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  • richardmitnick 10:04 am on March 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Women in STEM, Xiaofeng Guo   

    From Brookhaven: Women in STEM – “Secrets to Scientific Success: Planning and Coordination” Xiaofeng Guo 

    Brookhaven Lab

    March 8, 2017
    Lida Tunesi

    Xiaofeng Guo

    Very often there are people behind the scenes of scientific advances, quietly organizing the project’s logistics. New facilities and big collaborations require people to create schedules, manage resources, and communicate among teams. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory is lucky to have Xiaofeng Guo in its ranks—a skilled project manager who coordinates projects reaching across the U.S. and around the world.

    Guo, who has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Iowa State University, is currently deputy manager for the U.S. role in two upgrades to the ATLAS detector, one of two detectors at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider that found the Higgs boson in 2012.

    CERN ATLAS Higgs Event

    CERN/ATLAS detector

    Brookhaven is the host laboratory for both U.S. ATLAS Phase I and High Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) upgrade projects, which involve hundreds of millions of dollars and 46 institutions across the nation. The upgrades are complex international endeavors that will allow the detector to make use of the LHC’s ramped up particle collision rates. Guo keeps both the capital and the teams on track.

    “I’m in charge of all business processes, project finance, contracts with institutions, baseline plan reports, progress reports—all aspects of business functions in the U.S. project team. It keeps me very busy,” she laughed. “In the beginning I was thinking ‘in my spare time I can still read physics papers, do my own calculations’… And now I have no spare time!”

    Guo’s dual interest in physics and management developed early in her career.

    “When I was an undergraduate there was a period when I actually signed up for a double major, with classes in finance and economics in addition to physics,” Guo recalled. “I’m happy to explore different things!”

    Later, while teaching physics part-time at Iowa State University, Guo desired career flexibility and studied to be a Chartered Financial Analyst. She passed all required exams in just two years but decided to continue her research after receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation.

    Guo joined Brookhaven Lab in 2010 to fill a need for project management in Nuclear and Particle Physics (NPP). The position offered her a way to learn new skills while staying up-to-date on the physics world.

    Early in her time at Brookhaven, Guo participated in the management of the Heavy Flavor Tracker (HFT) upgrade to the STAR particle detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a DOE Office of Science User Facility for nuclear physics research. The project was successfully completed $600,000 under budget and a whole year ahead of schedule.

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    “This was a very good learning experience for me. I participated in all the manager meeting discussions, updated the review documents, and helped them handle some contracts. Through this process I learned all the DOE project rules,” Guo said.

    While working on the HFT upgrade, Guo also helped develop successful, large group proposals for increased computational resources in high-energy physics and other fields of science. She joined the ATLAS Upgrade projects after receiving her Project Management Certification, and her physics and finance background as well as experience with large collaborations have enabled her to orchestrate complex planning efforts.

    For the two phases of the U.S. ATLAS upgrade, Guo directly coordinates more than 140 scientists, engineers, and finance personnel, and oversees all business processes, including finance, contracts, and reports. And taking her job one step further, she’s developed entirely new management tools and reporting procedures to keep the multi-institutional effort synchronized.

    “Dr. Guo is one of our brightest stars,” said Berndt Mueller, Associate Lab Director of NPP. “We are fortunate to have her to assist us with many challenging aspects of project development and execution in NPP. In the process of guiding the work of scores of scientists and engineers, she has single-handedly created a unique and essential role in the development of complex projects with an international context, demonstrating skills of unusual depth and breadth and the ability to apply them across a wide array of disciplines.”

    Guo’s management of Phase I won great respect for the project from the high-energy physics community and the Office of Project Assessment (OPA) at the DOE’s Office of Science. The OPA invited her to participate in a panel discussion to share her expertise and help develop project management guidelines that can be used in other Office of Science projects. Guo also worked with BNL’s Project Management Center to help the lab update its own project management system description to meet DOE standards and lay down valuable groundwork for future large projects.

    As the ATLAS Phase I upgrade proceeds through the final construction stage, Guo is simultaneously managing the planning stages of HL-LHC.

    “We haven’t completely defined the project timeline yet, but it’s projected to go all the way to the end of 2025,” Guo said.

    Like Phase I, HL-LHC will ensure ATLAS can perform well while the LHC operates at much higher collision rates so that physicists can further explore the Higgs as well as search for signs of dark matter and extra dimensions.

    Although she admits to missing doing research herself, Guo is not disheartened.

    “I’m still in the physics world; I’m still working with physicists,” she said. “I enjoy working and interacting with people. So I’m happy.”

    Brookhaven’s work on RHIC and ATLAS is funded by the DOE Office of Science.

    See the full article here .

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    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.

  • richardmitnick 11:51 am on March 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Tech Women 2017, , The Rosalyn August Foundation for the Empowerment of Young Women, Women in STEM   

    From Technion: “A Better World – through Science and Engineering” 

    Technion bloc



    Tech Women 2017

    Around 700 excelling female high-school students from all over the country visited Technion as part of the Tech Women 2017 conference, organized to encourage young women to opt for academic studies in science and engineering.

    From Kiryat Shmona all the way to Ma’ale Edomim; from Kibbutz Sasa to Ashdod: around 700 excelling female high-school students visited the Technion last Thursday, in honor of the annual Tech Women 2017 conference held by the Technion on International Women’s Day on March 8th. “Studying at the Technion means making the world a better place through science and engineering,” said Prof. Orit Hazan, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, in her opening remarks.

    The conference, which took place courtesy of The Rosalyn August Foundation for the Empowerment of Young Women, was designed to encourage excelling female high-school students to choose science and engineering for their academic studies.

    The participants were students majoring in 5-pt. mathematics and the fields of science and technology. They met with female researchers and staff members, Technion graduates and current graduate students. They toured labs and were exposed to the various research and study subjects in the different faculties.

    “You are here because you were chosen, because we are positive that your future lies here, at the Technion,” said Orly Reiss, an alumnus of the Technion’s Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, who moderated the opening ceremony. After the opening event, each student visited two of the nine hosting faculties: Electrical Engineering; Computer Science; Mechanical Engineering; Aerospace Engineering; Civil & Environmental Engineering; Chemical Engineering; Materials Science & Engineering; Chemistry; and Physics.

    “In the very first graduating class of the Technion, which opened in 1924, there were 16 men and one woman,” said Prof. Peretz Lavie, President of the Technion. “Today about 37% of our undergraduates are women, and our goal is to reach 50% in all the departments. This special day is dedicated to persuading female high-school students that they belong here at the Technion and that they are able to do so. The future of the State of Israel depends on scientific and engineering knowledge, and we look forward to seeing these students here in a few years attending the Technion’s opening ceremony at the beginning of the academic year.”

    Dr. Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus of the Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, said: “It is very exciting to see the future generation of female scientists of Israel.” She urged the students to approach their studies passionately and consciously. She spoke of her own brother, who was extremely intelligent but had difficulties reading, and of her decision to specialize in the field of language acquisition. Dr. Horowitz-Kraus, who is the founder of the Technion’s Educational Neuroimaging Center, shared her discoveries regarding the connection between brain development and the development of language and reading skills in infants and children. “I examine the child’s brain as he or she listens to a story, and try to understand the processes taking place and the way listening improves future reading skills.”

    Sarah Nagosa, a PhD student at the Ruth & Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, discussed the topic of her dissertation: eye diseases and their treatment. Nagosa immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia at the age of three, and grew up in Kiryat Malachi. “I only first heard of the Technion when I was 17 years old, when several American donors came to visit my high school. I decided that day that this is what I want to do – to attend the Technion. Of course, I had apprehensions – what if I’m not accepted? What if I’m not smart enough? But I applied for admission and was accepted to the Faculty of Biology. The beginning wasn’t easy – I felt so small and the campus was so huge. It was hard for me to find common ground with the rest of the students. But I slowly realized that we all had the same apprehensions, and I suddenly found the courage to ask questions. Today, working on my research and serving as a teaching assistant at the same time, I can tell you that while the Technion might be tough academically, it is “soft” and simple in every other way: the dorms, tutoring and any other form of assistance. The difficulties have not disappeared, but I’ve learned to overcome them, knowing that my ultimate goal is worth it.”

    See the full article here .

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    Technion Campus

    A science and technology research university, among the world’s top ten,
    dedicated to the creation of knowledge and the development of human capital and leadership,
    for the advancement of the State of Israel and all humanity.

  • richardmitnick 4:19 pm on March 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ozy.com, , Sabrina Pasterski, Women in STEM   

    From MIT and Harvard via ozy.com: Women in Stem “This Millennial Might Be the New Einstein” Sabrina Pasterski 

    MIT News

    MIT Widget


    Harvard Physics

    Harvard Physics


    JAN 12 2016
    Farah Halime

    Sabrina Pasterski

    Her research could change our understanding of the fundamentals as we know them.

    One of the things the brilliant minds at MIT do — besides ponder the nature of the universe and build sci-fi gizmos, of course — is notarize aircraft airworthiness for the federal government. So when Sabrina Pasterski walked into the campus offices one cold January morning seeking the OK for a single-engine plane she had built, it might have been business as usual. Except that the shaggy-haired, wide-eyed plane builder before them was just 14 and had already flown solo. “I couldn’t believe it,” recalls Peggy Udden, an executive secretary at MIT, “not only because she was so young, but a girl.”

    OK, it’s 2016, and gifted females are not exactly rare at MIT; nearly half the undergrads are women. But something about Pasterski led Udden not just to help get her plane approved, but to get the attention of the university’s top professors. Now, eight years later, the lanky, 22-year-old Pasterski is already an MIT graduate and Harvard Ph.D. candidate who has the world of physics abuzz. She’s exploring some of the most challenging and complex issues in physics, much as Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein (whose theory of relativity just turned 100 years old) did early in their careers. Her research delves into black holes, the nature of gravity and spacetime. A particular focus is trying to better understand “quantum gravity,” which seeks to explain the phenomenon of gravity within the context of quantum mechanics. Discoveries in that area could dramatically change our understanding of the workings of the universe.

    She’s also caught the attention of some of America’s brightest working at NASA. Also? Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com and aerospace developer and manufacturer Blue Origin, who’s promised her a job whenever she’s ready. Asked by e-mail recently whether his offer still stands, Bezos told OZY: “God, yes!”

    But unless you’re the kind of rabid physics fan who’s seen her papers on semiclassical Virasoro symmetry of the quantum gravity S-matrix and Low’s subleading soft theorem as a symmetry of QED (both on approaches to understanding the shape of space and gravity and the first two papers she ever authored), you may not have heard of Pasterski. A first-generation Cuban-American born and bred in the suburbs of Chicago, she’s not on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram and doesn’t own a smartphone. She does, however, regularly update a no-frills website called PhysicsGirl, which features a long catalog of achievements and proficiencies. Among them: “spotting elegance within the chaos.”

    Pasterski stands out among a growing number of newly minted physics grads in the U.S. There were 7,329 in 2013, double the four-decade low of 3,178 in 1999, according to the American Institute of Physics. Nima Arkani-Hamed, a Princeton professor and winner of the inaugural $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize, told OZY he’s heard “terrific things” about Pasterski from her adviser, Harvard professor Andrew Strominger, who is about to publish a paper with physics rock star Hawking. She’s also received hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants from the Hertz Foundation, the Smith Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

    Pasterski, who speaks in frenetic bursts, says she has always been drawn to challenging what’s possible. “Years of pushing the bounds of what I could achieve led me to physics,” she says from her dorm room at Harvard. Yet she doesn’t make it sound like work at all: She calls physics “elegant” but also full of “utility.”

    Despite her impressive résumé, MIT wait-listed Pasterski when she first applied. Professors Allen Haggerty and Earll Murman were aghast. Thanks to Udden, the pair had seen a video of Pasterski building her airplane. “Our mouths were hanging open after we looked at it,” Haggerty said. “Her potential is off the charts.” The two went to bat for her, and she was ultimately accepted, later graduating with a grade average of 5.00, the school’s highest score possible.

    An only child, Pasterski speaks with some awkwardness and punctuates her e-mails with smiley faces and exclamation marks. She says she has a handful of close friends but has never had a boyfriend, an alcoholic drink or a cigarette. Pasterski says: “I’d rather stay alert, and hopefully I’m known for what I do and not what I don’t do.”

    While mentors offer predictions of physics fame, Pasterski appears well grounded. “A theorist saying he will figure out something in particular over a long time frame almost guarantees that he will not do it,” she says. And Bezos’s pledge notwithstanding, the big picture for science grads in the U.S. is challenging: The U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent American Community Survey shows that only about 26 percent of science grads in the U.S. had jobs in their chosen fields, while nearly 30 percent of physics and chemistry post-docs are unemployed. Pasterski seems unperturbed. “Physics itself is exciting enough,” she says. ”It’s not like a 9-to-5 thing. When you’re tired you sleep, and when you’re not, you do physics.”
    Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski (born June 3, 1993) is an American physicist from Chicago, Illinois who studies string theory and high energy physics. She describes herself as “a proud first-generation Cuban-American & Chicago Public Schools alumna.” She completed her undergraduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is currently a graduate student at Harvard University.

    Pasterski has made contributions in the field of gravitational memories.[9] She is best known for her concept of “the Triangle,” which connects several physical ideas.

    Pasterski was born in Chicago on June 3, 1993. She enrolled at the Edison Regional Gifted Center in 1998, and graduated from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in 2010.[10]

    Pasterski holds an active interest in aviation. She took her first flying lesson in 2003, co-piloted FAA1 at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2005 and started building a kit aircraft by 2006. She soloed her Cessna 150 in Canada in 2007 and certified the aircraft she had built from a kit as airworthy in 2008, with MIT’s assistance.[citation needed] Her first U.S. solo flight was in that kit aircraft in 2009 after being signed off by her CFI Jay Maynard.[citation needed]

    Pasterski’s scientific heroes include Leon Lederman, Dudley Herschbach, and Freeman Dyson, and she was drawn to physics by Jeff Bezos. She has received job offers from Blue Origin, an aerospace company founded by Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    Before focusing on high energy theory, Pasterski worked on the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. At 21, Pasterski spoke at Harvard about her concepts of “the Triangle” and “Spin Memory”, and completed “the Triangle” for EM during an invited talk at MIT’s Center for Theoretical Physics. This work has formed the basis for further work, with one 2015 paper describing it as “a recently discovered universal triangle connecting soft theorems, symmetries and memory in gauge and gravitational theories. At 22, she spoke at a Harvard Faculty Conference about whether or not those concepts should be applied to black hole hair and discussed her new method for detecting gravitational waves.

    In early 2016, a paper by Stephen Hawking, Malcolm J. Perry, and Andrew Strominger (Pasterski’s doctoral advisor of whom she was working independently at the time) titled “Soft Hair on Black Holes” cited Pasterski’s work, making hers the only one of twelve single-author papers referenced that was authored by a female scientist.[non-primary source needed] This resulted in extensive media coverage after its appearance on the arXiv and in the days leading up to it.

    Shortly after the 2016 Hawking paper was released, actor George Takei referenced Pasterski on his Twitter account with her quote, “‘Hopefully I’m known for what I do and not what I don’t do.’ A poignant sentiment.” The Steven P. Jobs Trust article included in the tweet has been shared over 527,000 times.

    International coverage of the paper and Pasterski’s work subsequently appeared in Russia Today, Poland’s Angora newspaper and DNES in the Czech Republic. In 2016, rapper Chris Brown posted a page with a video promoting Pasterski. Forbes and The History Channel ran stories about Pasterski for their audiences in Mexico and Latin America respectively. People en Español, one of the most widely read Spanish language magazines, featured Pasterski in their April 2016 print edition. [Wikipedia]

    See the full article here .

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    MIT Seal

    The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

    MIT Campus

    The Department of Physics at Harvard is large and diverse. With 10 Nobel Prize winners (see above) to its credit, the distinguished faculty of today engages in teaching and research that spans the discipline and defines its borders, and as a result Harvard is consistently one of the top-ranked physics departments in the nation.

    Harvard University campus

  • richardmitnick 11:02 am on March 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Gulden Othman, , , , , Women in STEM   

    From UNC: Women in STEM – “Gulden Othman” 

    U NC bloc

    University of North Carolina

    Gulden Othman is a third-year graduate student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. She currently works in the Experimental Nuclear and Astroparticle Physics group and is also on the executive board of UNC Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). Her research focuses on observing the interactions of the building blocks of matter to understand how the universe has evolved from the Big Bang to present day.

    March 8th, 2017

    When you were a child, what was your response to this question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

    I always wanted to be an astronaut. I grew up in west Texas in an area where there was not very much light pollution. I spent a lot of time musing at the stars, imagining the vast unknown. I decided that, one day, I would go to the stars and discover the unknown myself.

    Share the pivotal moment in your life that helped you choose research as a career path.

    When I began my involvement in research as a sophomore undergraduate, I was astonished at how much work was still being done to understand physics. What was even more amazing was that I was able to make a contribution, although small, to this field — to working toward a better understanding of our universe. The more I progressed through my undergraduate coursework, the more certain I was that I would not be done learning by the time I graduated. Now that I am in graduate school, I know that I am still not done learning and never will be.

    What’s an interesting thing that’s happened during your research?

    I spent a few months designing a large electromagnet that will be used in an experiment I am no longer involved in. Because of the complexity of the design, we could not build it on campus and needed to submit the design to a vendor. I was very worried that the magnet would be built and come nowhere near the specifications I intended it for. After double-checking my design, though, the vendor believed it would meet the specifications we desired. It’s surreal to think that my design will actually be built and functional someday soon.

    In honor of Women’s History Month, share an anecdote that shows why women need to continue breaking barriers.

    Upon beginning to do research my sophomore year, an upperclassman tutored me on advanced physics topics that I had not yet taken courses on, but that would be necessary for my research. He quizzed me on courses I had already taken and asked me to write down equations from memory. Being put on the spot was difficult, and I could not write down most of what he asked for. He responded by telling me I wasn’t smart enough to be a physicist and that I should consider other career options in sciences that are “less difficult.” He believed he was being helpful. I was distraught and, for one night, considered changing my major. But I couldn’t think of any subject I wanted to study more than physics.

    The next day, I talked to the professor who was advising my research about what happened. I told him that I was fine with not being the best physicist, as long as I could study physics, and that I would work hard and not give up or change my major. He was very supportive of me, even after I chose to leave his group and transition into the field of research I am in now — experimental nuclear and particle physics. Almost six years later, I now have a prestigious fellowship and am working toward my PhD in physics. I am glad I did not let someone else’s view of me discourage me from reaching my goals.

    What advice would you give to up-and-coming female researchers in your field?

    If you love science, never give up pursuing it. You may at times, as I did, feel like everyone around you is so naturally brilliant, and that you will never be able to be as smart or talented as them. That is never the case. Hard work means a lot more than you might think. Always have a support group. At UNC, two great places to find support are the local Women in Physics group and the Society of Physics Students chapter.

    UNC Research is proud of every scientist on this campus, but we are especially excited to promote our female researchers in 2017. Each week this year, we will publish a short Q&A feature on one of them — whether she is an undergrad, PhD candidate, or full professor.

    See the full article here .

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    U NC campus

    Carolina’s vibrant people and programs attest to the University’s long-standing place among leaders in higher education since it was chartered in 1789 and opened its doors for students in 1795 as the nation’s first public university. Situated in the beautiful college town of Chapel Hill, N.C., UNC has earned a reputation as one of the best universities in the world. Carolina prides itself on a strong, diverse student body, academic opportunities not found anywhere else, and a value unmatched by any public university in the nation.

  • richardmitnick 10:14 am on March 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Francesca Maclean, Women in STEM   

    From ANU: Women in STEM – “Engineering student named 2017 Young ACT Woman of the Year” Francesca Maclean 

    ANU Australian National University Bloc

    Australian National University

    8 March 2017

    ANU PhD student Francesca Maclean. Image: Stuart Hay, ANU.

    ANU engineering PhD student Francesca Maclean has been awarded the 2017 Young ACT Woman of the Year for her work to promote gender equity in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at the University.

    The award was announced as part of celebrations for International Women’s Day, and was one of three ACT Women’s Awards presented by the ACT Minister for Women, Yvette Berry MLA.

    Francesca and fellow student Emily Campbell founded a student-run volunteer organisation called Fifty50, which aims to develop an equitable and inclusive study and work environment, particularly for women.

    Francesca was surprised and delighted to have received the award.

    “It was a really big surprise. It’s great to know that the wider community value the work we’re doing to promote gender equity with Fifty50, and fostering a more inclusive STEM culture generally,” she said.

    Francesca has played a vital role in leading the group to run mentoring programs, workshops and public events, as well as mentoring many undergraduate female students herself.

    The ACT Women’s Awards recognise the achievements of women who have made an outstanding contribution to the lives of women and girls in the Canberra community.

    See the full article here .

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    ANU is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Our location points to our unique history, ties to the Australian Government and special standing as a resource for the Australian people.

    Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.

  • richardmitnick 9:51 am on March 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Australian Broadcast Corporation, , Greta Stephensen, Wide Bay Indigenous student recognised by CSIRO for excelling in STEM, Women in STEM   

    From CSIRO: Women in STEM – “Wide Bay Indigenous student recognised by CSIRO for excelling in STEM” Greta Stephensen 

    CSIRO bloc

    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation


    Australian Broadcast Corporation

    Ross Kay

    Photo: Indigenous student Greta Stephensen receives her award. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)

    A young Indigenous woman has been recognised by the CSIRO for her passion and pursuit of excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

    Greta Stephensen, from St Mary’s College in Maryborough, received the CSIRO Indigenous STEM Student Award after attending an Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS) camp, as well as demonstrating her work on an experiment.

    “The award is about passion for science as an Indigenous student,” Greta said.

    “I had to submit an application with all the things I had done, so that included the camps and the competitions and an [extended experimental investigation] that I had done, that presented my skills and my passion for STEM.”

    Photo: STEM subjects centre around science, technology, engineering and mathematics. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)

    In May Greta will fly to the United States for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair as a guest of the CSIRO, where she will observe competing teams from around the world, including Australia.

    ASSETS program manager Jen Parsons said the importance of diversity in the sciences could not be overstated.

    “We have a lot of knowledge and expertise in our Indigenous communities,” she said.

    “A lot of time the reason why we don’t see good representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is purely because they may not know that opportunities exist, or they may not have those types of aspirations.

    “What we’re doing with the Indigenous STEM awards is showcasing some of these great Indigenous leaders that we do have.”

    Quantum mysteries of the double-slit experiment

    The subject Greta chose for her investigation was one that was originally performed more than 200 years ago but still confounds scientists to this day — the double-slit experiment.

    The experiment shows how light can demonstrate characteristics of both a particle and a wave.

    Photons or matter are shot towards a plate with one narrow slit and a screen behind it.

    On the screen over time the particles arrange in the shape of the narrow slit.

    Access mp4 video here .

    When you introduce a second narrow slit, things get interesting. When the particles are observed or measured, they arrange in the shape of the two narrow slits.

    But when unobserved, the particles arrange in multiple lines, as though the particle waves have interfered with each other.

    “When they’re not observed they create a bunch of lines at the back of the wall, and they think that is due to diffraction, so we chose to do our [experiment] on the diffraction of people,” Greta said.

    “So we set up the experiment and came up with the same results, which is really hard to explain considering scientists still don’t know why the particles are doing that.”

    Encouraging more women into science

    Greta has plans for university study in the future.

    “If I get a good enough OP I’m hoping to apply for the University of Queensland and get into the dual degree of engineering honours and maths, and then I would like to apply for a cadetship with the CSIRO,” she said.

    “If I get that I can work with them all through uni and then after that I don’t know where I’ll go. Anywhere in STEM, NASA maybe.

    “I’m very passionate about STEM, and I don’t think anyone could influence me not to do it.”

    Her advice for any woman considering studying STEM subjects is simple — your perspective is important.

    “I think if you’re a woman and you’re wanting to go into the STEM field then you really need to just try,” Greta said.

    “You really need women and people from diverse backgrounds to go into the workforce.

    It is an idea echoed by Dr Parsons, who adds that broader perspectives can lead to better problem solving.

    “Research shows that when you do have diverse groups you have greater results, you have a diversity of opinion, and you have different ways of looking at problems,” she said.

    “If you have a single type of person working on a problem, they may not look at all the possible angles, but if you do have a mixed group of people they may think of things that you may never have considered.

    “It’s really important not only for women to recognise that it’s a fantastic career opportunity, but also for organisations to see the benefits of having women, and Indigenous women in their organisation.”

    See the full article here .

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    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

  • richardmitnick 9:23 am on March 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , cure cancer, , , Push button, Women in STEM   

    From Paulson: Women in STEM – “Push button, cure cancer” Ph.D. candidates Nabiha Saklayen and Marinna Madrid 

    Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
    John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

    March 7, 2017
    Adam Zewe

    Two Harvard graduate students want to make curing blood cancer or HIV as easy as pressing a button.

    Saklayen and Madrid are excited to move forward with their startup, Cellino. (Photo by Adam Zewe/SEAS Communications)

    Cellino is a spinoff of the nanotechnology research being conducted in the Mazur lab. (Photo by Adam Zewe/SEAS Communications)

    Ph.D. candidates Nabiha Saklayen and Marinna Madrid have launched a startup to develop a simple, push-button device clinicians could use for gene therapy treatments. Their enterprise, Cellino, hopes to commercialize technology being developed in the lab of Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

    The early-stage laboratory spinoff, which the pair launched in November, claimed first prize in the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) Startup Challenge, a pitch-off contest between more than 40 startups from around the world. In addition to winning $10,000 cash and $5,000 in optics products, Saklayen and Madrid were lauded for the impressive business potential of their startup.

    Their technique uses laser-activated nanostructures to deliver gene therapies directly into cells. When a laser is shined onto the nanostructures, the intense hot spots can open transient pores in nearby cells, Saklayen explained.

    “These pores are open long enough for any cargo that is around in the surrounding liquid to diffuse into the cell, and then the pores seal,” she said. “It is sort of like a magical opening where we can deliver molecules into the cell without damaging it, in a very targeted, quick way.”

    Developing effective intracellular delivery methods is a problem that has plagued biologists for decades, partly because the plasma membrane that surrounds a cell is selectively permeable and bars most molecules from entering.

    “Biologists have tried a number of different methods to do this, including viruses and chemical and physical processes, but none of them have been consistent enough and safe enough to be used reliably in treatments for blood disease,” said Madrid.

    The reliability of the nanostructure method developed at SEAS would give it a leg up over current practices. The biggest hurdle Madrid and Saklayen face now is translating the Mazur lab’s technology into a scalable, turnkey device.

    Their goal is to package the technology into a shoebox-sized device that contains everything a user needs—the laser, substrates, optical components, and computer interface. A user would put a patient’s cells and the nanofabricated chips into the device and use a touch screen to treat the cells, which could then be implanted into the patient.

    According to the Cellino team, those cells could be used to treat a number of different blood diseases, including HIV and blood cancers. By delivering gene-editing molecules into a patient’s hematopoietic stem cells, for instance, a clinician could repopulate a patient’s bone marrow with HIV-resistant cells. To treat cancers that affect the blood, the technology could be used to weaponize a patient’s T-cells, and then return them to the blood stream to attack the cancer.

    “What I find really exciting about this project is it is really pushing the barriers of what is the norm,” Saklayen said. “People talk about curing blood cancer all the time, but we have this unique opportunity to really enable that. That is the most inspiring part—we have an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. That is what drives me everyday to keep working hard.”

    As they move forward with Cellino, Saklayen and Madrid are working closely with Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD), which has filed patent applications to secure the lab’s intellectual property and develop a viable commercialization strategy for the technology. Alan Gordon, a Director of Business Development in OTD, has been advising the team on how to develop a business plan and launch the company.

    After graduating from the Ph.D. program this spring, Saklayen will pursue Cellino full time. Madrid plans to graduate early so she can soon focus solely on the company, too. The co-founders have applied to a number of startup incubators and plan to enter additional pitch competitions to gain more validation for both their technology and their business plan.

    “There is definitely a production challenge when you talk about making things at a larger scale, but we are making good progress,” Madrid said. “The technology is very powerful because it is so streamlined. Now it is all about packaging.”

    Mazur is proud of his students’ accomplishments and excited for the potential of their startup. “This work is really transformative and opens the door to new therapies for currently incurable diseases,” he said.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    Through research and scholarship, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) will create collaborative bridges across Harvard and educate the next generation of global leaders. By harnessing the power of engineering and applied sciences we will address the greatest challenges facing our society.

    Specifically, that means that SEAS will provide to all Harvard College students an introduction to and familiarity with engineering and technology as this is essential knowledge in the 21st century.

    Moreover, our concentrators will be immersed in the liberal arts environment and be able to understand the societal context for their problem solving, capable of working seamlessly withothers, including those in the arts, the sciences, and the professional schools. They will focus on the fundamental engineering and applied science disciplines for the 21st century; as we will not teach legacy 20th century engineering disciplines.

    Instead, our curriculum will be rigorous but inviting to students, and be infused with active learning, interdisciplinary research, entrepreneurship and engineering design experiences. For our concentrators and graduate students, we will educate “T-shaped” individuals – with depth in one discipline but capable of working seamlessly with others, including arts, humanities, natural science and social science.

    To address current and future societal challenges, knowledge from fundamental science, art, and the humanities must all be linked through the application of engineering principles with the professions of law, medicine, public policy, design and business practice.

    In other words, solving important issues requires a multidisciplinary approach.

    With the combined strengths of SEAS, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the professional schools, Harvard is ideally positioned to both broadly educate the next generation of leaders who understand the complexities of technology and society and to use its intellectual resources and innovative thinking to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

    Ultimately, we will provide to our graduates a rigorous quantitative liberal arts education that is an excellent launching point for any career and profession.

  • richardmitnick 3:15 pm on March 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Wimps axions and neutralinos, Women in STEM,   

    From Yale: Women in STEM – “Yale-led team puts dark matter on the map” Priyamvada Natarajan 

    Yale University bloc

    Yale University

    March 1, 2017

    Jim Shelton

    Professor Priyamvada Natarajan

    Detailed map of reconstructed dark matter clump distributions in a distant galaxy cluster, obtained from the Hubble Space Telescope Frontier Fields data. The unseen matter in this map is comprised of a smooth heap of dark matter on which clumps form. No image credit.

    A Yale-led team has produced one of the highest-resolution maps of dark matter ever created, offering a detailed case for the existence of cold dark matter — sluggish particles that comprise the bulk of matter in the universe.

    The dark matter map is derived from Hubble Space Telescope Frontier Fields data of a trio of galaxy clusters that act as cosmic magnifying glasses to peer into older, more distant parts of the universe, a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.

    Yale astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan led an international team of researchers that analyzed the Hubble images. “With the data of these three lensing clusters we have successfully mapped the granularity of dark matter within the clusters in exquisite detail,” Natarajan said. “We have mapped all of the clumps of dark matter that the data permit us to detect, and have produced the most detailed topological map of the dark matter landscape to date.”

    Scientists believe dark matter — theorized, unseen particles that neither reflect nor absorb light, but are able to exert gravity — may comprise 80% of the matter in the universe. Dark matter may explain the very nature of how galaxies form and how the universe is structured. Experiments at Yale and elsewhere are attempting to identify the dark matter particle; the leading candidates include axions and neutralinos.

    “While we now have a precise cosmic inventory for the amount of dark matter and how it is distributed in the universe, the particle itself remains elusive,” Natarajan said.

    Dark matter particles are thought to provide the unseen mass that is responsible for gravitational lensing, by bending light from distant galaxies. This light bending produces systematic distortions in the shapes of galaxies viewed through the lens. Natarajan’s group decoded the distortions to create the new dark matter map.

    Significantly, the map closely matches computer simulations of dark matter theoretically predicted by the cold dark matter model; cold dark matter moves slowly compared to the speed of light, while hot dark matter moves faster. This agreement with the standard model is notable given that all of the evidence for dark matter thus far is indirect, said the researchers.

    The high-resolution simulations used in the study, known as the Illustris suite, mimic structure formation in the universe in the context of current accepted theory. A study detailing the findings appeared Feb. 28 in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    Other Yale researchers involved in the study were graduate students Urmila Chadayammuri and Fangzhou Jiang, faculty member Frank van den Bosch, and former postdoctoral fellow Hakim Atek. Additional co-authors came from institutions worldwide: Mathilde Jauzac from the United Kingdom and South Africa; Johan Richard, Eric Jullo, and Marceau Limousin from France; Jean-Paul Kneib from Switzerland; Massimo Meneghetti from Italy; and Illustris simulators Annalisa Pillepich, Ana Coppa, Lars Hernquist, and Mark Vogelsberger from the United States.

    The research was supported in part by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, and NASA via the Space Telescope Institute HST Frontier Fields initiative.

    The study can be found online.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Yale University Campus

    Yale University comprises three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the professional schools. In addition, Yale encompasses a wide array of centers and programs, libraries, museums, and administrative support offices. Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale.

  • richardmitnick 2:54 pm on March 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Astronomer Ruth Murray-Clay, , , , , , Women in STEM   

    From UCSC: Women in STEM – “Astronomer Ruth Murray-Clay appointed to chair in theoretical astrophysics” 

    UC Santa Cruz

    UC Santa Cruz

    March 03, 2017
    Tim Stephens

    Astrophysicist Ruth Murray-Clay gave a brief overview of her research on planetary systems at the investiture ceremony. (Photos by Steve Kurtz)

    Ruth Murray-Clay, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, was honored as the inaugural holder of the E. K. Gunderson Family Chair in Theoretical Astrophysics at an investiture ceremony on Wednesday, March 1, at the University Center.

    The chair was established in 2016 with a $160,000 gift from James L. Gunderson and Valerie J. Boom to support recruitment of a faculty member in astronomy and astrophysics. The chair honors the work of Gunderson’s father, a psychologist whose work on human adaptation to confined and extreme conditions was used by NASA in understanding the implications of space travel.

    Murray-Clay studies the formation and evolution of the solar system and of planetary systems around other stars. She explores a broad range of physical processes that contribute to the ultimate structure of planetary systems, including the evolution of the protoplanetary disk, planet formation, gravitational dynamics, and the evolution of atmospheres. She also studies objects in the outer reaches of our solar system for clues to its dynamical evolution.

    “I am excited and honored to be here and to be the recipient of this chair,” said Murray-Clay, who joined the UCSC astronomy faculty in 2016. She received her bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy at Harvard University and her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in astrophysics at UC Berkeley. In 2015, Murray-Clay won the Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy, which recognizes the exceptional contributions of astronomers under the age of 36.

    Increasing support for faculty chairs is a priority of the Campaign for UC Santa Cruz, which has raised $311 million for the campus. The Gunderson Family Chair in Theoretical Astrophysics is a four-year term chair (not an endowed chair) specially designed to augment the startup funding the campus provides for new faculty. Paul Koch, dean of physical and biological sciences, said such chairs provide important support for a new faculty member’s research and graduate students. “The support from these chairs allows us to be competitive and attract the best faculty,” he said.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    The UCO Lick  C. Donald Shane telescope is a 120-inch (3.0-meter) reflecting telescope located at the Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California
    The UCO Lick C. Donald Shane telescope is a 120-inch (3.0-meter) reflecting telescope located at the Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, CaliforniaUC Observatories Lick Automated Planet Finder, fully robotic 2.4-meter optical telescope at Lick Observatory, situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California, USA
    UC Observatories Lick Automated Planet Finder, fully robotic 2.4-meter optical telescope at Lick Observatory, situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California, USAUCO Lick Kast Spectrograph, Lick Observatory, Mt Hamiton, CA, USA

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

  • richardmitnick 9:22 am on March 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAU, , , Women in STEM   

    From UCLA: Women in STEM -“UCLA to Enhance Undergraduate STEM Education” 

    UCLA bloc


    March 01, 2017

    From the left, Erin Sanders, Gina Poe and Megan McEvoy.UCLA

    UCLA is among 12 universities nationally to be awarded a grant from the Association of American Universities to fund workshops on campus over the next year to assess all programs that support and retain undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

    The first workshop, to be held in late spring on campus, will focus on advising, tutoring, career contacts with alumni, research activities and other-curricular student support programs and activities. A second workshop in the fall will examine changes in how courses are taught, how grades are assessed and ways to change the culture in and outside the classroom to better support students in their educational goals. A third workshop,to be held next year, will bring all relevant stakeholders together to discuss a variety of issues on which they can work together and to identify gaps that can be filled.

    These workshops will be organized by life sciences professors Gina Poe and Megan McEvoy, co-directors of UCLA’s new Center for Opportunities to Maximize Participation, Access, and Student Success (COMPASS) and by Erin Sanders of the Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences. Nearly 200 STEM stakeholders across campus will be invited to attend the workshops.

    Each meeting will be attended by the deans of engineering, life sciences, physical sciences, public health, and the dean and vice provost for undergraduate education,. They will use the findings to plan funding priorities and to create lasting change, Poe said.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

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