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Past Highlights

June 2004





New Version of Premier Global Climate Model Released


Mercator Projection world map.The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., is unveiling a powerful new version of a supercomputer-based system to model Earth's climate and to project global temperature rise in coming decades. Scientists will contribute results to the next assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international research body that advises policymakers on the likely impacts of climate change. The system, known as the Community Climate System Model, version 3, indicates in a preliminary finding that global temperatures may rise more than the previous version had projected if societies continue to emit large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Image: iStockPro
Read the full story. ... Posted 6/22/04


Encore for Father's Day:
Baboon Fathers Really Do Care About Their Kids; NSF-funded study suggests paternal care may be ancient trait in primates


Niwot Ridge LTER siteIn a finding that surprised researchers, a recent three-year study of five baboon groups at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya reveals that baboon fathers overwhelming side with their offspring when intervening in disputes. The study, which appears in the Sept. 11, 2003 issue of the journal Nature, was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Chicago Zoological Society, the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation and the National Geographic Society. Not that baboons have a bad-dad reputation, but their links to females and immature baboons are rather loose by primate standards. For example, females and males have multiple mating partners, and they do not form permanent bonds with each other.
Credit: Joan Silk, UCLA
Read the full story. ... Posted 6/18/04


150 U.S. Graduate Students Embark on Research Experiences in East Asia and Australia


Photo of a  graduate student and one of the world's most active volcanoes, Unzen Dake on Japan’s Kyushu Island.American students are happy to find jobs during the summer to help pay for their schooling. Others are more fortunate to be part of intern programs that prepare them for their eventual professional lives. For some others, however, the summer prospects are even more rewarding. How about an opportunity to construct carbon nanotubes in a Sydney, Australia laboratory? What about the chance to study with a molecular virologist in Taipei to search for a potential HIV cure? Or maybe do research based on a fossil fuel carbon emission model created in Seoul to better understand the effects of greenhouse gases? The National Science Foundation's 2004 East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Program (EAPSI) for U.S. Graduate Students will offer just such opportunities for 150 advanced science and engineering students this summer in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
Credit: Leslie Almberg, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Read the full story. ... Posted 6/18/04


National Science Foundation Releases "Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering 2004"
New online report provides easy access, timely updates


Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering 2004According to a new report, Asian/Pacific Islanders living in the United States earn more science or engineering (S&E) bachelor's degrees than whites earn, relative to their college-age (20-24 year old) peers. Meanwhile, data on blacks, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaska Natives show steady, although small, increases in the number of S&E bachelor's degrees earned during the same period. The new, online report, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering 2004, will allow users to more easily search for data and presentation viewgraphs by education level, employment, and population group. In addition, data for different sections of the web-based report will be updated as new data become available.
Image: National Science Foundation
Read the full story. ... Posted 6/16/04


At NSF's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station


Flag at half-staff over the dome of the South Pole Station.The United States flag flies at half-staff over the National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to commemorate the passing of former President Ronald Reagan. The Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights, highlight the night sky.
Image: Dana Hubes / National Science Foundation
Download a larger version of the image. ... Posted 6/10/04


Pepper Prodigies Pursue Plants Like Those Picked by Parents
Migrant farmworkers' children, grandchildren conduct research at NMSU's Chile Pepper Institute


Baudelio De Santiago mixing a batch of biological control agents.At the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University, research can be pretty hot and kind of cool at the same time. There will also be an ancestral sweetness to it for the 10 college freshmen and sophomores in the institute's eight-week summer program, as they are children and grandchildren of migrant and seasonal farmworkers. The program, in its second summer and running through July 30, is called Assured, for Agriculture Summer Science Research and Development. It provides each student a $3,000 stipend to work in the research labs and design his or her project, along with room and board at the Las Cruces campus. The National Science Foundation funds the program. According to Danise Coon, the program's co-director, Assured introduces students to the process of agricultural research and encourages them toward scientific careers.
Image courtesy: Danise Coon
Read the full story. ... Posted 6/10/04


Scientists to View Venus' Atmosphere During Transit, Search for Water Vapor on Distant Planet


The planet VenusTimothy Brown, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., will not sit idly by as Venus traverses the Sun for the first time in 122 years at an angle visible from Earth. On June 8, peering through a specialized solar telescope in the Canary Islands, Brown will study the chemical composition and winds of Venus's upper atmosphere, a region poorly observed until now. "We hope the science team has excellent viewing conditions next Tuesday," said Jarvis Moyers, director of the National Science Foundation division of atmospheric sciences, which funds NCAR, "as this is a very rare opportunity to obtain quantitative information about the upper levels of the atmosphere of Venus." An extrasolar planet scientist at NCAR's High Altitude Observatory, Brown has been applying a technique known as spectroscopy to piece together atmospheric data on a planet orbiting star HD209248, located 150 light years from Earth.
Image: NASA/National Space Science Data Center Photo Gallery
Read the full story. ... Posted 6/3/04


Briefing on "Brood X" Periodical Cicada Research - Researchers' Remarks Now Available on the Web


Photo of one of the researchers at the podium during the cicada press briefingCicada experts funded by the National Science Foundation discussed the biology, economic impact, geographic distribution and genetics of the Brood X periodical cicadas at a May 11 press briefing. The large, winged insects began emerging from the ground in May. They appear by the trillions across the northeast and mid-west every 17 years. Among other topics, the scientists discussed how human alteration of forests affects cicadas. The researchers also presented the latest findings on the effect of cicada root parasitism on red maples; how periodical cicadas interact with the forest ecosystem as a whole; and biogeographic and behavioral research that led to the discovery of a new cicada species with a 13-year life cycle, which appears to have originated from a 17-year life cycle species. Video and transcripts of the speakers' remarks are now available on the web.
Image: National Science Foundation
Read the full story. ... Posted 6/1/04


Instrument Gets Breakthrough Image of Sun's Magnetic Halo


Segment of image showing the brightness of an erupting solar prominence taken with the COMP on 3/9/04A new instrument developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., has captured landmark imagery of fast-evolving magnetic structures in the solar atmosphere. Steven Tomczyk of NCAR's High Altitude Observatory presented the images Monday, May 31, at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Denver, Colo. Animations from the coronal multichannel polarimeter, or COMP, reveal turbulent, high-velocity magnetic features spewing outward from the Sun's surface. The National Science Foundation, NCAR's primary sponsor, funded the instrument. Data from COMP will help solar physicists relate magnetism in the corona to features emerging from the Sun, such as prominences and coronal mass ejections. Such features are the sources of "space weather"--the solar storms that can disable electric grids and satellites and interfere with radio communications.
Image: National Center for Atmospheric Research
Read the full story. ... Posted 6/1/04


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