The final gathering of the 8th Annual Rocks Beneath Our Toes (RoBOT) Program was held Wednesday night.
The brain child of Department of Earth and Environment Professor Ethan Baxter, the RoBOT Program brings together local area high school students and BU undergraduates in an effort to learn more about the geology of the area. The students collect and analyze local rock samples and then display their findings at the end of the semester.
This years program was organized by Prof. Baxter and graduate student and Teaching Fellow Emily Stewart. The first step in the program is the collection of rock samples. This took place back in October when Professor Baxter and 13 of his ES 222 Mineralogy students took 20 Acton-Boxborough Regional High School students out on a rock collecting field trip.
Then, two weeks ago, the students came back together to analyze their findings:
The students used the Department’s polarized light microscopes to get a closer look at their samples.
Then, Dr. Joel Sparks helped the students run the X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) system lab.
The culmination of the program took place Wednesday night as the 20 high school students returned to campus and were given special tours of our lab facilities:
First the students, donning special clean suits, toured our clean lab facilities where Department personnel and students prepare samples for analysis.
Then, Dr. Denise Honn led the students through a tour of the Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS) lab.
Finally, Dr. Tom Ireland took the students through a tour of the Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) facilities.
After the tours, the High School students were treated to a presentation of the Mineralogy students’ semester long research on their collected rock samples:
Dean Sapiro joined in as well. Here, her and a student discuss the results of the program.
The final results of the High School students’ and the Mineralogy students’ hard work are now on display in the halls of the Department, on the first floor of the Stone Science Building.
Department of Earth and Environment Assistant Professor Lucy Hutyra and her GE 475/675 Urban Ecology class will be holding a special end of semester session open to the public this Friday December 6th from 2 to 5 pm in CAS 132.
During the session, Hutyra’s students will be presenting posters that are the summation of their semester projects. These projects cover a wide range of topics related to urban ecology including
- green roofs as urban heat island mitigation
- coyotes in the city
- urban bird phenology changes
- urbain soil carbon losses
- urban heat islands
- and much, much more.
The session will begin at 2, followed at 3 by the students presenting short summaries of their work.
Please feel free to stop by anytime and check out some of their very impressive posters.
Department of Earth and Environment Graduate Student Parker Abercrombie will be presenting the defense of his Masters Thesis tomorrow Friday December 6, 2013.
The title of Abercrombie’s Defense is “Inter-annual Stability of Land Cover Classification: Explorations and Improvements.”
The talk will be held from 2 to 3 pm in B31C.
Please come out and support Parker!
Department of Earth and Environment PhD candidate Karina Veliz will be defending her dissertation tomorrow, December 4th 2013, at 12:30 pm in CAS B18A.
The title of her dissertation is “The Economic Impact of Climate Change on Electricity Demand in the United States.”
Karina is pursing her PhD in Geography; her focus is on energy and environmental economics and policy. Her advisor is Cutler Cleveland.
Please come out and support Karina!
For one night a year the Museum of Science opens its doors free of charge to area college students, and, for the second year in a row, Department of Earth and Environment Visiting Assistant Professor James Baldwin took advantage of the museum’s night of free admission to lead his students on a sustainable energy scavenger hunt.
For the scavenger hunt, Prof. Baldwin challenged the students in his GE150 Sustainable Energy class to search out specific exhibits at the Museum related to sustainable energy: “we looked at and discussed exhibits that demonstrated key scientific principles related to energy, the evolution of society’s use of energy, and also the extensive exhibit on renewable energy,” stated Baldwin.
Baldwin provided clues to the students to lead them to specific exhibits; the students then took pictures of themselves with the exhibits for extra credit. Some of the exhibits that the students had to find this year included a cloud chamber which enables visualizations of subatomic particulars and fission events and a display on solar “power towers.”
While students searched for the different exhibits, Baldwin roamed the museum with his students, explaining the science behind sustainable energy: “in total I was talking with students one on one and in small groups for nearly 4 hours,” said Baldwin, “although exhausting for me, all the students who went had an awesome time and so did I. I look forward to doing it again next fall.”
GE150, Sustainable Energy, focuses on the sustainability challenges that exist in our current energy systems. Students in the course learn about the physical principles and environmental aspects of energy systems, both renewable and nonrenewable, and then discuss ways society can become more sustainable from an energy perspective. Topics range from technological questions such as “what is a heat engine” and “how a nuclear reactor works” to global perspectives on things like climate change, energy policy, and conflict over energy.
The BU Geological Society will be hosting a screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring this Thursday, November 21st, 2013, at 6:30 pm in CAS B12.
In addition to the movie screening, there will be a presentation on the geology of New Zealand, the filming location of the movie, and some Lord of the Rings fun facts.
There will also be a raffle to win “the one ring,” and snacks will also be provided.
View their flyer to learn more about the event.
Annual Carbon Day held in Copley Square
Professor Nathan Phillips and members of the Department of Earth and Environment took part in Carbon Day 2013 this past October. Along with Sustainability@BU and other organizations, E&E members spent the afternoon of October 16, 2013 in Copley Square spreading the news about carbon footprints.
Sponsored this year by Sustainable Neighborhood Lab and Greenovate, Carbon Day promotes public awareness of how individuals, businesses, and communities can reduce the amount of carbon emissions they produce: from basic steps like turning off electrical equipment or using cold water to wash dishes and clothing to much larger projects like the Sustainable Neighborhood Lab initiative. Other participants at Carbon Day included Boston Bikes, Livable Streets, a unique percussion demonstration by Reyna Herrera, and many more organizations.
Joining Dr. Phillips, E&E graduate students Margaret Hendrick, Bahareh Sanaiemovahed, and Xiaojing Tang all participated in the event. In addition to discussing the reduction of carbon footprints, Dr. Phillips and the graduate students also spent the day informing the public about their recent Boston based research project. Over the summer, Phillips and company discovered over “3,300 leaks spewing natural gas into the streets.” Phillips and his team discovered that these leaks are causing higher electric bills and damage to the environment (BU Today).
In informing the public and this research and other carbon-related issues, Dr. Phillips, E&E graduate students, and other participants hope to show the public the practical and positive impact carbon reduction can have on the environment and the wallet.
Margaret Hendrick is a Ph.D. candiate working with Professor Nathan Phillips on global change, urban ecology, and fugitive methane emissions. Baraeh Sanaiemovahed is a graduate student working with Professor Curtis Woodcock, and Xiaojing Tang is a graduate student working with Professor Suchi Gopal.
Graduating Geophysics & Planetary Science major Daniel Friedman and Environmental Analysis & Policy minor Sarah Chudnovsky recently took part in the 16th annual Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) symposium.
The symposium was held in the George Sherman Union Metcalf Ballroom from 11am to 1:30 pm on Friday October 18th, 2013 as part of Parent’s Weekend here at Boston University. Along with over 260 other students, Friedman and Chudnovsky displayed research for the over 600 symposium attendees. All participating students earned two academic credits as part of the research and symposium.
Established in 1997, the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program has “supported the research efforts of approximately 1500 Boston University students” (UROP). The deadline for Spring 2014 research applications are due by noon Friday December 6th.
Photos in this article were taken by Sayaka Yamaki
Dr. Varun Swamy of Duke University will be giving a talk today, Monday November 4th, 2013, on “Regeneration dynamics of western Amazonian forests: gauging the impact of contemporaneous defaunation” as past of the Biology Department’s Weekly Seminar Series.
The talk will be held in room B01 of the Life Science & Engineering Building; refreshments will be served at 11:45.
See the Dr. Swamy’s flyer for more information.
Department of Earth and Environment Graduate Student Valerie Pasquarella recently assisted Department of History of Art and Architecture Masters student Sam Toabe co-curate an art exhibition at the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary.
The exhibit, Rediscover Broadmoor, pays homage to the history of the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary through the presentation of “maps, photographs, artwork, and objects from the Broadmoor archives” (Exhibits).
The Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Natick, provides its visitors with a unique wilderness experience, allowing visitors to see multiple types of wildlife habitats in one location.
Paquarella, a Ph.D candidate in Applied Remote Sensing/GIS, performed her dissertation research at Broadmoor.
Rediscover Broadmoor runs from October 29th to November 30th in conjunction with the opening of the Broadmoor’s “newly renovated Nature Center” (Exhibits).
Broadmoor will host an opening reception for the exhibit November 10th from 2 to 4 pm.
For more information about Rediscover Broadmoor or the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, visit their website.