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  • richardmitnick 12:45 pm on May 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Antarctic ice model shows unstoppable sea level rise if Paris target is not met", , , , , , UMASS Amherst   

    From Pennsylvania State University and UMass Amherst : “Antarctic ice model shows unstoppable sea level rise if Paris target is not met” 

    Penn State Bloc

    From Pennsylvania State University

    and

    U Mass Amherst

    UMass Amherst

    May 06, 2021

    A’ndrea Elyse Messer
    aem1@psu.edu
    814-865-5689

    Study is the first to use physics-based model of ice sheet to test Paris Agreement target.

    1
    The Helheim Glacier is a possible analog for the future behavior of the much larger glaciers on Antarctica. Image: Knut Christianson.

    The world is currently on track to exceed 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) of global warming by the year 2100, and new research shows that such a scenario would drastically accelerate the pace of sea-level rise. If the rate of global warming continues on its current trajectory, we will reach a tipping point by 2060, past which these consequences would be “irreversible on multi-century timescales,” according to researchers.

    The research team, led by the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s (US) Rob DeConto, co-director of the School of Earth & Sustainability, and including David Pollard, research professor emeritus, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, and Richard B. Alley, Evan Pugh University Professor of Geosciences, both at Penn State, modeled the impact of several different warming scenarios on the Antarctic Ice Sheet, including the Paris Agreement target of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming, an aspirational 1.5 (2.7) degree scenario, and our current course which, if not altered, will yield 3 or more degrees of warming. They reported their results in Nature.

    If the world either achieves the more optimistic 1.5-degree or the 2-degree Paris Agreement temperature target, the Antarctic Ice Sheet would contribute between 6 and 11 centimeters (2.4 and 4.3 inches) of sea level rise by 2100. But if the current course toward 3 degrees is maintained, the model points to a major jump in melting. Unless ambitious action to rein in warming begins by 2060, no human intervention, including geoengineering, would be able to stop 17 to 21 centimeters (6.7 to 8.3 inches) of sea-level rise from Antarctic ice melt alone by 2100, according to the researchers.

    The implications of exceeding Paris Agreement warming targets become even more stark on longer timescales. Antarctica contributes about 1 meter (39.4 inches) of sea level rise by 2300 if warming is limited to 2 degrees or less, but reaches globally catastrophic levels of 10 meters (32.8 feet) or more under a more extreme warming scenario with no mitigation of greenhouse-gas emissions.

    DeConto and colleagues’ research shows the very architecture of the Antarctic Ice Sheet itself plays a key role in ice loss. Ice flows slowly downhill, and the Antarctic Ice Sheet naturally creeps into the ocean, where it begins to melt. What keeps that ocean-bound ice flowing slowly is a ring of buttressing ice shelves, which float in the ocean but hold back the upstream glacial ice by scraping on shallow sea-floor features. Those buttressing ice shelves act both as dams that keep the sheet from sliding rapidly into the ocean, and as supports that keep the edges of the ice sheet from collapsing.

    But as warming increases, the ice shelves thin and become more fragile. Meltwater on their surfaces can deepen crevasses and cause them to disintegrate entirely. This not only lets the ice sheet flow toward the warming ocean more quickly, it allows the exposed edges of the ice sheet to break off or “calve” into the ocean, adding to sea level rises. These processes of melting and ice shelf loss, followed by faster glacial flow and rapid calving are seen on Greenland today, but they have not become widespread on the colder Antarctic ice sheet — at least not yet.

    DeConto points out that “if the world continues to warm, the huge glaciers on Antarctica might begin behaving like their smaller counterparts on Greenland, which would be disastrous in terms of sea level rise.”

    The authors of the study, which was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation and the NASA Sea Level Change Science Team, write that missing Paris Agreement temperature targets and allowing extensive loss of the buttressing ice shelves “represents a possible tipping point in Antarctica’s future.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Mass Amherst campus

    UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

    As the flagship campus of America’s education state University of Massachusetts Amherst is the leader of the public higher education system of the Commonwealth, making a profound, transformative impact to the common good. Founded in 1863, we are the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of our academic, research and community outreach programs. We rank 29th among the nation’s top public universities, moving up 11 spots in the past two years in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide.

    The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a public land-grant research university in Amherst, Massachusetts. Founded in 1863 as an agricultural college, it is the flagship and the largest campus in the University of Massachusetts system, as well as the first established. It is also a member of the Five College Consortium, along with four other colleges in the Pioneer Valley: Amherst College (US) , Smith College, Mount Holyoke College (US), and Hampshire College (US).

    UMass Amherst has an annual enrollment of more than 30,000 students, along with approximately 1,300 faculty members. It is the third largest university in Massachusetts, behind Boston University (US) and Harvard University (US). The university offers academic degrees in 109 undergraduate, 77 master’s and 48 doctoral programs. Programs are coordinated in nine schools and colleges. The University of Massachusetts Amherst is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation (US), the university spent $211 million on research and development in 2018.

    The university’s 21 varsity athletic teams compete in NCAA Division I and are collectively known as the Minutemen and Minutewomen. The university is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, while playing ice hockey in Hockey East and football as an FBS Independent.

    Past and present students and faculty include 4 Nobel Prize laureates, a National Humanities Medal winner, numerous Fulbright, Goldwater, Churchill, Truman, and Gates Scholars, Olympic Gold Medalists, a United States Poet Laureate, as well as several Pulitzer Prize recipients and Grammy, Emmy, and Academy Award winners.

    The university was founded in 1863 under the provisions of the Federal Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to provide instruction to Massachusetts citizens in “agricultural, mechanical, and military arts.” Accordingly, the university was initially named the Massachusetts Agricultural College, popularly referred to as “Mass Aggie” or “M.A.C.” In 1867, the college had yet to admit any students, been through two Presidents, and had still not completed any college buildings. In that year, William S. Clark was appointed President of the college and Professor of Botany. He quickly appointed a faculty, completed the construction plan, and, in the fall of 1867, admitted the first class of approximately 50 students. Clark became the first president to serve longterm after the schools opening and is often regarded the primary founding father of the college. Of the school’s founding figures, there are a traditional “founding four”- Clark, Levi Stockbridge, Charles Goessmann, and Henry Goodell, described as “the botanist, the farmer, the chemist, [and] the man of letters.”

    The original buildings consisted of Old South College (a dormitory located on the site of the present South College), North College (a second dormitory once located just south of today’s Machmer Hall), the Chemistry Laboratory, also known as College Hall (once located on the present site of Machmer Hall), the Boarding House (a small dining hall located just north of the present Campus Parking Garage), the Botanic Museum (located on the north side of the intersection of Stockbridge Road and Chancellor’s Hill Drive) and the Durfee Plant House (located on the site of the new Durfee Conservatory).

    Although enrollment was slow during the 1870s, the fledgling college built momentum under the leadership of President Henry Hill Goodell. In the 1880s, Goodell implemented an expansion plan, adding the College Drill Hall in 1883 (the first gymnasium), the Old Chapel Library in 1885 (one of the oldest extant buildings on campus and an important symbol of the University), and the East and West Experiment Stations in 1886 and 1890. The Campus Pond, now the central focus of the University Campus, was created in 1893 by damming a small brook. The early 20th century saw great expansion in terms of enrollment and the scope of the curriculum. The first female student was admitted in 1875 on a part-time basis and the first full-time female student was admitted in 1892. In 1903, Draper Hall was constructed for the dual purpose of a dining hall and female housing. The first female students graduated with the class of 1905. The first dedicated female dormitory, the Abigail Adams House (on the site of today’s Lederle Tower) was built in 1920.

    By the start of the 20th century, the college was thriving and quickly expanded its curriculum to include the liberal arts. The Education curriculum was established in 1907. In recognition of the higher enrollment and broader curriculum, the college was renamed Massachusetts State College in 1931.

    Following World War II, the G.I. Bill, facilitating financial aid for veterans, led to an explosion of applicants. The college population soared and Presidents Hugh Potter Baker and Ralph Van Meter labored to push through major construction projects in the 1940s and 1950s, particularly with regard to dormitories (now Northeast and Central Residential Areas). Accordingly, the name of the college was changed in 1947 to the University of Massachusetts.

    By the 1970s, the University continued to grow and gave rise to a shuttle bus service on campus as well as many other architectural additions; this included the Murray D. Lincoln Campus Center complete with a hotel, office space, fine dining restaurant, campus store, and passageway to the parking garage, the W. E. B. Du Bois Library, and the Fine Arts Center.

    Over the course of the next two decades, the John W. Lederle Graduate Research Center and the Conte National Polymer Research Center were built and UMass Amherst emerged as a major research facility. The Robsham Memorial Center for Visitors welcomed thousands of guests to campus after its dedication in 1989. For athletic and other large events, the Mullins Center was opened in 1993, hosting capacity crowds as the Minutemen basketball team ranked at number one for many weeks in the mid-1990s, and reached the Final Four in 1996.

    UMass Amherst entered the 21st century with 19,061 students enrolled. In 2003, for the first time, the Massachusetts State Legislature legally designated UMass Amherst as a Research University and the “flagship campus of the UMass system. The university was named a top producer of Fulbright Award winners in the 2008–2009 academic year. Additionally, in 2010, it was named one of the “Top Colleges and Universities Contributing to Teach For America’s 2010 Teaching Corps.”

    Five College Consortium

    UMass Amherst is part of the Five Colleges Consortium, which allows its students to attend classes, borrow books, work with professors, etc., at four other Pioneer Valley institutions: Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges.

    All five colleges are located within 10 miles of Amherst center, and are accessible by public bus. The five share an astronomy department and some other undergraduate and graduate departments.

    UMass Amherst holds the license for WFCR, the National Public Radio affiliate for Western Massachusetts. In 2014, the station moved its main operations to the Fuller Building on Main Street in Springfield, but retained some offices in Hampshire House on the UMass campus.

    Research

    UMass research activities totaled more than $200 million in fiscal year 2014. In 2016 the faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    Researchers at the university made several high-profile achievements in recent years. In a bi-national collaboration, National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst came together and built Large Millimeter Telescope. It was inaugurated in Mexico in 2006 (on top of Sierra Negra).

    A team of scientists at UMass led by Vincent Rotello has developed a molecular nose that can detect and identify various proteins. The research appeared in the May 2007 issue of Nature Nanotechnology, and the team is currently focusing on sensors, which will detect malformed proteins made by cancer cells.

    Also, UMass Amherst scientists Richard Farris, Todd Emrick and Bryan Coughlin led a research team that developed a synthetic polymer that does not burn. This polymer is a building block of plastic, and the new flame-retardant plastic will not need to have flame-retarding chemicals added to their composition. These chemicals have recently been found in many different areas from homes and offices to fish, and there are environmental and health concerns regarding the additives. The newly developed polymers would not require addition of the potentially hazardous chemicals.

    List of research centers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
    College of Natural Sciences

    Apiary Laboratory (entomology, microbiology)
    Genomic Resource Laboratory (molecular biology)
    Massachusetts Center for Renewable Energy Science and Technology
    Amherst Center for Fundamental Interactions (http://www.physics.umass.edu/acfi/)
    Center for Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Computation
    Center for Geometry, Analysis, Numerics, and Graphics (www.gang.umass.edu)
    Pediatric Physical Activity Laboratory (PPAL)

    College of Engineering (CoE)
    Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) labs

    Antennas and Propagation Laboratory
    Architecture and Real-Time Systems Laboratory
    Center for Advanced Sensor and Communication Antennas (CASCA)
    Complex Systems Modeling and Control Laboratory
    Emerging Nanoelectronics Laboratory
    Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA)
    Feedback Control Systems Lab
    High-Dimensional Signal Processing Lab
    Information Systems Laboratory
    Integrated Nanobiotechnology Lab
    Laboratory for Millimeter Wavelength Devices and Applications
    Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory (MIRSL)
    Multimedia Networks Laboratory
    Multimedia Networks and Internet Laboratory
    Nanodevices and Integrated Systems Laboratory
    Nanoelectronics Theory and Simulation Laboratory
    Nanoscale Computing Fabrics & Cognitive Architectures Lab
    Network Systems Laboratory
    Photonics Laboratory
    Reconfigurable Computing Laboratory
    Sustainable Computing Lab
    VLSI CAD Laboratory
    VLSI Circuits and Systems Laboratory
    Wireless Systems Laboratory
    Yield and Reliability of VLSI Circuits

    Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Labs

    Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory (Engineering Laboratory Building)
    Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
    Multi-Phase Flow Simulation Laboratory
    Soil Mechanics Laboratories (located at Marston Hall and ELAB-II)
    Wind Energy Center (formerly the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory)

    College of Information & Computer Sciences (CICS)

    Autonomous Learning Laboratory
    Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval
    Center for e-Design
    Knowledge Discovery Laboratory
    Laboratory For Perceptual Robotics
    Resource-Bounded Reasoning Laboratory

    Other

    Center for Economic Development
    Center for Education Policy
    Labor Relations and Research Center
    National Center for Digital Governance
    Political Economy Research Institute
    Scientific Reasoning Research Institute
    The Environmental Institute
    Virtual Center for Supernetworks

    Penn State Campus

    The Pennsylvania State University is a public state-related land-grant research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania, Penn State became the state’s only land-grant university in 1863. Today, Penn State is a major research university which conducts teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. In addition to its land-grant designation, it also participates in the sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant research consortia; it is one of only four such universities (along with Cornell University(US), Oregon State University(US), and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa(US)). Its University Park campus, which is the largest and serves as the administrative hub, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township. It has two law schools: Penn State Law, on the school’s University Park campus, and Dickinson Law, in Carlisle. The College of Medicine is in Hershey. Penn State is one university that is geographically distributed throughout Pennsylvania. There are 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special mission campuses located across the state. The University Park campus has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.
    Annual enrollment at the University Park campus totals more than 46,800 graduate and undergraduate students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States. It has the world’s largest dues-paying alumni association. The university offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses.

    Annually, the university hosts the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy. This event is held at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. The university’s athletics teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Penn State Nittany Lions, competing in the Big Ten Conference for most sports. Penn State students, alumni, faculty and coaches have received a total of 54 Olympic medals.

    Early years

    The school was sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society and founded as a degree-granting institution on February 22, 1855, by Pennsylvania’s state legislature as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania. The use of “college” or “university” was avoided because of local prejudice against such institutions as being impractical in their courses of study. Centre County, Pennsylvania, became the home of the new school when James Irvin of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, donated 200 acres (0.8 km2) of land – the first of 10,101 acres (41 km^2) the school would eventually acquire. In 1862, the school’s name was changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, and with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts, Pennsylvania selected the school in 1863 to be the state’s sole land-grant college. The school’s name changed to the Pennsylvania State College in 1874; enrollment fell to 64 undergraduates the following year as the school tried to balance purely agricultural studies with a more classic education.

    George W. Atherton became president of the school in 1882, and broadened the curriculum. Shortly after he introduced engineering studies, Penn State became one of the ten largest engineering schools in the nation. Atherton also expanded the liberal arts and agriculture programs, for which the school began receiving regular appropriations from the state in 1887. A major road in State College has been named in Atherton’s honor. Additionally, Penn State’s Atherton Hall, a well-furnished and centrally located residence hall, is named not after George Atherton himself, but after his wife, Frances Washburn Atherton. His grave is in front of Schwab Auditorium near Old Main, marked by an engraved marble block in front of his statue.

    Early 20th century

    In the years that followed, Penn State grew significantly, becoming the state’s largest grantor of baccalaureate degrees and reaching an enrollment of 5,000 in 1936. Around that time, a system of commonwealth campuses was started by President Ralph Dorn Hetzel to provide an alternative for Depression-era students who were economically unable to leave home to attend college.

    In 1953, President Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, sought and won permission to elevate the school to university status as The Pennsylvania State University. Under his successor Eric A. Walker (1956–1970), the university acquired hundreds of acres of surrounding land, and enrollment nearly tripled. In addition, in 1967, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, a college of medicine and hospital, was established in Hershey with a $50 million gift from the Hershey Trust Company.

    Modern era

    In the 1970s, the university became a state-related institution. As such, it now belongs to the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. In 1975, the lyrics in Penn State’s alma mater song were revised to be gender-neutral in honor of International Women’s Year; the revised lyrics were taken from the posthumously-published autobiography of the writer of the original lyrics, Fred Lewis Pattee, and Professor Patricia Farrell acted as a spokesperson for those who wanted the change.

    In 1989, the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport joined ranks with the university, and in 2000, so did the Dickinson School of Law. The university is now the largest in Pennsylvania. To offset the lack of funding due to the limited growth in state appropriations to Penn State, the university has concentrated its efforts on philanthropy.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:34 pm on May 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Unraveling the Secrets of Neutron Stars", , Pb Radius Experiment PREX at JLab, UMASS Amherst   

    From UMass Amherst : “Unraveling the Secrets of Neutron Stars” 

    U Mass Amherst

    From UMass Amherst

    April 29, 2021

    Neutron stars, the collapsed cores of dying massive stars, are one of the universe’s mysteries. With the exception of black holes, neutron stars are the smallest and densest things in existence. Thus, any insight into the nature of neutron stars helps illuminate the raw mechanics of the universe, but like black holes, they are difficult to observe directly.

    However, new research recently published in Physical Review Letters, to which Krishna Kumar, Gluckstern Professor of Physics, and his research group contributed, found some of the stars’ secrets here on earth – in a lump of lead.

    The international research team, known as Pb Radius Experiment PREX at JLab, which consists of over 90 scientists from 30 institutions, conducted their experiments at the DOE’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (US) in Virginia.

    The team noted that lead is a neutron-rich material – it has 126 neutrons to its 82 protons. These neutrons surround the protons, forming a “skin” that “bulges out beyond the protons in a heavy nucleus,” like lead’s, Kumar says. The question is why: why does the neutron skin bulge? By how much? And why does it matter?

    The PREx team is the first to observe this neutron skin using electron-scattering techniques, which involved an enormous machine called the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF).

    The facility shot a beam of electrons, whose spin was alternated 240 times per second, along a mile-long accelerator into a thin sheet of cryogenically cooled lead. “On average over the entire run, we knew where the right- and left-hand beams were, relative to each other, within a width of 10 atoms,” says Kumar, achieving the “sharpness” required to differentiate between the volumes occupied by neutrons compared to protons in the lead nucleus.

    What they discovered is that the neutron skin is about .28 millionths of a nanometer thick – nearly twice as thick as previously theorized. While only a fraction of a millionth of a nanometer might not seem like much at all, the implications are already sending waves through the physics world, in part because they relate to earlier astrophysical observations begun in 2017, when the global astronomy community trained dozens of telescopes on a pair of neutron stars that had collapsed into one another. This cataclysmic event, first discovered by the gravitational wave detector known as LIGO, was direct evidence that neutron star mergers are a significant source for the synthesis of heavy elements in the universe. LIGO’s data provided new information on the nuclear equation of state.

    Milliseconds before the final merger, the two neutron stars were so close together that they deformed into “teardrops.” What Kumar calls the “tidal deformability” of the neutron stars is affected by dense matter characteristics similar to the neutron skin in the nucleus of lead – a linkage made possible by the nuclear equation of state. “The same nuclear equation of state that governs the neutron skin of the lead nucleus impacts the bulk properties of neutron stars,” Kumar says.

    Though the PREx team only released its research results this week, the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz [Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz](DE) in Mainz, Germany, is already planning follow-up experiments.

    1
    The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.

    2
    Krishna Kumar and team members at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.

    Pb Radius Experiment PREX at JLab

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Mass Amherst campus

    UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

    As the flagship campus of America’s education state University of Massachusetts Amherst is the leader of the public higher education system of the Commonwealth, making a profound, transformative impact to the common good. Founded in 1863, we are the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of our academic, research and community outreach programs. We rank 29th among the nation’s top public universities, moving up 11 spots in the past two years in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:25 pm on February 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "UMass Amherst Team Helps Demonstrate Spontaneous Quantum Error Correction", , , UMASS Amherst   

    From UMass Amherst: “UMass Amherst Team Helps Demonstrate Spontaneous Quantum Error Correction” 

    U Mass Amherst

    From UMass Amherst

    February 11, 2021
    Shiera D. Goff
    sdgoff@umass.edu

    1
    Credit: CC0 Public Domain

    To build a universal quantum computer from fragile quantum components, effective implementation of quantum error correction (QEC) is an essential requirement and a central challenge. QEC is used in quantum computing, which has the potential to solve scientific problems beyond the scope of supercomputers, to protect quantum information from errors due to various noise.

    2
    Chen Wang

    Published by the journal Nature, research co-authored by University of Massachusetts Amherst physicist Chen Wang, graduate students Jeffrey Gertler and Shruti Shirol, and postdoctoral researcher Juliang Li takes a step toward building a fault-tolerant quantum computer. They have realized a novel type of QEC where the quantum errors are spontaneously corrected.

    Today’s computers are built with transistors representing classical bits (0’s or 1’s). Quantum computing is an exciting new paradigm of computation using quantum bits (qubits) where quantum superposition can be exploited for exponential gains in processing power. Fault-tolerant quantum computing may immensely advance new materials discovery, artificial intelligence, biochemical engineering and many other disciplines.

    Since qubits are intrinsically fragile, the most outstanding challenge of building such powerful quantum computers is efficient implementation of quantum error correction. Existing demonstrations of QEC are active, meaning that they require periodically checking for errors and immediately fixing them, which is very demanding in hardware resources and hence hinders the scaling of quantum computers.

    In contrast, the researchers’ experiment achieves passive QEC by tailoring the friction (or dissipation) experienced by the qubit. Because friction is commonly considered the nemesis of quantum coherence, this result may appear quite surprising. The trick is that the dissipation has to be designed specifically in a quantum manner. This general strategy has been known in theory for about two decades, but a practical way to obtain such dissipation and put it in use for QEC has been a challenge.

    “Although our experiment is still a rather rudimentary demonstration, we have finally fulfilled this counterintuitive theoretical possibility of dissipative QEC,” says Chen. “Looking forward, the implication is that there may be more avenues to protect our qubits from errors and do so less expensively. Therefore, this experiment raises the outlook of potentially building a useful fault-tolerant quantum computer in the mid to long run.”

    Chen describes in layman’s terms how strange the quantum world can be. “As in German physicist Erwin Schrödinger’s famous (or infamous) example, a cat packed in a closed box can be dead or alive at the same time. Each logical qubit in our quantum processor is very much like a mini-Schrödinger’s cat. In fact, we quite literally call it a ‘cat qubit.’ Having lots of such cats can help us solve some of the world’s most difficult problems.”

    “Unfortunately, it is very difficult to keep a cat staying that way since any gas, light, or anything leaking into the box will destroy the magic: The cat will become either dead or just a regular live cat,” explains Chen. “The most straightforward strategy to protect a Schrodinger’s cat is to make the box as tight as possible, but that also makes it harder to use it for computation. What we just demonstrated was akin to painting the inside of the box in a special way and that somehow helps the cat better survive the inevitable harm of the outside world.”

    Co-authors also include Brian Baker and Jens Koch from Northwestern University.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Mass Amherst campus

    UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

    As the flagship campus of America’s education state University of Massachusetts Amherst is the leader of the public higher education system of the Commonwealth, making a profound, transformative impact to the common good. Founded in 1863, we are the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of our academic, research and community outreach programs. We rank 29th among the nation’s top public universities, moving up 11 spots in the past two years in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:31 am on January 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists Explain a Jet Pointing the Wrong Way", A pulsar known as B2224+65, , , , , The Guitar Nebula, UMASS Amherst   

    From UMass Amherst: “Scientists Explain a Jet Pointing the Wrong Way” 

    U Mass Amherst

    From UMass Amherst

    January 15, 2021
    Q. Daniel Wang
    wqd@umass.edu

    1
    The misalignment of the X-ray jets (the long main jet and the short counter-jet) and the Guitar Nebula (the optical image), all emanating from the pulsar (the bright white dot).Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UMass/Q. Daniel Wang, Optical: NASA/STScI & Palomar Observatory 5-m Hale Telescope.

    NASA Chandra X-ray Space Telescope.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope.

    Caltech Palomar 200 inch Hale Telescope, Altitude 1,713 m (5,620 ft), located in San Diego County, California, U.S.A.

    Scientists may have explained a phenomenon that seems to contradict the laws of physics. For the last decade or so, astronomers have been puzzled by the “weird behavior” of some jet-like X-ray features observed around bubbles of charged particles ejected from very fast-moving pulsars. These jets shoot out at super high speed into interstellar spaceat odd, unexpected angles, says Daniel Wang at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

    He explains, “If you drive very fast, your hat should be blown backwards off your head, not sideways. These jets do not follow the interstellar backflows, they shoot out to the sides – a really weird phenomenon.”

    Wang presented a paper [Research Notes of the AAS ] with a new observation he made with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory this week at the virtual annual conference of the American Astronomical Society. He says his new evidence and analysis supports one particular theory of how such jets manifest their strange behavior.

    Pulsars are rotating magnetized neutron stars that emit winds of charged particles intermixed with magnetic field at almost the speed of light, Wang explains. So, each pulsar blows a pulsar wind that forms a bubble of particles into the ambient interstellar medium. When a pulsar moves at very high speed, a supersonic shock forms on the front side of this bubble, forcing it to stretch backward – at least that is what one would expect, he adds.

    Women in STEM – Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell Discovered pulsars

    Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered pulsars with radio astronomy. Jocelyn Bell at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge University, taken for the Daily Herald newspaper in 1968. Denied the Nobel.

    Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell at work on first plusar chart 1967 pictured working at the Four Acre Array in 1967. Image courtesy of Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory.

    But observations have shown that in some cases, highly energetic particles manage to shoot out from the sides of this shock bubble in streams of particles into the interstellar space. It is these strongly elongated streams that generate the weird X-ray jets that seem to ignore the basic laws of physics.

    Wang’s group established the link of such an X-ray jet with a pulsar known as B2224+65 for the first time about 10 years ago, based on two observations made with the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2000 and 2006. These observations showed that both this “misaligned” jet and the pulsar move in a synchronized fashion. This was “a major surprise,” Wang recalls. Since then, similar jet-like features have been observed near several other fast-moving pulsars, but how these jet-like ejections form from pulsar wind remains unclear, he adds.

    Now Wang has compared and analyzed all three Chandra observations of B2224+65. He shows that this pulsar also has a weak “counter-jet” and an even fainter and barely detected X-ray trail that actually coincides with the expected backflow of pulsar wind particles. Further, he tracked the change of the jet structures over time. Comparing these with recent theories and simulations, he discusses the implications of these results.

    Wang says a theory that rests on energy-dependent confinement of particles by magnetic field seems to explain these jet phenomena well. “Magnetic field is everywhere, and it can guide particles like an invisible hand,” he adds. Imagining the pulsar wind bubble as a balloon, the magnetic tension confines the pulsar’s charged particles inside. But this confinement can be fragile and does not work well for high-energy particles, he adds.

    Another property of magnetic field is that it is directional – “at some points in the bubble’s shock front, the interstellar and pulsar wind magnetic fields with opposing pole directions can meet and annihilate or cancel each other out”, Wang says. “It’s like sticking a pin in the balloon and producing holes that allow confined particles to burst out,” he explains. “The leaked particles are not totally free, though, and they stream mostly along interstellar magnetic field lines.”

    He adds, “These observations are consistent with this leaking balloon picture, but the details still need to be worked out. It’s still uncertain how the leak appears to be sporadic and why the jets are so bright compared to the backflow.”

    “Perhaps the leak can be unstable and fluctuate, as the bubble moves through the interstellar space,” he points out, and “There is also evidence for these leaked higher-energy particles to be accelerated when they collide with the interstellar magnetic field.”

    “In short,” Wang writes, “magnetic field appears to play a central, though ‘invisible,’ role in determining the X-ray properties of the pulsar wind. It shows that the particle confinement is not perfect, and that a magnetic field accelerates particles to very high energies and enables them to radiate X-ray emission,” he says, adding that results seem to confirm this picture. More details of the work can be found in an article published in the Research Notes of the AAS [above] and were given in the AAS meeting (#436.01; Jan. 14, 2021, 4:10 PM – 4:20 PM).

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Mass Amherst campus

    UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

    As the flagship campus of America’s education state University of Massachusetts Amherst is the leader of the public higher education system of the Commonwealth, making a profound, transformative impact to the common good. Founded in 1863, we are the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of our academic, research and community outreach programs. We rank 29th among the nation’s top public universities, moving up 11 spots in the past two years in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:17 pm on November 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Piecing Together the Alaska’s Fractured Volcanic Activity", , , , UMASS Amherst,   

    From UMass Amherst: “Piecing Together the Alaska’s Fractured Volcanic Activity” 

    U Mass Amherst

    From UMass Amherst

    November 17, 2020
    Janet Lathrop
    jlathrop@umass.edu

    1

    Among seismologists, the geology of Alaska’s earthquake- and volcano-rich coast from the Aleutian Islands to the southeast is fascinating, but not well understood. Now, with more sophisticated tools than before, a University of Massachusetts Amherst team reports unexpected new details about the area’s tectonic plates and their relationships to volcanoes.

    Plate tectonics – the constant underground movement of continental and ocean shelves, is often characterized by “subduction zones” where plates clash, one usually sliding under another. Many are prime earthquake- and volcano-prone regions.

    Lead author Xiaotao Yang says, “For a long time, the whole central Alaska region was thought to have one simple subduction plate. What we discovered is that there are actually two major subduction slabs. It’s a surprise that we see differences between these two slabs and the associate mantle materials.” Overall, Yang says the new research shows, “there are many more subtleties and variations that we had not seen before.”

    Yang, who did this work at UMass Amherst with co-author Haiying Gao, is now on the faculty at Purdue University. Writing in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth they point out that central Alaska is “an ideal place to investigate subduction segmentation and its correlation with volcano distribution” because “it is not clearly understood what controls the distribution of arc volcanoes.”

    Yang says their study highlights how complex a subduction zone can be and how this complexity may control volcano distribution. It also helps to clarify a long-standing question in seismology: what determines whether volcanoes are present and whether they are in a linear arc, or in clusters. Yang says it depends in part on whether rocks deep in the mantle above the subducting slab melt into magma, and how magma is stored in the crust.

    For their investigations, Yang and Gao used a powerful seismic imaging technique that Yang says is similar to a medical CAT scan of the Earth. With it, they constructed a detailed seismic velocity model of the Aleutian-Alaska margin from crust to the uppermost mantle. Seismic velocity refers to the rate at which a seismic wave travels through a material such as magma or crust. Waves travel more slowly through low-density, low-velocity material compared to surrounding rocks, for example, he says.

    The researchers’ new model reveals multiple downgoing slabs, with various seismic velocities, thicknesses and dip angles, they write. Yang adds, “Once we got to look at the two central Alaska volcanoes for the first time in a really precise way, what we see is a much more complicated subduction system than we knew before. This new information about the complexity helps us to understand the distribution of volcanoes in Alaska. It’s all more complicated than the tools could show us before,” he adds.

    Their findings help to explain why there is a break in the arc of volcanoes called the Denali Volcanic Gap, Yang says. Below it is a wedge-shaped region of high seismic velocity material above the subduction plate but below the mantle. It is relatively cold and dry with no melting, which explains why there is no volcano in the region.

    By contrast, the cluster of volcanoes in the Wrangell Volcanic Field do not have the same signature, he adds. The Wrangell volcanoes have distinctly low seismic velocity material in the crust. It’s a rather large magma reservoir that may explain why they’re in a cluster instead of an arc, Yang says, though “the fact that it’s there helps to explain where the magma came from for past eruptions.”

    This study was made possible by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) array of seismic sensors in Alaska, part of its EarthScope Transportable Array program, Yang notes. His co-author Gao had startup funding from UMass Amherst and an NSF CAREER grant. They also used computational resources at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke.

    Yang says that their work adds to seismologists’ understanding of volcano distribution in the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest, South America and the south Pacific. He hopes to follow up with more detailed analyses of magma reservoirs in the crust, how volcanoes are fed and particularly, whether Aleutian volcanoes have magma in the crust.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Mass Amherst campus

    UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

    As the flagship campus of America’s education state University of Massachusetts Amherst is the leader of the public higher education system of the Commonwealth, making a profound, transformative impact to the common good. Founded in 1863, we are the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of our academic, research and community outreach programs. We rank 29th among the nation’s top public universities, moving up 11 spots in the past two years in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:38 am on November 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Exploring Hot Deep-Sea Vents for Signs of Extreme Life", , , , , UMASS Amherst   

    From UMass Amherst: “Exploring Hot Deep-Sea Vents for Signs of Extreme Life” 

    U Mass Amherst

    From UMass Amherst

    November 10, 2020

    1
    Hydrothermal venting from the seafloor on top of Axial Volcano in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, nearly a mile (1,500 meters) below the surface. Microbes are known to live without light or oxygen inside this basalt outcrop feeding on chemicals from the volcano. Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    Microbiology professor Jim Holden, a researcher in the School of Earth and Sustainability, recently received a three-year, $441,219 grant from NASA’s Exobiology Program to study competition between different types of thermophilic, or heat-loving, microbes that live in deep-sea volcanoes called hydrothermal vents.

    The program’s goal is to “understand the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. Research is centered on the origin and early evolution of life, the potential of life to adapt to different environments, and the implications for life elsewhere,” NASA says.

    Holden, an expert in high-temperature microbes, adds that the investigation will estimate the population size, composition and impact of different types of thermophilic life in the underwater vents, where there is no oxygen or sunlight. These organisms live at very high temperatures and feed on hydrogen, carbon dioxide, sulfur and iron from the vents.

    He explains, “This life is thought to be representative of early life on Earth, and hydrothermal vents are thought to be like habitats on Mars and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, where there may be evidence of past or even present microbial life.”

    Different kinds of life use different kinds of chemical reactions to make energy for themselves, the microbiologist points out. In general, scientists believe that the organism that has the most favorable chemical reaction in an environment will do better than the other organisms present. Holden says, “The question is, how can two environments that are chemically similar have different kinds of microbes living in them?”

    Two years ago, Holden and mineralogist Darby Dyar at Mount Holyoke College received a $630,000 grant from the NASA program to develop techniques to detect and distinguish the different types of microbial life using remote sensing. Those instruments are already on the Mars rovers and will likely be used on future missions to Mars and elsewhere, Holden says.

    Eventually, NASA will use findings from these and studies by others to create a microbial library so that rovers crawling on Mars or swimming in the seas of Saturn or Jupiter’s moons can recognize what they are encountering. The current study will explore whether there may be other important factors involved whenconsidering competition between different kinds of life, Holden notes. Results of this study will be useful for NASA, he says, “to predict where they might find life and how to interpret the results that we receive from rovers, landers and satellites that are visiting or will visit other planets and moons.”

    Results also should help researchers to interpret how life operates in past and modern earth environments, which can be useful for understanding chemical changes in the environment, for oil and gas recovery, and for the application of these organisms for removing pollution and generating bioenergy, he notes.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Mass Amherst campus

    UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

    As the flagship campus of America’s education state University of Massachusetts Amherst is the leader of the public higher education system of the Commonwealth, making a profound, transformative impact to the common good. Founded in 1863, we are the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of our academic, research and community outreach programs. We rank 29th among the nation’s top public universities, moving up 11 spots in the past two years in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:09 pm on October 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Recent Atlantic Ocean Warming Unprecedented in Nearly 3000 Years", , , Paleooceanography, UMASS Amherst   

    From UMass Amherst: “Recent Atlantic Ocean Warming Unprecedented in Nearly 3,000 Years” 

    U Mass Amherst

    From UMass Amherst

    October 14, 2020

    Francois Lapointe
    flapointe@umass.edu

    UMass Amherst, Canadian research uses ancient lake sediments to extend climate record.

    1
    Nicholas Balascio and Francois Lapointe working with an ice auger to drill in the 3.5m thick ice at South Sawtooth Lake, Canada. Credit: Mark B Abbott.

    2
    A Twin Otter research plane on frozen Sawtooth Lake in Canada’a High Arctic. Credit: Mark B. Abbott.

    Taking advantage of unique properties of sediments from the bottom of Sawtooth Lake in the Canadian High Arctic, climate scientists have extended the record of Atlantic sea-surface temperature from about 100 to 2,900 years, and it shows that the warmest interval over this period has been the past 10 years.

    A team led by Francois Lapointe and Raymond Bradley in the Climate System Research Center of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Pierre Francus at University of Québec-INRS (CA) analyzed “perfectly preserved” annual layers of sediment that accumulated in the lake on northern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, which contain titanium left over from centuries of rock weathering. By measuring the titanium concentration in the different layers, scientists can estimate the relative temperature and atmospheric pressure over time.

    The newly extended record shows that the coldest temperatures were found between about 1400-1600 A.D., and the warmest interval occurred during just the past decade, the authors report. Francus adds, “Our unique data set constitutes the first reconstruction of Atlantic sea surface temperatures spanning the last 3,000 years and this will allow climatologists to better understand the mechanisms behind long-term changes in the behavior of the Atlantic Ocean.”

    When temperatures are cool over the North Atlantic, a relatively low atmospheric pressure pattern is found over much of the Canadian High Arctic and Greenland. This is associated with slower snow melt in that region and higher titanium levels in the sediments. The opposite is true when the ocean is warmer – atmospheric pressure is higher, snow melt is rapid and the concentration of titanium decreases.

    Lapointe says, “Using these strong links, it was possible to reconstruct how Atlantic sea surface temperatures have varied over the past 2,900 years, making it the longest record that is currently available.” Details appear this week in PNAS.

    The researchers report that their newly reconstructed record is significantly correlated with several other independent sediment records from the Atlantic Ocean ranging from north of Iceland to offshore Venezuela, confirming its reliability as a proxy for the long-term variability of ocean temperatures across a broad swath of the Atlantic. The record is also similar to European temperatures over the past 2,000 years, they point out.

    Fluctuations in sea surface temperatures, known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), are also linked to other major climatic upheavals such as droughts in North America and the severity of hurricanes. However, because measurements of sea surface temperatures only go back a century or so, the exact length and variability of the AMO cycle has been poorly understood.

    Climate warming in the Arctic is now twice or three times faster than the rest of the planet because of greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, warming can be amplified or dampened by natural climate variability, such as changes in the surface temperature of the North Atlantic, which appear to vary over cycles of about 60-80 years.

    Lapointe, who has carried out extensive fieldwork in the Canadian Arctic over the past decade, notes that “It has been common in recent summers for atmospheric high-pressure systems – clear-sky conditions – to prevail over the region. Maximum temperatures often reached 20 degrees Celsius, 68 degrees Fahrenheit, for many successive days or even weeks, as in 2019. This has had irreversible impacts on snow cover, glaciers and ice caps, and permafrost.”

    Bradley adds that, “The surface waters of the Atlantic have been consistently warm since about 1995. We don’t know if conditions will shift towards a cooler phase any time soon, which would give some relief for the accelerated Arctic warming. But if the Atlantic warming continues, atmospheric conditions favoring more severe melting of Canadian Arctic ice caps and the Greenland ice sheet can be expected in the coming decades.”

    In 2019, Greenland Ice Sheet lost more than 500 billion tons of mass, a record, and this was associated with unprecedented, persistent high pressure atmospheric conditions.”

    Lapointe notes, “Conditions like this are currently not properly captured by global climate models, underestimating the potential impacts of future warming in Arctic regions.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Mass Amherst campus

    UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

    As the flagship campus of America’s education stateUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst is the leader of the public higher education system of the Commonwealth, making a profound, transformative impact to the common good. Founded in 1863, we are the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of our academic, research and community outreach programs. We rank 29th among the nation’s top public universities, moving up 11 spots in the past two years in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:41 pm on September 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "UMass Amherst Astronomy Opens Elite Telescope to U.S. Institutions", 2010 Decadal Survey of Astronomy, , , , Consejo Nacional de Ciecia y Tecnología (CONACyT) MX, , Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE) MX, , Millimeter-wave astronomy, , UMASS Amherst,   

    From UMass Amherst: “UMass Amherst Astronomy Opens Elite Telescope to U.S. Institutions” 

    U Mass Amherst

    From UMass Amherst

    September 28, 2020
    Peter Schloerb
    schloerb@umass.edu

    Large Millimeter Telescope, joint project with Mexico, gets grant to share time, expertise.

    The University of Massachusetts Amherst and Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica MX Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano, Mexico, at an altitude of 4850 meters on top of the Sierra Negra.

    The University of Massachusetts Amherst and Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica MX Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano, Mexico, at an altitude of 4850 meters on top of the Sierra Negra.

    Astronomers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are marking an especially meaningful event this month, as a team led by Professor Peter Schloerb recently received a three-year, $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to provide support for the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico and to offer – for the first time – access to it for astronomers from any U.S. institution.

    Schloerb says, “The LMT is a unique facility that has had an important impact on astronomical research, including, most recently, as a key station in the network that produced the first-ever image of a black hole.

    Messier 87*, The first image of a black hole. This is the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy Messier 87. Image via JPL/ Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration.

    The U.S. astronomy community identified access to telescopes like the LMT as a priority in the 2010 Decadal Survey of Astronomy. UMass Amherst now leads the effort to provide this to all U.S. astronomers.”

    He adds, “This is an exciting time for the LMT. We have a suite of new instruments coming online which will further enhance the telescope’s ability to deliver strong scientific results. Enabling the U.S. community to use the telescope has always been an important goal for our group, and we’re very glad to be in a leadership role on this with our partners in this new project.”

    Those partners are the University of Maryland, College Park in the United States, and the Consejo Nacional de Ciecia y Tecnología (CONACyT) MX and the Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE) MX in Mexico.

    The LMT is a 50-meter diameter radio telescope built through a collaboration of UMass Amherst and Mexico. It is located in the state of Puebla atop a 15,000-foot peak and is the largest telescope of its type in the world. Building it was the largest science project in Mexican history, Schloerb recalls. It is closed during the pandemic, but will re-open once the COVID-19 situation improves in Mexico, he adds.

    U.S. astronomers will be able to submit proposals for access to 15 percent of the LMT observing time, Schloerb says. “They will also benefit from having LMT’s trained staff available to conduct the observations and help users turn their raw telescope data into useful scientific products. The new NSF funding will allow us to upgrade LMT services to a level you’d expect from one of our national observatories.”

    Specifically, as co-principal investigator Grant Wilson explains, “We’ll have new software writers on board from the University of Maryland, where they have senior-level expertise in software development for millimeter-wave astronomy.”

    Wilson adds, “Software is a critical need; often the first question a researcher asks after observing is, ‘How do I process the data?’ We’ll help users in all ways from writing a sensible proposal, to observing support and with data analysis to help them get to science-ready data products.” Two other co-principal investigators on the new grant are UMass Amherst astronomers Min Yun and Alexandra Pope.

    The new LMT program also capitalizes on the U.S. partnership with the ALMA interferometer in Chile, which Wilson says is “fantastic for doing high-resolution studies of dust and gas, but not good at making big images that help people understand the environment where the objects exist. It’s like studying a home without knowing anything about the neighborhood – is it urban or rural? – that makes a big difference.”

    Further, he points out, “Astronomers want to know what the history of the neighborhood is, and what might it do next. LMT has the ability to provide a baseline hand-in-hand with ALMA to provide this level of specificity and detail.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Mass Amherst campus

    UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

    As the flagship campus of America’s education stateUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst is the leader of the public higher education system of the Commonwealth, making a profound, transformative impact to the common good. Founded in 1863, we are the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of our academic, research and community outreach programs. We rank 29th among the nation’s top public universities, moving up 11 spots in the past two years in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:57 pm on February 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Huge stores of Arctic sea ice likely contributed to past climate cooling", , Experiments show that there was enough cold fresh water to disrupt ocean salt-temperature circulation patterns and trigger abrupt climate cooling such as the Younger Dryas., UMASS Amherst   

    From UMass Amherst and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution via phys.org: “Huge stores of Arctic sea ice likely contributed to past climate cooling” 

    U Mass Amherst

    From UMass Amherst

    and

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

    via


    phys.org

    February 20, 2020
    Raymond Bradley

    1
    One of the last remains of the formerly extensive ice off the coast of Ellesmere Island, Arctic Canada, pictured in July 2002. At the end of the last Ice Age, ice such as this would have covered large parts of the Arctic Ocean and been up to 164 feet (50 meters) thick in places, creating an enormous reservoir of fresh water independent from land-based lakes and ice sheets, say Raymond Bradley of UMass Amherst and Alan Condron of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in a new paper on past climate. Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Alan Condron

    In a new paper, climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution propose that massive amounts of melting sea ice in the Arctic drained into the North Atlantic and disrupted climate-steering currents, thus playing an important role in causing past abrupt climate change after the last Ice Age, from about 8,000 to 13,000 years ago. Details of how they tested this idea for the first time are online now in Geology.

    Raymond Bradley, director of UMass Amherst’s Climate Systems Research Center, and lead author Alan Condron, research scientist at Woods Hole, explain that geologists have considered many theories about abrupt temperature plunges into “glacier-like” conditions since the last glaciers retreated, notably a very cold period about 12,900 years ago, known as the Younger Dryas. Meteorite impact and volcanic eruptions were proposed to explain these episodes, but evidence has been unconvincing, they add.

    Now Condron and Bradley, with Ph.D student Anthony Joyce, say they have new evidence that periodic break-up of thick Arctic sea ice greatly affected climate. Melting of this ice led to freshwater flooding into the seas near Greenland, Norway and Iceland between 13,000 and 8,000 years ago, slowing the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). They say their experiments show that there was enough cold, fresh water to disrupt ocean salt-temperature circulation patterns and trigger abrupt climate cooling such as the Younger Dryas.

    Bradley explains, “Understanding the past helps us understand how the Arctic system works.”

    Condron says researchers once thought this cold period was triggered by the draining of Lake Agassiz, an enormous glacial lake at the edge of the massive ice sheet that once extended from the Arctic south into modern New York. “But although the lake was big by modern standards, it has been difficult in the climate modeling community to trigger a 1,000-year cold period with the water it contained, because the volume of water is not large enough to weaken the Atlantic circulation over a long period,” he notes.

    “However, the volumes of water we find stored as sea ice in the Arctic vastly exceed the volume of Lake Agassiz, making sea ice break-up a really good candidate for triggering the Younger Dryas cooling,” he adds.

    To establish that there was enough ice in the Arctic to disrupt the sea circulation pattern, the researchers used numerical climate model experiments to estimate past Arctic sea ice extent and thickness. They also examined diaries and journals of early 19th and 20th century Arctic expeditions to see if those explorers, whose explorations came at the end of a “Little Ice Age,” encountered unusually thick sea ice.

    Condron and Bradley cite the impressions of Vice-Admiral Sir George Nares, who led the 1875 British Arctic Expedition to the North Pole. He was so struck by the extensive, thick ice his expedition encountered that he introduced the term “palaeocrystic ice” to describe “floes… of gigantic thickness with a most uneven surface and covered with deep snow.”

    They note, “It seems from these, and other accounts kept by early Arctic explorers, that the Arctic Ocean was covered by ice considerably thicker than has been observed over the past 30-40 years. While recent climate warming in the Arctic has caused much of this old and thick ice to break up and melt, large pieces of it were also still being reported in the early 20th century.” including floes used as scientific research stations by both the U.S. and Russia as late as the Cold War.

    They say their numerical ocean/sea-ice model of the volume of freshwater stored as sea ice and changes in ice export at the end of the Ice Age show these were large enough to slow the AMOC and cool climate. Thick ice over the Arctic Ocean created “an enormous reservoir of freshwater, independent of terrestrial sourc¬es.” As ice sheets retreated and sea level rose, changes in atmospheric circulation and land-based floods caused this ice to flow to the sea through Fram Strait east of Greenland, where it melted and freshened Nordic Seas enough to weaken Atlantic circulation.

    As both the volume of ice stored in the Arctic Basin and the magnitude of these export events far exceed the volume of meltwater discharged from Lake Agassiz, they report, “our results show that ice from the Arctic Ocean itself may have played an important role in causing abrupt climate change in the past.” This work was supported by the National Science Foundation and its Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment. Also, numerical simulations were carried out using MITgcm.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    About Science X in 100 words

    Science X™ is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies. Launched in 2004 (Physorg.com), Science X’s readership has grown steadily to include 5 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Science X publishes approximately 200 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Science X community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.
    Mission 12 reasons for reading daily news on Science X Organization Key editors and writersinclude 1.75 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Phys.org publishes approximately 100 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Quancast 2009 includes Phys.org in its list of the Global Top 2,000 Websites. Phys.org community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, RSS/XML feeds, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

    Vision & Mission

    The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.
    Mission Statement

    The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.

    U Mass Amherst campus

    UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

    As the flagship campus of America’s education stateUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst is the leader of the public higher education system of the Commonwealth, making a profound, transformative impact to the common good. Founded in 1863, we are the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of our academic, research and community outreach programs. We rank 29th among the nation’s top public universities, moving up 11 spots in the past two years in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:50 am on February 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Generating electricity 'out of thin air'", Air-gen, , , , , , UMASS Amherst, Using a natural protein to create electricity from moisture in the air.   

    From UMass Amherst via COSMOS Magazine: “Generating electricity ‘out of thin air'” 

    U Mass Amherst

    From UMass Amherst

    via

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    COSMOS Magazine

    18 February 2020
    Nick Carne

    Researchers unveil a new device powered by a microbe.

    1
    Graphic image of a thin film of protein nanowires generating electricity from atmospheric humidity. UMass Amherst/Yao and Lovley labs.

    Scientists in the US have developed a device they say uses a natural protein to create electricity from moisture in the air.

    Writing in the journal Nature, electrical engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovley, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, introduce the Air-gen (or air-powered generator), which Lovley describes as “the most amazing and exciting application of protein nanowires yet”.

    Air-Gen has electrically conductive protein nanowires produced by the microbe Geobacter, which Lovley discovered in the Potomac River three decades ago and has been working with ever since, in particular investigating its potential for “green electronics”.

    The Air-gen connects electrodes to the protein nanowires in such a way that electrical current is generated from the water vapour naturally present in the atmosphere.

    It requires only a thin film of protein nanowires less than 10 microns thick. The bottom of the film rests on an electrode, while a smaller electrode that covers only part of the nanowire film sits on top.

    The film adsorbs water vapour from the atmosphere. A combination of the electrical conductivity and surface chemistry of the protein nanowires, coupled with the fine pores between the nanowires within the film, establishes the conditions that generate an electrical current between the two electrodes.

    Developed in Yao’s lab, Air-gen is low-cost, non-polluting and renewable, and needs neither sun nor wind, the researchers say. It can work indoors, or in extremely low humidity of the desert.

    The current generation can power only small electronics, but they hope to bring it to commercial scale soon. Beyond that is the idea a small Air-gen “patch” that can power electronic wearables such as health and fitness monitors and smart watches. And then, maybe, there are mobile phones.

    “The ultimate goal is to make large-scale systems,” says Yao. “For example, the technology might be incorporated into wall paint that could help power your home. Or, we may develop stand-alone air-powered generators that supply electricity off the grid.”

    Lovley also is working to improve the practical biological capabilities of Geobacter. His lab recently developed a new microbial strain to more rapidly and inexpensively mass produce protein nanowires.

    “We turned E. coli into a protein nanowire factory,” he says. “With this new scalable process, protein nanowire supply will no longer be a bottleneck to developing these applications.”

    The Royal Institution of Australia has an education resource based on this article.
    You can access it here.

    See the full article here .

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    U Mass Amherst campus

    UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

    As the flagship campus of America’s education state, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the leader of the public higher education system of the Commonwealth, making a profound, transformative impact to the common good. Founded in 1863, we are the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of our academic, research and community outreach programs. We rank 29th among the nation’s top public universities, moving up 11 spots in the past two years in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide.

     
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