College of Sciences Researchers in the News

  • Meet College of Sciences Fall 2017 Graduates

    Congratulations to our College of Sciences graduates; we can't wait to see what comes next for you!

    College of Sciences site, Dec 11, 2017

  • Six Ways We Can Adapt to Climate Change

    What did science learn about climate change in 2017, and how will that data impact what's heading our way regarding global warming in 2018? Takamitsu Ito, an associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, highlights the study he and other Georgia Tech researchers released earlier this year on declines in ocean oxygen levels caused by rising water temperatures. The findings show those levels dropping faster than expected, which threatens marine ecosystems.

    The New York Times , Dec 5, 2017

  • Daydreaming May Show You're Smart

    Scroll down a few paragraphs in this Jerusalem Post health news roundup, and you'll find an item on the recent daydreaming study from School of Psychology researchers Eric Schumacher and Christine Godwin. Their findings show that daydreaming could point to a more efficient mind that exhibits more creativity and intelligence.

    Jerusalem Post , Dec 3, 2017

  • Georgia Tech Releases Machine Learning Software to Further Cancer Drug Research

    HealthTech focuses on the recent news that School of Biological Sciences researchers are allowing all scientists to use their new machine learning software for predicting cancer drug effectiveness. The hope is that the open source software approach, which will crowdsource research brainpower and expertise, will speed up the clinical trials process for cancer drug approval. Assistant Professor Fredrik Vannberg and Professor John McDonald contributed to the research; McDonald is also director of Tech's Integrated Cancer Research Center.

    HealthTech, Nov 30, 2017

  • 2017 Hurricane Season Ends Thursday as Costliest to Date

    An intense 2017 hurricane season is officially in the history books, and not a moment too soon when you consider the fatalities and destruction caused by the late summer storms along the Gulf Coast and in the Caribbean. Scientists blame warmer than usual water temperatures, and Kim Cobb, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, says governments should study the available data from the season and consider how they can better protect coastal populations.

    WTVJ/NBC6 Miami , Nov 30, 2017

  • Opinion: Don’t tax future scientists and engineers out of existence

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Maureen Downey relinquishes her Get Schooled column to two postdoctoral fellows from the School of Biological Sciences, Nicole M. Baran and Nastassia V. Patin. They voice their concerns about the U.S. House tax bill, which would tax tuition waivers given to America's graduate students. Baran and Patin describe the damage that would do to academic careers, scientific research, and the state of Georgia, which is calling for more advanced degrees in STEM disciplines. Baran and Patin are also in the Atlanta pod of 500 Women Scientists.

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov 28, 2017

  • In the deep ocean, these bacteria play a key role in trapping carbon

    Yes, more than two-thirds of Earth is covered in water. But most of that ocean water is kept in the dark, and it's in those murky depths where certain microbes are believed to be trapping 15 to 45 percent of the carbon in the western North Atlantic Ocean, according to a new study. Those microbes might be found in similar amounts throughout the world. Frank Stewart, assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences (with an appointment in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) did not participate in the study, but does give his take on the findings. 

    Science News , Nov 28, 2017

  • Emory, Georgia Tech students chosen as Rhodes scholars

    Those selected to become Rhodes scholars are in very elite company. President Bill Clinton. MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow, actor/singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson, and author/poet Robert Penn Warren are just a few of the notable Americans winning scholarships for postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford in the U.K. Georgia Tech's Calvin Runnels, a senior in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, can now add his name to that list. Runnels is part of one of the most diverse Rhodes groups yet, with 10 African-American students – the most in a single Rhodes class – and four from schools that had never had winners before. Runnels is also the second self-identified transgender student to win a Rhodes scholarship. In addition to the Associated Press item, Runnels is also mentioned in this Washington Post story

    Associated Press, Nov 20, 2017

  • A New Breakthrough Could Make Organic Electronics Far More Efficient

    Organic materials represent the future of electronics, thanks partly to their low cost. But organics aren't the best conductors of electricity, which is why organic semiconductors have to be "doped," or treated with special chemicals, to help realize their potential in advances like flexible electronics, more efficient energy storage, and better displays for televisions and smartphones. Seth Marder and Stephen Barlow of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry contributed to a new study on a doping system that improves organic semiconductivity by a factor of a million. Marder is a Regents' Professor and founding director of Tech's Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics (COPE), and Barlow is a research scientist.  

    Futurism , Nov 19, 2017

  • The Cool Beginnings of a Volcano’s Supereruption

    If you think the areas that lie underneath supervolcanoes are right out of a cheesy 1960s sci-fi movie – all huge, bubbling lakes of magma and white-hot temperatures – think again. A new study from University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers that looked at the Long Valley Caldera in California indicates lower temperatures and magma cool enough to be solid. In addition to this New York Times story, the study is also featured in Newsweek. The study's first author is Nathan Andersen, now a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Joe Dufek's Geophysics@Georgia Tech lab in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

    The New York Times , Nov 6, 2017

  • China Focus: Rising China, a magnet for overseas Chinese talent

    The Chinese government is spending more money than it used to on science, and as a result more Chinese researchers are returning to their homeland to take advantage of the extra funding. Nearly 425,000 researchers and students who were working/studying overseas came back in 2016, and many are now involved in projects ranging from manned space flight to quantum communications. One of the scientists profiled is Zhong Lin Wang, an adjunct professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

    Xinhua News, Nov 6, 2017

  • Is there any benefit to daydreaming?

    The professional daydreamers among us might argue that there is indeed a benefit to letting your mind wander; just five minutes of pretending to be on a beach in Tahiti can be a worthwhile escape from the day's worries. But a new study from researchers with the School of Psychology shows that for some, daydreaming could be a sign of greater intellectual ability and creativity. This Guardian story quotes the study's lead author, graduate student Christine Godwin.

    The Guardian, Nov 6, 2017

  • How Georgia Tech Scientists Discovered A Neutron Star Collision

    Celeste Headlee, host of Georgia Public Broadcasting's On Second Thought radio program, interviews School of Physics Professor Laura Cadonati, and postdoctoral researcher James Clark, about the recent neutron star collision discovered by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.  Georgia Tech has 17 postdoctoral researchers, faculty members, and students working with LIGO. Cadonati is LIGO's deputy spokesperson.

    Georgia Public Broadcasting , Nov 1, 2017

  • Neuroscience At Georgia Tech

    www.gatech.edu, Nov 1, 2017

  • Chemistry is quantum computing’s killer app

    Quantum computing, where all the computational work is done at a sub-atomic level, promises to bring more power and speed to traditional data crunching. Chemistry could be among the first disciplines to show off that power with more effective designer drugs, superconductors that can withstand higher temperatures, and greener, energy-efficient materials, among other scientific advances. That's the theme of this well-sourced story in Chemical and Engineering News, which features comments from Ken Brown, associate professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

    Chemical and Engineering News , Oct 30, 2017

  • Do You Daydream? You May Be Smarter and More Creative Than Your Peers

    Wouldn't you love to show this headline to all those teachers who yelled at you for not paying attention in class? Media outlets are showing their creativity in how they're covering a new study from the School of Psychology that says daydreaming may be a sign of intelligence and better brain efficiency. In addition to this Live Science story, Quartz weighs in with this report on the study. Lead authors are Associate Professor Eric Schumacher and Ph.D. student Christine Godwin

    Live Science, Oct 25, 2017

  • AHCJ Atlanta panel discusses antibiotic resistance

    Resistance to antibiotics is "the most underestimated epidemic in the United States." That was an ominous quote from a panelist during an Association of Health Care Journalists discussion on the rise of drug-resistant superbugs. Another panelist, Joshua Weitz, professor in the School of Biological Sciences, provided some hope as he described the impact of phages, viruses that attack bacteria from within. 

    Association of Health Care Journalists, Oct 25, 2017

  • Chemists are uncovering how and why marine organisms synthesize flame-retardant-like molecules

    It's another mystery provided by nature – chemical compounds found in the wild that resemble man-made pollutants long banned by governments because of their toxicity to the environment. This story highlights the work done by scientists to discover how these compounds show up organically in oceans, and what organisms might be involved in manufacturing those compounds. Identifying that process could help protect populations that rely on marine diets. The work includes recent research led by Vinayak Agarwal, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

    Chemical and Engineering News , Oct 23, 2017

  • Active Voice: Fight Between Your Muscles – Beat Common Drive for Steady Cocontraction

    It's called common drive, and it's the way your brain sends messages to several muscles through slow oscillations as you contract them to stabilize yourself for sports or other activities. Minoru "Shino" Shinohara, associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences, wanted to know more about how those nerve oscillations affect the way agonist and antagonist muscles contract against each other. He recently published his research on common drive, and he summarizes the results in this American College of Sports Medicine bulletin. 

    ACSM Sports Medicine Bulletin, Oct 18, 2017

  • College daze: Georgia Tech honors grad shares secrets to maintaining grades & sanity

    You won't be tested on this story later. But if you're a student or know someone who is, you might want to take notes anyway – or at least bookmark this column featuring William Konop, who in May earned his B.S. with high honors from the School of Mathematics. Konop tutored teenagers for the ACT and SAT college prep tests while studying at Tech. He knows a thing or two about getting ready for exams in a pressure-filled environment, and he shares the tools he learned for test preparation that can help reduce stress. Konop is a co-founder of the Seneca Education Group, a tutoring company.

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Oct 17, 2017

  • Scientists witness huge cosmic crash, find origins of gold

    Here is how the Associated Press reported Monday's announcement from the LIGO Scientific Collaboration that scientists had detected the collision of two neutron stars. Laura Cadonati, professor in the School of Physics and LIGO deputy spokesperson, is quoted in the article. Cadonati is also with the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics.

    Associated Press , Oct 17, 2017

  • Astronomers strike gold – and platinum – as they watch two neutron stars collide

    Here is how the Los Angeles Times broke the news of the first-ever detection of a neutron star collision and how the celestial event was confirmed by scientists and astronomers around the world. Laura Cadonati, professor in the School of Physics and deputy spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, is quoted in the article.

    Los Angeles Times , Oct 16, 2017

  • Scientists detect gravitational waves from a new kind of nova, sparking a new era in astronomy

    The Washington Post publishes its report on the news that the LIGO Scientific Collaboration has detected a kilonova, the collision of two neutron stars. The burst rippled the fabric of space-time and sent gamma-rays and gold flying through the cosmos. School of Physics Professor Laura Cadonati, who is also LIGO's deputy spokesperson, is quoted in the article as saying that scientists feel like "we have hit the motherlode."

    Washington Post , Oct 16, 2017

  • First-seen neutron star collision creates light, gravitational waves and gold

    Welcome to the era of multi-messenger astrophysics – a single event in the cosmos that gives off both gravitational and electromagnetic waves. That's what the Aug. 17, 2017, detection by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration of two neutron stars merging means for the scientific community, which is celebrating yet another discovery that confirms a century-old theory from Albert Einstein. Once again, School of Physics Professor Laura Cadonati, LIGO's deputy spokesperson, is proving to be very quotable. "We can now fill in a few more tiles in the jigsaw puzzle that is the story of our universe," Cadonati tells CNN.

    CNN, Oct 16, 2017

  • Merging neutron stars generate gravitational waves and a celestial light show

    "This is the first time we had a 3D IMAX view of an astronomical event," says Laura Cadonati, professor in the School of Physics and deputy spokeperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. She's referring to more than 70 observatories around the world that helped confirm the first-ever detection of gravitational waves and light caused by the merger of two neutron stars. The resulting explosion and lightshow those astronomers witnessed from the merger is called a kilonova, and it's the source of Earth's heavy elements like gold, silver, and platinum. 

    Science , Oct 16, 2017

  • For the first time, astronomers detect gravitational waves from two neutron stars colliding

    The Aug.17, 2017, detection of gravitational waves and light from the merger of two neutron stars set off a race against time around the globe. Astronomers scrambled to confirm data that could be seen by telescopes and measured by gamma-ray, x-ray and radio wave detection equipment before they all faded away. Laura Cadonati, associate professor in the School of Physics and LIGO Scientific Collaboration deputy spokesperson, explains how these gravitational waves lasted longer than those from four previous incidents caused by black hole collisions. Cadonati is a member of the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics

    The Verge, Oct 16, 2017

  • Gravitational Wave Astronomers Hit Mother Lode

    The first-ever detection of gravitational waves and light from the collision of two neutron stars isn't just setting the scientific community ablaze. It also ushers in a new "multi-messenger" astronomy, with scientists arround the world gathering and studying those waves, light, and subatomic particles at the same time. So says Laura Cadonati,  professor in the School of Physics and the deputy spokesperson for the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration, and she explains the significance of this new era. Cadonati is also a member of the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics

    Scientific American , Oct 16, 2017

  • Alumni Homecoming 2017

    Alumni Homecoming 2017 article.

    College of Sciences site, Oct 16, 2017

  • Science Says: Era of monster hurricanes roiling the Atlantic

    Climate scientists use 30-year cycles when they study weather events like hurricanes so they can better understand how climate change may impact their findings. The Associated Press did the same thing, breaking up the past 167 years of government data on major Atlantic hurricanes into 30-year periods. It found that the current cycle is the most active period for hurricanes ever recorded. Kim Cobb, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, has some thoughts on how policymakers should deal with these findings, and she shares them in this article. 

    Associated Press , Oct 5, 2017

  • Nobel Physics Prize Goes to Gravitational Wave Scientists

    "This year's prize is about a discovery that shook the world." That's how an official with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences described the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, which was awarded to the three founders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) for the detection of gravitational waves. Georgia Tech has a front-row seat for that achievement, thanks to its membership in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, a global team of scientists that helps to confirm gravitational-wave data. Laura Cadonati, professor in the School of Physics and LIGO deputy spokesperson, is quoted in this article, as she is in a separate story for the Verge. Another LIGO member and School of Physics researcher, Karan Jani, reacts to the Nobel Prize in this Forbes article. 

    Scientific American , Oct 3, 2017

  • Cabrera: An Advocate for Student Access

    Ensuring ensuring education for students is what inspires George Mason University President Angel Cabrera, who is an alumnus of the School of Psychology. The article originally appeared in the September 21, 2017 issue of Diverse magazine, to recognize Hispanic leaders in academia during Hispanic Heritage Month. 

    Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Oct 1, 2017

  • Hurricanes ’17: An Unnatural Season

    The waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean became part of a hellish assembly line this summer for three of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded. Harvey, Irma, and Maria brought death and destruction to Texas, Louisiana, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. This historic hurricane season is the subject of this special episode of the Weather Channel's Weather Geeks, and the show's panel of experts includes Kim Cobb, Georgia Power Chair and ADVANCE Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. A repeat of the Oct. 1 show airs at 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 3, on the Weather Channel.

    We Love Weather , Sep 29, 2017

  • Zeroing In on How Supermassive Black Holes Formed

    There are black holes, and then there are supermassive black holes that could have played a role in the formation of the universe. How they got so big remains a mystery, but new theories and research may be closing in on answers. A study from earlier this year supports one of these theories: that radiation from nearby galaxies created the galactic monsters. The study was co-authored by John Wise, Dunn Family Associate Professor in the School of Physics. Wise's work is dthe subject of this Scientific American report. 

    Scientific American , Sep 29, 2017

  • Rory McIlroy | Sunday School

    Here's a blast from the recent past – a fun PGA Tour Entertainment video featuring our very own Lew Lefton, faculty member in the School of Mathematics and assistant dean for information technology with the College of Sciences. He was asked to detail the odds and probabilities involved in pro golfer Rory McIlroy's improbable 2016 FedEx Cup victory.

    PGATour.com, Sep 25, 2017

  • Sie riskieren ihr Leben im Auge des Orkans

    "They risk their lives in the eye of the hurricane" is the translation of the headline for this Die Welt story on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Hunters squadron. Greg Huey, professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, is interviewed regarding the data collected by NOAA's aircraft as they fly into and near these massive storms. The story is in German, and a subscription is required.

    Die Welt , Sep 25, 2017

  • Did California's small earthquakes cause Mexico's big one?

    Is there a connection between the small earthquakes that have hit Southern California over the past month and the deadly 7.1-magnitude quake that struck Mexico City this week? What about big weather events like hurricanes? Can they stress land masses enough to cause quakes? Zhigang Peng, a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, lends his expertise to address those questions.

    USA Today, Sep 19, 2017

  • Horrible Flesh Eating Parasite Could Get a Vaccine One Day

    Here is Gizmodo covering Georgia Tech's Leishmaniasis study as only Gizmodo can – with lots of attitude. It does focus on the potential for a vaccine against this deadly parasite. The vaccine was tested on genetically modified mice by a research team led by M.G. Finn, professor in the School of Biological Sciences. Finn is also a professor and chair of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

    Gizmodo, Sep 13, 2017

  • This Flesh-Eating Parasite Might Soon Be Thwarted by a New Vaccine

    In this report on a leishmaniasis study by Tech scientists, Seeker goes into detail into how School of Biological Sciences Professor M.G. Finn and his team used a bioengineered virus-like particle and genetically modified mice to take on the world's second deadliest parasite. Finn is also a professor and the chair of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

    Seeker , Sep 13, 2017

  • Horrific Flesh-Eating Parasite Called "The Next Plague" Could Spread in U.S., Spurring Vaccine Effort

    That's not a hyped-up headline; health officials do indeed fear that leishmania, one of the world's deadliest parasites devastating underdeveloped countries, could show up in the southern U.S., thanks to climate change and rising temperatures. That's prompted an effort to quickly develop a vaccine. A research team that includes M.G. Finn, professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry (which he also chairs) is getting close with its work on genetically engineered mice, according to a new study. That research is attracting media interest; here's Futurism's take on Finn's study and the vaccine development efforts now underway. 

    Newsweek, Sep 13, 2017

  • Readers respond to Nature’s Editorial on historical monuments

    This week, Nature published an Editorial on historical injustice in science and how it is marked and remembered. Many readers criticized its wording, position and tone. Nature has issued an apology and correction; now it has published a selection of responses it received, including from School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Kim Cobb

    Nature, Sep 8, 2017

  • Oregon summers, a season of smoke

    This opinion piece reflects on the Eagle Creek conflagration in the Columbia Gorge, in Oregon. It notes: "Pollution from more than 300,000 acres of wildfires in Oregon have created unhealthy air quality throughout the state." The piece suggests that the situtation will get worse. It cites three studies to support this notion. One of them is by School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences  Professor and Chair Greg Huey: "The Georgia Institute of Technology has found that summer wildfires boost air pollution considerably more than previously believed."

    The Oregonian, Sep 7, 2017

  • The emergent physics of animal locomotion

    School of Physics Assistant Professor Simon Sponberg has the coveted cover story in the September issue of Physics Today. Sponberg, principal investigator in the Agile Systems Lab, gives a state-of-the-science report on animal locomotion; how different physiological systems within a moth, for example, interact within the insect to enable movement, and how that moth interacts with its environment. Data arising from new studies of such neuromechanics have applications for robotics. Sponberg is also an assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences and an adjunct assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering.

    Physics Today , Sep 1, 2017

  • Immunophage Synergy

    "A pretty cool paper." That's how one of the hosts of the This Week in Microbiology podcast (ep. 159) describes the recent study by School of Biological Sciences professor Joshua Weitz and postdoctoral scientist Chung Yin (Joey) Leung. The Tech researchers discovered that immune cells in an animal host act synergistically with bacteria-killing viruses – phages – to wipe out fatal respiratory infections in lab mice. TWiM is the official podcast of the American Society for Microbiology. Both Weitz and Leung are also affiliated with the School of Physics, and Weitz is the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Quantitative Biosciences.  

    TWiM - This Week in Microbiology , Aug 31, 2017

  • Were Ancient Humans Healthier Than Us?

    This PLOS (Public Library of Science) Blogs post from geneticist Ricki Lewis concerns the recent study on the health of our human ancestors vs. today's populations by Tech researchers Joe LachanceAli J. Barens and Taylor Cooper. The team used human genome sequences to determine that, yes, Neanderthals and other ancient populations living 50,000 years ago were genetically more susceptible to certain ailments, but some "recent ancients" who were around a mere thousand years ago could have been healthier. Lachance is an assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences. Barens is a postdoctoral researcher and Cooper is an undergraduate researcher in the Lachance Lab

    PLOS Blogs , Aug 31, 2017

  • The Eclipse in Tech Square

    The special memories of Eclipse 2017 @ Georgia Tech linger. This video from Tech Square ATL on the Aug. 21 celestial event was produced by Sandbox ATL in partnership with the University Financing Foundation, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), and the Scheller College of Business. It highlights the reactions from those who started that day at the cluster of tech startups on the other side of the Downtown Connector on 5th Street before they made their way to the Kessler Campanile. College of Sciences Dean Paul Goldbart is interviewed. Also, WREK 91.1, Tech's student-run radio station, aired a special "97 Percent Eclipse of the Heart" version of its Lost in the Stacks program. You'll hear Georgia Tech Observatory Director James Sowell interviewed between eclipse-themed songs by Television, Pink Floyd, the Police, and Love and Rockets. Sowell is also a senior academic professional in the School of Physics. 

    Tech Square ATL, Aug 30, 2017

  • Fire Ants Are Yet Another Hazard in Houston’s Flooded Streets

    As if the swamped residents of the Texas Gulf Coast don't have enough reasons to curse Hurricane Harvey, here's one more: clumps of stinging fire ants bobbing in the floodwaters. The New York Times story and this one in the Washington Post cite a 2011 study by School of Biological Sciences Associate Professor David Hu that explained the fire ant's raft-building superpower. Hu is also an associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics

    The New York Times, Aug 30, 2017

  • Another Danger of the Harvey Flood: Floating Fire Ants

    Those scenes of floating fire ant "rafts" plaguing flooding victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston? David Hu, associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, first examined that nightmare scenario in 2011. That was when Hu and his research team published a study on how ants lock legs to form the rafts. You also may recall his research from earlier this summer on how the ants don't just spread out when threatened; they can also "perpetually rebuild" towers made of their own bodies. Hu is also an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics

    Smithsonian , Aug 29, 2017

  • Bending the Rules of Geometry

    School of Physics Assistant Professor Elisabetta Matsumoto's research in hyperbolic virtual reality recently captured the attention of The New York Times. This video shows off Matsumoto and her research team's work from earlier this year as it highlights the difference between Euclidean space, where the normal rules of geometry apply, and hyperbolic space, where those rules are warped and curved like the "cell" boundaries in this video. The hope is that these depictions of non-Euclidean geometry will assist in mathematics and geometry research. Matsumoto is also a researcher for the Soft Matter Incubator at the Center for the Science and Technology of Applied Materials and Interfaces (STAMI). 

    The New York Times, Aug 27, 2017

  • Atlanta eyed for North America HQ of Graphenano

    The Atlanta Business Journal lists another example of businesses wanting to get closer to Georgia Tech's research. Graphenano, a Spanish company hoping to make a lot of graphene – a thin yet ultra-strong carbon-based substance that could lead to better batteries and composite materials – may move its North American headquarters to Atlanta. Georgia Tech is a leader in graphene research, and the story cites a May study on a potentially more efficient way to make graphene from School of Physics Professor Uzi Landman and Bokwon Yoon, a research scientist with the school. Both are with the Center for Computational Materials Science; Landman is its director. 

    Atlanta Business Journal (subscription req.), Aug 25, 2017

  • Composing An Eclipse Soundtrack For The Visually Impaired

    The Georgia Tech Sonification Lab, a joint effort of the School of Psychology and the School of Interactive Computing, is having its moment in the spotlight thanks to the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. Lab Director Bruce Walker is a professor in both schools; he and his team are using sound to help the visually impaired share experiences like eclipses. In addition to this GPB story, the Georgia Tech Sonification Lab was also featured in Digital Trends and in Hypepotamus

    Georgia Public Broadcasting , Aug 21, 2017

  • Closer Look: Total Solar Eclipse

    Atlanta NPR affiliate WABE 90.1 devoted its entire Closer Look broadcast to Monday's solar eclipse. The radio station's coverage included an interview with James Sowell, School of Physics senior academic professional. director of the Georgia Tech Observatory, and Tech's resident astronomer. 

    WABE 90.1 FM, Aug 21, 2017

  • Mostafa El-Sayed's Nano Scale Fight Against Cancer

    New research from Mostafa El-Sayed, Regents Professor and Julius Brown Chair in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is gaining interest in the science community. The research highlights the potential of using gold nanorods and lasers to halt the spread of cancer cell metastasis in laboratory conditions. El-Sayed will present his findings during the Eminent Scientist Lecture at the American Chemical Society's National Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., Aug. 20-24. In the meantime, read this profile in the ACS's student member magazine to learn more about the very personal reasons that help drive El-Sayed's research. 

    inChemistry Magazine, Aug 17, 2017

  • Georgia Tech to host on-campus viewing; among other events for solar eclipse

    By now, you should be aware that of the coast-to-coast total solar eclipse happening next Monday, and Atlanta will experience 97 percent totality. If you aren't aware, then you're obviously Captain America and you've just been thawed out of that ice you were trapped in for the past 70 years. Georgia Tech is certainly aware, and this story by reporter Carl Willis of WSB-TV does a good job of covering what we have planned. Included in the interviews are College of Sciences Dean and Sutherland Chair Paul Goldbart, and Tech astronomer James Sowell, School of Physics senior academic professional and director of the Georgia Tech Observatory

    WSB-TV, Aug 17, 2017

  • Rush-Hour Pollution May Be Twice as Dangerous as Previously Thought

    More media outlets are interested in the new research on rush hour pollution from Georgia Tech, Emory University and Duke University. The Weather Channel takes a look at the study, which found that in-car pollution during a typical Atlanta morning commute is much worse than previously thought, and twice as high as the pollution measured by roadside monitors. Here's the Raleigh News & Observer's story on the study. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Rodney Weber co-authored the study. 

    The Weather Channel , Aug 15, 2017

  • 2016 weather report: Extreme and anything but normal

    If you suspected that 2016's climate was off-the-charts extreme, you were right. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's new State of the Climate report confirms that last year was the hottest ever. The last time it was that hot? 2015. Sea levels, greenhouse gas concentrations, and ocean temperatures also broke previous records. Kim Cobb, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, is quoted as saying that 2016 was "the year we crossed a new threshold of climate change." Cobb did not work on the NOAA report.

    Associated Press , Aug 11, 2017

  • The 28-Year-Old Physicist Looking to Revamp India's Education System

    Karan Jani stayed very busy during his time in the School of Physics. In addition to being a doctoral candidate, Jani was also a key member of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) team that first observed the existence of gravitational waves in 2015. Jani received his Ph.D. this year. Now the astrophysicist has returned to his native India, but he is still busy as he is helping to reform that country's education system. 

    Ozy, Aug 10, 2017

  • Wildfires Pollute Air More Than Previously Thought. Are Prescribed Burns the Answer?

    A recent Georgia Tech-led study on wildfires and air pollution remains timely, thanks to uncontrolled fires that are still plaguing parts of the U.S. The study showed that wildfires release three times more of fine-particle pollution that previously thought. That's the kind of pollution that can exacerbate health problems like asthma or pulmonary disease. Greg Huey, professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, is one of the authors of the study. 

    Undark , Aug 10, 2017

  • 8 places to view the solar eclipse in metro Atlanta

    The word is getting out; Georgia Tech has a full afternoon of activities planned for the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, which also happens to be the first day of classes for the fall semester. Eclipse glasses, a live eclipse video feed from the Georgia Tech Observatory, the "music" of the solar system, and free Moon Pies await our community. Our agenda is showing up on lists for where to watch the eclipse in metro Atlanta, including this wrapup at myAJC.com, this story at Atlanta NPR affiliate WABE 90.1, and this roundup on the mom-centric website Romper.com

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Aug 10, 2017

  • What purple can tell us about life on other planets

    Somewhere in Artist Heaven, the man who gave us "Purple Rain" is smiling. The Purple Earth hypothesis suggests that the single-celled organisms that ruled the planet during its early years may have lent Earth a purple tinge if seen from space. Researchers are now wondering if the theory could help determine the potential for life on recently discovered exoplanets. Jennifer Glass, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Frank Stewart, associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences, react to the hypothesis in this latest installment of CNN's Colorscope series. 

    CNN.com, Aug 4, 2017

  • Special Eye On Blindness-- Learn About the August Eclipse

    As you can imagine, our resident astronomer and director of the Georgia Tech Observatory, James Sowell, is getting very excited about the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. Yet the one issue he wants to emphasize in the days leading up to the big celestial event is eclipse-viewing safety, and he gets a chance to talk about it in this "Eye on Blindness" podcast with host Carol McCullough of the Georgia Radio Reading Service. Sowell also provides details on campus events planned for the Aug. 21 eclipse and how to make your own pinhole camera. In addition to his stargazing duties, Sowell is a senior academic professional and graduate recruiter in the School of Physics. 

    Georgia Radio Reading Service (GaRRS), Aug 3, 2017

  • Training: A winning detour

    Should Ph.D. students put their research work on hold for internships? It can be a challenge, but this story argues for its consideration. The real-world experience one acquires as an intern can help round out research students' résumés, give them an early taste of the professional world, and provide them with networking opportunities. Margot Paez, a Ph.D. student in the School of Physics, recounts her experiences interning at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory during summer and winter breaks. 

    Nature , Aug 2, 2017

  • Materials – Cooking up biofuel

    It's the newest must-try recipe for biofuel: Take used rubber tires, squeeze out recovered carbons, mix with sulfuric acid and fatty acids found in household vegetable oil, and voilà! – perfectly good, usable biofuel for a greener world. Oak Ridge National Laboratory's collaborative study with Wake Forest University and Georgia Tech scientists was co-authored by Younan Xia, a professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering.

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Aug 1, 2017

  • Saturn’s Moon Added to List of Candidates for Supporting Life in Solar System

    Vinyl cyanide sounds both deadly and stylish, and the lakes and seas of Saturn's moon Titan are filled with it, according to a new study. Despite its scary name, the presence of vinyl cyanide in Titan's atmosphere actually makes the moon a potential candidate for harboring life. Britney Schmidt, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, is quoted because of her research into Jupiter's moon Europa, the best candidate so far for supporting life elsewhere in the solar system. 

    Observer , Aug 1, 2017

  • Ultimate bogs: how saving peatlands could help save the planet

    If you want to know more about what School of Biological Sciences Professor Joel Kostka is up to with his research in northern Minnesota, read this Guardian article. Kostka is part of the Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments (SPRUCE) project that is mentioned in the story. Kostka and his fellow researchers are trying to determine the impact of climate change on the ancient carbon buried deep beneath the peatlands. This article goes into great detail about why these particular ecosystems are so important to Earth's ecological health, and why they need to be saved. Kostka has a joint apppointment with the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

    The Guardian, Jul 28, 2017

  • New Study Finds Air Pollution During Rush Hour Traffic To Be Worse Than Originally Thought

    A new study on rush hour pollution co-authored by Rodney Weber, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, featured data taken from inside cars during Atlanta traffic. Sensors were placed on car passenger seats, not just along the sides of roads. Researchers found that levels of toxic particulate matter during commutes were twice as high inside cars as what was being detected outside. 

    Georgia Public Broadcasting , Jul 28, 2017

  • Volcanic Eruptions Rocked Mars' Huge Canyon Valles Marineris, Study Finds

    A research team didn't expect to find 130 volcanoes deep within Mars' Valles Marineris, the solar system's longest canyon at 2,500 miles. Mars' volcanic regions are east of the canyon, so that was one surprise detailed in a new study from the team, which includes James Wray, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The other surprise? The Valles volcanoes' ages are estimated to be about 200-400 million years old, which is fairly young when you consider that the Red Planet's other volcanoes are estimated to be approximately 3.5 billion years old. 

    Space.com, Jul 25, 2017

  • The bizarre physics of fire ants

    The latest research led by David Hu on fire ants and their tower-building capabilities is compelling enough on its own. But video really adds a "wow" factor to it, and this Vox entry is a great example. In addition to an interview with Hu, it also has lab video showing living blobs of entangled ants being handled by researchers like they were lumps of Play-Doh. Hu is an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. He is also an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics.

    Vox, Jul 25, 2017

  • Rush hour pollution study finds alarming results

    Here is one more reason to hate Atlanta traffic: A new study from Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Duke University researchers shows that some in-car pollution during rush hours is twice as bad as previously thought. The researchers, which include School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Rodney Weber, placed testing devices on passenger seats during peak traffic times. They found more particulate matter inside cars than roadside monitors usually find. The scientists also found more chemicals that cause oxidative stress, which can lead to a host of serious illnesses. 

    UPI, Jul 21, 2017

  • The call of the wild

    What kind of professor turns his back on hard-earned tenure so he can hang out with reptiles and amphibians at a city zoo? If you're Joseph Mendelson, and you know that city zoo has a good reputation for research, then you jump at the chance and you ignore those warning of career suicide. (Besides, the zoo also offers an adjunct appointment at a nearby world-class academic institution in Midtown.) That's what Mendelson did 14 years ago, and he's never looked back. Mendelson, an adjunct associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences, is director of herpetological research at Zoo Atlanta. 

    Science Magazine, Jul 21, 2017

  • Will Melting Permafrost Release Global 'Methane Bomb'?

    Here is a LiveScience article examining the possibility of a methane "bomb" buried under Arctic permafrost, and whether it could indeed wreak havoc on Earth's climate if global warming releases it into the atmosphere. It's the very thing that Joel Kostka, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, has been studying with his research team in the wilds of northern Minnesota

    LiveScience, Jul 20, 2017

  • Here’s What Scientists Know About the Risk of a Massive Global Methane Release

    A recent New York Magazine article painted a darker-than-usual picture of planetary climate change. If billions of tons of ancient carbon buried in permafrost ever thaws out, it could release a methane "bomb" into the atmosphere that could trigger "Day After Tomorrow"-style disasters.  This article discusses the chances of that actually happening, and includes reaction from Joel Kostka, a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences. Kostka is part of a research team studying this subject in northern Minnesota.

    Seeker, Jul 18, 2017

  • Climate scientists flock to France’s call

    French President Emmanuel Macron's "Make Our Planet Great Again" initiative, which promises nearly $70 million in funding grants to work on climate studies in his country, is having an impact. Hundreds of climate researchers from all over the world, including the U.S., are brushing up on their high school French to take advantage of the offer. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Kim Cobb isn't one of them, but she shares her thoughts on the initiative, which Macron announced shortly after President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris global warming accord. 

    Nature , Jul 18, 2017

  • Ants, Dutiful Escape Artists, Build Towers in Constant Flux

    When fire ants studied by David Hu escaped his Georgia Tech lab and invaded a nearby professor's office, their method of breaking out – building an Eiffel Tower-shaped structure out of their own bodies – became part of Hu's research. That's how this New York Times story begins regarding Hu's new study of ant tower-building abilities. (Here's a New York Times video on Hu's research.) Quartz also covered the study; its story describes how speeding up the research video of the ants provided a better look at how the insects cycled themselves through the tower-building process. Hu is an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. He is also an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics.

    The New York Times, Quartz , Jul 17, 2017

  • ECLIPSE 2017 @ GEORGIA TECH

    ECLIPSE 2017 @ GEORGIA TECH

    GT College of Sciences Site, Jul 17, 2017

  • Ants Exhibit Towering Engineering Skills

    It's a story right up Science Friday's alley: the remarkable ability of fire ants to build soaring towers out of their own bodies. The new research from School of Biological Sciences Associate Professor David Hu gives public radio host Ira Flatow a chance to ask Hu not only about ant engineering, but also about what a fellow Tech professor thought when things got a little antsy in his office. Hu is also an associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics.

    Science Friday , Jul 14, 2017

  • Shifting ice on Jupiter’s moon could probe its interior

    Britney Schmidt, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, knows a thing or two about researching Jupiter's icy moon Europa. Schmidt is part of the NASA research team looking at instrumentation for a proposed Europa lander mission. That's why Astronomy asked her to comment on new research that simulates icequakes on the moon, and whether accelerometers and other seismic instruments should be included in the lander's instrumentation.  

    Astronomy, Jul 13, 2017

  • How fire ants use their bodies to build wriggling Eiffel Tower-like columns

    New research focusing on the remarkable tower-building abilities of fire ants continues to attract attention from top media outlets, such as this story from the Washington Post. Also, study co-author Craig Tovey, a professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, takes us behind the scenes of the research in this post for The Conversation. David Hu also worked on the study. Hu is an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. He is also an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics. 

    The Washington Post, Jul 13, 2017

  • Ants Can Build an Eiffel Tower (Sort Of)

    Ants as energetic engineers – that's clear from the latest study led by School of Biological Sciences Associate Professor David Hu. The work reveals in great detail how fire ants can build Eiffel Tower-like structures with their own bodies. Applications could lead to structure-building robots. This New York Times video shows off the Tech research team's experiments, including an X-ray video highlighting the ants' remarkable ability to quickly build wide-base towers. Hu is also an associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics. 

    The New York Times, Jul 12, 2017

  • Uranus’ magnetic forces switch ‘on and off’

    The new research of Uranus' strange revolving-door magnetic field, led by Carol Paty, assistant professor with the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, continues to generate interest from science media outlets. The PBS Newshour story starts by marveling that the Voyager 2 data from 1986 that was the foundation for the research is still giving up secrets so many years later. Meanwhile, a Space.com story focuses on the "geometric nightmare" that is Uranus; the planet rotates on its side to begin with, and Paty says the magnetosphere "tumbles very fast, like a child cartwheeling down a hill, head over heels."

    PBS Newshour.com, Jul 7, 2017

  • To stop cancer’s spread, break its ‘legs’

    Futurity reprints the Georgia Tech news story on the new research led by Mostafa El-Sayed, Regents Professor and Julius Brown Chair in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, on the use of gold nanorods and infrared lasers to stop cancer cells from spreading in controlled lab experiments. 

    Futurity, Jun 29, 2017

  • Lab Chat: Breaking the legs of cancer cells on the move

    STAT focuses on news coming from the intersection of the pharmaceutical, medical and medical device industries, including the latest developments in therapies and treatments. Some of those items end up in Megan Thielking's Morning Rounds daily newsletter, and that includes the new study from Mostafa El-Sayed's research team. Their findings involve an approach that may keep cancer cells from spreading away from tumors. El-Sayed is Regents Professor and Julius Brown Chair in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Thielking's coverage includes a brief interview with Moustafa Ali, graduate student in El-Sayed's Laser Dynamics Lab. 

    STAT, Jun 27, 2017

  • Georgia Tech Researchers May Have Developed Technology to Prevent Cancer Metastasis

    MedGadget, a website that has focused on medical technology news, new medical device approvals, and science breakthroughs since 2004, shares the latest results from Mostafa El-Sayed's research team. El-Sayed, Regents Professor and Julius Brown Chair in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and his team has developed a promising approach, using gold nanorods and near-infrared lasers, that may keep cancer cells from spreading away from tumors. 

    MedGadget, Jun 27, 2017

  • Magnetic Field Around Uranus Are (sic) a Chaotic Mess

    A new Georgia Tech study on Uranus' quirky magnetosphere has the benefit of good timing. The research from Carol Paty, associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and EAS graduate student Xin Cao, relied on 1986 Voyager 2 flyby data. Paty and Cao discovered a magnetosphere that opens and closes at intervals, allowing solar winds to bombard the planet at times. NASA is currently considering new missions that could include revisiting Uranus. That may be why this study is generating a lot of interest among science media outlets, including Smithsonian.com, New Scientist, the British website Metro, and IFL Science. 

    Smithsonian.com, Jun 26, 2017

  • Uranus Is Even Freakier Than We Thought

    Uranus rotates on its side, like it was the last one to leave a planetary happy hour. That quirk helps make the ice giant one of the weirder planets in our solar system. Now new research co-authored by Carol Paty, associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, suggests that off-kilter rotation may be responsible for Uranus' light-switch magnetosphere, one that opens and closes to solar winds unlike Earth's, which stays in the same position. 

    Gizmodo, Jun 26, 2017

  • Wildfires May Be More Toxic Than Scientists Thought

    The beginning of this Atlantic article puts you inside the NASA DC-8 airplane that Greg Huey and a team of researchers used to study the air pollution and climate impact of California's massive Rim wildfire of August 2013. Huey, professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, recently published a study that showed wildfires send more dangerous particulate matter into the air than previously thought. 

    The Atlantic, Jun 23, 2017

  • Sustainability: A greener culture

    They fly around the world presenting research and describing the impact of greenhouse gases and climate change on the planet. But what kind of carbon footprints are climatologists and other researchers leaving in their wake? This Nature article features interviews with several scientists – including  Kim Cobb, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences – who are trying to practice what is preached when it comes to reducing emissions and boosting sustainability in their work and travels. 

    Nature , Jun 21, 2017

  • 2017 Georgia Tech Summer Tour: Day 3 Recap

    For the past nine years, Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson, along with faculty and other Institute officials, have taken summer tours of the state to meet with business leaders, lawmakers, alumni, and others with an interest in Tech's mission. This year's tour of South Georgia is the most extensive yet: nearly 1,000 miles, 44 counties, and 12 cities. The Tech entourage includes School of Physics Professor Deirdre Shoemaker, who at 1:48 into the video talks about what she hopes to learn on the tour.

    Georgia Tech - YouTube, Jun 21, 2017

  • Widely felt earthquake shakes Augusta, Georgia

    While everybody was wondering whether June 20th's special election in Georgia would set off a political earthquake, an actual 3.2 magnitude tremor struck the area around Augusta. No damage was reported, but it was felt 140 miles away in Atlanta. It also gave the makers of Temblor, a mobile app that calculates quake risk where you live, a chance to write on their blog about how often earthquakes hit the eastern U.S. For insight into the seismic activity in our region, the Temblor blog team spoke with Andrew Newman, an associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    Temblor.net, Jun 20, 2017

  • Wildfire pollution much worse than thought, study says

    Greg Huey's new study of wildfires and their impact on air quality is sparking some attention, as firefighters throughout the country deal with summer blazes. USA Today zeroed in on the finding that uncontrolled wildfires shoot harmful microscopic aerosols into the air at a much higher rate than previously thought. Those particles can drift for miles before being inhaled and potentially doing serious damage to the heart and lungs. Meanwhile, the International Business Times' coverage of the study provides detail on how researchers flew instrument-laden planes into California wildfires to gather their data, and the "crazy bumpy" rides that resulted. Huey is a professor in, and the chair of, the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    USA Today , Jun 15, 2017

  • Facial recognition changes a wasp’s brain

    Believe it or not, a certain species of paper wasp is believed to have facial recognition ability. How exactly is that ability reflected in the wasps' brains? That's what Ali Berens, a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Biological Sciences set out to explore in her new study. By running paper wasps through some recognition exercises of faces and patterns and then studying the DNA in their brains, Berens and coworkers found more than 200 genes that were active during facial recognition. 

    Science News , Jun 14, 2017

  • LIGO Scientific Collaboration wins Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research

    The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), an international group of scientists that includes Georgia Tech researchers, is being recognized for its recent work confirming the existence of gravitational waves. The Princess of Asturias Foundation, established by Spain's monarchy to celebrate worldwide achievement in the arts and sciences, has announced that LIGO and its founders/principal investigators will receive the Princess of Asturias Award for Science and Technical Achievement during ceremonies in October. The award puts LIGO in good company; previous winners include primatologist Jane Goodall, human genome pioneer Craig Venter, Internet founding fathers Vinton Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, and physicist Peter Higgs (of Higgs boson fame.) Laura Cadonati, School of Physics associate professor, is the deputy spokesperson for LIGO. 

    Fundacion Princesa de Asturias , Jun 14, 2017

  • Dr. Young-Hui Chang: Taking Critical Steps to Elucidate Mechanisms of Limb Movement in Locomotion

    Don't let the title fool you. Yes, Young-Hui Chang, professor in the School of Biological Sciences and co-author of the recent widely shared study on flamingos, does indeed talk about his work on the science of locomotion and how mechanics, physics, and the nervous system are tied together as people and animals move about. But in this podcast, Chang also shares thoughts on his family, how he became interested in science, career highs and lows, and advice for other researchers. (Those who follow podcasts on iTunes can find Chang's episode here.)

    People Behind The Science Podcast, Jun 12, 2017

  • A New Study Says Good-Looking Scientists Are Perceived To Be Inferior Scientists

    People can think you're a good-looking scientist. But can they also think you're a good scientist? A new study from some UK researchers shows that survey respondents are interested in hearing more about what attractive, articulate scientists are doing in their labs than about those whom they believed didn't fit that description. But those same respondents doubt the quality of the pretty scientists' work, all based solely on their looks. One of the scientists reacting to the study in this Forbes Science story is Kim Cobb, ADVANCE professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Power Faculty Scholar and an oft-quoted expert on climate science and the health of coral reefs. 

    Forbes , Jun 10, 2017

  • Volcanic ‘Super-Eruptions’ Need Deep Magma Reservoirs

    There are two supervolcanos within the U.S., the most famous one underneath Yellowstone National Park. If any of these erupt, all that ash and dust in the atmosphere could be catastrophic for Earth's climate. Fortunately, supervolcano eruptions are few and far between, which is why scientists are trying to learn as much as they can now about why they're so rare.  A new study published in Nature Geoscience by a team including School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences professor Josef Dufek theorizes that supervolcanos rely on very deep magma reservoirs that can take millions of years to form. 

    Yahoo! News, Jun 3, 2017

  • How Kennda Lynch Creates a Career in Astrobiology

    Kennda Lynch may spend a lot of time on an ancient lake basin in Utah, but in her mind she's picturing herself on a barren Martian landscape, searching for proof of past life. That's because the paleolake contains minerals also discovered on Mars, and her work could help determine where the Mars 2020 Rover mission will land. Lynch, a postdoctoral research fellow with the School of Biological Sciences, is on Georgia Tech's team for the NASA Astrobiology Institute, which helps the space agency develop scientific goals for future missions. She was recently profiled by her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Illinois, where she majored in biology and engineering. Her profile on the university's Industrial Systems Engineering website can be found here

    NASA Astrobiology Institute, Jun 2, 2017

  • Scientists detect Einstein gravitational waves for a third time

    Here is Yahoo! News reprinting a Reuters story on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and its recent announcement that it had detected a third gravitational wave signal. This particular ripple through space and time originated from a black hole collision approximately 3 billion light-years from Earth. Georgia Tech researchers are well-represented within LIGO, and Laura Cadonati, professor in the School of Physics, is the international research team's deputy spokesperson.

    Yahoo! News (via Reuters), Jun 1, 2017

  • LIGO's latest: Space ripples may untangle black hole tango

    A "black hole tango," the imagery in the headline for this Science story, hints at the implications of the latest news coming from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). The international team of scientists, which includes Georgia Tech faculty and students, says it has recorded evidence of a third black hole collision and the gravitational waves it produced. "These black holes are not like two aligned tornadoes orbiting each other, but like two tilted tornadoes," says Laura Cadonati, School of Physics associate professor and LIGO deputy spokesperson, adding that the research may prompt new theories regarding how these massive collapsing stars pair up in the first place. The latest LIGO findings are also covered at Space.com and National Geographic

    Science, Jun 1, 2017

  • When black holes collide: More gravitational waves discovered

    More than a dozen Georgia Tech faculty members, students, and postdoctoral fellows are working with the large international research team that makes up the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). This is the team that made its own splash in the science world in 2015 with the first detection of a gravitational wave signal, the result of a black hole collision 1.5 billion light years from Earth. Now LIGO announces that a third gravitational wave was observed and confirmed in January from even farther away: about 3 billion light years. Once again, Albert Einstein has been proven right, and once again the science media can't resist a story that features black holes acting mysteriously and ripples of space and time flying through the cosmos at lightspeed. In addition to this USA Today story, coverage includes the Washington Post, BBC News, Scientific American, The Verge and Phys.org, among others. School of Physics associate professor Laura Cadonati is LIGO's deputy spokesperson, and research scientist James Clark from the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics worked on the latest discovery.

    USA Today , Jun 1, 2017

  • Scientists: U.S. coral reefs could all but disappear within a few decades

    Media interest continues in the grim predictions recorded in recent published research and news reports regarding the health of U.S. coral reef ecosystems. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Kim Cobb, whose opinions on the impact of climate change are highly sought after by science reporters, reacts to the latest news in this Fusion TV story and in a Science Times item. 

    Fusion TV, May 31, 2017

  • Research Tracks Impact Of Wildfire Smoke On Climate

    It's not just all that smoke from the massive wildfire that's been burning near the Florida-Georgia line for the past two months that has climate scientists worried. In this interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting's Emily Jones, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Rodney Weber talks about the differences between black carbon vs. brown carbon, and how that latter variant may cause problems by lingering too long in Earth's upper atmosphere.  

    Georgia Public Broadcasting , May 31, 2017

  • How flamingos sleep while standing on one leg

    Apparently, a lot of science writers had the same question that Georgia Tech researchers Young-Hui Chang and Lena Ting did: how do flamingos stand on one leg for long periods of time? What biomechanics are involved? Now it's Futurity's turn to show off the results of the study by Chang, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences, and Ting, a professor in the Wallace Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. 

    Futurity , May 30, 2017

  • Warming to Blame for Coral Bleaching in Hawaii

    This report in the New Scientist gives greater detail on the coral reef damage happening in Hawaii. A new study shows nearly 50% of the reefs in a nature preserve in Oahu had bleached, and 10% is now dead. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Kim Cobb wasn't involved in the study, but offers some comments about what damage may lie ahead for the world's oceans. 

    The Scientist, May 30, 2017

  • Is The Great Barrier Reef Dead? Experts Warn It Can No Longer Be Saved In Its Current Form

    Meanwhile down in Australia, the same issues impacting U.S. coral reefs – global warming, bleaching – have also been taking their toll on the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world's natural wonders and a top global tourist attraction. An advisory committee is now suggesting an update to plans that could help the reef's ecosystem. Kim Cobb of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences offers some hope that parts of the Great Barrier Reef could survive past 2050.

    Tech Times, May 30, 2017

  • Ocean Species Are in Trouble: U.S. Coral Reefs Could Disappear Within Decades, Scientists Warn

    One of those scientists sounding bleak alarms about what climate change is doing to coral reefs is Kim Cobb, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and an oft-quoted source on environmental science issues. She responds to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists warning this week in media reports that reefs near Hawaii, Florida, and the Caribbean, already affected by bleaching, could disappear within the next few decades. 

    Newsweek, May 30, 2017

  • How does research funding at your university stack up?

    Based on latest data from the National Science Foundation, R&D spending in chemistry and chemical engineering for various universities are compared year-to-year and over a decade. Over the period 2005-2015 Georgia Tech's rank in chemistry R&D spending climbed eight notches, from 17 in 2005 to 9 in 2015. In chemical engineering R&D spending, Georgia Tech was in fourth place in 2005 and 2015.  

    Chemical & Engineering News, May 29, 2017

  • 2017 Division Awards for outstanding research

    Chris Reinhard, an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, has been named one of three exceptional researchers in 2017 by the Geobiology and Geomicrobiology Division of the Geological Society of America. 

    GSA Geobiology and Geomicrobiology, May 26, 2017

  • Dead flamingo reveals secret of sleeping on one leg

    The Boston Globe weighs in on Young-Hui Chang and Lena Ting's how-flamingos-stand-on-one-leg study. The story includes one key point: Both scientists did this investigation on their own time, and on their own dime. ‘‘It was a labor of love - doing science simply for the sake of learning how nature works,’’ Chang says. Their work could still lead to potential applications. Chang is a professor in the School of Biological Sciences. Ting is a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. 

    The Boston Globe, May 24, 2017

  • The Science Behind the Flamingo’s One-Legged Stance

    This story definitely has legs. We're referring, of course, to Young-Hui Chang and Lena Ting's new research on how flamingos are able to stand on one leg and the possible reasons why these gangly birds do it. The major media mentions are racking up, including this New York Times story. Altmetric, a service that measures mentions and other interest in research papers, had this study listed in the top 5% percent of its Attention Score rank in its first 24 hours of publication. Chang is a professor in the School of Biological Sciences. Ting is a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. 

    The New York Times , May 24, 2017

  • Mystery solved: How flamingos can sleep while standing on one leg

    There was a eureka moment for School of Biological Sciences professor Young-Hui Chang during his research into why and how flamingos can stand and sleep on one leg. That revelation helped Chang and fellow researcher Lena Ting, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, describe in their new study how the flamingo's skeletal and muscle systems allow them to hold the one-legged pose with little muscle effort. Chang is also the director of the Comparative Neuromechanics Laboratory.

    The Washington Post, May 24, 2017

  • Flamingo balancing act saves energy

    Flamingos can "stand proud while having a doze," says this BBC News story. How they do that may involve some unique flamingo biomechanics, according to a new study on the elegant birds from School of Biological Sciences professor Young-Hui Chang and Wallace H. Coulter Dept. of Biomedical Engineering professor Lena Ting. Their work also suggests a possible reason why these birds engage in this habit. Chang is also the director of the Comparative Neuromechanics Laboratory

    BBC News, May 24, 2017

  • Neuromechanics of flamingos’ amazing feats of balance

    A new Georgia Tech study on why and how flamingos can stand on one leg for hours on end is already getting a lot of A-list science media attention. In this post for The Conversation website - "academic rigor, journalistic flair" - the study's co-authors, School of Biological Sciences professor Young-Hui Chang and Walter H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering professor Lena Ting, explain why they wanted to study this question, and how "gravity plus anatomy" combine to make the flamingo a marvel of biomechanics. 

    The Conversation, May 23, 2017

  • Why Flamingos Are More Stable on One Leg Than Two

    Here's how award-winning science writer and author Ed Yong of The Atlantic decribes the new research from Tech's Young-Hui Chang and Lena Ting on how and why flamingos can stand on one leg for long periods of time. The subject matter is a great match for Yong's talents; with a lively writing style, he describes the efforts that Chang and Ting put in to understand this unique flamingo habit. Chang is a professor in the School of Biological Sciences and director of the Comparative Neuromechanics Laboratory. Ting is a professor in the Wallace Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering

    The Atlantic, May 23, 2017

  • Explorations of Oxygen-Free Seas on the Oceanus, Part IV: Methane

    School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Assistant Professor Jennifer Glass blogs from the sea, off the coast of Western Mexico, aboard R/V Oceanus, owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by Oregon State University. In this fourth and final blog post from the sea, Glass's soon-to-be PhD student Abbie Johnson talks about the importance of methane in oxygen-minimum zones of the seas.

    SAGANet, May 21, 2017

  • Explorations of Oxygen-Free Seas on the Oceanus, Part III: Nitrogen

    School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Assistant Professor Jennifer Glass blogs from the sea, off the coast of Western Mexico, aboard R/V Oceanus, owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by Oregon State University. In this third installment, Glass talks about N2 in the seas. 

    SAGANet, May 21, 2017

  • Chemists may be zeroing in on chemical reactions that sparked the first life

    DNA has had plenty of time in the spotlight over the decades, yet many scientists theorize that ribonucleic acid (RNA) was the key to helping kick-start life on Earth. But how did the four nucleotides that make up RNA come into existence if they weren't around during the planet's beginnings? A new study from researchers based in the United Kingdom may be getting closer to answers, and Nicholas Hud, Regents Professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, weighs in on their efforts.

    Science Magazine , May 19, 2017

  • Explorations of Oxygen-Free Seas on the Oceanus, Part II

    School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Assistant Professor Jennifer Glass blogs from the sea, off the coast of Western Mexico, aboard R/V Oceanus, owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by Oregon State University. "Six thousand feet below our ship, three tectonic plates are colliding," begins this blog post. "Like slow-moving conveyor belts, the Rivera and Cocos Plates creep under the North American Plate. Where the denser oceanic plates dip below the less dense continental crust, the Middle America Trench is formed."

    SAGANet, May 17, 2017

  • Why Honeybees Are Good at Grooming (It’s All in the Hair)

    The tenants of the Georgia Tech Urban Honeybee Project are creating quite a buzz about themselves and David Hu's research. Hu, an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences, recently used bees in the project for a research paper on how the hairs on their tiny little legs factor into pollen gathering and cleanup. The New York Times put the resulting video with the cute title "How Bees Freshen Up" on its home page. The Urban Honeybee Project's director is Jennifer Leavey, a senior academic professional in the School of Biological Sciences. 

    The New York Times, May 15, 2017

  • Explorations of Oxygen-Free Seas on the Oceanus (Part I)

    School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Assistant Professor Jennifer Glass blogs from the sea, off the coast of Western Mexico, aboard R/V Oceanus, owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by Oregon State University. "Ocean waves stretch to the horizon on all sides of us," Glass writes. "Boats passing by would never expect this area of the ocean is different from any other. Yet, hiding beneath the surface is the largest anoxic water body on modern Earth."

    SAGANet, May 12, 2017

  • Did Global Warming Really ‘Pause’ During the 2000s?

    After the El Nino weather event of 1998 resulted in one of the hottest years on record up to that point, what was termed a global warming hiatus or pause then went into effect. For 11 years, temperatures didn't stray far from their usual averages. That slowdown puzzled scientists and added fuel to the political fire over climate change policies. This Atlantic article examines the scientific aspects of the hiatus, and it includes comments from School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Kim Cobb.

    The Atlantic, May 12, 2017

  • Flat Rock Middle inventors appear on cooking show

    They cooked up a winning invention in the recent K-12 InVenture Challenge sponsored by CEISMC, so why not see what they can do in an actual kitchen? That's what the online childrens cooking/talk show Kids-R-Chefs must have thought when they invited the Flat Rock Middle School's 8th-grade team to cook pizzas and talk about their entrepreneurial talents. The Fayette County students won a Specialty Award at the InVenture Challenge for Xtendlet, a cord that extends the reach of normal home power outlets by 25 feet.

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 11, 2017

  • All hail the bee

    This story does indeed sing the praises of the humble honeybee, focusing on special Atlanta projects designed to study and provide homes for our four-winged pollen pals. One of those is the Georgia Tech Urban Honeybee Project, located on the roof of Clough Undergraduate Learning Center. That's where Jennifer Leavey, program director and senior academic professional in the School of Biological Sciences, rules the hives. The story also mentions a recent study from School of Biological Sciences associate professor David Hu, who used the Project to research honeybee hairs and the role they play in pollen collection.

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 11, 2017

  • Why create a model of mammal defecation? Because everyone poops

    Science News is the latest stop for media coverage of David Hu and Patricia Yang's poop paper. This story contains details on how much work the researchers had to do to get information on mammal defecation, including trips to Zoo Atlanta to gather feces, and studying YouTube videos of animals pooping (are you really that surprised such videos exist?) Hu is an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences, an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics and an associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Yang is a Ph.D. student in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. 

    Science News , May 11, 2017

  • Meadowcreek High, Georgia Tech celebrate new makerspace area

    Before the makerspace arrived at Meadowcreek High School, the school’s robotics area consisted of a closet in the back of a classroom....The makerspace partnership between Meadowcreek and Georgia Tech’s GoSTEM...aims to enhance the educational experience of Latino students in Georgia. GoSTEM is a program of Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC).

    Gwinnett Daily Post - , May 10, 2017

  • A Word of Appreciation for Teachers

    To celebrate National Teacher Day, on May 9, 2017, Georgia Institute of Technology President G. P. "Bud" Peterson acknowledges those "who have guided and mentored students this past year, sharing with them their time, wisdom, and expertise in order to help them reach their fullest potential." He singles out Georgia 2017 Teacher of the Year Casey Bethel, recipient of the Georgia Intern Fellowship for Teachers (GIFT) administered by the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC)

    Office of the President, Georgia Institute of Technology, May 9, 2017

  • Could a large scale earthquake hit Central Georgia?

    Up to 10 minor earthquakes rumble across central Georgia every year, according to Andrew Newman, associate professor of geophysics in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The latest, a 2.4 magnitude quake, hit the area near Sparta in early April. That prompted Macon CBS affiliate WMAZ to ask Newman: Could a much larger earthquake strike central Georgia in the future?

    WMAZ-13 News, May 8, 2017

  • Gender, Psychology, and Justice: Women's Experiences in the Criminal Justice System

    Julie Ancis, adjunct professor in the School of Psychology and associate vice president for Institute Diversity, has co-edited a new book that examines mental health issues for women in the legal system. The book, Gender, Psychology, and Justice: The Mental Health of Women and Girls in the Legal System, examines how gender mixes with race, class, and sexual orientation to impact treatment within the criminal justice system. Ancis and co-editor Corinne Datchi talk about their book with Blog Talk Radio podcast host Heather Stark

    Blog Talk Radio , May 6, 2017

  • Scientists Find Way To Produce Single Layer Of Graphene From Ethylene With High-Temperature Process

    An international team has discovered a way to produce graphene from ethene, also called ethylene, through a high-temperature step-by-step process. The team includes two Georgia Tech researchers who are members of the School of Physics' Center for Computational Materials Science: Bokwon Yoon, a research scientist, and professor Uzi Landman, who is also CCMS director. 

    Science Times, May 6, 2017

  • The Physics of Poop

    Scientific American has reprinted David Hu and Patricia Yang's April 26 article from The Conversation detailing their new research on the defecation habits of mammals. (The Conversation also lists that article as one of its most read items for the past week). In addition to being an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences, Hu is also an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics and an associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Yang is a Ph.D. student in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. 

    Scientific American, May 6, 2017

  • Oxygen Level In The Ocean Water Is Facing A Crisis As Temperature Rises Rapidly

    Dissolved oxygen levels in ocean water are a good indication of the health of the world's oceans. But new research from Georgia Tech shows those levels have been declining for the past 20 years. The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, looked at ocean-related information dating back more than 50 years to find patterns and trends that could be linked to climate change. Researchers found that rising water temperature is a major contributor to the lower oxygen levels, which are dropping at a faster rate than previously predicted. Taka Ito, an associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, led the research team. 

    The Science Times , May 5, 2017

  • High temperature step-by-step process makes graphene from ethene

    Science Daily picked up the Georgia Tech news story about the ethene-to-graphene research study, which included two members of the School of Physics' Center for Computational Materials Science: Bokwon Yoon, a research scientist, and professor Uzi Landman, who is also CCMS director. 

    Science Daily , May 4, 2017

  • 'An Embarrassment': Scientists React to the NYT's Climate Change Column

    Bret Stephens unleashed a Category 6 hurricane on Twitter last week, when he penned a column for the New York Times espousing opinions on climate change that can best be described as...controversial. While acknowledging that human-caused global warming is a settled matter, Stephens argued that the risk climate change poses is not. As a Times push notification sent out to millions of subscribers on Friday summarized, “reasonable people can be skeptical about the dangers of climate change"....Kim Cobb, climate scientist at Georgia Tech University, added that for her, the firestorm Stephens’ column set off highlighted that “as scientists, we need to own more of the conversation about climate change.” Cobb is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    Gizmodo, May 2, 2017

  • Meet College of Sciences Spring 2017 Graduates

    Congratulations to our College of Sciences graduates; we can't wait to see what comes next for you!

    cos.gatech.edu, May 1, 2017

  • Healthy Mammals Poop in 19 Seconds or Less

    It's Vice's turn to have fun with a new study on mammal defecation provided by School of Biological Sciences associate professor David L. Hu's lab. The study found that despite a wide range of sizes in bodies and feces, most healthy mammals poop at the same rate. There is one telling behind-the-scenes detail: study co-author Patricia Yang says her team promised other graduate students sharing the lab not to bring their animal dropping samples from the Atlanta Zoo into the lab until after 5 p.m. because of the smell. Hu is also an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics and an associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Yang is a Ph.D. student in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. 

    Vice, Apr 28, 2017

  • Direct Conversion of Cellulose and Hemicellulose to Fermentable Sugars by a Microbially-Driven Fenton Reaction

    A research team led by Thomas J. DiChristina, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences, has figured out an easier, more environmentally-friendly way to break down lignocellulose (plant-based biomass) waste into bioproducts. The new approach? The use of microbes, instead of specialized enzymes, to power a Fenton reaction, a chemical process often used as a wastewater treatment. Hyun-Dong Shin, a research scientist in the School of Biological Sciences, co-authored the study, which was originally published in Biosource Technology. 

    Renewable Energy Global Innovations, Apr 27, 2017

  • Finding Signs of Alien Life Might Be Harder Than We Thought. Here’s Why

    It seems like every day that astronomers discover another possibly habitable world, like Proxima Centauri b, our closest exoplanent neighbor, and TRAPPIST-1f, one of seven recently discovered Earth-sized planets orbiting the same star. But don't prepare for first contact just yet. It will be exceedingly complicated to figure out whether there's actually any life or potential for it on such planets, based on new research into our own evolving world. Chris Reinhard, an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, co-authored the study, which was published in Astrobiology.

    NBC News, Apr 27, 2017

  • Student inventions win spot in national competition

    The recent K-12 InVenture Challenge @ Georgia Tech competition on March 15, featuring science-minded students and their inventions from all across Georgia, continues to reap benefits for the winning schools. The Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) sponsors the annual competition, and two winning teams from J.C. Booth Middle School in Peachtree City, Georgia will go on to vie for honors at the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo on June 1-3 in Washington, D.C. A team from Flat Rock Middle School in Fayetteville, Georgia, also took home a specialty award for its Xtendlet extension cord.

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Apr 27, 2017

  • Extraterrestrial Life Might Be Hiding in Plain Sight

    To a distant observer peering through a telescope, even Earth would not have shown signs of life through most of its past. Despite the fact that our planet was teeming with mostly microscopic life for three billion years, levels of oxygen and methane – gases often produced by metabolizing organisms – would have been too low to be noticed from afar. This means that today's scientists on Earth might not be able to detect commonly assumed signs of extraterrestrial life, and they might give up on planets that are actually inhabited, according to a new study in the journal Astrobiology. “There are huge swaths of time throughout Earth’s history during which it would’ve been difficult to see the presence of these metabolisms even though we know from the rock record that they were around. It’s a sobering thing,” said Christopher Reinhard, an Earth scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and lead author of the study. Reinhard is an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    Inside Science , Apr 27, 2017

  • Why it takes you and an elephant the same amount of time to poop

    Why was School of Biological Sciences associate professor David Hu drawn towards mammal poop as the topic of a new study? His experience as a working dad, he recently posted on the Conversation blog, "turned me from a poo-analysis novice to a wizened connoisseur." The people running the PBS Newshour website had a chance to digest the post and decided to share it in full on their Rundown blog. Hu is also a adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics and an associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Patricia Yang, a Ph.D. student in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, co-authored the study, which appeared in Soft Matter

    PBS Newshour, Apr 27, 2017

  • All mammals big or small take about 12 seconds to defecate

    Everyone poops, and it takes them about the same amount of time. A new study of the hydrodynamics of defecation finds that all mammals take 12 seconds on average to relieve themselves, no matter how large or small the animal. The research, published in Soft Matter, reveals that the soft matter coming out of the hind ends of elephants, pandas, warthogs and dogs slides out of the rectum on a layer of mucus that keeps toilet time to a minimum. “The smell of body waste attracts predators, which is dangerous for animals. If they stay longer doing their thing, they’re exposing themselves and risking being discovered,” says Patricia Yang, a mechanical engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Yang, a doctoral student in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, worked on the study with David Hu, associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences and an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics.

    New Scientist, Apr 26, 2017

  • NSF’s uphill road to making prestigious early career award more diverse

    Increasing diversity within academic science has been a priority for France Córdova since she became director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2014. Within a year she had launched an initiative, called INCLUDES, that challenges universities to do a better job of attracting women and minorities into the field. Now, Córdova has turned her attention inward in hopes of improving the dismal track record of NSF’s most prestigious award for young scientists. Only five women have won NSF’s annual Alan T. Waterman Award in its 41-year history, and no woman of color has ever been selected....If only it were that easy, says Kim Cobb, a paleoclimate researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and one of six university ADVANCE professors with a remit to improve gender equity. Cobb is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    Science, Apr 26, 2017

  • Physics of poo: Why it takes you and an elephant the same amount of time

    Somebody give David Hu's graduate and undergraduate students medals for bravery -- and maybe some hazmat suits. Hu, an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences and an adjunct associate professor in the School of Physics, is a 2015 Ig Nobel Prize winner for his "urination duration" research, and he and his intrepid fluid dynamics team have also gotten hands-on (yuck) with frog saliva. Now he has studied the physics of poop among mammals, venturing to Zoo Atlanta to follow elephants around and figure out things like speed, duration, size, mucosity, etc. Hu, also an associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, makes the connection between his research and a better understanding of gastrointestinal health. The research also helped his team design state-of-the-art undergarments for astronauts. Hu's study was published April 25 in the journal (wait for it)....Soft Matter. 

    The Conversation, Apr 26, 2017

  • Thousands, Armed With Puns, March For Science In Atlanta

    The Atlanta March for Science brought more than 4,000 people into the streets around Candler Park on Saturday, April 22. The Atlanta demonstration was one of 600 satellite marches for science around the world. The main event took place in Washington D.C....Joshua Weitz, a professor of biosciences at Georgia Tech, took issue with the new administration's travel ban, which he said has impacted a student of his from Iran. Weitz is a professor in the School of Biological Sciences. 

    WABE 90.1, Apr 24, 2017

  • Climate Modification: Good or Bad?

    It sounds like the stuff of science fiction -- and in fact, a forthcoming movie, "Geostorm," deals with the consequences of humankind trying to control the weather via technology. But a  recent New York Times Magazine article asked whether science could indeed tweak the environment, and perhaps lessen the effects of climate change, by releasing chemicals into the atmosphere. Stephanie Abrams and Jim Cantore, hosts of the Weather Channel's AMHQ morning show, interview Emanuele Di Lorenzo, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, about the science behind possible attempts to tinker with nature. 

    The Weather Channel, Apr 24, 2017

  • Billion-dollar project would synthesize hundreds of thousands of molecules in search of new medicines

    Martin Burke, a chemist at the University of Illinois in Urbana, has watched biologists pull in billions of dollars to decipher the human genome, and physicists persuade governments to fund the gargantuan Large Hadron Collider, which discovered the Higgs boson. Meanwhile chemists, divided among dozens of research areas, often wind up fighting for existing funds. Burke wants to change that. He has proposed that chemists rally around an initiative to synthesize most of the hundreds of thousands of known organic natural products: the diverse small molecules made by microbes, plants, and animals. He has teamed with Jeffrey Skolnick, a computational biologist and professor in the School of Biological Sciences, to come up with a potentially easier way to synthesize natural products. 

    Science , Apr 19, 2017

  • Methane from microbes kept early Earth warm

    Methane-making microbes may have battled “rust-breathing” microbes for dominance in early Earth’s oceans—and kept those oceans from freezing under an ancient, dimmer sun in the process, new research suggests....“The ancestors of modern methane-making and rust-breathing microbes may have long battled for dominance in habitats largely governed by iron chemistry,” says Marcus Bray, a biology doctoral candidate in the laboratory of Jennifer Glass, assistant professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Glass was the principal investigator for the Georgia Tech research team, which included professors Frank Stewart and Tom DiChristina, postdoctoral scholars Jieying Wu and Cecilia Kretz, Ph.D candidate Keaton Belli, and M.S. student Ben Reed.

    Futurity , Apr 19, 2017

  • Why We are Marching for Science

    Marc Weissburg, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences and an organizer of the March for Science Atlanta on April 22, writes in the Ampilfier blog about the need for the scientific community to reach out to the public:

    The Amplifier, Apr 19, 2017

  • Ay, Caramba! 'Bart Simpson' Landslide Reveals Ceres' Icy Innards

    Ceres may look like an ancient, inert mass of dusty rock hanging out in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, but the dwarf planet is proving itself to be to be a dynamic and fascinating place....Now it looks like landslides can be added to the mix. In a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, researchers have identified "flow features" on Ceres that look very much like landslides that occur on Earth (including one that looks surprisingly like TV's Bart Simpson) -- all of which are driven by the presence of water ice...."These landslides offer us the opportunity to understand what's happening in the upper few kilometers of Ceres," said Heather Chilton, co-author of the paper and a graduate student in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. EAS Assistant Professor Britney Schmidt was the lead author on the study, and EAS graduate student Justin Lawrence was a co-author.

    Space.com, Apr 19, 2017

  • Ceres Prank Lands Bart Simpson in Detention for Eternity

    Humankind has a long history of looking up at the stars and seeing figures and faces. In fact, there’s a word for recognizing faces in natural objects: pareidolia. But this must be the first time someone has recognized Bart Simpson’s face on an object in space. Researchers studying landslides on the dwarf planet Ceres noticed a pattern that resembles the cartoon character. The researchers, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, are studying massive landslides that occur on the surface of the icy dwarf. Their findings are reinforcing the idea that Ceres has significant quantities of frozen water. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Assistant Professor Britney Schmidt was the lead author on the study; EAS graduate students Heather Chilton and Justin Lawrence were co-authors. 

    Universe Today , Apr 18, 2017

  • Saturn moon Titan's "electric sand" would make super castles

    Electrified sands on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, may stick together due to static cling, potentially meaning that sand castles there would last for weeks, a new study finds...."At first glance, if you look at images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, Titan looks very Earth-like, with dunes, lakes, oceans, mountains and potentially volcanoes, and it has a dense, nitrogen-rich atmosphere like Earth’s,” said study lead author Joshua Méndez, a granular dynamicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “But once you start looking at the details, you realize that it is an alien and exciting world.” Mendez collaborated on the study with Professor Josef Dufek and graduate student George McDonald, all with the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    CBS News, Apr 17, 2017

  • Saturn Moon Titan's 'Electric Sand' Would Make Super Castles

    Electrified sands on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, may stick together due to static cling, potentially meaning that sand castles there would last for weeks, a new study finds....Joshua Méndez, a granular dynamicist and graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, speculated that the moon's sand might readily become electrically charged, making its behavior significantly different from that of Earth sand. Mendez collaborated on the study with Professor Josef Dufek and graduate student George McDonald, all with the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    Space.com, Apr 17, 2017

  • 2017 Georgia Tech Faculty & Staff Awards

    Ten members of the College of Sciences take home 11 awards

    Two administrative and eight academic members of staff of the College of Sciences have been selected to receive 11 awards for the 2016-17 academic year. They are being recognized for innovation and excellence in administration, education, and scholarship.

    cos.gatech.edu, Apr 17, 2017

  • Power and Control in Family Courts

    Divorcing an abusive spouse can be devastating enough for women. But many times the violence and intimidation can spill over into the courtroom during legal proceedings, creating potential new levels of damage to families. Blog Talk Radio host Heather Stark recently interviewed School of Psychology adjunct professor Julie Ancis about her research into this issue during the 3 Women 3 Ways podcast. Ancis is also associate vice president for Institute Diversity.

    Blog Talk Radio , Apr 10, 2017

  • Honeybees are really hairy, so they can carry as much pollen as possible

    Honeybees have almost three million hairs on their tiny bodies. Each hair is strategically placed to carry pollen and also to brush it off. Researchers at Georgia Tech used high-speed footage of tethered bees covered in pollen to see how these hairs work. David Hu, an assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences, was a co-author of the study. The Georgia Tech Urban Honey Bee Project assisted in the research. 

    Quartz, Apr 10, 2017

  • NASA Taps Georgia Tech Researchers To Build Next Generation Of Space Suits

    NASA announced last month it will recruit a team of Georgia Tech researchers for a new project. The team, called REVEALS (Radiation Effect on Volatiles and Exploration of Asteroids and Lunar Surfaces), will study radiation on other planets and build radiation-proof space suits. What can this technology do for us in space exploration? Georgia Public Broadcasting interviews Thomas Orlando, a professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the director of the Georgia Tech Center for Space Technology and Research (CSTAR), and the leader of the REVEALS team. 

    Georgia Public Broadcasting, Apr 6, 2017

  • Electric Sand: How Titan's Dunes Got Their Weird Shapes

    A billion kilometers away from Earth's oldest and most majestic sand dunes, Saturn's moon Titan is also sporting some impressive features at its equatorial deserts, thanks to radar imaging from the Cassini orbiter. Yet Titan's dunes aren't just formed by winds; electrostatic forces are also at work, according to new research from School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Josef Dufek, and graduate students Josh Mendez Harper and George McDonald.

    Scientific American , Apr 3, 2017

  • On Second Thought: Empathy 


    Empathy is a crucial human ability. It’s the basis of the golden rule: do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. New research from Georgia Tech finds that empathy can help prevent the spread of disease during an outbreak. This segment on Georgia Public Broadcasting's "On Second Thought" program featured Ceyhun Eksin, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of School of Biological Sciences professor Joshua S. Weitz. Eksin and Weitz collaborated with a researcher from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

    Georgia Public Broadcasting, Apr 3, 2017

  • International search underway for Georgia Tech engineering dean

    Julia Kubanek, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is chairing a 15-member advisory committee that has begun the search for a new dean for the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech. The current dean, Gary May, is leaving to become the seventh chancellor of the University of California, Davis. Kubanek is also the associate dean for research in the College of Sciences.

    Atlanta Business Chronicle, Mar 29, 2017

  • Douglas County to become Georgia’s first computer science school system

    Douglas County Schools will be the first district in Georgia to offer computer science classes to all grade levels, it announced Tuesday. Douglas will phase in the Computer Science for All initiative over the next three years. It will partner with Google, Code.org, Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Math, Science and Computing (CEISMC) and the Georgia Department of Education.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mar 29, 2017

  • Swirls are a step toward self-propelled fluid

    Imagine a liquid that could move on its own without human effort or the pull of gravity. You could put it in a container flat on a table, not touch it in any way, and it would still flow. As reported in Science, researchers have taken the first step in creating a self-propelling liquid. The finding offers the promise of developing an entirely new class of fluids that can flow without human or mechanical effort. School of Physics Associate Professor Alberto Fernandez-Nieves and postdoctoral fellow Ya-Wen Chang co-authored the study, which was led by collaborators at Brandeis University.

    Futurity , Mar 28, 2017

  • Sands in Saturn's Largest Moon Are Electrically Charged

    A new study from Georgia Institute of Technology revealed that the sands in the surface of Saturn's largest moon Titan could be electrically charged. The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, showed that the non-silicate granules of Titan become frictionally charged as they collide with each other in a process known as saltation. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Professor Josef Dufek, and graduate students Josh Mendez Harper and George McDonald co-authored the study.

    Nature World News , Mar 28, 2017

  • 'Electric Sands' Cover Titan

    To build a sandcastle here on Earth, the sand needs to be wet so it can stick together. Not so on Saturn’s strange and largest moon Titan, according to a new Georgia Tech-led study published in Nature GeoscienceJosef Dufek, a professor in the School of Earth and Atmosphere Studies, co-authored the study with EAS graduate students Josh Mendez Harper and George McDonald. Harper is the study's lead author.

    Voice of America , Mar 28, 2017

  • Grains on Titan would cling to a spacecraft ‘like packing peanuts’

    Particles that cover the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, are electrically charged and can get clingy -- much like packing peanuts cling to things on Earth....“If you grabbed piles of grains and built a sand castle on Titan, it would perhaps stay together for weeks due to their electrostatic properties,” says Josef Dufek, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who co-led a study on the sands of Titan. Dufek is in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. EAS doctoral student Josef Mendez Harper is the study's lead author; EAS graduate student George McDonald is a co-author. 

    Futurity , Mar 27, 2017

  • Climate Change May Be Intensifying China's Smog Crisis

    Chinese leaders, grappling with some of the world's worst air pollution, have long assumed the answer to their woes was gradually reducing the level of smog-forming chemicals emitted from power plants, steel factories and cars. But new research suggests another factor may be hindering China's efforts to take control of its devastating smog crisis: climate change. One of those studies is by Yuhang Wang, a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech.

    The New York Times, Mar 24, 2017

  • Hand Sanitizer Won't Stop an Office Outbreak—If Your Coworker Doesn't Care

    According to a study published by Georgia Tech researchers in the journal Scientific Reports, healthy people who take measures to avoid getting sick cannot fully eradicate the spread of disease without an infected individual taking preemptive steps first. Instead, the sick individual in question needs to take steps to avoid infecting anyone else, and the main motivator for taking those steps seems to be empathy -- the ability to understand the feelings of others. Ceyhun Eksin and Joshua S. Weitz collaborated on the study with a researcher from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.  Eksin is a postdoctorate fellow in Weitz's lab in the School of Biological Sciences. 

    Invisiverse , Mar 22, 2017

  • Mathematicians create warped worlds in virtual reality

    To explore the mathematical possibilities of alternative geometries, mathematicians imagine such ‘non-Euclidean’ spaces, where parallel lines can intersect or veer apart. Now, with the help of relatively affordable VR devices, researchers are making curved spaces — a counter-intuitive concept with implications for Einstein’s theory underlying gravity and also for seismology — more accessible. They may even uncover new mathematics in the process. “You can think about it, but you don’t get a very visceral sense of this until you actually experience it,” says Elisabetta Matsumoto, a physicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

    Nature, Mar 21, 2017

  • How Climate Change Covered China in Smog

    What made the winter smog in China so bad in 2013 and in the winters since? Two new studies...argue that climate change will make this kind of smog event much more common. And, remarkably, one of them - by Yuhang Wang and others at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech - asserts that the Chinese smog of January 2013 was worsened by two weather phenomena thousands of miles away. 

    The Atlantic, Mar 21, 2017

  • NASA Selects New Research Teams to Further Solar System Research

    NASA has selected four new research teams to join the existing nine teams in SSERVI (Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute) to address scientific questions about the Moon, near-Earth asteroids, the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, and their near space environments, in cooperation with international partners. One of the teams is from Georgia Institute of Technology, led by School of Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Thomas Orlando. 

    Engadget, Mar 21, 2017

  • NASA signs up four research teams to study the Solar System

    While NASA already has plenty of scientists, it still regularly works with research teams from various universities and non-profit orgs. It even created the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to oversee some of its collaborations. In fact, the agency has added four new teams looking to study the moon, near-Earth asteroids and Martian moons Phobos and Deimos to SSERVI's roster. One of the teams is from Georgia Institute of Technology, led by Thomas Orlando, a professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. .

    Engadget, Mar 19, 2017

  • Radiation from Nearby Galaxies Bulked Up Early Monster Black Holes

    Bright radiation emitted by neighboring galaxies likely fueled the rapid growth of supermassive black holes in the early universe, a new study shows. John Wise, an associate professor in the School of Physics, is a co-author of the study.

    Space.com, Mar 18, 2017

  • Study: Stopping global warming only way to save coral reefs

    Kim Cobb, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, comments on a new research study of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The study indicates that rising ocean temperatures are doing more damage to coral reefs than previously thought. "A future that we thought was decades coming is basically here," Cobb says. 

    ABC News, Mar 16, 2017

  • Melting Arctic ice likely worsens winter haze in China: study

    Climate change in the polar regions may have worsened winter haze problems in China, according to a study....The study published in the U.S. journal Science Advances suggests that melting Arctic sea ice and increasing Eurasian snow, both caused by global climate change, have shifted China's winter monsoon, helping create stagnant atmospheric conditions that trap pollution over the country's major population and industrial centers. "Emissions in China have been decreasing over the last four years, but the severe winter haze is not getting better," said Yuhang Wang, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who led the study. Yuhang Wang is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    Xinhua, Mar 16, 2017

  • How melting Arctic sea ice is keeping smog over China

    “We will make our skies blue again,” vowed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang earlier this month, pledging aggressive new steps to combat China’s notorious smog....But a study adds a possible wrinkle to China’s fight for blue skies. Climate change – in particular, the melting of Arctic sea ice – makes the country's smog even more likely to stay where it is. “The ventilation is getting worse,” one of the study’s co-authors, Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist Yuhang Wang, told Science Magazine. Yuhang Wang is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The report he co-authored was first published in Science Advances. 

    Christian Science Monitor, Mar 16, 2017

  • O&P Research Supports Evidence-based Care

    Negotiating uneven ground can be challenging for people who use lower-limb prostheses to walk, so researchers spend time searching for solutions that will allow greater stability in these situations. Manufacturers of prosthetic feet have contributed to a solution by adding multiaxial features that better reproduce the behavior of human ankles, which can stiffen as the terrain warrants. However, School of Biological Sciences Senior Lecturer W. Lee Childers found that there was a lack of evidence evaluating the prosthetic ankle stiffness as it relates to the user’s dynamic balance and gait over uneven terrain. Thus, his continuing research focuses on defining the effect of multiaxial stiffness on gait stability among people with unilateral transtibial amputations....“The main focus of this work was to justify that it is a good thing for prosthetic feet to have multiaxial function,” Childers says, because if it can prevent falls among its users, its value is demonstrated to the payers.

    The O&P Edge, Mar 16, 2017

  • Large Sections of Australia’s Great Reef Are Now Dead, Scientists Find

    The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has long been one of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders, so enormous it can be seen from space, so beautiful it can move visitors to tears. But the reef, and the profusion of sea creatures living near it, are in profound trouble. Kim M. Cobb,  a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, comments on a recent study.

    The New York Times, Mar 15, 2017

  • Smoggy in Beijing? A lack of Arctic sea ice may be to blame

    In the winter of 2013, Beijing and other cities in the East China Plains became blanketed in thick, eye-stinging, gray smog....News articles at the time attributed the so-called “airpocalypse” to China’s heavy coal emissions. But that’s only part of the story, according to a new study published in Science Advances....“This is the first study that shows that climate changes in the high Arctic had a significant effect in winter haze in China,” says study co-author Yuhang Wang, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    The Verge, Mar 15, 2017

  • Loss of Arctic sea ice is hitting Beijing hard with more intense air pollution

    ....The progressive loss of the Arctic's sea ice due to climate change is increasing the intensity of Beijing's winter air pollution, finds a study published in the journal Science Advances. Both the loss of ice in the Arctic and increased snowfall across Eurasia have affected China's winter monsoon season...and their combined effects are said to be leading to increasingly stagnant air in China...."That flattens the temperature and pressure gradients...decreasing wind speeds and creating an atmospheric circulation that makes the air in China more stagnant," said study author Yuhang Wang of Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

    International Business Times, Mar 15, 2017

  • ‘Airpocalypse’ smog events in China linked to melting ice cap, research reveals

    Climate change played a major role in the extreme air pollution events suffered recently by China and is likely to make such “airpocalypses” more common, new research has revealed....“The very rapid change in polar warming is really having a large impact on China,” said Prof. Yuhang Wang, at Georgia Tech in the U.S., who led the new research. “Emissions in China have been decreasing over the last four years, but the severe winter haze is not getting better.” Yuhang Wang is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The study he co-authored was first published in Science Advances. 

    The Guardian, Mar 15, 2017

  • Why is China’s smog so bad? Researchers point far away to a melting Arctic

    In China, the winter of 2013 was an “airpocalypse.” A thick soup of harmful smog cloaked its biggest cities, contributing to at least 90,000 deaths and sickening hundreds of thousands more. Things haven’t gotten much better since then, even though the country has enacted tough new emissions controls. A new study may explain why....“The ventilation is getting worse,” says study author Yuhang Wang, an atmospheric scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “We think climate change, as it is driving rapid warming of the Arctic, is having a large effect on pollution in China.” Yuhang Wang is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The study he co-authored was first published in Science Advances. 

    Science , Mar 15, 2017

  • Changing weather patterns are trapping pollution over Chinese cities

    China has become a world leader in the fight against global warming, but its severe winter air pollution has worsened -- likely as a result of changing atmospheric circulation caused by climate change, according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances.
    While emissions are decreasing in China, the winter haze is not improving “because of a very rapid change in the high polar regions where sea ice is decreasing and snowfall is increasing,” said study author Yuhang Wang, a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

    Popular Science, Mar 15, 2017

  • China's 'airpocalypse' linked to Arctic sea ice loss

    The air pollution that lingered over eastern China for nearly a month in 2013 has been linked to the loss of Arctic sea ice the previous autumn. A study says the haze lasted much longer because the melting ice and increased snowfall altered wind circulation patterns...."Had the Chinese government not reduced emissions as much as they did in the last four years we would have seen the same or worse airpocalypse events," said Yuhang Wang from Georgia Tech University, one of the report's authors. Yuhang Wang is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology. The report he co-authored was first published in Science Advances. 

    BBC, Mar 15, 2017

  • Dust From Brakes And Tires Can Impact Health, Ga. Tech Study Finds

    Georgia Tech researchers have found it's not just car emissions sending people to emergency rooms in Atlanta, but all that dust coming off brakepads and tires....Georgia Tech’s School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences professor Rodney Weber said thanks to fewer diesel engines on the road and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, air quality has drastically improved in Atlanta in the last 15 years. "But there's still enough sulfate to make it really, really acidic,” Weber said. “It has a pH in Atlanta of probably around 0 to 2, which is like car battery acid." The study was published in Environmental Science and Technology and included research from EAS graduate students Ting Fang, Hongyu Guo, Linghan Zeng and EAS professor Athanasio Nenes

    WABE 90.1, Mar 13, 2017

  • Scientists May Have Solved the Origin of Supermassive Black Holes

    Supermassive black holes sit at the center of nearly every massive galaxy situated in the universe. Scientists don’t know how supermassive black holes form, but a new paper in the journal Nature Astronomy, illustrates a theory crazy enough to perhaps work. The running hypothesis is that black holes are born out of the collapse of a star, which can eventually suck up enough mass that they grow into supermassive black holes (SBHs). That process is thought to take billions of years, but scientists have already catalogued some SBHs that date back to 13.8 billion years in age — also the age of the universe. This would mean that some SBHs, if not all, form much more quickly than scientists originally suspected...If a huge nearby galaxy could pump enough radiation into a smaller galaxy that already hosted a black hole, the radiation could split molecular hydrogen into atomic hydrogen, stopping the galaxy from forming new stars and ultimately forcing it to collapse under the gravitational pressure of the black hole. Thus, the black hole would suck up that mass and quickly become an SBH...“The nearby galaxy can’t be too close, or too far away, and like the Goldilocks principle, too hot or too cold,” said John Wise, co-author of the study and associate astrophysics professor at Georgia Tech. Wise is an associate professor in the School of Physics. 

    Inverse, Mar 13, 2017

  • A Wild New Hypothesis for How the First Monster Black Holes Formed

    It’s no secret that supermassive black holes are heartless beasts: These objects of immense gravity that let nothing, not even light escape, have fascinated astronomers since the early 20th century. While it’s believed that so-called supermassive black holes lurk at the center of most galaxies, including our own, there’s still much we don’t know about how they formed, or why, except to remind us of our own mortality. But new research from an international team of scientists might have some answers to at least one of the critical questions -- namely, how supermassive black holes, which range in size from millions to billions of solar masses, apparently formed very quickly in the early universe. Using computer simulations, the researchers found that these giants can grow incredibly fast if they can suck the life (read: radiation) out of a nearby galaxy, disabling their host galaxy’s ability to create stars...The researchers found that the neighboring galaxy supplying the radiation had to be a certain size and distance away from the black hole’s host galaxy -- though these cosmic energy sources could be smaller and closer galaxies than other studies estimated. “The nearby galaxy can’t be too close, or too far away, and like the Goldilocks principle, too hot or too cold,” study co-author John Wise, an associate astrophysics professor at Georgia Tech, said. Wise is an associate professor in the School of Physics. 

    Gizmodo, Mar 13, 2017

  • The mystery of the first monster black holes explained

    More than ten years ago, astronomers made a discovery that has puzzled them ever since – supermassive black holes appeared to have popped up soon after the start of the Universe. It is thought to take billions of years for supermassive black holes to form, but at least 20 of them were spotted at the dawn of the Universe, just 800 million years after the Big Bang. A team of researchers from Dublin City University, Columbia University, Georgia Tech, and the University of Helsinki, have now used computer simulations to attempt to solve the mystery. The results say a black hole can grow quickly if the galaxy it is in stops forming stars....To stop stars forming, there has to be a bright galaxy nearby, emitting radiation that can split molecular hydrogen into atomic hydrogen. This prevents stars in the galaxy from forming from the molecular hydrogen...."The nearby galaxy can't be too close, or too far away, and like the Goldilocks principle, too hot or too cold," said co-author John Wise, from Georgia Tech. The researchers published their findings in Nature AstronomyJohn Wise is an associate professor in the School of Physics.

    Wired, Mar 13, 2017

  • How droplets go from ‘donut’ to sphere

    New research clarifies how toroidal droplets—which initially take the shape of a donut—evolve into spherical droplets by collapsing into themselves or breaking up into smaller droplets. Work with droplets has implications for the life sciences, and could improve industrial processes....“Surface tension drives the evolution of the droplets,” says Alexandros Fragkopoulos, a PhD candidate at Georgia Institute of Technology. “Fluids tend to minimize their surface area for a given volume because that minimizes the energy required to have an interface between different fluids. Spherical shapes minimize that energy, and as a result, toroidal droplets want to evolve to become spherical. We’re studying how that transition occurs."...The impetus for the experimental work was inconsistencies between theoretical predictions and computer simulation of toroidal droplet transitions. What the researchers found tends to back up the simulation results. “However, the earlier theoretical work was essential in guiding the theory efforts and in illustrating what the problem was in order to correctly describe the experimental results,” says Alberto Fernandez-Nieves, in whose lab the research took place. Alexandros Fragkopoulos is a graduate teaching assistant in the School of Physics, where Alberto Fernandez-Nieves is an associate professor. 

    Futurity, Mar 13, 2017

  • Great Barrier Reef In Trouble: Here's How Scientists Try To Save It

    Beyond tourism concern, the trouble in Australia's Great Barrier Reef could spell trouble for mankind. It may seem far removed but the slow death the giant coral structure is experiencing could also foreshadow the doom that awaits the human society.... This is even more alarming as the Great Barrier Reef is reported to have suffered from massive coral bleaching — the second of such event in two years.... All is not lost, however. Scientists agree that the Great Barrier Reef is in trouble and may be dying but it is not dead yet. It is not yet time to write the obituary.... "This is a fatalistic, doomsday approach to climate change that isn't going to engage anyone and misinforms the public," coral reef expert Kim Cobb from Georgia Tech said. Cobb is convinced that a portion of the giant barrier reef and coral reefs around the world will stay beyond 2050. Kim Cobb is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    Tech Times, Mar 13, 2017

  • Saturn's Moon Titan May Offer a Glimpse of Life as We Don't Know It

    Next month, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will make its 126th and final pass around Saturn's large moon Titan, leaving scientists with a rich picture of a geologically active world with liquid hydrocarbon lakes, complex atmospheric chemistry, and likely even a salty ocean buried beneath its icy crust. But their biggest question will be left unanswered for now: Does Titan, which resembles a primordial Earth, have life?...Titan offers many examples of really interesting organic chemistry experiments with alternative structures, added Georgia Tech planetary scientist Britney Schmidt. "The Titan example is fantastic because you have a sedimentary process like a terrestrial planet, but it's ice involved," she said. "It's organic in nature, but it is not necessarily biogenic." Britney Schmidt is an assistant professor with the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    Space.com, Mar 12, 2017

  • The Microbiome of the Clouds

    Bacteria in the soil can hitch a ride on raindrops and be deposited into the air once the drops pop, according to a recent study in Nature Communications. Under the right wind conditions, some of these bacteria could be lifted even higher into the sky. But what happens once microbes are in the atmosphere? Atmospheric chemist Athanasios Nenes, a professor with the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is currently collecting samples of the airborne microbiome in the troposphere five to nine miles above the Eastern Mediterranean. So far he has found a mix of 17 different taxa of bacteria. Nenes, along with EAS professor Rodney Weber and other researchers, also helped develop a unique instrument to measure bioavailable phosphate ions in atmospheric particles. Bioavailable phosphate can act as a fertilizer for the oceans, with profound impacts for ocean life and the carbon cycle.

    NPR Science Friday, Mar 10, 2017

  • Saturn's Titan Moon May Offer a Glimpse of Life as We Don't Know It

    Next month, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will make its 126th and final pass around Saturn's large moon Titan, leaving scientists with a rich picture of a geologically active world with liquid hydrocarbon lakes, complex atmospheric chemistry, and likely even a salty ocean buried beneath its icy crust. But their biggest question will be left unanswered for now: Does Titan, which resembles a primordial Earth, have life?...Titan offers many examples of really interesting organic chemistry experiments with alternative structures, added Georgia Tech planetary scientist Britney Schmidt. "The Titan example is fantastic because you have a sedimentary process like a terrestrial planet, but it's ice involved," she said. "It's organic in nature, but it is not necessarily biogenic." Britney Schmidt is an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    Seeker, Mar 9, 2017

  • Powering mass spec ionization with friction improves sensitivity

    If you’ve ever rubbed a balloon against your head to make your hair stand on end, you’ve experienced triboelectricity. Researchers at Georgia Tech are now putting such electricity—which is really just an electric charge generated by friction—to good use: They’re using triboelectricity to drive the ionization of molecules in a mass spectrometer.
    Materials scientist Zhong Lin Wang, mass spectrometrist Facundo M. Fernández, and coworkers replace the high-voltage power supplies that usually drive ionization with devices called triboelectric nanogenerators, or TENGs. The researchers published their findings in Nature Nanotechnology. Wang and Fernandez are professors in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. 

    Chemical and Engineering News, Mar 1, 2017

  • Trailblazing Georgia Tech B.S. Applied Mathematics Graduate Michole Washington

    Michole Washington, a recent B.S. Applied Mathematics graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, speaks with WABE's Rose Scott about being the ninth African-American woman to receive a B.S. in applied mathematics from the Institute (starts at 24:36.) Washington, who spent her summers as a child in libraries working on math problems, is now the founder and CEO of Afrithmetic, which provides mathematics tutoring for minority students. 

    WABE 90.1, Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress, Feb 28, 2017

  • Early Bird Special: Spring Pops Up Super Early in Much of US

    Spring has sprung early -- potentially record early -- in much of the United States....The unseasonably warm weather has the natural world getting ahead of -- even defying -- the calendar, scientists said. Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb said what's happening is disconcerting, no matter how nice it is for people. "Sure we can't wait to shed our wool coats and hats each spring, but such warm temperatures are wreaking havoc, sight unseen on key crops," Cobb said in an email. "Here in Georgia peach buds have been robbed of necessary 'chill hours' this winter." Kim Cobb is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    The New York Times, Feb 28, 2017

  • Mass Spectrometry Gets a New Power Source and a New Life

    Mass spectrometry is a chemical analysis and detection tool that has been around for 130 years. In that time there have been so many tweaks and improvements that observers have become a bit blasé about the next big leap in its development. But the latest improvement out of the Georgia Institute of Technology may be the biggest yet for the venerable old analytical tool. In research described in Nature Nanotechnology, the Georgia Tech researchers have managed to make mass spectrometry more sensitive than ever before, more portable, cheaper, and even safer...“The sensitivity has been increased to being able to detect down to 100 molecules,” Zhong Lin Wang, adjunct professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said in an email interview with IEEE Spectrum. “This is the highest ever"...Facundo Fernández, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, added: “Our discovery is basically a new and very controlled way of putting charge onto molecules."

    IEEE Spectrum, Feb 27, 2017

  • More Earth-Like Than Moon-Like

    Mars’ mantle may be more complicated than previously thought. In a new study published in the Nature-affiliated journal Scientific Reports, researchers at LSU document geochemical changes over time in the lava flows of Elysium, a major Martian volcanic province....They found that the unusual chemistry of lava flows around Elysium is consistent with primary magmatic processes....“Long-lived volcanic systems with changing magma compositions are common on Earth, but an emerging story on Mars,” said James Wray, study co-author and associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech...."At Elysium we are truly seeing the bulk chemistry change over time, using a technique that could potentially unlock the magmatic history of many more regions across Mars.”

    LSU News and Media Center, Feb 24, 2017

  • Is It Okay to Enjoy the Warm Winters of Climate Change?

    This is not how February is supposed to feel. From D.C. to Denver, from Charlotte to Chicago, towns and cities across the United States have posted strings of record-breaking summery days in what is normally the final month of winter....All in all, the United States has already set more than 2,800 new record high temperatures this month.... “Those of us who have office jobs and bike to work may be enjoying these temperatures, there are a large number of stakeholders in the agricultural community who see doom more clearly in them than we do,” says Kim Cobb, a biogeochemist at Georgia Tech University [sic]. “I know without a doubt that should such unseasonbly warm temperatures continue into the summer, we will see energy bills spike to astronomical levels, see older residents suffer, and see schoolchildren have to stay inside due to temperatures spiking past human thresholds,” she added. Kim Cobb is a professor in Georgia Institute of Technology School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

    The Atlantic, Feb 23, 2017

  • Europa Mission Heralds Sea Change in Search for Alien Life

    It’s not something NASA likes to advertise, but ever since its creation in 1958, the space agency has only conducted one direct, focused hunt for extraterrestrial life—and that was more than 40 years ago. It happened in 1976, when the twin Viking landers touched down at separate sites on Mars to look for any signs of life lurking on the planet’s desolate, freeze-dried surface. Now, after decades of wandering in Martian deserts, NASA’s astrobiologists are at last preparing to rekindle a direct search for a “second genesis” of life in our solar system—but not where one might think. This time, they will look well beyond Mars, the most Earthlike of our planetary neighbors, to the dark reaches of the outer solar system. A new study co-authored by Britney Schmidt, a planetary scientist in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, is helping NASA target Jupiter's moon Europa and its icy seas. 

    Scientific American, Feb 17, 2017

  • How Brain-Machine Interfaces Engage Neural Plasticity

    Over the past year, scientists have made great strides in the development of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), wired external devices that are controlled solely by brain activity [see Roadmapping the Adoption of Brain-Machine Interfaces”]. Last October, Nathan Copeland, a man who had been paralyzed from the chest down for more than 10 years, made headlines when he fist-bumped President Obama with a BMI-controlled robotic arm using only his thoughts. As BMI-related technologies and neuroprosthetics become more sophisticated, researchers are learning that these tools can make some fascinating changes to the brain, engaging its natural plasticity in sometimes unanticipated ways. Understanding those changes to underlying plasticity, some say, could offer clues to how to rewire and rehabilitate the damaged brain—perhaps even without the need of external hardware. Prosthetics, even without the addition of a BMI component, can alter the brain’s connections, says Lewis Wheaton, director of the Cognitive Motor Control Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology says.

    The Dana Foundation News, Feb 15, 2017

  • Coral Reef Protection: Marine Sanctuaries Can Be Counterproductive If They Are Small In Size

    That corals around the world are dying under an onslaught of various human activities is nothing new, and a number of conservation efforts have been underway for decades now. But small marine protected areas (MPAs) that have been established to allow coral reefs and associated fish species to recover from the ravages of overfishing could actually be, unwittingly, making things worse, a study found. Using the example of an MPA in Fiji Islands, Mark Hay, one of the two authors of the study and a professor at Georgia Institute of technology, said in a statement Monday: “The marine protected areas that are enforced in the Fiji Islands are having a remarkable effect. The corals and fishes are recovering. But once these marine protected areas are successful, they attract the sea stars which can make the small marine protected areas victims of their own success.” 

    International Business Times, Feb 7, 2017

  • Of a Frog’s Slap Shot and Saliva

    You never know when a frog playing an electronic game will lead to an experiment on the physics of saliva....Alexis C. Noel, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, and her supervisor, David L. Hu, were watching a viral YouTube video in which a frog is attacking the screen of a smartphone running an ant-smashing game. It appears to be winning. They started wondering how — in reality — frog tongues stick to insects so quickly when they shoot out to grab them, and decided it was a phenomenon worth studying. David Hu is an associate professor of mechanical engineering and of biology, as well as an adjunct associate professor of physics, at Georgia Tech. 

    The New York Times, Feb 6, 2017

  • Marc Merlin Makes Magic at the Atlanta Science Tavern

    Marc Merlin describes himself as a curator, but doesn’t run a museum or library—he hosts a gathering at a local pub. The organization, called the Atlanta Science Tavern (AST), serves up presentations and learning opportunities in a unique, open environment. Georgia Tech's College of Sciences contributes to many of these lectures and presentations, including by School of Mathematics Professor Matt Baker and School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Ph.D student Luju Ojha.

    SouthEast Makers, Feb 3, 2017