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  • richardmitnick 11:08 am on December 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , INFLUENCING NANOSCALE INSTRUMENTATION, Maya Lassiter, , , Women in STEM   

    From Penn Today: Women in STEM- “When Curiosity Meets Nano Device Fabrication” Maya Lassiter 


    From Penn Today

    Nov 21, 2019 [Just now in social media]

    1
    Maya Lassiter

    Experiencing the democratization of media through third-party applications like LimeWire, YouTube and MySpace may have influenced the perspective and career trajectory of a woman who wants to impact the process of nanofabrication.

    “I lived through the CD-to-iPod-to-iPhone progression and felt that computers and technology could be a means by which to increase expression and understanding. That probably has a lot to do with my fascination with electrical and computer engineering,” says Maya Lassiter, doctoral GEM Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at Penn Engineering.

    At Penn, Lassiter is applying an instrumentation and systems perspective to understand how nanoscale robots can be fabricated, controlled and used to further biological research. Along the way she hopes to inform the practice of creating devices from a holistic understanding of design, resource use and application.

    INFLUENCING NANOSCALE INSTRUMENTATION

    “I am interested in what nanoscale instrumentation can uncover regarding cell behavior and tissue dynamics, and how they affect larger systems,” says Lassiter. “I hope to create devices that have rhyme and reason — such as a clear rationale for materials use. As we advance the science of nanofabrication, we should introduce manufacturing processes and creative solutions that are much broader than those currently being implemented. Those changes can be changes for the better, and I want to be part of that.”

    Ultimately, she also wants her research to help further the understanding of how biological systems work in order to engineer nanoscale instrumentation that works with the systems, not against them. “I am especially interested in developing non-destructive devices for neural systems so our attempts to engage with specific cells do not come at the expense of harming the surrounding tissue.”

    TAKING A HOLISTIC FOCUS ON TECHNOLOGY

    Lassiter, who earned her BS and MS degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering and was named the Outstanding Woman in Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, was excited to continue her education at Penn Engineering for a number of reasons. “I get to work in the Singh Center for Nanotechnology, an exciting facility with world-class technical staff. Plus, I have the resource of Penn Engineering’s faculty who are at the frontier of science and technology,” she says. “Philadelphia is a well-connected city and a great place to be a graduate student. Coming from Pittsburgh, I am glad to experience another part of the state, where there is an active art and broader city culture that I want to get to know!”

    Lassiter is a GEM Fellow, part of the National GEM Consortium that is dedicated to enhancing the value of the nation’s human capital by increasing the participation of underrepresented groups (African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanic Americans) at the master’s and doctoral levels in engineering and science. “I believe I have something to offer in the creation of technology,” she says. “My long-term goal is to change how we think about community in engineering. I am not sure about the path to get there, but my next step will be to make work that conveys a holistic understanding of technology.

    See the full article here .

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    U Penn campus

    Academic life at Penn 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.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:44 pm on December 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Katja Fahrion, Women in STEM   

    From ESOblog: “Astronomer on tour” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    The story of a trip to Chile to observe with the APEX telescope [below]

    6
    Katja Fahrion

    6 December 2019
    People@ESO

    Measuring a whopping twelve metres across, APEX is a submillimetre-wavelength telescope operating in the southern hemisphere and has a suite of instruments to find out more about the “cold”, “dusty” and “distant” Universe. APEX is operated by ESO on behalf of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, the Onsala Space Observatory and ESO itself, meaning that many ESO astronomers get to spend time at the telescope each year. ESO Student Katja Fahrion tells us about her recent experience observing with this special machine.

    DAY ONE: MOVING IN

    The first day of my two-week observing trip to the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) began at 4 am on 22 August 2019 in the ESO Guesthouse in Santiago, Chile. After a quick breakfast, a taxi took me to the airport and at 9 am I was in Calama, in the Atacama Desert. A driver picked me up and after about an hour of driving through the desert, I arrived at the APEX basecamp, close to San Pedro de Atacama.

    APEX is a submillimetre telescope, observing at millimetre and submillimetre wavelengths — between infrared light and radio waves, from a variety of astrophysical sources. It consists of a single dish with a diameter of twelve metres, located on the Chajnantor Plateau (the same plateau where ALMA resides!) 5100 metres above sea level. Unlike optical telescopes that only operate at night, submillimetre telescopes can also observe when the Sun is up.

    So when I arrived at the basecamp at around 11 am, the morning observing shift was still ongoing. For the first time, I entered the control room — the heart of the basecamp. One wall is covered with screens showing the status of the telescope, the output of the live webcam and the weather conditions, and the other walls are lined with desks and even more screens.

    Observers at APEX and other ESO telescopes don’t observe their own science targets, but instead carry out the observing programmes that are proposed by scientists from all around the world. At all times, at least one operator and one observer are present in the control room. While the operator is responsible for operating and controlling the telescope, the observer decides what to observe. The latter is my job as an astronomer and in the beginning, it seemed overwhelmingly complex.

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    Centre of the Milky Way with Jupiter and Saturn, taken by Katja during her APEX observing trip.
    Credit: ESO/Katja Fahrion

    I moved into my hut that contained a small desk, a bed and a bathroom. Since it gets very cold in the desert at night, each room also has several radiators and the beds are covered with blankets.

    Besides the huts and the control room, there are office spaces, a kitchen where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, a recreational room including a table tennis table and a rowing machine, and a swimming pool. The swimming pool, that I used almost every day, has a beautiful view of the Sairecabur volcano. During the night, this volcano is not visible, but the view is replaced by the beautiful southern night sky.

    DAY TWO: IN THE CONTROL ROOM

    Although I got a brief introduction on the first day, I spent most of my second day at APEX in the control room learning how to observe with the telescope.

    One specific parameter the observers have to keep in mind is the precipitable water vapour (PWV) describing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere above the telescope. Because water absorbs electromagnetic radiation at the wavelengths we want to observe, it is critical to have low values of PWV, just like you would not want clouds over your optical telescope. A PWV of 0.4 mm is absolutely great, 0.7 mm is still very good, there are some programmes that can work with 1.5-3 mm, but basically above 4, there is not much to be done and above 6 the telescope is shut down.

    Besides PWV, the wind speed is also shown in the control room because if it is too windy, the telescope has to be shut down and parked in a safe position. And then there is the Sun. Although APEX can observe during day, it cannot be pointed at or near the Sun because the antenna would focus the light and all the cables and instruments would melt. This is clearly something that we wouldn’t want to happen!

    ___________________________________
    I felt the lack of oxygen as soon as I arrived; getting my backpack from the boot of the car was already exhausting.
    ___________________________________

    I learned that it is essential to keep a record of everything that happens during an observation. We use a webpage where the records for every observing programme can be accessed and updated. This is important for the person that proposed the programme in the first place, but also for the APEX observers working different shifts.

    DAY THREE: I CAN GO UP!

    On my third day at APEX, I got the opportunity to go to the telescope site in the morning with another student and two engineers. This meant driving up the hill from 2300 metres to 5100 metres above sea level. Although the drive is through the desert, on the side of the road, I saw cacti, bushes, donkeys, birds and vicunas.

    Up at the telescope, the air is thin and has only half the pressure it has at sea level. I felt the lack of oxygen as soon as I arrived; getting my backpack from the boot of the car was already exhausting. I felt a bit weak and dizzy in the first few minutes, so I was happy to enter the control room that is supplied with extra oxygen.

    While the two engineers worked on the telescope generators, the other student and I spent some time in the control room to acclimatise. But soon the excitement won, and we went out to take pictures of extraordinary sight up on the Chajnantor Plateau. In the distance, I could see the 66 ALMA antennas under a clear blue sky, surrounded by volcanoes.

    Going up to the telescope was not the only exciting event on this day. Every Saturday, the Asado takes place. Everyone gathers at the kitchen and even the observers and operators bring their laptops to observe remotely. There are drinks and many different foods such as deep-fried cheese empanadas, ceviche and small sandwiches. There is also a barbeque with lots of beef and sausages. Music plays and after dinner the party carries on in the kitchen or around the fireplace.

    DAY FOUR: I GET TO OBSERVE

    On the fourth day of my stay at APEX, I carried out observations during the evening shift for the first time on my own. During the previous days, I had become accustomed to the different observing programmes and roughly knew the weather constraints and priority of observing targets on the sky. Due to Earth’s rotation, the targets move in the sky and can only be observed when they are high enough above the horizon. So it is important to know which programme can be observed at any time of the day. This has to be balanced against the weather conditions and the priority of the programme, but after a few days of watching other observers making decisions, I was able to continue with ongoing projects.

    DAY FIVE: VISITING A LAGUNA

    At the beginning of my stay, there were at least four observers at any time, so shifts lasted six hours instead of the typical eight hours. This meant that we had a lot of free time, especially as I was not yet on the official schedule. So on 26 August, another student and I drove to the nearby Laguna Chaxa. An hour’s drive from the basecamp, this Laguna is known for its beauty and an impressive flock of flamingos.

    3
    Two flamingos having a drink at Laguna Chaxa. Credit: ESO/Katja Fahrion

    DAYS SIX AND SEVEN: FIRST OFFICIAL SHIFTS

    On 27 August, I began my (almost) regular shift schedule of 5 pm to 11 pm. On this day and the next, I had quiet shifts because the weather was not great. We observed a very time-intensive programme with the instrument PI230 that can be used even when there is a lot of water vapour in the air. We created maps of a molecular gas cloud in our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Because molecules such as carbon monoxide form at very low temperatures, they are not visible with optical telescopes. With submillimetre telescopes like APEX, however, we can observe bright spectral lines at a very specific wavelength and can thus observe the source. With telescopes such as APEX it is possible to either observe a single spectrum or to create a small map of a region in the sky that shows the structure of a source emitting at a certain wavelength. In both modes, it is also important to observe a reference position in the sky to remove unwanted background emission from Earth’s atmosphere. Sometimes the reference position is contaminated by other astronomical light and this is one of many reasons why the observer has to look at the data while they are being taken.

    4
    Large and Small Magellanic Clouds above the antennas that are used for communication between basecamp and the APEX telescope.
    Credit: ESO/Katja Fahrion

    DAY EIGHT: THE NIGHT SHIFT

    My first and only night shift was from 10 pm to 4 am. During this night, the weather conditions were very good at first, so we used the ArTeMiS instrument that requires the best conditions to create beautiful maps of astronomical sources. Later, we switched to SEPIA. Switching the instrument requires some time, so it’s best not do it too often. After my night shift, I was very tired, but I took the opportunity to take some pictures of the night sky.

    DAY NINE: TIME TO SLEEP!

    After my night shift I slept in. The weather was not great again, so during my shift in the evening, we made more maps with PI230. It was a relaxing shift that gave me time to work on my own projects.

    DAY TEN: UP TO THE TELESCOPE AGAIN

    On the second Saturday of my stay, I had the opportunity to go back up to the telescope. Even the second time, the visit was exciting. On the way, we saw llamas and several Vicunas that were very close to the road. My shift was during the Asado, but I could still spend some time with the others in the kitchen, enjoying empanadas and the barbecue.

    ___________________________________
    I would get up, have breakfast, work on my PhD project and go swimming. In the evening, from 5 to 11 pm, I was in the control room doing my shift.
    ___________________________________

    DAYS ELEVEN TO FOURTEEN: GETTING INTO A ROUTINE

    Only a few days of my shift at APEX were left and by then I was used to the routine. I would get up, have breakfast, work on my PhD project and go swimming. In the evening, from 5 to 11 pm, I was in the control room doing my shift. The weather was at first very good for observing with the most demanding instruments but then it got worse and we even had to close the telescope for an hour one night due to strong wind. The sunsets during these last days were beautiful because for the first time, there were clouds in the sky.

    On my last full day, 4 September, another observer from ESO and I visited the nearby Valle de la Luna. We were rewarded with astonishing views of an alien-looking landscape — similar to the surface of Mars or the Moon!

    DAY FIFTEEN: NEXT STOP — ANTOFAGASTA AND THE VERY LARGE TELESCOPE [below]

    After 13 nights at the APEX basecamp, it was time to leave. I had finished my last shift the day before, and after lunch, the driver brought me to the bus terminal in Calama. From there I took a four-hour bus ride to Antofagasta, 300 kilometres southwest of San Pedro. The next day, an official ESO bus took me to my two-night stay at the Very Large Telescope. Not to work, but just to visit.

    See the full article here .


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    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
    •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
    •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).
    elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo,

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT, a major asset of the Adaptive Optics system


    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT 4 lasers on Yepun


    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

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

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    ESO APEX
    ESO/MPIfR APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:33 am on December 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 3-D printed metals, , Alessandra Colli, , , , Plasma 3-D printing, Women in STEM   

    From Brookhaven National Lab: Women in STEM- “Meet Alessandra Colli: Engineering Improvements in 3-D-printed Metals” 

    From Brookhaven National Lab

    December 3, 2019
    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov

    Colli seeks to merge materials risk analysis with data collected at world-class science tools to improve safety, reliability, and opportunities in metal additive manufacturing.

    1
    Alessandra Colli with National Synchrotron Light Source II beamline scientist Larry Carr at a beamline used for far-infrared spectroscopy (MET). This beamline will help characterize filter samples made by Obsidian AM, a company partnering with Brookhaven Lab to explore 3-D printing as a strategy for producing high-precision radiation filters for next-generation cosmic microwave background studies.

    With a background in electrical engineering and risk assessment, Alessandra Colli, a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, wants airplane engines to function flawlessly, rockets to be reliable, and a new telescope to be sensitive to signals that could solve secrets of the universe. Her focus, however, is not on the electronic circuitry that powers these complex devices, but rather on improving the structure and function of their many metallic components.

    Colli is developing a strategy to leverage Brookhaven Lab’s materials-science capabilities and data analytics approaches to advance metal “additive manufacturing,” also known as 3-D printing. Compared with conventional metal manufacturing, 3-D printing offers great promise for building metal components with higher precision and greater reliability from the bottom up.

    “When you are talking about reliability, most of the time you look at the system level—how the part performs in the field, in the real-world application,” Colli said. “We want to bring in the basic materials science—the kinds of studies we can do at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) to look at material properties and defects at very small scales—along with analytical techniques being developed by our Computational Science Initiative to efficiently sift through that data.”

    This approach could help scientists identify sources of material imperfections or weakness—and explore how different 3-D printing approaches or even new materials could improve a particular product.

    “Industrial partners could come in and we can help them solve specific issues using the enormous capabilities of our DOE Office of Science user facilities,” Colli said.

    3-D printed metals

    Once used mainly for creating prototypes or models, additive manufacturing is moving into the mainstream for a range of industrial and defense applications, so much so that many industrial players address it as the next industrial revolution in manufacturing, Colli said. Using 3-D printing to manufacture precision metal engine components, high-tech filters, or even construction hinges and brackets offers ways to reduce waste of feedstock material and dramatically improve design to achieve better performance of the final product, she noted.

    Instead of whittling down a larger block of metal, pouring molten material into a mold, or making separate components that must later be fastened together, 3-D printing uses a range of techniques to deposit the material layer by layer, printing only the desired object with little material wasted. The technology can create intricate objects and even allows construction from composite materials.

    But to ensure durability, strength, resistance to corrosion, or other characteristics important for specific applications, it’s essential to understand not just what the manufactured part looks like and how it works in its application, but also what’s going on inside—the characteristics of the material itself.

    Think about a piece that might be part of an airplane, or supporting parts for construction, part of a rocket engine or ship—these parts need extremely high reliability.

    “With additive manufacturing, there can be different types of defects—residual stress that creates tension in an area where you may not want it; porosity formed by bubbles that create a weak spot where the part can break. We have a range of techniques that can see these structural characteristics and the materials’ chemical composition. And we can study them under different environmental conditions, like pressure or high heat, that when combined with certain material characteristics can cause a failure,” Colli said.

    These tools can also help identify the best additive manufacturing processes for different applications, fine-tune manufacturing precision to take into account post-processing steps such as polishing or annealing, or explore new materials or combinations of materials that may improve functions.

    Building collaborations

    “There are lots of opportunities to grow collaborations with academic partners, industry, other departments at Brookhaven, and the user facilities here and at the other DOE Labs or research institutions around the world,” Colli said.

    As an example, Colli notes one collaboration already underway among scientists in Brookhaven’s Sustainable Energy Technologies Department, Physics Department, Instrumentation Division, NSLS-II, and Obsidian AM (a small spin-off company from Yale University in Connecticut) that hopes to develop filters for cosmic microwave background radiation [CMB].

    CMB per ESA/Planck

    These filters, designed for use in next-generation telescopes, are typically fabricated from metal as meshes or grids that get laminated together. Their job is to screen out signals from other forms of radiation so scientists can collect echoes of the radiation leftover from the Big Bang. Filtering out the “noise” will help physicists decipher details about neutrinos, dark matter, and general relativity.

    3
    Scientific exploration of new materials, composites, and 3-D printing processes along with engineering studies of new applications will open many opportunities in metal additive manufacturing. This approach could guide the development of 3-D printed materials with reliability in harsh environments, reduced size and weight, or other characteristics optimized for specific applications.

    “We are exploring plasma 3-D printing as a way to directly manufacture the full metamaterial for these filters. We’re starting by making sure we can print the metal part with optimal precision, but we are hoping to be able to print alternate layers of insulating material and metal grid directly using the same 3-D printing process,” Colli said.

    This approach could be applied to making other layered metamaterials and composites, such as high-temperature superconductors (promising materials that carry electric current with no resistance) and magnets.

    Colli is finalizing plans with professors at the North Carolina A&T State University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to bring students in to learn about the various 3-D printing technologies, materials characterization tools such as x-ray diffraction, and approaches such as tensile stress testing. She is also collaborating with computational scientists to develop the tools and algorithms—many based on machine learning and other forms of “artificial intelligence”—to identify key indicators that will predict (and guide design to avoid) failure in additively manufactured metal components.

    Varied background, open mind

    “I’m not a materials scientist and I’m not a physicist, so to build this strategy and these collaborations, I had to learn everything too, including about the techniques; and I’m still learning,” Colli said. “My strength is to be able to understand both the small details and the big picture.”

    Colli attributes her wide-scale vision to the diversity of topics she studied early in her career: electrical power engineering for her master thesis and risk analysis for her Ph.D., the former at the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy and the latter at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands. “Diversifying things gives perspective in terms of what you can learn and what you can see. It really opens up your mind,” she said.

    She spent six years in The Netherlands developing methods to compare technological, environmental, and occupational risks of various energy technologies—fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewable energies such as solar. When she first came to Brookhaven Lab in 2011, she worked to integrate risk analysis into the economic side of evaluating energy systems.

    4
    Simulations of filters for cosmic microwave background radiation telescopes help identify the best configuration for optimal performance. This graphic shows one layer of the copper configuration simulated using CST Studio Suite, a 3-D electromagnetic analysis software program. The simulation determines what types of radiation get transmitted through or filtered out by the mesh.

    The proximity of the Northeast Solar Energy Research Center to NSLS-II first sparked her idea that understanding material properties might help address an energy challenge: why photovoltaic solar cells sometimes crack.

    “My idea was to apply my knowledge in risk analysis to reliability issues in photovoltaics. What is the impact of the different materials that make up these layered structures on the tendency of cracks to form and propagate, for example? We have the solar panels and the synchrotron right here to do the materials science testing,” she said.

    In 2018, Jim Misewich, Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Photon Sciences (EPS), asked her to develop the Lab’s strategy for metal additive manufacturing as part of the EPS Growth plan. This opportunity gave her a chance to bring her idea of correlating material properties with performance and reliability to a new challenge.

    “I had to grow in my career, to go from being a scientist doing my job in the lab to develop a leadership mentality,” she said. With support from the Growth Office—including Elspeth McSweeney, Michael Cowell, and Jun Wang—she developed skills and sought professional training courses such as the Women in STEM Leadership program at Stony Brook University.

    “It was a year of enormous growth,” she said. “When people believe in you and they give you a chance, you feel obligated to give something back and to be successful. Supporting other people at the Lab helps us push each other.”

    Meaningful mentorship

    Colli puts these philosophies into practice as she mentors students through Brookhaven Lab’s Office of Educational Programs.

    “For me, research is always about teamwork. I am not the boss and you are not my slave; we work together, period. It’s a continuous exchange,” she said. “I let the students bring up ideas—have them tell me what we should do.”

    Sometimes suspicious of this approach and a bit lost without a predetermined path, Colli’s students often end up with an appreciation of what it means to be part of the scientific process.

    “I don’t care if they do perfect work or not. But when I see that they get engaged and they get passionate, that’s for me the best reward.”

    From her own experience, she also tells them, “Don’t be afraid if you end up in a different field because that may only increase your knowledge and open up your mind in different directions.”

    When she’s not developing new strategies at the Lab, Colli loves to connect with nature by hiking and especially riding her horse. “That is where I find my peace of mind,” she said.

    “I really love to be on Long Island, and I love the U.S.,” she added, noting that she hopes to become a full U.S. citizen as soon as she is eligible. “I still have two years to wait for that and I’m counting the days.”

    The metal additive manufacturing strategy is supported by Brookhaven Lab’s program development funds. NSLS-II and CFN are DOE Office of Science user facilities. The Computational Science Initiative is also supported by the DOE Office of Science.

    See the full article here .


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    BNL Campus


    BNL Center for Functional Nanomaterials

    BNL NSLS-II


    BNL NSLS II

    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    BNL RHIC PHENIX

    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.
    i1

     
  • richardmitnick 4:11 pm on December 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientist travels to the end of the world to change the world", , Clothilde Langlais, , , Our oceans are a support system for us all. They influence our climate and provide food for billions of people and are a meaningful part of Aussie culture., Women in STEM   

    From CSIROscope: Women in STEM-“Scientist travels to the end of the world, to change the world” Clothilde Langlais 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    2 December 2019
    Natalie Kikken

    1
    Flying the CSIRO flag: Clothilde Langlais is proud to be part of the Homeward Bound cohort for 2019.

    Our oceans are a support system for us all. They influence our climate, provide food for billions of people, and are a meaningful part of Aussie culture.

    But we don’t have to tell that to Clothilde Langlais, one of our leading physical oceanographers. Her passion is how our oceans connect with our climate system, and she’s been delivering some impressive science in this space for the last 15 years.

    Clothilde is currently in one of the most remote parts of the world – Antarctica – to champion women in STEM and build on her climate change knowledge.

    Connecting climate, oceans and people

    Clothilde would be a great asset on any trivia team for questions related to our oceans.

    “Did you know our oceans absorb more than 90 per cent of the excess heat trapped on Earth caused by human-made greenhouse gases? And that our oceans absorb almost 40 per cent of the human-made carbon from the atmosphere? This can impact ocean circulation and our climate,” Clothilde explained.

    She looked at how carbon and heat are soaked up from the atmosphere and stored deep in the Southern Ocean. Now she’s researching the impacts of that on one of Australia’s most valued marine assets – the Great Barrier Reef. She’s also exploring ways to reduce the effects and help the reef adapt to a changing climate.

    “As an oceanographer, I am focused on the pressing challenges facing our coasts. These include warming, sea-level rise, change in circulation, the shifting of habitats, coral bleaching, and ocean acidification. I’ve also researched how climate projections could create change in our marine environment including eddies (circular currents), the Southern Ocean and El Nino.”

    Clothilde really is a walking encyclopedia on ocean science.

    Women in STEM cheerleader

    Building on her scientific career, Clothilde wants to bring her science and knowledge to the wider community. And she is, by taking part in the Homeward Bound leadership program for women in STEM.

    Clothilde will be joining close to 100 women for a voyage to Antarctica (including six of our own scientists). They’ll develop professional and personal skills and build an international network with female leaders in science.

    “Through my science, I want to make a difference. I want to change the world,” she tells us.

    “I am proud to participate in the growing knowledge around climate change. And I want to bring this knowledge far and wide. I want to bring my science to life through visualisation and storytelling, while increasing the presence of women in STEM. Homeward Bound will help me do that, by helping me raising my voice and vision for a brighter future.”

    Behold Mother Nature

    Through Clothilde’s career, she has seen differences in the progress of male and female scientists.

    “There has been variation in the level of opportunities, support and trust in ideas. And being caring was not considered a popular leadership attribute. But things are changing. I am gaining confidence, connecting with other female leaders and creating a strategic path for my science.”

    Clothilde is pleased to be meeting Mother Nature in its wildest and most majestic form. But she recognises that Antarctica is also vulnerable.

    “Science gives us an understanding of why things are the way they are and how our planet works. It also helps us to plan for the future.”

    “I’m excited that my science and participation in Homeward Bound will influence female scientists all around the world to help shape decisions for our planet.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    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 10:49 am on November 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What our people pack when visiting Antarctica", Amelia Tandy, , Women in STEM   

    From CSIROscope: Women in STEM “What our people pack when visiting Antarctica” Amelia Tandy 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    28 November 2019
    Natalie Kikken

    1
    It’s a nice view right? Amelia will be seeing something like this every day as part of her Homeward Bound journey.

    Amelia Tandy, Research Assistant with our Climate Science Centre, has lived overseas before. But she’s never been to Antarctica.

    We chatted with Amelia about what she’s packing for the three-week Homeward Bound voyage, a women in science leadership program. We asked her about balancing work and parenting life, and why more diversity in STEM is important.

    2
    Amelia Tandy, a researcher here at CSIRO.

    Knee-high boots for Antarctica

    Amelia works at our Climate Science Centre. She studied marine biology, but her focus is the interface between science and policy.

    “I work closely with government departments to take our science – whether is it climate modelling, oceanography, ecology and marine species research – to help inform decision-making,” she said.

    Amelia will be joining hundreds of other women in STEM on the Homeward Bound voyage from around the globe. And yes, they will all be wearing knee-high boots on the boat.

    “I’ll have special gumboots that can only be worn on the boat and when visiting the shore. They are knee-high so when we venture into shallow waters, our feet won’t freeze off!” she said.

    Why knee-high gumboots? Antarctica has very strict quarantine rules. The boots on the boat, stay on the boat. They need to have never touched land outside the Antarctic.

    With such a remote and precious ecosystem, it is critical that foreign materials and organisms don’t make their way to Antarctica to disrupt the fauna already living there.

    Ice cold Antarctic climate

    For this time of year, Amelia is expecting Antarctica’s weather to be in the minus temperatures. But, as she lives in Canberra, she isn’t too afraid of chilly climes.

    “With so much ice around, we need lots of waterproof gear. We’ll have goose down jackets that go down to our ankles, waterproof trousers, gloves and beanies,” she explained.

    “We’ll also be visiting international research stations – including Argentina, China and the US – to find out more about the research happening in this far-flung area of the world. This includes gender diversity at these stations and the challenges working in such a formidable environment.”

    Diverse STEM diversity

    Homeward Bound is a year-long program to increase the visibility of female STEM leaders through skills development, strategic capability and collaboration.

    “When I joined the program, my focus was on promoting climate change research. Antarctica is the perfect backdrop to demonstrate the impacts of climate change,” Amelia said.

    “However, as my participation in the program continues, the importance of diversity in the science arena has really come to the forefront.

    “It’s not just about women in STEM that needs more visibility. Diversity also includes cultural backgrounds, sexuality, and different ways of thinking.”

    Leader, mother, human

    Amelia is a mum to two young girls, aged six and four. Being away from them for four weeks with limited communication will be tough.

    “I won’t be able to just pick up the phone and call so I’ll be packing photos and some drawings. I’ve also asked my family and friends to share letters with me,” she said.

    “When I miss them, I will open a letter and feel more connected.”

    Amelia recognises the challenges that come with managing work and being a parent, but she appreciates CSIRO’s flexible work conditions so she can better balance the two.

    “I’m heartened to see societal shifts in flexible opportunities in the workplace for both men and women. There have also been positive steps to increase the visibility and appointments of women in leadership roles,” she said.

    “CSIRO supports the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program, which has seen a six per cent increase in women in leadership roles in the last couple of years. This is definitely a step in the right direction.”

    Amelia is excited to bring more visibility to her work on her return from Homeward Bound. She’s also very excited about seeing penguins on her trip.

    “But most importantly, I’m looking forward to connecting with an international network of women. Everyone wins when we have diverse teams.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    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 1:14 pm on November 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Women in STEM   

    From École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne: Women in STEM- “Katie Bouman, the scientist who reveals the invisible” 


    From École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

    11.18.19
    Sarah Perrin

    Katie Bouman-Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Now at Caltech.

    1

    The first-ever image of a black hole was unveiled to the public this past April.

    Messier 87 supermassive black hole from the EHT

    It was produced by a team of 200 scientists as part of the Event Horizon Telescope Project. Katie Bouman, an assistant professor at Caltech, was at the center of the action. On a recent visit to EPFL, she talked about computer science with President Martin Vetterli.

    Katie Bouman was one of 200 scientists who helped create the first-ever image of a black hole, released this past April. The 30-year old researcher, who was recently named an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), came to speak at EPFL’s Open Science Day. Martin Vetterli took advantage of that opportunity to sit down with her and ask her a few questions about their field of shared interest.

    MV: “It’s pretty unusual for someone to become a star researcher at such a young age. How did you get into science?

    KB: I was very interested in science as a kid. When I was in third grade, I remember looking under rocks all the time. And as I got older, I was constantly drawn to the different science topics covered in class. In sixth grade, I first got involved in science fair projects, and I continued doing that on and off through high school. Then, when I tried out research for the first time, I was thrilled: it was so different from a homework set, where you know there’s a solution even if it’s difficult to find. Research was a new way of thinking and problem-solving for me, and I found that very exciting.

    How did you get into computer science?

    It wasn’t until high school, when a friend convinced me to take a computer science class. At first, I thought: “This isn’t very fun, what will I use it for?” But it opened up a totally new area for me! We didn’t solve any big problems or anything, but because I had done this class and learned this new computing language, I was offered a position the following summer to work in a lab at Purdue University, in my hometown, helping the graduate researchers with their projects. Some were working on imaging problems, such as in the field of forensics. It was so exciting to see how we could pull information out of images and use it to recover hidden properties about the world. From that point on, I got more and more interested in imaging and electrical engineering and eventually computer vision. My path has always been guided by a love of research and images, because I really like the fact that you can visualize what you’re working on.

    The black-hole imaging project was very cross-disciplinary. What was it like to work on this team?

    It was quite a new experience, and I had a lot of fun! At that point, the team had already worked extensively on the instrumentation side and was just getting started on the imaging part. They really needed someone who could interpret the data and develop new ways of dealing with the challenges. I first heard about the project through a presentation and, actually, I understood pretty much nothing, it was like gibberish [laughter]. Still, I left that presentation thinking “I want to be part of this!”, because I could see that the tools needed for this project were so similar to the ones we were developing for other problems, like in medical imaging. When I joined the team, I didn’t know anything about black holes. But I was working with an amazing group of researchers. They kindly taught me everything I needed to know about radioastronomy, astrophysics, black holes, and so on. I also got to spend about a month and a half behind a telescope learning about the technical system. And I think that process was important, because when you’re developing an imaging method, you have to understand not only how problems arise during observations and make their way into the data you’re analyzing, but also what you can expect to find. In order to get the most out of the data, you need to learn as much as possible in the related fields. That’s why working in cross-disciplinary teams is so crucial now for many big science projects to go forward.

    Helping create the first image of a black hole is a major accomplishment so early in your career. What’s next for you as a young researcher at CalTech?

    I’m really excited to do new things. For example, I’m starting to work on seismology – trying to image earthquakes – which is crucial for the California region. I’m very excited about this job because CalTech is a small school, which makes it easier to connect with people in other fields. I’m so fortunate to already be working with a lot of people in different areas. My ultimate goal is to think about how we can help scientists discover new things. We are so used to coming up with our own hypotheses and figuring out what we should observe to test them. But we can now develop machines to find trends and data that we might not see or be aware of as humans. I’m really interested in how to design machines that can tell us how to do our experiments, and what new wavelength or data domain to look at in order to discover something we would not otherwise see. In general, I’m very much into how we do data-driven scientific discovery.

    A couple of guys just won the Nobel Prize for discovering the first exoplanet 25 years ago. Initially, they didn’t believe their results and reran the experiment several times. Some things have changed since then, but we’re still dealing with noisy data, right?

    Yes, when we first created the black-hole image, or at least the day we got the data, we entered it into an imaging script and a ring appeared. I actually went from being really excited to being mad at the colleagues who gave us the data – which I was convinced were fake. It just seemed too good to be true! Nothing ever works like that the first time. It was just so much more beautiful than any synthetic data we had created. It actually took weeks before I believed the data were real, and that our colleagues weren’t trying to trick us or test us.

    See the full article here
    .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    EPFL is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university. It receives students, professors and staff from over 120 nationalities. With both a Swiss and international calling, it is therefore guided by a constant wish to open up; its missions of teaching, research and partnership impact various circles: universities and engineering schools, developing and emerging countries, secondary schools and gymnasiums, industry and economy, political circles and the general public.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:49 am on November 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Searching for the limits of life", , , Taylor Heyl, Women in STEM,   

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Women in STEM “Searching for the limits of life” Taylor Heyl 

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

    October 23, 2019
    Evan Lubofsky

    1
    WHOI deep-sea biologist Taylor Heyl (in foreground) explores Lydonia Canyon in the OceanX submersible NADIR during a dive in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument. (Photo by Luis Lamar for National Geographic)

    Taylor Heyl is a deep-sea research scientist in the biology department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She has been on over 20 oceanographic expeditions to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Gulf of Alaska, Gulf of Mexico and Antarctica. She explores the extreme and unknown environments of the ocean’s hadal zone—the deepest region of the ocean extending down to 11,000 meters (36,000 feet)—to investigate the ecological processes associated with these habitats in the deep sea.

    How did you become interested in ocean science?

    As a child I always lived by the ocean, in Costa Rica, Haiti, and in many different locations along the coastal shoreline of New England. I always imagined myself an ocean explorer. I began by snorkeling off islands but continually found myself farther and farther from the surface, turning back from the deeper, darker waters when my eardrums could no longer stand the pressure. I became scuba certified at the Virgin Island Environmental Research Station (VIERS) on St. John, but was frustrated when limits were placed on the depths I could dive and the time I could spend at deeper depths. In college, while recovering hagfish traps in the Gulf of Maine for a senior thesis project, I became increasingly curious about what lay beyond the continental shelf, into the deepest depths of the ocean. From there, I knew my career would involve deep sea exploration and trying to understand the connection between animals and their extreme environments.

    Why do you study the ocean?

    Marine science has been the portal through which I have explored the world, both above and below the surface of the ocean. The curiosity and desire to find out what exists below the limits of human tolerance is something that inspires and drives me to investigate the deep sea. In graduate school I investigated the interaction between deep-sea clams and cold seep environments dominated by methane and sulfides; chemicals that are toxic to humans but a food source for animals in the deep. I am now interested in the effects of global climate change and shifting methane signals on biological communities at cold seeps in the Arctic.

    2
    Heyl mounts an underwater camera to Orpheus, WHOI’s newest vehicle for exploring the deepest parts of the ocean known as the hadal zone. (Photo by Evan Lubofsky, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    Why WHOI?

    When I was 9 years old, my father, then a Lieutenant-Commander in the Coast Guard, was bringing International Naval Officers from the Naval War College for an Informational Program visit to WHOI. He brought me along as an aspiring scientist. I listened to a presentation on seafloor mapping using mathematical models and saw others working in the deep sea with Alvin. That’s when I knew I wanted to explore and do research like that at WHOI.

    What is the most surprising discovery you’ve made while here?

    It was surprising to discover new hydrothermal vent sites during a research expedition to the Galapagos Rift in 2005. Using the ROV Jason, we imaged and characterized new biological communities and witnessed new seafloor being formed. Most recently, it has been exciting to be a part of the institution’s HADEX program, dedicated to investigating the hadal zone of the ocean which extends down to 36,000 feet at its deepest point. I have enjoyed being a part of the verification cruises to test our latest hadal autonomous underwater vehicle, Orpheus, and to realize that we are embarking on a new era of discoveries and understanding within the deepest parts of our ocean.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

    Vision & Mission

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 9:29 am on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Antje Boetius, , , , Erna Hamburger Prize, , Women in STEM   

    From École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne: Women in STEM “EPFL honors a climate advocate” Antje Boetius 


    From École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

    06.11.19
    Anne-Muriel Brouet

    1
    The EPFL-WISH Foundation will award this year’s Erna Hamburger Prize to German marine biologist Antje Boetius.

    The 2019 Erna Hamburger Prize will go to Antje Boetius, a professor at the University of Bremen’s prestigious Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and the head of the Alfred Wegener Institute at the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research.
    3

    2

    3

    Prof. Boetius has had an exceptional career in marine biology research since completing her studies at the University of Hamburg.

    5

    A staunch climate advocate, she received Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit in 2019 and was recently appointed as a climate advisor to the German government.

    The Erna Hamburger Prize is awarded every year by the EPFL-WISH Foundation to an influential woman in science. The award is named after Erna Hamburger, who, when she was hired by EPFL in 1967, became the first female professor at a Swiss federal institute of technology.

    One of Prof. Boetius’s breakthroughs was to describe the anaerobic oxidation of methane. She believes that, in the absence of molecular oxygen, the earliest forms of terrestrial life may have survived thanks to methane. She has also posited that such life forms could help slow the pace of climate change in the future. This is because methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and there are vast quantities of deep-ocean microorganisms that can break it down and limit its release into the atmosphere.

    Dubbed by some “Marie Curie of the sea,” Prof. Boetius has also coordinated numerous marine and polar expeditions and has been involved in measuring firsthand the effects of global warming. The granddaughter of a whale hunter, she has helped focus attention on the impact that human activities have on our oceans. This includes the collapse in the cetacean population, which began in the 19th century, and its impact on the marine ecosystem down to the level of microorganisms.

    Prof. Boetius, an environmentalist committed to spreading knowledge, deplores the fact that “science is talking but people aren’t listening.” And she warns: “We cannot survive without the oceans.”

    The award ceremony will take place at 5pm on 6 November at the SwissTech Convention Center. Entry is free of charge, but registration is required: https://www.epflwishfoundation.org/erna-hamburger-2019

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    EPFL is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university. It receives students, professors and staff from over 120 nationalities. With both a Swiss and international calling, it is therefore guided by a constant wish to open up; its missions of teaching, research and partnership impact various circles: universities and engineering schools, developing and emerging countries, secondary schools and gymnasiums, industry and economy, political circles and the general public.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:22 am on November 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Janelle Wellons, , She had an acceptance letter in hand from her dream school the Massachusetts Institute of Technology., She operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's Diviner instrument, The Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols instrument will study how Earth's pollutants affect people's health on a global scale., Wellons is also developing the system that will command the Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols instrument which will launch around 2022., Wellons is one of the youngest staffers on a Moon mission and an Earth mission., Wellons was often one of the few black students in her advanced placement classes., Women in STEM   

    From NASA JPL-Caltech: Women in STEM- “A Young Engineer Steps Into the Light” Janelle Wellons 

    NASA JPL Banner

    From NASA JPL-Caltech

    1
    Janelle Wellons works as an engineer operating the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Diviner instrument.Credit: Joshua Krohn

    November 1, 2019

    Matthew Segal
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    818-354-8307
    matthew.j.segal@jpl.nasa.gov

    Written by Celeste Hoang

    In high school, Janelle Wellons excelled in her classes, especially math, and quickly climbed to the top of her class. By the spring of her senior year, she had an acceptance letter in hand from her dream school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But while that should have been a joyous time, an incident with a high school classmate cast a long shadow.

    “One of my classmates approached me in front of a group of friends and said, ‘We all know the reason you got accepted into MIT is because you’re black,'” Wellons recalled. “No one standing there said anything, and the fact that no one stood up for me spoke volumes.”

    Today, Wellons shows no hint of how close she came to giving up – not because of the sting of one comment that broke the surface, but because of the doubts and questions that worked invisibly during her formative years.

    Bright-eyed with an ebullient personality and hearty laugh, she works as an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where she operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Diviner instrument – a radiometer that measures the surface temperature of the Moon. Wellons is also developing the system that will command the Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols instrument, which will launch around 2022 to study how Earth’s pollutants affect people’s health on a global scale.

    Just three years out of college, she is one of the youngest staffers on a Moon mission and an Earth mission. But while her progress has been quick, it was not easy.

    A Gray Summit

    Wellons grew up in South Jersey, the eldest of two siblings. Her mother was a secretary at an oil and gas corporation, and her father worked in warehouses. When she was about 6 years old, she went with her mother on a bring-your-child-to-work day and spent the morning surrounded by engineers doing demonstrations for the kids.

    “It opened my eyes to realize: an engineer makes things!” she said. “I got that into my mind.”

    But as she grew older, Wellons realized that reaching her goals would sometimes come alongside prejudice. The acceptance-letter incident wasn’t her only brush with racism. Wellons felt racial tension throughout her high school years, especially since she was often one of the few black students in her advanced placement classes.

    “It kind of defined me. It was like they couldn’t see anything else,” she says. “In high school, people joke about bad things all the time and they always say they were kidding to make it OK, but after a time, it gets to you,” she says.

    By her senior year, she recalled, “Something was just not right.”

    It wasn’t feeling hurt that alarmed her. It was feeling nothing at all.

    The spring of her senior year, Wellons received a call from the MIT Office of Engineering Outreach Programs with the news that she’d been awarded a scholarship.

    “It should’ve been a very happy moment, but I didn’t feel anything and just hung up the phone and sat outside by the lockers,” she recalled. “When I realized I couldn’t feel happy about that, I realized there was something really wrong with me.

    “That’s when the suicidal thoughts started to creep in, like, ‘Why can’t I have authentic reactions anymore?’ I knew it was a serious problem.”

    Shedding the Label

    Wellons’ parents sought out a therapist to help her, and as she entered MIT, things dramatically improved. She joined a black student union, pledged a sorority and interacted with a multicultural community on campus.

    “I definitely had a huge transformation in college,” she says. “When you take away the ‘smart black girl’ label, you become your own person and people can have a conversation beyond that.”

    Still, her course load was demanding, and Wellons quickly realized she was, as she says, “in another realm of smart,” finding herself sitting next to a gold medal winner of the International Math Olympiad and doubting why she was admitted to MIT. “But that was a good thing.”

    Although she thought she might major in mathematics, an aerospace engineering class changed her mind. The professor showed a photo of an astronaut fixing NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and revealed that he was the person in the photo. Wellons was in awe.

    “The opportunity to be taught by an astronaut was something I could not pass up,” she said. “I realized that’s what I wanted to do – I’m going to learn about space from experts! I was blown away by that.”

    Another professor introduced her to the value of critical self-assessment during a capstone project involving an Antarctic penetrator probe. “He was a really tough professor who would angrily say, ‘This would never pass a review in the industry,’ and would heavily criticize our presentations,” she recalled. “But my standards are much higher now because of him, and I’m just as nitpicky.”

    Real-time Engineer

    Wellons applies that work ethic around the clock at JPL. She’s on call 24/7 for the Diviner instrument Reconnaissance Orbiter, sometimes getting calls at 2 a.m. and, on one rare occasion, had to rush to her laptop in the middle of a night out with friends.

    “The one scary thing is, you are the engineer responsible for the instrument’s success,” she said. “You are the operator, and you can’t afford to be sloppy in this job. Instruments don’t sleep.”

    Wellons’ typical day starts with checking on the health and safety of her instrument or, as she puts it, “making sure it’s alive and well.” Then she’ll work with the science team and, depending on what they would like to look at, help figure out if their requests can be met without putting the instrument’s well-being at risk.

    “You’re in charge of making sure the scientists don’t push the limit,” she explained. “If you get too greedy, you might break the instrument.”

    Then she creates the commands that will be sent to the instrument.

    Community Builder

    At JPL, Wellons balances gratitude for her career and awareness that being a black female engineer comes with challenges.

    “I am so thankful to be here, because growing up, I rarely if ever saw someone who looks like me working at a company so incredibly amazing, making history every day,” she said. “At the same time, that doesn’t mean [there aren’t] comments toward me. JPL is made up of individuals with their own thoughts and experiences and perspectives on life, so of course you’re going to have instances. It’s definitely not going to slow me down, though.”

    To help spread the message of inclusion, Wellons is on the board of JPL’s African American Resource Team, which she’s helping revitalize.

    “It’s about building a cultural community and encouraging other young people to come work here,” she says.

    While Wellons often has work on the brain, she also carves out time to give back.

    Last summer, she spent two weeks in South Korea, helping third- through sixth-graders at space camp learn about extraterrestrial volcanic bodies, launch bottle rockets and simulate rover driving.

    Looking back on what she’s been through, Wellons remains focused on positivity and making the most of her time at JPL – seeking out mentors, gaining a wide variety of experiences and setting her sights on making her voice and her vision heard.

    “Being here a short time doesn’t mean that you can’t accomplish great things quickly,” she said. But not easily, in her experience, and not without the right people on your side along the way.

    “I am immensely thankful for the opportunities and support that have brought me to JPL, because it was never a straight shot,” Wellons said. “Don’t forget those who have supported you, believed in you, prayed for you, taught you and lifted you up when you felt especially down.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA JPL Campus

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although the facility has a Pasadena postal address, it is actually headquartered in the city of La Cañada Flintridge, on the northwest border of Pasadena. JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Laboratory’s primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

    Caltech Logo

    NASA image

     
  • richardmitnick 8:42 am on October 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: As collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities becomes commonplace so does the blending of two different knowledge systems., , Mibu Fischer-a Quandamooka woman, , Women in STEM   

    From CSIROscope: Women in STEM-“Saltwater science and sea country research” Mibu Fischer 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    25 October 2019
    Mibu Fischer

    1
    Mibu Fisher, Quandamooka woman and CSIRO scientist.

    “There was a calming connection for me when I woke in the early hours of our departure. The ship was being quietly guided through Moreton Bay, home to the Quandamooka People. I myself am a saltwater woman, a Quandamooka woman, with connections to all three clan groups. I am also a marine scientist with Oceans and Atmosphere here at CSIRO.”

    Saltwater scientists

    Coastal and marine researchers are increasingly aware of the marine rights and interests that Traditional Owners have. As collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities becomes commonplace, so does the blending of two different knowledge systems.

    There is a growing demand for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners to lead sea country research. Traditional Owners should also be appropriately acknowledged for their involvement in collaborative projects.

    Many, including the Marine National Facility, are exploring the ways Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can and currently engage in marine science.

    Those with a connection to sea country, from marine scientists to sea rangers, know the management, conservation and understanding of Australian coastal systems with both knowledge systems only enhances all Australians’ livelihoods.

    2
    Mibu testing water on RV Investigator.

    Indigenous engagement a first

    RV Investigator’s recent Brisbane to Darwin voyage provided the opportunity for some of its first Indigenous engagement and science on board.

    A project, led by Dr Rachel Przeslawski of Geoscience Australia, included detailed habitat mapping in Wessel Marine Park.

    Researchers have only mapped around 3 per cent of the seafloor in this area. It’s relatively data-poor yet is culturally significant and home to many endangered species like the Mududhu (Olive Ridley Turtle) Wirrwakunha (Hawksbill Turtle).

    The area is recognised as sea country for the Yolngu people and managed by the Gummur Marthakal rangers. From the beginning, researchers consulted local ranger and Traditional Owner groups to inform them of the research’s direction.

    Jane Garrutju Gandangu is one of the Golpa Traditional Owners of this area.

    I met with Jane in Darwin after the mapping work was undertaken where we showed her through the RV Investigator. She also met members of the project team on board, who showed her the mapping of the area and video from the underwater camera.

    Part of the area surveyed includes a ‘hole’ in the seafloor recognised as a sacred site – an area Jane already knew from songlines. Traditional Owners have sung these stories and passed them down through the generations from when the land was dry. Golpa walked on that land more than 10,000 years ago.

    The project team are continuing to work with the Golpa and sea rangers to enable the valuable information gathered to support the management of their sea country.

    3
    Deepsea Country, piece by Shara Delaney. Her work hangs up in RV Investigator.

    A voyage to collaboration

    The link between both knowledge systems was even clearer on RV Investigator’s latest voyage.

    The Marine National Facility commissioned a piece by Aboriginal artist Shara Delaney. Shara is an Aboriginal contemporary artist from Quandamooka Country, inspired by stories of her Elders, the generation of One Mile. Her piece reflected the strong connections that Quandamooka People have with the ocean as Saltwater People.

    A copy of the artwork takes pride of place on board the vessel while the original hangs at our office in Hobart.

    Future careers

    While it’s good to promote what we’re doing with Traditional Owners, we’re hoping to extend the opportunity for other Indigenous scientists.

    The Marine National Facility has developed an Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship program. It aims to increase engagement and capability for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in the ship’s scientific voyages.

    This program will enable practical experience and expose students to connecting with experienced researchers and like-minded students.

    It has been wonderful to see how we’re identifying opportunities for partnerships, education, engagement and employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in saltwater science, recognising the value of this shared knowledge.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    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.

     
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