The British Consulate-General in Atlanta kicks off the 2018 European Climate Diplomacy Week by hosting a forum on winning together by working together to fight climate change.
Kim Cobb, professor in the Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Emma Howard-Boyd, chair of the U.K. Environment Agency will offer their thoughts on how business, government, and academia can work together to fight climate change and harness economic value.
After introductions by the U.K. and French consul generals, Cobb and Howard-Boyd will each give a short keynote address, leaving plenty of time for audience Q&A.
Light refreshments will be served.
The NASA Astrobiology Institute marks its 20th anniversary this year and Georgia Tech is throwing a party! This celebration will feature talks and a poster session by faculty members, NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellows, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers in Georgia Tech's vibrant astrobiology community.
The celebration is hosted by Frank Rosenzweig, professor of biological sciences and principal investigator of the NAI program Reliving the Past.
The event is sponsored by the NASA Astrobiology Institute and the Georgia Tech College of Sciences, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences, and the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience.
The event is by by invitation only.
Speakers, Morning Session starting at 8:30 AM
Thom Orlando, professor of chemistry and biochemistry
"An Overview of REVEALS and CSTAR Programs"
Amanda Stockton, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry
"High Impact Chemistry: The Icy Moons Penetrator Organic Analyzer"
Loren Williams, professor of chemistry and biochemistry
"Visualizing the Origins of Life in Biopolymers"
Nick Hud, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and principal investigator of the Center for Chemical Evolution (CCE)
"Some Highlights of CCE Discoveries on the Possible Origins and Early Evolution of Biopolymers"
Martha Grover, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering
"Prebiotic Replication of an RNA Duplex Containing an Active Ribozyme"
Chris Reinhard, assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences
"Climate and Atmospheric Biosignatures on Reducing Worlds"
Jeff Bowman for Britney Schmidt, assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences
"Oceans Across Space and Time: A Multi-Institutional Effort to Understand and Identify Life in Extraterrestrial Oceans"
Jennifer Glass, assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences
"Laughing Gas as a Precursor to Aerobic LIfe"
Will Ratcliff, assistant professor of biological sciences
"Solving Physical Challenges during the Origin of Multicellularity by Evolving Simple Development
James Wray, associate professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences
"Orbital Spectral Signatures of Changing Habitable Environments on Mars"
Lunch and Poster Session, 12:30-1:45 PM
Speakers, Afternoon Session, starting at 2 PM
Pedram Samani, postdoctoral researcher, Georgia Tech
"Experimental Evolution of Anisogamy: An Inquiry into the Origins of Sexes"
Peter Conlin, NPP Fellow, Georgia Tech
"Experimental Evolution of Adaptive Phenotypic Plasticity in a Temporally Varying Environment"
Caroline Turner, NPP Fellow, University of Pittsburgh
"Environmental Similariy (Mostly) Predicts Genetic Similarity"
Nadia Szeinbaum, NPP Fellow, Georgia Tech
"A Microbial Ecology Perspective on the Success of Oxygenic Photosynthesis"
Moran Frankel-Pinter, NPP Fellow, Georgia Tech
"Dynamic Polymerization of Prebiotic Depsipeptides Allows Selection of Stable Structures"
Micah Schaible, NPP Fellow, Georgia Tech
"Ionizing Radiation Effects on the Surfaces of Airless Bodies"
Editor’s Note: This story was written by Emily Woodward, public relations coordinator for Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. It was originally published in the UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant Newsletter Volume 4, issue 5.
Four coolers, two shovels, countless sampling vials and five people pile into a vehicle headed to a secluded salt marsh on Sapelo Island, Georgia. It’s a surprising amount of equipment needed to study the microscopic community of organisms responsible for the health of Georgia’s most abundant coastal habitat, the salt marsh.
“Plant microbiome research, I always say, is about 10 years behind human microbiome research,” says Joel Kostka, jointly appointed professor of biology and earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Roughly half of the cells in the human body are microbial. These microbes, mostly bacteria, all have different functions; some make us ill, but most keep us healthy by helping with digestion or preventing infection. Together, these microorganisms make up the human microbiome.
The same is true in the plant world, though little is known about plant microbiomes, particularly those associated with salt-tolerant coastal plants like Spartina alterniflora, which dominate Georgia’s salt marshes.
With funding from Georgia Sea Grant, Kostka is studying the microbes intimately associated with Spartina to better understand how the plant microbiome supports the health of Georgia’s salt marshes.
“In a way, this is discovery-based science because no one has studied the microbes that are intimately associated with these plants,” says Kostka. “When you look at the marsh from a large scale it really looks constant and consistent, but when you get down at the micro level you see all kinds of differences. There's a lot of complexity there.”
The research team wants to know how the microbial community changes as you move from the interior of the marsh, where the growth of Spartina is stunted and the plants are short, to the taller, lush marsh growing near the tidal creeks.
At the site, they measure salinity, oxygen, and pH as well as the height and density of Spartina at different spots along a transect. A hole punch is used to collect samples of Spartina blades, which will be measured for nutrients, like phosphorous and nitrogen. Soil samples and root material are taken back to the lab where the latest gene sequencing and metagenomics methods will be used to identify individual microbes and understand the microbial processes that improve the health of the plant.
“We have a number of parameters that we can measure to determine whether the plants are healthy, and then we go in and look at the microbes in more healthy plants versus less healthy plants, and see how those microbes are changing,” says Kostka.
It’s a lot of data to collect and the work isn’t easy, especially when trudging through knee-high marsh mud in 90-degree temperatures.
Luckily, Kostka has an extra set of hands to help with the sampling.
Elisabeth Pinion, an AP environmental science teacher from Cumming, Georgia, is working alongside Kostka and his team. Pinion is one of 16 educators participating in Schoolyard Program of the NSF-supported Georgia Coastal Ecosystems (GCE) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Project, which is hosted every summer at the University of Georgia Marine Institute on Sapelo Island. As part of the program, teachers spend a week on the coast, shadowing different researchers in the field and learning about sampling methods and processes that can be taken back to the classroom.
Pinion recognized similarities between the topics she covers in class and the research methods used for this project.
“Studying parameters that determine the productivity of different ecosystems is something that we generally spend a lot of time on,” says Pinion. “What they are looking at is very applicable to the classroom.”
Throughout the week, Kostka will have the opportunity to engage multiple educators in the field, showing him or her how they collect samples for microbiology and discussing the important ecosystem services that salt marshes provide.
"The Schoolyard Program is a great way to give the teachers a behind-the-scenes look at how science is conducted, including sometimes having to rethink your strategy once you get out in the field," said Merryl Alber, professor of marine sciences at UGA and lead PI of the GCE LTER project. "It’s also beneficial for researchers, who have a chance to interact with the teachers and think creatively about how to bring the science back into the classroom.”
Kostka recognizes the importance of making his research accessible to educators and students, which is why he used a portion of his Georgia Sea Grant funding to support three of the educators participating in the Schoolyard Program.
The trip to Sapelo is the first of many trips the research team will make to the coast. They plan to sample sites at two other barrier islands; Tybee Island and St. Simons Island, in the coming months.
Kostka hopes results from the project can be used to develop innovative methods for improving salt marsh restoration practices in Georgia. One example would be to create plant probiotics that could be applied to Spartina seedlings when planting new marshes.
“We could grow beneficial microbes in the lab and add them to the naked roots during planting, which would help the plant to take hold in the intertidal zone,” says Kostka.
“With sea level rise and increased coastal development, restoration activities will be more important to maintaining the productivity of Georgia’s marshes,” says Mark Risse, director of Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant.
“Funding research like this, that helps us improve attempts to establish native vegetation, will inform future restoration projects and hopefully make them more economically and environmentally efficient.”
A long time ago, in a city far, far away, a mathematician solved a puzzle, the solution of which made our modern, connected world possible. Georgia Tech's School of Music and School of Mathematics have teamed up with local Atlanta artists to create a performance combining contemporary dance, original music, and storytelling. Called The Seven Bridges of Königsberg, the concert celebrates this history and aims to spark people’s curiosity and convey the wonder of mathematics.
The classic puzzle that inspired Leonhard Euler to found the fields of topology and graph theory (or network theory) asked the simple question: Is it possible to cross all of the seven bridges of the city of Königsberg exactly once, with no repetition or backtracking?
Euler was not content with a yes-or-no answer. Instead he began to think about the nature of connectedness in a mathematical way, as it applies to all possible cities with any number of islands and bridges; as well as to networks of transportation, commerce, and communication; to the pathways by which diseases or ideas spread; and ultimately to our contemporary interconnected life.
The Seven Bridges of Königsberg was selected by a new program called Science in Vivo, funded by the Simons Foundation, to receive one of its inaugural 10 awards as an Experimental Site “exploring what is possible when science experiences for the public are integrated into existing cultural gatherings.”
The debut performance on Sept. 13, 2018 will take place on the Georgia Tech campus along Atlantic Ave, where an installation of the Seven Bridges of Königsberg puzzle was constructed earlier this year.
To tell about the foundation of graph theory, the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra will perform a new composition by composer Marshall Coats, while a math team and dancers interpret the story and some concepts about graphs, as choreographed by guest artist Kristel Tedesco.
This performance will be repeated at the Bailey Center in the Kennesaw State University on Sept. 23, 2018. Other versions of the show will take place at public locations around Atlanta and the Southeast region in September and October.
In addition to the spectacle, the audience will have opportunities to explore mathematical puzzles and games and to personally engage with the mathematicians and artists.
The Seven Bridges of Königsberg is a production of Mathematics in Motion, Inc. and the Georgia Tech Schools of Music and Mathematics, with financial support from the Georgia Tech College of Design, the Georgia Tech College of Sciences, the Georgia Tech Office of the Arts as one of the Creative Curriculum Initiatives, and Science in Vivo.
11:00 AM Interactive exposition by Club Math
12:15 PM Remarks by School of Mathematics Chair and College of Design Dean Steven French
12:20 PM Music and Dance Performance
1:00 PM Interactive engagement with Club Math
Directions to Seven Bridges Plaza
The Seven Bridges Plaza is along the Atlantic Drive Promenade, right next to the Howey Physics Building.
By Georgia Tech Trolley: Get off at the intersection of Ferst Drive and Atlantic Drive. Walk toward the Einstein Statue, The Seven Bridges Plaza will be on the right, past the Howie Building. You can catch the Georgia Tech Trolley at the MARTA Midtown station.
By private transportation:
If you are coming from south of Atlanta:
- Take I-85 North to 10th Street/14th Street/Ga Tech (Exit No. 150)
- Take a left onto 10th Street at the light at the end of the ramp
- Go straight through 3 traffic lights
- Take a left onto State Street (the next light)
- Go through one stop sign
- The Howey Physics Building is the first building on the left. A Visitor Parking Lot is in front of the Building.
If you are driving from the east or west:
- Take I-20 into the city.
- Exit North onto I-75/85.
- Take I-75/85 North to the ramp of 10th Street/14th Street/Ga Tech.(Exit 150)
- Take a left onto 10th Street at the light at the end of the ramp.
- Go straight through 3 traffic lights.
- Take a left onto State Street (the next light).
- Go through one stop sign.
- The Howey Physics Building is the first building on the left. A Visitor Parking Lot is in front of the building.
EAS is hosting its new "C.L. Chandler Weather Chat" series.
Each Friday at 11 AM, meteorology enthusiasts are welcome to join Dr. Zachary Handlos and other guest meteorology presenters (including Georgia Tech alumni and guest visitors from CNN, The Weather Channel, the National Weather Service, and other meteorological organizations) as they discuss current and forecasted weather events that have (or will have) significant impacts on the Atlanta, GA region as well as the U.S. (and sometimes globally!).
This event is named after C. L. Chandler, who led the Delta Air Lines Meteorology Department and had a strong passion for meteorological analysis and forecasting (making his weather maps by hand without use of computers).
Carol Wood, who has graciously supported EAS meteorology for several years, will be speaking about her father, C. L. Chandler, to kick off our first event on Friday, September 14th. All are welcome to join!
Aug. 21, 2017, the first day of the school year: At noon the Georgia Tech campus morphs into a massive, festive solar-eclipse-watching party. Thousands sprawl on Tech Green and stand on roof tops to cheer the celestial event.
Meanwhile in Kentucky, James Boehm is part of an experiment by AT&T. The company is testing a device to enable Boehm – who has been blind since he was 13 – to experience the eclipse. The set-up includes a soundtrack, which “voices” the changes in temperature and brightness as the moon’s shadow covers the sun. That accompaniment came from researchers in the Georgia Tech Sonification Lab.
That story leads the first season of the College of Sciences’ podcast. The people who made the 2017 eclipse-watching party possible now offer another treat: ScienceMatters, a podcast celebrating discoveries and achievements – the “Wow” and “Aha” moments – of Georgia Tech scientists and mathematicians.
Season 1 is now available at sciencematters.gatech.edu.
The start of the school year can be discombobulating. Fortunately, many questions that come up are common from semester to semester.
Here, academic advisors in the College of Sciences share their answers to questions they’ve heard frequently from new and returning students during the first few days of a new semester.
Is it true that I shouldn’t take two lab classes in my first semester?
Your course load is a personal decision, best discussed with your academic advisor. That said, for some science majors, such as biology, we do recommend that students take two labs in their first semester to stay on track for timely progress through the degree.
How many credit hours should I take?
Again, the course load is a personal decision. Taking 12–14 credit hours during the first semester allows you to acclimate to the course work at Tech and to explore co- and extracurricular ways to take part in the campus community.
The College of Sciences joins the rest of Georgia Tech in Ramble In, a first-day-of-class fun event organized by Omicron Delta Kappa.
Faculty, students, and staff are invited to join for King of Pops, games, and giveaways! Simply wear a name tag and introduce yourself to other people who are also wearing the name tag!
The goal is to ease the first day of classes for everyone and meet ew people. More in information is here: http://odk.gatech.edu/ramblein/
Student groups and Georgia Tech units will be around Tech Green from 9 AM to 3 PM to give out name tags. The College of Sciences will be at Skiles Walkway at 12:15-1:20 PM.
We will have a spin-a-wheel set up to give away fabulous swag, compliments of ScienceMatters - Because wherever we turn in the physical world, science matters.
Prizes include include beaker mugs, exclusive ScienceMatters pens, water bottles, science rock CDs, T-shirts, and more!
Pluto’s relationship with its moon Charon is one of the more unusual interactions in the solar system due to Charon’s size and proximity. It’s more than half of Pluto’s diameter and orbits only 12,000 or so miles away. To put that into perspective, picture our moon three times closer to Earth, and as large as Mars.
A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology provides additional insight into this relationship and how it affects the continuous stripping of Pluto’s atmosphere by solar wind. When Charon is positioned between the sun and Pluto, the research indicates that the moon can significantly reduce atmospheric loss.
“Charon doesn’t always have its own atmosphere,” said Carol Paty, a Georgia Tech associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. “But when it does, it creates a shield for Pluto and redirects much of the solar wind around and away.”
This barrier creates a more acute angle of Pluto’s bow shock, slowing down the deterioration of the atmosphere. When Charon doesn’t have an atmosphere, or when it’s behind or next to Pluto (a term scientists call “downstream”), then Charon has only a minor effect on the interaction of the solar wind with Pluto.
The study’s predictions, performed before the New Horizons probe collected and returned data to Earth, is consistent with the measurements made by the spacecraft about Pluto’s atmospheric loss rate. Previous estimates at the time of the study were at least 100 times higher than the actual rate.
John Hale is the Georgia Tech student who co-led the study with Paty. He says the Pluto system is a window into our origins because Pluto hasn’t been subjected to the same extreme temperatures as objects in closer orbits to the sun.
“As a result, Pluto still has more of its volatile elements, which have long since been blown off the inner planets by solar wind,” Hale said. “Even at its great distance from the sun, Pluto is slowly losing its atmosphere. Knowing the rate at which Pluto’s atmosphere is being lost can tell us how much atmosphere it had to begin with, and therefore what it looked like originally. From there, we can get an idea of what the solar system was made of during its formation.”
Hale and Paty also say their study affirms a popular hypothesis of Charon. The areas of discoloration near its lunar poles are likely caused by magnetized particles that have been shorn from Pluto’s atmosphere. These particles have accumulated and settled on Charon over billions of years, particularly when it is downstream of Pluto.
The project is supported by NASA grant NNX11AM40G. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors.