Eric Sembrat's Test Bonanza

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How Do Massive Stars Die?

The title of this talk remains one of the most important and challenging questions in theoretical astrophysics. The explosive deaths of massive stars, core-collapse supernovae, are some of the most energetic events in the Universe; they herald the birth of neutron stars and black holes, are a major site for nucleosynthesis, influence galactic hydrodynamics, trigger further star formation, and are prodigious emitters of neutrinos and gravitational waves.  

Mapping the pathways and energy landscape of protein aggregation

Proteins can adopt a variety of intricate conformations, including native, unfolded, misfolded and aggregated forms. In the latter case, generally 10’s-1000’s of protein molecules bind together to form an aggregate structure that could be random and amorphous or highly specific and well-ordered, such as an amyloid fibril. Amyloid fibril formation of certain proteins is associated with disease, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS, wherein the aberrant misfolding and aggregation of a particular protein is central to pathogenesis.

Summer Research Programs in the College of Sciences Inspire the Scientists in Undergraduates

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Emma Stowell has enjoyed her time at Monmouth University, in central New Jersey. But the small private school has only one ultracentrifuge in its labs, a situation that can occasionally send the senior chemistry major into a tailspin.

“I didn’t even know how to work it,” she says. “But this summer, I’ve learned how to work multiple kinds of centrifuges.”

That’s because Stowell spent her summer at Georgia Tech with the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s  Undergraduate Summer Research Program. When Stowell presented her poster on July 26 – about peptide extensions on virus-like particles – she joined 49 other students from Georgia and around the country taking part in undergraduate research programs in the School of Physics and the School of Biological Sciences, in addition to the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

“This summer experience has been awesome,” Stowell says. “Being able to work in such a large science university is amazing. I got to use equipment I had never even heard of before.”

The summer undergraduate research programs expose students to the kind of academic work they’ll be doing if they pursue graduate studies. The students receive a $5,000 stipend for 10 weeks of work on high-level research projects. Graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and professors serve as mentors

This was also the second year for the College of Sciences to offer the BEE-Inspired Summer Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nine students worked on research relating to pollinators, ecosystems, or sustainability. Jennifer Leavey, integrated science curriculum coordinator for the College of Sciences and director of the Georgia Tech Urban Honey Bee Project, says BEE-Inspired participants also spend one day a week on community service projects.

“Sometimes we go to community gardens and urban farms, or work on sustainability projects, such as planting a pollinator garden,” Leavey says. “We work with summer enrichment camps for school children, teaching them about the role of pollinators and ecosystems and doing STEM outreach.”

Community partners for 2017 included Atlanta Food and Farm PBC, Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, West End Community Garden and Urban Nursery, Greening Youth Foundation, Aluma Farm, Piedmont Park Conservancy, Zoo Atlanta, City of Atlanta Bee City USA, Georgia Tech CEISMC - GE Girls and G.I.R.L.S. camps, and Fulton County Cub Scouts.

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program in the School of Physics is funded by the National Science Foundation. It is hosted by Georgia Tech, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark University Atlanta.

Another NSF-funded REU program, Aquatic Chemical Ecology (ACE) at Georgia Tech, gave second-year Tech student Patrick Heritier-Robbins a chance to study bacteria that break down oil spills.

“I learned that research in graduate school is a major life commitment,” says Heritier-Robbins, an environmental engineering major. “I also gained an understanding of the high level of perseverance required to conduct research.”

Helping students learn how challenging research can be is another outcome of the summer programs, says Brian Hammer, professor in the School of Biological Sciences. “It was a steep learning curve for some, and they learned a lot about the process of science. For some of them, it was not what they expected.”

The work didn’t scare Stowell, who says she will now study for the Graduate Records Examination. “Doing research this summer has really solidified the idea that I want to go to graduate school,” she says. “I’m definitely going to apply to Georgia Tech. Everyone here has been so kind and open to answering all my questions.”

 

Media Contact: 

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

 

Summary: 

Students taking part in summer undergraduate research programs at Tech get an early taste of the work expected of them if they pursue graduate studies. 

Intro: 

Students taking part in summer undergraduate research programs at Tech get an early taste of the work expected of them if they pursue graduate studies. 

Alumni: 

The Swim Pressure of Active Matter

Figure 1: Athermal phase separation of active matter. (Adapted from Takatori & Brady PRE (2015).)

Insights from the swarm: understanding collective problem-solving using ants and slime mould

Complex systems are those systems that are comprised of a large number of interacting units, such as neurons in a brain, and individual animals in fish schools and ant colonies. Each unit acts on its own, using only local information, and there is no centralised control of the collective. The thousands of tiny interactions between the individuals leads to sophisticated ‘emergent’ behaviour at the group level, such as solving mazes, making efficient trade-offs and building self-assembled, adaptive structures.

How to Watch the Solar Eclipse at Georgia Tech

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

It is expected to be the most-watched celestial event of the year: A total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, that will be visible across the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina.

Georgia Tech isn’t on the path of 100 percent totality, but above campus, the moon will block 97 percent of the sun’s disk at approximately 2:37 p.m. EDT. The eclipse should darken skies, drop air temperatures, and make birds think it’s bedtime.

The sunlight from a partial eclipse is bright enough to injure unprotected eyes, says James Sowell, senior academic professional in the School of Physics, and director of the Georgia Tech Observatory.

“Even a sliver of sunlight, that three percent, could damage your eyes if you persist in looking at it directly,” he says.

The temptation to report to social media or record the event with mobile devices will be strong. We urge you instead to take in the experience. Those who have watched total eclipses say they are spectacular for how they make you feel.    

“It humbles you,” says David Baron, science journalist and author of “American Eclipse,” about the total solar eclipse of July 29, 1878. Baron has witnessed five of these phenomena. “They are awe-inspiring and humbling, and they make you realize we are just a tiny part of something enormous.”

Here are three simple rules to safely and fully experience the 2017 solar sensation in an age of mobile devices:

  • Anytime you look up, wear special eclipse glasses.
    Whether you’re observing the sun at 1 p.m., 2:37 p.m., or 4:01 p.m., use glasses with ultradark lenses specified for direct observation of the sun. Eclipse glasses will be distributed around campus beginning at noon on Aug. 21.
  • Keep the smartphone in your pocket.
    It’s possible to take a photo of the eclipsing sun, but we don’t recommend it. You risk glimpsing the sun and injuring your eyes while lining up the shot.
  • It’s a rare event, so be in the moment.
    It’s not just the breathtaking spectacle of the sun slowly blocked by the moon. It’s also what’s happening around you. With good weather conditions, the bright planet Venus may appear. Birds may stop chirping. Spaces between tree leaves can act as pinhole cameras; you may end up with a dappling of crescent, eclipsed suns at your feet.
Media Contact: 

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

 

Summary: 

The skies over Georgia Tech will be at 97 percent darkness during the Aug. 21, 2017, solar eclipse. Watfching the spectacle will require special eclipse-viewin glasses, but you'll also want to notice the changes in the environment around you as the skies get darker during this rare celestial event.

Intro: 

The skies over Georgia Tech will be at 97 percent darkness during the Aug. 21, 2017, solar eclipse. Watfching the spectacle will require special eclipse-viewin glasses, but you'll also want to notice the changes in the environment around you as the skies get darker during this rare celestial event.

Alumni: 

Soft, Structured, Living Materials

The central narrative of contemporary biology is that DNA encodes all relevant information for an organism’s function and form. While this genotype-to-phenotype framing is appealing for its reductionist simplicity, it has a substantial problem. Between nanometer-scale DNA and organismal-scale phenotype sits a gap of 5 to 9 orders of magnitude in length.

Metamorphic InAs1-xSbx/InAs1-ySby superlattices with ultra-low bandgap as a Dirac material.

Recently proposed short period metamorphic InSbxAs1-x/InSbyAs1-y superlattices (SLs) [1, 2] manifest a new class of quasi 3D materials with ultra-low bandgap. Application of the virtual substrate approach relieves strong limitations dictated by the substrate lattice constant and makes it possible to grow materials with high crystalline quality in the entire range of the alloy compositions.

Electricity in the Air – Rapid, Inexpensive, and Dynamically-Scalable Flight Characterization and Control System Prototyping for Airborne Wind Energy Systems

Airborne wind energy (AWE) systems, which replace conventional towers with tethers and lifting bodies, have the potential to unlock vast amounts of untapped energy at altitudes unreachable by towers. However, the dynamic modeling and control design for these tethered systems is far from optimized, and full-scale experimental prototyping costs act as a bottleneck to AWE systems’ widespread adoption.

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