October 18, 2018 | Originally published by E&E News

Science republishes a story by Scott Waldman of E&E News, detailing the make-up of the finalists for membership in the Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board. Many finalists are climate change deniers. Exceptions are academics whose work has been funded by premier U.S. science agencies. Among them is Georgia Tech's Kim Cobb, a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

Read the full story here as it appears in Science.

"The Most Unknown" is an epic documentary film that sends nine scientists to extraordinary parts of the world to uncover answers to some of humanity’s biggest questions. How did life begin? What is time? What is consciousness? How much do we really know?

By introducing researchers from diverse backgrounds for the first time, then dropping them into new, immersive field work they previously hadn’t tackled, the film pushes the boundaries of how science storytelling is approached. What emerges is a deeply human trip to the foundations of discovery and a powerful reminder that the unanswered questions are the most crucial ones to pose.

The free screening will be followed by a panel discussion by some of Atlanta's own boundary-pushing researchers. They will reflect on what the film means to them and will also be available to answers questions about related areas of research. 

  • Misty C. Bentz is an observational extragalactic astronomer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State University. Her research focuses on active galactic nuclei and mass measurements of supermassive black holes. Bentz will be one of the first investigators to use NASA's James Webb Space Telescope scheduled for launch in 2021.
  • Jennifer B. Glass (facilitator) is a biogeochemist and an assistant professor in School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech. Her studies include environmental controls on greenhouse gas cycling and, in particular, how one such gas, nitrous oxide, may have warmed the early Earth making life here possible when the Sun was much dimmer. Glass is also a member of the Parker H. Petit Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience.
  • Shella Keilholz is an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering of Georgia Tech and Emory University. Her research aims to characterize the dynamic organization of functional network activity in the brain, with the ultimate goal of understanding the alterations that occur in pathological states and using targeted interventions to restore normal activity.
  • Nicholas C. Speller is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Professor Amanda M. Stockton in Georgia Tech's School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He is involved in designing a device to analyze the chemistry of the surface of Europa as part of a future mission to Jupiter's icy moon.

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October 1, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

WSB-TV2' sLinda Stouffer looks at high-tech ideas being implemented to make cities smarter. Among them are sea-level sensors deployed by a Georgia Tech team in Savannah. The team includes School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences' Kim Cobb. First results from those sensors are coming in, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. View the full news segment here.

October 10, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

One is a pioneer of mathematical analysis as applied to global companies, at a time when women in this line of work were rare. Another is helping to design the sports footwear of the future. Some found themselves in careers close to the degree they earned at Georgia Tech. Others parlayed their Georgia Tech science education into management consulting or business law.

All of them used their College of Sciences degrees to make a difference in their professions. For some, that path took a turn because of what they learned about science – and themselves – at Georgia Tech. Nine of our notable alumni share their memories of life at Georgia Tech, the lessons they learned that they applied in their careers, and what they would tell current students about how to make the most of their time in the College of Sciences.

Meet nine accomplished alumni from the College of Sciences:

Behold spook-tacular science from the Halloween-decked laboratories of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

Volunteers from the Graduates in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences will lead lab tours and host demonstrations. They promise a fun science-centered activity for young people. The event is kid-friendly and appropriate for elementary and middle-school students. 

Metered visitor parking is available on Ferst Drive, Area 4 on Georgia Tech parking map




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Brandon Miller, meteorologist and supervising weather producer of CNN International, will be guest facilitating the EAS weekly C.L. Chandler Weather Chat Series on Friday, Oct. 12th, 2018 at 11:15 AM.  This event will take place in Room 1229 of Ford ES&T.  Brandon Miller will discuss reasons for why Atlanta, GA has experienced an unusually warm Fall season so far as well as other significant weather events impacting the U.S. that week.

All weather enthusiasts across campus are encouraged to join and participate in the discussion!

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October 4, 2018 | Atlanta, GA

Our lives and those of many complex organisms are based on consuming large quantities oxygen (O2), a key product of photosynthesis. A recent study shows that Earth’s biosphere only recently has been capable of producing enough oxygen to sustain complex life. The work is a step forward in reconstructing the evolution of Earth as a life-support system, and should provide clues in the search for life beyond the solar system.

Published in Geobiology, the study comes from Georgia Tech researchers Kazumi Ozaki and Christopher Reinhard. Previously a NASA postdoctoral researcher in Reinhard’s lab, Ozaki has joined the Toho University Department of Environmental Science, in Japan, as an assistant professor. Reinhard is an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The NASA Astrobiology Institute and the National Science Foundation provided funding for the work.

Reinhard’s research seeks to understand the size and scope of Earth’s biosphere, which consists of all regions of Earth that are inhabited by living organisms. How the biosphere has coevolved with the environment over billions of years is a key question. Understanding the biosphere’s level of activity over time is part of the answer.

“Our study revealed that for vast periods of Earth’s history, the biosphere has been much smaller and less active than it is today,” Ozaki says. “We find that the Earth’s biosphere around two billion years ago was photosynthesizing at only about 10% of the modern rate, releasing less than about one-quarter of the amount of oxygen it makes today.”

The finding is important because “large, complex organisms like us rely on this oxygen production to survive,” Ozaki says. “We depend on a large, vigorous photosynthetic biosphere. Our research suggests that for much of Earth’s history, the photosynthetic biosphere was too weak to support complex life.”

To achieve the results, Ozaki and Reinhard developed a theoretical model for the Earth’s biosphere and its interaction with the environment. The new model captures the major processes controlling ocean and atmospheric chemistry but is streamlined enough to be run tens of thousands of times. By comparing model results to evidence from geologic records, the analysis allowed them to quantify both major features of the ancient Earth system and their uncertainty due to poorly constrained variability in model parameters.

The findings are a step forward in quantitatively reconstructing the characteristics of the ancient Earth system – from atmospheric composition to the evolving climate under a dimmer sun more than 3 billion years ago, Reinhard says. “Our approach can also be used to pinpoint the types of data from Earth’s rock record that we need in order to more precisely hone in on the size and scope of Earth’s biosphere as it has evolved over billions of years.”

The approach also provides another tool to test how different levels of biospheric activity shape atmospheric chemistry and climate, Reinhard says. “That line of inquiry will help researchers better understand the principles controlling habitability of Earth-like planets beyond our solar system.”


Diurnal and Seasonal Variability of Uranus’ Magnetosphere under Different IMF

The magnetosphere of Uranus is far from well known since there was only one fly-by measurement in history. In order to study the magnetosphere and its coupling mechanism with the solar wind, we used our multifluid magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) model [Cao and Paty, 2017] to successfully simulate the variation of the global magnetosphere of Uranus and have predicted potential favorable reconnection locations.

Examining the spatiotemporal variability and direct radiative impacts of mineral dust in Central Asia using a coupled regional modeling system and satellite-based sensors

The airborne dust has been well recognized to have a significant impact on the climate system at varying spatial scales (through direct, indirect, and semi-direct effects), on biochemistry (providing marine phytoplankton with iron nutrient), and on human health (causing severe disease) during the past decades. However, current estimations of these effects are still very uncertain because the dust cycle involves many complex physical and chemical processes in the atmosphere at different spatial and temporal scales, as well as the state of surfaces prone to the dust emission.


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