On December 12th students in Research for Environmental Agencies & Organizations (GE 532, taught by Rick Reibstein), presented to officials of the city of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission on actions that can develop green economies and improve public health in areas currently suffering the impact of high levels of pollution and neglect. The students discussed tree retention, urban gardening, electric buses, green roofs, farmers markets, tax credits that can be used for funding green businesses, programs for training a local workforce for green commerce, developing brownfields, new climate change mitigation funds, new air quality monitoring technologies, improvements in programs for residential building energy efficiency and more, including an idea for a new workforce development program that the students originated themselves, and ways to mitigate the effects of “eco-gentrification” (the reduction in affordable housing that can follow neighborhood improvement). The BPHC has requested future students of the class continue the work, especially concentrating on the issue of repairs necessary before weatherization, green roofs and for healthy homes; and the eco-gentrification problem.
PhD student Claudia Mazur was invited to give a talk as a part of the Fall 2018 Earth Adventure Series hosted by the Department of Environmental Studies, Geology, & Geography at Mount Holyoke College, Claudia’s alma mater. The purpose of Earth Adventures is to expose current students to scientific research in these three fields occurring both in and outside of Mouth Holyoke College. In “An Unlikely Pair: A Relationship Between The Sediment-Water Interface and Its Significance in Estuarine Biogeochemistry,” Claudia spoke about the fundamentals of coastal biogeochemistry and the significance of nitrogen cycling in estuarine sediments. She also shared her results from Long Island Sound Benthic Fluxes study and specifically discussed the nitrogen removal capacity and efficiency of Long Island Sound sediments. Claudia is advised by Associated Professor Wally Fulweiler.
Research Assistant Professor Rachel Abercrombie, and Assistant Professor Christine Regalla, and PhD student Emily Schottenfels are attending this month’s Fall AGU Meeting to present their work, interact with their colleagues and catch up with the latest research in Geophysics.
Together they are co-authors on 10 presentations, working with colleagues and students from a variety of American and international institutions. Rachel’s work focuses on earthquake source parameters of events in a variety of tectonic conditions, including the San Andreas fault in California, induced seismicity in Oklahoma, and oceanic transform faults. Christine’s group is working on finding active faults in Cascadia and imaging the subduction zone in the region of the 2011 M9 destructive Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
- S11B-02 Towards Improved Stress Drop Measurement: A Detailed Comparison of Contrasting Approaches
- S11B-03 Applying improved spectral analysis to an induced earthquake sequence in Oklahoma and implications on earthquake triggering
- S21C-0436 Source Complexity of the 2015 Mw 4.0 Guthrie, Oklahoma Earthquake
- S21C-0451 Robust Analysis of Stress Drop Variation along San Andreas Fault at Parkfield Using Multiple Local Networks
- S41C-0551 Fault Structure, Earthquake Interaction, and Source Properties of Two Small (Mw < 4) Sequences in the Walker Lane
- T13I-0354 The anatomy of an ocean transform fault rupture: the 2016 M7.1 Romanche earthquake in the Mid-Atlantic from high-resolution local seismic and bathymetry data recorded with the PI-LAB experiment
- T23E-0414 Earthquake Processes along Oceanic Transform Faults and Ridge Segments: OBS Observations along the Chain Fracture Zone in the Mid-Atlantic from the PI-LAB Experiment
- EP51D-1865 Bent out of Shape: Submarine Tectonic Geomorphology in Accretionary Prisms (lead author Emily Schottenfels)
- T13H-0319 Eocene to Recent permanent forearc deformation in Northern Cascadia, southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
- T13H-0320 Upper plate deformation in northern Cascadia and active bending of the Olympic orocline
On November 8 Professor Cutler Cleveland presented preliminary results of his team’s research to the the City of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission. BU President Robert Brown sits on the commission. Professor Cleveland and his colleagues provide technical analyses of the options available to the City to reach its goal of carbon-neutrality by 2050.
Researchers in the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Department of Earth and Environment are assessing potential technologies and policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the energy, buildings, transportation, and waste sectors in the City. Social equity is a key cross-cutting theme. This work is a collaborative effort with the City of Boston and the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, and it will inform the City’s upcoming Climate Action Plan update.
Associate Professor Wally Fulweiler will join The Undiscovered, a Radcliffe Institute science symposium that will focus on how scientists explore realities they cannot anticipate. Speakers from across the disciplines of modern science will present personal experiences and discuss how to train scientists, educators, and funders to foster the expertise and open-mindedness needed to reveal undiscovered aspects of the world around us.
Friday, October 26, 9 AM–5 PM
10 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
To paraphrase Louis Pasteur, sometimes luck favors the prepared mind, as when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by noticing that mold growing accidentally in his lab seemed to kill bacteria. At other times, new instruments offer unanticipated revelations: Galileo trained his telescope on Jupiter and found it to have moons. And, occasionally, methodical experiments find exactly the opposite of what they sought to prove. Scientists intending to measure the deceleration of the Universe’s expansion, for example, found acceleration instead.
On September 27 Associate Professor Mike Dietze will deliver the Distinguished Lecture for the National Science Foundation, hosted by the Directorate for Biological Sciences and Division of Biological Infrastructure. His talk is entitled “Solving the Challenge of Predicting Nature: How Close Are We and How Do We Get There.”
Is nature predictable? If so, how can we better manage and conserve ecosystems? Near-term ecological forecasting is an emerging interdisciplinary research area that aims to improve researchers’ ability to predict ecological processes on timescales that can be validated and updated.
Professor Dietze will discuss the challenges and opportunities in near-term ecological forecasting, which span advances in environmental monitoring, statistics and cyberinfrastructure. He will present a framework to understand the predictability of ecological processes and highlight ongoing efforts to build an ecological forecasting community of practice.
Professor Dietze will address the current state of and potential for developing forecasts for a wide range of ecological processes, including:
- Vegetation phenology and land-surface fluxes
- Ticks, tick-borne disease and small mammal hosts
- Soil microbiome
- Aquatic productivity and algal blooms
- Advancing statistical and informatic tools for ecological forecasting.
Come to the planning meeting for an interdisciplinary research and reading group provisionally titled Cultures of Science.
We are casting a wide net, including: history of science and medicine, science and technology studies (STS), philosophy of science; Indigenous Traditional Knowledge; medical humanities; literature, sciences and the arts; environmental humanities; bioethics. Faculty, graduate students, and researchers from the full range of science, humanities, and social science disciplines are welcome.
The goal is to generate collaboration and conversation about pressing issues at the science/culture interchange, starting with a series of faculty-led workshops on recent compelling research that colleagues are engaging with and would like to open up to wider, crossdisciplinary discussion and critique. Rather than presenting formal talks or works in progress, the aim is to generate discussion across and outside our comfort zones, methodologies, and usual spheres of circulation.
Come and share suggestions for readings/topics, questions, lab visits, possible future invited speakers, or just to meet colleagues interested in science studies broadly conceived. Bring your lunch (if you like) and drop in when you can.
Tuesday Sept. 18, 12-2PM in CAS 132
Questions/ideas: Adriana Craciun, Emma MacLachlan Metcalf Chair of Humanities, email@example.com.
Associate Professor Mike Dietze hosts “Solving the Challenge of Predicting Nature: How Close Are We and How Do We Get There?” as part of NOAA’s National Ocean Service Science Seminar Series.
Wednesday, September 12, 12-1PM EDT
Is nature predictable? If so, can we use that understanding to better manage and conserve ecosystems? Near-term ecological forecasting is an emerging interdisciplinary research area that aims to improve our ability to predict ecological processes on timescales that can be meaningfully validated and iteratively updated. In this talk I argue that near-term forecasting is a win-win for accelerating basic science and making it more relevant to society. I will focus on the challenges and opportunities in this field, spanning advances in environmental monitoring, statistics, and cyberinfrastructure. I will present a first-principles framework for understanding the predictability of ecological processes and synthesizing this understanding across different systems. Finally, I will highlight ongoing efforts to build an ecological forecasting community of practice.
Access: Mymeeting webinar uses phone for and internet. Audio is only available over the phone: dial toll-free from US or CAN:1-877-708-1667. Enter code 7028688# Skype sometimes works with a good connection. For the webcast, go to www.mymeetings.com Under “Participant Join,” click “Join an Event,” then add conference number 744925156. No passcode is needed for the web. Be sure to install the correct plug‐in for WebEx when logging on – the temporary webex application works fine.
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Join us on Thursday, October 11, for the Environmental Career Fair! Learn about employment and internship opportunities from local and national organizations working to protect the environment. Attending companies include Atmospheric & Environmental Research (AER), Energy Federation Inc. (EFI), ESRI, NASA DEVELOP, NE Interstate Water Pollution Control (NEIWPCC), Sustainserv, Toxics Action Center, United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Thursday, October 11, 11AM-3PM
George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Avenue, Metcalf Ballroom (2nd floor)
Leveraging Universities for Advancing State & Local Energy Policy
August 6, Noon ET
Presented by Richard Reibstein
Earth & Environment Lecturer Rick Reibstein has recently created GE 532 Research for Environmental Agencies & Organizations, in which students perform discrete research tasks for government and nonprofit groups on environmental and public health matters. The course has proven to be a great way to supplement scarce agency and NGO resources and produce work useful to the clients, the students, and the public. He will discuss student projects that involved energy, including:
- Examining the potential for community solar to clean up waste sites;
- The implementation of community choice aggregation;
- The optimal placement of EV charging stations.
For those who might wish to consider replicating this approach, the conversation will cover how the course is conducted:
- How research tasks are identified and selected;
- The role of the course instructor in ensuring quality of product;
- The team relationship and independent student work;
- Contacts with relevant staff and experts.
Reception of student work has been enthusiastically positive in nearly all cases. Agencies and organizations use the class for research they don’t have the time to perform. Students learn about real world issues, make contacts and gain insight into how government works and experience that helps them get jobs. The work is made publicly available for anyone to use, at www.bu.edu/rccp. Some projects continue from semester to semester and some students have stayed with the class for successive terms working on the same or related projects. For example, one student evaluated tree retention policies for the state (these were for municipalities to implement), and in the next semester participated in a team that looked at getting carbon credits for forest conservation – both efforts should be considered as opportunities for carbon sequestration and part of a climate change mitigation strategy.