Tag Archives: science

Frank Winkler receives grant from NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute for Collaborative Research

Frank Winkler (Emeritus Professor, Physics) has been awarded funding from the NASA-funded Space Telescope Science Institute for his role in a collaborative research project involving researchers at Curtin University in Australia and Johns Hopkins University. This project entails observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and is titled Diagnosing the super-Eddington accretion/outflow regime using the microquasar MQ1 in M83. The goal of the observations, which come as a follow-up to previous studies from Hubble and from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, is to better understand an unusual black hole in the southern spiral galaxy M83, also known as the southern pinwheel. Previous studies suggest that the black hole provides the energy source for radiation in excess of what simple physics models allow (the “Eddington limit”) , and has done so for thousands of years. The team hopes to learn how this is possible, or else why this interpretation may be incorrect.

Michael Linderman receives NIH grant for genomic literacy assessment tool

Michael Linderman (Computer Science) has received funding from the National Institutes of Health for a research project entitled Developing a Genomics Literacy Measure. This NIH Small Grant, awarded to Michael earlier this year while he was at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has been transferred to Middlebury. The grant will fund the development and validation of a new measure to assess genomic literacy that is reliable across diverse groups of examinees. This tool will enable the rigorous measurement of genomic literacy in the general population and the evaluation of educational programs designed to improve genomic literacy.

Observatory Stargazing Open House Nights – Summer 2016

Middlebury College Observatory and Middlebury Physics will again host stargazing open house nights this summer. These Observatory events are scheduled for Wednesday evenings, June 29, July 6, 20, 27, and August 3, from 9:00 PM until 10:30 PM and are weather permitting.

Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars will be in the evening sky on many of these dates. A variety of interesting stars, star clusters, and nebulae will also be visible through the Observatory’s telescopes. The Observatory includes a 24-inch telescope in a dome and smaller telescopes on the roof.

Observatory open house nights are free and open to the public. As these are minimal language events, they are also appropriate for Language Schools students. These events will take place only if the sky is expected to be mostly clear. Please check the Observatory web site at go/observatory or call the Observatory at 443-2266 after 7 PM on the evening of the event for weather status.

AJ Vasiliou receives ACS PRF New Investigator Award

AnGayle (AJ) Vasiliou (Chemistry and Biochemistry) has received an Undergraduate New Investigator grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for a project titled Sulfur Chemistry: Molecular Mechanisms. The proposed work seeks to answer questions regarding the reaction mechanisms for the thermal decomposition of sulfur compounds. Because raw energy sources such as coal, petroleum, and biomass all contain varying quantities of sulfur contaminants, this work should provide useful information for improving sulfur removal technologies. Six Middlebury undergraduates will be working with AJ on this project.

Will Amidon receives ACS PRF research grant

Will Amidon (Geology) has received an Undergraduate Research grant from American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for a project titled Post-Rift Tectonism on Circum-Atlantic Margins. The goal of this research is to study the history of geologically recent mountain uplift and erosion in the northeastern U.S., where offshore sediment records suggest subtle tectonism occurred in the Late Cretaceous and Miocene. This work should provide basic information on when modern topography in the northeastern U.S. developed and also provide information about the stratigraphic evolution of Atlantic-style passive margins where many petroleum bearing deposits are formed. Six Middlebury undergraduates will be working with Will on this project.

Will Amidon receives ACS PRF research grant

Will Amidon (Geology) has received an Undergraduate Research grant from American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for a project titled Post-Rift Tectonism on Circum-Atlantic Margins. The goal of this research is to study the history of geologically recent mountain uplift and erosion in the northeastern U.S., where offshore sediment records suggest subtle tectonism occurred in the Late Cretaceous and Miocene. This work should provide basic information on when modern topography in the northeastern U.S. developed and also provide information about the stratigraphic evolution of Atlantic-style passive margins where many petroleum bearing deposits are formed. Six Middlebury undergraduates will be working with Will on this project.

Open House Nights at the College Observatory – Spring 2016

The Physics Department at Middlebury College will again host Open House nights at the College Observatory this spring. The Observatory, located atop McCardell Bicentennial Hall, will be open to the public for viewing the heavens on Friday evenings, April 29 and May 6, from 9:00 PM until 10:30 PM, provided the skies are mostly clear.

Jupiter will be in the evening sky on both of these dates. Also visible through our telescopes will be a number of interesting stars, star clusters, and nebulae. There is no set program for the Open House nights; the public is invited at any time between 9:00 PM and 10:30 PM.

The Observatory dome houses a 24-inch computer-controlled telescope. Additional, smaller telescopes will also be available on the roof deck for observing the night sky.

All Observatory public nights are free and open to the public, but will take place only if the sky is at least mostly clear. If the weather appears uncertain, visitors may call the Observatory at 443-2266 or visit the Observatory web site after 7:00 PM on the evening of the Open House for a status report. More information can also be found at go/observatory .

Also, please consider visiting the Observatory web site to sign up for our e-mail list with event announcements and status updates as well as to enjoy a wide variety of resources about astronomy at Middlebury and the night sky. The web site includes stunning images taken at the Observatory, information about what is currently visible in the night sky, history of the Observatory, and a summary of last year’s extensive Observatory upgrades.

The Observatory would like to acknowledge support from the Michele and David Mittelman (’76) Family Foundation for enabling substantial renovations and modernizations that represent a fundamental commitment to the long-term future of the Observatory, both for curricular and research uses, as well as for outreach. These improvements to the Observatory are helping ensure that Middlebury students, College community members, schoolchildren, and the public will continue to be able to explore the universe on the Middlebury campus under dark Vermont skies.