plastic pieces or are manufactured at their microscopic sizes: less than 5 millimeters across. Microfibers are strands of fiber about five times thinner than a hair that are used in textile manufacturing; they shed from our clothes during wear, during washing and drying, flowing into waterways and drifting into the air.

    Deheyn is working with Robert DeLaurentis (aka Zen Pilot) on a study that analyzes the global distribution and concentration of microfibers. He says that the best science sometimes involves the most simple technology: in this case the double-sided tape. For every part of his 30-leg flight from the North Pole to the South Pole, DeLaurentis will have a sample for Deheyn.

    It might not give us absolute numbers, but at least it will give us a good hint on the types of particles found in the atmosphere,” said Deheyn. “And it will be the first time samples like this have been gathered around the globe.”

    These samples will add to Deheyn’s current research, which has found microfibers in the Arctic, in the Amazon, in the most remote and deepest parts of the sea. Pretty much everywhere he has sampled or has received samples from.

    “After finding microfibers in water samples from all over the world, it was clear that one main route of contamination had to be through the atmosphere,” said Deheyn. “But as a marine biologist accustomed to collecting samples underwater, I clearly had no idea how to take air samples at high altitudes around the globe.”

    From these high altitudes to the bottom of the sea, microplastics are turning up everywhere scientists, including Deheyn, look.

    The end of a war, the start of an era.

    Recent Scripps PhD graduate Jenni Brandon pulls out a seabed core sample in the Scripps Geological Collections. It was taken from offshore Southern California in the Santa Barbara Basin. Its contents represent a slice of geologic history, sediments that go back 200 years.

    Brandon used this and other cores in a recent study* in which she found that the amount of plastics accumulating in the environment has exploded since the end of World War II. The sharp exponential increase matches a rise in the rate of plastic production worldwide and a surge in California’s coastal population during the same time period. The research team noted that since the 1940s the amount of microscopic plastics has doubled about every 15 years.

    “Plastic production is being almost perfectly copied in our sedimentary record. Our love of plastic is actually being left behind in our fossil record,” said Brandon.

    The rise of plastics beginning in 1945 – as the world recovered from war – could serve as a proxy for a time period within the Anthropocene that scientists have labeled “the Great Acceleration.” Scientists define the Anthropocene as the current geological age, during which human activity has been the dominant influence on the planet.

    Previously, scientists had estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every year. Because the amount of plastic waste tends to track with population, Brandon and coauthors anticipate that nearshore areas could bear a disproportionate brunt of that infusion of plastic as coastal population growth continues to accelerate.

    Brandon’s study is the first of its kind in that it examined accumulation of plastic over time in a location that afforded researchers the opportunity to resolve the trend in fine detail, and is among several that illustrate how pervasive plastic pollution is in the global oceans.

    Getting the numbers right.

    Pinpointing the start of our plastic assault on the environment wasn’t the only eye opener for Brandon. In a separate study*, Brandon found that jelly-like, filter-feeding marine invertebrates called salps are ingesting mini-microplastics – even tinier pieces of pollution that have so far flown under the radar.

    While it’s no surprise these organisms are also eating plastic, what did surprise Brandon is the sheer volume of microplastics we’ve missed: about a million times more than we previously thought.

    Analyzing seawater samples, she found some of the tiniest countable microplastics in surface seawater at much higher concentrations than previously measured. Her method unveiled that the traditional way of counting marine microplastics is likely missing the smallest particles.

    On average, Brandon estimates the ocean is contaminated by 8.3 million pieces of mini-microplastics per cubic meter of water. Previous studies measuring larger pieces of plastic found only 10 pieces per cubic meter.

    Brandon teamed up with co-author Linsey Sala, Collections Manager of the Scripps Pelagic Invertebrate Collection, one of the world’s preeminent collections of marine zooplankton dating back to 1903. There, Brandon dissected salps from multiple years of sea-going expeditions and long-term monitoring networks across the North Pacific.

    Of the 100 salps Brandon surveyed from water samples collected in 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017, 100 percent had mini-microplastics in their guts. The results shocked Brandon.

    “I definitely thought some of them would be clean because they have a relatively quick gut clearance time,” Brandon said, noting that the time it takes a salp to consume and defecate is two to seven hours. As filter feeders, salps are almost always eating.

    Plastics in a salp’s stomach could travel up the food chain to creatures that feed upon it, like sea turtles and commercially-caught rockfish and king crab. Eventually, these mini-microplastics could be making their way into the human body.

    “No one eats salps but it’s not far away on the food chain from the things you do eat,” Brandon said.

    The BEST path forward.

    Tethered by rope and submerged underwater off the Scripps pier, plastic samples are slowly degrading. The two experiments are owned by different labs, but are part of efforts to understand the same process: how plastics degrade.

    On one side of the pier, Deheyn and postdoctoral researcher Sarah-Jeanne Royer are monitoring petroleum-based and cellulose (wood fiber) microfibers.

    Royer routinely checks the status of these fibers. A postdoctoral researcher in Deheyn’s lab, Royer is working with industry to find new sustainable options for fibers. This research is established through the BEST Initiative, a platform founded by Deheyn that facilitates the interaction between industry and academia to provide a space for collaboration.

    The key to this study was to acquire raw material fibers created from popular chemical processing methods that could ultimately affect fiber biodegradability, which has been successfully implemented with fiber producers such as the Austria-based Lenzing Group. The researchers hope to address two fundamental questions: which virgin materials degrade in the marine environment, and which process in the supply chain alters the degradation of textiles.

    Deheyn didn’t plan to study microplastics; he actually specializes in biofluorescence, and he noticed strange materials glowing in his samples under a microscope. At first he thought they were scratches on the lens, but he came to find that they were actually microfibers.

    Deheyn’s observation of fluorescent pollutants led to new opportunities. He and researchers at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering have been using fluorescence to develop new technology to detect microplastics filtered from water samples.

    The technique, developed by engineering graduate student Jessica Sandoval, is called the Automated Microplastics Identifier (AMI). The protocol aims to replace manual counting by eye with automation processes that identify the fibers. Researchers first image the filters under UV illumination, so that the plastic fluoresces. Sandoval developed software to quantify the amount of plastic on each filter and to also generate information of features of the plastics using image recognition.

    “It is an exciting first step, using automation technologies to assist with the monitoring of this prevalent marine pollutant,” said Sandoval. “With such technologies, we can more easily process samples from across the globe and generate a better understanding of microplastic distribution.”

    Deheyn is using this technology to analyze water samples taken off the Scripps pier starting in the 1970s. These are analyzed for microfiber concentration in order to determine how quantities of this pollution have changed over time. This research will also show which types of fibers are the least biodegradable, and around what period in the past 50 years this particular plastic pollution became noticeable.

    On the other side of the pier, post-consumer plastics like water bottles and yogurt cups are amassing marine microbes. These organisms help break down plastics, and Scripps biological oceanographer Jeff Bowman is part of a group working to understand how, and which microbes are most important.

    Bowman is working with San Diego-based National University on the CUREing Microbes on Ocean Plastics project, a program that uses Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) to center student learning around real-world issues. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the program is focused on plastics; specifically, simulating plastic debris in the ocean and studying the microbes that break them down. Students become part of the research team to help answer the questions around microbes and plastic degradation.

    Every couple of months for the past year and a half, a new class from National University comes to Scripps to check on the plastics off the pier. Using those samples, Bowman and other scientists teach them about marine microbiology and educate them on plastic pollution. The samples and data the students collect in these sessions are then incorporated into their coursework for the term.

    Graduate students in the Bowman Lab later perform more detailed analyses of the samples in order to build a library of gene sequences of bacteria that build up on ocean plastics. They’re hoping to learn more about the ability of the marine microbial community to degrade plastics, and how this understanding could then be applied to degrade plastics on an industrial scale.

    ”Ocean plastics are a huge environmental challenge, but also present a unique educational opportunity,” said Bowman. “Undergraduate students hear about ocean plastics in the news and can see the problem when they visit local beaches. We’re able to leverage this to build an understanding of the role of microbes in the marine system, and how microbes can be part of the big environmental solutions of this century.”

    Despite the breadth of research on this topic, scientists stress that we still have much to learn about the effects of microplastics on the environment, and ultimately us. Given headlines claiming that there will soon be more plastic in the ocean than fish, it’s research that the scientific community, and society at large, is eager to explore.

    “This is just the beginning of our understanding about the ‘biology of plastics.’ They are everywhere, in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat,” said Deheyn. “So, we need to learn how to live with them around us and inside us. However, while the fundamental scientific questions are being worked on, the key question as a society remains poorly addressed: why do we keep making materials that do not degrade and that keep accumulating in such excess that they choke our ecosystems?”

    *The two studies showed the same link. There is no error in this blog post.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    A department of UC San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for ocean, earth and atmospheric science research, education, and public service in the world.

    Research at Scripps encompasses physical, chemical, biological, geological, and geophysical studies of the oceans, Earth, and planets. Scripps undergraduate and graduate programs provide transformative educational and research opportunities in ocean, earth, and atmospheric sciences, as well as degrees in climate science and policy and marine biodiversity and conservation.

    The University of California, San Diego (also referred to as UC San Diego or UCSD), is a public research university located in the La Jolla area of San Diego, California, in the United States.[12] The university occupies 2,141 acres (866 ha) near the coast of the Pacific Ocean with the main campus resting on approximately 1,152 acres (466 ha).[13] Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego is the seventh oldest of the 10 University of California campuses and offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, enrolling about 22,700 undergraduate and 6,300 graduate students. UC San Diego is one of America’s Public Ivy universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States. UC San Diego was ranked 8th among public universities and 37th among all universities in the United States, and rated the 18th Top World University by U.S. News & World Report ‘s 2015 rankings.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:02 pm on November 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers Catch Wind Rushing Out of Galaxy", , , , , , Makani, UCSD - University of Californa San Diego   

    From Keck Observatory: “Astronomers Catch Wind Rushing Out of Galaxy” 

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    From Keck Observatory

    Researchers Directly Observe for the First Time a Huge Outflow of Gas Extending Far Beyond a Galaxy.

    Exploring the influence of galactic winds from a distant galaxy called Makani, University of California, San Diego’s Alison Coil, Rhodes College’s David Rupke and a group of collaborators from around the world made a novel discovery using W. M. Keck Observatory on Hawaii Island.

    1
    Makani. Astronomers Observe Giant Outflow of Gas Extending Far Beyond Compact Galaxy

    Published online today in the journal Nature, their study’s findings provide direct evidence for the first time of the role of galactic winds—ejections of gas from galaxies—in creating the circumgalactic medium (CGM). It exists in the regions around galaxies, and it plays an active role in their cosmic evolution. The unique composition of Makani—meaning ‘wind’ in Hawaiian—uniquely lent itself to the breakthrough findings.

    “Makani is not a typical galaxy,” noted Coil, a physics professor at UC San Diego. “It’s what’s known as a late-stage major merger—two recently combined similarly massive galaxies, which came together because of the gravitational pull each felt from the other as they drew nearer. Galaxy mergers often lead to starburst events, when a substantial amount of gas present in the merging galaxies is compressed, resulting in a burst of new star births. Those new stars, in the case of Makani, likely caused the huge outflows—either in stellar winds or at the end of their lives when they exploded as supernovae.”

    A volume rendering of the KCWI data cube revealing the structure of Makani. Credit: David Tree & Peter Richardson, Games and Visual Effects Research Lab, University of Hertfordshire

    Coil explained that most of the gas in the universe inexplicably appears in the regions surrounding galaxies—not in the galaxies. Typically, when astronomers observe a galaxy, they are not witnessing it undergoing dramatic events—big mergers, the rearrangement of stars, the creation of multiple stars or driving huge, fast winds.

    “While these events may occur at some point in a galaxy’s life, they’d be relatively brief,” noted Coil. “Here, we’re actually catching it all right as it’s happening through these huge outflows of gas and dust.”

    Coil and Rupke, the paper’s first author, used data collected from one of Keck Observatory’s newest instruments – the Keck Cosmic Web Imager (KCWI) – combined with images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), to draw their conclusions.

    Keck Cosmic Web Imager on Keck 2

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    The KCWI data provided what the researchers call the “stunning detection” of the ionized oxygen gas to extremely large scales, well beyond the stars in the galaxy. It allowed them to distinguish a fast gaseous outflow launched from the galaxy a few million years ago, from a gas outflow launched hundreds of millions of years earlier that has since slowed significantly.

    “The earlier outflow has flowed to large distances from the galaxy, while the fast, recent outflow has not had time to do so,” summarized Rupke, associate professor of physics at Rhodes College.

    3
    Figure 1: The giant galactic wind surrounding the massive, compact galaxy Makani. The colors and white contour lines show the amount of light emitted by the ionized gas from different parts of the oxygen nebula, from brightest (white) to faintest (purple). The middle part of the image (black) shows the full extent of the galaxy, though most of the galaxy is concentrated at the center (the tiny green circle). The axes show distance from the center of the galaxy in kiloparsecs. Figure by: Gene Leung (UC San Diego)

    From Hubble, the researchers procured images of Makani’s stars, showing it to be a massive, compact galaxy that resulted from a merger of two once separate galaxies. From ALMA, they could see that the outflow contains molecules as well as atoms. The data sets indicated that with a mixed population of old, middle-age and young stars, the galaxy might also contain a dust-obscured accreting supermassive black hole. This suggests to the scientists that Makani’s properties and timescales are consistent with theoretical models of galactic winds.

    “In terms of both their size and speed of travel, the two outflows are consistent with their creation by these past starburst events; they’re also consistent with theoretical models of how large and fast winds should be if created by starbursts. So observations and theory are agreeing well here,” noted Coil.

    Rupke noticed that the hourglass shape of Makani’s nebula is strongly reminiscent of similar galactic winds in other galaxies, but that Makani’s wind is much larger than in other observed galaxies.

    “This means that we can confirm it’s actually moving gas from the galaxy into the circumgalactic regions around it, as well as sweeping up more gas from its surroundings as it moves out,” Rupke explained. “And it’s moving a lot of it—at least one to 10 percent of the visible mass of the entire galaxy—at very high speeds, thousands of kilometers per second.”

    Rupke also noted that while astronomers are converging on the idea that galactic winds are important for feeding the CGM, most of the evidence has come from theoretical models or observations that don’t encompass the entire galaxy.

    “Here we have the whole spatial picture for one galaxy, which is a remarkable illustration of what people expected,” he said. “Makani’s existence provides one of the first direct windows into how a galaxy contributes to the ongoing formation and chemical enrichment of its CGM.”

    3
    Figure 2: The multiphase galactic wind: comparison of the ionized, neutral atomic and molecular gas. In the zoomed-in view of the inner 40 kiloparsecs at the upper right, molecular gas emission from carbon monoxide (green contours) is plotted on emission from magnesium atoms that trace neutral atomic gas (color, with white contours) in the same velocity range (-500 to +500 kilometers per second, where negative velocities are blueshifted and positive velocities redshifted with respect to the galaxy). The zoomed-in view at the lower left compares the emission from low-velocity molecules and ionized oxygen atoms, and the high-velocity molecular and ionized gas are shown at lower right. The molecules, neutral atoms and ionized gas all correspond well spatially, though the ionized gas extends far beyond the other two gas phases. Figure by: David Rupke (Rhodes College)

    This study was supported by the National Science Foundation (collaborative grant AST-1814233, 1813365, 1814159 and 1813702), NASA (award SOF-06-0191, issued by USRA), Rhodes College and the Royal Society.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.


    Keck UCal

     
  • richardmitnick 4:47 pm on November 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Physicists Race to Demystify Einstein’s ‘Spooky’ Science, , UCSD - University of Californa San Diego   

    From UC San Diego: “Physicists Race to Demystify Einstein’s ‘Spooky’ Science” 

    UC San Diego bloc

    From UC San Diego

    August 20, 2018

    Cynthia Dillon
    858-822-0142
    cdillon@ucsd.edu

    International research team recasts timeline, dating from the Big Bang, of possible quantum theory alternatives.

    When it comes to fundamental physics, things can get spooky. At least that’s what Albert Einstein said when describing the phenomenon of quantum entanglement—the linkage of particles in such a way that measurements performed on one particle seem to affect the other, even when separated by great distances. “Spooky action at a distance” is how Einstein described what he couldn’t explain.

    1
    Schematic of the 2018 “Cosmic Bell” experiment at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory in the Canary Islands, where two large telescopes observed the fluctuating color of light from distant quasars (red and blue galaxies). The green beams indicate polarization-entangled photons sent through the open air between stations separated by about one kilometer. Image by Andrew S. Friedman and Dominik Rauch.

    While quantum mechanics includes many mysterious phenomena like entanglement, it remains the best fundamental physical theory describing how matter and light behave at the smallest scales. Quantum theory has survived numerous experimental tests in the past century while enabling many advanced technologies: modern computers, digital cameras and the displays of TVs, laptops and smartphones. Quantum entanglement itself is also the key to several next-generation technologies in computing, encryption and telecommunications. Yet, there is no clear consensus on how to interpret what quantum theory says about the true nature of reality at the subatomic level, or to definitively explain how entanglement actually works.

    2
    Diagram of a run of the Cosmic Bell test. The regions of space and time where an alternative, non-quantum mechanism could still have acted (limited to the red and/or blue regions) corresponds to at least 7.78 billion years ago (blue region). Light from the more distant quasar was emitted 12.21 billion years ago (red region). Compared to the gray region, representing all of space and time prior to the experiment, the alternatives are limited to within four percent of the space-time volume since the Big Bang. Image by Andrew Friedman and David Leon.

    According to Andrew Friedman, a research scientist at the University of California San Diego Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS), “the race is on” around the globe to identify and experimentally close potential loopholes that could still allow alternative theories, distinct from quantum theory, to explain perplexing phenomena like quantum entanglement. Such loopholes could potentially allow future quantum encryption schemes to be hacked. So, Friedman and his fellow researchers conducted a “Cosmic Bell” test with polarization-entangled photons designed to further close the “freedom-of-choice” or “free will” loophole in tests of Bell’s inequality, a famous theoretical result derived by physicist John S. Bell in the 1960s. Published in the Aug. 20 issue of Physical Review Letters, their findings are consistent with quantum theory and push back to at least 7.8 billion years ago the most recent time by which any causal influences from alternative, non-quantum mechanisms could have exploited the freedom-of-choice loophole.

    “Our findings imply that any such mechanism is excluded from explaining the results from within a whopping 96% of the space-time volume in the causal past of our experiment, stretching all the way from the Big Bang until today,” said Friedman. “While these alternatives to quantum theory have not been completely ruled out, we are pushing them into a progressively smaller corner of space and time.”

    In their experiment, the researchers outsourced the choice of entangled photon measurements to the universe. They did this by using the color of light that has been traveling to Earth for billions of years from distant galaxies—quasars—as a “cosmic random number generator.”

    “This is a rare experiment that comes along only very seldomly in a scientist’s career: a pioneering experiment that sets the bar so high few, if any, competitors can ever match it,” noted UC San Diego astrophysicist Brian Keating. “I’m so proud that my graduate student David Leon had the chance to make a significant contribution to this fascinating research, co-led by CASS research scientist, Dr. Andrew Friedman.”

    Besides UC San Diego’s Friedman and Leon, the full research team included lead author and Ph.D. student Dominik Rauch, along with Anton Zeilinger and his experimental quantum optics group from the University of Vienna; theoretical physicists David Kaiser and Alan Guth at MIT; Jason Gallicchio and his experimental physics group at Harvey Mudd College, and others. Expanding upon their previous quantum entanglement experiments [Physical Review Letters], Friedman and colleagues went to great effort to choose entangled particle measurements using 3.6 and 4.2 meter telescopes in the Canary Islands, allowing them to collect sufficient light from the much fainter, distant quasars.

    To conduct their test, they shined laser light into a special crystal that generated pairs of entangled photons, which the scientists repeatedly sent through the open air toward both telescopes. From the quasar light collected, the scientists could choose polarization measurement settings while each entangled photon was in mid-flight. The group was allotted three nights and a few hours at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma, amidst operationally challenging conditions including freezing rain, high winds, and uncertainty about whether they would have enough time to complete the experiment. Additionally, Friedman and colleagues had to write software that could choose the best quasars to observe on-the-fly—from a database of more than 1.5 million—and predict the observation time needed to obtain a statistically significant result.

    “We pushed to the limit what could be done within the time constraints,” said Friedman. “The experiment would not have been possible without an amazing international collaboration. It was a roller coaster experience to see it actually work.”

    The research was funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences; The Austrian Science Fund with SFB F40 (FOQUS) and project COQuS (W1210-N16); the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research; the University of Vienna (via the project QUESS); the National Science Foundation INSPIRE Grant (PHY-1541160); the U.S. Department of Energy (DE-SC0012567); the U.S. Department of Defense, through the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program, and UC San Diego’s Ax Center for Experimental Cosmology.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC San Diego Campus

    The University of California, San Diego (also referred to as UC San Diego or UCSD), is a public research university located in the La Jolla area of San Diego, California, in the United States.[12] The university occupies 2,141 acres (866 ha) near the coast of the Pacific Ocean with the main campus resting on approximately 1,152 acres (466 ha).[13] Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego is the seventh oldest of the 10 University of California campuses and offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, enrolling about 22,700 undergraduate and 6,300 graduate students. UC San Diego is one of America’s Public Ivy universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States. UC San Diego was ranked 8th among public universities and 37th among all universities in the United States, and rated the 18th Top World University by U.S. News & World Report ‘s 2015 rankings.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:54 am on February 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Study ocean currents and the tiny creatures they transport, Swarm of Underwater Robots Mimics Ocean Life, UCSD - University of Californa San Diego   

    From Scripps Institution of Oceanography: “Swarm of Underwater Robots Mimics Ocean Life” Jan 2017 

    Scripps Institution of Oceanography

    Jan 24, 2017 [Just found this]

    Mario Aguilera
    858-534-3624
    scrippsnews@ucsd.edu

    1
    Miniature autonomous underwater explorers.

    Underwater robots developed by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego offer scientists an extraordinary new tool to study ocean currents and the tiny creatures they transport. Swarms of these underwater robots helped answer some basic questions about the most abundant life forms in the ocean—plankton.

    Scripps research oceanographer Jules Jaffe designed and built the miniature autonomous underwater explorers, or M-AUEs, to study small-scale environmental processes taking place in the ocean. The ocean-probing instruments are equipped with temperature and other sensors to measure the surrounding ocean conditions while the robots “swim” up and down to maintain a constant depth by adjusting their buoyancy. The M-AUEs could potentially be deployed in swarms of hundreds to thousands to capture a three-dimensional view of the interactions between ocean currents and marine life.

    In a new study published in the Jan. 24 [2017] issue of the journal Nature Communications, Jaffe and Scripps biological oceanographer Peter Franks deployed a swarm of 16 grapefruit-sized underwater robots programmed to mimic the underwater swimming behavior of plankton, the microscopic organisms that drift with the ocean currents. The research study was designed to test theories about how plankton form dense patches under the ocean surface, which often later reveal themselves at the surface as red tides.

    “These patches might work like planktonic singles bars,” said Franks, who has long suspected that the dense aggregations could aid feeding, reproduction, and protection from predators.

    Two decades ago Franks published a mathematical theory predicting that swimming plankton would form dense patches when pushed around by internal waves—giant, slow-moving waves below the ocean surface. Testing his theory would require tracking the movements of individual plankton—each smaller than a grain of rice—as they swam in the ocean, which is not possible using available technology.

    Jaffe instead invented “robotic plankton” that drift with the ocean currents, but are programmed to move up and down by adjusting their buoyancy, imitating the movements of plankton. A swarm of these robotic plankton was the ideal tool to finally put Franks’ mathematical theory to the test.

    “The big engineering breakthroughs were to make the M-AUEs small, inexpensive, and able to be tracked continuously underwater,” said Jaffe. The low cost allowed Jaffe and his team to build a small army of the robots that could be deployed in a swarm.

    Tracking the individual M-AUEs was a challenge, as GPS does not work underwater. A key component of the project was the development by researchers at UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute and Department of Computer Science and Engineering of mathematical techniques to use acoustic signals to track the M-AUE vehicles while they were submerged.

    During a five-hour experiment, the Scripps researchers along with UC San Diego colleagues deployed a 300-meter (984-foot) diameter swarm of 16 M-AUEs programmed to stay 10-meters (33-feet) deep in the ocean off the coast of Torrey Pines, near La Jolla, Calif. The M-AUEs constantly adjusted their buoyancy to move vertically against the currents created by the internal waves. The three-dimensional location information collected every 12 seconds revealed where this robotic swarm moved below the ocean surface.

    The results of the study were nearly identical to what Franks predicted. The surrounding ocean temperatures fluctuated as the internal waves passed through the M-AUE swarm. And, as predicted by Franks, the M-AUE location data showed that the swarm formed a tightly packed patch in the warm waters of the internal wave troughs, but dispersed over the wave crests.

    “This is the first time such a mechanism has been tested underwater,” said Franks.

    The experiment helped the researchers confirm that free-floating plankton can use the physical dynamics of the ocean—in this case internal waves—to increase their concentrations to congregate into swarms to fulfill their fundamental life needs.

    “This swarm-sensing approach opens up a whole new realm of ocean exploration,” said Jaffe. Augmenting the M-AUEs with cameras would allow the photographic mapping of coral habitats, or “plankton selfies,” according to Jaffe.

    The research team has hopes to build hundreds more of the miniature robots to study the movement of larvae between marine protected areas, monitor harmful red tide blooms, and to help track oil spills. The onboard hydrophones that help track the M-AUEs underwater could also allow the swarm to act like a giant “ear” in the ocean, listening to and localizing ambient sounds in the ocean.

    Jaffe, Franks, and their colleagues were awarded nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation in 2009 to develop and test the new breed of ocean-probing instruments. The study’s coauthors include: Paul Roberts, principal development engineer at Scripps, Ryan Kastner, professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering; Diba Mirza, postdoctoral researcher in computer science; and Curt Schurgers, principal development engineer at the Qualcomm Institute, and Scripps student intern Adrien Boch.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    A department of UC San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for ocean, earth and atmospheric science research, education, and public service in the world.

    Research at Scripps encompasses physical, chemical, biological, geological, and geophysical studies of the oceans, Earth, and planets. Scripps undergraduate and graduate programs provide transformative educational and research opportunities in ocean, earth, and atmospheric sciences, as well as degrees in climate science and policy and marine biodiversity and conservation.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: