Lily Sandler

January 14, 2019 | Atlanta, GA

Why is it coldest right after sunrise?
11Alive, January 9, 2019

It makes sense that after sunrise the sun would warm you, and yet cold temperatures continue as the sun rays begin to hit us. Greg Huey, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences explains that clouds trap heat, and that the lack of clouds after sunrise are a big factor. “The less clouds and water vapor in the air, the more radiation is lost to space which enhances cooling," he says.

The more you know.

The School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Presents Dr. Ali Bramson, University of Arizona

The Distribution and Preservation of Ice Sheets on Mars

The distribution and nature of water ice on Mars has important implications for not only understanding the Martian climate system, but also for evaluating the in-situ resources available for future human exploration and the astrobiological potential of our solar system. 
 
I will present the results of several multi-faceted studies to investigate the distribution, properties, and preservation of ice on Mars. I will show how the properties of mid-latitude ice can be constrained using remote sensing observations from imaging and radar systems onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and discuss the importance of these constraints for understanding the planet’s climate. 
 
I will discuss how I combine these remote sensing datasets with theoretical models of ice stability to understand the evolution and continued preservation of subsurface ice sheets to the present day. Lastly, I will present how analog studies, including field work at terrestrial glaciers and experimental laboratory studies of ice metamorphism, can elucidate the ice-related processes occurring on Mars and elsewhere.

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January 11, 2019 | Atlanta, GA

By Mallory Rosten, Communications Assistant

If you wander behind West Village, the dining hall that doubles as a community center on West campus, you’ll find twin residence halls Folk and Caldwell. They look the same as other dorms on quiet West campus, but looks can be deceiving.

Inside lives a buzzing community of young scientists and mathematicians, bonded together by curiosity and chemistry labs. In the basement, students would excitedly work together to solve a problem on the white board walls, late at night before a test. In the lounges, students might vigorously debate whether a hot dog is a sandwich, citing scientific sources and data.

These students are part of the College of Sciences’ Living Learning Community, or LLC. Formerly two separate LLCs, SHaRP (Science Health and Related Professions) and SMaRT (Science and Math Research Training), the program is now known as Explore. The staff found that the two LLCS often overlapped: pre-health students were interested in research, research students were interested in pre-health, and the students spent so much time together that there was no need for division.

By housing science and math majors together in their first year of college, Explore hopes to foster a community and create an identity around science and mathematics.

Jennifer Leavey, Explore’s faculty director, was a Tech undergrad herself. “I had no idea there even was a College of Sciences,” she says. “For such a long time the campus was so dominated by engineers, there wasn’t much of an identity for science and math majors.” Explore, she says, is for “the kids who are curious, the kids who like to wear NASA T-shirts.”

Explore hosts 280 students who want more from dorm life than the usual first-year experience. By joining Explore, science- and math-oriented students can live together, take classes together, and distract themselves from their studies together. It’s also a place of discovery where students can find the field that fits them best, which is why the new name is particularly apt.

 “To think that a 16- or 17-year-old is going to stick with the major they chose when they applied is unrealistic and a little stifling,” says Emma Blandford, Explore’s assistant director. “To see them step back a little bit and see the other things out there and explore other opportunities is a breath of fresh air.”

A Place of Discovery
When Hudson Moss began his freshman year, he was sure that he wanted to major in biochemistry. But when Moss watched Kim Cobb give a talk on her 2016 expedition to Holiday Island, he knew immediately that he wanted to work with her.

Cobb is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. “It was really cool, the way that she talked about paleoclimate and how we can approach climate changes as a community and as a country,” Moss says. His chance came when he had to interview a professor for his SMaRT GT 1000 class. He knew exactly whom to choose.

“I managed to slip in that I wanted to work for her at some point,” Moss says, and that first meeting ignited a research path that continues today. He started attending Cobb’s lab meetings.  By the end of his second semester, Moss had started working in Cobb’s lab and officially switched his major to Earth and atmospheric sciences. He still works there today and is on his way to becoming the first author of a study mapping the 19th-century climate of the equatorial Pacific.

“That initial bump that SMaRT gave me to go interview a professor, to get out there and talk to faculty – that was huge,” Moss says. It forced him to be comfortable talking to an expert like Cobb. Now, he says, he can strike a conversation with any faculty member.

Living, Learning, and Thriving
In addition to offering LLC-specific first-year seminar classes for their students, the LLC reserves chemistry labs and even English sections so that their students are connected with the community throughout the day.

When they come home from class, the students organize stress relief activities, like cookie and milk breaks and Halloween parties. Recently, 30 students went to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn about the refugee crisis through the lens of public health.

At the start of every school year, the students go on a retreat where they climb ropes, solve escape rooms, and attend panels for advice about undergraduate research.

“They can go out and go to class and do work and they can come home – it’s their own little oasis,” Blandford says, “My hope is that the community they’re developing here is not isolating them from the rest of Tech, but helping them to feel supported to go out and try new things.”

Because Moss is now a second-year student, he is no longer officially part of the LLC, but he still goes back to give talks to the students, helping them figure out their own paths. 

Alumni can also work as student assistants in the program, helping to coordinate activities, and as team leaders.

The biggest indicator of the program’s success, Blandford says, is the fact that 50% of students signed up to continue living with “smarties and sharpies” in the Eighth Street apartments across the street from Folk and Caldwell.

“They liked each other enough that they wanted to stay in this community again for another year,” Blandford says. She sees this preference as a sign that these students truly feel supported by one another.

All Together Now
“I didn’t expect everyone to come together as quickly as they did,” Bryan Gomez, a biochemistry and neuroscience major in what was formerly SHaRP, admits. “The first couple weeks, everyone was still getting to know each other, but once classes hit the ground and midterm week hit, it was like we’re all in this together.”

Gomez is still in his first year, but he started as a summer freshman. Now he works as a marketing student assistant for Explore.

He credits the LLC for the ease of his transition to college life. “They provide resources to get help when I’ve needed it and when everyone else has needed it,” he says.

Leavey wishes Explore were around when she was a Tech undergrad. “My son wants to be in the program when he goes to college,” Leavey says, laughing.

A unique treat awaits fans at the Yellow Jackets’ Jan. 22 men’s basketball home game. The Georgia Tech team will battle Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish for the hoops amid element cards, games, and prizes to celebrate 2019, the International Year of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements.  

Born 150 years ago, the periodic table is one of the most important and recognizable tools of science. To celebrate the table’s staying power, the United Nations proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.

At Georgia Tech, the College of Sciences is leading an all-year-round celebration, #IYPT2019GT. It has partnered with other units to engage students, faculty, and staff in reconnecting with the periodic table, through athletics, art, and academics.

Kicking off the celebration is “The Periodic Table at Georgia Tech vs Notre Dame” men’s basketball match on Jan. 22. Partnering with Georgia Tech Athletics, the College of Sciences will bring #IYPT2019GT to McCamish Pavilion. Fans will have a chance to play games with the periodic table and element cards featuring the Yellow Jackets basketball team and Georgia Tech researchers. Prizes await lucky winners.  

Admission is free to Georgia Tech students with a valid BuzzCard.  

Discounted tickets are available to Georgia Tech faculty and staff here

Parking for Fans and Visitors

To purchase guaranteed gameday parking in advance ($12 plus service fee), visit the Click and Park website. Cash payments ($15) are also accepted at each parking location listed below (attendants from Standard Parking Plus will be collecting parking fees).

Fans are allowed to park in E40, E52, ER55 (Fowler Street only), E63, E65, ER66 and W23. Click here for more information on parking zones. For weekend games, parking areas open four (4) hours before tipoff. For weekday games, parking areas open at 5:00 p.m.​

Visitors who arrive before these areas open are welcome to park in the GT Hotel and Conference Center parking deck (E81) in Tech Square or in Visitors’ Area 6 at $1.50 per hour.

Please note the following regulations:

  • Parking on sidewalks, lawns, green space or landscaped areas is prohibited.
  • Vehicles found in violation will be subject to impoundment and fines.

Go Yellow Jackets!

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A Frontiers in Science Lecture to celebrate 2019, the International Year of the Periodic Table

The creation of the elements in the universe took billions of years and required various processes.

The first few minutes of the big bang produced only hydrogen (H) and helium (He). No new elements were formed until a few hundred million years later when the first generation of stars were born and they started fusing H and He into slightly higher-mass elements, such as carbon and oxygen. Various fusion reactions by multiple generations of stars eventually created elements up to iron (Fe).

However, normal stars cannot produce elements beyond Fe. Creation of elements heavier than Fe required the cataclysmic explosions of supernovas. These violent deaths of massive stars not only completed the natural elements in the periodic table. They also enabled human life, because certain life processes require heavy elements.

About the Speaker
James “Jim” Sowell is an astronomer at Georgia Tech and the director of the Georgia Tech Observatory. He has taught Georgia Tech’s two Introductory Astronomy courses for 27 years and the advanced Stellar Astrophysics course for 20 years. 

He won the inaugural CETL Undergraduate Educator Award in 2009.  He often performs public outreach and education, including the widely popular, monthly Public Nights at the Observatory; presentations at schools; and workshops for K-12 teachers. He developed the Aloha Telescope. This remotely controlled facility in Hawaii allows Atlanta area K-12 teachers and students to view live images of the Moon during regular school hours. 

Sowell earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He joined Georgia Tech in 1989.

About Frontiers in Science Lectures
Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talks for nonexpert audiences.

About the Periodic Table Frontiers in Science Lecture Series
Throughout 2019, the College of Sciences will bring prominent researchers from Georgia Tech and beyond to expound on little-discussed aspects of chemical elements:

  • Feb. 6, James Sowell, How the Universe Made the Elements in the Periodic Table
  • March 5, Michael Filler, Celebrating Silicon: Its Success, Hidden History, and Next Act
  • April 2, John Baez, University of California, Riverside, Mathematical Mysteries of the Periodic Table
  • April 18, Sam Kean, Author, The Periodic Table: A Treasure Trove of Passion, Adventure, Betrayal, and Obsession
  • Sept. 12, Monica Halka, The Elusive End of the Periodic Table: Why Chase It?
  • October, Taka Ito, Turning Sour, Bloated, and Out of Breath: Ocean Chemistry under Global Warming (This will take place on the Thursday of Homecoming Week 2019)
  • Nov. 12, Margaret Kosal, The Geopolitics of Rare and Not-So-Rare Elements

Closest public parking is Visitors Area 2, on Ferst Street by the Student Center, http://pts.gatech.edu/visitors#l3  

Refreshments served after every lecture

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January 8, 2019 | Atlanta, GA

By Laura Mast, Contributing Writer

A unique treat awaits fans at the Yellow Jackets’ Jan. 22 men’s basketball home game. The Georgia Tech team will battle Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish for the hoops amid element cards, games, and prizes to celebrate 2019, the International Year of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements.  

Born 150 years ago, the periodic table is one of the most important and recognizable tools of science. To celebrate the table’s staying power, the United Nations proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.

At Georgia Tech, the College of Sciences is leading an all-year-round celebration, #IYPT2019GT. It has partnered with other units to engage students, faculty, and staff in reconnecting with the periodic table, through athletics, art, and academics.

Kicking off the celebration is “The Periodic Table at Georgia Tech vs Notre Dame” men’s basketball match on Jan. 22. Partnering with Georgia Tech Athletics, the College of Sciences will bring #IYPT2019GT to McCamish Pavilion. Fans will have a chance to play games with the periodic table and element cards featuring the Yellow Jackets basketball team and Georgia Tech researchers. Prizes await lucky winners.  

"This kick-off event for Georgia Tech's year-long celebration of the periodic table is a great opportunity to bring chemistry to the public's attention and to illustrate its relevance to all of us – scientists, sports fans, and athletes," says David Collard, the College of Sciences' interim dean.

“Georgia Tech Athletics is proud to partner with the College of Sciences to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the periodic table of elements,” Director Todd Stansbury says. “Such a collaboration is uniquely ‘Georgia Tech,’ as we offer our student-athletes the opportunity to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics, while they receive an education at one of the nation’s leading research universities. We celebrate this combination, as it has proven to produce young people who change the world.”

Brief History of the Periodic Table
Using a set of notecards à la classic card game solitaire, Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev sorted and resorted the cards, each representing one element, trying to find a pattern using the elements’ weights and properties. He cracked the code after several sleepless days.

For decades before Mendeleev, scientists had been searching for patterns in the elements. Many other arrangements had been proposed, including one cylindrical design. Mendeleev succeeded where others failed – his table correctly placed more elements than any other.

Critically, too, Mendeleev’s table left gaps for elements yet to be discovered. His table included just over 50 elements, and it wasn’t imminently clear: Were there more elements? How many?

As we now know, many more elements came to light. Thanks to those empty spaces, Mendeleev’s powerful theoretical tool predicted newcomers with startling success. His spot-on predictions of hypothetical elements’ basic properties – atomic mass, atomic number, and reactivity – guided researchers into discovering new elements.

Major changes to Mendeleev’s design occurred as more elements were discovered. For example, the discovery of the noble gases in the 1890s led to the addition of an entirely new column (also called a group). The lanthanides and actinides, those two rows (or periods) at the bottom, were placed below the existing table to retain its basic shape. The periodic table is still being updated to this day: elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 were added in November 2016.

#IYPT2019GT Activities and Events
Every week, the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry will highlight two elements in social media through videos and haikus. And every month, a student, faculty, or staff will expound on a favorite element in a short video.

The periodic table and chemical elements will be a topic in Georgia Tech’s GT 1000 and various Writing & Communication courses. Classes in the School of Music and the School of Industrial Design will use the periodic table as inspiration for projects. The 2019 Clough Art Crawl will have a special section and prizes for submissions inspired by the periodic table or chemical elements.

In February, the Frontiers in Science Lecture Series on the periodic table will commence. Lectures will explore topics from the origin of the chemical elements to the economic, societal, and geopolitical consequences of elements yet undiscovered or in scarce supply. Among the lecturers is bestselling author Sam Kean. His book “The Disappearing Spoon” reveals the periodic table as a treasure trove of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession.

Here is a partial list of events. Full information is available at periodictable.gatech.edu.

  • January 22 The Periodic Table at Georgia Tech vs Notre Dame. Go Yellow Jackets!
  • February
    • Frontiers in Science: How the Universe Made the Elements
    • Water, in Three Movements, Georgia Tech Laptop Orchestra, School of Music
  • March
    • Frontiers in Science: Celebrating Silicon: Its Success, Hidden History, and Next Act
    • Periodic Table and the Chemical Elements in Clough Art Crawl
    • Periodic Table and the Chemical Elements in Atlanta Science Festival Expo
  • April
    • Frontiers in Science: Mathematical Mysteries of the Periodic Table
    • Frontiers in Science: The Periodic Table: A Treasure Trove of Passion, Adventure, Betrayal, and Obsession
  • June
    • Halloween in June: Periodic Table Costume Party and Variety Show
  • August
    • Chemical Element Scavenger Hunt
  • September
    • Frontiers in Science: The Elusive End of the Periodic Table: Why Chase It?
  • October
    • Frontiers in Science: Turning Sour, Bloated, and Out of Breath: Ocean Chemistry under Global Warming
  • November
    • Frontiers in Science, The Geopolitics of the Rare and Not-So-Rare Elements
    • Periodic Table Celebration Exhibit
  • December 
    • Periodic Table Celebration Exhibit

Keep up with #IYPT2019GT by checking periodictable.gatech.edu periodically. Follow the College of Sciences on Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to celebrating #IYPT2019GT with you!

2019 Summer REU Program

School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Presents Dr. Andrew May, Ohio State University

This presentation focuses on our participation in the Fire Influence on Regional and Global Environments Experiment (FIREX). 

In this work, we deployed different black carbon (BC) instruments that utilize different techniques to quantify BC, including filter-based light absorption, in situ light absorption, laser-induced incandescence, and thermal-optical analysis. Experiments were conducted using “fresh” open biomass burning smoke samples collected from controlled burns at the US Forest Services’s Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, MT. 

Through statistical methods (principle component analysis with k-means clustering), we categorized each fire into distinct groups based on its chemical and optical properties. We demonstrated that when biomass burning smoke is most optically similar to “pure” BC, the disparate measurement techniques have the best agreement, but this agreement worsens as the smoke becomes “browner”. 

Consequently, to relate BC measurements taken by different instruments from biomass burning smoke, information about the chemical and optical properties of the smoke aerosols may be necessary, especially because most real-world smoke plumes are likely dissimilar to “pure” BC.

Time permitting, I will also present briefly on an unrelated project that deals with a current “hot” topic for environmental engineering – per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). 

Most of the concerns around PFAS is drinking water source contamination, which has traditionally been linked to wastewater discharge from industrial facilities and infiltration into groundwater at sites where PFAS are utilized. However, we have demonstrated a probable link between air emissions of PFAS and drinking water source contamination using field observations of PFAS in surface waters and soils coupled with an atmospheric dispersion model.

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EAS & The Global Change Program Presents Dr. Marshall Shepherd, University of Georgia

Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd is a leading international expert in weather and climate and is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Georgia. 

Dr. Shepherd was the 2013 President of American Meteorological Society (AMS), the nation’s largest and oldest professional/science society in the atmospheric and related sciences. Dr. Shepherd serves as Director of the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Atmospheric Sciences Program and Full Professor in the Department of Geography where he is Associate Department Head. 

Dr. Shepherd is also the host of The Weather Channel’s Award-Winning Sunday talk show Weather Geeks, a pioneering Sunday talk podcast/show and a contributor to Forbes Magazine. Dr. Shepherd is the 2018 recipient of the prestigious AMS Helmut Landsberg Award for pioneering and significant work in urban climate and in 2017, he was honored with the AMS Brooks Award, a high honor within the field of meteorology. 

Ted Turner and his Captain Planet Foundation honored Dr. Shepherd in 2014 with its Protector of the Earth Award. Prior recipients include Erin Brockovich and former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. He is also the 2015 Recipient of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Media Achievement award, the Florida State University Grads Made Good Award and the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Sandy Beaver Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

In 2015, Dr. Shepherd was invited to moderate the White House Champions for Change event. He is an alumni of the prestigious SEC Academic Leadership Fellows program. Prior to UGA, Dr. Shepherd spent 12 years as a Research Meteorologist at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center and was Deputy Project Scientist for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, a multi-national space mission that launched in 2014. 

President Bush honored him on May 4th 2004 at the White House with the Presidential Early Career Award for pioneering scientific research in weather and climate science. Dr. Shepherd is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. Two national magazines, the AMS, and Florida State University have also recognized Dr. Shepherd for his significant contributions. Dr. Shepherd was the 2016 Spring Undergraduate Commencement speaker at his 3-time Alma Mater, Florida State University. He was also the 2017 Graduate Commencement speaker at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Shepherd is frequently sought as an expert on weather, climate, and remote sensing. He routinely appears on CBS Face The Nation, NOVA, The Today Show, CNN, Fox News, The Weather Channel and several others. His TedX Atlanta Talk on “Slaying Climate Zombies” is one of the most viewed climate lectures on YouTube. 

Dr. Shepherd is also frequently asked to advise key leaders at NASA, the White House, Congress, Department of Defense, and officials from foreign countries. In February 2013, Dr. Shepherd briefed the U.S. Senate on climate change and extreme weather. He has also written several editorials for CNN, Washington Post, Atlanta Journal Constitution, and numerous other outlets and has been featured in Time Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and NPR Science Friday. He has over 90 peer-reviewed scholarly publications. Dr. Shepherd has attracted $3 million dollars in extramural research support from NASA, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and U.S. Forest Service. 

Dr. Shepherd was also instrumental in leading the effort for UGA to become the 78th member of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), a significant milestone for UGA and establishing UGA’s Major in Atmospheric Sciences.

Dr. Shepherd currently chairs the NASA Earth Sciences Advisory Committee and was a past member of its Earth Science Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Nature Conservancy (Georgia Chapter), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Science Advisory Board, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s Hazard Preparedness Advisory Group United Nations World Meteorological Organization steering committee on aerosols and precipitation, 2007 Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR4 contributing author team, National Academies of Sciences (NAS) Panels on climate and national security, extreme weather attribution, and urban meteorology. 

Dr. Shepherd is a past editor for both the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology and Geography Compass, respectively.

Dr. Shepherd received his B.S., M.S. and PhD in physical meteorology from Florida State University. He was the first African American to receive a PhD from the Florida State University Department of Meteorology, one of the nation’s oldest and respected. He is also the 2nd African American to preside over the American Meteorological Society. He is a member of the AMS, American Geophysical Union, Association of American Geographers (AAG), Sigma Xi Research Honorary, Chi Epsilon Pi Meteorology Honorary, and Omicron Delta Kappa National Honorary. He is also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and serves on various National Boards associated with his alma mater. Dr. Shepherd co-authored a children’s book on weather and weather instruments called Dr. Fred’s

Weather Watch. He is also the co-founder of the Alcova Elementary Weather Science Chat series that exposes K-5 students to world-class scientists. Dr. Shepherd is originally from Canton, Georgia. He is married to Ayana Shepherd and has two kids, Anderson and Arissa.

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