Tropical Field Biology research trip is Mojcher's top UMass experience
Alex Mojcher, a senior pre-med student majoring in biology, says taking the "Tropical Field Biology" class over Spring Break is the best thing he's done at UMass Amherst. Everything from conducting his own tree frog research at the Tirimbina Rain Forest Center in Costa Rica to sharing night walks to learn about a dozen bat species was "just magnificent," he says. The difference between reading about tropical biology and species diversity in a textbook and being able observe exotic creatures couldn't have been more thrilling.
Lovley's research on biofuel-producing bacteria featured in Sierra Magazine and BioElectric conference
Sierra Magazine featured the work of Derek Lovley, Microbiology, in a story about research into new forms of energy that will help break our national dependence on fossil fuels. Lovley is experimenting with bacteria that inhale carbon dioxide, feed on electricity and produce biofuels. Lovley is also a keynote speaker at a green bio-energy conference sponsored by the North American BioElectric Systems Meeting and held at UMass Amherst.
Williams gives Distinguished Faculty Lecture on October 19
Dr. Michael Williams, Geosciences, will present the first 2010-2011 Distinguished Faculty Lecture on Tuesday, October 19 at 4 pm in the Massachusetts Room, located on the third floor of the Mullins Center. His talk, "Telling Earth Time: New Ways to Date Earth Processes and Explain Geologic Time," will describe the length of geologic time, ways to think about time on various scales, how the unique UMass "Ultrachron" is dating geologic events, and why it's important that people understand "deep time" as demonstrated in his project, the new Trail of Time at the Grand Canyon.
iCons, a new innovative science education program, launches first course
Incoming undergraduates interested in pursuing a science major will be able to choose a completely new, enhanced science education program believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. iCons--Interdisciplinary Concentration in Science--will teach science "the way it is really done," and "emphasize the reason people become scientists in the first place, which is to solve problems," says Justin Fermann, a program coordinator and senior lecturer in Chemistry.
S. "Thai" Thayumanavan, Chemistry, is an authority on charge transport and molecular design. He was recently chosen as the campus’s first Spotlight Scholar in recognition of his research and innovation in clean energy science. His recent breakthrough to improve proton conductivity, or “charge transport,” is helping solve one of the biggest problems holding back development of affordable fuel cells. The Spotlight Scholar program publicly recognizes the scholarly achievements and contributions of the UMass Amherst faculty.
EUREKA: $1.2 m for disease related protein misfolding research
Anne Gershenson and her biochemistry and molecular biology colleagues Daniel Hebert and Lila Gierasch have received a four-year, $1.2 million EUREKA grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to study folding and misfolding of secretory proteins in the cell's protein factory, the endoplasmic reticulum, where misfolding can lead to diseases such as cystic fibrosis and liver cirrhosis.
Feldman's groundbreaking book on lying published in paperback
The Liar in Your Life , by Robert Feldman, professor of psychology and Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, is now available in paperback. The book describes the surprising and sobering reality of lying in everyday life. It's a fact: we all lie. And we lie a lot, an average of two to three times in a ten-minute conversation, shows Feldman, one of the world's leading authorities on deception. In this groundbreaking book, you'll discover the truth about lying, learn to recognize the lies you yourself tell, and how you can embrace a more honest approach to life.
Condit trains new NASA astronauts how to explore other planets
Geologist and pilot Christopher Condit spent two intense weeks on a remote, high desert plateau with an unusual group of students: NASA astronauts-in-training preparing for human exploration of other planets. The field exercises took place on a simulated alien planet in northern Arizona’s San Francisco volcanic field, about 30 miles southeast of the Grand Canyon. One main goal of the Desert Research and Technology Studies mission is to train astronaut-geologist teams how to identify the most promising spots for collecting rock and soil samples from the planetary surface.
Cadonati receives NSF CAREER award to study gravitational waves
Laura Cadonati, Physics, has received a five-year, $700,000 NSF CAREER award to lead a team developing ways to detect bursts of some of the most elusive signals in nature: Gravitational waves traveling across the universe at the speed of light since the Big Bang. Cadonati explains that "no one has ever measured these waves before, and it is really daunting, really challenging." She says that “if we can detect these waves passing through Earth, it would be the ultimate confirmation of the theory of general relativity.”