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  • richardmitnick 8:05 am on September 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Vanderbilt University (US)   

    From Vanderbilt University (US) : “Digital Sky Survey maps the entire sky providing new data to Vanderbilt astronomers” 

    Vanderbilt U Bloc

    From Vanderbilt University (US)

    Jan. 4, 2021 [Just now in social media.]
    Marissa Shapiro

    by Emery Little

    The fifth generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey is collecting data about our universe for Vanderbilt University astronomers and other project members to use to explore the formation of distant galaxies and supermassive black holes, and to map the Milky Way.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Apache Point Observatory (US), near Sunspot, New Mexico Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft).
    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    The SDSS-V will make full use of existing satellites, including NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite mission, to lead to new discoveries.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) TESS

    NASA/MIT Tess in the building

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US) TESS – Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite replaced the Kepler Space Telescope in search for exoplanets. TESS is a NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission led and operated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US).

    Additional partners include Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Virginia; NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; the Center for Astrophysics – Harvard and Smithsonian; MIT Lincoln Laboratory; and the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute (US) in Baltimore.




    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Keivan Stassun, Stevenson Professor of Physics and Astronomy, is co-investigator of NASA TESS, which enabled the discovery of a newly formed exoplanet in June 2020. That discovery boosted the potential for a joint effort with SDSS data.

    “SDSS-V will magnify the exoplanet discoveries from TESS, both retrospectively and prospectively,” Stassun said. “Retrospectively in the sense that SDSS-V data will provide a rich characterization of the chemical makeup of the exoplanet systems that TESS has already discovered; prospectively in the sense that SDSS-V will provide the same rich characterization for millions of stars whose planets TESS has yet to find. Even more prospectively, the combination of SDSS-V and TESS data will enable us to confidently identify the most promising planets whose atmospheres we will study for habitability with the upcoming Twinkle mission.”

    Depiction of Twinkle space satellite led by University College London (UK) and University of Surrey (UK) Satellite Technology Ltd.

    Set to launch in late 2023, Twinkle will deliver unprecedented satellite telescope data about the elemental composition of exoplanet atmospheres. Vanderbilt and The Ohio State University (US) have become founding members of the mission.

    Further, the latest SDSS-V data will inform the research of Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Physics Jessie Runnoe, whose work primarily focuses on quasars—supermassive black holes that feed on disks of gas and dust in the centers of distant galaxies.

    Quasars give off a tremendous amount of light energy, and Runnoe studies the environments that make them or cause them to change over time. The latest release from SDSS-V will enable her to digest huge quantities of data into new observations and conclusions. The new data will make it much easier to see how, when and why quasars are changing, Runnoe explains.

    “Quasars are so far away that capturing an image makes it look like it’s a star,” Runnoe said. “The real action is looking at how the energy, or light, output of quasars appears when it’s spread out over different wavelengths. Having consistent data over time from SDSS-V will help us create a benchmark to understand how quasars really behave.”

    Operating out of Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico and Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, SDSS has been providing publicly available data since 1998.

    This survey has given scientists the tools to create the most detailed map yet of the known universe, discover earth-like planets and observe other celestial bodies.

    “The quantity of information provided by SDSS-V is astronomical in both senses of the word. We are looking forward to turning this data into a new understanding of our place in the universe with Prof. Runnoe,” said Andreas Berlind, co-director of Vanderbilt’s Data Science Institute and associate professor of physics and astronomy.

    2
    The Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s fifth generation made its first observations earlier this month. This image shows a sampling of data from those first SDSS-V data. The central sky image is a single field of SDSS-V observations. The purple circle indicates the telescope’s field-of-view on the sky, with the full Moon shown as a size comparison. SDSS-V simultaneously observes 500 targets at a time within a circle of this size. The left panel shows the optical-light spectrum of a quasar–a supermassive black hole at the center of a distant galaxy, which is surrounded by a disk of hot, glowing gas. The purple blob is an SDSS image of the light from this disk, which in this dataset spans about 1 arcsecond on the sky, or the width of a human hair as seen from about 21 meters (63 feet) away. The right panel shows the image and spectrum of a white dwarf –the left-behind core of a low-mass star (like the Sun) after the end of its life. Image Credit: Hector Ibarra Medel, Jon Trump, Yue Shen, Gail Zasowski, and the SDSS-V Collaboration. Central background image: unWISE / NASA/JPL-Caltech (US) / D.Lang – The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (CA)).

    In a release, program director at the Sloan Foundation Evan Michelson said, “SDSS-V will continue to transform astronomy by building on a 20-year legacy of path-breaking science, shedding light on the most fundamental questions about the origins and nature of the universe. It demonstrates all the hallmark characteristics that have made SDSS so successful in the past: open sharing of data, inclusion of diverse scientists, and collaboration across numerous institutions.” The release also highlights the leadership role of Vanderbilt Research Assistant Professor Jon Bird in the overall design and implementation of the SDSS-V mission.

    “Supermassive black holes eat like the Cookie Monster—more comes out than comes in,” said Runnoe, also a faculty affiliate at the Data Science Institute. “My interest is in understanding environments that feed these black holes. I am looking forward to maximizing the data we have, it’s a great challenge.”

    Runnoe believes this publicly available data will encourage critical thinking and allow researchers to better communicate their findings to the general public. “We’re getting into an era where we’re making movies out of the sky, not just pictures,” said Runnoe. “It’s exciting to unravel mysteries we’ve been stuck on.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was in his 79th year when he decided to make the gift that founded Vanderbilt University (US) in the spring of 1873.
    The $1 million that he gave to endow and build the university was the commodore’s only major philanthropy. Methodist Bishop Holland N. McTyeire of Nashville, husband of Amelia Townsend who was a cousin of the commodore’s young second wife Frank Crawford, went to New York for medical treatment early in 1873 and spent time recovering in the Vanderbilt mansion. He won the commodore’s admiration and support for the project of building a university in the South that would “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.”

    McTyeire chose the site for the campus, supervised the construction of buildings and personally planted many of the trees that today make Vanderbilt a national arboretum. At the outset, the university consisted of one Main Building (now Kirkland Hall), an astronomical observatory and houses for professors. Landon C. Garland was Vanderbilt’s first chancellor, serving from 1875 to 1893. He advised McTyeire in selecting the faculty, arranged the curriculum and set the policies of the university.

    For the first 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Vanderbilt Board of Trust severed its ties with the church in June 1914 as a result of a dispute with the bishops over who would appoint university trustees.

    From the outset, Vanderbilt met two definitions of a university: It offered work in the liberal arts and sciences beyond the baccalaureate degree and it embraced several professional schools in addition to its college. James H. Kirkland, the longest serving chancellor in university history (1893-1937), followed Chancellor Garland. He guided Vanderbilt to rebuild after a fire in 1905 that consumed the main building, which was renamed in Kirkland’s honor, and all its contents. He also navigated the university through the separation from the Methodist Church. Notable advances in graduate studies were made under the third chancellor, Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1937-46). He also created the Joint University Library, brought about by a coalition of Vanderbilt, Peabody College and Scarritt College.

    Remarkable continuity has characterized the government of Vanderbilt. The original charter, issued in 1872, was amended in 1873 to make the legal name of the corporation “The Vanderbilt University.” The charter has not been altered since.

    The university is self-governing under a Board of Trust that, since the beginning, has elected its own members and officers. The university’s general government is vested in the Board of Trust. The immediate government of the university is committed to the chancellor, who is elected by the Board of Trust.

    The original Vanderbilt campus consisted of 75 acres. By 1960, the campus had spread to about 260 acres of land. When George Peabody College for Teachers merged with Vanderbilt in 1979, about 53 acres were added.

    Vanderbilt’s student enrollment tended to double itself each 25 years during the first century of the university’s history: 307 in the fall of 1875; 754 in 1900; 1,377 in 1925; 3,529 in 1950; 7,034 in 1975. In the fall of 1999 the enrollment was 10,127.

    In the planning of Vanderbilt, the assumption seemed to be that it would be an all-male institution. Yet the board never enacted rules prohibiting women. At least one woman attended Vanderbilt classes every year from 1875 on. Most came to classes by courtesy of professors or as special or irregular (non-degree) students. From 1892 to 1901 women at Vanderbilt gained full legal equality except in one respect — access to dorms. In 1894 the faculty and board allowed women to compete for academic prizes. By 1897, four or five women entered with each freshman class. By 1913 the student body contained 78 women, or just more than 20 percent of the academic enrollment.

    National recognition of the university’s status came in 1949 with election of Vanderbilt to membership in the select Association of American Universities (US). In the 1950s Vanderbilt began to outgrow its provincial roots and to measure its achievements by national standards under the leadership of Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. By its 90th anniversary in 1963, Vanderbilt for the first time ranked in the top 20 private universities in the United States.

    Vanderbilt continued to excel in research, and the number of university buildings more than doubled under the leadership of Chancellors Alexander Heard (1963-1982) and Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000), only the fifth and sixth chancellors in Vanderbilt’s long and distinguished history. Heard added three schools (Blair, the Owen Graduate School of Management and Peabody College) to the seven already existing and constructed three dozen buildings. During Wyatt’s tenure, Vanderbilt acquired or built one-third of the campus buildings and made great strides in diversity, volunteerism and technology.

    The university grew and changed significantly under its seventh chancellor, Gordon Gee, who served from 2000 to 2007. Vanderbilt led the country in the rate of growth for academic research funding, which increased to more than $450 million and became one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the country.

    On March 1, 2008, Nicholas S. Zeppos was named Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor after serving as interim chancellor beginning Aug. 1, 2007. Prior to that, he spent 2002-2008 as Vanderbilt’s provost, overseeing undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs as well as development, alumni relations and research efforts in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education, business, law and divinity. He first came to Vanderbilt in 1987 as an assistant professor in the law school. In his first five years, Zeppos led the university through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, while continuing to attract the best students and faculty from across the country and around the world. Vanderbilt got through the economic crisis notably less scathed than many of its peers and began and remained committed to its much-praised enhanced financial aid policy for all undergraduates during the same timespan. The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for first-year students opened in 2008 and College Halls, the next phase in the residential education system at Vanderbilt, is on track to open in the fall of 2014. During Zeppos’ first five years, Vanderbilt has drawn robust support from federal funding agencies, and the Medical Center entered into agreements with regional hospitals and health care systems in middle and east Tennessee that will bring Vanderbilt care to patients across the state.

    Today, Vanderbilt University is a private research university of about 6,500 undergraduates and 5,300 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a public policy center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.

    Cutting-edge research and liberal arts, combined with strong ties to a distinguished medical center, creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.

    Vanderbilt, an independent, privately supported university, and the separate, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center share a respected name and enjoy close collaboration through education and research. Together, the number of people employed by these two organizations exceeds that of the largest private employer in the Middle Tennessee region.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:04 am on July 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Team wins competitive DOE award to advance isotope production critical for U.S. science medicine and industry", , , , , Clemson University (US), DOE's Savannah River National Laboratory (US), Electrochemical engineering, Isotope production and processing techniques, Project: "Electrochemical hydrogen isotope fractionation—fundamental insights leading to process scale up", Separation technologies, Vanderbilt University (US)   

    From Vanderbilt University (US) : “Team wins competitive DOE award to advance isotope production critical for U.S. science medicine and industry” 

    Vanderbilt U Bloc

    From Vanderbilt University (US)

    7.23.21
    Brenda Ellis
    615 343-6314
    brenda.ellis@vanderbilt.edu

    1
    Piran Kidambi.

    A Department of Energy (US) $4 million initiative to advance research in isotope production includes a Vanderbilt engineering professor’s work on separation technologies and to scale up processes. The funding is part of a key federal program that produces critical isotopes otherwise unavailable or in short supply for U.S. science, medicine and industry.

    Piran Kidambi, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is part of a team led by DOE’s Savannah River National Laboratory (US) and Clemson University (US) that has received a two-year, $800,000 grant—“Electrochemical hydrogen isotope fractionation—fundamental insights leading to process scale up”—as part of the DOE’s funding for 10 awards across five isotope research efforts. The awards were selected on a competitive basis by peer review.

    Isotopes, or variations of the same elements with the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons, have unique properties that can make them useful in medical diagnostic and treatment applications. They also are important for applications in quantum information science, nuclear power, national security and more.

    “Given the very minor differences in mass, or physical properties, as well as very similar chemical properties between isotopes, separation of one isotope from the other is inherently challenging,” said Kidambi. “Traditionally, this has been accomplished in energy intensive processes with potential for adverse environmental impact.” Kidambi’s proposed project aims to use fundamental understanding of a separation processes using novel membranes to enable process design and scale up for isotope separation. The team includes the lead organization Savannah River National Laboratory and Clemson University.

    The award recipients include six universities and three DOE national laboratories.

    University of Missouri (US)

    DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (US)

    University of Washington (US)

    Columbia University (US)

    University of Wisconsin‐Madison (US)

    DOE’s Savannah River National Laboratory (US)

    Clemson University (US)

    Vanderbilt University (US)

    DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (US)

    Most of the awards go to collaborative teams where universities and national laboratories work together.

    Topics funded by the DOE include efforts to increase the availability of new cancer diagnostic and therapeutic agents to the medical community and broad improvements to isotope production and processing techniques with the goal of enhancing isotope availability and purity.

    “Isotopes play an absolutely vital role in countless areas of science, medicine, industry, and even national and homeland security today,” said Jehanne Gillo, director of the DOE Isotope Program, in the DOE’s announcement. “These R&D activities will continue our efforts to ensure the availability of isotopes critical to Americans’ health, prosperity, and security that would be otherwise impossible to obtain.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was in his 79th year when he decided to make the gift that founded Vanderbilt University (US) in the spring of 1873.
    The $1 million that he gave to endow and build the university was the commodore’s only major philanthropy. Methodist Bishop Holland N. McTyeire of Nashville, husband of Amelia Townsend who was a cousin of the commodore’s young second wife Frank Crawford, went to New York for medical treatment early in 1873 and spent time recovering in the Vanderbilt mansion. He won the commodore’s admiration and support for the project of building a university in the South that would “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.”

    McTyeire chose the site for the campus, supervised the construction of buildings and personally planted many of the trees that today make Vanderbilt a national arboretum. At the outset, the university consisted of one Main Building (now Kirkland Hall), an astronomical observatory and houses for professors. Landon C. Garland was Vanderbilt’s first chancellor, serving from 1875 to 1893. He advised McTyeire in selecting the faculty, arranged the curriculum and set the policies of the university.

    For the first 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Vanderbilt Board of Trust severed its ties with the church in June 1914 as a result of a dispute with the bishops over who would appoint university trustees.

    From the outset, Vanderbilt met two definitions of a university: It offered work in the liberal arts and sciences beyond the baccalaureate degree and it embraced several professional schools in addition to its college. James H. Kirkland, the longest serving chancellor in university history (1893-1937), followed Chancellor Garland. He guided Vanderbilt to rebuild after a fire in 1905 that consumed the main building, which was renamed in Kirkland’s honor, and all its contents. He also navigated the university through the separation from the Methodist Church. Notable advances in graduate studies were made under the third chancellor, Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1937-46). He also created the Joint University Library, brought about by a coalition of Vanderbilt, Peabody College and Scarritt College.

    Remarkable continuity has characterized the government of Vanderbilt. The original charter, issued in 1872, was amended in 1873 to make the legal name of the corporation “The Vanderbilt University.” The charter has not been altered since.

    The university is self-governing under a Board of Trust that, since the beginning, has elected its own members and officers. The university’s general government is vested in the Board of Trust. The immediate government of the university is committed to the chancellor, who is elected by the Board of Trust.

    The original Vanderbilt campus consisted of 75 acres. By 1960, the campus had spread to about 260 acres of land. When George Peabody College for Teachers merged with Vanderbilt in 1979, about 53 acres were added.

    Vanderbilt’s student enrollment tended to double itself each 25 years during the first century of the university’s history: 307 in the fall of 1875; 754 in 1900; 1,377 in 1925; 3,529 in 1950; 7,034 in 1975. In the fall of 1999 the enrollment was 10,127.

    In the planning of Vanderbilt, the assumption seemed to be that it would be an all-male institution. Yet the board never enacted rules prohibiting women. At least one woman attended Vanderbilt classes every year from 1875 on. Most came to classes by courtesy of professors or as special or irregular (non-degree) students. From 1892 to 1901 women at Vanderbilt gained full legal equality except in one respect — access to dorms. In 1894 the faculty and board allowed women to compete for academic prizes. By 1897, four or five women entered with each freshman class. By 1913 the student body contained 78 women, or just more than 20 percent of the academic enrollment.

    National recognition of the university’s status came in 1949 with election of Vanderbilt to membership in the select Association of American Universities (US). In the 1950s Vanderbilt began to outgrow its provincial roots and to measure its achievements by national standards under the leadership of Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. By its 90th anniversary in 1963, Vanderbilt for the first time ranked in the top 20 private universities in the United States.

    Vanderbilt continued to excel in research, and the number of university buildings more than doubled under the leadership of Chancellors Alexander Heard (1963-1982) and Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000), only the fifth and sixth chancellors in Vanderbilt’s long and distinguished history. Heard added three schools (Blair, the Owen Graduate School of Management and Peabody College) to the seven already existing and constructed three dozen buildings. During Wyatt’s tenure, Vanderbilt acquired or built one-third of the campus buildings and made great strides in diversity, volunteerism and technology.

    The university grew and changed significantly under its seventh chancellor, Gordon Gee, who served from 2000 to 2007. Vanderbilt led the country in the rate of growth for academic research funding, which increased to more than $450 million and became one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the country.

    On March 1, 2008, Nicholas S. Zeppos was named Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor after serving as interim chancellor beginning Aug. 1, 2007. Prior to that, he spent 2002-2008 as Vanderbilt’s provost, overseeing undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs as well as development, alumni relations and research efforts in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education, business, law and divinity. He first came to Vanderbilt in 1987 as an assistant professor in the law school. In his first five years, Zeppos led the university through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, while continuing to attract the best students and faculty from across the country and around the world. Vanderbilt got through the economic crisis notably less scathed than many of its peers and began and remained committed to its much-praised enhanced financial aid policy for all undergraduates during the same timespan. The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for first-year students opened in 2008 and College Halls, the next phase in the residential education system at Vanderbilt, is on track to open in the fall of 2014. During Zeppos’ first five years, Vanderbilt has drawn robust support from federal funding agencies, and the Medical Center entered into agreements with regional hospitals and health care systems in middle and east Tennessee that will bring Vanderbilt care to patients across the state.

    Today, Vanderbilt University is a private research university of about 6,500 undergraduates and 5,300 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a public policy center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.

    Cutting-edge research and liberal arts, combined with strong ties to a distinguished medical center, creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.

    Vanderbilt, an independent, privately supported university, and the separate, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center share a respected name and enjoy close collaboration through education and research. Together, the number of people employed by these two organizations exceeds that of the largest private employer in the Middle Tennessee region.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:00 pm on July 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Research Snapshot- Astrophysicist outlines ambitious plans for the first gravitational wave observatory on the moon", , , , , , , Vanderbilt University (US)   

    From Vanderbilt University (US) : “Research Snapshot- Astrophysicist outlines ambitious plans for the first gravitational wave observatory on the moon” 

    Vanderbilt U Bloc

    From Vanderbilt University (US)

    Jul. 21, 2021
    Marissa Shapiro


    Vanderbilt Astrophysicist outlines plans for the first gravitational wave observatory on the moon.

    Vanderbilt astrophysicist Karan Jani has led a series of studies that make the first case for a gravitational wave infrastructure on the surface of the moon. The experiment, dubbed Gravitational-Wave Lunar Observatory for Cosmology [GLOC}, uses the moon’s environment and geocentric orbit to analyze mergers of black holes, neuron stars and dark matter candidates within almost 70 percent of the entire observable volume of the universe, he said.

    “By tapping into the natural conditions on the moon, we showed that one of the most challenging spectrum of gravitational waves can be measured better from the lunar surface, which so far seems impossible from Earth or space,” Jani said.

    1
    Karan Jani (Vanderbilt University.)

    WHY IT MATTERS

    “The moon offers an ideal backdrop for the ultimate gravitational wave observatory, since it lacks an atmosphere and noticeable seismic noise, which we must mitigate at great cost for laser interferometers on Earth,” said Avi Loeb, professor of science at Harvard University (US) and bestselling author of books about black holes, the first stars, the search for extraterrestrial life and the future of the universe. “A lunar observatory would provide unprecedented sensitivity for discovering sources that we do not anticipate and that could inform us of new physics. GLOC could be the jewel in the crown of science on the surface of the moon.”

    This work comes as NASA revives its Artemis program, which aims to send the first woman and the next man to the moon as early as 2024. Ongoing commercial work by aerospace companies, including SpaceX and BlueOrigin, also has added to the momentum behind planning for ambitious scientific infrastructure on the surface of the moon.

    2
    Conceptual design of Gravitational-wave Lunar Observatory for Cosmology [GLOC} on the surface of the moon. Credit: Karan Jani.

    WHAT’S NEXT

    “In the coming years, we hope to develop a pathfinder mission on the moon to test the technologies of GLOC,” Jani said. “Unlike space missions that last only a few years, the great investment benefit of GLOC is it establishes a permanent base on the moon from where we can study the universe for generations, quite literally the entirety of this century.” Currently the observatory is theoretical, with Jani and Loeb receiving a strong endorsement from the international gravitational-wave community.

    “It was a great privilege to collaborate with an innovative young thinker like Karan Jani,” Loeb said. “He may live long enough to witness the project come to fruition.”
    FUNDING

    The work was funded by the Stevenson Chair endowment funds at Vanderbilt University and the Black Hole Initiative at Harvard University, which is funded by grants from the John Templeton Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

    Science paper:
    Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was in his 79th year when he decided to make the gift that founded Vanderbilt University (US) in the spring of 1873.
    The $1 million that he gave to endow and build the university was the commodore’s only major philanthropy. Methodist Bishop Holland N. McTyeire of Nashville, husband of Amelia Townsend who was a cousin of the commodore’s young second wife Frank Crawford, went to New York for medical treatment early in 1873 and spent time recovering in the Vanderbilt mansion. He won the commodore’s admiration and support for the project of building a university in the South that would “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.”

    McTyeire chose the site for the campus, supervised the construction of buildings and personally planted many of the trees that today make Vanderbilt a national arboretum. At the outset, the university consisted of one Main Building (now Kirkland Hall), an astronomical observatory and houses for professors. Landon C. Garland was Vanderbilt’s first chancellor, serving from 1875 to 1893. He advised McTyeire in selecting the faculty, arranged the curriculum and set the policies of the university.

    For the first 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Vanderbilt Board of Trust severed its ties with the church in June 1914 as a result of a dispute with the bishops over who would appoint university trustees.

    From the outset, Vanderbilt met two definitions of a university: It offered work in the liberal arts and sciences beyond the baccalaureate degree and it embraced several professional schools in addition to its college. James H. Kirkland, the longest serving chancellor in university history (1893-1937), followed Chancellor Garland. He guided Vanderbilt to rebuild after a fire in 1905 that consumed the main building, which was renamed in Kirkland’s honor, and all its contents. He also navigated the university through the separation from the Methodist Church. Notable advances in graduate studies were made under the third chancellor, Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1937-46). He also created the Joint University Library, brought about by a coalition of Vanderbilt, Peabody College and Scarritt College.

    Remarkable continuity has characterized the government of Vanderbilt. The original charter, issued in 1872, was amended in 1873 to make the legal name of the corporation “The Vanderbilt University.” The charter has not been altered since.

    The university is self-governing under a Board of Trust that, since the beginning, has elected its own members and officers. The university’s general government is vested in the Board of Trust. The immediate government of the university is committed to the chancellor, who is elected by the Board of Trust.

    The original Vanderbilt campus consisted of 75 acres. By 1960, the campus had spread to about 260 acres of land. When George Peabody College for Teachers merged with Vanderbilt in 1979, about 53 acres were added.

    Vanderbilt’s student enrollment tended to double itself each 25 years during the first century of the university’s history: 307 in the fall of 1875; 754 in 1900; 1,377 in 1925; 3,529 in 1950; 7,034 in 1975. In the fall of 1999 the enrollment was 10,127.

    In the planning of Vanderbilt, the assumption seemed to be that it would be an all-male institution. Yet the board never enacted rules prohibiting women. At least one woman attended Vanderbilt classes every year from 1875 on. Most came to classes by courtesy of professors or as special or irregular (non-degree) students. From 1892 to 1901 women at Vanderbilt gained full legal equality except in one respect — access to dorms. In 1894 the faculty and board allowed women to compete for academic prizes. By 1897, four or five women entered with each freshman class. By 1913 the student body contained 78 women, or just more than 20 percent of the academic enrollment.

    National recognition of the university’s status came in 1949 with election of Vanderbilt to membership in the select Association of American Universities (US). In the 1950s Vanderbilt began to outgrow its provincial roots and to measure its achievements by national standards under the leadership of Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. By its 90th anniversary in 1963, Vanderbilt for the first time ranked in the top 20 private universities in the United States.

    Vanderbilt continued to excel in research, and the number of university buildings more than doubled under the leadership of Chancellors Alexander Heard (1963-1982) and Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000), only the fifth and sixth chancellors in Vanderbilt’s long and distinguished history. Heard added three schools (Blair, the Owen Graduate School of Management and Peabody College) to the seven already existing and constructed three dozen buildings. During Wyatt’s tenure, Vanderbilt acquired or built one-third of the campus buildings and made great strides in diversity, volunteerism and technology.

    The university grew and changed significantly under its seventh chancellor, Gordon Gee, who served from 2000 to 2007. Vanderbilt led the country in the rate of growth for academic research funding, which increased to more than $450 million and became one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the country.

    On March 1, 2008, Nicholas S. Zeppos was named Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor after serving as interim chancellor beginning Aug. 1, 2007. Prior to that, he spent 2002-2008 as Vanderbilt’s provost, overseeing undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs as well as development, alumni relations and research efforts in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education, business, law and divinity. He first came to Vanderbilt in 1987 as an assistant professor in the law school. In his first five years, Zeppos led the university through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, while continuing to attract the best students and faculty from across the country and around the world. Vanderbilt got through the economic crisis notably less scathed than many of its peers and began and remained committed to its much-praised enhanced financial aid policy for all undergraduates during the same timespan. The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for first-year students opened in 2008 and College Halls, the next phase in the residential education system at Vanderbilt, is on track to open in the fall of 2014. During Zeppos’ first five years, Vanderbilt has drawn robust support from federal funding agencies, and the Medical Center entered into agreements with regional hospitals and health care systems in middle and east Tennessee that will bring Vanderbilt care to patients across the state.

    Today, Vanderbilt University is a private research university of about 6,500 undergraduates and 5,300 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a public policy center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.

    Cutting-edge research and liberal arts, combined with strong ties to a distinguished medical center, creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.

    Vanderbilt, an independent, privately supported university, and the separate, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center share a respected name and enjoy close collaboration through education and research. Together, the number of people employed by these two organizations exceeds that of the largest private employer in the Middle Tennessee region.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:46 am on July 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "$1.5M DOE grant targets engineering of cyanobacteria as biofuel production platform", A new $1.5 million Department of Energy (US) grant brings together experts from three institutions to parse the metabolism of cyanobacteria that holds great promise for biofuel production., Photosynthesis does not occur at the rates and quantities necessary to sustain a commercial biofuel process., Researchers will use the strain Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002-a fast-growing cyanobacteria that is tolerant to heat and brackish water., The grant is part of a $45.5 million DOE program to support research geared towards understanding and harnessing nature’s biological processes to produce clean biofuels and bioproducts., Vanderbilt University (US)   

    From Vanderbilt University (US) : “$1.5M DOE grant targets engineering of cyanobacteria as biofuel production platform” 

    Vanderbilt U Bloc

    From Vanderbilt University (US)

    7.20.21

    1
    Cyanobacteria engineered for high yields of a fatty acid are a potential platform for biofuel production that does not compete with food sources and agricultural land.

    A new $1.5 million Department of Energy (US) grant brings together experts from three institutions to parse the metabolism of a blue-green algae that holds great promise for biofuel production.

    The team, led by Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Jamey Young, will take a systems biology approach to identify how cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can be engineered to produce large amounts of lipids in the form of free fatty acids. Significantly, free fatty acids secreted by cyanobacteria are more easily recovered than lipids typically produced by green algae.

    “Lipid-based products that can be converted to biodiesel or other value-added biochemicals represent one of the most promising platforms for petrochemicals replacement,” Young said.

    Cyanobacteria are already capable of producing lipids directly from sunlight and atmospheric carbon dioxide using photosynthesis, but not at the rates and quantities necessary to sustain a commercial biofuel process. The goal of this new project is to understand how lipid metabolism is regulated in cyanobacteria so host cells can be engineered for high-yield production of medium-chain free fatty acids, which are readily converted into fuels.

    Researchers will use the strain Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002-a fast-growing cyanobacteria that is tolerant to heat and brackish water. The organism’s flexibility makes it especially attractive to DOE as a biomanufacturing host because its growth does not compete with production of crops or other food sources. The species can be grown using wastewater resources and without organic sources of carbon, such as sugar, on land that is unsuitable for agriculture.

    Other Vanderbilt investigators are Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Biological Sciences Carl Johnson; and John McLean, Stevenson Professor and Department Chair of Chemistry John McLean. Brian Pfleger, University of Wisconsin-Madison (US), and Doug Allen and Bradley Evans, both of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, round out the team.

    The research builds on a prior $1.5 million DOE grant, also led by Young, under which the team created research tools for analyzing and controlling cyanobacterial metabolism. “Now the focus is to take the tools we developed and leverage them toward optimizing an important metabolic pathway for producing renewable fuels and chemicals,” he said.

    The Young, McLean, Allen, and Evans labs have expertise in measuring metabolic processes using metabolomics and stable isotopes. The Pfleger and Johnson labs are experts in molecular biology and metabolic engineering of cyanobacteria. By combining their research skillsets to identify metabolic control points and bottlenecks in cyanobacterial fatty acid metabolism, the team plans to engineer host cells to enhance lipid production while also boosting cell growth and stress tolerance.

    The grant is part of a $45.5 million DOE program to support research geared towards understanding and harnessing nature’s biological processes to produce clean biofuels and bioproducts.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was in his 79th year when he decided to make the gift that founded Vanderbilt University (US) in the spring of 1873.
    The $1 million that he gave to endow and build the university was the commodore’s only major philanthropy. Methodist Bishop Holland N. McTyeire of Nashville, husband of Amelia Townsend who was a cousin of the commodore’s young second wife Frank Crawford, went to New York for medical treatment early in 1873 and spent time recovering in the Vanderbilt mansion. He won the commodore’s admiration and support for the project of building a university in the South that would “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.”

    McTyeire chose the site for the campus, supervised the construction of buildings and personally planted many of the trees that today make Vanderbilt a national arboretum. At the outset, the university consisted of one Main Building (now Kirkland Hall), an astronomical observatory and houses for professors. Landon C. Garland was Vanderbilt’s first chancellor, serving from 1875 to 1893. He advised McTyeire in selecting the faculty, arranged the curriculum and set the policies of the university.

    For the first 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Vanderbilt Board of Trust severed its ties with the church in June 1914 as a result of a dispute with the bishops over who would appoint university trustees.

    From the outset, Vanderbilt met two definitions of a university: It offered work in the liberal arts and sciences beyond the baccalaureate degree and it embraced several professional schools in addition to its college. James H. Kirkland, the longest serving chancellor in university history (1893-1937), followed Chancellor Garland. He guided Vanderbilt to rebuild after a fire in 1905 that consumed the main building, which was renamed in Kirkland’s honor, and all its contents. He also navigated the university through the separation from the Methodist Church. Notable advances in graduate studies were made under the third chancellor, Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1937-46). He also created the Joint University Library, brought about by a coalition of Vanderbilt, Peabody College and Scarritt College.

    Remarkable continuity has characterized the government of Vanderbilt. The original charter, issued in 1872, was amended in 1873 to make the legal name of the corporation “The Vanderbilt University.” The charter has not been altered since.

    The university is self-governing under a Board of Trust that, since the beginning, has elected its own members and officers. The university’s general government is vested in the Board of Trust. The immediate government of the university is committed to the chancellor, who is elected by the Board of Trust.

    The original Vanderbilt campus consisted of 75 acres. By 1960, the campus had spread to about 260 acres of land. When George Peabody College for Teachers merged with Vanderbilt in 1979, about 53 acres were added.

    Vanderbilt’s student enrollment tended to double itself each 25 years during the first century of the university’s history: 307 in the fall of 1875; 754 in 1900; 1,377 in 1925; 3,529 in 1950; 7,034 in 1975. In the fall of 1999 the enrollment was 10,127.

    In the planning of Vanderbilt, the assumption seemed to be that it would be an all-male institution. Yet the board never enacted rules prohibiting women. At least one woman attended Vanderbilt classes every year from 1875 on. Most came to classes by courtesy of professors or as special or irregular (non-degree) students. From 1892 to 1901 women at Vanderbilt gained full legal equality except in one respect — access to dorms. In 1894 the faculty and board allowed women to compete for academic prizes. By 1897, four or five women entered with each freshman class. By 1913 the student body contained 78 women, or just more than 20 percent of the academic enrollment.

    National recognition of the university’s status came in 1949 with election of Vanderbilt to membership in the select Association of American Universities (US). In the 1950s Vanderbilt began to outgrow its provincial roots and to measure its achievements by national standards under the leadership of Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. By its 90th anniversary in 1963, Vanderbilt for the first time ranked in the top 20 private universities in the United States.

    Vanderbilt continued to excel in research, and the number of university buildings more than doubled under the leadership of Chancellors Alexander Heard (1963-1982) and Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000), only the fifth and sixth chancellors in Vanderbilt’s long and distinguished history. Heard added three schools (Blair, the Owen Graduate School of Management and Peabody College) to the seven already existing and constructed three dozen buildings. During Wyatt’s tenure, Vanderbilt acquired or built one-third of the campus buildings and made great strides in diversity, volunteerism and technology.

    The university grew and changed significantly under its seventh chancellor, Gordon Gee, who served from 2000 to 2007. Vanderbilt led the country in the rate of growth for academic research funding, which increased to more than $450 million and became one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the country.

    On March 1, 2008, Nicholas S. Zeppos was named Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor after serving as interim chancellor beginning Aug. 1, 2007. Prior to that, he spent 2002-2008 as Vanderbilt’s provost, overseeing undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs as well as development, alumni relations and research efforts in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education, business, law and divinity. He first came to Vanderbilt in 1987 as an assistant professor in the law school. In his first five years, Zeppos led the university through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, while continuing to attract the best students and faculty from across the country and around the world. Vanderbilt got through the economic crisis notably less scathed than many of its peers and began and remained committed to its much-praised enhanced financial aid policy for all undergraduates during the same timespan. The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for first-year students opened in 2008 and College Halls, the next phase in the residential education system at Vanderbilt, is on track to open in the fall of 2014. During Zeppos’ first five years, Vanderbilt has drawn robust support from federal funding agencies, and the Medical Center entered into agreements with regional hospitals and health care systems in middle and east Tennessee that will bring Vanderbilt care to patients across the state.

    Today, Vanderbilt University is a private research university of about 6,500 undergraduates and 5,300 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a public policy center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.

    Cutting-edge research and liberal arts, combined with strong ties to a distinguished medical center, creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.

    Vanderbilt, an independent, privately supported university, and the separate, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center share a respected name and enjoy close collaboration through education and research. Together, the number of people employed by these two organizations exceeds that of the largest private employer in the Middle Tennessee region.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:26 am on June 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Shifting sands; creeping soils; and a new understanding of landscape evolution", , Diffusion-wave spectroscopy, , , , , Piles of sand grains even when undisturbed are in constant motion., University of Pennsylvania (US), Vanderbilt University (US)   

    From Penn Today : “Shifting sands; creeping soils; and a new understanding of landscape evolution” 

    From Penn Today

    at

    U Penn bloc

    University of Pennsylvania (US)

    June 23, 2021
    Erica K. Brockmeier

    New experiments show that, even when undisturbed, piles of sand grains are in constant motion, challenging theories of how soils and other types of disordered materials behave.

    1
    A new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania (US) and Vanderbilt University (US) finds that piles of sand grains, even when undisturbed, are in constant motion. Using highly sensitive optical interference techniques, these results challenge existing theories in both geology and physics about how soils and other types of disordered materials behave.

    A new study published in Nature Communications finds that piles of sand grains even when undisturbed are in constant motion. Using highly-sensitive optical interference data, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania (US) and Vanderbilt University (US) present results that challenge existing theories in both geology and physics about how soils and other types of disordered materials behave.

    Most people only become aware of soil movement on hillsides when soil suddenly loses its rigidity, a phenomenon known as yield. “Say that you have soil on a hillside. Then, if there’s an earthquake or it rains, this material that’s apparently solid becomes a liquid,” says principal investigator Douglas Jerolmack of Penn. “The prevailing framework treats this failure as if it’s a crack breaking. The reason that’s problematic is because you’re modeling the material by a solid mechanical criterion, but you’re modeling it at the point at which it becomes a liquid, so there’s an inherent contradiction.”

    Such a model implies that, below yield the soil is a solid and therefore should not flow, but soil slowly and persistently “flows” below its yield point in a process known as creep. The prevailing geological explanation for soil creep is that it is caused by physical or biological disturbances, such as freeze-thaw cycles, fallen trees, or burrowing animals, that act to move soil.

    In this study, lead author and Penn Ph.D. candidate Nakul S. Deshpande was interested in observing individual sand particles at rest which, based on existing theories, should be entirely immobile. “Researchers have built models by presuming certain behaviors of the soil grains in creep, but no one had actually just directly observed what the grains do,” says Deshpande.

    To do this, Deshpande set up a series of seemingly simple experiments, creating sand piles in small plexiglass boxes on top of a vibration isolation worktable. He then used a laser light scattering technique called diffusing-wave spectroscopy, which is sensitive to very small grain movements. “The experiments are technically challenging,” Deshpande says about this work. “Pushing the technique to this resolution is not yet common in physics, and the approach doesn’t have a precedent in geosciences or geomorphology.”

    2
    In the Jerolmack lab, diffusion-wave spectroscopy was used to study very small grain movements in piles of sand (shown in panel on the left). The data that was collected, depicted in strain rate maps (in panel on the right), shows that grain activity continues after 11 days without disturbance. (Image credit: Nakul Deshpande)

    Deshpande and Jerolmack also worked with long-time collaborator Paulo Arratia, who runs the Penn Complex Fluids Lab, to connect their data with frameworks from physics, materials science, and engineering to find analogous systems and theories that could help explain their results. Vanderbilt’s David Furbish, who uses statistical physics to study how particle motions influence large-scale landscape changes, provided explanation for why previous models were physically inadequate and inconsistent with what the researchers had found.

    The first experiments were seemingly easy: Pour a pile of sand into the box, let it sit, and watch with the laser. But the researchers discovered that, while intuition and prevailing theories say that the undisturbed piles of sand should be static, sand grain piles are in fact a mass of constant movement and behave like glass.

    “In every way that we can measure the sand, it is relaxing like a cooling glass,” says Deshpande. “If you were to take a bottle and melt it, then freeze it again, that behavior of those molecules in that cooling glass are, in every way that we’re capable of measuring, just like the sand.”

    In physics, glass and soil particles are classic examples of a “disordered” system, one whose constituent particles are arranged randomly instead of in crystalline, well-defined structures. While disordered materials, a major focus area of Penn’s Materials Research Science & Engineering Center, share some common behaviors in terms of how they deform when stressed, there is an important difference between glass and a pile of sand. The molecules that make up glass are always moving randomly at a rate that depends on temperature, but sand grains are too large to do that. Because of that, physicists expect that a pile of sand would be “jammed” and unmoving, but these latest findings present a new way of thinking about soil for researchers in both physics and geology.

    Another surprising result was that the rate of creeping soil could be controlled based on the types of disturbances used. While the undisturbed sandpile continued to creep for as long as the researchers observed, the rate of particle motion slowed through time in a process called aging. When sand particles were heated, this aging was reversed such that creep rates increased back to their initial value. Tapping the pile, in contrast, accelerated aging.

    “We tend to think of things that drive soil toward yield, like shaking from an earthquake that triggers a landslide, but other disturbances in nature potentially drive soil further away from yield, or make it harder for a landslide to happen,” says Jerolmack. “Nakul’s ability to tune it further or closer to yield was like a bomb that went off for us, and this is an all-new area.”

    In the near term, the researchers are working on follow-up experiments to recreate the impacts of localized disturbances using magnetic probes to understand how disturbances could lead a system further away from or closer to yield. They are also looking at data from field observations, from natural soil creep to catastrophic landslide events, to see if they can connect their lab experiments to what observers see in the field, potentially enabling new ways to detect catastrophic landscape failures before they happen.

    The researchers hope that their work can be a starting point for refining existing theories that rely on a paradigm that, like a hillside whose soil particles have shifted over time, no longer holds weight. “When you observe something really counterintuitive and new, it’s going to now take a long time before that turns into a model to use,” says Jerolmack. “I hope on the geoscience side that people with sophisticated tools and techniques and experience will pick up where we’ve ended and say, ‘I have a new idea for seeking this signature in the field that you wouldn’t have thought of’—that natural handoff of scales and abilities and interests.”

    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 Penn campus

    Academic life at University of Pennsylvania (US) is unparalleled, with 100 countries and every U.S. state represented in one of the Ivy League’s most diverse student bodies. Consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the country, Penn enrolls 10,000 undergraduate students and welcomes an additional 10,000 students to our world-renowned graduate and professional schools.

    Penn’s award-winning educators and scholars encourage students to pursue inquiry and discovery, follow their passions, and address the world’s most challenging problems through an interdisciplinary approach.

    The University of Pennsylvania(US) is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The university claims a founding date of 1740 and is one of the nine colonial colleges chartered prior to the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, Penn’s founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum.

    Penn has four undergraduate schools as well as twelve graduate and professional schools. Schools enrolling undergraduates include the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the Wharton School; and the School of Nursing. Penn’s “One University Policy” allows students to enroll in classes in any of Penn’s twelve schools. Among its highly ranked graduate and professional schools are a law school whose first professor wrote the first draft of the United States Constitution, the first school of medicine in North America (Perelman School of Medicine, 1765), and the first collegiate business school (Wharton School, 1881).

    Penn is also home to the first “student union” building and organization (Houston Hall, 1896), the first Catholic student club in North America (Newman Center, 1893), the first double-decker college football stadium (Franklin Field, 1924 when second deck was constructed), and Morris Arboretum, the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was developed at Penn and formally dedicated in 1946. In 2019, the university had an endowment of $14.65 billion, the sixth-largest endowment of all universities in the United States, as well as a research budget of $1.02 billion. The university’s athletics program, the Quakers, fields varsity teams in 33 sports as a member of the NCAA Division I Ivy League conference.

    As of 2018, distinguished alumni and/or Trustees include three U.S. Supreme Court justices; 32 U.S. senators; 46 U.S. governors; 163 members of the U.S. House of Representatives; eight signers of the Declaration of Independence and seven signers of the U.S. Constitution (four of whom signed both representing two-thirds of the six people who signed both); 24 members of the Continental Congress; 14 foreign heads of state and two presidents of the United States, including Donald Trump. As of October 2019, 36 Nobel laureates; 80 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences(US); 64 billionaires; 29 Rhodes Scholars; 15 Marshall Scholars and 16 Pulitzer Prize winners have been affiliated with the university.

    History

    The University of Pennsylvania considers itself the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, though this is contested by Princeton University(US) and Columbia(US) Universities. The university also considers itself as the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies.

    In 1740, a group of Philadelphians joined together to erect a great preaching hall for the traveling evangelist George Whitefield, who toured the American colonies delivering open-air sermons. The building was designed and built by Edmund Woolley and was the largest building in the city at the time, drawing thousands of people the first time it was preached in. It was initially planned to serve as a charity school as well, but a lack of funds forced plans for the chapel and school to be suspended. According to Franklin’s autobiography, it was in 1743 when he first had the idea to establish an academy, “thinking the Rev. Richard Peters a fit person to superintend such an institution”. However, Peters declined a casual inquiry from Franklin and nothing further was done for another six years. In the fall of 1749, now more eager to create a school to educate future generations, Benjamin Franklin circulated a pamphlet titled Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, his vision for what he called a “Public Academy of Philadelphia”. Unlike the other colonial colleges that existed in 1749—Harvard University(US), William & Mary(US), Yale Unversity(US), and The College of New Jersey(US)—Franklin’s new school would not focus merely on education for the clergy. He advocated an innovative concept of higher education, one which would teach both the ornamental knowledge of the arts and the practical skills necessary for making a living and doing public service. The proposed program of study could have become the nation’s first modern liberal arts curriculum, although it was never implemented because Anglican priest William Smith (1727-1803), who became the first provost, and other trustees strongly preferred the traditional curriculum.

    Franklin assembled a board of trustees from among the leading citizens of Philadelphia, the first such non-sectarian board in America. At the first meeting of the 24 members of the board of trustees on November 13, 1749, the issue of where to locate the school was a prime concern. Although a lot across Sixth Street from the old Pennsylvania State House (later renamed and famously known since 1776 as “Independence Hall”), was offered without cost by James Logan, its owner, the trustees realized that the building erected in 1740, which was still vacant, would be an even better site. The original sponsors of the dormant building still owed considerable construction debts and asked Franklin’s group to assume their debts and, accordingly, their inactive trusts. On February 1, 1750, the new board took over the building and trusts of the old board. On August 13, 1751, the “Academy of Philadelphia”, using the great hall at 4th and Arch Streets, took in its first secondary students. A charity school also was chartered on July 13, 1753 by the intentions of the original “New Building” donors, although it lasted only a few years. On June 16, 1755, the “College of Philadelphia” was chartered, paving the way for the addition of undergraduate instruction. All three schools shared the same board of trustees and were considered to be part of the same institution. The first commencement exercises were held on May 17, 1757.

    The institution of higher learning was known as the College of Philadelphia from 1755 to 1779. In 1779, not trusting then-provost the Reverend William Smith’s “Loyalist” tendencies, the revolutionary State Legislature created a University of the State of Pennsylvania. The result was a schism, with Smith continuing to operate an attenuated version of the College of Philadelphia. In 1791, the legislature issued a new charter, merging the two institutions into a new University of Pennsylvania with twelve men from each institution on the new board of trustees.

    Penn has three claims to being the first university in the United States, according to university archives director Mark Frazier Lloyd: the 1765 founding of the first medical school in America made Penn the first institution to offer both “undergraduate” and professional education; the 1779 charter made it the first American institution of higher learning to take the name of “University”; and existing colleges were established as seminaries (although, as detailed earlier, Penn adopted a traditional seminary curriculum as well).

    After being located in downtown Philadelphia for more than a century, the campus was moved across the Schuylkill River to property purchased from the Blockley Almshouse in West Philadelphia in 1872, where it has since remained in an area now known as University City. Although Penn began operating as an academy or secondary school in 1751 and obtained its collegiate charter in 1755, it initially designated 1750 as its founding date; this is the year that appears on the first iteration of the university seal. Sometime later in its early history, Penn began to consider 1749 as its founding date and this year was referenced for over a century, including at the centennial celebration in 1849. In 1899, the board of trustees voted to adjust the founding date earlier again, this time to 1740, the date of “the creation of the earliest of the many educational trusts the University has taken upon itself”. The board of trustees voted in response to a three-year campaign by Penn’s General Alumni Society to retroactively revise the university’s founding date to appear older than Princeton University, which had been chartered in 1746.

    Research, innovations and discoveries

    Penn is classified as an “R1” doctoral university: “Highest research activity.” Its economic impact on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 2015 amounted to $14.3 billion. Penn’s research expenditures in the 2018 fiscal year were $1.442 billion, the fourth largest in the U.S. In fiscal year 2019 Penn received $582.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health(US).

    In line with its well-known interdisciplinary tradition, Penn’s research centers often span two or more disciplines. In the 2010–2011 academic year alone, five interdisciplinary research centers were created or substantially expanded; these include the Center for Health-care Financing; the Center for Global Women’s Health at the Nursing School; the $13 million Morris Arboretum’s Horticulture Center; the $15 million Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at Wharton; and the $13 million Translational Research Center at Penn Medicine. With these additions, Penn now counts 165 research centers hosting a research community of over 4,300 faculty and over 1,100 postdoctoral fellows, 5,500 academic support staff and graduate student trainees. To further assist the advancement of interdisciplinary research President Amy Gutmann established the “Penn Integrates Knowledge” title awarded to selected Penn professors “whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge”. These professors hold endowed professorships and joint appointments between Penn’s schools.

    Penn is also among the most prolific producers of doctoral students. With 487 PhDs awarded in 2009, Penn ranks third in the Ivy League, only behind Columbia University(US) and Cornell University(US) (Harvard University(US) did not report data). It also has one of the highest numbers of post-doctoral appointees (933 in number for 2004–2007), ranking third in the Ivy League (behind Harvard and Yale University(US)) and tenth nationally.

    In most disciplines Penn professors’ productivity is among the highest in the nation and first in the fields of epidemiology, business, communication studies, comparative literature, languages, information science, criminal justice and criminology, social sciences and sociology. According to the National Research Council nearly three-quarters of Penn’s 41 assessed programs were placed in ranges including the top 10 rankings in their fields, with more than half of these in ranges including the top five rankings in these fields.

    Penn’s research tradition has historically been complemented by innovations that shaped higher education. In addition to establishing the first medical school; the first university teaching hospital; the first business school; and the first student union Penn was also the cradle of other significant developments. In 1852, Penn Law was the first law school in the nation to publish a law journal still in existence (then called The American Law Register, now the Penn Law Review, one of the most cited law journals in the world). Under the deanship of William Draper Lewis, the law school was also one of the first schools to emphasize legal teaching by full-time professors instead of practitioners, a system that is still followed today. The Wharton School was home to several pioneering developments in business education. It established the first research center in a business school in 1921 and the first center for entrepreneurship center in 1973 and it regularly introduced novel curricula for which BusinessWeek wrote, “Wharton is on the crest of a wave of reinvention and change in management education”.

    Several major scientific discoveries have also taken place at Penn. The university is probably best known as the place where the first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was born in 1946 at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering.

    ENIAC UPenn

    It was here also where the world’s first spelling and grammar checkers were created, as well as the popular COBOL programming language. Penn can also boast some of the most important discoveries in the field of medicine. The dialysis machine used as an artificial replacement for lost kidney function was conceived and devised out of a pressure cooker by William Inouye while he was still a student at Penn Med; the Rubella and Hepatitis B vaccines were developed at Penn; the discovery of cancer’s link with genes; cognitive therapy; Retin-A (the cream used to treat acne), Resistin; the Philadelphia gene (linked to chronic myelogenous leukemia) and the technology behind PET Scans were all discovered by Penn Med researchers. More recent gene research has led to the discovery of the genes for fragile X syndrome, the most common form of inherited mental retardation; spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, a disorder marked by progressive muscle wasting; and Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the hands, feet and limbs.

    Conductive polymer was also developed at Penn by Alan J. Heeger, Alan MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa, an invention that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. On faculty since 1965, Ralph L. Brinster developed the scientific basis for in vitro fertilization and the transgenic mouse at Penn and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2010. The theory of superconductivity was also partly developed at Penn, by then-faculty member John Robert Schrieffer (along with John Bardeen and Leon Cooper). The university has also contributed major advancements in the fields of economics and management. Among the many discoveries are conjoint analysis, widely used as a predictive tool especially in market research; Simon Kuznets’s method of measuring Gross National Product; the Penn effect (the observation that consumer price levels in richer countries are systematically higher than in poorer ones) and the “Wharton Model” developed by Nobel-laureate Lawrence Klein to measure and forecast economic activity. The idea behind Health Maintenance Organizations also belonged to Penn professor Robert Eilers, who put it into practice during then-President Nixon’s health reform in the 1970s.

    International partnerships

    Students can study abroad for a semester or a year at partner institutions such as the London School of Economics(UK), University of Barcelona [Universitat de Barcelona](ES), Paris Institute of Political Studies [Institut d’études politiques de Paris](FR), University of Queensland(AU), University College London(UK), King’s College London(UK), Hebrew University of Jerusalem(IL) and University of Warwick(UK).

     
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