Eric Sembrat's Test Bonanza

Image: 

Fenton & Lieberman: 2018 Faculty Award for Academic Outreach

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Georgia Tech has selected Flavio Fenton and Raquel Lieberman as the joint recipients of the 2018 Faculty Award for Academic Outreach, administered by the Center for Teaching and Learning. The award recognizes faculty members for productive academic outreach going beyond their normal duties to enrich the larger educational community with their subject matter knowledge.

Both Fenton and Lieberman were recently promoted to professor, respectively, in the School of Physics and the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry; both are members of the Parker H. Petit Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience.

Both are scholars who are committed and dedicated to fostering and supporting the interest of K-12 students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). They especially look out for students who are historically underrepresented in STEM or are from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Their aim is to help young students see themselves as scientists, even when these students do not have many role models who look like them.

FLAVIO FENTON: Various venues for outreach
Flavio Fenton has established connections with middle and high schools in the greater Atlanta area, by himself and through GoSTEM, a Georgia Tech/Gwinnett County Public School District collaboration to strengthen the pipeline of Hispanic students into college STEM education. He has also organized and led workshops to involve undergraduate students in research.

His work doesn’t end there. Fenton has been involved in the Atlanta Science Festival since its inception.  Through the annual celebration of science, Fenton helps to bridge the gap between scientists and nonscientists and to encourage young people to pursue studies in STEM.

“Flavio has shown himself to be a leader in communicating science to the broader public and generating excitement about research outside of Georgia Tech,” a colleague says.

Described as “a diversity pioneer,” Fenton reaches out to Hispanic students and to women in particular, encouraging them to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. He and his Ph.D. student Andrea Welsh co-organized the 2016 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics at Georgia Tech. He regularly participates in the GoStem Annual Latino College and STEM Fair and the after-school Pathways to College programs. He usually has K-12 students participating in research projects in his lab.

“Since I joined Georgia Tech, I have been thrilled by the disposition and the many opportunities our institution offers for outreach,” Fenton says. “I found it to be a privilege and also a responsibility to disseminate science and to excite middle and high school students into studying STEM fields and to show them how much fun it is to learn science.”

RAQUEL LIEBERMAN: Providing research experience to students and teachers
Raquel Lieberman possesses a “deep commitment to using her academic expertise to further the learning of K-12 teachers and students,” a colleague says.

For seven summers, Lieberman hosted high school science teacher Casey Bethel as a researcher in her lab. Bethel was named Georgia’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.  He accomplished this feat in large part because of the improvement in teaching methods and gain in scientific knowledge he achieved as a regular summer researcher in Lieberman’s lab.

With Bethel, Lieberman developed K-12 science classroom materials, which they have published and shared at conferences. She has repeatedly hosted in her lab students from Atlanta area schools, including New Manchester High School, in Douglasville, where Bethel used to teach.

Under Lieberman’s mentorship, some of these students contributed to high-impact scientific publications and participated in high school science competitions. A measure of Lieberman’s impact is the exponential growth in the number of Bethel’s students who now pursue undergraduate STEM majors. Some of them have even gone on to attend and graduate from Georgia Tech.

When describing Lieberman, a colleague quotes the English actor Idris Elba: “Talent is everywhere; opportunity is not.” In this colleague’s view, no one does more than Lieberman to address inequity and to ensure that all students have opportunity.

“Collaborating with Mr. Bethel,” Lieberman says, “and seeing our partnership grow and propagate from our lab to across the nation is truly one of the most rewarding aspects of my career to date and one that I hope continues far into the future.”

Media Contact: 

A. Maureen Rouhi, Ph.D.,
Director of Communications
College of Sciences

Summary: 

Georgia Tech has selected Flavio Fenton and Raquel Lieberman as the joint recipients of the 2018 Faculty Award for Academic Outreach. The award recognizes faculty members for productive academic outreach going beyond their normal duties to enrich the larger educational community with their subject matter knowledge.

Intro: 

Georgia Tech has selected Flavio Fenton and Raquel Lieberman as the joint recipients of the 2018 Faculty Award for Academic Outreach. The award recognizes faculty members for productive academic outreach going beyond their normal duties to enrich the larger educational community with their subject matter knowledge.

Alumni: 

CRA Seminar - Prof. Lee Samuel Finn

Abstract: 

At this writing, LIGO & Virgo have together released information on observations of five coalescing binary black hole systems, one binary system involving at least neutron star, and one "sub-threshold" event likely also from a black hole binary system. Taken apart, several of these events are of great individual interest; taken together, the collection of events is evidence for discerning the mechanisms governing the formation and evolution of compact object binary systems. 

School of Physics Researchers Pay Homage to Stephen Hawking

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking spent his distinguished career studying the universe. It seems only fitting that the universe would have a say in the circumstances of the world-famous scientist’s death.

Hawking died on March 14 – Albert Einstein’s birthday. The day is also known as Pi Day (3.14 are the first three numbers of the famed mathematical constant.) Like Einstein, Hawking died at the age of 76.

A more profound connection between the two legendary geniuses is noted by City University of New York physics professor and author Michio Kaku in the New York Times obituary for Hawking: “Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world,” Kaku says.

Hawking’s most impactful work in physics and cosmology involves the study of black holes, which are super-dense wells of gravity in space so powerful that not even light can escape them. It was Einstein who first predicted their existence, in the same 1916 research that posited his general theory of relativity. Hawking took Einstein’s foundational work and enhanced it with his own theory that black holes could dribble out energy in the form of heat before eventually disappearing – a theory now known as Hawking radiation.

Einstein predicted something else: the existence of gravitational waves, ripples in space and time caused when black holes collide. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Waves Observatory (LIGO) detected those waves for the first time in 2015. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) supporting the effort, which led to the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, included the work of 17 Georgia Tech faculty and students.

School of Physics researchers share their thoughts on Hawking, what he meant to science, and how he inspired their research:

Paul Goldbart, Dean of the College of Sciences, Betsy Middleton and John Clark Sutherland Chair, and professor in the School of Physics 

“I was an undergraduate at Gonville and Caius College in the University of Cambridge, where Stephen Hawking was a Fellow of the College. My hall of residence for my first year was next door to his home on West Road. I would see him on many evenings, as we made our way the half-mile or so across the River Cam, and through the grounds of Kings College, to Caius for dinner.”

Pablo Laguna, LSC member, professor, and chair of the School of Physics

“Regarding his influence on my work, I would say it has been mostly inspirational. From the beginning of my career, Hawking’s work fueled my research to understand black hole phenomena where gravity has its strongest grip.”

Gongjie Li, assistant professor, School of Physics 

“Hawking's work is very influential to my research areas. Hawking made great contributions studying the perturbations of an expanding universe, and he estimated the dissipative effects of gravitational waves in 1966, which heat the nearby environment of the gravitational wave sources. This plays an important role in estimating the electromagnetic counterpart of gravitational waves, which can help localize their sources and solve puzzles of giant supermassive black holes. Based on Hawking’s work, we estimated the heating of stars and accretion disks, which could produce the electromagnetic counterpart of gravitational waves.

In addition to general relativity, Hawking was a leader in the search for extraterrestrial life. He served as a board member of the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative, which aims to visit our nearest neighboring star, Alpha Centauri. I was a member of the advisory committee, and now my students characterize the habitability of these extrasolar planets.”

Deirdre Shoemaker, LSC member, professor, and director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Relativistic Astrophysics

“Our understanding of black holes today has its foundation in the work of Stephen Hawking. While his most famous work was the discovery of black hole evaporation via the appropriately-named Hawking radiation, his work on black holes and singularity theories in the 1960s and 1970s informed generations of scientists, work that he continued throughout his life. The research I have had the good fortune to be involved with – predicting the gravitational radiation from the merger of two black holes and their subsequent detection by LIGO – relies on lessons from Hawking’s work, such as his black hole area theorem, and his work on the no-hair theorem. His work will live on and continue to influence future generations of physicists and astrophysicists.”

Ignacio Taboada, associate professor, School of Physics

“Stephen Hawking predicted thermal radiation by black holes. This results in black holes, very slowly, losing mass. As time goes on, the mass loss accelerates and the temperature of the black hole increases. The black hole eventually disappears in a flash of particles, including neutrinos. My doctoral student Pranav Dave is re-interpreting existing results by the IceCube neutrino observatory to search for ‘primordial black holes’ that would produce such a burst of neutrinos.”

Media Contact: 

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

 

Summary: 

Stephen Hawking's death on March 14 – Albert Einstein's birthday – brought an end to the legendary career of the world-reknowned physicist and cosmologist. Hawking's groundbreaking work on black holes inspired several College of Sciences researchers in their own studies about the nature of the universe.

Intro: 

Stephen Hawking's death on March 14 – Albert Einstein's birthday – brought an end to the legendary career of the world-reknowned physicist and cosmologist. Hawking's groundbreaking work on black holes inspired several College of Sciences researchers in their own studies about the nature of the universe.

Alumni: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Eric Sembrat's Test Bonanza